Piranha Report (Day 12)
The Battle Lines are Drawn

The Piranha Report is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring in the Jaburu and Tambaqui tribes during their stay in the Amazon. Who is wheeling? Who is dealing? And of course, who is reeling?

Week four brought us a detailed inside look at the alliances in Jaburu. Deena sold her soul to Heidi’s young girls alliance for strategic reasons. You have to be impressed with Deena’s growing influence, as she was able to get a consensus vote to boot Joanna, despite Shawna’s near pleading to leave.

Deena wanted Joanna out of the tribe because she was a threat to Deena winning the game. That reasoning was sound, but it is a significant risk, as the even bigger threat to Deena will be to enter a merge without a majority of votes in her tribe. It is hard to envision a scenario in which a majority of the guys would not ‘pagong’ Deena early. The loss of Joanna could hurt the tribe significantly in the challenges, so we will need to see how Deena’s gamble plays out.

Tambaqui basked in the glow of their sweep of the challenges. There was very little flirting, and only Rob was shown continuing to worship the ladies during some late night karaoke fun. They figured out how to catch fish, and there are no grating personalities evident in the group. If the guys can keep their focus, they stand to do well going forward.

There is some kind of cross tribe meeting this week, though it seems too early for the merge to occur. Many player’s hands are on the table, so a forced disruption of the tribes could have dire effect, along the lines of Survivor: Africa’s tribe switch twist, for those in positions of power.

Jaburu

It is more than clear now that Jeanne and Joanna’s plot to set up Deena for failure as the leader has not only backfired, but it helped to ensure Deena could get the votes to eliminate Joanna. Shawna is a wild card though, and Christy appears to be an opportunist as well, so there are multiple opportunities for Jeanne to save herself, the question is, can she do it?

The Leader

Deena is playing a strong game. She commented that she knew joining up with Heidi’s group was a strategic move, and further, she thinks that she can have a lot of influence on the younger women. I was a bit skeptical of that at first, but Deena’s strength was on display with the vote against Joanna.

She remains in a strong position, and could even chose this week to turn against Heidi or Jenna. It will be interesting to see what tribe changes, if any, come from the meeting of Dave and Jenna. I suspect that Deena will be able to adapt to just about any situation.

False Leader

Heidi is a false leader at this point. She deserves some credit for playing the political part of the game well. By that I mean that she has a good idea of how to move up in the game, and has put in the effort to ensure she is in the majority. No matter how distasteful and conceited her confessional comments have been, I do give her credit for forming an effective alliance.

It could all come crashing down quite quickly though. As noted above, Deena is exerting strong influence, Shawna is off on her own, and Christy doesn’t owe any loyalty to the young women who previously snubbed her. Heidi needs to continue to focus on her status in the game, but in the short term she doesn’t appear to be in any danger.

Hallucinating

Shawna seemingly surrendered all coherent thought after the loss at reward challenge. Deena felt that it was dehydration, and perhaps it was, as she appeared normal at tribal council. No doubt Heidi would say it was low-body-fat-itis.

She was somewhat lucky that her vote for Christy at tribal council was not revealed. Now she can still choose to follow the Deena/Heidi alliance, or go on her own. First things first though. Shawna needs to decide if she can overcome the apparently traumatic event of losing out on a can of Coca Cola, get on her feet, and start playing the game again. If not, she will be gone quickly, and very deservedly so.

Follower

Jenna does whatever Heidi says to do. We have seen no evidence of independent game playing here, and in actuality, Jenna doesn’t need to play the game. It seems that the tribe has bigger fish to fry than remembering how Jenna’s early contributions were limited to boiling clothes in their limited fresh water. Apparently she is chosen as one of the ambassadors to the Tambaqui this week. That could elevate her status with the men, but seal her fate with the women depending upon how she handles it.

Wild Card

Christy gets stronger by the week. She has found a way to overcome her meltdown at tribal council, and if she can keep strong ties with Deena, she should be okay for a while longer. It would help her most of all for the ladies to get back on track in terms of winning immunity.

Jeanne is on the hot seat. Her primary partner is gone, and she has no friends in this tribe beyond Christy, who is better served to ally with Deena. If Shawna remains sick, then Jeanne’s best hope is that she can redirect attention to her, and point out that the women need all the able bodied folks they can get. Jeanne has been scheming since day one, so I don’t doubt she will try something and I hope it is entertaining.

Tambaqui

The men seemingly set aside their political conflicts to focus on winning challenges and catching fish. I remember though that they did the very same thing in week two, only to fall immediately back on their chick infatuation after winning immunity.

The question this week is: Can they deal with success?

Leaders

Roger was a bit calmer this week, but still fancies himself as the leader of this tribe. Further, he has made a few recent comments regarding Rob (“he is pathetic”) that seem to indicate that he is settling his sights on the next target. Perhaps he knows that Rob plotted against him three days earlier. The fact that Matthew’s status in the tribe is growing could not come at a worse time for Roger. He needs to focus the scorn of the tribe on someone else, but perhaps it is too late for that. Roger, you reap what you sow, and the Magic Kingdom you think you rule will crash around you sometime very soon.

Dave is the subtle leader of the tribe. He has worked to keep himself in a very strong position, and further, he appears to be bringing Matthew along as well. A Dave, Alex, Matthew alliance could be quite effective in this group, especially if they throw Butch a bone or two in order to keep his vote in line.

The Schemer

Rob had little to do this week thanks to the multiple wins, so he continued his obsession with Heidi. In this case, that change of focus could be good for Rob, as he was guilty of scheming a little too much last week. For his strategy to work, he needs to be able to operate in the shadows. Now would be a good time to lie low as opposed to lying often.

Gone Fishing

I continue to believe that Dave and Alex may have an alliance. It just seems like a natural fit, and they have coordinated their efforts to date. There are many rumors on the web that indicate someone in the Tambaqui gets hurt. Of course there are many rumors about Survivor on the net, so this one may have no more merit than any of the others do. Hypothetically though, an unexpected departure of someone like Alex would be quite table turner in this tribe.

Matthew recovered nicely this week. Catching the big fish was a coup, and it is clear that Dave has taken a liking to him. However, all of that could be classic MB misdirection, and I always fall back on the reality that tribes nearly always complete the elimination of their rivals before turning on each other. Matthew was part of the losing Ryan alliance, therefore he is still in danger. Catching a few more big fish would help.

In the Fox Hole

Butch is practically invisible at this point. It has been an amazing display of game playing, if it was intentional. In the beginning Butch tried to be as upfront a leader as Roger has been, but he has wisely chosen to abandon that approach, and allow others to be the lightning rods in Tambaqui.

He seems to be in little danger at this point, and in fact, could easily make the final four if the men enter a merge with the advantage in votes. From there, anything is possible.

I Guess That Didn’t Work

Joanna bit the dust this week.

She was a victim of strategic game play led by Deena. However, it easy to see that Deena would have had a difficult time garnering those votes if Joanna’s personality had not been so divisive. Remarkably, what seemed to grate on her tribe mates most was not her consistent preaching, but instead her early morning noise making habits.

It just goes to show that you never know what your undoing will be, therefore it is always wise to have the majority alliance if possible. Joanna and Jeanne failed in that department.

Your comments are welcome. Email bill@fansofrealitytv.com