Piranha Report (Day 18)
Picking Off the Ladies, One by One
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?
This week, the tables turned and New Jaburu was forced to visit tribal council. Therefore we have seen the dynamics of both reconstituted tribes in action, and in both cases a woman was voted off.
The big question now is: will the merge bring us a Pagonging of the remaining ladies, or are there enough divisions in the old all-male Tambaqui to allow for an exciting middle game. In general, I always believe that a Pagonging will occur, no matter how many red herrings MB throws at us, but there are key signs that cause me to have faith in another alternative. Let’s look at the status of both tribes:
Jaburu suffered two defeats this week, but their focus seemed to be on other topics.
All evidence in hand now clearly indicates that Shawna’s illness was primarily in her attitude, as her resurrection continued in the reward challenge where she knocked Heidi off twice with ease. Alex and Matt competed for Shawna’s attention, though Alex seemed to have that battle more than wrapped up, though Shawna didn’t seem to mind Matt’s involvement.
All of this opened an opportunity for Deena, and by association Jenna, to make inroads with the always scheming Rob. I admire Denna’s game play. She is making the best of a difficult situation, seems to have a great understanding of the dynamics of both tribes, and now she has taken an opportunity to get herself back into a position of power.
The Rob-Deena-Jenna alliance easily holds a majority of votes in Jaburu, and they should remain uncontested to the merge given that Matt and Alex are unlikely to work together. Therefore Deena has returned to a very strong position if there is no merge.
Even if the merge occurs though, I like her maneuvering. Much like Jenna last week, I feel that Rob told far more than he learned in his meeting with Deena. She now knows that Matt is an outsider, and that Rob, by his own admission, was not in the core male group. If she brings Heidi back into the fold, she can count on three core votes for certain, and is likely able to get Rob or Matt, if not both of them, to join in. It could make things interesting.
Rob, or Robfather II as he should be called, is not nearly as brilliant as he thinks he is. Everyone in old Tambaqui saw through his master plan, and now he has spilled the beans to Deena, who will use it against him should he not stay in line. Much like Heidi, he has now cast his lot, and it will be difficult for him to backtrack. Sure, he could turn on the ladies this week, but in the end, he has little chance of winning without some breaks going his way. I think it is way too early in the game to be making decisions that could shut you out of the finals, and I cannot envision the ladies, or the remaining men, taking him to the final three.
Jenna’s best asset to date is that she simply is not getting a lot of camera time, and is in effect riding under the radar on Deena’s coattails, and that isn’t a bad idea.
Alex… you disappoint me so. Clearly Alex was enjoying his cuddle time with Shawna, and he had some very “active hands”. Good for him. What about the game though? His strategic move this week was to blurt out at the group meeting that he was going to vote for Matthew, which prompted Shawna to say so as well.
I thought it was remarkable enough that a group of that size sat down and laid out their votes. Smaller, former alliance groups, have done this in previous survivors, but these folks pretty much opened the floodgates on each other. Alex inadvertently gave Denna’s group even more power by clearly demonstrating that he and Matt would cancel their own votes. Deena and Rob could then pick who was next to go, and Shawna was the right choice. Matt may have annoyed Rob somehow (maybe he insulted the magic 8-ball?), but clearly he is bringing home a boatload of fish, and that is no small matter.
Matthew should be competing on the Bass Masters tour, and not on Survivor. He is making as many inroads with Rob as he can, but I never see him actively seeking his own destiny in the game. He sits back and allows people to come to him, and that is how he got himself mixed up with the slacker alliance early on. Matthew should have been approaching Deena or Jenna looking for a deal. Now he is great danger, merge or not.
This tribe began the episode with a fireside chat post tribal council. Christy wanted to know why Jeanne was booted versus herself.
This was a very illustrating discussion. Butch and Roger controlled it, with Roger spinning a tale of how the tribe needed diverse skills, liked Christy’s attitude, etc… Dave was bitter that they didn’t just tell the truth, and say that it was because they knew Jeanne was the weak link politically, and that they know from Jenna that she was next on the block.
Dave could learn from Roger here. There is a time and place for absolute integrity, and that discussion was not it. You want Christy to be motivated to compete and do well, as she later did in the reward challenge. Your Machiavellian efforts have ensured that you have voting majority, so you can always boot her at your leisure in any event. Plus, if the merge, or some other unexpected game event, occurs, then you stand a good chance of having won over her vote.
Nevertheless, as predicted, the MB highlighted conflict between Butch and Dave over booting Christy never occurred, and may not be relevant at this stage.
Butch has played the ultimate under-the-radar game so far, and he was quite effective this week in building rapport with Christy, who would undoubtedly vote for him if she makes the jury. I don’t know if his rah-rah motivational attitude was genuine or not, I certainly hope it was, but no matter, he scored the points, and the only concern he should have is that Dave and Roger may resent him scoring those points independent of them.
Roger has toned it down over recent weeks, and as noted above, he was pretty effective at the fireside chat with Christy. It remains to be seen if he has a strong bond with Dave, and I am beginning to wonder if Roger is going to survive very long post merge. It seems that he is assuming the guys will get back together, and that he will be calling the shots. I think he will be mistaken.
Dave did most of his work last week, and the two victories by Tambaqui ensured that he did not need to react any further. Dave could actually be in a precarious position though, and he needs to be on top of his game this week. Butch and Roger may have their own plans to eliminate some competition, and they already know that Heidi will jump at the chance, while Christy’s vote is all but assured. Things could turn ugly for Dave quite quickly, and he needs to hope for the merge.
Heidi realizes now that she made a deal with the devil, and those three devils feel no loyalty to her. She made her best attempt at explaining her actions in backstabbing Jeanne last week, and Christy seemed to accept the explanation, though Christy’s judgment is clouded right now. Heidi needs a merge, but if that doesn’t occur, she needs to roll the dice and try to get a deal with Butch. Otherwise, she is on shaky ground.
Christy grows stronger each week. She won the reward challenge for the tribe, while Heidi lost twice. She has good standing with Butch, and likely Roger. She seems safe to the merge at this point, and will have the unique opportunity to be a swing vote should the guys alliance fracture. She needs to form a strategy to win at this point, and not just go along for the ride.
I Guess That Didn’t Work
Shawna was voted out, and quite deservedly so. She was a female slacker throughout the game, and her focus on the guys undoubtedly sealed her fate.
Maybe she was sick, maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she didn’t care about winning, and was simply looking to enjoy the experience. No matter the reason, it is difficult to argue that her game play itself was effective, and left her little chance to win.
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