Piranha Report (Day 27)
Panties No Longer on Fire… Cancel That Alarm

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

This week, the removal of Dave began to have the problems within the tribe that we expected. Who would go next? Butch, Matthew, or someone else? The problem for the Jaburu majority was that they were running out of folks to boot who didn’t think they were already safe in the alliance. Someone was going to get backstabbed, but who would that be?

Battle Lines Are Drawn

We’ve speculated before that once the easy targets of Roger and Dave were out of the way, many problems could arise in the Jaburu alliance over who to boot next. Butch had been perceived by Christy as a good person and friend, he had not annoyed anyone in the combined tribe, and was not a physical threat, so there was not a lot of momentum against him.

Meanwhile, Matthew’s behavior seems to not be winning himself friends. He has been on the hot seat for what seems like the entire run of the show now, and yet, here he is, still in camp, still sharpening the machete.

So the problem is, what to do if Matthew wins immunity?

It didn’t seem too likely at first, but then during the reward challenge, Matthew showed he could be a tough competitor… heck, he could be a deadly competitor with his remarkable blow dart accuracy. It is possible that he did indeed throw the reward challenge at the last step, as he had discussed with Rob.

While Alex and Jenna were gone, enjoying a Starbucks moment, Deena began to make her move. Deena advocated the removal of Alex, in the event of Matthew winning immunity. Her reasoning was that Alex was an equal physical threat to win, and that he had to go eventually.

The logic of that discussion is fine, but the audience was poorly chosen. Deena knew that Heidi and Jenna had been in an alliance since the beginning of the game. Yet, here she was, opening telling Heidi that she needed to join her in booting one of their alliance partners, and someone who has close to Jenna and herself. Deena seemed to have grown a little drunk with power, assuming that she and Rob were in control of the game, and that Jenna was onboard too.

That was a poor assumption to make with this many people left in the game. Heidi ignored Deena’s request to allow her to approach Jenna with the suggestion, and when Alex and Jenna returned, Heidi immediately spilled the beans to Jenna, and that notified Alex of the threat.

In last week’s article, we noted that if Deena wasn’t careful, Jenna and Heidi could turn on her. What I didn’t expect, was that to happen so soon, or for Deena to really bring about her own demise. The other tribe members were clearly upset with the idea of turning on one of their own so soon.

Even then, Deena might have been saved had Matthew not won immunity. Ironically, she held the power to combat that in her hands, but decided to concede that immunity in the gross food challenge, by not even trying on the last item.

Who’s Doing What?

Rob was in interesting position in this episode. He continued to acknowledge that he had a secret alliance with Deena to the end. Hmm… I don’t think it was quite as secret as you say it was Robfather. Nevertheless, Rob found himself right in the middle of the power struggle yet again. He has (or thinks he has) Matthew on his side, while Matthew has adopted Butch. Therefore he seemingly has a voting bloc that could have saved his “secret-alliance-to-the-end partner”.

He made the decision not to save Deena. Why Rob? Did you want to avoid a tie at tribal council and potentially face the purple rock of fate? Are you still hoping to hook up with Heidi? I just don’t get it. Keeping Alex around hurts Rob’s chances in the game, especially his chances of making the final two.

Not that Rob is in a horrible position. However, there is little chance he will have Deena’s vote were he to make the finals. Even though Dave didn’t know of the full extent of Rob’s complicity in his ouster until after the show began airing, Dave was aware of Rob abandoning the Tambaqui men at the time. Therefore, even if Rob does make the jury, he now appears to be down two votes against at this point. If Matthew goes soon, then it is likely that he too will have a machete to grind with Rob. For a guy who has been scheming since minute one of this game, he isn’t doing a very good job of counting votes.

I think a lot of Rob’s future is actually in the hands of his supposed puppet Matthew. Perhaps there is more going on here than meets the eye. Matt has Butch on his side now, and we know from his bio that Matt is likely a very intelligent guy. All through the show he has appeared to not be playing the game, or when he was, making incredibly poor decisions on alliance partners. I just wonder if he doesn’t have a strategy of some kind, and that he intends to take out Rob at some point. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew is still likely to go next, but he may have the ability to string some immunity challenge wins together, and possible bring Christy in with he and Butch. From there, they might be able to stir up trouble.

Jenna remains in a strong position. She is playing the game, and made a strategic decision to go to Alex with Deena’s plot. She wants Alex to remain, and seemed all to happy to boot Deena. I don’t blame her, Deena and Rob would have booted her at some point in the process, and she had little chance to win continuing in the current alliance. However, she saw a chance to power grab, in an environment where she and Heidi could attempt to influence Rob, and perhaps Alex, thanks to their “beauty”. I wish I could laugh at that, but frankly it is what she said in episode one her strategy was going to be, and we have far too many examples in this show so far where it has worked.

Heidi continues on in the game, seemingly in no danger. However, it is just as clear that she has no strategy articulated toward winning the game. She appears to be just hanging on with Jenna to see how far that can go. Her knee needs to get better soon, for while there is little chance of her being in danger in the short term, she will need to start winning some immunity challenges to continue on past the final four, and if the knee turns really bad, then she will begin to get sickness votes.

Alex had a strong showing this week. He has Heidi and Jenna to thank for his heads up, but he quickly and aggressively turned the tables on Deena, and in that process, set himself up as a leader in the new alliance of four. He definitely has Jenna’s (and therefore Heidi’s) loyalty. His risk is underestimating Rob. I doubt that he will though.

Christy is like a kinder and gentler version of Matthew. She continues on in the game, always a possible bootee, but usually the name that will be next, after the more imminent boot of someone else. Then, by the time that imminent boot is made, the balance of power shifts, and Christy goes back under the radar. Events have conspired though to put Christy in grave danger. First, she bought into Deena’s strategy, and was the only other person to vote against Alex. Secondly, it didn’t appear that the majority made any attempt to get her to change her vote. Therefore, on the surface it looks like Christy is the odd person out in everyone’s plans. She needs to start playing the game, and quickly.

Butch is still here! No really he is. MB arranged to have a piranha bite him so we could at least get some dialog out of the guy. Butch is following the cryptic instructions of Matthew though, and it might take several days to figure out what those instructions meant. It really sounded more like a multi-level marketing presentation to me. Nevertheless, Butch is still here! I honestly don’t know why though.

So What Happens Now?

The power alliance of Alex, Jenna, Heidi, and Rob have full control of the game. If Rob wants to make a move to stab Alex (presumably for the same reasons he was obsessed with getting rid of Dave), then he needs to do so this week. If the alliance decides it is time for Matthew to go, then Alex could run off a string of challenge wins not seen since Colby roamed the Outback.

My guess is that Rob thinks he can get Heidi and Jenna to vote with him against Alex later one. I think it will be too late for Rob by then.

I Guess That Didn’t Work

Deena’s fall was the work of her own hand. She had the game well under control, but decided to try to target Alex for elimination. Had she simply said that Butch needed to go next if Matthew won immunity, I am confident she would still be around, with a good chance to win.

Deena just didn’t have as much power as she thought she did.

Your comments are welcome. Email bill@fansofrealitytv.com