Piranha Report (Day 30)
Chicks Dig Jury Members With Scars

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 alliance of Alex, Heidi, Jenna, and Rob had complete control of the game. Would that continue? Matt has been on the hot seat sinceÖ well, the entire game. He needed to wake up and start playing. As usual, Rob held the swing vote, and he clearly intended to use it.

We are Down With Each Other, So Why Donít I Blow the Game?

The power alliance managed to hold together for about a day or so before the first cracks emerged, and no, I am not referring to the continued deterioration of Heidiís enhancements.

Two weeks ago, we contemplated here that Robís only chance left at winning was to make a move this week to bump Alex. Otherwise he would quickly find himself the odd man out in the final four. I felt that he needed to join up with the outsiders (Matt, Christy, and ButchÖ yes, Butch is still on the show) and take his chances with them. However, I doubted that he would do it (what with his infatuation with Heidi) and I assumed that Alex would see though the plan, and take the same swift action he applied when Deena turned against him.

Well, I was horribly wrong. Oh, not about Robís moves, I just assumed that Alex would not trigger his own demise.

The morning of day 29, while Heidi and Jenna slept (or not, Jenna seemed to move a lot) right in front of them, Alex decided to break some news to his best bud Rob. You see, Alex had been thinking about the game and his friends. He basically stated the obvious, that once there were four left, it was likely that Alex would win immunities, the girls would stick together, and that would leave the Magic 8 Ball boy in an untenable situation.

Why Rob didnít already know this is somewhat of a mystery, but Alexís comments were like a bucket of ice water to the face of Rob, who now realized that he needed to get his big head back into the game.

Alexís decision to discuss this topic with Rob that morning is one of the more surprising turns in Survivor. The gang of four had been pretty arrogant about their power, and that was foolish considering Deena was basically booted for the same reasons. However, to simply flat out tell a key alliance member that he was going to be booted first once they got rid of the others was a remarkably bad idea. Even worse, considering that there were still enough of the others to turn the tables if someone switched sides, Alexís confession was idiotic.

Meanwhile, Matthew decided to begin playing, and shared with Butch, who was in stealth mode, that if they could get Rob to switch sides, the tables would be turned. All the pieces fell into place.

Matt wanted to speak to Rob, and Rob wanted to speak to Matt. Turns out they had the same subject in mind. Christy gladly joined in, and you know the rest. If you donít, be sure to catch fluffís recap of the episode (in fact, read it even if you do know, it is always great fun).

It was an impressive twist, and Alex ended up with the same look on his face as Denna had three days earlier. So who is in control now?

The Scorecard

Rob did what he needed to do in order to keep a shot at winning the game. However, all is not well in Robís world. He himself pointed out that his actions betrayed an alliance and put his jury votes in danger. I note that he made no mention of his previous betrayal of Denna. He is right to be worried about jury votes, but I think that is a lost cause to him no matter what. He has just been a little too conniving through the game.

The problem for Rob is that his new alliance mates donít trust him anymore than his old ones will. Further, I think he confessed to Matthew just a little too much about how deceiving he has been in the game. He really didnít have to say anything, just listen to Mattís offer, and the same outcome could be achieved. Now all Matthew talks about is how deceitful Rob is.

Further, there are no specific agreements beyond this point, so it was a marriage of convenience, targeted at Alex. Rob may just as easily decide to try to work with Jenna and Heidi the rest of the game. He is in position to still make the final four, but as noted above, I donít see how he could win a jury vote.

Matthew emerged this week with a plan for playing the game. He correctly surmised that Rob could be influenced to join the outcasts. He just didnít know why it was so easy to do. Matt thinks he has Rob on his side, and he has Butch locked into the chain, so somehow he has survived long enough to build a voting bloc with power.

Things are pretty fluid now though, and Matt has to find a way to build consensus for a new target. Butch is likely to stay in the fold no matter what Matt wants to do, while Christy would likely be looking to bump off one of the hot chicks, and Rob may have his own ideas No matter all of his talk, I would be surprised to see Rob actively work against Heidi. Christy would probably be a consensus target that the tribe could agree on for the next TC, but that would result in Matt potentially weakening his own power base.

I give Matt tremendous credit for surviving to this point, but he needs to quickly formulate a future strategy that will achieve consensus, when the reality is that HE is the biggest threat remaining. He is like a basketball team that has battled back from 20 points down late in the game to tie it up. There is still time left, and the question is, did he expend all of his game play energy just staying alive, or does Matt see a path to the final two, where he would likely gain significant respect from the jury.

Jenna and Heidi have to be somewhat stunned at this point. They will know that Rob was the alliance member who turned on them, and now their leader is gone. Jenna and Heidi arenít necessarily doomed though, in fact, one of them could still make the final two. They are going to need to swallow their pride. First, they have to figure out that Alex was the target, not necessarily the alliance. Therefore if Rob can be coerced in returning to the fold, they should pursue that. Secondly, they should try to make inroads with Matt and Butch. Why no one is talking to Butch besides Matt is a major surprise to me. The guy has a vote, which makes him valuable. There is no point in trying to influence Christy, though it would not shock me if they make a feeble attempt at it.

If Heidi and Jenna can find a way to break up the bloc of votes that eliminated Alex, then they have as much of a chance as any of them. However, if the others realize that those two are the closest alliance in the game, and therefore should be busted up, then I suspect Heidi will be booted shortly.

Why Heidi? The immunity challenge game gave it away. Jenna was not considered a physical threat by anyone based upon the answers to the question about surviving on your own. Meanwhile, Heidi performed well early on, and the gym teacher mystique has to make her seem more dangerous, despite all of the recent evidence to the contrary.

Speaking of Butch, he should be smiling to himself right now. For absolutely no reason, he is still in the game. It is illustrative of how things change after the merge. He is not a threat, so no reason to focus on him. However, he really is a threat as the numbers continue to dwindle. If he can find a way to disappear completely between tribal councils, so much the better, as he doesnít want to be seen in order to remind everyone that he might be someone they all could agree should go.

For Butch to make the final two, he would need to pull a treacherous act, such as turning on Matt in an unexpected way. I just donít think he is going to do that with all the kids at school back home watching. Therefore, he must hope that somehow he stumbles into the final four, from there anything is possible.

Christy, like Matt, has spent a bit of the game isolated and in danger. She has made no attempt to actually strategize and improve her position, yet she is still here. She didnít see the plan from Rob to get Alex as a good strategic move, she saw it as a chance to get rid of a guy she doesnít like because he hangs out with Heidi and Jenna, and he doesnít play nice.

I admire the way Christy has conducted herself in the game, and I love her sense of humor in the confessionals. That said, the game is outplay, outwit, and outlast. So far she has only been doing the latter. She needs to decide if she wants to win or not, and if so get locked in with a strong pair of votes (such as Matt and Butch).

I Guess That Didnít Work

Alexís demise was very entertaining to watch. His alliance just got rid of Deena three days earlier for the very kind of arrogance that he took to a new level. I am guessing that Deena had a pretty chuckle watching him leave the tribal council. I know that Christy was laughing out loud.

Your comments are welcome. Email bill@fansofrealitytv.com