Mayan Meanderings: Episode 3
Brianna’s secret strategy backfires, boring film at 11
Welcome back to this week’s look at Survivor strategy. Each episode we’ll take a look at who is doing what to whom, and how it is helping them win, lose, or develop their not so secret dream of becoming a reality TV star.
This week the good people of Yaxha suffered their second straight immunity challenge loss. Plus, to top it off, they blew a large lead in the reward challenge earlier in the show, and now their confidence has to be a bit shaken. It seemed a bit too easy for Stephanie to immediately slip back into the mode of blaming her team for their defeat(s). She thinks they aren’t as determined as she is. I honestly hope she finds a way to market that “determination”™ after the show. Me, I think most everyone there is determined (well except for this week’s boot). Sometimes a little bit of teamwork and team building will go further than playing to the confessional camera. That’s just my opinion.
Once again we were spammed with the Gary as an ex-QB story at the beginning of the episode. Yet it died off later, and had nothing to do with the boot evaluation. The other story line involved Lydia never looking at Brianna directly when forced to discuss trivial matters of the day.
“Ohh…do you think it is going to get hot today Lydia?” Translation: I hope you die a slow painful death!
“Yes, yes, Brianna, hot and you know what, probably a bit of rain too” Translation: You are going home before me you pretentious *bleep*
So when it occurred, did all of you watching at home draw the obvious inference that these two were going to be on the chopping block? Because at the time, all I could think was that either Burnett got drunk again in the editing room or these two have to go away, and soon. Plus, I had to wonder why is it that people can grow to dislike each other so quickly in this game?
It wasn’t even that exciting of an exchange. It was probably one of Survivor’s most boring moments ever captured on film. So that got me to thinking, and we touched on this last week a bit. Is this the best we have to go with? Well this exchange and the always funny howler monkey? I don’t mind the monkey story since it allows Cindy to get some camera time (at this point I am all camera’d out on Stephanie and Gary). Plus, Cindy has that whole Jeff Corwin thing down when explaining the life story of that poor monkey, or how the croc’s are just waiting on the bottom of the lake for a tasty Bobby Jon snack. For a second there I thought my TiVo had switched over to Animal Planet on me.
But I digress.
The point, and I do have one, is that this indeed is turning into Africa part two. Meaning, the outwit part of the game is going to slip to lower on hierarchy of needs compared to the trivial things to us at home, such as food and water. I don’t blame the survivors for that. Temperatures in the hundred and teens. Boiling all drinking water. Wayward monkeys. Probst wearing a stupid hat this season. All of these things combine to make strategizing a second thought. The conditions are tough, and so far every boot pick is mainly driven by contribution to survival, or being a complete basket case in an important challenge.
This may change later as the Survivors acclimate to their surroundings, or the producers give more rewards (if the excitement keeps up, expect the alcohol to flow into camp any time now). However, I am pretty sure that anyone here for the TV exposure alone will give up along the way, perhaps even just give up during a challenge making themselves an easy boot.
Checking the tribes:
Gary remains the boss dog in Yaxha. I am still not sure why, but hey, it’s working for him, and the tribe doesn’t seem to mind. Those who are thinking about game issues seem to focus their attention on Stephanie, while Gary cruises along relatively unchallenged. The issue for Gary, as I see it, aside from his lie involving his past, is that his direction in Survivor seems to be focused on treating this as a football game. In other words, all boots are based on physical ability to contribute (i.e. let’s put the best team out on the field possible). What I hope he realizes is that in Survivor, sometimes the bench warmers get together behind the scenes and fire the coach. Gary is a benevolent leader, and not really the in your face type. He performed well in reward challenge during what should have been the most difficult part, but then the lack of teamwork on Yaxha showed through and they lost. It remains to be seen if anyone will stand with him should the target move to his back down the road.
Brian also did well in the challenges. I can’t figure out if he is good at the strategic part of the game, or just annoying overall. Maybe both? He certainly took credit for getting Morgan eliminated with Lydia.
Stephanie, please tell us what you think about… well, everything? It seems that if the sun comes up, we cut to the confessional cam with Stephanie. “Yeah, I like it when the sun comes up, it is another chance for me to be more determined than my tribe!” Or when the food is revealed as a reward in a challenge, what do you think Steph? “I like that food a lot better than eating termites. I hope my tribe is as determined as I am to win it!” You get the picture. Perhaps I am being a bit hard on Stephanie. It isn’t her fault (as far as we know, because who knows what went on in the negotiations to bring her back) that she is the go to confessional person for this season. Normally I would be worried about a survivor getting this much camera time, this early in the game, but I think those traditional rules of thumb don’t apply to Stephanie.
Lydia continues to find a way to survive. Her hard work around camp (and not giving up in a Mayan basketball challenge) are keeping her in the game. To be honest though, that is only going to go so far, and she is running out of better targets. Lydia, more than anyone else in the game right now, needs an immunity challenge win.
Rafe is turning out to be a strong physical player, and that should serve him well with the way this season is shaping up. Jamie suffered no ill effects from his previous idea to boot Stephanie, but then this week’s boot did a great job of really leaving no other choice. I suspect that story line is not done, but that it is Jamie who will lose the battle if he tries again. A tribe switch would do him good.
Amy heard my call, and she received a lot of camera time this week. Deservedly so. If you want to see some determination, check out her performance in the immunity challenge. Twisted ankle on those cargo nets? That had to hurt. Yet she showed up for every game. Further, she is pretty savvy about the game, and immediately wanted to show everyone that she could perform down the road, despite the hurt ankle. It seems everyone understands that right now, this is survival of the fittest, not Survivor.
Nakum won both challenges this week, but it is anything but joy and happiness around the camp.
Brandon told us that he had never felt more alive than he did during his crocodile challenge swim. This tribe is taking the concept of being a manly man to new and silly extremes. First they tried to out do each other in the 11 mile hike to camp. That led to near death for a few of the members of Nakum. Now they decide to test fate and swim with the crocs. Unbelievable. Why not just stay home and stick forks in light sockets if you are so determined to show how tough you are?
As noted above, Cindy gave us great commentary about the crocs and howler monkeys during the show, and she is doing acceptably well in the challenges. I think she is safe for now, but perhaps not if she keeps explaining how it is not the monkey’s fault that he is ruining everyone’s hearing. It may be true, but I get the impression Judd doesn’t care.
Margaret is under fire from the men because she dared to question their big top tent idea for the tarp. I think she is right. The first big rain storm that comes along will fill the tent with water pockets that will eventually collapse the shelter, probably about 3am or so. Her idea was better. Why it was met with such resistance is a bit of a mystery. Judd seems to just rebel against everything, so he is a given, but Bobby Jon usually was more accepting in the past. She had some power when she was Nurse Margaret in camp, but it seems that the power doesn’t translate into anything meaningful. Judd intends to be the boss around camp, and that’s all there is to it. I am not sure he can pull it off either, but we will not know until this tribe faces tribal council the next time.
Blake seems to be getting better, and that will only help this tribe in the challenges. Danni meanwhile took quite a beating in the reward challenge. Not since the legendary Big Tom bash fest have we been treated to such a pounding. After all that, she may not even remember there is a guy named Gary in the game, let alone that he is an ex-QB.
I guess that didn’t work
Brianna went home this week and there is rarely a more obvious boot choice than this one.
I am not sure what her plan was during the immunity challenge. Maybe there was no plan at all and she just wanted to go home. Perhaps she just couldn’t keep her balance on the net. No matter the reason, she was a good pick, and yet again, a unanimous one. This has to be some kind of Survivor record. Each boot has received the maximum number of votes they could, with no exceptions. This is pretty a pretty amazing streak. It should be interesting to see how long it can hold up.
It’s beginning to smell a lot like tribe shuffle, or maybe that is my cookies burning. We shall see.
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