Pirate Report (Final Four)
How to Lose the Game in Two Easy Steps
The Pirate Report is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring in the Balboa tribe the rest of the way to the final vote. Who is wheeling? Who is dealing? And of course, who is reeling? This is not meant to be a recap though, and for that, you will want to read fluffís outstanding recaps this season.
The final four is here, and the finale is on Sunday, so this will be just a brief view of the situation heading into the vote for this seasonís Survivor Champion. Anyone of the remaining four can win, though letís be honest and say that Jon is the obvious next boot, leaving the three ladies to battle it out for the million dollars.
The Estrogen Triangle
I was pretty hard on my former favorite Sandra last week. She was not following through on plans, and without Rupert around to be the enforcer, she was losing control of her situation, something that seemed unimaginable a few weeks ago.
This week, the all girl alliance finally came to fruition, and in the nick of time too. But letís not give Sandra too much credit for that. Her reaction to Christaís departure was to think of ways to completely undermine the camp, and complain about Jon backstabbing her. I did notice that as expected, other people were more than capable of catching fish once Rupert was gone, and he was forced to let someone else use the spear. So, with no fish to dump, Sandra had to plan on taking the water jugs, machetes, and the spear. The game is about people getting voted off, and to take the childish response of planning to sabotage the tribe is pretty pathetic in my eyes. I pretty much lost all respect for Sandra at that moment.
From a game play perspective though, she has only herself to blame. She knew better than to trust Jon, so she needs to look in the mirror on that one. Secondly, she probably ought to check her own actions at the door before she goes around telling people that someone betrayed an alliance. Sandra, perhaps you might recall someone named Tijuana from a couple weeks ago?
Once the boys ran off to their backseat overnight trip, the girls sat together. Sandra was sulking, ready to give up by executing Project FU. Darrah was doing her usual act of staring into space, when Lil pointed out that she didnít trust Burton anymore, and oh by the way, they are coming after Darrah next. I actually had to rewind and watch again. Could it be that Lil is making a strategic move in the game? It doesnít seem possible, but she did. It would appear that she is interested in more than the final three.
Darrah immediately picks up on the statement by saying that she knows they are coming after her. Now, I donít know if that is true or not, but it was the exact right thing to say. Even if nothing comes of this discussion, she had opening to maneuver to save herself later, and she could always tell Lil it was her own fault for giving away information. Instead though, she remembers those darn math classes they made her take in mortuary college, and determines that there are three women left, compared to two men. Well, one man, and his sidekick Q-tip. Darrah suggests that maybe they all should band together, boot Burton then Jon, and settle things in the final three from there.
Sandra finally sees through her anger long enough to realize that the paranoid scoutmaster and girl who suddenly cannot lose immunity are speaking the truth. She swings into full gear then, and I was glad to see the old, active Sandra back. She sets about to assuring Lil she has a better chance at the final two against these women than she does with Jon and Burton, which is true. Eventually she throws in the twist that they would try to act like she had given up, so as to keep the boys at bay when they return.
It has taken a while to see it, but finally, Lil thought about the game from her perspective, Darrah seized on the opportunity to suggest a plan, and Sandra came up with a great way to execute it. The latter that kept some pressure off Lil, and I might add, gave Sandra an out if she still wanted to vote with Jon and Burton. Much better ladies and I applaud all three of you.
Now, the idiocy of the men to take the reward challenge together, was only highlighted all the more when they are sitting in the back of a hideously ugly vehicle and noting that the girls are probably plotting against them. Duh. But more on that later.
Before we leave the ladies, it should be noted that Darrah has now won her third immunity challenge in a row. Given the competition, that is pretty impressive. The one thing about Darrah that is true, is that she seems to stay on a very even keel all through the game. It even holds true during immunity challenges where she works methodically and quickly, but never indecisively. Is that just her nature (likely) or a calculated response? Either way it works, and I think that will help her in the final three. I donít see her losing the final challenge, which is likely endurance based.
The Whoops Alliance
Jon did some good things this episode. On the walk back to camp, he preempted a Sandra rant by pointing out, as a change of pace, truthfully, that Christa was indeed willing to sell out Sandra at any moment. That move put Sandra into a very angry mood, which is exactly what he wanted. She would either do something to ruin herself in the game (which she almost did), or she would go off and sulk (which she did do).
He took the reward challenge with Burton, but then, he was invited, so I donít fault him for that. He was suspicious of taking the reward and leaving the girls alone to plot. Finally, on return to camp, he didnít buy the idea that they didnít talk (and he is right, a better lie would have been to say, ďyes, we talked, but that Sandra is a snot, so I like my chances staying with you guys). Regardless, he did handle himself well in many ways, just not enough of them.
So what did him in? First, he actually started to believe his own press clippings, and further bought into the idea that the ladies had no idea how to strategize. He has ample evidence in front of him that Sandra at least is a player, so how he could get so full of himself now is a bit of a mystery. Have to change his name to Jonnie Poorplay. Secondly, he knew the girls had lied to him about plotting, but then he decided Sandra would be the best person to approach for an alliance renewal, right after screwing over Christa. Jon had played so smart through the season, but to fumble like this at the end seems to indicate that he lost weight in his brain.
He now goes into the final four with little to no chance of surviving the next vote. He must win immunity from here on out.
I Guess That Didnít Work
I speculated last week that Burton would regret the decision to not confirm his allegiance to Lil that night at the campfire, and not surprisingly it came back to haunt him. I didnít need foreseer skills on the lines of Paulie for that, as failing to commit to your alliance is a classic Survivor blunder. I think that if he had told Lil what she wanted to hear that night, as far as the game goes at least, then she never would have opened up to Darrah and Sandra, which set the chain in motion that led to Burtonís elimination.
That was a bad move last week, but it was pure arrogance this week that led Burton to conclude that he should take Jon on the reward trip with him. It was absolutely critical that they take one of the ladies. It really is simple math. Who knows though, maybe Burton didnít trust Jon enough at this point in the game, and who can blame him? But it was a horrific decision that cost him, and likely Jon, the game. I hope that Jeff asks him about his thoughts in going with Jon at that moment. I think it was the turning point in this season.
Burton played pretty well overall though since his return. He was a different player, and changing his strategy worked for him. He just needed to support Lil, and all would be well. On the other hand, Burton should not be allowed to make post-eviction speeches, as the old arrogant Burton came out, and I was laughing out loud as he slammed on Lil for breaking alliances. Uhm, who did you vote for last week Burton?
So Who is Going to Win?
I think it is obvious that Jon is the next boot, unless he wins immunity. At that point it could get interesting. However, if any of the three ladies break their bond and start scheming to set up the final two, Jon could quickly pick up on that and drive a wedge in the alliance. He just needs one person to join him and force a tie. If Jon made the final two, and had the choice, I think he would take a Morgan, as the Drakes would side with Sandra. Likely Lil would be his choice, for she would be the perfect opponent to his claim that he outplayed everyone and deserved the money.
Darrah has to be a favorite to win the final immunity, assuming Jon goes next. So the question for her is, who can she beat at final vote. Again, the answer is Lil. The Drakes would likely go with Sandra as their vote, and while Lil is a dangerous opponent too, I think Darrah would be able to point to her immunity run, and that she had not been previously voted out, as a justification for the win. Besides, Burton and Jon would likely support her over Lil as well.
If Sandra makes it, then she faces a difficult choice. Lil is an outcast, and would make a good opponent from a game play comparison, as well as in terms of loyalties. Yes, Lil may be ďwell lovedĒ but in Rupert, Burton, and Ryanís eyes, she has betrayed them. A Sandra and Lil vote could be near unanimous for Sandra. She could choose to take Darrah as well, were she to believe her own statement that Lil is well loved, but I think she can win that vote too.
Lil has an uphill battle. Due to her outcast status, ineptitude at challenges, and trail of betrayal, she makes the ideal final two partner. It is likely that any of the three remaining opponents would choose her to join them for the final vote. Second place isnít bad. However, as Amazon showed, if you can get to the final two, anything is possible. So try to get there.
So to summarize:
I think Jon can win against Lil or Darrah.
Darrah can win against Lil.
Lil cannot win against any of these opponents, but is likely the final two candidate best for all of them.
Sandra can beat all comers.
I will not make a prediction, I have seen the two spoilers floating about, so suffice to say, I think it comes down to the immunity challenge amongst the final three.
I suspect it will be an entertaining finale, and the reunion show should be among the best.
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