Polynesian Pete Report - Episode Four
Lopevi knows how to Pagong
The Polynesian Pete Report is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring in the tribes. Who is wheeling? Who is dealing? And of course, who is reeling?
Week Four of the season was a little anti-climatic. Everyone is getting ready for the mix or merge (more on that below) and the within the tribes themselves, the alliance lines could not be drawn any clearer. Therefore, despite MB spending much of the show trying to convince us otherwise, we all knew that if the guys lost, then Brady was going home, and if the ladies lost, then either Julie or Eliza would be leaving.
Not withstanding the exhibition game that was All-Stars, I think we have to remember how far strategy has come in the game of Survivor over nine editions. I have season one on DVD (and recommend getting it, if you donít yet have it). If you compare the play of someone like Dolly to that of Sean from S1 (who went deep in the game), you will find that most everyone in the game now, even if they execute poorly on a plan, knows the concepts of how to play and what actions will get you into trouble. Even Dolly knew just prior to trial council that she had gotten herself in danger. The overall skill of the participants in terms of game play seems to be elevated, as you would expect.
In general, that is a good thing for the show itself, but there are some downsides. One such downside occurred this week. The show was relatively boring because we knew what would happen regardless of the immunity challenge outcome. There was no tension for the viewer, and I am not sure if anyone, besides maybe Scout or Chad (now my favorite) has a rooting section.
These people all came to win, as opposed to All-Stars, where most came to look good on camera. The difference being, that if you were Brady in All-Stars, you might have been able to sway votes emotionally or by putting someone in a position to look good by saving you or by just taking advantage of previous grudges. In this version of the game, the majority guys have proven that they will not give up that advantage no matter what. It is a free ticket to deep in the game and a better shot at a million bucks. Lopevi has executed perhaps the most effective Pagong-ing since the original Pagong.
To sum up, MB was about a week late in instituting the first mix up (and I believe it will be a tribe shuffle, not a merge). Mixing this week would have worked perfectly, especially with equal numbers overall, but creating a potential majority of either sex in the new tribes. However, as MB insists, the timing of such twists is set before the game even begins. Many folks think that MB uses a very heaving editing hand in the show, but this week would seem to support the idea that they really do schedule the twists before the game begins, and they stick to that schedule.
In any event, the shuffle will likely occur this week according to the previews, so letís take a look at where everyone stands after the initial thinning of the flock.
I thought one of the most humorous conversations in Survivor history occurred when Eliza (a previous alliance backstabber) confronted Lisa (the latest alliance backstabber) over her betrayal in the vote for Mia. There was no need to watch the Presidential Election Debate last night, for these two mimicked it perfectly, with Lisa blaming her actions on Eliza, while Eliza in turn felt no hypocrisy in calling out Lisa for essentially doing the same thing she had done the day before.
I was laughing so hard, I almost spilled my Starbucks, and that is when all the fun would have stopped.
Seriously though, I have to admit Eliza has a point in that her betrayal was based on protecting herself from elimination, which was very different from Lisaís move. In terms of the Survivor morality scale, she has the better case. Those of you who follow the Pete Report know though that I could care less what the moral scales say, as this is a game, not a life test. So, I have to say both of their moves had good value from a game perspective, and it wouldnít surprise me if they both worked together again down the road. The bottom line is, they did what they had to do to stay, and now the mix is coming, so they both could come out of it in an even stronger position.
Of the other ladies, I am still focused on Scout because her situation is most interesting to me. She needs a very good break when it comes to splitting up the tribes. I think that if she can end up on the tribe with the majority of women, and exclude Julie or Eliza, and frankly John as well, then I feel she is safe to the merge, where going under the radar will server her well. However, if she is stuck on a tribe with the majority of men, or equal, and/or Julie/Eliza join her, then she will be hard pressed to avoid a quick boot.
So will she be lucky or not? Maybe it will not be luck. Here is some wild speculation, that will probably be completely wrong, but MB has tried several methods for tribe mix-ups. There was the two youngíns meeting up in the Amazon followed by picking teams alternating men and women. Then there was the complete failure of the pick-a-buff-out-of-the-urn approach of All-Stars. I think MB, as in both previous cases, really wants an actual mix up, including mixing the sexes. The best way to do that was with the team captain approach. We did the young people already, what if he took the route of having the elders meet? If so, Scout could choose her own team, and that would help her a lot.
Again though, I am probably wrong, and they likely will just turn over the disks they stand on to see which tribe they are in.
Twila needs to be in Scoutís tribe after a mix, or she is toast. She is not well liked by many, and the one thing Mia said that was correct is that Twila is playing the work card, and that history is not going to carry any weight with a new mixed tribe.
Ami quickly returned to her near invisibility this episode. You see her in a lot of scenes, but she rarely speaks. That is not necessarily bad, as we could expect to see her quite a bit given MBís predilection for showing ďnatureís beautyĒ on screen as often as possible, but if you notice, these gratuitous shots are not Ami alone. Instead it is usually Ami being involved in all key conversations, but as an observer. She is not necessarily safe right now, but she does have good knowledge of all workings in the Yasur tribe, and that information could serve her well post mix.
Whereas Ami is using under the radar to stay low while still being involved with the game, Leann has taken it to an all new art form. There have been entire episodes already where we barely see her. Now usually that can mean good things and imply a long stay on the island, but I have to admit, I just donít get that feeling from Leann. I think no matter what, the tribe relationships post-mix are going to leave her as an outsider, and a visit to Loser Lodge sooner, rather than later. A real warning sign for her boot will be an episode where she gets a lot of camera time out of the blue. It is the kiss of death.
Credit goes to Sarge and Chris for keeping this alliance together despite obvious cracks involving Rory. Now they need to try and keep as loyal as possible, despite the reality that soon they are likely to lose two or three of their team, and perhaps even split up themselves.
I have to laugh a bit at John getting frustrated with his tribe always booting the ďthin, athletic typesĒ. He and Brady both kept trying to sell the idea that the guys will not be able to compete if they donít have the stud athletes like he and Brady. Really John? Which show are you watching? So far we are seeing that athleticism, while nice, is secondary to leadership and organization skills, as well as problem solving. The argument is weak (no pun intended) and in fact, works against you now as the team challenges are changing with the mix, and further, the merge will follow in a few weeks after that. Now is a very good time to boot John. John will be saved by the mix up though, and given a second chance. He made the self-preservation attempt vote by turning on Brady and joining the gang. I still donít seem him going far though.
The second most entertaining part of the show was Travis, and his emotional response to missing his family. Rory counseled him on not giving the appearance of being flaky. Travis showed that despite his unhappy state, his mind was still in the game when he countered Rory with his own question about flakiness, ďlike going off by yourself?Ē Touchť! I am starting to like Travis. There is a lot more going on in his mind than reliving the exciting days of pro-wrestling, or rethinking his choice of t-shirts for the show.
I donít see Chad in any danger. He seems likeable, he promotes teamwork, and he can more than hold his own despite the artificial limb. As opposed to Leann, the lack of any story focused on him does bode well for a long stay.
Rory knows he has taken votes at every tribal council the men have been too. Yes, he picked his alliance wisely, but surely he has to realize that he is now probably in worse shape than John. He needs to rehabilitate himself post mix up.
I Guess That Didnít Work
Brady tried to save himself, but much like JP before him, it was too little, too late, and probably directed wrong. He, JP, and John K should have tried to contact a low level member of the Fab Five, such as Rory, to try and drive a split. Going to Sarge wasnít going to work, and it was proven last week.
Brady took his desire to drive a wedge between Sarge and Rory a little bit further though. I am pretty convinced he not only tried to throw the immunity challenge, but he actively sabotaged it. Looking back at the video, Brady is first to begin openly mocking Rory, and then stirs the pot further with side conversations. By the time it was done, everyone was going their own direction. Back at camp, Brady then tried to focus blame on Rory as they sat around the fire.
It was a bold move, and if it worked, we would be singing the praises of it, but Brady was too far gone to recover at that point, and it would have been far better to try hard to win, push off tribal council another three days and hope for the mix up to occur.
Time mix or merge. The new game begins next week.
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