An Open Letter to Gregg
Greetings and salutations from the mainland. I hope you are enjoying sequester. Working on your tan? Are the coconut drinks to your liking? Eating all the little French pastries you can stuff in your fat face?
I don't know if anyone has brought this to your attention, but I have the sad duty to inform you, sir, that you are in violation of Rule #3 of The Guy Code. You may not even be aware that such a code existed, although as a guy, you should, by instinct, know that such a code exists, and that you're expected to abide by it, as we all do. (“In writing”? We don't need to see the Code in writing. We're guys. Word of mouth is all the proof we require.)
Right now, you're probably wondering what you did to violate Rule #3. It's very simple, you see: You broke a promise (in this case, to Katie) rather than risk the ire of your sweetheart (in this case, Jennifer)--a sweetheart, I might add, you've only known a few weeks.
And, yes, Gregg, there's no denying it. Jennifer is a cutie. After all these weeks on Palau, she still looks pretty good, and who knows how she manages it? Back home, this would be a big score, like a skyhook at the buzzer.
But admit it. It's just a Survivor “thing.” (Uh, right?) Back home, you realize that she wouldn't even spare you a second glance. But on this island, who else was she going to spend time with? “Dr. Doolittle” Ian? Decrepit Willard? Hairdresser Coby? It was you or no one at all, pal. Not much of a choice, but hell, she made her hammock, and you're snuggling with her in it.
Gregg, I think one of the most egregious aspects of this Guy Code violation is that you and Jennifer are perhaps two of the stupidest competitors I've ever seen in a Survivor luxury challenge. Surely, Jennifer must have known that had you won, she would have been your first mate on the fun cruise, so why not drop her lantern? It didn't matter if you did.
But guess what. It matters now because you've shown all the other guys in America—I daresay around the world—that the one thing you didn't bring when you made the trip to Palau was your sack.
I rest a little easier knowing that you cannot walk into any barbershop, any sports bar, any sporting event without seeing and hearing some wiseacre twirl his hand above his head and flick his hand toward you and make a “whipcrack” sound between his teeth.
Enjoy the sequester, brother, and if you're pining away for your Jennifer, just know that if she takes on the role of Survivor Widow by gnashing her teeth and accusing the other players of trying to destroy the love the two of you share(d), she'll be out next week and you'll see her again in no time.
If Tom had one major fault in the game to this point, it was his inability to see the game past the original alliance he called “The Five.”
I strongly feel—and have felt for a while—that the worst way to approach an alliance in Survivor is to treat them as if they were immutable, as if they are set in stone, you and x number of people, all the way to the jury? Keep dreaming.
Survivor is an incredibly dynamic game. Immunity challenges, new friendships, new revelations and spilled “secrets” all serve to make alliances nearly obsolete from day-to-day.
The only thing that an established alliance really offers is the (sometimes false) sense of security of safety in numbers...if you have the numbers. If you're part of an alliance you helped form on Day One, and a good majority of your “targets” are already gone, then it's time to start thinking about other alliances or modifying your alliances.
Tom agreed to give Gregg the heave-ho, and I think none too soon. If he had waited another week or two, I would be willing to bet it would have been his torch being snuffed and him, showered and shaved, staring silently at the other players from across the Tribal Council bonfire.
Is there a more fortunate player this week than Caryn? Suddenly, the attorney has gone from pariah and the jury-member-in-waiting to a grinning member of the new alliance with Tom and Ian, two of this season's strongest players.
Granted, before the reward challenge, Caryn had tried to sway Tom from The Five (and from targeting her in the next vote) without much success. Really, a number of factors had to work in her favor, and the planets had to align just right for her to stay on the island.
Miraculously, they did: She found time alone to scheme with Ian and Tom and to pour poison in Tom's ear in reference to Gregg. Ian has Tom's ear and with the two of them (Ian and Caryn) working in tandem, Tom began to see the truth behind what they were saying.
Caryn has two alternatives on how to play the game from this point forward:
A. blend into the background, and let Ian and Tom duke it out with Katie and Jennifer.
Cons: Unlikely, since Ian and Katie may have an “alliance thing” of their own, going on the side. Ian made a “pinkie swear” type promise to Katie's brother-in-law to watch her back, and he's one of those reality-show contestants stupid enough to follow through on a promise like that, at the risk of all else.
Pros: Let Ian and Tom and Katie and Jennifer decimate one another, and go in front of the Jury in a Last Woman Standing type of victory. Easy, and possibly the only alternative, since Caryn can't win an immunity challenge for love or money.
B. stick to Tom and Ian like white on rice and firm up her little new alliance.
Cons: Even if she, Tom and Ian were the last three standing after annihilating Katie and Jennifer (again, unlikely), Caryn has almost no hope, barring divine intervention, of winning immunity in a competition against Tom and Ian. And unless something drastic happens (which it may, sure), Tom and Ian would likely select one another to sit in front of the jury. Going final three but missing out on final two (and leaving empty-handed) would be a beyoch.
Is there any single player on Palau right now who's as comfortable in the catbird seat as much as Ian? Ian could potentially take the whole game as things currently stand right now. Here's how he could do it:
Firm up the alliance with Katie on the QT while nodding and smiling at Tom and Caryn. Make sure that Tom and Caryn are solid and standing on one side of the line in the sand.
Make sure Katie is still in your corner. (Frankly, she could be cut loose and is smart enough to realize it. Desperate to survive, she'll take just about any way out.)
Go to Jennifer with a Terminator-style offer of alliance. You may be angry with us about Gregg, you should say, but “Come with me, if you want to live.” Jennifer is shrewd enough, also, to realize she has little choice, as she is in the same boat with Katie, the one slowly sailing away from Palau.
The Katie/Jennifer/Ian alliance would have about as much of a life expectancy as a bucket of chicken wings at a Weight Watchers' convention, so work quickly. Take out Tom in a surgical strike (3-2 vote, ideally). Pick off Caryn. In an immunity challenge against Jennifer and Katie, Ian's chances would be better than average. Win immunity. Take player of choice to sit in front of jury. Yeah, you're facing a lot of jury members who are going to be pissed with you, but their choice is (a) you or (b) Katie or Jennifer. I'll take those odds. The worst that can happen is second-place $100,000, and who's going to scoff at that?
Unfortunately, I don't think Ian has the deviousness to handle that sort of betrayal (not without a lot of tears and hair-pulling, anyway).
No matter how the next week plays out, I think Palau Island is about to get very interesting.