Pirate Report (Day 12)
The Drake Tribe, The Morgan Tribe, and of course, the Rupert Tribe
The Pirate Report is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring in the Drake and Morgan tribes during their stay in Panama. 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.
Last week we speculated that Jon could align himself with the obvious Michelle, Burton, and Shawn alliance to save himself, and further that they might be able to bring Christa into the fold. Well, we were only partially right, and in that, only in a tangential way. Kudoís to FORT recapper fluff for seeing the now obvious Christa and Michelle rift.
Jon was safe all along, and in fact, the self described ďpuppet masterĒ had his choice of who to evict. We were the victim of failing to keep rule number one of Survivor viewing in mind, that being, MB almost always throws out red herrings. Jon was just so annoying though, that I figured surely they must be sick of him. No. Instead, and it pains me to say this, Jon is playing the best early game of anyone currently in the tribe. How did this happen? Read onÖ
This week began with the Drakes ready to toss a challenge in order to get rid of someone, anyone. Yup, their tribal council itch needed a good scratching, and it was going to be scratched alright.
Sometimes the timing of key discussions is challenging to determine, as the show is edited in such a way as to make the story flow, and for Burnett to surprise us, as he did with Jonís status in the tribe. However, little such trouble this week, as everything that occurs is either pre-Rupert or post-Rupert, and the first key event we see is Rupert and Burton taking a late night stroll to talk strategy, or what Burton thinks is strategy. He tries to convince Rupert that they both are the strongest players in game. I spit up my Banana Snapple (donít laugh until you try it) the first time I heard him say that. I Tivoíd back twice just to be sure. Further, because they are both strong, Burton argues they need to fear Christa, Sandra, and Trish. He asks Rupert to go along with throwing a challenge.
Now, from a pure game play perspective, this is a silly argument. First, it is rarely good for a tribe to throw a challenge, and it is sillier still for someone not already in an alliance to propose it to a non-ally. Far too dangerous for my taste. Further, it is risky to propose it to the guy who is likely allied with those you wish to boot, and just to complete the tour de idiocy, ask the guy who you have been making fun of for the past nine days. So honestly, Burton had little chance with this strategy, and he didnít think about his audience. Anyone who is in sales, has negotiated multi-million dollar contracts, or has been married, knows that you must always put yourself in the shoes (or skirt in this case) of the other person, and listen to your message to see how it feels. Had he done that, Burton would have quickly figured out that this proposal, to Rupert, who thinks he is an actual pirate as it is, was treason.
Rupert played it smart though, and quickly agreed to the deal. I cheered for Rupert at this point, as I really had not seen him playing the game so far, however this was masterful, and much smarter than ďsmacking himĒ as Rupert confessed later on he felt like doing.
So the battle lines were drawn. Burton, Shawn, and Michelle thinking that Jon and Rupert were with them on one side. Sandra, Christa, Trish, and Rupert on the other side, thinking that Jon was with them. What the heck happened with Jon?
Obviously Jonnie Fairplay is shrewd, or this tribe is a collection of WWE imitation fans. I am not ruling out the latter. Now, I am not ready to say yet that Jon is acting like he does on purpose, and is in fact manipulating the tribe on purpose. However, I do give him credit for putting himself in the commanding position of being friendly with all factions. He is not just friendly either, he used that power, and quite effectively.
In fact, think back to the vote, it was 5-2 against Burton, so that means that either Michelle or Shawn broke ranks, and knew what was going down. Who does Jon have a one on one alliance with? Shawn. A quick check of the Survivor website shows that Shawn voted for Burton to go. Well played Jon, now Shawn is in debt to you, and because the last vote wasnít read, he has some plausible deniability with Michelle, who is the obvious next target.
Ahh, Michelle. Tough break kiddo. You seemed nice enough, but the entire game rolled over you while you were not looking. You are the only person left in your own alliance. On the one hand, you probably can trust yourself, but on the other, I am guessing you are a little short of votes to stay. Unless you plan to find a way to stir things up, you may as well start collecting your island memorabilia right now.
Sandra was very quiet this week, and that worries me. In the past, she was up front and vocal, but had little to do with any of the wheeling and dealing. Please Sandra, tell me you arenít all bark and no bite. I had high hopes for you. On the other hand, she is very safe at this point, so who am I to say?
Trish and Christa roll along. Christa can breath a little easier now as her opposition has crumbled before her, and Trish is simply playing the classic under the radar game.
Shawn. You had us all fooled. In cahoots with Jon, and willing to dump your pal Burton at the first opportunity. It shows you are very cognizant of the game, but that can work against you too, as your tribe mates may not trust you from this point forward. It will be important to keep that deal with Jon secret as long as possible. If he can run interference for you, then you can still go far.
Not a lot of action in the Morgan tribe this week, and that was fine with me. These folks are too emaciated to have the energy to conspire against each other. One thing I did notice though was that this far into the game, this tribe is still remarkably unorganized when it comes to challenges. During the reward challenge, Ryan went first into the water, and Andrew went to the beach to get the second clue quickly (they were behind 2-1 at the point already as Ryan took a bit of time to get out of the water).
So far, so good. Then, Darrah puts on the mask, and is ready to go, but who shoots out ahead of her? Tijuana. Further, T decides to go into the ocean, without the mask. You see, the ocean is filled with this stuff called salt-water, and it tends to hurt the eyes, thatís why they get masks. From here, the challenge was a snoozer up until Trish took forever to get the last clue out of the sand, but even that was editing as it still was not close.
They donít just walk up to Jeff, and he explains some massive complicated game, and then jump into the surf. No, they talk about it. They rehearse. Then they begin shooting for the challenge. At some point, I would think leader Andrew, and the Morganís themselves, would sit down and say, hey, Ryan first, Andrew second, Darrah third, etcÖ Apparently they didnít, or Tijuana got confused.
Plus, Osten just should not have gotten into the water at all. If he was uncomfortable in it, and I know many folks who donít like deep water, then he should have grabbed something from the beach. Instead, he tacked on to Tijuanaís no mask issue, and further sank the tribe. This game is about knowing what you are good at, and doing that. Sadly, Osten has hurt his tribe more than he has helped it, and it may have comeback to haunt him at tribal council had they gone yet again.
Last week we were left wondering if Ryan would make a play for power in the tribe. There just was not any storyline this week with the Morganís, so it is hard to say. We do know that bringing Rupert in might be interesting to say the least.
Speaking of whichÖ
The Rupert Tribe
Rupert is faced with both a unique opportunity and dangerous challenge this week. He will stay with the Morganís through the next reward challenge (and I wonder if yet another Survivor will switch tribes at that point). Being Rupert, I expect him to compete, and from a game play perspective, he needs too. Should he help Morgan with their first reward challenge, he will have earned alliance points with any Morganís who survive to the merge. The Drakeís have won a lot of rewards already, so he probably would get a free pass on that effort from his own tribe.
His other choice is to the blatantly throw the challenge. Certainly he would earn the loyalty of the Drakes, but the hatred of the Morganís could come back to hurt him post merge. I think Rupert will see the Drakes, minus Burton, arrive at the challenge, and that will tell him that all is well back home, so he will play hard for the Morganís.
Before that challenge though, he has a unique opportunity to get close to the enemy. He must be careful, as Andrew will undoubtedly grill him for information, but if he is smart, and I think he is, he will make friends with the key players in Morgan, while not doing anything, or saying anything, that might get used against him later. If he doesnít, then I am sad to say, he has no prayer of winning the game.
I Guess That Didnít Work
Burton, you made multiple mistakes in the execution of your plan. As detailed above, you failed to consider your audience, and just assumed that your plan was so brilliant as to be received without question. Further, you didnít keep your own house in order, as Shawn had bailed on you right under your nose.
Arrogance is a problem in this game, and you have a lot of problems. Your going away speech was easily the most annoying one I have heard in a long time. To assume the tribe will have a harder time now with challenges because of your absence is ridiculous. Rupert has been the key element in most of the tribe wins. I am not sorry to see you take the walk of shame.
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