Palau Perspective Episode 7: A Full House Beats Three of a Kind Every Time
The Palau Perspective 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?
This week the total devastation of Ulong continued. Never before has a tribe lost this many challenges. Ulong managed to once again go zero for two and prove that working hard but not working smart doesn’t cut it. In the meantime, Koror ate like they were at a five star restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood.
Clam Shark Spaghetti
At Koror, we were again treated to little intrigue. We did get to see Tom realize that the Gregg/Jenn alliance/romance was a problem and acknowledge that he has been exposed as a tough player. As we get closer to the end, let’s check in with each of the Kororians to see where they stand:
Tom-This week Tom finally came to the freeing realization that he is out in the open as a strong player. Tom, like the loveable knucklehead he is, totally threw himself into chopping a shark in half with a machete. As a result, he provided his tribe with more food than they could actually eat and made it harder for the others to get rid of him when he becomes vulnerable. We also got to see Tom think strategically for the first time. He is not only worried about his status as a target, but is also worried about Gregg and Jenn. His alliance with Ian appears to be as strong as ever. One of the most interesting things that happened from a strategy standpoint is that Tom sat out both the reward and immunity challenges after sitting out the episode 6 immunity challenge. I’m not sure whether Koror is choosing to rest him or if Tom is futilely trying to get himself out of the crosshairs of the weaker players. It will be interesting to see if we get some explanation of what is behind Tom sitting out the challenges. Tom also gave a hint that that he doesn’t take backstabbing well; commenting on the fact that you can only taunt him so long before he strikes back.
Ian-Although he was one-upped by Tom, Ian continued to provide for the tribe by bringing in a gigantic clam which everyone appreciated. Ian’s alliance with Tom appears to still be strong. Curiously, Ian also sat out both challenges. I almost wonder if the two of them were trying to throw a challenge and get rid of someone or if it was simply a matter of letting the others shine? The commercials for the next episode hint that we will finally get some insight into Ian’s strategy. I can hardly wait to see if he and Tom are as allied as it appears.
Gregg-Gregg still thinks he is in a great position. He assumes he and Jenn can choose whether to remain with the Koror five alliance or to join Coby and Janu to get rid of Tom and Ian. Gregg is worried that his relationship with Jenn might distract him from his game. Gregg says that he is easily sidetracked by women. He is definitely here to play. He needs to make sure he doesn’t alienate Jenn who seems to be more interested in their relationship than winning. At the same time, he can’t let the others assume that he and Jenn are a package deal. Although Gregg couldn’t get the fire started during the reward challenge, he, Caryn, and Katie pulled off the reward challenge win by being creative and going to the extra effort to build their signal in the open. Gregg may be more vulnerable than he thinks. Tom and Ian could decide remaining allied with him is more risk than it is worth and turn on him soon after the game changes to individual immunity challenges.
Jenn-Much to my shock, Jenn actually said more than two words this week. What we learned is that she is not much of a strategic player. Perhaps she thought she signed up for The Bachelor or Elimidate? Jenn doesn’t like the fact that Gregg seems so into the game. Jenn came through during the immunity challenge by following Coby’s directions and moving the tiles without appearing winded. Physically, she appears to be in no trouble at all. However, at this point her fate is totally in Gregg’s hands.
Coby-I can hardly wait to see Coby work this game. He is a fun player. Coby commenting on Tom doing crunches on the beach was a classic moment. Coby was thoroughly annoyed when Tom caught the shark because to him it meant that it would be all the harder to convince the others to boot Tom. Coby once again showed that he is a fierce competitor by giving clear directions to Janu and Jenn during the immunity challenge and leading Koror to yet another victory. Coby appears to be off everyone’s boot screen. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he proves to be formidable in the individual immunity challenges and manages to snipe his way to the final four.
Janu-Despite all the protein Koror consumed, Janu appears ready to drop at any moment. As I said last week, she may pull a Jenna Morasca and teeter her way to victory. However, she’s more likely to quit outright soon. Janu didn’t actually speak this week so I have no evidence other than her appearance during the immunity challenge to support my belief. What I could see of her showed an incredibly emaciated and tired player.
Katie-Katie still appears to be in the best position on Koror. Her creative “Got Food” signal idea was in large part responsible for the reward challenge win. Heck, even Caryn seemed to appreciate Katie this week; giving her a kiss on the cheek after the reward challenge victory. Katie seems to be physically strong and ready to fly under the radar to at least the final four.
Caryn-This week we saw a completely different Caryn. She worked doggedly during the reward challenge. In the post-victory euphoria, she gave a heartfelt toast to a great tribe and kissed Katie. What happened to the acerbic attorney we have seen in confessionals and who confronted Katie a few episodes ago? I still think Caryn will be the next Kororian to bite the dust if Koror goes to tribal council. However, if Ulong manages to again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Caryn could get lost in the jockeying between some of the other members of her tribe and survive for awhile. Barring a miracle, a place on the jury is about the best she can hope for though.
The Last of the Ulongians
Never before have we had the opportunity to watch a people become extinct on Survivor. It is fascinating really. There is nothing wrong with the work ethic of Bobby Jon, Stephenie, and Ibrehem. At this point though, Ulong’s spirit is nonexistent. Losing sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and that appears to be the case here. After all, it isn’t like Koror has made Ulong face their best players constantly. In fact, this episode it seemed like Koror tried to give Ulong a win. Ulong flailed about as usual and was unable to take advantage.
Stephenie, Bobby Jon, and Ibrehem worked very hard during the reward challenge. Inexplicably Ulong chose to build their signal right up against the trees rather than moving it a few feet down towards the water where it would have been more visible. It was painful to watch their reaction when they realized that once again they had lost.
After the clue arrived for the immunity challenge, the three decided to practice solving the puzzle. They might as well have taken a nap. For no apparent reason, Ulong ultimately chose to make the laconic Bobby Jon the caller during the immunity challenge. After he inarticulately fumbled about trying to instruct Ibrehem and Stephenie how to move the tiles to solve the puzzle, Bobby Jon ended up switching assignments with Stephenie. It was too late to pull out the victory.
Once Ulong returned to their beach before tribal council, we got to again see how clueless the remaining male Ulong players are about strategy. Stephenie tried to confirm with Bobby Jon their agreement before she voted out James that Ibrehem would be the next to go if Ulong lost again. Bobby Jon hemmed and hawed and pissed Stephenie off to the point that she approached Ibrehem and tried to secure his agreement to vote Bobby Jon out.
Ibrehem did not take advantage of his opportunity to stay in the game. Instead, he squandered his chance to stay and told Stephenie he didn’t know what he was going to do. In the end, Stephenie had no choice but to put her faith in Bobby Jon.
At tribal council, Jeff had way too much fun rubbing the Ulongians losing streak in their faces. When push came to shove, Bobby Jon and Stephenie ended up voting out Ibrehem.
Absent alliances from before the two tribes were formed, it hardly matters. Eight people can stamp out two in a heart beat. It will be interesting to see if the Tom/Stephenie alliance shown in the very first episode has any legs.
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