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Thread: Survivor: Mayan Meanderings (9/22) - Abracadabra, Morgan we backstabbed ya!

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    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Survivor: Mayan Meanderings (9/22) - Abracadabra, Morgan we backstabbed ya!

    Mayan Meanderings: Episode 2
    Abracadabra, Morgan we backstabbed ya

    Okay fine, I know the title is about as corny as a pun can get, but I am willing to use the lowest common denominator of humor when necessary. Welcome back to this weekís look at Survivor strategy. Each episode weíll take a look at who is doing what to whom, and how it is helping them win, lose, or develop their not so secret dream of becoming a reality TV star.

    Itís still early in the game, and given the focus on environmental conditions and one seemingly overwhelming story line, we are left with little to nothing to go on regarding some of our Survivors. Traditionally if a Survivor receives very little face time in the early shows that bodes well for his or her future.

    However, I am not so sure that is the case any longer. I am starting to think that now that we have double digit survivors in the books, along with dozens of past contestants (so many that only the hard core fans could recall all of them) that in the current Survivor editing world that sometimes people just arenít entertaining, and that could mean they will still get voted out sometime soon despite not having their share of the camera. Many of these current survivors applied to the show several times and have been passed over previously. I donít think that means they are bad people. On the contrary, they might well be trying to play the game effectively, or just plain figure out how that little tiny bug can make such a big bruise on their leg. Regardless, if they donít do something noteworthy, they will swim along in ambiguity, and we are left to wonder if they are going far in the game, or are they just ordinary boring people.

    Darn those Survivors! Donít they realize that they are here to entertain me? I donít care if you are tired, hungry, dehydrated, or you miss playing video games at home. You are here to entertain me! Start entertaining! I am talking to you Amy! You too Cindy! I see you back there trying to hide.

    The one story line that I think is getting a surprisingly high amount of attention is the Gary as an ex-quarterback in the NFL issue. Now donít get me wrong, it is a story that shouldnít be ignored, but the story itself is taking up much of the camera time we have in the early going, and I think everyone who has ever seen a Survivor before (or a GEICO commercial for that matter) can tell you how this is going to play out. We simply donít need this much build up when we could be getting to know the rest of the tribe members.

    First, his decision to lie about his past is debatable. Itís not like he was a star in the league, or overpaid for his, for the most part, back up quarterback role. I think Jesse Palmer proved that just because you are in the NFL doesnít mean that you are all that and a bag of chips. In other words, I am not buying the whole claim that he would get voted out if the secret was out there.

    If Gary wants to keep that a secret, then that is fine. His problem though is that Danni knows who he is, and she made little effort to hide that fact, blurting it out in the middle of a challenge for all to hear. Turns out she also talked with Brian during the challenge and filled him in. So the second question for us is this:

    Should Danni have said anything at all? Or could she have waited until that piece of information was useful down the road, say post merge?

    The answer is really quite basic. She never should have ďspentĒ that information unless she could use it to advance herself in the game. Now, I am not discounting the possibility that she thinks that telling Brian about Gary will help her in the future. However, unless we are missing a lot more conversations (and we might in fact be missing those talks) then Danni should have no idea that Gary claims to be a landscaper. The logical conclusion I draw is that Danni talked to Brian, and Brian said no, Gary is a landscaper, and thus she decides to blurt it out mid-challenge (and donít you love how the editing made it appear that Danniís statement distracted Gary in the middle of his tug-o-war match, leading to his loss).

    Round three of this mini drama occurs when Brian asks Gary about his alleged ex-NFL status back in camp. Either by excellent perception, or sheer luck, Danni happened to pick the very best person in the Yaxha tribe to talk with. Brian has shown early on that he understands the game play aspect of Survivor. I suspect his friendly demeanor with Gary when asking the question was merely to set the trap. Gary fell for it when he continued to lie. I mean at this point, the gig is up. He had the option there to say ďyeah, I was a backup QB fifteen years ago but I have been running a landscaping business since then. It seems like a lifetime ago.Ē He could throw in some side talk about how the game didnít pay well in those days, especially with the long term health issues most NFL guys have. I think that would have defused the situation. Instead, he chose the route many politicians (well okay, not just politicians even, but everyone) take when busted. He continued to lie. I think I would have opted to defuse the situation.

    So how does this play out?

    A lot depends on Danni. If she makes it to a merge / tribe switch and ends up with Gary, then this will turn into a he said, she said that benefits neither player. If Danni gets the boot soon than it may indeed die out and not factor at all in the game (but I would be shocked if that were the case given the amount of editing devoted to this story line). The big problem for Gary is that by continuing to lie about it, he is potentially endangering himself down the road, and he could well end up with all the focus of his tribe being on the issue of his truthfulness rather than the actions of other players. He could also be poisoning the jury pool if he were fortunate enough to survive to the end depending upon what information they have access to in Loser Lodge. To me, that danger is worse than taking your chances with the perception that he doesnít ďneedĒ the money. Gary obviously disagrees with me, and feels that trying to keep his secret is more important than the future potential consequences. For his sake in the game, I hope he is right and I am wrong.

    For everyone else, we have small glimpses into their game play. Letís summarize it.

    Yaxha

    Gary, aside from the ticking time bomb of an issue we just covered, this episode confirmed that he is the leader of the Yaxha, not Stephanie. I find that surprising, but clearly the decision on who to boot went through Gary.

    We just discussed Brian as part of the Gary issue, but to emphasize the point, I think Brian is the key player in Nakum in terms of playing the outwit side of Survivor. From his confessional comments it is clear that he intends to play an overt game; one that hopefully gets himself into a position of strength. He seems willing to defer to Gary and Stephanie, but it strikes me more as an early game move to stay out of the limelight rather than true allegiance. The question remains open as to if he is any good at this game, but I think there is little doubt he intends to play politics.

    Queen Stephanie and her minions: Stephanie got an early wake up call that she was being targeted by some of her tribe and she quickly got into the fray to deflect attention on to others. I think that Brianna, Rafe, Lydia, and likely Amy are all willing to go along with most anything Steph wants to do. She saved herself, and still looks strong in the tribe. The problem is, she rarely shows any desire to take up the mantle of leadership in terms of game play.

    Now, I have a lot of respect for Stephanie, but as some of you know, I donít hold her in the same high regard as a player as so many people did last season. Yeah, she is determined, but so are a lot of the folks who play the game, and many of them somehow found ways to win challenges. It has been painted as if Steph was the only hard worker and strong competitor for her tribe in Palau and that simply is not true. They lost because the other tribe turned out to be better (and remember, that didnít seem likely immediately after the random pick was done). Better at working together, better at recognizing their strengths, better at playing the game, and just plain better focused. I have nothing against Stephanie, and I hope she does well at this game, but honestly we are seeing again that she is overrated in terms of the outwit side of Survivor. Very dedicated and hard working? Yes. Great competitor? No question about it. Seems like a great person and good role model? Definitely. If only the game were just about those things. Itís not. She reminds me of Rupert all over again, right down to the amazing popularity.

    Stephanie was practically handed the power position in the tribe from minute one, and while she did spend some of that credibility currency to save herself, I didnít see a lot of effort to find out who is targeting her, and working to get that person (Jamie) neutralized. Maybe it happened and we just arenít seeing the results yet, but a true master of the game would not only get the boot target moved from themselves, but on to a rival. Instead, the loss of Morgan means the loss of someone likely to have been a favorable vote for Stephanie.

    Lydia found herself under consideration for the boot as well, and as we noted last week, she has been incredibly hard working around the camp. I think that saved her this week. What I did like about her game is that she didnít overreact when she learned that she was in the crosshairs. No. Instead, she worked hard to get herself out of trouble. I find it notable that she went to Gary for this. I think that confirms that for whatever reasons, Gary is the boss. Lydia still has to be concerned. Another Yaxha loss this week and she will be under more pressure. Like Stephanie, Lydia needs to start playing. Hard work is good, but it doesnít win the game. In fact, many times a slacker ends up winning, so Lydia has her work cut out for her.

    Jamie currently heads up the Boot Stephanie brigade, membership of one. He tried to go after her but found little to no traction in that approach. Whatís worse, he telegraphed his intentions to anyone and everyone who would listen. Yet, he is in no danger at this point.

    Letís say that again.

    He went after what might just be the most popular player ever in this game, and someone who is openly idolized by more than one fellow tribe member. He failed miserably in his attempt to boot her. Yet somehow he is getting off free? In most seasons, he would have been the boot last episode. I am still shaking my head at this turn of events. I really am looking forward to seeing what Jamie does next. Does he keep chasing Stephanie? Or does he try to make amends? It should be entertaining.

    Overall, I was surprised that the women of Yaxha so easily fell for the idea that the boot had to be a woman. Their women performed just fine in the challenges, and not every one of them will be tug-o-war. I agree with the survivor who pointed out that Morgan would have been good for a balance challenge, and you just know one is on the way. Foreshadowing perhaps?

    Nakum

    Over on the Nakum side of the river there are some rivalries heating up due to the hospital ward like atmosphere of the camp.

    Blake appears to be on his death bed at all times, except during challenges, whereupon he becomes Mr. Stud and vanquishes all comers. It is quite the dichotomy. Is this a case of someone rising up to a challenge and fighting through the pain to help their tribe? Or is it Blake figuring out that he has a ready made excuse for slacking off in camp, and as long as he performs in challenges, he is likely safe? I donít know the answer, but so far it is working.

    Judd is getting fed up with the situation, thatís for sure. He sees through Blakeís situation and knows that in the long run it cannot mean good things for his own chances. He is trying to turn some suspicion on to Blake, and Margaret for that matter. It is a bold play, and one that could backfire. If it works though, then suddenly Judd is in a very strong position in the game, and two rivals will be out of the way. At a minimum, Brandon seems quite interested in the story.

    Speaking of Brandon, I am not sure yet what to make of him. I think he is smarter than his mannerisms indicate. I definitely think he is willing to backstab, lie, steal, or otherwise do what it takes to win the game. Is he listening to Judd because he wants in on that action? Or because he wants to use it to save his own hide down the road by turning on the big guy? Hard to say, but as always, time will tell.

    Margaret continues to be camp nurse, and has resisted most any opportunity to take on a leadership role. I think she came to Guatemala hoping to play under the radar, and she is trying to get back to that now, despite the fact that game events have overtaken her and she is out in the forefront, like it or not. I think a little flexibility on her part would go a long way. Specifically, donít shy away from the respect she has earned, but instead use it in the tribe to advance her own position, as in booting Judd.

    Did you notice how Bobby Jon slipped back into the background last episode? I found it interesting that in the physical immunity challenge, it was Blake who carried the load, not the legendary Bobby Jon. Maybe he is still down from the dehydration problems that plagued him in the beginning of the game, or perhaps this just means he is getting the long term edit. I caution that in the past, getting a lot of camera time one week, followed by little time the next week sometimes adds up to eviction in the third week. If Nakum loses the next IC, who are they going to boot? If Blake continues his Lazarus act but the focus stays on sick guys, then Bobby Jon may be in more danger than he realizes.

    Danni was quite talkative during the challenges, at least as related to Gary. Within the tribe though, she seems to be flying under the radar, along with Cindy and Brooke. It is getting crowded in the ďdonít look at me, I am just wallpaperĒ tent. Their strategies work fine as long as there are sick guys to pick off. If that changes though then normally only one person can go far under the radar, and that leaves two too many in this camp alone.

    Interestingly, the Nakum have the opposite issue from the Yaxha. This tribe seems to consider only men for their boot pick, while Yaxha only the women. I doubt that trend will keep up, but for now I find it fascinating.

    I guess that didnít work

    Morgan had her torch snuffed this week and I think the reasons for it were simple. She simply didnít learn in time that she was a target.

    After the IC loss this tribe returned to camp and the elimination process began in earnest. There were no obvious boot choices so first Stephanieís name was floated, and she quickly saved herself. Then Lydia was on the block, but she was warned and was able to rally support. That left Morgan next on the chopping block, and either due to time constraints, or perhaps someone figured out that warning the target that they are in trouble is bad, the end result was that she had no way to save herself.

    In a repeat of Jimís ouster, the rest of the tribe reached agreement unanimously. Morgan didnít necessarily deserve to lose, but someone had to go, and she was a little too sure she was safe.

    Next week

    It looks like the ants werenít enough protein and now termites are on the menu, plus some local monkeys and crocs try to introduce themselves to the Survivors. See you then.

    Your comments are welcome. bill@fansofrealitytv.com
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

  2. #2
    FORT Regular billyflynn's Avatar
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    You always get me thinking, great job. Steph for one is paranoid of booting the big guy who might help in a challenge, no doubt remembering that the Jolanda evict started the downard spiral. Those who saw the season, and only an idiot would go on Surivivor without watching, also learned this lesson. So, the weak have much bigger targets painted on them than perhaps any previous season. So Jamie and Steph, though early rivals, are likley to still be there at the merge.

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    FORT god cable101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    The one story line that I think is getting a surprisingly high amount of attention is the Gary as an ex-quarterback in the NFL issue. Now donít get me wrong, it is a story that shouldnít be ignored, but the story itself is taking up much of the camera time we have in the early going, and I think everyone who has ever seen a Survivor before (or a GEICO commercial for that matter) can tell you how this is going to play out. We simply donít need this much build up when we could be getting to know the rest of the tribe members.
    I couldn't agree more. This better all explode next episode; I won't be able to stand it if this build-up continues much further down the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    Judd is getting fed up with the situation, thatís for sure. He sees through Blakeís situation and knows that in the long run it cannot mean good things for his own chances. He is trying to turn some suspicion on to Blake, and Margaret for that matter. It is a bold play, and one that could backfire. If it works though, then suddenly Judd is in a very strong position in the game, and two rivals will be out of the way.
    I don't see Judd as being that devious. He's simply fed up with Blake coasting through with no work ethic and Margaret just pampering him along the way. I don't think he has a problem with Margaret; he just has a problem with Blake. And I don't think his annoyance is anything more than that. He's annoyed with Blake not doing anything at camp, and he voices that. I don't think it's any elaborate plan on his part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    After the IC loss this tribe returned to camp and the elimination process began in earnest. There were no obvious boot choices so first Stephanieís name was floated, and she quickly saved herself. Then Lydia was on the block, but she was warned and was able to rally support. That left Morgan next on the chopping block, and either due to time constraints, or perhaps someone figured out that warning the target that they are in trouble is bad, the end result was that she had no way to save herself.
    Actually, I'm not quite sure that's how things went down. There's more to Yaxha than that, as evident by the Insider videos. Here's the post with my take on it: http://fansofrealitytv.com/forums/sh...&postcount=265

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    Jamie currently heads up the Boot Stephanie brigade, membership of one. He tried to go after her but found little to no traction in that approach. Whatís worse, he telegraphed his intentions to anyone and everyone who would listen.
    Jamie's playing better than that. Yes, he is being shown as Stephenie's enemy in a minor plot story, but I don't think he has any grand plans of gunning for Stephenie at all costs. Like I said in the post I mentioned previously, throwing Steph's name in as a possible boot was just one attempt at saving Lydia. I'm not saying that he won't try to get Stephenie booted later, but he's not as focused on her as we're being led to think.

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    Can They Do It?? mrdobolina's Avatar
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    Loved it, Bill! Thanks!

    The whole Gary/Ex-NFL QB/Danni thing should be interesting. It seems to me that Danni has shown her cards too early for her knowledge to be truly effective. Time will tell.
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    FORT god cable101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrdobolina
    It seems to me that Danni has shown her cards too early for her knowledge to be truly effective.
    I don't think Danni intended to use the information against Gary. I think it just happened to pop up in conversation. Brian mentions Gary being a landscaper, and then Danni mentions how he used to be an NFL quarterback. Brian is surprised at this information. It could have happened the other way around as well. The point is, there's no way Danni could have known that Gary was hiding his NFL past. If she had known it, she wouldn't have just slipped it in this early on. She would have waited and used it to her advantage. The fact that she didn't shows that she assumed Gary was being open about his previous occupation.

    Now, of course, Gary is backed into a corner. His only hope is to continue lying and hope his tribe believes him over Danni. I think there's a small chance he'll be able to pull it off by commenting how he's been mistaken for "that Hogeboom guy" before. The editing has spelled his doom, however. Poor Gary, he'll never be able to be voted off because he's a threat. Instead he'll go down as the lying, deceitful ex-QB who tried to hide his past but failed.

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    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cable101
    Jamie's playing better than that. Yes, he is being shown as Stephenie's enemy in a minor plot story, but I don't think he has any grand plans of gunning for Stephenie at all costs. Like I said in the post I mentioned previously, throwing Steph's name in as a possible boot was just one attempt at saving Lydia. I'm not saying that he won't try to get Stephenie booted later, but he's not as focused on her as we're being led to think.
    You're certainly welcome to disagree with my conclusions, and I don't claim to be right. In fact, I am quite certain no one knows for sure what happened, no matter how confident they are in their own perception. The gap in differences in opinion between us after the last show is pretty wide indeed. That is fine, that makes the show fun.

    However, on this specific area, I would point out that I never said Jamie is playing bad. Gunning for Steph is not a bad idea at all, and in fact would be better than the complete lack of strategy she has shown to date. However, he tried and failed (and based on everything I have seen in the show to date, and the timeline in which the information was presented, I am not buying the argument that he merely threw her name out to save Lydia). Normally if you shoot at the queen (or King) and miss, you pay the price.

    I find it really odd that Jamie was not considered a boot option by the majority. That was my point. Perhaps they still would have concluded that strength was vital. But the lack of any consideration, given how highly respected Stephanie is, was pretty surprising to me.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

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    FORT god cable101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    I find it really odd that Jamie was not considered a boot option by the majority. That was my point. Perhaps they still would have concluded that strength was vital. But the lack of any consideration, given how highly respected Stephanie is, was pretty surprising to me.
    I see what you're saying, I'm just not thinking that Stephenie is percieved by the tribe as some grandios figure. Just like Jamie, they know she needs to go eventually. Jamie tossed her name in for sooner than later, and the rest of the tribe decided that her strength is important for upcoming challenges. There's no focus on Jamie trying to unseat the Queen, because Stephenie is not the Queen. She votes with the majority, because otherwise she'll be an even easier target. Jamie bringing up her name as a boot possibility doesn't ruffle any feathers besides that of Steph herself. She's a threat; she needs to go. Just not yet. In the meantime, there's no reason to cut Jamie. They needs his strength just as much as they need Stephenie's. Sure, he wanted to get rid of Steph, but so did everybody else.

    As far as how much Jamie pursued the Stephenie boot, I tend to think that he didn't make a big deal about it. When voting, he says Morgan should have sided with him and Lydia to get rid of Brianna. Not Stephenie. He moved past any schemes to vote her out. Stephenie's name being brought up was casual discussion, nothing more. I'm sure most everybody's name was brought up at some point. The editing just focuses more on a move on Stephenie because, well, the editing focuses more on Stephenie anyway.

    Maybe I just like Jamie than most of the rest of the tribe. But I don't wonder why his name has yet to be brought up as a boot, and I don't think it will be for a while.

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    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Great job, Bill, I always enjoy your analysis.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Fantastic job, Bill. I always enjoy your thoughts about the political goings-on. Very funny and informative.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

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    everything under the sun lopevian's Avatar
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    Thanks Bill! That was another great read!

    I think Danni figured Gary's tribe already knew he was an ex-NFL'er. When Yaxha got so quiet after she said it, their silence was a telling thing. I think Brian might have done the asking in the mud. He'd really be playing Gary in that event, setting him up to lie even more, and to everyone. Still, I hope this wraps up quick, or takes off and goes somewhere. It's getting boring, Gary and his story. I agree it is monopolizing the air time.
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