Palau Perspective Episode 6: Dead Tribe Talking
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 we were back to being given little information about the scheming and strategizing occurring at Koror. At Ulong, which had to go to its sixth consecutive tribal council, there arenít a lot of players left to ally or try to position themselves. Given that they are down to three, the remaining Ulongians donít appear long for the game. In fact, Stephenie has reached the point where her goal is to just win one immunity challenge. My how the young and confident have fallen.
Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
At Koror, the divisions within the tribe mostly remained under the surface again this week. We did get to see more of Carynís and Cobyís dislike of Katie. The two of them see her as Kororís version of Kim, lazy and expendable. Now that we have eleven Survivors left and the traditional merge at 10 is approaching, I thought it was time to review where each of the remaining eight members of Koror appear to stand and what each of them might want to consider.
Tom-Tom is probably my favorite Survivor ever. Unfortunately, he couldnít be any more of a target if he wore around a placard that said, ďBoot me.Ē His initial strategy was to be the forty year old dad and stay in the background. However, he couldnít help himself and stepped forward and took a leadership role from the first immunity challenge. The other members of his tribe are worried that once they get to individual immunity challenges, Tom will keep winning and they wonít be able to get rid of him. He should make the jury just because of numbers, but once he does lose individual immunity look for him to be at risk as the other players take the opportunity to turn on the biggest threat. Up until now, Tom has seemed pretty confident in his alliance of five including Ian, Katie, Gregg and Jen. He has assumed that they will be the final five and then it will be a free for all. From the previews, it looks like next week it starts to dawn on Tom that the Gregg/Jen romance might be a problem for him. Tom might want to consider asking Ian and Katie to turn to Caryn as a backup plan.
Ian-Ianís position appears to be similar to that of his surrogate father, Tom. Itís just that Ian will be the secondary target of the weaker players and is scheduled to be booted after they get rid of Tom. Ianís alliance with Tom seems solid. As far as we know, so is his alliance with Katie. Ian should keep his options open at this point but will most likely remain loyal to Tom.
Gregg-Gregg sees himself as the puppet master along with his queen, Jen. He thinks the two of them will be able to either stick with their ďsoft allianceĒ with Tom, Ian, and Katie or ally with Janu and Coby once Caryn is gone to get rid of Tom and then Ian. Greggís hubris may well be his downfall. It looks like he and Jenís romance is becoming more and more out in the open. Showing that you are a solid suballiance within a bigger alliance is never a good strategy.
Jen-She may have some devious underlying strategy where she has just been playing Gregg and will turn and stab him in the back. Given that she barely speaks, it is hard to know. At this point, her fate appears pegged to Greggís survival.
Coby-Once there is a merge or Ulong becomes an extinct tribe, Coby will be in his element. He is the classic underhanded, scheming player. Coby also appears to be fairly pragmatic. For instance, he knew he couldnít do anything to save Willard last week so he didnít waste any political capital trying. Coby was delighted when Gregg approached him about turning on Tom and Ian. Coby sees himself as an alpha male and that is why he has built up some resentment against Tom and Ian. However, Coby is smart enough that he can use the information Gregg shared either to join with Gregg and Jen or to approach Tom and Ian. At this point, Coby appears pretty well positioned. He is stronger than people give him credit for being, and nobody appears to be targeting him. Coby needs to make sure his loathing of Katie doesnít cause him to do something stupid though. Going after Katie right now would be a bad move.
Janu-If she werenít so fragile, Janu would be in decent position. She and Coby appear to have a strong alliance. Caryn appears to be the next target of the ďsoft allianceĒ and once individual immunity is at stake, Janu may be able to fly under the radar while the alpha males turn on each other. This week, she managed to rally after Tomís pep talk and played a major role in the immunity challenge win. However, it appears to be just a matter of time before she begs off. Then again, she could pull a Jenna Morasca and cry and whine her way to victory.
Katie-Katie may be in the best position of all on Koror. I know that may sound funny but think about it. Katie feels great so far. Sure Caryn and Coby donít like her, but if she makes the merge or survives until Ulong is no more, nobody is going to worry about Katie. She is part of the Koror five. While the ďstrongĒ players are knocking each other out, Katie can sit back and macramť. The next thing anyone knows they may be listening to her telling the jury members why they should vote for her to win $1 million. We didnít get to see Koror preparing their trunk for the immunity challenge at camp, but presumably Katie put her knot making skills to good use and was a big factor in the immunity win.
Caryn-If (and notice I say if) Koror goes to tribal council again before a merge or a switch to individual immunity challenges, Caryn is the obvious target to go. She has no alliance with anyone. If Caryn is to survive a Koror tribal council, she needs to quit focusing on Katie and turn her attention to Janu. Janu was on the verge of quitting this episode. She may be able to convince the Koror five to vote out Janu for her own good. Once individual immunity is on, Caryn may very well duck under the radar for at least a few challenges.
The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Northern Chick
In some ways, the intrigue at Ulong is irrelevant. Barring a miracle, two of the remaining three wonít even make the jury and the other will be the first jury member. However, there were some interesting developments at Ulong this week.
James sealed his own fate by continuing to be all talk and no results. After blaming Ibrehem for losing the last challenge and expressing his bitterness that Koror gave Ibrehem immunity so that he couldnít be voted out, James performed abysmally in both the reward and immunity challenges. Despite his supposed familiarity with guns, he failed to hit a single target at the reward challenge, his impenetrable knot was undone with relative ease, and he spent a lot more time fussing with his skirt than he did adding to the knots at the immunity challenge.
Jamesís biggest mistake though was his overconfidence. He told Stephenie that there was no way that Bobby Jon would vote to boot him, James. James apparently didnít talk to Bobby Jon so he was unaware that Bobby Jon was convinced that James had voted to get rid of Bobby Jon at the last tribal council. As a result, Stephenie was able to get away with lying to Bobby Jon about who she voted for. If James had confronted Bobby Jon, the lie might have been exposed and Stephenie would have been vulnerable. Instead, Bobby Jon voted for James as payback.
Stephenie was smart to lie to Bobby Jon. As we know from Angie, there was a mini-alliance between Stephenie, James, and Angie. That alliance probably led to her vote for Bobby Jon at the last tribal council. This time, Stephenie appeared torn as to whether to stick with James to cause a tie between James and Ibrehem or to join Bobby Jon and Ibrehem in voting out James in return for Bobby Jonís promise to get rid of Ibrehem next.
In the end, she did both. First, she voted to eliminate Ibrehem, forcing a tie. On the revote, she switched and eliminated James. Whether she was smart or not depends on your perspective. She may have initially voted for Ibrehem because she was confident that James would vote for him as well. That way, if Ibrehem and Bobby Jon double-crossed her and voted for her, it would have been a tie instead of Stephenie being eliminated by a vote of 2-1-1. Once she was confident that Ibrehem and Bobby Jon were sticking to their word, she was free to eliminate James. Sheís going to have to sell her actions to Bobby Jon if she wants to get him to stick to their agreement and eliminate Ibrehem next. She better also pray that Bobby Jon didnít recognize her manly handwriting and realize he had been duped.
Ibrehem doesnít appear to do much in the way of strategizing. He wanted James gone and was lucky that Bobby Jon did too because of Bobby Jonís mistaken belief that James had voted for him. Ibrehem needs to hope that Ulong gets that first immunity win or that he wakes up and does some scrambling if he wants to last longer than until the next tribal council.
Finally, Bobby Jon seems to be a lot too trusting for this game. He believed Stephenie and didnít double check with James. At tribal council, Bobby Jon said that he trusted everyone. Stephenie will probably be able to convince him that she didnít break their deal by initial voting for Ibrehem and convince him to get rid of Ibrehem next. Bobby Jon is a hard working guy. It would have been interesting to see how he would have fared if he had been on Koror instead of Ulong.
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