Survivor: Mayan Meanderings(10/28)
You Gotta Want It!
Welcome back to this week’s look at Survivor strategy. Each episode we’ll 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.
Disclaimer - As always, the opinions of this article belong to the author alone and you are free to disagree. Just so you know, I invented the “fingers in the ears while you sing “Lalalalalalalala” really loud” so expect a lot of that if you want to shoot holes in my theories.
As I was watching this most recent episode of Survivor, there were several big things that struck me, but the biggest one was that this tribe shuffle is the most successful shuffle ever. It seems like every time before that there was a shuffle, one tribe always held an advantage and simply removed the members of the “weaker” tribe without even trying to integrate into new tribes. The old tribes always remained. Well, Burnett really got his moneys worth out of this one. Not only did Judd flip his allegiances over faster than the pancake flipper guy at the Boy Scouts Pancake Breakfast, but the outnumbered original Yaxha members convinced two of the 4 former Nakum members to vote one of their guys out! Talk about fully integrating into your new tribe!! Yes, BJ, Danni and Brandon voted Amy out this week, but they could just as easily have voted Gary out, but they are convinced of his loyalty to them as a member of the new Yaxha.
While I am sure there is more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes, according to what we have seen, the original two tribes have shuffled and have become two entirely new tribes, with mostly new alliances and strategies for the merge.
Over in the Yaxha camp, one original alliance still exists…Bobby Jon, Brandon, and Danni. All 3 are original Nakum, and have claimed to be planning to stick together since they started dominating challenges. Although BJ and Danni caved and snuffed Blake, they quickly pulled Gary into their huddle and re-upped with Brandon to form one of the stronger alliances in the game.
Speaking of Gary…am I the only one that thinks he is playing a pretty good game? He is sticking to his guns about his NFL past, and he is playing the game without looking like he’s playing the game. His handling of Amy as they discussed the possibilities this week was, IMO, masterful. He told her in no uncertain terms that he was voting with the majority, and if Amy had the majority, he would go with her. Call me crazy, but he has been handling himself like a three card monte dealer….with a little misdirection, but mostly just knowing his mark.
Bobby Jon has me a little perplexed. He seems so integrated into his new tribe that he isn’t considering possible alliances post merge. To me, Steph is a natural ally, considering how well they got along and dealt with each other last season. Judd is as well, seeing as they were both strong and dominant, yet never butted heads as teammates on the original Nakum.
Finally, Brandon and Danni are starting to have some discussion of who is most deserving to stay in the game. Seeing this, I am certain that Danni has discussed her strong feelings/knowledge that Gary is a former NFL quarterback with Brandon, and they are either keeping him close for easy pickoff later, or stringing him along to only eliminate him at 4 or 5 castaways left. The talk of Bobby Jon perhaps not being deserving was a mere ruse….they were really thinking and talking about Gary, in my opinion.
At the Nakum camp, it seems like everyone is very glad to have Margaret gone. She was the last player that was really sticking to her old Nakum tribe. Rafe and Lydia are merely under the radar players on this team…they are serving their purpose as votes for a majority, but that is it. I see them as pawns in the game that the physically strong players are going to use to their advantage. So far, Stephenie has the biggest advantage with them, as they both seem to idolize her.
Jamie is the player on Nakum that should be most worried now that the merge has occurred. At the Yaxha pool party this week, he revealed to everyone-- his tribe to an extreme degree—just how hard he is playing the game. He sulked through the party, and brattily cut his tribes stay at Yaxha short, saying he will learn to like and hang out with these people after the game is over. To me, one of a castaway’s main goals on Survivor should be to play the game, without looking like you are playing the game(see Gary). Jamie not only alienated the other tribe, he alienated several of his own tribe members. I see his ouster soon…if not next.
Make no mistake…Stephenie and Judd are running this tribe. Stephenie is more behind the scenes while Judd is in your face and the muscle of the alliance. As long as Steph has Rafe and Lydia in her pocket, she will have Judd there too. And for good reason…
I believe that Judd is the first player in Survivor history that is playing for second place. He knows he is a strong personality, and that he rubs people the wrong way. Not everyone, mind you, but he knows the score. And, I believe, he also realizes that that is what will get people to keep you around to go up against in the final vote. Put someone next to you that you can beat…it’s the mantra of the million dollar winner. Judd is a doorman…$100,000 before taxes is a good sum of money. He can invest that money and keep his job as a doorman, because, well, what else is he going to do?
As far as Cindy goes…I am not even going to waste a paragraph. She is the weakest player out there. I don’t even think she is playing, as much as she is surviving TCs.
I Guess That Didn’t Work
Amy was voted out this week, and while I think it’s a shame, it was inevitable. Her ankle is a liability out there, and with the recent shakeups in Survivor(i.e. last years non-merge), Yaxha couldn’t risk losing again. Amy was trying to play the game hard, but was just the victim of some bad luck regarding her ankle, and some more bad luck with respect to being on the short end of the tribal shuffle.
Now that the merge is here, next week should hopefully bring some new strategizing and alliance forming. It looks like Jamie may alienate himself some more with the strong players, too. I will be looking for a “physically strong” alliance of Steph, BJ, Brandon, Danni and Judd, with stragglers Rafe and Lydia.