Pirate Report (Day 24)
Life Goes On for the Drake… er… Balboa Tribe
The Pirate Report is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring in the Balboa tribe the rest of the way to the final vote. 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 fluff’s outstanding recaps this season.
From here on out, the game has changed. Everyone you evict is a jury member, and this is where we find out who can really play the game, as opposed to those who think they can. The true masters think ahead to the final two, and what their standing would be, perceived and actual, in front of the jury. So you need to eliminate your threats, but do so in a way that gives you a chance of getting their vote. We saw a few violations of that rule already, and some people will regret their actions later.
Since the merge, the pagonging of Morgan has seemed a certainty. However, we saw signs this week that the process of doing so is shortly going to take a back seat to the business of sorting out the whole “Rupert Issue”. What is the issue with Rupert? Well, unless something is done, he will win. Don’t get me wrong, I think he would be a more than deserving winner, and I love watching him in the game, but I assume at least three or four of the folks left in the game also want to win, and that means one thing… as soon as Rupert loses immunity, he is likely to go.
The Rupert Alliance
Is this really an alliance still? Seriously.
From a game play perspective, I was very happy to see Christa actually talk about strategy, and note that her shoulder definition admirer, Rupert, has to go. She said it in such a matter of fact way that I feel she has probably been discussing the timing of this with Sandra for the last several episodes. On the other hand, Christa needs to tread carefully. She is plotting against her biggest ally in the game (and rightly so if she is playing to win) but they will need crossover help to pull off the coup. I don’t think Sandra is as loyal to Christa, as she is to her own advancement in the game. If Christa cuts a deal, she needs to ensure she is on top of the situation. Apparently she and Ryan had some kind of falling out, for he actually called her a “bitch” at the vote. So she is already down one vote in the finals, and based on her rumored attitudes, I think she has no chance to get there.
Sandra. I like the way she thinks. On the one hand, openly practicing food gathering without the guys is a little blatant, but the idea is sound. I think Sandra has been waiting to make her move for a while now. She also knows Rupert has to go for her to have a shot at winning, and a good shot I think she has. Now, thinking of the jury and the final two, the question is, how does she pull it off? Surprisingly easily in my opinion. If she knows (or learns) that Burton is going to make a move against Rupert, in conjunction with Jon, she simply brings Christa along to make that happen, yet allow Burton and Jon to take the lead.
Rupert is liable to strangle anyone who votes against him right there at tribal council, but he will eventually have to vote for someone from the jury box. Given his mantra of tribal loyalty, he would not vote anyone who orchestrated his betrayal (thus giving Sandra an advantage over Burton and Jon), or a former Morgan (giving similar advantage over Lil, Darrah, and Tijuana). It would be a smart play. But that is not all, for after Rupert is dealt with, Sandra could then pursue her “Girl Power” alliance, and then rapidly boot Jon and Burton. Both of them are schemers, and just as likely to respect her for outwitting them, as to hold it against her. Unless Darrah or Tijuana actually wake up and play, the road is open to the finals. My gut feel is that this is exactly how it will play out.
Rupert thinks everything is okay, and that he is in control of the game. The pride goes before the fall. Every remaining player in the game has one thing in common… they want Rupert gone. I am sure they all love and respect him, but that has nothing to do with winning. So while his days are numbered, and he is my hot seat pick for this week, I did enjoy watching him in action last episode. First, he did his best to comfort Lil, and keep her in line. He complimented Christa, though it was a little creepy the way he was inspecting her shoulder, and perhaps most surprisingly, he let Burton and Ryan go fishing unsupervised! Yes, I was shocked too. In the end, if Rupert does go soon, and I don’t underestimate his ability to scramble, I think that his competitive spirit and skills were far better than his ability to play the political game. I think that veiled intimidation and threats of starving the tribe might work for a while, but as they get closer to the end, they know they can eat first, and then dump you at their convenience.
The Outcasts and a Misfit
Burton is also playing quite well given his second chance. I actually admire what he is doing. He came back, swallowed his pride, and realized that he was booted because it is a game, and he deserved it (perhaps some of this could rub off on Lil? Nah…). What’s more though, he has a strategy, and it is a good one. He wants to turn the tables on the Rupert alliance, but bringing Lil, D and T along, and forcing a 4-3 ouster of Rupert. He will soon learn that Sandra and Christa are more than happy to join that effort.
So the question remains, if everyone wants Rupert gone, why didn’t they prevent him taking immunity in the last show? It was a challenge where he had no control over it, and with Rupert, you might not get another chance like that. I pondered that question for quite a while, and the conclusion I come too is that they still wanted Ryan to go, before they get Rupert. Why? Because if Burton forms his coup alliance, it would be Jon, Burton, and Lil working with Ryan, Darrah, and Tijuana. He probably assumed that those three are inseparable, and his team would include an unstable scoutmaster and a known slimeball. He would be getting the short end of that deal. With Ryan gone, he may be assuming that he can bring in Darrah and Tijuana to his side directly, and then he only needs Lil or Jon to dominate the game. If that is the case, then I give Burton a lot of credit for creative thinking.
As for Lil, I say again that I cannot fault her decision to align with the Drakes, but that I think it was way too much to give, for a sixth place finish. Rupert himself told her directly that she would be the last Morgan to go, and that if she won immunities from there, then “he” would eliminate a Drake instead. No kidding Rupert? Who else were you going to eliminate there? Yet Lil sits there, happy to be loved, just for the opportunity to be told directly that she WILL NOT win. Please tell me Lil that you didn’t decide to completely screw over your old tribe, and this game, yet you aren’t even going to try to win. I hope she has more up her sleeve than this.
Amazingly enough, Jon has extracted himself from near certain departure to being in yet another strong position. He can stay with Burton, and play out his hand from that angle, or he could sell all of them out to Rupert. I suspect he will go with Burton, just simply as payback for that night at tribal council where he voted for Rupert and nearly got assaulted back at camp for it. Either way, I expect Jon to last for a good bit longer. I still think he has no chance at a win, but he could make the final four.
The Slumber Party Alliance
Get off your butts!
No, I don’t mean from a work standpoint, as I suspect this storyline of Drake-hardworkers and Morgan-slackers, except for precious innocent Lil, is more than a little contrived. I mean get off your butts and play the damn game. You two have nearly starved to death so far on this show, and yet you are doing nothing to prevent the departures of your tribe. DO SOMETHING!!!!!
Okay, the truth is, they likely are doing something. MB is notorious for hiding much of the scheming, and I suspect these two will latch on to Sandra’s pending moves. That is a good start, and the key will be, how to play it from there. I still say that only one of the two has a chance to go far, and it is likely they will have to win some immunities to do it.
I Guess That Didn’t Work
Ryan, you were even respected by Rupert, and that is not a bad distinction to have.
However, your scheming came a little too late, and while I think you were on the right track with it, most people quickly came to the conclusion that they didn’t actually need you to carry out the plan. Having you around simply complicated matters.
Ryan’s fate was sealed when Lil switched sides. He joins the long list of decent players who simply were pagonged out of the game. I look forward to seeing him on the reunion show so we can find out what was going on between him and Darrah, and him and Christa (seems they hate each other).
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