Thursday, November 15, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Episode 9 Thoughts and Power Ranking

"I think your best bet is just to sit back and wait for somebody to make a mistake. The cracks are there." - Mike Skupin, to Jonathan Penner

It's probably bad form to lead with the same quote two weeks in a row, but it really is appropriate now. The cracks were there, and this week, the structure crumbled.

What was odd about this week is that we weren't hit over the head with the crumbling tribe. We got what seemed to be the normal misdirection showing somebody else to be in trouble when the least exciting result plays out. Instead, we got another fun Tribal Council, and a crazy result where the dominant alliance and the most likely final three was destroyed. We also saw Abi-Maria continue her campaign to supplant NaOnka as the worst player ever to believe they had control of the game.

Now we have an interesting situation where there's a group of five that is aligned, but we only have an alliance of two, and three other players that we do not know where they stand. This season has done a great job of bringing back the unpredictability that makes Survivor so great at times; I hope it keeps this pace up.

No Chance: Lisa, Abi-Maria

Abi-Maria is a worse player than NaOnka. NaOnka at least knew better than to actively alienate members of her alliance; she just mocked those who were on the outside. Abi-Maria thinks that she knows how the game is supposed to be played, and she seems to think that she is a perfect individual. Unfortunately, that leads to her making incredibly insulting comments under the guise of "giving her opinion". This in turn ends up alienating her own alliance members and ends up causing your alliance to fall apart and you to be on the wrong side of the tribe.

To be fair to Abi-Maria, her actions actually held her alliance togehter for a tirbal council longer than expected. Lisa was loyal to her tribemates because she thought she could beat them in the end. And heck, Lisa remained loyal even after Abi-Maria basically called her untrustworthy. It's actually a brilliant play if Lisa knew that Skupin was going to flip - she can tell everybody that she remained loyal and stand a chance to pick up votes from Pete, Abi-Maria and Artis at a final tribal situation.

Of course, Lisa does not seem to be making that play. She's actually remaining loyal to her tribe, even after she has been clearly told that she is 4th or 5th on the totem pole. This lack of a killer instinct (and lack of basic math skills) is going to end up being the end of her. Sometimes it's okay to give up on something when you know it is going to end poorly. This is one of those times.

Okay Chance to Win: Penner, Skupin, Carter, Denise

Congratulations to Penner and Skupin, who have moved out of their own category and into one of the generic categories. They make the move on the successful flip they made. No longer are they going to be viewed as returning players (heck, Pete said as much as he was voting for Skupin.) Instead, they are just players in the game. This is a major hurdle for them to have climbed, and it represents a greater standing for them.

What will be interesting is to see where they end up falling. They have to knwo that Denise and Malcolm are a pair, so it would be very easy to bring Carter along as a final three. But I get a feeling that Skupin wants to bring Lisa into the fold, which could drive Penner away to Denise and Malcolm. Then again, it could move Penner and Carter to Lisa and Skupin, under the theory that if you get rid of Lisa, you have at least a 1 in 3 shot of winning.

Good Chance to Win: Pete

Pete is in a bad spot right now, no question.  But realistically, he can still recover if he just shifts his approach a little bit. He already has Lisa convinced that going to the final three with him and Abi-Maria would be a good thing. So why can't he convince another person of this, and orchestrate a switch of his own?

(Well, besides the fact that he is aligned with Abi-Maria?)

In short, I'm not giving up on his chances to win yet. To be honest, I don't know that anybody has really been shown in more of a winner's light than Pete. His confessionals are not as harsh as some of his actions at camp.

The Favourite: Malcolm

Honestly, this is a reach. Last week I had written off Malcolm, but this week I'm saying he's got the best chance of winning? All the reasons for him to lose continue to be there. But what has changed is that Malcolm is with the majority now.

There are now 8 players left. If Pete and Abi-Maria get Pagonged, then we're at the final 6. If things follow the pattern of previous years, Malcolm needs to win 2 of 3 immunity challenges to make final tribal. Are you willing to write him off in an individual immunity challenge? Throw in that he can still form a final three with Denise and somebody from his group of 5, and Malcolm deserves to be in the driver's seat here.

Eliminated: Artis

Honestly, I don't have much to say about Artis' game. He was in a pretty sweet position in the game, being the most likeable in a dominant 3 person alliance.That others got together and realized that their best chance of winning was breaking up the 3 person alliance was out of his control; so was the fact that he was targetted. He was targetted because Pete and Abi were so strongly aligned and a hidden immunity idol that they could share.

I am a bit upset that Artis was voted out. I was curious to find out how he was going to play being in the minority.His game play was really unexplored beyond him being with Pete and Abi-Maria. I wanted to know how he would react to being in the minority alliance. Would he try to move to the other alliance? Would he try to split up the other alliance? Or would he fold and accept his fate as he meekly leaves the game after being voted out? I'm not so upset that I'm going to demand him to be a returning player at some point, but I am legitimately curious as to how he would have reacted to this vote.

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