Thursday, April 25, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Episode 11 Power Rankings

8. Eddie

Eddie only goes as far as immunity wins will carry him. So unless he wins out, he will be gone. It does not look good for Eddie.

7. Reynold

In the same boat as Eddie, only I think Reynold stands a better chance in final tribal if only because he has been more "active" in the game front. As well, he's shown himself to be a bit more proficient in challenges.

6. Sherri

think that Sherri made the right choice to stay with Stealth R Us. The Three Amigos are incredibly tight, so barring a final 4 immunity win, she'd end up out at 4. Stealth R Us are actually at a point where they will probably break into a faction war, and she could actually be a pivotal player in that war. Throw in that she could make final th ree from it, and it seems like a clear cut move.

5. Brenda

I'll be honest. The editors got me for a minute. I thought that Brenda's increased presence in the episode, and her failure at the Auction caused me to think it was going to be her getting voted out due to some sort of bamboozling. Instead, she looks like she's going to figure into this Stealth R Us rupture, either by being the first victim, or by creating a counter group.

4. Dawn

Another thing I was wrong about: I thought that Dawn was going to hold it together when she realized that she didn't have the $20 to buy a letter from home due to her over anxious bidding on a whole chicken. She seemed like she knew she messed up, but had already accepted that as a fact.

Then...waterworks. I don't think she will ever change, and that's a good thing. It makes her a more compelling person to watch.

(Malcolm's reaction was also fun: "I'm not crying, but I feel the way they feel." Of course you do bro, of course you do.)

3. Andrea

Andrea and Cochran appear to be the brains of the operation. With that said, her paranoia is going to get the best of her. If it was her thought that Malcolm had the idol so they needed to split the vote, well that was just goofy. You have two other targets available to you - Reynold and Eddie. Vote one of them out for crying out loud. Rule 1 of Survivor play: Keep it Simple, Stupid. Splitting votes complicates the issue, and it is very easy to mess up. We almost saw it this week, but luckily for Stealth R Us, nobody felt comfortable jumping.

I was amused by her following around of Malcolm though. It was an interesting way to make sure that Malcolm didn't find the idol without her knowing (even if she just ignored that plan later and assumed he had the idol.)

2. Erik

His "No strategy" strategy seems to have put him in a position where he seems like the most likely to pick up any anti-others votes. As well, he's setting himself up to be a threat in challenges (though thus far he hasn't shown much of anything in the challenges.) I can see him being brought to the finals as a goat, but turn out to be a winner.

1. Cochran

The only person smart enough to think "Maybe we don't need to split the vote." If he makes final tribal, he's a shoo-in to win (barring some sort of horrendous and unexpected double cross on his part) His biggest concern now? Actually getting to final tribal. The Stealth R Us alliance is very fluid now that the finish line is in sight. People are going to start manuevering for the end game, and that is going to include getting rid of players that can win at the end. Cochran has shown that he has improved his challenge play; now he has to show that he's improved his end game strategy.

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Survivor: Caramoan Episode 11 Thoughts

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"
- Neil Young

After last week's amazing tribal council, you couldn't help but root for Malcolm. He put himself behind the eight ball by trying to make a move very early on, and has scrambled every since to survive. He has great confessionals as well. But most importantly, he brought big moves to the table.

Two weeks ago, he somehow convinced Reynold to hand over a hidden immunity idol simply by pointing at a vague comment that Philip made. Survivor fans jaws dropped.

The week after, he used two hidden immunity idols to make the three targets of Stealth 'R Us safe, and caused the most hectic tribal council in history. Combine that with his showing last season, and you have the most memorable player to come around since Russell Hantz himself.

This week, he managed to make people think that he might have an idol even though they were watching him constantly when he searched for an idol! He also had the greatest first purchase in Survivor Auction history - his beer and nuts and pretzel purchase (which he knew he couldn't do because he needed all his money to try to get an advantage in the game) was hilarious, as was his confessional that was shown immediately after. Then he was invited to come up and get his beer and to sample it by Jeff. Turns out that Malcolm has a different idea as to what "sampling" means, and Malcolm chugged it, which lead to great reactions from the other players, who were in awe of his chugging. It also gave us Jeff Probst's finest moment, celebrating the bro-ness of Malcolm's chugging by saying "Now that is how you do it!" Indeed it is Jeff.

If he wants to play again, he will be able to without any problem. If he doesn't he's going to be remembered fondly by everybody who watched this season; quite possibly he's going to be remembered most fondly by everybody who played this season as well. In short, his agressive play might not have lead to his victory, but it did lead to the next best thing - a standing invite to come back, the love of the fans (and likely $100,000 coming from being fan favourite) and his plays being remembered for years to come.

Compare that to Sherri. Sherri had the chance to make a big play and join with the Three Amigos, eliminating Andrea (sorry, An-DRE-ah) at the same time. This would have left her at worst in a 4-4 tie next week. The downside is that there isn't proof that she is jumping into a better situation. Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie seems like a strong group of 3, so it would be difficult for her to get any further than that. Either way, she seems to not be "running the show" as she claims, but instead deciding which alliance will be alive at the end. She decided to not go with Malcolm (which was probably her best choice), but in the end, will she be remembered as a player if she doesn't win? Heck, if she does win will she be remembered?

Sometimes, fortune favours the bold. And if you make a big enough play, maybe you'll have a Lego Survivor Musical number created in your honour as well:

(Note: This comes from Lisa Ferreira, proprietor of the fantastic Winter Pays for Summer blog. The Survivor recaps are well worth the read!)

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Episode 10 Thoughts (with bounes Episode 9 thoughts)

This was going to be about how stupid everybody is playing this game. I was prepared to call everybody out over how dumb they have been over the last two episodes. Turns out that Malcolm had different plans.

Malcolm is like the nicer version of Russell Hantz. He's managed to find 3 immunity idols and has gotten somebody to willingly give up an immunity idol to him. He's taken a minority alliance and managed to have a majority alliance turn against itself and keep his minority alliance together for 3 straight tribal councils. He's made tribal councils the most entertaining since Russel and Parvarti in Heroes vs. Villains. And he's on a path to be the deserving winner of this season, even if he doesn't.
Let's go back to last week and his convincing of Reynold to hand over his hidden immunity idol. Unless Philip was playing him, Malcolm read the situation and reacted in a smart way. Ironically, it was only Andrea's paranoia that stopped this from working. This doesn't mean that it was a horrible read by Malcolm.

And then this week, he made one of the best plays in Survivor history. While it was highly dependent on immunity idols, it was still played perfectly.

Malcolm found a second hidden immunity idol (and that was amazing itself. It looks like they're going to replace idols as soon as they played, which brings a completely different dynamic.) He found it right after Dawn made reference to him finding it. So now he has two idols, and can use it in any way he wants. The easiet way to use them is to hold the one that nobody knows he has back, and then blindside Stealth R us. But that doesn't necessarily get him farther - it just delays a vote out by a week. So instead he decides to reveal that he, Reynold and Eddie are safe midway through tribal council, causing Stealth R Us to realize that they had to vote one of their own out, and they hadn't discussed it. This caused the panic, scrambe and chaos that Malcolm wanted. With that, Malcolm had a chance to break up the majority alliance, and then move into a better position.

Ironically, it was Erik (who has been derided for not playing the game) who came up with the best counter to this strategy, pointing out that just because Eddie and Malcolm had idols, it did not mean that they were going to play them. To change the vote is to allow them to not play the idol, while to leave the vote as is would let them choose who was to go home. Given that they couldn't really communicate who would be the new target, that was the better option for the Stealth R Us crew.

I also want to give Erik a shout out here. As I mentioned, he has been derided for not playing, but he has made two major choices that were difficult to make, but also the right choice to make. His decision to vote out Corinne allowed him to move back with the Bros at a later date, which happened today. He chose to vote with the bros to get rid of Philip, which was only necessary if he wanted Philip out and thought that one of the immunity idols would not be played. I think the lack of confessionals have caused people to conclude that Erik hasn't been playing the game, which isn't right. He's been playing; it's just that his play hasn't caused that many ripples.

So where do we go from here? Malcolm tries to get together another crew, and fails again? Or does somebody who feels as though they are at the bottom flip? I guess it will be standard operating procedures here, and one of Eddie/Reynold/Malcolm will be going next. But if they can make the flip, Malcolm automatically shoots up for discussion as the best player in Survivor history.
Either way, Malcolm has made this an interesting strategic season, and taken away from the ugliness in the early season. And for that I'm thankful.

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Episode 8 Power Rankings

11. Michael

Lost his guardian angel in Corinne, and is an easy boot for anybody who wants to simplify things next week. He can win if he makes final 3, but he's not making final 3 so that's a moot point.

10. Eddie

In the same boat as Reynold, only without an immunity idol. Unless he finds some sort of magical alliance out there, he is not long for this game.

 9. Sherri

She gets a reprieve but is not in a good spot at all. The favourites don't really need her any more; if she gets suggested as a peace offering, I'm sure that the favourites will be more than willing to vote her out.

 8. Brenda

If it wasn't for her reaction at the immunity challenge, I would have assumed that Brenda had just left the game or something.

 7. Reynold

Back to square one for Reynold. Just when it seems like he's gotten ahead, the game drags him back to a bad spot. The bright side is that if he actually makes it to final tribal, his story will overcome any perceived personality issues he has.

 6. Philip

Dodged a bullet, but it is obvious that nobody likes him. That alone knocks him down a few notches. The only reason why he continues to be this high? Because of his high probability to make the final tribal council.

 5. Malcolm

Big drop here. He stays high because he has an idol that nobody else knows about, but he has some scrambling to reassert himself to the favourites. He could try to find another alliance that would be willing to flip, or he could just go back to his alliance and grovel. Either way, he needs to do something this week.

 4. Erik

Erik needs to win challenges once his alliance are the only ones left. Otherwise he's going to get the boot for being too likeable.

 3. Andrea

She took the information from Dawn and made the move to tell Erik what was going on and who to vote for. She convinced him to flip and he did. That's a great move, and a sign of strength. She's in a great spot right now.

 2. Cochran
 1. Dawn
Dawn and Cochran are working incredibly well together. Dawn took he information that she got from Corinne, and she and Cochran worked out the best plan to get themselves out of this seemingly big hole they found themselves in. Dawn is in first because this is the second time that she has raised the flag on somebody who told her some troubling plans and got them eliminated. But Cochran is a proven immunity threat now...

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Episode 8 Thoughts

Let me start by saying this: I wish Corinne was on every season. At a minimum, her confessionals are worth it, and I would support some sort of pop-up video addition to every season to give out her snarky awesomeness.

With that said, Corinne played terribly and got outplayed by Philip Sheppard. That is quite the feat. The absolute worst part about how she was defeated? She was taken down by doing her best Philip Sheppard impersonation and talking too much to too many people.

Corinne was in such a great spot. She has Michael in her pocket, she had an alliance with Malcolm and thus his three members of the bro alliance, and they had a plan. Vote out Sherri this time, and all of the sudden your group of six can run the board, starting with your hated rival Philip. All you have to do is get through one tribal council without tipping your hand.

But Corinne couldn't keep things to herself, and she talked to Dawn. She told Dawn the full plan and how things are going to work out. There was no reason to do this; Corinne had the numbers lined up perfectly, and had somehow used Jedi mind tricks to convince the favourites to vote out Sherri instead of the much bigger Reynold/Eddie threats. And yet, she felt compelled to tell Dawn what the future was bringin, but to what end? To set herself up to have a 3 person alliance to draw Malcolm to in place of the bros? And more importantly, why couldn't Corrine have waited until after Sherri was gone to tell Dawn what her plan was and it would be more difficult to actually stop it from happening?

Honestly, I think Corinne wanted to be found out. She started out by being admant that the favourites target Sherri instead of Reynold or Eddie. Her reason was that everybody wanted her out so it would promote unity or something, but it was the sketchiest logic that I have heard in a while. Why not target the immunity threats who you are going to have to go through to get to the end?

It's actually is reminiscent of last week, when she demanded that there was no split vote so that her precious Michael would not be offended or lost. Though at least last week, it really didn't matter either way who went. This week there was an obvious target, but she didn't want to target them. Nobody ended up figuring out why, so she moved to telling Dawn.

In case Dawn didn't tell anybody what the plan was, Corinne moved on to the next step of her plan to get discovered: hint at it at tribal council. Her quote from Mike Tyson about people not liking to get punched in the face was a metaphor that if people were paying attention, would have tipped them off that something was up.

(Of course, if they weren't then Reynold made sure that it was obvious with his "SURPRISES ARE COMING" talk. Oh Reynold. If you weren't making such glaring horrendous statements, I would feel pity for you that your latest attempt to save your skin fell flat on its face, much like every other attempt you have made.)

In the end, maybe it wasn't a desire to be found out that caused Corinne to act as she did. Maybe it was what she accused Sherri of when she voted for Sherri: "You played a good game, but I wasn't looking to make a friend." Maybe Corinne was just trying to make friends with Dawn, only to have Dawn burn her.

Whatever it was, Corinne played a strong position into a horrendous position in a very short period of time. That is an accomplishment, but maybe not one to be proud of.

The Immunity Challenge

I wanted to give this a quick shout out. I can not explain how excited I was when the previews showed that the challenge this week was going to be an eating challenge. This is the sort of thing that has been missing from Survivor over the last seasons.  So let me reveal some of the things that entertained me:

  • The first reactions to the covered plates were great, but Erik's "Mine moved a little" takes the cake for all reactions

  • Continuing on with Erik, I loved that he continued to try to eat the Beetle Larva after he had been eliminated. It was as though he was trying to prove that he could eat the Larva. Or maybe he was just hungry. I don't know.

  • I don't ask for much, but if I could get a screencap of Brenda's face when the Beetle Larva were revealed, I would really appreciate it.

  • As I mentioned on Twitter, I fist pumped when the Balut was revealed. I can't think of anything more disgusting to eat than that, and that it fit with the Philippines was great as well. Plus the throwback to previous years were great.

  • Cochran's victory was awesome. From his strutting after making it to the next round, to his celebration after winning immunity and his uncanny ability to eat things fast (which led me to wonder if he was related to Stevie Starr.

  • Best Play of the Week

    I'm giving this to Erik's decision to vote with the Philip/Dawn/Cochran group.  Erik's best path to victory is to go on a immunity streak, and that's going to be a lot easier when facing Philip/Dawn/Cochran/Andrea/etc than Malcolm/Eddie/Reynold. And there's the added bonus that Erik can jump back if she really wants to. It was a rare realization that he would be on the bottom of the bro alliance that flipping wouldn't hurt him.

    Worst Play of the Week

    Corinne pushing Philip to vote out Sherri when it wasn't necessary. All Corinne had to do was say, "Yes, let's split the vote." Then they could have blindsided Philip without problem. But since Corinne decided to go against Philip for old time's sake, that started her down the path that lead to her boot.

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