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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