30 from 30: #25 – The Black Widow Brigade Claims its First Victim

The Moment:

Cirie orchestrates a blindside against Ozzy, leading to the formation of the first significant women’s alliance on Survivor.

We’re counting down the 30 Moments That Shaped Survivor, events that happened on the show that helped create and evolve the game and the series that we know and love. Go here to view the criteria we are using to determine what qualifies for the list. And since these posts are covering the first thirty seasons of Survivor, there will be spoilers for various Survivor seasons.

Why It Matters:

Gather round children, because I’m about to take you on a journey of the most dominant female alliance OF ALL TIME. So take a seat, read closely, and most importantly…

Queen Bey

Survivor: Micronesia started with what seemed like an alliance of couples, featuring Cirie as a delightful 5th wheel. The group of Ozzy, Amanda, James, Parvati, and Cirie were able to oust Yau-Man, but the overall dominance of the Favorites tribe until the swap meant that the couples didn’t have to do too much work after that.

After the swap, Amanda, Ozzy, and Cirie were able to maintain control within the new Malakal tribe. James and Parvati, however, were separated from their alliance. But since their new Airai tribe only lost people due to medical evacuation or quit/mental health evacuation, they were never really in danger. Parvati still used that time productively, bonding and making an alliance with Fans Alexis Jones and Natalie Bolton.

At the merge, she’s reunited with bestie Amanda and brings her up to speed.

So... I kind of put you in an alliance without asking. That's cool, right?
So… I kind of put you in an alliance without asking. That’s cool, right?

For now that works just fine, as everyone just goes against outsiders Jason and Eliza.

I'm sure you remember how that played out.
I’m sure you remember how that played out.

Here’s where things get interesting:

After Eliza goes home, Cirie points out that if Eliza really did have the idol, Ozzy would have been gone…and that might not have been such a bad thing. Later, on Exile Island, she again mentions that Ozzy is a tough competitor and the idol makes him even more of a target. “Maybe I’ll have to just get out Ozzy and that idol.”

Now of course, Ozzy is part of her alliance, so she’ll have to find some people to turn on him with her. But everyone loves Ozzy! He’s the underdog who climbed all the trees of Cook Islands! Who would turn on him?

Oh, right.
Oh, right.

Not helping matters, Ozzy goes on and on about the great reward he just went on with Amanda, Jason, and Erik after the others tried to downplay it. He irritates the whole tribe, and Parvati calls him a brat when talking to Natalie and Alexis.

When bae wishes you'd shut your mouth.
When bae wishes you’d shut your mouth.

Perhaps annoyed by seeing her bestie tell other girls that her boyfriend is a brat, Amanda turns to James to discuss their concerns about how close Parvati has become to Alexis and Natalie. More importantly to Amanda, she and Parvati haven’t been as close since the merge. More importantly to James, Parvati aligning with Alexis and Natalie is a development that would keep James fully out of the loop.

Damn straight she is.
Damn straight she is.

The immunity challenge is an endurance competition, something that doesn’t bode well for everyone who’s determined to get rid of Jason (read: everyone). After all, Ozzy isn’t the only god-like competitor to play this game. Combine that with the fact that he knows he needs immunity, it seems like a sure-bet that Jason will win his second individual immunity.

After some hilarity

Aw, bitch!
Aw, bitch!

it gets down to the final two: Parvati and Jason. Jeff has been tempting people down with food, and this time he’s got a platter full of treats for the whole group. Starting with Natalie, everyone else tells Jason that they guarantee they will not vote for him tonight if he steps down.

They don't mean it. Yet.
They don’t mean it. Yet.

He does so, and Parvati wins immunity. Ozzy gives a confessional about how foolish this was of Jason, because everyone is planning to vote him out anyway.

Here, children, is an example of what we call "dramatic irony."
Here, children, is an example of what we call “dramatic irony.”

Cirie knows that the fake guarantee now makes this a great time to blindside Ozzy. She brings this up to Parvati, Alexis, and Natalie. While Natalie and Alexis are instantly on board, Parvati has a few misgivings. She knows that Ozzy has a great chance to win, and she didn’t come back here to not win. But she also knows that Ozzy saved her early on in the game, and she’d be betraying her best friend Amanda and her guy James.

Ultimately, she’s in. Natalie and Alexis tell Jason that Ozzy still wants to vote him out, but that they have the numbers to vote out Ozzy.

At this point you may be wondering how the Black Widow Brigade can be formed on a vote that excluded one of their members, Amanda. But hey, they knew their girl was with a guy that was no good for her. And she wasn’t about to listen to them, because she was in loooooove.

Gross.
Gross.

So they cut him first and bring her in later.

Ozzy does start to feel a little uneasy. James tells him he has a bad feeling and reiterates that Parvati is rooting for girl power. Ozzy says he’s thinking about playing his idol.

At Tribal, Ozzy points out that this would be a good time to flush the idol. Cirie and Parvati are careful to talk about how crazy Jason was to make that deal. Since everyone already knows Ozzy has the idol, Jeff asks if Ozzy is more comfortable because he has the idol. Ozzy says he has a little big of comfort, but that he has to read the room. So Ozzy’s game now depends on his ability to read people. Hmmm. I wonder how that’ll work out.

Not great, Jeff.
Not great, Jeff.

Ultimately, Ozzy chooses not to play his idol. After some deliciously tricky vote reading by Jeff (it goes from four votes Jason to one vote Ozzy to four more Ozzy votes in a row), Ozzy is voted out. AND THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT REACTIONS, YOU GUYS.

survivor-micronesia-ozzyreacts1
Bitter devastation
survivor-micronesia-jasonreacts1
Short-lived glee
survivor-micronesia-erikreacts1
Loss of innocence
survivor-micronesia-jamesreacts1
Deja vu
survivor-micronesia-ciriereacts
Proud amusement
survivor-micronesia-amandareacts1
Heartbreak
Regret?
Regret?
survivor-micronesia-elizareacts1
ICONIC AMAZEMENT

With Amanda now unattached, the Black Widow Brigade is free to wreak havoc on Micronesia.

After the Ozzy vote, Parvati admits to James that she wants to take girls to the end. It’s a bit awkward, and it appears the showmance is dead. Parvati and Cirie work on Amanda as well. Amanda is just as mad as James, but plays it better. Parvati and Cirie console a skeptical Amanda and confirm that they still want to be the final three, and Amanda is back in the loop.

Amanda's new form
Amanda’s new form

Yadda yadda yadda, there’s an auction and Natalie makes the mistake of sending Jason to Exile, where it’s very likely that he’ll find a new hidden immunity idol. But that turns out to work in the women’s favor, as Natalie is able to make Jason think she sent him there on purpose to help him out. Jason, being an idiot and desperate for friends, eats this right up. Keep in mind that he also thinks Natalie et al. only voted out Ozzy because they were keeping their word to him for stepping down at the challenge. Meanwhile, the women know that- much like with Ozzy- this is probably their only chance to blindside Jason. If they can’t, they’ll vote out James. Because as Natalie says, as evil as women can be, they still want Erik to have a nice birthday.

They'll make up for it soon enough.
They’ll make up for it soon enough.

Conveniently, Erik wins immunity, giving him a nice birthday and freeing up Jason and James as targets for the women. It’s after the immunity challenge that Parvati gives the Black Widow Brigade their name.

It’s like the Black Widow Brigade. Like, all the girls are coming together and we’re spinning the guys around as much as we can. Just spinning them and spinning them until they don’t know which way is up. And then we’re devouring them one at a time.

Bow down, bitches.
Bow down, bitches.

Natalie does some more work on Jason, who fully trusts her because she “kept her word” last time by voting out Ozzy. Amanda maintains a relationship with James, but not to the point that she’s willing to write down Parvati’s name with him. She believes Jason won’t play his idol, and she’s in the Brigade now.

Amanda is correct; Jason does not play his idol, and he becomes the second of three men to be eliminated while in possession of some form of immunity.

Soon after, James is medically evacuated. But let’s be honest, he would have been next anyway. There’s not much evidence to suggest that he would have won immunity (obligatory reminder that Courtney Yates has won more individual immunities than James.) The only way this changed the game is that it became a final two instead of a final three. Sorry, Cirie.

When Erik wins immunity, the women are not happy to have to vote out their own. However, Cirie sees an opportunity to get rid of a big jury threat in Amanda (They, uh…they haven’t seen the end of Survivor: China at this point). Parvati won’t write Amanda’s name down, but Natalie, Alexis, and Erik are on board. But surprise! Amanda found a hidden immunity idol off-camera, and least interesting Brigadette Alexis goes home.

When Erik wins immunity again, things get really interesting. The surviving members of the Black Widow Brigade are devastated that they have to vote out one of their own again. But then Cirie proposes something crazy…what if they didn’t?

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.18.29 PM

See, even before Erik had won immunity, the women had begun to manipulate him. As the only other “fan” left in the game, Erik had started confiding in Natalie and asked her to send him to Exile if she wins reward. He promises to bring her on reward if he wins. Then Amanda starts guilt tripping Erik for trying to vote her out the night before. She says he doesn’t trust him anymore and she needs to regain his trust if they’re still going to be friends. He winds up promising to take her on reward.

Sure enough, Erik wins the Survivor nerd challenge, being one of the actual fans cast, and gets to bring someone with him. He picks Amanda, and Natalie is less than pleased.

When they get back, Erik turns to Cirie for advice, because Natalie won’t even look at him. Oh poor, sweet Erik. Cirie may look sweet, but haven’t you heard? She’s a gangster in an Oprah suit.

The groundwork laid, Cirie, Amanda, and Parvati convince Natalie to try to get Erik to give her his immunity necklace. She’s not sure why he would (and neither are we), but Amanda says to just keep saying how nobody trusts him and the jury is mad at him and this is his chance to redeem himself. Natalie still thinks no one would be that gullible when Parvati chimes in:

Ozzy, Jason, and Erik. Erik belongs in that threesome.

In Erik’s defense, he’s not into the idea at first. But it doesn’t take nearly as long to convince him as it should, since the idea is nonsense.

Poor fluffy-haired fool.
Poor fluffy-haired fool.

Predictably, Erik is promptly voted out and all the members of the Black Widow Brigade who matter make it to the final four.

The Impact:

Oh, you want to know the impact? How a team of bad ass women (plus Jason) worked together to blindside one of the most alpha of Survivor alpha males impacts Survivor? And how those women brought in their friend and then proceeded to make all the men (including Jason) look like idiots?

It’s an unfortunate truth that women often have to play the game differently than men. At the time that Micronesia aired, there had been six female winners in fifteen seasons. Most of those female winners were under-the-radar players, or were just not crazy.

Please don't kill me.
Please don’t kill me.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with an under the radar game. But up to this point, it looked like that was the only way for a woman to win the game. And we can’t have that, right? Parvati figured out that the way to win a dominant game was to bring her fellow women to the end, so that’s what she and Cirie did.

Is that really the lesson here? Let’s prove it. Who is the most dominant female winner ever?

You're goddamn right.
You’re goddamn right.

And how did she get there?

With ladiesssss.
With ladiesssss.

Now, Kim did have the advantage of a gender split season, but it was the third battle of the sexes and the first Survivor season ever with an all female final five.

Natalie Anderson, another strong female winner, did have a man in the final four, but was able to sit in the final three with all women. Like Parvati, she even voted out a girl’s boyfriend and still got that woman to take her to final tribal council.

While the Black Widow Brigade empowering women to play strong games is awesome, another one of their lasting impacts was striking fear into the hearts of men. Suddenly, the men of Survivor are terrified of becoming the next victim of a women’s alliance. Most notoriously, Parvati’s reputation worked to her advantage in Heroes Vs. Villians. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In Survivor: Cagayan, despite his otherwise huge numbers advantage, Tony became paranoid of a women’s alliance when he saw Tasha talking with Trish, Jefra, and Kass. In fact, he became so paranoid about the thought of a women’s alliance that he decided to flip on Jefra instead of taking his opportunity to vote out Spencer.

The Black Widow Brigade taught women that they can play a dominant game, taught men to fear women working together, and most importantly, taught us all to

I'm not even sorry.
I’m not even sorry.

What Else Made the List?

You can view all our 30 from 30 content by clicking here.

Emma
Follow me

Emma

Emma is the token chick of the Purple Rock Podcast. She has watched the show continuously since the second episode and is pretty sure she's never seen the pilot.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Micronesia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, China, Philippines

Favorite players: Courtney Yates, Parvati Shallow, John Cochran, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Kim Spradlin
Emma
Follow me
  • Ms_Woozah

    This is a masterpiece, Emma. ALL the kudos to you right now.

    You know I love me some Parvati and Cirie and Amanda but I wish Natalie was more fondly remembered by history as well. Her casual manipulation of Siska and Erik was masterful. Granted, they weren’t the sharpest tools in the toolshed, but I still wish I had her lying capabilities. I heard she was considered for Second Chance and I’m so sad she didn’t make the pool of 32.

    BOW DOWN, BITCHES.

    • sharculese

      I was seriously coming down here just to post that Natalie Bolton is one of the biggest Second Chances oversights as far as I’m concerned. Not only did she show a decent amount of game, but the ‘bite the throat’ speech is one of my favorite confessionals of all time.

      • purplerockpodcast

        You’re leaving out the super-awkward question she asked Parvati at final tribal council.

        • KeepCalmAndHodorOn

          John, how does your podcasting translate to the bedroom?

          • purplerockpodcast

            Surprisingly accurately, as it turns out.

        • Ms_Woozah

          super-awesome*

        • DrVanNostrand

          Best. Question. Ever. I barely understood what the hell she was talking about, but she definitely managed to come off as super creepy.

        • Kemper Boyd

          If you know who you are voting for why not ask a super awesome question like that? Honestly it read like she was asking “Hey, Parvati, you at all bi-curious? If so, my room Ponderosa, tonight”.

          • purplerockpodcast

            That’s exactly what it read like. And I think a lot of you are getting the impression that I didn’t enjoy that question (or the implications). Not true! I loved it.

            I think Andy and I may have discussed this on the podcast before, but it’s funny that Probst goes so far to claim that Parvati is this massive flirt that manipulates the men. Because judging by Micronesia, it looks like her flirting had the most success with the women.

          • Kemper Boyd

            From my experience as a woman, close female friendships involve some flirting. Because flirting is about building up the other person’s confidence and interest in you, which is exactly the same as what you need to do in Survivor to make solid alliances which don’t turn on you.
            Parvati knows exactly how to massage the egos of other players, it comes across as flirting but isn’t really.

          • purplerockpodcast

            Male friendships work the same way. I’m constantly having to tell Andy that his jeans are really flattering.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Also I’m glad other people read it as dirtily as I do. Because the way Natalie said it was really dirty.

          • purplerockpodcast

            I actually thought that maybe as a straight male I was just being hopeful in reading it that way.

          • sharculese

            Oh yeah, the subtext of that question is very obviously “how do you like to fuck?”

          • Kemper Boyd

            Was reading an old interview with Parvati and found this:

            Reality TV World: What were you thinking when Natalie asked you that odd final Tribal Council question?

            Parvati: I think she was trying to pick me up. Maybe take me on a date when I got back, I don’t know.

            So we read it the same way as Parvati!

          • purplerockpodcast

            Well, she probably knew that Parvati would soon have a lot more money to spend if they did go on a date. Plus, you could do a lot worse than Parvati, so good for Natalie for aiming high. Maybe she saw Billy Garcia and thought “I can do better than that!”

          • Kemper Boyd

            Don’t ask doesn’t get my friend. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t get to go out with Parvati, that’s the same outcome as not asking! Anf the best outcome is Natalie finds out the answer to her own question about Parvati’s gameplay being reflected in the bedroom…

      • andythesaint

        I think the issue was that Natalie was too mean. There was real anger in her that didn’t come across well. So even is she had been up for Second Chance, it would have been tough for her to get the votes.

        • DrVanNostrand

          You’re probably right. As we found out with Shane, a lot of voters had a real problem with mean/negative people, even though he was an amazing character.

          • andythesaint

            It might make sense for them to do a HvV2 with the next vote, to force people to vote for those with negatives in their edits.

          • DrVanNostrand

            This might be the best idea you’ve ever had.

          • purplerockpodcast

            Low bar.

          • andythesaint

            I know what my worst idea was: rhymes with hodcast boast.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yet Abi-Maria is there…

          • Barbara Anderson

            Abi-Maria gets a lot of benefit from being on a well-liked season. Also, the ballot for the women returnees was on the weaker side. So, two women villains were almost shoe-ins. Yet, someone pointed out that on the men side, any man that had a sorta “evil” and/or “crazy” edit didn’t get voted back in.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Micronesia isn’t a well liked season? I guess it’s just a lot longer ago. Everything you said makes sense. Your points are very sound.
            I would also add that there is a deeper pool of men, because the men who are booted earlier often get a more complete edit than women who fall in the same places. This goes back to Probst’s comments on “having hit more on men” being bullshit, it’s just that they are more likely to be given an edit that makes them look like a person, not a number.

          • Barbara Anderson

            I think Micronesia is well liked amongst the casuals for the favorites, not the fans. They get see Parvati’s victory, the greatest love story since Romeo and Juliet in Ozzy and Amanda, and Cirie being awesome. Other than that, I could see a lot of casuals not remembering Natalie despite her placing fourth. I bet they barely remember Erik before Caramoan.

          • Kemper Boyd

            It has some of the best moments in the show. It’s very memorable and often very high up on online fans season rankings.

          • Barbara Anderson

            I’m not doubting that. I just know, as a former casual fan, the only memories that I have of Micronesia is Ozzy, Amanda, Cirie, and Parvati.

          • andythesaint

            What Barbara said.

          • Kemper Boyd

            As I said above to Barbara plus the fact that Abi was a good villain, that she added a layer to the season that would have been missing without her; Natalie did not, without her it would just have been Cirie or Parvati gloating a bit more about those moves. I still love her though.

      • Diego Armando

        I’m fine her not being there. She creeped the hell out of me and pretty much gave up at final four. Seriously, Christina Cha put up more of a fight than she did.

        • sharculese

          Yeah, I’ll grant you that that way she just kind of folds at 4 is really bad.

        • purplerockpodcast

          There wasn’t much fight she could put up at final four. It’s likely that she thought Amanda was the target, since they didn’t realize what a final tribal disaster Amanda would be. But other than winning individual immunity, Natalie had no real way to save herself. She may even have made some strong, valid arguments to the other women, but they didn’t make air because they weren’t important enough to the narrative.

          • Diego Armando

            That is probably the case. She is still incredibly creepy though.

      • Kemper Boyd

        AMEN. if they ever manage another HvV she deserves a spot on villains. I thought she was the only fan who should ever have returned.

    • DrVanNostrand

      If Natalie was in the 32, I would’ve voted for her every day. I was only really excited about 7 or 8 of the women on that list.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Over Abi-Maria every day of the week.

  • Purplerockmatt

    Alexis may have been the least interesting, but that was only because she was busy Single White Female-ing Amanda that the show wasn’t sure how much it could show on screen

    • andythesaint

      Who is the fifth Black Widow: Alexis, since she was the first eliminated, or Amanda, who was the last to join, the first one targeted, and least enthusiastic?

      • Purple Rock Emma

        That’s a good question. Personally, I think I’d have to say Amanda, even though our collective memories would probably prefer it be Alexis.

        • andythesaint

          I think I agree with you.

        • sharculese

          Does it hurt Alexis’s reputation that she goes out before Erik? I agree with you that she’s more essential to what the black widows are than Amanda, but I’d say tricking Erik is probably the emblematic black widow move, and Amanda gets to have her fingers all over it while Alexis does not.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Yes, that definitely what hurts her the most. It’s a tough call to make; there are definitely arguments on both sides.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I think it’s Alexis, Amanda was in on the groundfloor when it was just Parvati, her and Cirie. Those others were total hangers on (except I fucking loved Natalie Bolton).

  • andythesaint

    The fear of a women’s alliance, as you say, is the biggest thing to come from this. Not only did the women beat the men here, they made them look like the biggest fools in the history of Survivor. This is what every frail male ego fears.

    • KeepCalmAndHodorOn

      And talk about impact: despite the fact that there has never been anything close to a successful women’s alliance outside of a gender divided season besides Micronesia, players and fans to this day still talk about it as a legitimate fear.

      • Other Scott

        True, but I think the guys on One World probably wished they had been more legitimately scared of the potential women’s alliance. Paranoia is probably a good thing on Survivor.

      • andythesaint

        It’s a tough call: it SEEMS asinine and reactionary that people are afraid of women’s alliances when they hardly ever happen, but maybe they hardly ever happen because of the fear? It’s like what Boston Rob said in Redemption Island: if a group of people start bonding over some shared trait, be part of that trait until you can bust it up. Obviously, with gender, you can’t do that, so maybe just skip ahead to part two.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Sophie Clarke talked about how she wasn’t hugely into religion but had to put herself in all the prayer circles and God talk because it united her tribe (and alliance) and she didn’t want to be obviously outside that.

          • purplerockpodcast

            Yeah, but she really couldn’t follow Boston Rob’s suggestion there- she and Cochran were basically the only ones that weren’t into the religious stuff. They were vastly outnumbered. Plus, she needed to go along with it because those people were eventually going to become jurors.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Well I suppose you go along with it until you break it up or like Sophie suck it up and act like it’s ok if you can’t break it up. She did the right thing because she won I guess.

          • purplerockpodcast

            Right. If she had said “Cut it with the prayers, you freaks!”, she likely would struggle to win the votes of said freaks.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yep, plus with God, you have a good thing to hold over them. You can always say “you say you are a good Christian but…”

        • sharculese

          I’m trying to figure out where in the seasons after Micronesia I can see it happening and I’m not sure there’s a place it does. I really think Micronesia presents a really unique confluence of factors, one of which is Parvati – she really forces that alliance into being in way that requires a lot of skill. So by my list (minus Heroes v. Villains):

          NOT HAPPENING
          Blood vs. Water & SJDJ – this feels self explanatory

          ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT HAPPENING
          Redemption Island & South Pacific – the personalities of the returning players are just way too dominant, and I can’t see an alliance of women forming in those orbits
          Caramoan – I think the Favorites (minus Francesca) are all way too eager to use Philip as a shield for a plan that involves freezing him out to come together
          Tocantins – Just loses too many women too quickly. This is actually one of the factors I think is big for the black widows – Survivor has an unfortunate tendency in the premerge to default to “we keep losing, better vote out some women,” and the circumstances of Micronesia mitigate against that happening.

          PROBABLY NOT, BUT HARDER TO ARTICULATE WHY
          Cagayan & Worlds Apart – I feel like the 3 tribe format might be part of the answer in ways I’m having trouble expressing, but honestly, just look at the women who are left after the merge in these seasons and tell me they get together.

          SCREW THIS, I REFUSE TO THINK ABOUT IT
          Gabon – There’s so little of Gabon I can make sense of and I’m not going to try.

          So that leaves 3 where I think it’s possible to varying degrees, but it takes a lot of ifs.

          Samoa – I’m actually most confident on this one with the huge if that it probably would have required Shambo to have started on Foa Foa and any one of the Foa Foa women to have started on Galu. But given that, I can totally see the Galu women holding strong post-merge and running the table.

          Nicaragua – Big maybe. I think a lot of those women have reasons to want to work together, the question is can they see them quickly enough. If Brenda comes into the merge less cocky than she does than maaaybe this happens.

          Philippines Again, I think the three tribe format makes this harder, and the fact that there’s no real swap here is another barrier. IF Dana doesn’t get medequitted and IF the Kalabaw women somehow win over Denise and IF they can accelerate the timetable on Lisa flipping it could happen but those are such colossal ifs I’m not confident saying it happens even 1 time out of 100.

          • andythesaint

            It was certainly possible in World’s Apart if Sierra had joined with Shirin, Jenn, and Hali for more than just chats. Carolyn was a no go. But if they use Joe’s vote, they could’ve made that happen.

          • Other Scott

            I think Jenn and Hali might have screwed themselves out of trying a woman’s alliance when they idoled Kelly instead of Mike. It’s not certain (it’s probably not even likely) that Kelly would have joined with them after that, but they had a better chance with her than Carolyn to get the majority I think. They tried it with Sierra, they just didn’t have the numbers with the Rodney 4 + Mike and Dan on the other side.

          • sharculese

            On paper and based on what the show was giving us, I would agree, but knowing what we know now- that every time this came up Sierra was like ‘I can’t go with you guys, all of you would beat me in the end,’ I’m less sure.

            Which was sort of the point I was trying to make – there are all sorts of reasons for any one woman to not be on board with a women’s alliance, which means it doesn’t take very much at all to stop it from happening, especially if you’ve had no discussion of the idea pre-merge.

          • andythesaint

            Pre-merge is probably the time for a women’s alliance. Instead of buying in to the idea that women are weak and need to go early, why not align and find a guy who wants to stand out among the alphas?

            But you’re right about women having other interests than aligning according to gender (which is fine). Particularly when there’s multiple women vying for the UTR spot. They don’t want to step out like that, because they want alphas to hide behind.

          • sharculese

            I agree, if it’s gonna happen, pre-mege is probably the time it needs to happen.

            But the more I think about this the more I feel like gender is just too slim of a foundation to build an alliance on (see e.g. Malcolm in Caramoan.) The connecting thread between Micronesia and One World probably is the most obvious thing – that they feature elite-level social players who get to pick which direction the game goes because almost everyone thinks they’re part of her end game.

          • Other Scott

            The problem with the woman’s alliance in Samoa is you have to convince Natalie White that it’s in her best interests to separate from Russell Hantz, and I don’t think you were going to do that. Otherwise, all you got is Kelly, Monica and Laura, and 3 isn’t really enough to run a woman’s alliance. The men on Galu had them outnumbered.

            Maybe is they actually were able to get rid of Russell at final 11, they could have used Natalie as a swing vote at final 7 (after eliminating Mick, Jaison and Shambo), and take her with them into the final 4. I guess that’s the way the woman’s alliance would have to happen that season.

          • sharculese

            Right that’s the if the game starts with Shambo on Foa Foa and one of like Marissa or Betsy on Galu part. I’m not denying this whole thing is highly speculative because I don’t really think a women’s alliance is coming together in any of these seasons.

    • Kemper Boyd

      There has been fear of a women’s alliance since before the BWB. In fact I remember the pre-series stuff for Micronesia Jeff went on about how Ami would be trying to put a women’s alliance together and a women’s alliance is a dangerous thing. Basically Jeff hates Ami (and maybe women).

      • Barbara Anderson

        Well, putting together a strong women’s alliance was Ami’s big calling card from Vanuatu. Her problem was keeping the alliance strong with each other. The fact that the BWB was able to succeed without her probably haunts her to this day.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Absolutely, I just always find the difference between how Jeff spoke about that alliance attempt and the BWB quite funny. I’ve always wondered if it’s to do with Parvati’s attractiveness or just his straight up dislike for Ami.

          • andythesaint

            Results matter too. Ami took her eye off the ball and lost. Parv won.

          • Kemper Boyd

            This is very true. But Jeff hates Ami.

          • Barbara Anderson

            I wonder how much of that was because of her sexual orientation or because she may have screwed Julie over for the win.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Ami is an interesting one, because her sexuality isn’t really touched on. As far as I remember she is Bisexual but it’s not really mentioned beyond the loved ones visit being her girlfriend.

          • Barbara Anderson

            Sorry, I need to clarify. I mean Jeff hates her either because of her sexual orientation or the fact that she screwed over Julie.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Probably the Julie thing. And her being a woman.

          • Barbara Anderson

            Haha! Good call.

          • Purplerockmatt

            well Ami’s alliance strong-armed Ami into taking her eye off the ball, and she targeted the one vote she couldn’t lose instead. If she wanted to keep Chris for one more vote (which she didn’t) she would’ve been fine had she targeted Twila or Scout, because Eliza was only flipping if she was in the line of fire

  • Barbara Anderson

    Emma, I knew this was you based on the first Beyonce gif. This is a piece of beauty!

  • Kemper Boyd

    Great piece Emma. This is where I became a huge Survivor fan, seeing the douche Ozzy taken out then them running through the guys (who cares about Alexis) hooked me. Obviously I am still sore that Cirie got robbed by that surprise final 2.

    • purplerockpodcast

      A Parvati-Cirie-Amanda final three would have been amazing. A Parvati-Cirie final two would have been even more amazing, because Ozzy wouldn’t have been able to give Amanda a pity vote.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Poor shitty Amanda, the one of the best 38 day players in Survivor history and the worst day 39 player. Cirie v Parvati is the FTC we’ve all been robbed of; it would have been one for the ages. I still think Parvati’s HvV FTC performance was superb but the jury were too bitter, she should have won really.

        • DrVanNostrand

          I must disagree about HvV. If you’re watching the jury that season, it’s obvious that going to the end with Sandra is a loser’s game. If anything, it was Russell that fucked her game because he couldn’t understand that the jury would vote for Sandra in a blowout (because he’s terrible at Survivor). She caught a bad break by having to be tethered to Russell, but you never deserve to win when you go to the end with someone the jury obviously likes better than you. I agree her FTC performance was very good, though.

          • sharculese

            The person in that FTC who seems most down on Parvati sitting next to Russell in the final tribal is Candice, and I think we can all agree things Candice says are not necessarily reflective of reality.

          • purplerockpodcast

            Right, but booting Sandra and keeping Jerri probably would’ve been enough to get Parvati the win.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Yeah, at least Parvati knew that it was a mistake to take Sandra to the end, but not being able to do anything to stop it hurts her cause.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I see why the jury voted for Sandra BUT purely on game I think Parvati played better than anyone else. Really her best move would have been to have forced the tie with Jerri and let it go to fire making, because I think Parvati v Russell v Jerri looks a lot more like a Parvati victory.

          • DrVanNostrand

            I just don’t buy bitter jury arguments. A Survivor’s job is to evaluate the jury, figure out their motivation for voting, and go to the end with people they can beat. Jurors can and do decide to vote for any reason they want, which is often not based “purely on game”. Your scenario is exactly what she needed to do. Her only better scenario was to go with Russell and Danielle, but Russell fucked that one up a few votes earlier because he’s terrible at Survivor (not that it mattered for him, everyone but Russell knew he was the ultimate goat).

          • andythesaint

            And the fact that Parvati was powerless to stop Russell from eliminating Danielle puts a dent into the argument that she was controlling the game. She probably oversold the level of control she had over Russell, and the jury may have seen that.

          • sharculese

            I would say that the battle for control between Parvati and Russell is really pretty even, but Russell is way better at being showy about it. Forcing Russell to vote for Candice is every bit as impressive and impactful as what Russell does to Danielle, but the latter plays out in front of the jury and the former happens at camp, so Russell ends up looking more powerful than Parvati even if that probably isn’t true.

      • sharculese

        I don’t think Ozzy is pity voting for Amanda so much as spite voting against Parvati.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          I think it was loooooove voting Amanda.

          • sharculese

            It can be two things!

  • gouis

    Can’t wait for black widow 2.0 when Kass, Abi-Maria, and Shirin make it to the final 3.

    • DrVanNostrand

      That would make me so happy, but I am 100% certain no such thing could ever happen.

      • purplerockpodcast

        Substitute Peih Gee for Abi Maria and I’m in. But I would bet my life savings that neither of those scenarios actually come to fruition.

        • gouis

          Why not both?