Brad shares the best bonus scenes from the previous episode of Survivor: Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang.
This Week In Secret Scenes
Got nothin’ for ya. Head on to the confessionals.
This Week In Confessionals
“Two Threats Is Better Than One”
Alison breaks down the oft-discussed topic of timing your moves by pondering whether Gabby’s decision to target Christian is actually best for her own game. It’s the best move for Gabby, Alison readily admits, as Gabby hasn’t been perceived as an equal partner in the Hubicki-Pascuzzi pairing. And not only does Gabby needs Christian to not be at the end in order to win the game, but eliminating Christian at this Tribal gives Gabby enough time to make moves on her own and truly cement her arguments as a strategist at FTC. The timing of it all is what would allow Gabby to avoid the fates of, say, Hannah and Ken who turned on David at the last possible moment and never showed how they would have operated without David by their sides.
But Alison brings it back to Alison; it’s her confessional after all. Would voting out Christian be best for Alison? It sounds like both Christian and Alison have discussed how they’re the two biggest targets on the island and are effectively each other’s shields. So does Alison want to drop her shield this early in the game? Or will she regret waiting to target Christian? The irony here is that, while his plans didn’t come to pass, Christian was actively targeting Alison as this confessional was being recorded. Which brings us back to the first rule of Survivor:
Don’t pour out the rice Don’t tell people you have an idol Get to getting before you get got. Being vulnerable is better than being eliminated.
The other bit that was tucked away in the midst of all this is that Angelina is seen as the pawn of Nick and Davie (described as a pair), but Angelina’s craftiness is contrasted to Christian’s and Davie’s with no mention of Nick’s. So presumably, Davie is seen as the superior player between him and Nick (at least, according to Alison). Take stock of these perceptions and relationships as we make the turn into the final two weeks of the season.
“Another Data Point”
In the same vein, Christian describes how Nick and Angelina picking Davie and Mike helped illuminate relationships in the game. Seeing who’s selected to go on reward has always been informative, but Mike, the vegetarian, is picked for yet another barbecue/fried chicken/meat-centric reward. And Christian says what other players have mentioned before: Angelina is very transparently calculated in what she does. Not to mention that Nick explicitly states in front of everyone that he and Davie made a Day 1 agreement to take each other on the Loved Ones reward. And wasn’t that the day that Mason-Dixon was formed, asks Christian. Why, yes; yes, it was (as well as Country Breakfast or whatever Elizabeth+Nick was called, plus the probably eight other unnamed alliances that never made it to air). And so Christian wonders if his decision to boot Carl will help him in long run; will Nick’s other alliances win out over the one he
has had with Christian? But questioning Nick’s loyalty is weird when you, ya know, literally just betrayed him by voting out Carl (and here’s Nick on how that most recent boot helped him pick Davie; rewind to hear how perennial losers Nick and Angelina enjoyed their first win in a while). If Christian has any doubts about Nick’s loyalty, just wait until they get back to camp from this tribal.
“The Underdog of Underdogs”
I know that while almost everyone agreed that Gabby needed to make this move at some point, there was (might have been?) some discussion about whether the timing was right. Or maybe it was about something else, I don’t really know. Once I see Andy threading his tweets/comments, I skip over it. But Gabby says about her game what Alison says above and additionally adds that this decision here would make her path to the end harder (ya know, if it was successful. It’s hard to win when you’re at Ponderosa). But the trade off for the harder path is a better shot at FTC should she make it there. She wants it to be clear that while she benefitted from the Big Movez™ of her allies, she wasn’t dragged to the Final 3. And so she’ll have to dispatch Christian (and Alison next).
“Speak Strategy Freely”
Speak freely they did. Kara knew going into Tribal exactly how the votes would fall, which I interpret to mean that Kara was on board with Gabby going home. I don’t quite understand the thought process there, but that is built on the edit-presented axiom that Kara’s closest ally is Alison, who’s closely bonded to Gabby. Getting rid of an ally of an ally doesn’t seem to help your cause.
The two counter-arguments here are (1) that Kara might think that Gabby could still be helping Christian, who Kara wants out, though at this point Kara has heard Gabby say that Christian needs to go. Alternatively, (2) Kara could have been told information and had no power to stop the plan or change the vote. If the four people who went on the Loved Ones reward are set in how they’ll be voting, then the best case scenario is a rock draw. The alternative is Gabby, Alison, and Kara move their votes onto Davie and hope that Christian would flush his idol so that Christian is weakened, Davie is gone in a 3-2-2-1 vote, and Gabby sticks around. But as Kara says, there’s just too much going on. Keep it simple and Stick To The Plan: vote for Christian.
“It’s A Calming Chaos”
Davie thinks that because of the personalities that are left in the game, everything is whipping around in a frenzy of strategic deceit but in a “tactful” way. He lists by name Dan, Alec, Carl (?), Elizabeth, and John as agents of chaos who would have incited “screaming back at camp” had they still been in the game. And while this isn’t a big revelatory insight into the game, I think this is a good encapsulation of this season, particularly the post-merge. Craziness all round, but the players who were more personality than gameplay are gone and the people who are more strategic than showy have stuck around. This “calming chaos” also reflects the fact that most of the best moments this season have been saved for Tribal, particularly some of the votes that have led most people to rate this yet-unfinished season as “upper half.”
Nick, Christian, Mike, Alison, Gabby, and Angelina share how their Loved Ones helped them gain perspective. Trends within trends include discussing the distrust among other players, remembering that there are only nine more days to go, and the phrase “100% in my corner.” These are, for the most part, interchangeable confessionals with the exception of Angelina’s, wherein she says that her Loved One was supposed to be her husband and that while she was more than happy to see her mom, this is part of what it means to be a military spouse.
This Week At Ponderosa
“Defeated But Not Dejected”
I only have a few things for this Ponderosa. (1) Elizabeth rushing out to the dock when another woman finally arrived at Ponderosa was, uh, quite good. (2) The sombreros: where did they come from? (3) I would like more footage of players shooting the shit when they’re out of the game because everyone is a paranoid, emotional wreck when they’re still playing. Gabby sounds like someone who will not hesitate to roast you, and that’s very much the kind of person I’m down to watch.
Also, Gabby is a tea person and not a coffee person, but she’s isn’t the best kind of person, which is a caffeine-free person.
This Week In Gifable Moments
When your post-doc friends are trying to come up with a replacement for the Galaxy Brain meme but are just making it overly complicated in a very masturbatory display of their intelligence.
When you notice that your cat has been looking at you like it could and would murder you for the last five minutes.
When your friend got the new Smash and they hand you the Joycons, so you try to stall and look around for a Pro controller that isn’t there before caving and taking the L.
When you’re allowed to ask one question to George Tarleton.
Brad (formerly known as Taako from Teevhii) has watched every season live but was too young to remember the first ten seasons (and is only saying that to make you all feel bad). He treats Wednesday nights like a religious observance and wonders if he can finagle that into a tax benefit.
Favorite Seasons: Winners At War, Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Cambodia, Micronesia
Favorite Players: Kelley Wentworth, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Kim Spradlin, Denise Stapley, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates, Yul Kwon, Charlie Herschel