Player of the week: Tata, the bushman
+6 Brenda Lowe
+5 Andrea Boehlke
+4 Erik Reichenbach
-7 Sherri Beithman
-8 Laura Alexander
I said last week that he might be the worst social player of all time. Now after some reassessing, I think he might also be the laziest player of all time, and the least concerned with winning the game since B.B. Anderson from Borneo, the first season ever. Demanding someone brings you rice in the shelter after someone else has fetched the water, boiled it and cooked the rice? These are the sort of mistakes an angsty teenager would make if he was playing Survivor with his mum. Frankly, I wish he hadn't been medivacced because it would have been interesting to see Sherri most likely try campaign to keep Shamar. However, I'm more than glad to see him go.
Laura’s the first player I've been upset to see go this season. She was one of very few fans who I liked and felt was playing rather well, though that’s not to say she didn't make some mistakes. It was a poor decision for her to call out Reynold's “bulge” during tribal council, rather than in a more beneficial time. If Shamar had not been medivacced, Laura would have been safe this week because I believe the tribe felt Shamar was expendable.
He has officially gone off the rails. We’d seen him losing it in every single episode preview, and sure enough, it isn't just hype. There is no way this preview is more misrepresentation. Things were looking up for him after Andrea and Cochran had approached him about including him in their alliance, and Phillip had officially anointed him “The Conqueror". But now, it looks as though he won’t be conquering anything but the rice pot. Goodbye, Brandon. Barring a miracle, you’re almost certainly on your way out.
Things have absolutely flipped for Sherri now, and she is in deep trouble. Her Phillip was medivacced and then the tribe voted out Laura. Though Laura wasn't necessarily a huge asset to Sherri, I believe Sherri should have done everything in her power to keep her around because voting out Laura shows the tribe now values strength over trust. Sherri is effectively the new Laura.
Reynold and Eddie have cracked the alliance and finally have something to celebrate. Reynold can now hope to make a tribe switch. However, he still only has one close ally and he now no longer has the security of a hidden immunity idol. If Reynold makes it to the merge, I suspect he’ll be the first voted out since nobody will want him hogging that necklace. Things are looking a little better for Reynold, but he’s still in a less than desirable position.
Eddie is still very much in the exact same boat as Reynold. However, if he can manage to make it to the merge, I believe he’ll be in a better scenario than Reynold for two reasons. Firstly, he’ll be perceived as the smaller physical threat, secondly, he’ll most likely be received more positively from the other players and won’t come across as a strategic threat or a schemer like Reynold does.
Who is this woman and what is she doing on this island? Is she a contestant or a crew member? Seriously, she has had so little screen time and the few confessionals she’s had have been very generic and far from eye-opening. I have no idea where this woman’s head is at and I have no idea if she’s even good at Survivor. Julia will almost certainly have a free pass if the fans go to tribal council again. If they choose to vote on strength, Sherri will be going home, and if they choose to vote on loyalty, Eddie or Reynold will be going home. What Julia has going for her is that she presents herself as being very normal. She’s not physically dominant or weak, she’s not particularly likable or dislikable. Being normal can be very helpful in Survivor. Yul Kwon always stresses the importance of working with players who you can predict, understand and are ultimately normal.
I’m not entirely sure what to say about Brenda at this point. I don’t really know where her loyalties lie, who she’s close with, and who wants to work with her. In her secret scene from last week, she called herself a “free agent” and while I feel this is a smart approach to take after finding herself on the wrong side of the numbers, I’m just not sure if anyone wants to sign her.
‘The Silent One’ is an absolutely fitting title for Erik this season. I don’t know what’s happened to him since Micronesia but this is not the same Erik we saw last time. In Micronesia, Erik was this excitable wide eyed kid who couldn't contain himself. He embodied what it meant to be a Survivor fan more than anyone else out there. This time though, he just doesn't seem to have that same spark. Even when Phillip was formerly inducting him into Stealth R Us, he seemed uninterested and almost distant. I really hope something happens soon to boost his spirits.
For a man who runs an alliance named “Stealth R Us”, this man should perhaps learn to employ a little subtlety. There’s no harm in Phillip bringing Brenda, Erik and Brandon into the gang just to make them feel comfortable and secure, but it was an absolute boneheaded move to do it in front of everyone and anyone. That makes his attempt to appease each of them so clearly transparent, while also upsetting your core alliance. I’m just waiting for this whole operation to blow up in his face again, whether it’s next week or at final tribal council.
While I don’t necessarily agree with all of Matt’s decisions and his thought process so far, it’s clear that Matt has been fundamental in every decision his tribe has made thus far. If he continues like this, he may gain a great deal of respect from the jury, or a great deal of hate. Matt has now begun working with the cool kids to some extent and this could turn out to be a great move or a terrible move for him. Only time will tell.
Andrea needs to relax and realise what a good position she’s sitting in. Don’t target Corinne when there’s three other players you should be more worried about and aren't even in your alliance. Don’t get frustrated and paranoid when Phillip recruits new members to Stealth R Us and recognise they are only members of Stealth and not members of her real alliance. The game has been kind to her so far, so she should not try to control it. Not just yet.
Of all the fans, Michael is still in the best spot. At this moment, he has established and maintained good enough relationships with everyone and could choose to work with any one of them. He’s somewhat of a social chameleon. If he makes it to the merge, he has the same advantage as Julia in that he can straddle the middle and not appear threatening. This combined with his social strength could prove to be a very effective combination.
Corinne’s still looking like she’s in a good enough position but it’s still a concern that Andrea targeted her last week. I still don’t really see why Andrea feels threatened by Corinne.
I don’t really think much has changed for Dawn since last week, but next week I suspect will be a very different story. The preview shows Brandon will be creating an astronomical amount of drama and we all know how Dawn responds to drama. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Nothing’s changed really for Malcolm this week. He still has the idol, he’s still working to shake that stigma of being a mystery, he’s still kicking ass in challenges, and he’s still looking glorious with beach hair and a buff.
1. John Cochran (Last Week: 1st)
Nothing has changed for Cochran either. Frankly, it’s been an incredibly easy journey so far for Cochran and everyone in his alliance. They've won every reward challenge and every immunity since the first. Rob Cesternino said in his ‘Survivor: Know-it-alls’ recap with Stehen Fishbach that it seemed more as if they were on Gilligan’s Island rather than Survivor, and I couldn't agree more.
Written by Robert Milner.