Another episode of Survivor: Micronesia, another blindside! At this rate, we should really be shocked when somebody who should go home actually does! I'm going to head right onto the observations because I'm pressed for time, so here we go...
1. Nasty Natalie. For weeks I've been talking about how Natalie is flying under the radar more than other Survivor I can remember. Well, apparently with a week and a half to go she's decided to shed her quiet exterior and show the world exactly what she's about!
"I want to floss my teeth with his jugular!"
Um... okay? I have to say that Natalie's solo interviews were some of the weirdest I've ever seen on the show. Her comments kept fluctuating between being bizarre, annoying, and supremely cocky. Over all, they were pretty painful to watch and definitely didn't help her win over any fans. The more I think about it, I don't see any possible way she ends up winning over a jury at the end, especially since she was dumb enough to vote off the one person she had a fighting chance against, in Jason.
2. Dumb and Dumber. I've officially given up on trying to figure out Jason. At this point, it's about as useless as trying to understand why a dog sniffs its butt. We're just on two different wavelengths. I mean, after he found out that the hidden immunity idol had be replanted on Exile Island, he should've been BEGGING Natalie to send him there. Instead, he was giving her puppy dog eyes and trying to pull every stunt in the book to avoid being sent there.
Let's say Jason finds the idol (which he did) and won one of the next two immunity challenges (which we'll never find out). That puts him in the final six with five women and next to no competition in the remaining two immunity challenges. If anybody ever had a shot of winning their way into the final, it would have been him, right? How could he not have realized that?
Like I've said many times, the majority of the fans are clearly either inbred or were exposed to massive amounts of lead paint as a child, so I'm giving Jason a pass for not realizing he had just been given a huge opportunity. What I absolutely will not excuse is a veteran player like James practically giving up instead of pulling off a major turnaround and sending one of the girls packing. Remember how all the girls were openly talking about their plan to trick Jason into not playing the idol right in front of James and Erik? This was a 14 karat golden opportunity for James and Erik to prolong their life in this game.
Here's what actually happened. The girls, unsure of whether or not Jason was going to play the idol, split their vote between Jason and James. This was extremely smart of them, because it eliminated their chances of getting nailed by the idol. In addition, Natalie was able to sucker Jason into voting for James, and Erik was completely content to play the spineless tag-along like he has all game and voted for Jason. James decided to be defiant and throw down a vote for Parvati. Jason didn't play the idol and was voted out with four votes. James had three, and Parvati had one.
Now let's say that James and Erik hadn't decided to go quietly into the night and let the girls run the show. Let's say they went and told Jason that the girls were teaming up against the guys and that Natalie was a complete rat who was just playing him. Again, we're talking about Jason here - talking him into something should be child's play. Together, they could plan to all vote out Parvati, or whatever girl they please, and have Jason play the idol. With the girls splitting the votes, it would have gone like this...
Jason: 3 votes, Parvati: 3 votes, James: 2 votes. Jason plays the idol, cancelling out his votes, and Parvati is sent packing.
Seriously, it was THAT easy. Furthermore, if you're Erik and Jason, you've just given the fans a 4-3 numbers advantage! At this point if you're Alexis and Natalie how do you not flop back, knock out Erik at the final four and head into the final with Jason? With just a minor amount of effort the game could've been completely flipped on its head! But no, James and Erik just had to go with the flow, and I can guarantee that at least one of them, probably both, will end up paying dearly for it.
Before moving on, I would like to point out that Jason violated two rules in The Survivor Manifesto...
Rule #2: Never tell anyone, and I mean, ANYONE that you have the hidden immunity idol unless you need to use it as leverage to gain allies in an impending tribal council.
Rule #3: If everyone knows you have the hidden immunity idol, you must play it at the next tribal council in which you do not hold immunity. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Is it any surprise he got voted off? Do not mess with The Manifesto, folks.
3. The Road to the Million. I kick myself a little harder each week for not going with my pre-season premiere gut and taking Amanda as my pick. Right now, things are shaping up more beautifully than I ever would have imagined. All along, I've been saying that Amanda and Parvati should team up with the girls to take out Ozzy, James, and the rest of the guys. I knew that this would make them very, very disliked, but that in the end they would be viewed as partners in crime and good strategists. If they could string along somebody that wasn't overly respectable like Jason or Natalie, the game was theirs.
Well, my strategy has completely fallen apart, because Parvati has been a major violator of the newest rule in The Survivor Manifesto!
Rule #5: If you're going to screw over a large amount of jury members, you better not do it alone. Always have a sidekick to share the blame with.
There have been plenty of rats in Survivor history who have won the million, but without exception, each rat has always had a partner in crime. Richard Hatch made sure he had somebody who was even more disliked than he was. Brian had Clay to share the Heat with in Thailand. Even Todd, last season, was able to pawn most of the backstabbing off on Amanda. When you end up being the only rat, like Boston Rob in All-Stars, Twila in Vanuatu, or Stephenie in Guatamala, you're completely done for!
At this point, I'm not sure Parvati would be able to win against anyone. She's burned too many bridges. Without Amanda to share in the blame, everyone is focused solely on her as the reason they're on the jury. Amanda, on the other hand, is coming out extremely squeaky clean. Even though she was just as guilty in the latest plot to knock out Jason or James, I think both of those guys would clearly vote for her over Parvati now. If Amanda can just manage to make it into the final, the game should be hers. The question is whether or not the other girls realize this and will make a play to oust her.
So here's Amanda's new road to the million...
1. Vote out James or Erik. They absolutely have to go, A.S.A.P.
2. Vote out whichever of the two are left. If that person had immunity, knock out the next person on the chopping block. Get them out as soon as they don't have immunity.
3. Ideally, Natalie goes here. The key for Amanda is to keep Alexis in the game as "the threat" to keep the focus off her. At this point, I honestly believe that Amanda will beat any of the girls left and doesn't have to worry about Alexis winning her way into the final. She's got Ozzy and James wrapped up. If Alexis is in with her, that means either Parvati or Cirie is on the jury, which is another vote. At that point, she just needs one more vote, which I think she can easily get, especially considering that she hasn't screwed over a single person yet.
However, I'm sure Parvati and Cirie will be gunning for Alexis, so I doubt Amanda will be able to get Natalie out here. The saving grace at this point is that Parvati and Cirie can't turn on her yet, because it could easily end up as a 2-2 tie in the final four with Alexis and Natalie. So Alexis is most likely gone.
4. Win Immunity or hope that her alliance stays stupidly loyal. I can't imagine that Parvati and Cirie would be dumb enough to take her into the final over Natalie. True, there would be three fans on the jury and all it would take is one flopping favorite (a.k.a. Eliza) to hand Natalie the million, but I think Amanda is even more likely to defeat them. At least you can argue that Natalie was a worthless tag-along pawn, and there's a good chance Jason won't be voting for her anyway. Amanda has played a shockingly squeaky-clean game, has solid allies on the jury, and has to be respected for how she's handled herself out there. So like I said, she either has to win immunity or hope Parvati and Cirie are pretty dumb. Really, that's the best you can hope for when the numbers fall out of your favor.
And as a final note: For any of you wondering why Amanda didn't engineer the turnaround I described above and partnered with Jason, James, and Erik to turn on the girls - its' because she knows that James and Erik will kill her in the final. They are both very well liked and very physical players. Not to mention she'd have four very angry women on the jury who would be very happy to see her lose out on the prize. In the end, she was much better off going with the girls, who she can win against IF she makes it that far, vs. siding with the guys, who could have gotten her to the final but would have been guaranteed to beat her.
4. Peace Out! I won't be coming out with another blog post until two weeks from now, at best. The fiancé is being converted to the wife next Saturday so I'll be lucky to even catch Survivor on Thursday, let alone blog about it. Then I'm off to the honeymoon, which will be followed up with a move down to Delaware to start my residency. If all goes smoothly, I might be able to catch up on two episodes of Survivor and throw up a dual-episode post before I move, but that's certainly no guarantee. Worst case, I'll be back for a finale preview three weeks from now. Until then, enjoy the show!