Thoughts On Episode 9:
- This show is fantastic. I’ve said it before, and of course I’ll say it again, but it’s episodes like this that truly reaffirm in my mind that this is my favorite television show. Not only is the game on this season entertaining and unpredictable, but there’s so many other little interesting things in the narrative that’s making the reality TV aspect of the show wildly entertaining. Case in point; the men sabotaging camp. I love the fact that Jason and Scot were so pissed off about the previous vote that they felt the need to go Full Russell Hantz on their tribemates. It was pretty bad game play, losing them some jury votes for sure, but as a viewer I love watching ridiculous stuff like this. What made this whole narrative even better was Tai being involved in an alliance with these guys. Tai, who has shown himself to be a sweet, nature-loving guy, had to wrestle with his conscience for the entire episode, eventually giving in and joining the dark-side when he put water on the fire late at night after everyone was asleep. It was a nice, unexpected comical switch to the show to have a little bit of extracurricular activity. I don’t think it was great game play by anyone (except maybe Tai for being super sneaky) but I love all of the animosity, it makes for spectacular television.
- So for the fifth time this season or so (I don’t know, I truly lost count) my favorite player got voted out last week, so now I’m out scouring the field for a new favorite. Of course Michele is my winner’s pick at this point, but I think I’ve found myself a new favorite player to keep my eyes on; Julia. I’m having a lot of fun watching Julia play both sides of the game. She’s so gosh darn young and innocent that she can kind of get away with being nice and friendly to everyone, but she’s truly doing it so she can get ahead in the game and develop escape routes in case shit goes bad in any of her alliances. When it came down to dividing teams for the reward challenge, the alliances split down the middle, but to make even teams, one of the girls would have to go with the three guys. After a little time, Julia said she’d be happy to do it. This pissed Cydney off a little, but in all honesty, what doesn’t piss Cydney off at this point in the game. It was a pretty good decision by Julia, because the guys had some brawn over the women in general. She set herself up for a good reward luncheon with the guys (and Mark the chicken of course, how could I forget the greatest animal character since Pelican Pete!), and was able to re-open some dialogue with her tribe-swap alliance of Scot and Tai. Julia had a fun arc during this episode, getting a lot of hate from the brains of the new power in the game (Aubry and Cydney), but inevitably getting the last laugh by winning a tough immunity challenge and forcing her alliance to vote out one of their own, allowing her more decisive power going forward. I’m rooting for Julia to have a super strong end game here and pull a fast one on both of the ‘power couples’ running this game. She’s smarter and more composed than she gets credit for.
- The voting decision this week was a bit complicated because of Julia’s immunity win. Some players wanted her gone because she played both sides, but because she was immune from the vote, and because idols were around; other plans had to be forged. Originally Cydney and Aubry wanted to keep the votes off of the three guys in order to properly flush the idols in play without getting burned. It was a really well thought out plan, and something that probably should’ve worked if not for two things happening; a super idol existing in the game and the number one target getting immunity. Still, a vote needed to be cast and Aubry began to believe that Debbie’s inability to see the game the way she did was problematic enough that they should vote her out instead and cut their losses going forward. Old stick in the mud Joe didn’t want any part of voting out Debbie, but the plan was brought to Julia in order to get her to fall in line with the plans, and everything went swell. Of course, regardless of the vote, the acting at Tribal Council was hilarious this week, with the threat of idols finally coming to a head with a spectacular scene eerily reminiscent of the famous “three amigos” tribal council of the Caramoan season where Malcolm, Reynold, and Eddie all revealed themselves to be safe by putting on their idol necklaces mid-tribal. This time it was Jason who got to narrate, revealing Tai’s idol for him, and revealing he’d have one that he would either use or give to Scot, depending on the results of a rock, paper, scissors draw. The show doesn’t get much better than this, the whole scene was riveting, with everyone breaking in to side conversations and trying to call audibles. Once all the whispering calmed down everyone stuck with their initial plans, with the three amigos voting for Cydney, hoping Julia might join in, Debbie and Joe sticking with their gut instincts to go after Scot, who probably didn’t have an idol, and the four women voting for Debbie. Before the votes were read Jason and Scot both finished their act by standing up and playing rock, paper, scissors for the idol as Jason ended up giving a second idol to Tai instead, which he accepted and sat back down with. If there was any doubt about a super idol, it was done with now, but the idol never needed to be played, as Debbie ended up being voted out in the split decision. And you know something; she kind of had it coming. Debbie was delusional about, well, just about everything, and you really cannot play a simple game when you have to deal with someone like her being in the mix. I think Aubry and Cydney actually played that vote the best they could with everything they had to work with. Making Julia seem a part of the vote was brilliant, and it kept Michelle from moving astray too (at least for now that is). I’ve seen it analogized online as a punt for team Cydney, and I think that’s a perfect explanation of it. It wasn’t safe for them to make any big moves so they essentially punted the ball, voted out one of their weakest strategic players, and will go back on defense for the next vote. I think everything worked out really well for everyone at this vote, except maybe Joe who’s just around for the ride at this point anyway. The whole idol thing sets up for some really fun possibilities in the final few episodes though, so that is something to really look forward to.
Final Thoughts After the Episode:
- The player of the week honors go to Julia of course. The fact that she was able to win immunity and secure her spot in the game for another round really validated her game big time this week. Now she’s in a perfect spot to dictate the action between both alliances right now, and being able to do that at 8 is a FAR better spot than being able to do that at 10. Julia is a late bloomer in this game, but I like what I’m seeing with her now…My favorite moment of the episode has to be the reward shared by Julia and the three guys, and the only reason I’m giving mention to this moment is because of Mark the chicken. There’s something really awesome about the fact that they’ve got this chicken becoming a secondary character on the show, because there’s nothing more fun than having an animal dining with the castaways like it’s a totally normal thing. The entertainment value of this show is high, and I can’t wait to see what crazy stunt Mark pulls next…The most interesting question I have going forward is whether or not Tai gives the idol back to Jason or keeps it going forward. I imagine Tai, being the sportsman he is, would probably give that idol back to Jason for the sake of respect and fairness, but what if Jason never asks for it back and goes on the trust system instead. It would be fascinating to see Tai get drawn to the other side of the tribal divide. If Tai flips on Scot I would truly be shocked, but this season has been so unpredictable that I have to assume this is totally possible.