What a strange episode. Very predictable, as soon as it started, Eddie said he was going home (i.e. we know he’s not going home) then Cochran and Brenda are both considering voting the other one out, so we know it’s going to be one of them. But seeing how both players have been edited, both all season long and during this episode, it was obvious it was Brenda. Yet, it was a very emotional episode on so many levels.
One of this level was that production was being a big jerk this episode. Once Brenda won the reward challenge she was screwed no matter what. Twists that make you make a decision such as the usual “do I keep my reward or do I give it to everyone else?” are OK (although, they’ve been overdone and now everyone gives up their reward no matter what), but there you’re screwed no matter what. Nowadays, on Survivor, your best option is to throw that challenge no matter what, if you win it, you’re screwed.
Enil Edam Tribe
– Brenda Lowe voted out: You know I have a soft spot for Brenda. Always have. Even back in Nicaragua when she was this ruthless “black widow”. Her lack of screen time early this season really made me mad, but now I kinda understand why; she was being under the radar, she was keeping to herself a lot, she was being humble. Not great TV, but great strategy indeed. as I said last week, that allowed her to go from being in the minority after the first vote to a part of the core alliance and definitely a big threat to win this season. Yet, she made the same mistake as the one she made in Nicaragua: she got too confident, in a humble way this time. That, and the same mistake that killed Julia, Corinne, Malcolm and Andrea: thinking Dawn was a close ally to them. However, in this case, Dawn really was a close ally. One small note about the loved ones thing. Funny how Brenda and her dad made Probst teary for the first time in 26 seasons, as they made me teary for the first time in 26 seasons too. And for the same reasons as the ones Probst mentions in his weekly short interview with Dalton Ross, now he has a daughter and he can relate. Same for me. When I still lived in the US and I would see my family just a few weeks a year, I really had trouble understanding why people would get so emotional during the family visit (I overlooked all the stress generated by playing Survivor at the time), at the time I always thought that having a buddy instead of a family member coming was a better idea: you don’t let your guard down as much, they can be good advice if they’re a Survivor fan, hell, you can even make up a story about your grandma dying to manipulated your fellow contestants. Then I got married and yes, the idea of not seeing my wife for 35 days is not a very pleasant one. Then I became a dad, and really, my daughter is just a toddler, but I can’t even imagine not seeing her for just a few days (even not seeing her for 8 hours when I go to work breaks my heart). So yeah, maybe because I have a soft spot for Brenda, when I saw her hugging her dad this way, I totally saw myself in a few years with my daughter doing the hugging (except I wish, I’m the Survivor contestant, not her), and I got teary too.
And then, that was the beginning of the end. She won the reward challenge, had to make that terrible choice, and then worse, she pretty much let Dawn win immunity (most likely because she felt bad that Dawn didn’t spend time with her loved ones) and got voted out in the process.
Her exit was devastating. I was devastated. But then, I pull myself together (OK, I was not that devastated that I had to pull myself together) and well, on the one hand, I knew Brenda was not going to win and probably not make it to the end, and let’s be honest, she made one huge mistake: not winning the reward, not trusting Dawn, but being too trusting and not paranoid enough.
It’s final six, you must be paranoid at final six, that’s all. Do you know what happen to people who are not paranoid at final six? They get blindsided, this is what happens to them. That’s why as much as I’m sad that Brenda was voted out in such a sad way, I can’t help but think that she kinda had it coming.
I really hope to see Brenda again on Survivor, although I suspect that it’s pretty unlikely now (unless producers realize that they made a mistake ignoring her edit wise for most of the season).
Oh and Brenda, if you ever read this (I know you won’t, but who knows?) congratulations in advance for the baby.
– Dawn Meehan: Wow, as I type these lines, there is a literal downpour of hate against Dawn on Twitter. I’m not mad at Dawn. She did what she thought she had to do at that moment. However, I think she made a horrible mistake. By voting out Brenda at that moment (after the loved ones thing, when there was this easy vote in Eddie, because of her previous relationship with Brenda – remember the teeth thing, it showed how close those two had become), she basically made sure she won’t win the game. The jury will be too angry at her for that. She made the mistake too many contestants made in the past, winning Survivor is not about going to the end, but about how you went there and with whom. Now the only way Dawn can win is that if we have a final two (we won’t) and she’s against Sherri. Maybe Dawn needed to vote Brenda out, but not at that moment, not in those circumstances, not in such a big blindside. With that move, Dawn will join the list of finalists with no jury vote.
– Eddie Fox: He survived one more week. I don’t see him going to the end though.
– Erik Reichenbach: Erik is playing a smarter game than it seems. It’s already been discussed that he has a Sandra style strategy, but he was also very close to Brenda (after all, they were in the same alliance from day one or so), to the point that he was not made aware of the blindside, and once again, if it was not for his edit, I’d say that he has a good chance to win. But no, he won’t, and I’m saying this solely based on his edit.
– John Cochran: What can I say, he’s still playing a great game. Contrarily to Dawn, it was the right move for him to vote Brenda out (as she was going to gun for him sooner or later), and he was not too close to her that she feels so pissed at him. She was pretty much the last obstacle on his road to the final three and the million. He has to be mindful of one last thing: Dawn. While she’s been his closest ally from day one (or even before day one), she may start to sense that he is her biggest obstacle for her to win the million (well, he was before her betrayal of Brenda, now she can’t win no matter what, but she doesn’t know it yet). Now he’s in a somewhat delicate situation as he needs her next to him in the finals, but she may want to vote him out before that.
– Sherri Biethman: After being pretty much invisible for many episodes, we suddenly learn today that she has become tight with Cochran and Dawn, and has visibly a final three deal with them. I guess they both realized that she was the perfect goat this season. She doesn’t though. If she did, she wouldn’t stick with them this way and would try to go to the end with Eddie and Erik.
Mmmm… A med-evac during the season finale? That would suck this close to the end as every plan and prediction can be thrown through the window because of it.
Next person voted out:
Erik seems like the obvious boot if he doesn’t win immunity
Winner prediction: Cochran has pretty much, hasn’t he?
And now, the usual links to the other analysts I really like (sorry for not posting them last week).
- Rob has a website and a podcast and excellent “staff bloggers” and a great “know-it-alls” show with Stephen Fishbach. Rob Cesternino was “the smartest player to never win the game” (with Fishbach in my opinion), he now has the best website about Survivor.
- Superjude’s blog, always interesting.
- Stephen Fishbach also has a column with People.com.
- Dalton Ross the best recapper out there (you may have noticed that I don’t care much for recaps – honestly I don’t see their point – but Dalton Ross’s are always hilarious and very insightful at the same time).
- Jeff Pitman at True Dork Times is also one of the most hilarious (and smart) Survivor blogger out there.
- Andy Denhart at Reality Blurred always has a great blog.
- more to come…