Surviving the Tocantins – Episode 5

A Survivor milestone last night: UF got mentioned on Survivor!!!
I quote from memory “Yeah, UF has lots of pretty girls.” A statement with which I concur.
But that didn’t do any good to Spencer who was sent packing home…Apart from that, nothing very special on this episode, except the “secret alliance” plot that thickens, and that makes me think that it will indeed play a big part later on this season. And it better works for three members of that alliance that can be on the odds with their tribes.

-the Jalapao tribe:

Joe: Does Joe have a personality at all? I’m still not sure. I hope they get rid of him soon, the problem is that as he’s non-existent but physically strong, nobody will want to get rid of him until later in the game. Oh well, as long as it doesn’t steal too much screen time from the interesting characters, I don’t mind too much.

JT: He has come out as the leader of the tribe. He’s definitely the strongest, but more important he’s obviously the one calling the shots in the tribe, which means Taj is in trouble if they go back to tribal before the merge, which means he’s in trouble after the merge as Timbira will be out to get him (although Coach will be stupid and go with his “no, he’s strong he has to stay” idiotic rhetoric). Will Taj and Stephen want to vote him out though? Taj, most definitely, but Stephen has bonded with JT. Still, Stephen seems to know better.

Spencer: Bye bye Spencer. You were a good kid, but you were a kid. You didn’t make any enemies, but you didn’t really bonded with anybody either. And when you have a group like Jalapao which doesn’t really have any weakest link anymore and you mess up in a challenge the way you did, you become the weakest link.

Stephen: You’re becoming my man out there. Right now, you’re in the best spot in Jalapao and maybe in the whole game:
-Friends? check.
-Brains? check.
-Alliance? check (with JT I suspect).
-Secret Alliance? check. But more important you put yourself in this position where nobody suspects you of anything (not like Brendan, Taj and maybe even Sierra who are all raising suspicions more and more); and also where the alliance needs you more than you need the alliance, so they’ll be depending on you, and that will give you more options when the time comes.
-Immunity Idol? check. Taj assumes you both “own” it, but I have the sense that you won’t give it to her and could even blindside her if you had to.
-Weaknesses? Not any particular one, except maybe your lack of survival skills in the wild, but that’s the kind of things that can get you voted off early, once you’ve survived a couple of votes, it’s not really a factor anymore (except in a tie breaker of course).
So all in all, Stephen at this point of the game has more assets than anybody else to go all the way, even if he needs to have a plan for his endgame if he wants to win it all. I’m not sure he does yet.

Sydney: Nothing special this week, she was pretty inexistent, she’s a huge disappointment this far (what did I expect really?)

Taj: She’s in a strange situation. Her secret alliance doesn’t make her as powerful as she thinks it does, so she should be careful with what she says or she could get the boot next time. If she survives the next vote and the tribe merges at 10, then she’ll be in a more powerful position, but she’s not right now, she has to become aware of that.
And all of these tensions with Joe are unnecessary. I’m not sure why she seem to dislike him so much, but throwing away a vote by writing his name down and a couple of days later, having a pointless argument with him is stupid. Sure Joe won’t decide to vote Taj out on his own (he’d need to have some sort of willpower for that), but that will definitely push TJ to pick Taj over Sydney if they go back to tribal council next week.

Not much of Timbira this week… Oh well, this is what happens when you win the immunity twice in a row.

Brendan: He could be in a very powerful position (see Stephen) if his tribesmate didn’t have any suspicion about him. Still, if Timbira goes to tribal before the merge, I’m sure Coach is gonna push for an Erinn boot, and I don’t really see anybody that would want to protect her… What’s bad for Brendan if that the other ones are aware that he’s close to Sierra, and just like that they can find out what’s really going on if one of them let unwillingly slip something.
If he survives the next vote, he can be final four, even if I don’t see any alliance with him and Tyson, an alliance he’ll need if the “secret” one falls apart.

Coach: Coach is being Coach… Thank you mister editor of the show for making sure he makes a fool of himself in the only scene we really saw him in this week. This season will definitely be less entertaining once he’s gone.
I have trouble figuring out where he stands exactly in the picking order of his tribe. Nobody takes him seriously that’s for sure, but nobody seems to want him out either. I mean, Erinn wants, but she doesn’t have any power at all in this game… Sierra kinda wants but she won’t campaign for it with the other Timbira members, and with the secret alliance they’ll have more important people to take out of the game first (at least Tyson and JT).
The thing is that he voices his opinions quite clearly, and as nobody else seems to be doing it, I’m not sure people will really contradict him (and vote differently from him) until they decide to get rid of him. So to that extent he has some power in the tribe. Of course, nothing comparable to what he thinks he has and nothing comparable to what he says he has in his interviews…

Debra: Nothing really special about her this week. Too bad, I still can’t figure out is she’s just riding the coattails or she’s actually playing the game.

Erinn: Nothing really special about her either, and I’m pretty sure she’s next to go.

Sierra: I like Sierra more and more. She’s playing an amazing game right now. Of course, not as much as Stephen (she doesn’t have the immunity idol… yet…?) but she’s in a powerful spot, and she may even survive an outing of the secret alliance (she has made good friends in her tribe except for Coach). Let’s keep an eye on her, I’m sure she hasn’t stopped to surprise us right yet.

Tyson: Not much about Tyson this week. He’s in on top of the pecking order in his tribe. Even if the secret alliance plan comes into action, I feel that he won’t be the first to be targeted (except if he tries to take out Brendan and fails before that). He seems well liked. He seems relatively under the radar. He can dominate this game easily. But one mistake and he can be a huge target after the merge.

Next week: I usually hate recrap episodes, they’re rarely interesting from a game perspective, but next week (well, two weeks actually) if that means seeing more of Coach foolishness, I’m quite excited actually.
The week after (but I’ll talk more about it in two weeks) should be the last week before the merge, but I expect some sort of twist, this season has been pretty devoid of twists except for the fact that the person picked to go to Exile gets to pick somebody from the other tribe. There was also this idea that one or the two exiles could mutiny and join the other tribe, but as this hasn’t been emphasized more I guess this won’t happen (nobody has an interest of doing this at this point)

Scorecard: 0/1
I said Joe or Taj would be going home from Jalapao.
Btw, here is how the scorecard works (if you care).
Before the merge, of course, I can’t guess what tribe is going to council, so I’ll pick one or two members from each tribe. One right choice from the tribe that goes to council -if I picked only one member in that tribe- will get me one point, and half a point if I picked two.
After the merge, I’ll pick one or two players, no more.

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