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Survivor: Guatemala – Who Will Go in Episode 8?by Wesley Rice -- 11/03/2005
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Two in a row! The winning streak has begun. I’ll shut up about it now, though, before the the mysterious beast known as irony rears its vile little head and sends me back to the Land of the Losers.
My daughter has made her choice this week. After some temporary hovering above Judd, she reached for both Jamie and Cindy. It was close, but ultimately Cindy found her way to my daughter’s mouth. (An interesting side-note: I forgot to take out Amy’s picture after she was voted off last week. However, when I dropped the pictures to the floor, they all fell fairly closely together except for hers. Amy’s pic floated far off to the side of the room. I take this occurrence as either an affirmation that fate has a hand in my daughter’s predictions or an affirmation that coincidences happen. I’ll let you know which one after Thursday’s show).
So, the merge has finally arrived. That makes my job both easier and more difficult. Easier because tribe-based alliances come into play when I make my predictions. Harder because the odds have just dropped from 20% chance to 10% chance.
The merge has brought a number of new scenarios. Perhaps most interesting is a fact that several astute readers have pointed out , the original Nakum and Yaxha tribes are even at five Survivors each. Original Yaxha had Stephenie, Lydia, Jamie, Rafe, and Gary. And original Nakum had Bobby Jon, Brian, Danni, Cindy, and Judd. Of these original members three seem to be in flux - Gary, Cindy, and Judd - so those are the three that I will focus on.
Of the three, Judd seems to be the most solidly converted into his new tribe. I don’t see this changing any time soon. And although I said that Judd was in danger last week, this week I think the opposite is true. Most Survivors tend to begin their endgame strategies directly after the merge, and anybody with an ounce of intelligence should realize that Judd is a great opponent for the final two.
So Judd is safe, but what about Cindy and Gary? Up until last week, I would have said that Cindy was an easy choice to switch back to her old tribe. Now I’m not so sure, though. In one of her private commentaries she mentioned her contempt for the other tribe and her reluctance to accept their pool party offer. It appears that she’s truly bonded with her new tribe. If they’ve truly bonded with her (and I’m talkin’ superglue bonding here), then she’s in a great position. If, however, she’s only at an Elmer’s level bonding, she might be in trouble after the next few votes.
Ultimately, though, with Judd’s angry rump thoroughly stuck in camp Nakum, Cindy’s best bet is to stay with Nakum and hope to continue building relationship inroads with Lydia, Steph, and Rafe. If she switches, the numbers could vote her right out. The Vecepia technique seems to be working pretty well for her so far, so I’m betting she’ll stay with the new Nakum alliance.
Gary, on the other hand, would best be served by switching back to Nakum. With Judd and likely Cindy in a Nakum alliance the numbers are clearly against him. But his behavior indicates that he’s sticking with his new alliance as well. The more I see of Gary and his voting strategy (“I’ll vote whatever Danni votes”) has me convinced that Danni’s secretly blackmailing him with the secret of his former employment.
But with the way things are set up, this could hurt him sooner rather than later. Let’s face it. It’s never good to be sitting in the minority. Gary especially can’t afford to be in a minority alliance since he’s a clear challenge threat. Stephenie knows this as well as anyone. She was allied with him for the first week. Also, if Gary doesn’t return to the Nakum alliance, he could be viewed as a traitor to his original tribemates and not to be trusted. Given Stephenie’s influence in the Nakum alliance and her penchant for valuing physical abilities above all else, I think Gary is in serious danger if he chooses not to switch back.
That covers the switched players, but there’s still the issue of the minority Yaxha alliance of Danni, Bobby Jon, and Brandon. Of these three, Bobby Jon is likely the biggest challenge-threat, so it would make sense to vote him off. I don’t think this will happen though. As RNO Chief Editor David Bloomberg pointed out in a recent article , Stephenie and Bobby Jon need each other for the final two. That’s the only way they can guarantee that neither will receive the “You’ve already had your chance,” argument.
Now do I think that either of them is actually thinking that far ahead? Not really. But I do think that both of them hold a remainder of Ulong devotion to each other from their time in Palau. And they’ll fight to keep each other around at least until they figure out what to do with each other.
If Survivor: All-Stars taught us one thing, it was that Survivors with friendships from past shows are wildly unpredictable and often take those friendships into account when playing the game the second time around. I think Bobby Jon will be safe this week due entirely to this phenomenon which I will dub All-Star Chaos Theory.
Judd and Cindy will stick with the Nakum alliance and be safe. Bobby Jon will survive due to Stephenie’s unknowing obedience to All-Star Chaos Theory. And Gary will stubbornly stick with the Yaxha alliance, making him my pick to be kicked off this week.
Gary would likely survive if he switched his loyalties back to his former co-leader Stephenie and targeted somebody from Yaxha, but I don’t thnk that will happen. His new alliance with Danni, Brandon, and Bobby Jon is too tight.
Will my daughter get her first correct pick and see Cindy off, or will I continue my streak with the boot of Gary? Find out Thursday when they’ll answer the question, “Who will go in Episode Eight?”
Wesley is a writer and English teacher from Tulsa, OK. He’s pretty sure that Chaos Theory will also prevent him from a winning prediction record this season. He can be reached with questions, comments, or snide remarks at Musnud@Gmail.com.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Guatemala Episode 7 articles:
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