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Survivor: China – Advice for the Remaining 10by Brian Towers -- 10/30/2007
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With the merge at hand, the relative status of players changes once again. Previous weaknesses now make one less of a target, while strengths make one more vulnerable. What seemed like a dominant alliance is showing signs of fracturing, though it seems doubtful the others have the game smarts to scoop up the potential free agents.
In the old Zhan Hu camp, Erik, Jaime, and Peih-Gee are so unsure of their former allies, they can barely remember if they are trying to win immunity or not. Over at Fei Long, although Todd has Amanda on hand and may have cemented his relationship with James, suddenly he has a new best friend in Frosti that he wasn’t really seeking, Denise remains invisible, Courtney has announced she is an outsider, and no one seems to like Jean-Robert at all!
With the merge coming at some point in the next episode, I feel the need for a merge-oriented trivia question. Here it is: When is the last time the merge happened with the genders equally represented? Drag your cursor between the square brackets to see the answer. [ Surprisingly, one has to go all the way back to Season 7 and Survivor: Pearl Islands, where the Balboa tribe initially consisted of Tijuana, Christa, Darrah, Lillian, and Sandra as well as Savage, Ryan O, Rupert, Burton, and the dreaded Fairplay. ]
But enough distraction. What should each player be doing in order to advance in this version of the game? It’s advice for the remaining 10!
Jean-Robert: That was a nasty Tribal Council for you, Jean-Robert. It’s apparent your attempts to trickily disguise your nature have fallen flat with the others. You might want to consider selling your vote to the former Zhan Hu members, because you have no allies on Fei Long, evidenced by no one speaking in your behalf while you were being savaged. When you are shown swimming alone, it’s an indication that you don’t have a lot of support in the game, and at this point a decision to boot you will not upset anyone very much.
Amanda: We saw you directing the discussion about voting off Sherea, indicating you are a core alliance member and respected by the others. I think your position in the game is strong right now. The alliance showed a few cracks this week and it needs to be solidified. Toward that end, it may be necessary to cut Jean-Robert loose to ensure Courtney stays with the program.
Courtney: Admitting you felt like an outsider was not a smart move, because you had a solid position in the main alliance and now you seem to be casting it aside. Voting on your own for personal, non-game-play reasons is never smart. Now, you should be safe for a while, because no one thinks you can win immunity, and you may even be seen as a safe choice to bring along to the final Tribal Council. My main suggestion for you is that although it will mean less fun for we viewers, don’t be such a lightning rod for the drama! It wouldn’t hurt to get back into the alliance, and maybe they’ll agree to oust Jean-Robert to convince you that they want you around.
Denise: If I’m reading things correctly, you were in a loose alliance with Jean-Robert and James at some earlier point. However, Jean-Robert’s unpopularity has become evident and Todd is actively courting James. To your benefit, Todd told you about his idol and his voting plan, and I think you are in a good position to sidle up to that crew. I think your best bet for lasting in the game a while is by doing just that – by staying under the radar and supporting the ouster of the Zhan Hu trio and your own wildcards. However, if things start to go the other way, you can probably change sides quietly and ride that train for a while. Either way, I don’t think you’re in danger of going home anytime soon.
Todd: This was not a good episode for you, Todd. The convoluted plan with James and the hidden idol went astray, your team let you down in the immunity challenge, your hands are not on the hidden immunity idol you found, and someone you thought you could depend on (Courtney) suddenly does not see you as a friend. The panic attack as Frosti almost took control of the hidden immunity idol was disconcerting, as was the sudden, inexplicable need to inform one and all about the find.
My recommendation is to cool down the paranoia level, ensure Frosti that he’s your buddy, get Courtney back in tow, and then vote out someone from the Zhan Hu trio together as a unified, focused, and game-controlling alliance. I doubt the others see you as an immunity threat, so although things rather slipped a bit for you this week, you are still in a good place in this game.
Frosti: You are in a very interesting position right now, sought by both Todd’s group and the remnants of your original Zhan Hu tribe. Defer making a decision as long as you can, but when you do, ride it to its conclusion. Not making eye contact with the Zhan Hu group during the reward challenge wasn’t a smart move, because one needs friends from multiple sources in this game. One good thing for you is that after Todd was forced to bring you into his group, they included you in their strategy talks. I’m not sure if you’re any better than fourth best in either alliance, so aligning with either side could work for you. You could be seen as a threat in immunity challenges, so that’s a concern, too. Ah, how things might have changed had you taken control of that immunity idol!
Jaime: In one of the promos, Jaime speaks the line that’s the title of the next episode, namely, “I’m not as dumb as I look.” It’s official… the girl is in a lot of trouble… you do NOT want to mess with the Gods of Reality TV Irony like that!
On a more serious note, you were the target of Todd’s elaborate scheme last week and I think you are going to remain a target. It’s possible that Frosti may still be your friend and may be willing to identify disgruntled former Fei Long members who may wish to rebel against the powers that be. If not, your best hope might be to keep a low profile and hope that another voting alternative presents itself… perhaps another explosion from Jean-Robert or Courtney would help you out. I don’t care much for your long-term prospects right now, but the game seems to change with every episode, so keep on plugging.
Peih-Gee: It was a smart move to try and reassure Sherea that you still saw her as an ally. Suggesting your teammates try the same thing with Frosti would have been a better one, though. The incorrect decision to pursue immunity this time out was therefore based on incomplete information and assumptions. You need to try and find the rift in Todd’s alliance, plus keep Frosti’s allegiance intact. I’d suggest that Courtney or Denise might be the ones to approach, perhaps under the guise of forming a female alliance (with Erik taking the place of the unswayable Amanda). If you promise to take out Jean-Robert first, she might even find that self-confessed outsider Courtney is available. The rest of your tribe might go first, and that gives you time to find some friends in the other camp. It won’t be easy!
Erik: Things are not looking great for you, either. Perhaps not an immediate target, you need to build some new bridges or you won’t last long. There’s no indication you have any hooks into the other side, including James, making you an easy target few will defend when the next boots are discussed. My suggestions are that you need to first be sure exactly where Frosti stands, and then I recommend you to turn that boyish charm loose on Courtney and make the Zhan Hu group seem like the more fun and desirable crowd. Good luck!
James: Conversely, James’ stock went up a ton this week. Initially, he seemed like the one most likely to be sent home at merge time due to the great threat he represents in physical challenges. Now, he holds one immunity idol and knows how to get another. Even more importantly, he seems to have been welcomed into Todd’s alliance. Now, James hasn’t shown a great understanding for the game in recent weeks, misunderstanding the nuances of throwing a challenge. I’d have looked Probst square in the eye and announced, “I can’t eat it, either!” At any rate, my suggestion to James is to cultivate the relationship with Todd’s group and ride that train as long as possible.
Sherea: What went wrong? Plenty. Even before the swap, Sherea was somewhat of an outsider on her tribe. After the swap, she was even more of an outsider who didn’t seem to be making moves to become part of the group. Her work ethic at camp was poor, so she couldn’t play that card. In her interview with RNO she thought she had friends in Todd and Amanda, but instead they misled her on the voting decision and eventually voted her out.
Born and raised in Toronto, Brian can be reached at email@example.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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