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Survivor: Thailand, Episode 8 MVPs: We Need a Mergeby Phil Kural -- 11/12/2002
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What a week, to say the least. Poor Sook Jai loses yet another challenge, forcing them to vote off another member of their tribe. They chose Erin, and I have no clue why. I have tried to come up with a working theory as to why Erin was the one to get the boot, but nothing seems to be, well, working. She was the only one this week that I thought was actually safe when Sook Jai went to tribal council. There has to be something going on behind the scenes that we do not know about. Everyone complained about Penny last week, but nobody said a word about Erin. However, Penny has now escaped two tribal councils since she has been so vulnerable. They could have gotten rid of her, but chose not too. Why? Who at this point even knows. Who were the MVPs this week? Well, read on to find out.
As always I would like to take a look at who we have from Chuay Gahn this week because I love this tribe. They are so interesting, and really seem to work as a unit since Ghandia was voted out. I have to say that Clay is starting to grow on me a bit more. Not to the point where I actually like him, but he is showing that he is much smarter than we think. I completely agree with him on the fact that killing the chicken was too drawn out. It should have been done quickly, not given a farewell speech. Ted did well this week at spotting Penny's manipulation game, while Jan went on another tangent and buried the chicken’s feet and head (I still love her). Helen got a good bit of screen time this week too, however, most of the time she used it to tell recipes. The food sounded great, but when you have no means to get it, I would have gotten annoyed as well. Then we have good old reliable Brian. I think at this point, he is definitely playing the game the smartest. Once again, Brian pulls through on the challenge, and remains on everyone's good side. So for the second week in a row, Brian is the MVP for Chuay Gahn.
As long as the game keeps going this way, Brian has it wrapped up. A merge will not even mess up his game at this point. I think the smartest thing he did was align with Jake this episode. Not so much for the fact that they are in an actual alliance yet, but they now have the basis to start one, and Brian can use Jake to persuade the jury members to vote for him if he makes it to the final two. Jake and Brian made a smart move by going off alone and picking at each others brains. They now have more information on one another, and can figure out where they want to go from there. In the immunity challenge, Brian did more than pull his weight, he basically won the challenge for his tribe. He stayed underwater longer than any other, solidifying the win. I hope Chuay Gahn realizes what an asset he is to their team. (Does anyone remember if Brian even wanted to be on Chuay Gahn when Jan picked him? I cannot seem to remember. Email me if you know.) Brian is in a good position right now, and seems to be emerging as the new leader for Chuay Gahn, which I think is a good change. I used to think Ted was the leader, but he has been slacking lately. What with all the yoga and all. So what we have this week is Brian jumping right in there again and taking charge. All the while he manages to keep everyone's respect, and not seem to ruffle any feathers. Sook Jai seems to be fond of him as well, especially Jake. Another great week for Brian, another week he is the MVP for Chuay Gahn.
I feel bad for Sook Jai. What they need this coming week is a merge. That is pretty much the only thing that can save them at this point. Their morale is down, and just for the fact that there are only three of them left. At least give them the chance to win some individual immunity, and hopefully boost their spirits. This week we had Erin, who finally got some screen time, however not enough for me to even know why she was booted. Then there is Penny, who has several times been labeled as manipulative and sneaky, which we have yet to really see. Ken, who I thought was pretty smart up until this point, but am having trouble understanding why he voted Erin instead of Penny, and Jake, who talks and talks but none of it ever seems relevant. I like Jake though, and for the oldest one in the bunch, he seems to be pulling his weight and then some. I chose him as the MVP for Sook Jai this week because of the same reasons I chose Brian. Jake did smart thing in making a friend in Brian, and he basically carried his team in the immunity challenge – or would have if the rest of the team had pulled even a fraction of their own weight.
After the immunity challenge ended, and Jake was upset for letting his team down, I did not get it. First of all, he stayed under the longest, much longer than Penny and her spectacular nine seconds. Ken and Erin did not last that much longer either. Jake, as he said at tribal council, is the biggest asset when it comes to water challenges. I can now agree with this. Jake showed that he had endurance, and had it not been for Brian, he would have walked away with that challenge. However, I really thought he was going to get the boot this week only because of how much screen time he was getting. I was not a fan of his whole speech before the chicken killing, but that really had no effect on his game play this week. His work with Brian was a great move, and will help him later in the game when Chuay Gahn can start voting out members of Sook Jai. Now is the perfect time for Jan and Helen to hook up with Jake and maybe Ken to form something. A merge next week will help everyone, especially Sook Jai. Look for Jake to pull out all the stops; as he said to Ken in the previews, "Let’s try to stir things up." I do not underestimate Jake, and think he is definitely capable of being the MVP again.
So there it is, Brian and Jake, after forming a small bond, both pull ahead for their teams, and become the MVPs. I would not be surprised if either of them continued this streak into next week’s episode. I'm quickly becoming a big fan of the way Brian plays the game. Not only does he play a smart game, but he also plays it ethically and competitively. As always, do not hesitate to email and tell me who you think deserves to be MVP. Next week predictions: Brian and Jake, for the sole reason that they are the only two thinking about end game at this point.
Phil Kural is a junior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any MVP suggestions.
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