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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Who Will Go in Episode 9?by Betsy Wasser -- 11/13/2003
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After last week’s episode of Survivor: Pearl Islands, the game changed in a number of ways. First and foremost, Burton and Lill, previously voted out, are back in the game. Second of all, the Drake and Morgan tribes merged into one tribe, Balboa. Knowing our Survivor history tells us that players will be competing for individual immunity and voting out the biggest threats. Also, from this point forward, all players voted out will be members of the jury, so smart players will avoid making enemies if possible. Finally, with Andrew out of the game and Lill voting with Burton & Drake, the former members of the Morgan tribe are in the minority. With so many changes to the game, it’s difficult to predict who will be voted out next, so to figure it out, let’s look at what we do know, remembering that we aren’t using spoilers of any type.
There are a few alliances that appear to be rock-solid. They are groups that we can expect will stick together. Sandra, Christa, and Rupert have the strongest alliance. The three of them have voted as a bloc at every tribal council so far. And when Trish was plotting against Rupert, Sandra immediately told her ally Christa. Together, they warned Rupert of the plan in plenty of time for him to put together a successful counter-strategy. The two women are completely loyal to Rupert. If he were to turn on them, he’d guarantee himself two jurors with a grudge against him. As a result, the three of them will continue to vote together.
The second strong alliance is that of the former Morgans: Ryan, Darrah, and Tijuana. Weeks ago, Darrah was on the outside of an alliance of Ryan, Tijuana, Osten, and Andrew. Her head was on the chopping block, but a lot has changed since then. Osten quit the game, sparing Darrah the threat of tribal council. And last week, they lost their leader, Andrew. The ex-Morgans have been through a lot together and I am confident that Ryan and Tijuana now consider Darrah part of their team. The three of them consider the former Drakes to be arrogant and would love nothing more than to see a Morgan win the game. They will stick together until they’re all gone.
That leaves us with Jon, Lill, and Burton as floaters. What do we know about the three of them? Jon has no strong ties to anyone. He will turn his back on an alliance without a second thought. He did it to vote out Burton, who thought Jon was voting with him, Shawn, and Michelle against Christa. And he did it again to vote against Rupert after he and Trish decided he was a threat. Players will react to him one of two ways—they’ll either figure he’s easy to take as a swing vote or they’ll decide that he’s far too unpredictable and will opt to take him out. As much as it pains me to say it, I think Jon is going to be around for a while. Darrah, Tijuana, and Ryan hate him—so much, in fact, that they voted against him at the last tribal council. He will not be forming an alliance with them. And if he turns on Rupert, Sandra, and Christa at this point in the game, it will be a mistake. As jurors, Rupert and Sandra seem very likely to hold grudges. If Christa is the same way, that’s three jury votes against Jon. For the moment, Jonny Fairplay is a giant pain in the ass, but harmless.
What about Lill? Now that she’s back in the game, what will she do? Last week, she made it very clear that she is not prepared to forgive and forget that the Morgan tribe booted her and her friend Ryan S. In her conversations with Andrew, Lill made it clear that she does not feel like part of the Morgan tribe at all. She never fit in with them in the past, and she doesn’t like the way she was treated when the time came to vote her out. On the other hand, she might not feel comfortable trusting the Drakes just yet. Lill doesn’t know them very well yet, and after the way things went down with Morgan, she may be a little gun-shy. But the one person that she does seem to trust is Burton. At the Outcast tribal council, Burton promised that he’d be honest with whomever came with him back into the game. When Lill was trying to make up her mind before the last tribal council, Burton told her that if she stuck with him, the two of them would go far. Lill did indeed vote with Burton. I expect her to continue to do so for at least a few more votes, at least until she potentially finds someone else that she feels close to.
Finally, there’s Burton. Now that Burton has a second chance, he’s aiming to win. Remember his incredible strength and determination at the three-tribe challenge? And in his first immunity challenge since he got back in the game, Burton didn’t even need immunity, but he fought hard to win it anyway. Burton has also made strides to resolve his differences with the most powerful player in his old tribe, Rupert. When Burton returned to the Drake camp, he made it clear that he would not hold any ill will towards his old tribe for voting him out. The next morning, Rupert told him how bothered he was by Burton’s and Shawn’s teasing. Burton said, “I wish you had told me,” and gave what really seemed to be a sincere apology. To further cement his bond with Rupert, Burton gave him the immunity sword at Tribal Council.
What does all of this mean? Burton said that he’s tired of playing the game with backstabbing and deceit. If he wants to win the game and if he wants to play it as cleanly as possible, I don’t see him turning against his old tribe any time soon. Burton will vote at the next tribal council with Rupert, Sandra, and Christa. Lill will vote with him. The former Morgans won’t invite Jon to join them, so it’s in Jon’s best interests to vote along with his old tribe. That majority of six will Pagong the old Morgans, starting with their strongest member. That strongest member is Ryan. If Ryan doesn’t win immunity, he will be the next one voted out.
Ryan does have a shot at staying in the game besides winning immunity. He could save himself by trying to convince the others to vote out Jon first instead. He should remind the former Drakes that Jon cannot be trusted. While Ryan likely doesn’t know about Jon’s voting history, it’s probably not hard to see that Jon’s an outsider. He should go to the Drakes and tell them that Jon revealed that Drake threw that immunity challenge. Once they know Jon’s been giving away family secrets, they’ll be less inclined to trust him. Ryan could tell them that he understands that they are probably planning to pick off him, Darrah, and Tijuana one by one, and that he understands that. But why not get rid of Jon sooner rather than later? Even without Jon, it would still be a majority of five to three at the following tribal council. They could eliminate someone who is both really annoying and untrustworthy and still stay in control of the game. Of course, that would then give Ryan the challenge of how to survive the next tribal council after that. But as long as his torch stays lit, he can keep playing—you never know what will change in three days.
If Ryan can do some smooth talking, there will be great rejoicing on my part if Jon is voted out. If not, Ryan will go home this week, continuing the downfall of the Morgan tribe.
Betsy can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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