Friday, November 20, 2009

Survivor Samoa - a mighty hit!

Wow. Just when you think it can't get any better, it does! This season has been really fun to watch, especially if you're like me and cheering for the old Foa Foa tribe. Evil Russ found his THIRD hidden immunity idol, but this amazing feat was overshadowed by the biggest drama of the episode - John switching his vote at tribal council. I'm not sure what this "numbers cruncher" guy was thinking... I guess that a 0% chance of being gone at that tribal was too tempting v. the 12.5% chance that would have resulted from pulling rocks out of a bag to see who would go home. I sympathize with this, but only because I've lost credit card roulette 100% of the time I've played it. Pulling things out of hats/bags has not been good to me. Maybe he has similar bad luck in that way, but in the long run this move will hurt him a lot. Since we're crunching numbers, I'd say that John has a 64% chance of being voted out in the next episode.

Here's how things stand...

Evil 'Box (72 pts):
1. Evil Russell (32 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (53 pts):
1. Monica (12 pts)
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (35 points):
1. John (18 pts)
2. Brett (14 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Dachui (20 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (12 pts)
3. Natalie (5 pts)

... and here's how I rank us:

1. Evil 'Box: Evil Russell continues to impress. Moon, this sort of episode is exactly why Bag's team got moved back to the #1 spot last week. Besides having a comfortable lead in the scores right now, he has one of the most innovative players who's ever been on Survivor. Pretty much every week at this point Russ is bringing in as many points as a jury seat is worth. That's hard to beat. Obviously Russell's dominance makes him a huge threat to everyone else, and they'll be gunning for him. But he's as hard to take down as a Cape Buffalo, especially with the hidden immunity idol warming itself in his pocket.

2. Cutesiness: Losing Laura hurt a lot - this dreg was Moon's #1 point earner. But Mick really stepped up in this episode. We saw him wheel and deal with Monica, win an immunity challenge, basically he actually did something! Hopefully he can continue to maintain a low profile while bringing in some points for Moon. Monica is useless, especially now that Laura is gone. She has no one watching her back, and she brings in very few points. On the positive side, these negative attributes will probably help her get deep into the game, so she may end up pulling in 2nd or 3rd place points, which would be huge. But for the most part, the future of this team rests on Mick Dreamy's shoulders. We'll see if he can handle the pressure.

3. Dachui: Dachui is the only team that still has all 3 of its players, and this last episode probably helped this team the most, but I don't know if the rooks can overcome their massive point deficit. I'm excited to see how old Foa Foa will handle being in control of the game - I hope they do a better job than old Galu did! I'm pulling for you Dachui, but it's going to be a steep uphill battle. And I must add that I was disappointed in Dave this episode - I thought one of his greatest strengths was his adaptability and ability to make friends across lines - the gender line and the tribal lines. But he's not thinking enough. Him going along with Laura's ridiculous "let's vote for Russell and if he has the idol so be it" scheme was the dumbest thing he's done in this game.

4. Pizza Place: John made a bad play and I think he'll be voted out soon. He's an easy target now - both sides can consider him untrustworthy, and since he's also competitive in challenges it seems like a no-brainer to make him the next to go. Once he's gone, all Pizza has left is the ghost Brett. We saw a little more of him this episode, but I gotta say that I wasn't impressed by what I saw. This guy seems content with not thinking or playing the game. He hasn't tried to make any other alliances besides what was set up on Day 1, and that will hurt him in the long run, especially since his Day 1 alliance has crumbled.

5. Lil old me: Technically I'm out of the match, but I still have more points than Dachui. That's my positive thought of the day. But really Dachui, you gotta step up your game. That's just plain sad.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (3)
2. Jaison (6)
3. Dave (1)
4. Mick (7)
5. Natalie (5)
6. Brett (8)
7. John (4)
8. Monica (9)
9. Shambo (10)
10. Laura (2)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Survivor Samoa - Ya Ballin'

I think last night's episode can officially be called a major comeback for team Evil Box. Bag looked to be for sure losing his only remaining competitor (Shambo cannot be considered competitive by anyone's standards, I don't think), when Russ managed to find another hidden immunity idol, play it to save his butt, and give the old Foa Foa tribe a fighting chance at this game. Instead of practically going out, Bag netted a whopping 24 points in one episode - the most one team has gotten so far - and launched himself back to the top of the rankings. Will Russ find yet another hidden immunity idol and boost Bag's numbers even more? Only time will tell.

Some points of interest from tribal council - I think Erik now hates everyone on his former tribe... except maybe Shambo. Last week's blind side may be fateful in the end if the final 2 end up being Foa Foa v. Galu. Also Jeff Probst officially announced that another immunity idol was out there - stating the obvious, but apparently everyone else needed to hear it from an authority figure to finally get off their butts and actually look for it.

The way things stand right now it's Dave, John, Brett, Laura, and Monica v. Evil Russ, Natalie, Jaison, Mick, and Shambo. 5 v. 5. It may be that Shambo switches back to her original tribe - she's so unpredictable that I could see this happen. But otherwise there's going to be a battle royale for control of this game. I myself am cheering for old Foa Foa, but even if they lose it will be highly entertaining. My early prediction on the final 3 is Dave, Shambo, Monica if Galu wins, or Jaison, Natalie, Shambo if Foa Foa wins.

Here's how things stand so far:

Evil 'Box (58 points):
1. Evil Russell (18 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (33 pts):
1. Monica (12 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (18 pts)

Pizza Place (31 points):
1. John (18 pts)
2. Brett (10 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Dachui (12 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (8 pts)
3. Natalie (1 pts)

Team Power Rankings - I had to pause when reflecting on my power rankings, because people's rank keeps shifting so dramatically that I was starting to think I'm not very good at this. But in reality these swings are bound to happen. This isn't football, where the teams are pretty much the same the whole season. Alliances are made and broken, players' stocks can rise and fall at the drop of a hat. It's hard to judge how much worth a player will have long-term. Which, really, is why the survivor pool is so much fun.

1. Evil 'Box: Welcome back to the leader board Evil 'Box! Your dominating performance proved that even when you're down, you're never out. Evil Russ is quickly becoming one of my favorite players ever. He's devious, smart, and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. I suspect that he threw the reward challenge to give him time alone at camp to find the idol. 'Box's lead is so great right now that it will be very hard to overcome. Certainly two quick knock-outs would probably do the trick, but Shambo's ridiculousness may have moved her into a final 3 spot. Since no jury member would ever vote for her, she'd be a great partner for a wilier player to take with him/her to the end.

2. Cutesiness: There is going to be a war next week between Laura and Russell. I honestly have no idea who will come out on top, but if it is Laura, Team Cutesiness will be a force to be reckoned with even though Mick is a waste of space. He's a doctor and couldn't do a simple "match the shape to the hole" game. This is a game that 2-year olds play on a regular basis, come on man! But somehow he's avoiding unwanted attention. Maybe because he lays around all day and is useless at challenges. He's certainly lasting longer than I thought he would.

3. Pizza Place: John is definitely thinking and strategizing, but he's not doing anything about it. He tells everyone that Russell could easily have the idol, Dave says no and he drops it. His wussiness may cost old Galu the game. John dodged a big bullet this episode too - with Foa Foa essentially having a free pass, I was sure they'd opt for John. And I'm becoming more and more convinced that Brett is actually a figment of all our imaginations - does anyone remember the last time he had a conversation with another player? I don't. When the old Galu met to discuss who would be voted out next, Brett was not there. If that doesn't spell expendable I don't know what does.

4. Dachui: Dachui's reign at the top of the rankings was sadly short-lived. I still think that Dave is the most dangerous player in this game, but at this point Dachui is averaging a pitiful 2 points per episode. They are 46 points behind the leader, Evil 'Box. I'm afraid this deficit is too much to overcome. If Dachui is to win, they have to actually start winning - both challenges and ultimately the game. Laying low is all well and good, but it won't get Dachui the victory.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night! My sadness over being first out in this competition was very short-lived. Now I am no longer conflicted; I can cheer for Evil Russ to my heart's content! Sadly this was exactly the sort of end I saw coming for Kelly - her lack of being a threat became a threat, but only because the main target was safe. I honestly think this was a bad play by Foa Foa, but what do I know? I thought Liz was a good pick. This does reveal a somewhat interesting trend though - I won last season and went out first this season. And two seasons ago Doug won and went out early the next season as well. Curse of the winners perhaps? We'll have to see if this trend continues.

6. Yasmin: Yas was the dreg that no one picked and was voted out the first episode after the pool started. I'm putting her in the standings to make myself feel a little better.

Individual Power Rankings: (I think I should clarify that these power rankings are based on their likelihood to win, not just go far in the game.)
1. Dave (1)
2. Laura (5)
3. Evil Russell (10)
4. John (3)
5. Natalie (4)
6. Jaison (7)
7. Mick (9)
8. Brett (6)
9. Monica (8)
10. Shambo (11)
11. Kelly (2)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Survivor Samoa - Yeehaw!

Yes!! I was hoping that things would be shaken up, and indeed they have! The merge was not kind to Evil Box, who'd been leading the whole season so far, much to my enjoyment. Of particular note: Evil Russell actually has negative points now due to his misplay of the hidden idol. Erik has scored more than twice as many points as anyone else (thanks to a 10 point boost for making the jury), but is now incapable of scoring any more. At this point, Bag's active players' points total less than mine... but since everyone from now on is guaranteed at least a 10 point boost for making the jury, this isn't much for me to brag about. Still, I'll take what I can :).

A couple of stand-out performances from Jaison and Natalie: first, for being able to see exactly what was going on, and second, for actually doing something about it. I was also pleased to see that the purple tribe is very willing to stab each other in the back, which should make for an entertaining rest of the season!

I hope Survivor will have a few more "double immunity" challenges in the future - my disappointment with the female lack of athleticism and basic softball ability notwithstanding, this could really mix up the dynamics of the post-merge game. I used to think that maybe the challenges were harder than they looked considering some of the poor performances by the women - but after the last episode I realized that the women that are brought on this show are just wusses, and that pretty much all the women I am friends with would do better than most of the ones on the show right now. And I think you should only be allowed to wear knee-high socks to a t-ball challenge if you can actually hit the ball. False advertising, IMO by both Monica and Kelly.

On to the standings:

Evil Box (34 points):
1. Evil Russell (-2 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (4 pts)

Pizza Place (27 points):
1. John (14 pts)
2. Brett (10 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Cutesiness (23 pts):
1. Monica (8 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (12 pts)

Goody Two-Shoes (14 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
3. Kelly (6 pts)

Dachui (10 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (4 pts)
3. Natalie (3 pts)

Team Power Rankings: Everything has been mixed up now! Last night was a great equalizer and now I'm not really sure how things stand. But I'll organize as best I can...

1. Dachui: That's right, I now consider The Rooks to be the front-runners in this game. Jaison still has a target on his back, but I was impressed by Dave and Natalie's ability to adapt in the game. They aren't leaders, but that's a good thing in Survivor. They'll lay low, let a bunch of other people get kicked out, and then all of a sudden it's the final 4 and everyone's wondering how they got there. Besides which, Dachui actually still has all its players in the game - a huge advantage. They only have 10 pts right now, but the stakes just got a lot higher, and they could make up their deficit in just a couple of episodes.

2. Pizza Place: Seriously, who is this Brett guy? I like that John got a little more TV time, but Brett is noticeably absent - could he be the most boring man in the world? I still don't expect either of these two to win, but even without Erik they're still largely in control of the game, and have enough brains and brawn to win a lot immunity challenges.

3. Cutesiness: Welcome to not-the-bottom, Moon! I actually struggled with who should be ranked higher, Pizza or Cute, but in the end settled on placing Cutesy third. Cutesy's strengths are that there are 3 of them, and that hopefully the women's physical weakness will leave them unnoticed for a few episodes. Cutesy's weakness is that all of the players' names keep being brought up right before tribal anyways. Well, not Mick's yet, but I think it will be soon. Keep clawing Moon!

4. Evil Box: Evil Box took a couple of HUGE hits last night - two of Bag's players had immunity idols, and now one has been voted out and the other misplayed his. Evil Russ basically defanged himself last night. Really, the hidden immunity idol is actually more powerful when it has the potential to be played, rather than when it actually is played. Evil Russell had one trump card and he played it too early. Having an immunity idol means you need to play a finesse game (dorky bridge analogies are running through my head) and Russell is not a finesse player. Shambo - the only player besides Erik to vote for Jaison - was really dependent on Erik, and completely disconnected from everyone. If the women start to become more powerful, I think Monica and Laura's dislike of her will get her voted out quickly. I'm not counting this team out though, even though previews for the next episode look dire for Evil Russell. If anyone can squeak out of a bad situation, it's Evil Russ!

Last. Goody Two-Shoes: Well, I'm pleased to see that Kelly has a brain and is willing to make moves as well. I'm also really starting to love her hair. Could mini-dreds be a good look for me too? Go Kelly!

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Dave (3)
2. Kelly (8)
3. John (5)
4. Natalie (6)
5. Laura (7)
6. Brett (4)
7. Jaison (11)
8. Monica (12)
9. Mick (10)
10. Evil Russell (2)
11. Shambo (9)
12. Erik (1)