Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Survivor Samoa - The End... the sweet sweet end

Without further ado -

Final Standings:
Fifth Place - Goody Two-Shoes (28 points):
1. Good Russell (5 pts)
2. Liz (3 pts)
3. Kelly (20 pts)

Fourth Place - Pizza Place (73 points):
1. John (28 pts)
2. Brett (42 pts)
3. Ashley (3 pts)

Third Place - Cutesiness (83 points):
1. Monica (22 pts)
2. Mick (29 pts)
3. Laura (32 pts)

Second Place - Dachui (101 points):
1. Jaison (29 pts)
2. Dave (22 pts)
3. Natalie (50 pts)

Winner - Evil 'Box (126 points):
1. Evil Russell (72 pts)
2. Erik (32 pts)
3. Shambo (22 pts)

For our pool there was no blind side at the end. But as with the rest of the season, the show finished with an oh-so-satisfying blind side. Dachui put in a valiant effort at the end, getting almost half their points from Natalie's win, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the immunity-idol machine that was Evil Russell.

This season we consciously decided that we wanted it to be possible for someone to win the show and not have that be the deciding factor in who would win overall. And it actually turned out to be true. Which is kind of ironic since Danielle was one of the biggest supporters of the change in point amounts. There has already been some discussion of changes in the point system for the next season (see my future blog for thoughts on how awesome that's going to be). Suggestions such as earning and losing points based on players' success at the auction certainly seem entertaining.

For the record, here are the total number of points LOST for sitting out challenges:

Pizza Place: -6 points total
John -4 pts
Brett -2 pts

Goody Two-Shoes: -8 points total
Good Russell -2 pts
Kelly -6 pts

Cutesiness: -10 points total
Monica -4 pts
Laura -6 pts

Dachui: -10 points total
Dave -8 pts
Natalie -2 pts

Evil 'Box: -13 points total
Evil Russell -5 pts (but that's because of an idol misplay)
Shambo -8 pts

The difference seems negligible in this case. If anything, we should be grateful for the negative points, because it helped hold the leaders in check, if just a little bit.

A more interesting topic, though, is the fact that Natalie, a coat tail rider in many peoples' opinions, beat one of the craftiest players in the game, Evil Russell. I watched with a large group of survivor fans, and I think that all of us were confident that if Evil Russ made it to the final 3 he'd beat everyone else easily. How wrong we were!

I know a lot of people are claiming that Evil Russ was more deserving of the win because he set up most of the blind sides that happened, and that Natalie wouldn't have gotten that far if it weren't for him. I disagree. We have no idea what Natalie would have done if Russell wasn't on her tribe. She adapted to her situation and chose a strategy that optimized her longevity in the game. (I guess that's obvious since she won.) Some people claim that riding coattails isn't a strategy, but from my count, it worked for 7 of the 19 winners in Survivor so far: Tina (Australia season 2), Vecepia (Marquesas, season 4), Jenna (Amazon, season 6), Amber (All-Stars, season 8), Chris (Vanuatu, season 9), Bob (Gabon, season 17), and now Natalie.

I think coattails is a valid strategy, but players need the right counterpart to make it work. Namely, the counterpart needs to piss off a lot of people, while the coattail rider needs to be sweet and gain friendships. That way they make the jury vote more on an emotional basis than a strategic basis. Which, in the end, is just as strategic as the strategist's game... just on a different level. It's a symbiotic relationship in a way - the strategist needs the coattail riders to get enough votes and protect them from other strategists voting them off, and the coattail riders need the strategist to take the spotlight and the fire when it comes their way.

I could go on about this, but I used up a good amount of time researching previous seasons, and now it's almost time for me to go home. I will add one thing that I was very wrong about. It felt like lately there was an advantage to coming into the merge with a minority... somehow the majority alliance seemed to keep cannibalizing themselves before dismantling the other tribe, thus giving them the advantage. So I looked into it, and so far as I can tell, this has only worked for 5 winners: Chris (Vanuatu, season 9), Danni (Guatemala, season 11), Yul (Cook Islands, season 13), J.T. (Tocantins, season 18), and now Natalie. So I was wrong about that... but it does seem to be a more recent trend, at least for now.

Final Individual Power Rankings: The Most Impressive Wins
1. Richard Hatch
2. Earl
3. Parvati
4. Yul
5. Amber
6. Tom
7. J.T.
8. Brian
9. Tina
10. Natalie
11. Danni
12. Todd
13. Sandra
14. Bob
15. Jenna
16. Ethan
17. Aras
18. Vecepia
19. Chris

p.s. Congrats Bag!

p.p.s. Excellent showing for the rooks, congrats for a strong 2nd place, Dachui!

p.p.p.s. I have no idea what the standings are now... can someone verify this for me? Number of wins: Michal (2), Doug (2), Bag (2), Tom (1)*, Alia (1), Dachui (0)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Reflections on Survivor Samoa...

Will have to wait. Sorry. I will try and have it posted by tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Survivor Samoa - the end is near

A great season is coming to an end.

Current Standings:
Evil 'Box (90 pts):
1. Evil Russell (36 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
[3. Shambo (22 pts)]

Cutesiness (63 pts):
[1. Monica (22 pts)]
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (57 points):
[1. John (28 pts)]
2. Brett (26 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Dachui (46 pts):
1. Jaison (19 pts)
[2. Dave (22 pts)]
3. Natalie (5 pts)

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

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Evil Russell, and consequently, Evil Bag, have had a death grip on this game for the past month. There are ways that Bag won't win... but they are unlikely scenarios. If Russ doesn't make top 3 then someone else would win, but with the way the game's being played right now, I just don't see that happening.

2. Everyone else: Here are the possible points that can still be won:

  • 1st place: 45 (+15 for sweep)
  • 2nd place: 30
  • 3rd place: 20 (+10 if makes the jury)
  • Jury: 10
  • Individual Reward challenge: 4
  • Individual Immunity: 6
I don't want to call it a lock, but it appears that so long as Evil Russ makes top 3 he has won it... and no one seems to even be considering eliminating him before then. Here are the two "best chance" scenarios that I can see for anyone besides Evil 'Box to win:

1. Brett wins - if Brett sticks to his "plan" and wins the rest of the immunity challenges and ends up winning the game, Pizza Place would end up with 57+6+6+4+45=118 points. (I threw in a reward win too.) Let's say this happens, and the Foa Foas finally realize that they can't beat Evil Russ, and vote him out immediately (unlikely), then Bag would end up with 90+10=100 points. But if he gets through to top 3, I think he's definitely finishing ahead of any other Foa Foa in votes, which would give him 2nd place points of 30, thus giving him 120 points - just enough to beat Brett, who would have won everything else.

2. Dachui finishes 1 and 2 - if Dachui finishes 1&2, and Russ finishes 3rd, then Dachui would win (this doesn't count any reward/immunity points either team may earn). However, if Dachui even finishes 1&3, and Russ finishes 2nd, then Evil 'Box still wins.

Hopes for the finale:
1. I hope that the final tribal is between 2 people, not 3 - although that seems unlikely based on how many people are left, that the jury would have a even number, etc.

2. I hope that Evil Russ doesn't win. Which is weird because I've been rooting for him this whole time. But I would LOVE to see if his face if Even Dumber Blonde Girl ends up getting the best of him. It would be so priceless.

3. I hope that the entire pool will watch the finale together on Sunday.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (1)
2. Jaison (4)
3. Brett (5)
4. Natalie (3)
5. Mick (2)
6. Shambo (6)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Survivor Samoa - the gap closes... a little

I was a little disappointed in this last episode because there was no blindside, and there certainly was an opportunity for it! It's the first non-blindside episode in a really long time, and I really missed that element.

I'm happy that Dave got sent home for three reasons: 1. he was disturbingly thin and probably needed a decent meal more than anyone else, 2. his performance has been disappointing for a few weeks now and I'd lost all hope that he was actually a good strategist, and 3. we got a chance to see his CRAZY hair when he came in as a jury member.

I appreciated that Monica tried to stir the pot a little bit, but she did it in all the wrong ways. She tried to bargain and deal with the exact person she should have been plotting against. Even so, at least she was daring enough to actually try something, unlike Dave. Although her suggestion that Shambo would win Galu votes on the jury was laughable. I do hope she lives up to her promise though of spreading seeds of poison throughout the other jury members to try and stop Russ from winning. I don't think she'll succeed, but I can't wait for Monica's to say at final tribal: "Raise your hand if you're a millionaire."

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

Cutesiness (63 pts):
[1. Monica (22 pts)]
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (51 points):
[1. John (28 pts)]
2. Brett (20 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Dachui (42 pts):
1. Jaison (15 pts)
[2. Dave (22 pts)]
3. Natalie (5 pts)
Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Bag's still sitting pretty. The only negative to last week's episode was that his team was the only one that didn't bring in any points (except mine, but that's nothing new). But Russell and Shambo are still going strong, and still have a healthy lead. Their relationship is completely ridiculous though. They remind me of Pinky & the Brain: one's an evil and conniving genius, and the other is stupid and says things that are absolutely ridiculous.

Russell: "Shambo, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
Shambo: "I think so Russell, but I'm just not sure I can interpret the chickens' prophetic dreams now that they're dead."

2. Dachui: Dachui has lost a player, but it was their most useless one, so I still think all is well and good with them. More importantly, Natalie and Jaison are both threats when it comes to challenges, unlike Russell and Shambo who really suck at them (a topic I'd get into if I had more time). This means they should be able to close that points gap even more over the last two episodes (hopefully) to make them competitive with Evil 'Box. It's a long shot for sure, but I'm cheering you on, Dachui!

3. Cutesiness: Monica is gone... Moon's #1 pick. We watched the show together last night and when she was voted off, he admitted being happy to see her leave. He said that having her on his team was an embarrassment. I'd like to take this opportunity to go back in time and revisit some of his comments from the night of our picks. He asked me to post my list of players in the order I'd ranked them because he thought they were so ridiculous. I believe he said something along the lines of, "we need to have this on record so you can see how bad your picks are by the end of the season." Well, Moon, here are my top 5 picks: Jaison, Good Russell, Evil Russell, Liz, and Mick. 3 out of the 5 are still in the game (unfortunately the other 2 were my picks). And as I said in that blog: "Moon laughed at these rankings, but I think he'll be sorry he did that later... Only time will tell..."

4. Pizza Place: Brett - wow, he actually spoke, won a challenge, even did some strategizing! He IS real! I was starting to be concerned that he'd make final 3 just because no one ever voted him off because they forgot he was there. But he went and made himself worth noticing and now seems to be Evil Russ's primary target for the next vote. Sorry Doug.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: Dachui finally has more points than me. Sigh.

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

Friday, December 04, 2009

Survivor Samoa

Last night's episode of Survivor was another good one. The blindsides keep on coming, and I hope they continue! It's been awhile since I've posted, so let's get right to the standings:

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 (45 points):
[1. John (28 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 (26 pts):
1. Jaison (9 pts)
2. Dave (12 pts)
3. Natalie (5 pts)

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Bag's team is running away with the game at this point. If Shambo doesn't make top 3 after the lunacy she showed last night I'd be surprised. I think the only way she doesn't make top 3 is if someone stupid took control of the game (e.g. Monica) and voted her out out of spite. Evil Russ's hold on the others is nearly complete. Previews for next week indicate that Jaison and Mick finally realize they need to take him out, but I don't think that either of them actually have the moves to outplay the master. We'll see though...

2. Dachui: This last episode was great for Dachui because not a lot of points were won, but they got a chunk of them! Plus, they're still sitting strong with 3 players despite a close call with Dave. Jaison is thinking and strategizing, which I really appreciate. But he's prone to inaction most of the time, which could cost him the game. Dave - well, Dave is turning into a huge disappointment for me. I'd really like to see this guy try and make some moves! But what I really want to know is, how did that chicken end up tasting? No one ever showed the results of the 2 hour boil! If any team can take down the Evil 'Box, it's this one. Dachui has enough players that they can hopefully start pulling in a lot of points, and even get one or two players into the top 3. I hope Natalie is one of them, she's really winning me over!

3. Cutesiness: Moon informed me last night that he's no longer rooting for his own team. Hurrah, welcome to the club! Monica and Mick are in my eyes basically the same player. They ride coat-tails, don't help a lot with the challenges or strategizing, and generally annoy me. I think that it is impossible that either of them could get enough votes to win - unless they were going up against each other.

4. Pizza Place: Doug's team is all but gone, with only the ghost, Brett, left. I honestly cannot remember a player more overlooked by the TV crews and the other players in the game than this guy. And he's lost what little alliance he may have had when John got voted out. While John may be some brainy rocket scientist, he actually turned out to be pretty dumb when dealing with other people. He was in a hugely vulnerable position and then went to Evil Russ trying to get Mick voted out! I know they made that deal before, but he should have realized that deals like that are made to be broken. It was like watching a sheep try to tell the wolf stalking it what to do.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: I'm STILL ahead of Dachui, lol.

The Future?
With only 8 people left, it's really getting crucial that the players start to strategize about who they are hoping to take to the finals with them. Who can beat who in jury votes? I think it's pretty clear at this point that Russell would beat everyone else. The only upset I could see was if Dave made the finals and the old Galu alliance outweighed the "outwitting, outlasting, outplaying" aspect of the vote.

If Russ doesn't make it to the final 3, I think the next most likely would be Jaison then Natalie. I think that Natalie would probably have the edge over Jaison initially if they went to the finals together, but that Jaison would win in the end because he seems like a better orator.

So if Russ, Jaison, or Natalie makes the final 3 I think they'd win, with Dark Horse Dave being the spoiler. If none of them do, which seems pretty unlikely, it would be more of a "who's not the absolute worst?" tribal council than anything else. Then the victory would probably go to whoever orchestrated the overthrow, although I could see Eric and Russell voting for Shambo out of spite.

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