Thursday, March 25, 2010

Survivor 20: Episode 6

Okay, so this last episode was amazing. I don't think it rates quite as high as the Edgardo ousting or when Erik gave up his immunity necklace only to be voted out immediately afterwards, but this was definitely a top 5 episode. Russell is quite probably the best strategist in Survivor history. He's not the best at making alliances or getting people to like him, but his strategy is genius.

We were a little confused by what happened initially, so I'm gonna break it down here, just to explain the awesomeness that transpired and how it counted for our teams:

The challenge was an individual challenge for separate tribes, and then a heads-up between the winners for hot dogs and an inside look into the other tribe's dynamics. So, I scored it so the two winners each got individual immunity, and the Villains won a team reward challenge.

At the Villains camp there was a LOT of conspiring. What ended up happening is that the majority alliance decided to split their votes 3 for Parvati (Courtney, Jerri, and Coach) and 3 for Russell (Boston Rob, Tyson, and Sandra). Russell, Parv and Danielle all decided to go for Tyson, Boston Rob's assistant coach. That way it'd be a 3-way tie, so even if the immunity idol was played, the majority could still vote out either Russell or Parvati in the re-vote. Russell knew that his immunity idol could only protect him or Parvati, and I honestly don't know if his talking to Tyson was a last ditch effort to make what happened happen, or if he really thought he was going to sacrifice Parv so that he could survive. But he managed to convince Tyson that he was going to save his own skin and vote for Parvati. And Tyson figured that he could then vote for Parvati as well, so that he wouldn't have to stress about a tie vote where his name would be written down.

Now here's the astounding thing - Russell gave his immunity necklace to Parvati. He KNEW that there was a huge likelihood that he was going to get voted out by doing this, but he wanted to stay loyal to his alliance, and a woman he respects more than possibly anyone else. Could Evil Russell really be Chivalrous Russell? So the votes ended up being 2 for Russell, 3 for Tyson, and 4 for Parv, which didn't count because she played the necklace. Note that SHE played it, not Russell, so she gets the points for a successful play. This rule was created for just such circumstances. Courtney, you may be sad, but the alternatives were either Russell getting voted out, or Russell losing 5 points for incorrectly playing the idol to save his own skin. So it's not as bad as it could've been!

Does this count as a self-blind-side? Tyson's vote is what triggered him to be voted out, and he certainly didn't see it coming. I can hear Jeff saying it now: "For the first time in Survivor history..." I also think this ranks in the top 5 of stupidest plays of all time. Obvious winners are James not playing 1 of 2 immunity idols that he had, and Erik giving up his immunity idol. Also in the top 5: that guy who messed up the last challenge because Schemer Rob told him he'd win sympathy votes that way, and subsequently gave Jenna Morasco the win.

Unfortunately this insane awesomeness was followed by the extreme stupidity of the Hero's tribal council. It's not just JT who is wishy-washy, it's the entire team. They are so inconsistent and are managing to completely ruin any chance they have for survival. Last week they decide to stick to their alliance and so they voted out Tom, who is obviously stronger than an injured James. Then this week, after demonstrating that James with only 1 leg is still more physical than Colby in challenges, they decide James is a liability and vote him off. PICK A SIDE HEROES. You either have to go alliance or strength, you can't alternate between the two! There's an obvious poker analogy here, but I'm not going to go there. The only upside I can find to this team's idiocy is that I somehow managed to keep my player Colby around, and his frank honesty actually made me like him for the first time all season.

What does the future have in store? I think that the Heroes, Parvati, Russell, and Danielle need a merge desperately. Boston Rob's super-alliance should probably throw a challenge if they don't merge though, because they're not going to be able to vote out Russell any other way. I think this may be the only time that I think throwing a challenge would be a good strategy - but I don't know if Boston Rob would be able to lose a battle to win a war - I think he's too proud. And even if they tried to throw a challenge, Evil Russ probably could smell it coming from a mile away and then somehow manage to win the challenge all on his own. Or find another hidden immunity idol - he can scent them out like a bloodhound.

What If?

Candice had a big night! 6 points that no one earned for her individual immunity, so Courtney would be at -4 for the purchase - almost out of the hole - and Bag, Moon, and Doug would be at -9.

Now it's a weird buying round this week. Since two teams lost a player, what we're going to do is this - Dachui and Moon have been notified that if they are interested in buying Candice they need to let me know. If neither of them want her, then fine, no one gets her. If only one of them want her, then they can buy her at the standard price of 15 points. But if BOTH teams want to buy her, then we will do an auction, Survivor style. I will find the grossest stuff I can at the grocery and whoever can hold it down will win her. Okay, just kidding, the auction will be based on points not food - but isn't my idea so much more entertaining?

Current Standings:

"Douchey" Dachui: 64 points
[1. Tyson (18 pts)]
2. Boston Rob (26 pts)
3. Coach (20 pts)

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 60 points
1. JT (7 pts)
[2. Tom (27 pts)]
3. Parvati (26 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 46 points
1. Evil Russell (30 pts)
[2. Stephenie (2 pts)]
3. Sandra (14 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 32 points
[1. James (7 pts)]
[2. Cirie (7 pts)]
3. Danielle (18 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 31 points
1. Rupert (5 pts)
[2. Randy (6 pts)]
3. Jerri (20 pts)

"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 24 points
1. Colby (5 pts)
2. Amanda (7 pts)
3. Courtney (12 pts)


It feels like the entire game has changed after this episode. I think everything now depends on how quickly they merge. If they merge next week then a Team Russell defection would put the two alliances in a blockbuster 8 v. 8 showdown. If a few weeks go by though, the Heroes and Team Russell might be annihilated. So these rankings really don't mean to much, but I'm going to speculate anyways.

6. All Blacks - it's easier to start from the bottom, which is where Moon is firmly planted. His "all black" team now consists of one busty white woman. (He's already working on coming up with a new team name.) Medical evacuations are a nasty part of Survivor and our pool, and it hurts when one of your ponies gets taken out this way. We've all been there. Maybe we should add a rule next season where the player gets some pity points thrown their way? Although really James wasn't going to make it THAT much farther anyways. I think that his biggest problem is that he doesn't listen... and that is a fatal flaw in a social game.

5. Gorbag - Gorbag did well with poker this weekend, but his lot was not improved much in the Survivor pool (congrats again Bag!). I just don't see Jerri or Rupert going all the way with this one, and that's what it's going to take for us bottom-three to have a chance against these other power-houses. Interesting side note - Moon and I had a very interesting conversation about who the bigger bitch was, Jerri or Parvati. I would love for comments to include who they would vote for and why.

4. Bridesmaids - the Bridesmaids are really adept at not getting voted out, but they really suck at earning points. My small consolation this episode is that everyone competed in the challenge, so I didn't lose any points. I think my team got a lot more intersting this episode too. Will Colby have an amazing comeback after the last tribal? Will he give 125% now that he feels like he's a part of their alliance and help turn the Heroes around? How has Courtney managed to fly under the radar this whole time, and how far can she really go? (I'm hoping all the way!)

3. New Rook - The top 3 teams I think are all neck and neck... but I put Courtney in 3rd place just because Russell's position is so precarious. He's seriously outnumbered, and while he has been in this situation before, his opponents are much smarter this time around. If anyone can get out of this mess though, it's Russell. Sandra is a serious threat too. She's put herself in a perfect position - close to Rob but not in charge.

2. B2B - Doug & Bri have two very strong competitors, but they both happen to be in the minority right now, and Parvati in particular has been voted for every time they've gone to tribal council. But these are two of the most charming people to ever play the game, and their alliances, while small in numbers, are very strong. I can easily see one or both of them making it to final tribal.

1. Dachui - Losing Tyson has hurt them for sure, but ultimately they still have 2 Villains on their team who are currently in very secure positions. I think Boston Rob needs to win a LOT of immunity challenges on the way to final tribal, or else they will vote him out, but that is a possibility. Coach I could see getting there as well by riding coattails, but I don't think he would win.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Survivor 20: Episode 5

Sorry for the extreme lateness of this blog post. But since there wasn't a new episode of Survivor last night anyways, nothing was really missed! I'm not going to ramble on too much now - in all honesty I just don't remember the episode that much anymore. What I do remember is the awesome preview for next week - it looks like Boston Rob and Evil Russ will get to duke it out!

What If?
Candice earned no more points this past episode. So Courtney would still be -10 for the purchase, and Bag and Tom would both be at -15.

Current Standings:

"Douchey" Dachui: 52 points
1. Tyson (16 pts)
2. Boston Rob (18 pts)
3. Coach (18 pts)

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 48 points
1. JT (7 pts)
[2. Tom (27 pts)]
3. Parvati (14 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 42 points
1. Evil Russell (28 pts)
[2. Stephenie (2 pts)]
3. Sandra (12 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 30 points
1. James (7 pts)
[2. Cirie (7 pts)]
3. Danielle (16 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 29 points
1. Rupert (5 pts)
[2. Randy (6 pts)]
3. Jerri (18 pts)

"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 22 points
1. Colby (5 pts)
2. Amanda (7 pts)
3. Courtney (10 pts)

1. Dachui: Dachui still has all their players and they are all Villains so they are all obviously going to outlast every single stupid Hero. What's also fairly huge is that they've only had one player sit out a challenge once - so they're essentially making 15 points a week! (Except the one time the villains lost.)

2. New Rook: Courtney had a BIG week with Russell finding the immunity idol. Not only did that boost her overall score, but will most likely save her player since Boston Rob is gunning for him. I think Courtney is officially back in the game - although next week looks like it'll determine how successfully!

3. B2B: I'm bumping B2B down in the rankings, not because they lost a player, but because they have a hero on their team. And that spells certain doom. Doug has already told me that they won't be buying Candice, which I think is a good thing. Her value will stay extremely low so long as she is on the Heroes tribe.

4. All Blacks: Team All Blacks are fading into the background for me. Danielle is completely forgettable, and with James' injury it's unknown how long he'll stayt in the game. I like to think that maybe his injured leg will help James stay in the game longer, since after a merge he'll be less of a physical threat, but he'll probably get booted before the merge. I mean really, anyone who's on the Hero's tribe isn't making it to merge, I don't think.

5. Bridesmaids: I have stolen Dachui's strategy from last year where I keep all my players alive but none of them win any points. For all I know Amanda will actually win this season, but it won't be enough to give me the victory. And I hate Colby. That man has changed from cunning player to self-righteous whiner over the past few years. I'm cheering against him. Really I'm not cheering for my team anymore, I'm just cheering for the people that I like the best. (This includes, but is not limited to: Parvati, Evil Russ, Sandra, JT, and Amanda.)

6. Gorbag: I get the feeling that Gorbag doesn't really care about survivor anymore. I think Rupert agrees with him. They both seem halfhearted in their effors. Jerri is working hard, but in a kind of crazy way. And her jealousy over Parvati's flirting skills could make her a target of one of the craftiest players in the game.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Survivor 20: Episode 4

WOW. What an episode! I was so sad to see Cirie go this early; I really admire her game. This is a woman who is old, overweight, always comes into the match seemingly without friends or alliances, and always manages to make it to the final 4... until now, that is. Unfortunately JT was smart enough to realize that she was smarter than him, so he took her out. As Ben noted, this was a good play for JT - he'll do better allying himself with the likes of Tom, another gentleman and winner of the game. But I will miss Cirie! She was a blind-siding queen, and I think we'll lose a few stunners without her around.

Weirdly enough, all the players who've been voted out so far have been 2nd round picks. It probably just a random coincidence, but I'm trying to figure out if maybe there's a pattern or reason for this. If it holds true it means Boston Rob, Tom, or Amanda are next to go. They all seem secure right now, but in this all-stars season it's impossible to predict who is safe and who isn't. I'll do it anyway though - if the Heroes lose I predict Candice will be the next to go. If the Villains lose then I think I'm going with Evil Russell. I wonder, do you think Boston Rob would throw a challenge just to get rid of him? How pissed off is Boston Rob by Evil Russell trying to find the hidden immunity idol?

What If?

Both Courtney and Bag passed up the chance to buy Candice. I can't say that I disagree with either of their decisions. For curiosity's sake, I checked and I think she would've netted 7 points total, so 1/2 her asking price. If they had bought her, though, neither of them would've inherited all of those points. Courtney would be sitting at -10, and Bag would be at -15 currently, since she made no points last night. It'll be interesting to see if either of them would've made it to the black in the long run had they picked her. If Moon passes her up too, then I'll start tracking that as well.

Current Standings:

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 45 points
1. JT (7 pts)
2. Tom (27 pts)
3. Parvati (11 pts)

"Douchey" Dachui: 39 points
1. Tyson (13 pts)
2. Boston Rob (13 pts)
3. Coach (13 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 27 points
1. James (7 pts)
[2. Cirie (7 pts)]
3. Danielle (13 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 24 points
1. Rupert (5 pts)
[2. Randy (6 pts)]
3. Jerri (13 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 24 points
1. Evil Russell (13 pts)
[2. Stephenie (2 pts)]
3. Sandra (9 pts)

"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 21 points
1. Colby (7 pts)
2. Amanda (7 pts)
3. Courtney (7 pts)


1. B2B: Everything is going right for this team, it's like they've been blessed by Jeff Probst himself. First Parvati was on the chopping block and managed to weasel her way out of it. Now Tom is in trouble and the Survivor Gods lob a miracle his way too! Not only did he not get voted out, he earned 20 points for finding and successfully playing the hidden immunity idol, and managed to work himself into a stable position on the tribe! I imagine that JT could be the next at risk, since switching sides usually makes people want to vote you out, but I'm fully prepared for a medevac to save his good old country boy neck.

2. The Douches: The Douches are in 2nd place solely because the cry-baby dragon slayer is on their team. For the record, Moon, I do not think I'm underestimating this guy's ridiculousness. What was the line he said last night? "I am the Last of the Mohicans. King Arthur. Legend." This coming the day after someone said he didn't pull his weight around camp and that was enough to make him want to quit!! Ben called him a Tom Cruise Wannabe, and I think he's really hit the nail on the head with that one. Although maybe it's Daniel Day Lewis.

3. Bridesmaids: There's a huge gap between the top 2 teams and the rest of us. Right now this is a 2 horse race. I'm ranking myself 3rd because I still have all 3 of my players, which I think gives me a better chance than the others to catch up. I'm getting crushed by Courtney though, who has sat out a challenge in every single episode so far, reducing my score by 8 points!

4. New Rook: Courtney looks like she may be in hot water if Boston Rob gets too mad at Evil Russell. It looks like right now E. Russ would be the next voted out if the Villains ever lost a challenge. But at the same time, I love Sandra's chances at a deep run right now. We don't know a lot about the Villains' dynamics right now since they keep winning, but it seems to me that Sandra is a part of every decision while never seeming like she's actually making any decisions. That's a great place to be at this point in the game.

5. All Blacks: Cirie getting voted out last night dealt a fatal blow to this team. It's only being kept afloat by Danielle's enormous inflatable breasts at this point. James is probably going to be on the outs now that Cirie is gone (I'm expecting a James rant that's as big as his arms) so even if the Heroes make a miraculous come-back and go into the merge with a majority, I see him being one of the first to become a part of the jury. Without a majority, the Villains will probably vote him out even sooner since he's such a threat in individual immunity challenges. Moon now has the opportunity to buy Candice now... I wonder if he will?

6. Gorbag: Gorbag never said anything about buying Candice, so he forfeited the option to claim her. So he's down to his terrible two: Rupert and Jerri. Both seem to be laying low for the most part, but Rupert's honesty at tribal council was illuminating for me. He's just not playing the game. I think he really loves Survivor - he loves the challenges, and seems as happy as a clam around camp - but I don't think he likes the strategizing. One of the reasons we all love him is because of his honesty, but now he's coming across as flaky and absent-minded.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Game of Thrones officially an HBO series!

Yay! I just saw on George RR Martin's blog that HBO greenlit the first season of Game of Thrones - hurray! You can check out the full cast from the pilot here. I don't think it's going to air until next spring sometime, which gives you just enough time to (re)read the first book before the premiere. And then you will be just as joyous as I am right now!