Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...
Sun-Tzu: (400 BC; Chinese general and military strategist.)
Hello again to my fellow Survivor fans and welcome to yet another week of my Survivor musings. The episodes this season honestly keep getting better. The Tribal Councils are very interesting to watch dynamic wise and both tribes are pretty entertaining as well. Survivor South Pacific is fast being added to my list of top favorites and not just because of Coach Wade. Each episode is fast paced and the cast dynamics are very interesting to explore!
With that being said let's take off on yet another weekly journey and delve into issues currently happening on the show.
Ozzy's reaction-Free Agent
As we all know last Tribal, Ozzy's main ally; Elyse Umemoto was blindsided. Ozzy took the news very emotionally in coming back to camp declaring himself a free agent. Then during his snit fit letting the cat out of the bag that he possesses an idol!!
His statement about blindsides show how heated he was about it and the fact that he realizes he doesn't have the hold on his tribe that he had previously believed he had.
The blindside obviously was a blow to Ozzy's ego..so he reacted with ego and had a petulant fit. As a result he announced he is solo agent, no more alliances; he outs the idol (stupid move) and upsets his tribe also.
By the next morning Ozzy is still in a petulant mood. He goes off to fish and stated basically that the tribe cannot flourish without him. Cochran noting this drama stated about Ozzy that he was "acting like a stupid bitch" which was a chuckle amidst the drama. But you gotta admit the kid was right.
I hate to be a bearer of bad news to Ozzy but if you choose to be a jerk and act like a male diva..the tribe could find a way to live without you. As it stands now once Ozzy came to his senses, apologized and made amends..Jim said it best that Ozzy's needed now to help win challenges to get the tribe up in numbers to merge. But from then on..the target will be "ginormous". Ozzy has placed himself in a tenuous situation and is now on the outside looking in. He maybe able to resurrect something through his alliance with Keith and possibly Whitney but the snit fit won't be forgotten or the tidbit about the idol. His snit fit just enlarged the bullseye.
Post snit fit the tribe was able to get their act together and win immunity! Then Ozzy was able to make a solid alliance with Keith and most likely Whitney will be their 3rd.
In short, Ozzy is necessary for the moment. But once the merge happens Ozzy is basically someone that will be used to deflect targets off people. But if Upolu gets it's act together over there with their issues at hand...Ozzy most likely will be target number 1. Keep that idol close by Oz!
Jim the one to watch
I like Jim Rice.
If anyone has been consistently strategical since Day 1 it has been Jim.
Jim engineered the blindside of Elyse Umemoto in hopes of weakening Ozzy which it did for a moment and was successful in creating a larger target on Ozzy.
But the one thing I like about Jim is his straight on view of the game and how he is able to pounce on anything at the slightest moment. Currently his allies are Cochran-Dawn. But I can see Jim being able to talk himself into a possible alliance with Ozzy-Whitney and Keith. Jim is a smart guy and will make himself avail for whatever situation he notices and can use for his advantage.
I can see him working out a way for Ozzy's blindside at merge and then capitalizing on it. I think Jim is someone to watch out for in the coming episodes and am interested in his next series of moves that he will make to go further in.
Redemption Island... Christine is breaking down. Goodbye Elyse!
In this episode's Redemption Island we are noticing the wear and tear that little food and isolation is having on Christine Markoski.
The wear and tear of having to be isolated coupled with lack of food has started to wear down Christine; who openly wept within seconds of Jeff addressing her.
This tells me something. As the challenge itself at the beginning showed that Christine is getting worn down by RI just as Matt did last season. In fact by a certain point Matt just seemed a bit lethargic. Which is what I am now seeing starting in Christine. The longer you stay can either strengthen you or it can wear you down. Christine is feisty and tough but she is not as solid a contender as Matt was last season. So I can see her break coming earlier than Matt's did.
The duelist she is meeting next, Mikayla Wingle is going to be her toughest opponent to date so we may see Christine depart next week. Mikayla has had access to food and possesses a tough charm to her. So I am thinking that next week may be a far tougher challenge for Christine and her "female Matt" run may come to an end.
Mikayla is younger. More physical. She's had access to food. She is feisty and fired up after Tribal and being voted off. Mikayla could channel all of this into a win and dethrone the current Queen of Redemption Island.
Now to this past duel:
This week's duel was pretty close. In the end Christine won her 4th consecutive duel in a row, ousting Ozzy's former ally; Elyse Umemoto which was no real shocker.
Christine was business as usual with the attitude doing one of those lame scratching my nose yet I am giving u the finger gesture towards Rick when he offered support. So what's new? She is still her rather abrasive self which she is channeling to keep going.
The shuffleboard challenge was here and there and as I stated earlier Christine seemed to be pretty tired through some of it. But it was a close one.
In the end Elyse Umemoto lost the duel and is now out of the game. She left upbeat though an kissed her buff before tossing it into the fire.
Over on Upolu we see history repeating itself with Brandon Hantz methodically and furiously searching for a hidden immunity idol. Just like his uncle in 2 of his previous seasons; Brandon found a clue just by walking up to a tree and looking in it's roots area. Coach Wade remarked on how much Brandon reminded him of his uncle. Even citing it was in the DNA.
More and more each week I am seeing characteristics of Russell Hantz within Brandon and this week is no exception. Definitely the DNA is there. Maybe not as strong as it flows in Russell...but it's there.
From the determination to find the idol which had even CBS showing flashbacks of his uncle walking the beach looking superimposed with his nephew...
To Tribal Council with the rant which is so like his uncle in context. Because of the fact that his uncle used forceful statements to get his points across. The only difference is his uncle would not have divulged tribe and alliance dynamics just before a vote which is totally nuts!
This is my take on Brandon and I may add I have been stating this pretty much consistently for weeks now. I think:
a. Brandon has no clear concept of how the game is played and is not cut out for playing the game.
In fact Albert himself acknowledged it during this past episode. Pretty much saying he will not look to Brandon for strategy talks anymore as it's a pointless endeavor.
b. Brandon uses subtle bully tactics just like his uncle when provoked. Just like during Tribal. Plus let's not forget a few episodes ago.
c. Brandon is a powder keg and a loose cannon which the tribe itself readily admits. He reacts emotionally and when he reacts decision wise those outbursts can hurt others strategically somewhere here soon or down the road.
Brandon is such an unknown variable that I am surprised he is still there. The only reasoning I can think of is that no one really considers him a threat. But actually when you consider his emotional game play, he is in his own way; a potential threat that should be considered. In fact I feel it should have been Brandon that should have gone and not Mikayla! In fact he should have been considered!
Really, it should have been Brandon...not Mikayla!
In my opinion...Coach Wade got it wrong in targeting Mikayla Wingle! Plus Albert in Edna!
Mikayla, though she didn't have the best of challenges has a history of being useful in a challenge setting. Such as last week's 2 oz that she picked up off the ground that ended up making a difference! As Albert said the next challenge can make or break the tribe going into merge in a few and Mikayla is useful.
Coach allowed his disappointment at Mikayla's performance coupled with the fact that it was either Mikayla or Edna to cloud his gut feelings about how dangerous Brandon is. He admits he is having flashbacks. He also admits that he doesn't really trust Brandon fully as if he did he would have shared the info.
My question to Coach is..is if you are having flashbacks and you aren't sure of someone..why keep them and shoot yourself in the foot?
During the episode Coach Wade readily admits that Brandon gives him flashbacks to Russell. Coach does not trust Brandon enough to share the news of the idol (even though he sees Brandon looking all over for it) Brandon should he learn Coach does in fact possess the idol will definitely react the way he has throughout which is basically go off half kilter!
My question to Albert is if you are sure you can't even work with someone in talking simple strategy..why keep them around?
Plus if someone in a rant says during Tribal that if you aren't willing to stay loyal..then vote me out right now. Why would you not question the person's motives? In fact why keep them? Why lop off someone who is trying to play the game and is needed in challenges to keep someone who has no idea how to talk strategy ..divulges tribal and alliance dynamics and says vote me out if you are not loyal to your own alliance! Plus Coach Wade why keep someone who could down the road cause you some problems?
Coach you may think you are okay with him now. But you cannot predict him!
Most likely Brandon will flip on Coach as after all during his rant at Tribal he kept bringing up loyalty and trust. If he finds out about the idol chances are he will go off! Should this be post merge Coach may have a situation to contend with..with Brandon as Brandon will reveal that Coach has the idol.
By targeting Mikayla and sticking with the vote for Mikayla ~ Coach AND Upolu made a critical mistake that I feel will come back to haunt them all. As they need to get Brandon out soon.
The Grey Area (Upolu Dynamics)
As we sit now in this segment of the season and with Edna now in tow, Coach Wade now has made it to a solid power position.
The position prior to this was some balancing of power between Coach Wade and Albert (who still retains some power)
Now with total absolute power, Coach is essentially right now the foundation or base of his tribe.
He is now balancing alliances with each member just as he attempted to do in Heroes vs Villains. Except this time he has the concept figured out. The only drawbacks to this balancing of power is that with his battle to spare Edna he has revealed the extent of the importance of her alliance with him to his allies Albert and Sophie.
Similar to Rob's season in S22, Coach has authority..however the difference between the two is that while Rob's faction followed him blindly or for alternative reasons allowed him to make each decision; Coach's two allies Albert and Sophie actually think for themselves and will challenge Coach on decisions affecting their tribe as we saw last episode.
Loyalty and trust are still central to this tribe and is the main foundation of Coach Wade's game. However when you are balancing so many relationships, that factor can be called into question if someone feels they are not in a one on one relationship and possible end game. In fact we are seeing that already in Albert.
Plus as I stated earlier Brandon is a possible dangerous dynamic who has positioned himself somewhat close to Coach Wade via sparing Edna. Were he to feel the trust and loyalty is not as strong in his favor he is not above the emotional reaction and divulging of info. Coach will need to keep this in mind and balance the alliance with Brandon carefully.
Plus add Rick who also spared Edna realizing that Coach has the power and also respected his position as that authority. I am not sure of the closeness with Rick but there is a respect factor there.
Balancing a complete tribal alliance can be touchy especially if a tribe member feels like they are not in a solid alliance with you and worries about the end outcome such as Albert does.
What worries me with Coach Wade's baring his strategy concerning Edna is that now Albert is aware of her importance to Coach Wade. Plus Albert is well aware that Coach possesses the idol as well. Albert at some point may try a power play again if he feels it will help his game. If I were Coach Wade I would reassure Albert of the idol and that it is available and make a deal for it's usage. As I am concerned that Albert will now find Edna a threat as well as he may see the relationship as a power of one.
Should this happen at merge Coach Wade maybe voted on to flush the idol and Edna may go which would hurt Coach's game just a bit. As Edna is his most trusted ally and I feel main ally of the whole alliance structure.
Edna is good for Coach's end game. If he were to take Edna to the F2 Coach Wade could win the game!
As Edna will be considered a "C" or coat tail rider plus Edna throughout the game is going to do whatever it takes to stay with Coach and close to Coach as she knows he will shield her now and keep his pact with her.
This is something I think Albert is aware of and might even be the root of why he targeted her. Which I feel is a bit early.
If I were Coach..I would downplay this alliance and work to reassure Albert and Sophie that their alliance is the primary one. If not I worry that Albert will make another power play. But for now...Coach is in the driver's seat and doing great. Let's hope he continues this momentum and is able to balance things in his favor.
Coach-Edna the new Tom/Katie (Survivor Palau)
Speaking of the Edna/Coach alliance....
I feel it is mainly a primary alliance as this past Tribal revealed this dynamic as did the episode. The two in my opinion have some similarities to another Survivor duo who made Final 2 during their season..Season 10..Survivor Palau..Tom Westman and Katie Gallagher.
I noted these similarities:
1. Both connected on Day One
2. Both women were considered weak in challenges and were/are connected to power players who were able to keep them in the game when their names were brought up.
3. Both women were considered at times annoying and very talkative in their seasons
4. Both duos were duos within a larger alliance and as the game progressed their alliances grew and became more set.
5. Should Coach/Edna make F2 as Tom/Katie did chances are the votes would be similar as both Katie and Edna are coat tail riders.
Call it game instinct call it just instinct.. but I think Edna is gonna be a good asset for Coach Wade. All through the game.
Albert stated that Edna is aware in the game and now that she is aware of her position close to Coach.
As the game progresses should they stay aligned, which I feel they will; I can see Coach reaching out to her more strategically as the alliance grows. Especially if he is using her to garner info as he alluded to ..to Albert.
Edna appears weak but she does have some savvy to her. I see her as someone who knows she has a good thing with Coach and she is not going to do anything to endanger that.
In the end Coach retains power! While Ozzy is still seeking to get back in and is on the perimeter of his tribe there at Savii.This past episode showed a lot of dynamics shifting and with episode it will only get more telling.
Well that will do it for this week's journey. Hope u enjoyed this past episode and that you are enjoying the season as it has been pretty awesome so far! Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below. I appreciate ALL feedback pro or con. I also appreciate your taking time to stop by for a read!
Until next week...keep your torch lights lit and enjoy episode 7!
Below is a link to a blog that has some Coach Resource sites..if u have not followed, LIKED, joined..I invite u to do so and hope to see u there! LINKS are clickable on the blog itself!
LIKE! FOLLOW! BOOKMARK! FOLLOW! SUPPORT COACH WADE!