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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The Main Players At Merge
It's merge time and given the fact that Jeff Probst is Touting with glee it looks like this merge episode is gonna be a doozie peeps! :)
Thought I would do a small assessment prior to merge of a few key players. In my opinion the key players and situations at this point are:
Undeniably if any of the returnees are playing their best game yet..it is hands down Coach Wade. Were Coach to win this season he would be termed a Survivor with the biggest comeback in the history of the game.
His game has shades of a "Boston Rob" (S22) feel to it in that he is balancing alliances with each individual on his tribe and holds authority within his tribe. That's not a small feat by any means as a: he is a returning player which going into the game he briefly had a target on him simply because of his status as a returnee. b: having the relationships intact with so many personalities is a difficult job within itself. Yet Coach has managed to do this and maintain the power.
At merge the dynamics will shift as now he and Upolo will face the opposite tribe of Savaii where there could be shifts within their folds namely Cochran. So at merge the true test of will Upolo remain solid will be answered. Plus whether or not "Operation Trojan Horse" will be pulled off is up for debate.
My feeling is this has happened to Coach before on his first season of Tocantins. At merge JT/Stephen pounced on the split dynamics within Timbira to infiltrate & become members of The Warrior Alliance. Their tribe of Jalapao was entering merge at 4 members (soon 3 with Joe Dowdle's evacuation) so they played on separate divisions and used it to their advantage. Going on to gain power over a tribe that was up in numbers and taking each one out one by one leaving only Erinn to remain (who had flipped to their side at merge)
This go round Coach no doubt remembers this merge all too well and is smart enough to not allow this to happen again. So even if Cochran were to flip over my feelings are that Coach will not allow the infiltration to become as rampant as Jalapao's were and will focus on weeding out members of Savaii while keeping his tribe members tighter to him. His relationships are a lot more solid this go round with each member as even Brandon going into merge is saying he will remain true Upolo.
So undeniably while Cochran saw this happen during Season 18. Coach Wade lived it. Coach Wade will probably end up living by the adage of "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" and any attempts to infiltrate will not meet with as much success.
As it stands now Upolo has the numbers and through numbers ...power.
Coach Wade as it stands now is setup to win this season of Survivor South Pacific. Because I can see him increasing in strength throughout the rest of the season. I will hearken back to Coach's own words: "I will allow nothing or no one to cost me this game".
I think he has it this season.
On Savaii's end and another really smart player playing a great game is Jim Rice.
Jim has been able to navigate the various alliances within Savaii and not be targeted. As in the case of Coach Wade, Jim has pretty much maintained relationships with all except for perhaps Ozzy. It was Jim (mistakenly people give the nod to Cochran) who started the ball rolling strategically to weaken Ozzy. His idea to poke a hole in Ozzy's armor by voting off Elyse led to a brief separation of the tribes with opposing factions ie: being split down the middle. Which knowing Jim he would have been the hidden puppet master behind it all.
Throughout this season Jim has been (like Sophie on Upolo) very observant and very aware of everything happening on his island. As in the case of when Ozzy stated "Coach should get rid of Albert asap before merge" Jim noted this remark and was quick to use Ozzy's words against him to Keith. Leaving Keith to question Ozzy for a sec and for Keith to move (in a rather diplomatic way) against Ozzy. For a moment Jim was able to strain that alliance and probably there are some strains still remaining. As Keith-Whitney were not for the idea of Ozzy going into RI. But the skinny of it is Jim is at the heart of it all.
Something tells me that Jim may try to find a way to work within the realms of old Upolo it may work for him; or then again it may not.
If it had not been for Jim though Cochran would not have remained in the game as far as he has. The real mastermind to watch out for is Jim..not Ozzy...not Cochran. As he is very observant and is not above using whatever is available to keep him longer in the game. I think of Savaii..he is the smarter player.
Ozzy Lusth :
The main focus Ozzy has said all through his season so far is he is desperate to gain some Redemption from his second season. Through watching Ozzy this season I have yet to see anything that would truly redeem him. As he has in his previous seasons, Ozzy has at times been bratty; cocky, childish & a bully. He has not played a good social or strategical game at all. In fact his "m.o" of attractive female alliances have sent two females closest to him to Redemption Island and since both have exited the game.
The one thing he has had work somewhat in his favor is he has found the idol. However he revealed it's existence in a "snit fit" to his tribe when he felt he had nothing to lose. This knowledge would eventually open up a conversation with the one person he has bullied, chastised, poked fun of and in general was a jerk towards; John Cochran. Which is where I feel this Trojan Horse idea took shape.
Survivor purists like myself feel the idea of taking fate into your hands and going to Redemption Island is just fool hardy and definitely shades of the cockiness Ozzy is famous for. However what I think will happen is that Ozzy will use the arena to setup a trap to send Cochran into in order to work within the bigger numbers to take out the ones who targeted his allies and also to break down Upolo within it's ranks.
Where it's a decent plan and strategy what he is not aware of and should be aware of is that this has happened to Coach before. It's safe to say it will have next to no real impact other than what suits Upolo by the extra vote. Ozzy should he survive RI; going into merge is a very large target (due to physical strength at challenges) and I don't see him and Coach as getting along because I think Ozzy will rub people the wrong way. I don't see anyone necessarily wanting him to stick around and I do see Ozzy as making jury should he return.
Now to the next person who plays a role in this merge episode: John Cochran. I started the season wanting more out of Cochran but have become disappointed in the process. For someone who has written a thesis on the game that was met with honors; in the game itself he has appeared weak at first and floating along on his shins. Neurotic and if not for Jim he would not even be in the game now. Right now Cochran is no threat as he is not strong enough at challenges. So he is not a reward or immunity threat.
Which is why his infiltration is a key. But in flipping he is in effect in no man's land as this will put him at the bottom of the totem pole dynamics wise within Upolo unless he keeps the idol and uses it to work for him. If he were to keep the idol and go against his word; this could be used against him by Jim and members of Savaii. If he were to give it back it makes him vulnerable within both ranks. His main saving grace now would be the Trojan Horse attempt which could spare him a few votes should he be able to make a success of it. But at some attempt being he will be at the bottom of the totem pole; he will be at Upolo's mercy. Though Cochran makes for personality to watch..within the game itself he will also make jury possibly mid way. I don't see much from him and think that the weakness will only carry him so far.
The merge is tonight and it sounds like it will be an awesome episode! Only time will tell of the success of each of the 4 players I have mainly focused on, However this season has not failed to be entertaining and each episode just keeps getting better!
For those who happen to check this out today:
"TONIGHT!! I will be the main guest at a podcast by Survivor fans David and Nicole at !!:30 PM EST! Check it out for sure! Survivor Podcast