Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.
“People are so dumb in this game. I mean, they talk way too much.”
– J.T. Thomas, Survivor: Tocantins
Does Sherri remind anybody else of Sandra Bullock? I don’t just mean the physical resemblance.
Last week, Sherri pulled off The Blind Side, wresting control of the Fans tribe from the Cool Kids. This week, things have gotten Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
The problem is, Shamar’s a real Demolition Man. He shouts at Reynold and shouts at Eddie. He shouts at Matt, who’s just saved him. He shouts that he didn’t get the diving mask. He shouts that it’s raining.
Shamar may be a military veteran, but he acts like a child lashing out for negative attention. When people aren’t exclusively talking about Shamar, he threatens to quit.
Sherri does her best to play Miss Congeniality. But at this point, you have to wonder if the damage Shamar does to tribe cohesion outweighs his strategic and physical benefit. The Fans must guess there’s a swap coming soon. Staying strong against the Favorites is their only chance.
Nevertheless, Sherri and Laura share the Fishy this week for keeping their alliance intact. They come up with The Proposal to split the votes. When Shamar sabotages his own allies by “blurbing” the plan as Hope Floats nearby, they react with Speed.
Laura’s last-minute scheme to team up with Reynold looks like she’s dithering. But I suspect there’s a lot more going on. We never actually see Laura and Julia discussing voting out Shamar. (We just see them being “scared.”)
Laura’s fake plan with Reynold ensures that all three Cool Kids vote Shamar, which accomplishes three things:
1. Laura keeps Hope from flipping on Eddie – which would eliminate Eddie, whose strength the tribe needs.
2. She keeps her own name off the parchment.
3. She keeps Reynold occupied from coming up with a counter-strategy.
Things work out for Sherri’s alliance – for now. Next week, however, it looks like they’re heading for a Crash.
Over at the Favorites camp, Malcolm and Corinne find the idol. Why doesn’t Corinne reach into any crevasses to try and grab it first? Co-owning the idol is the same as not owning the idol at all.
Meanwhile, Andrea wants so badly to Be Strategic. She’s devised a plan to oust Corinne and replace her with Brandon. Could there be a single worse move?
Brandon is emotionally disturbed and highly erratic – horrible qualities in an ally. He’s strong in challenges, making him hard to beat at the end. AND, at least according to the cast of South Pacific, he’s highly likable and a jury threat.
Moreover, right now, Stealth R Us has a delicate balance. There’s the Phillip/Andrea pair, the Cochran/Dawn pair, and the two outsiders – Corinne and Malcolm – who have paired up out of necessity. By eliminating Corinne and bringing in Brandon, Andrea would be tilting the alliance influence away from herself and over to Dawn and Cochran, who are friends with Brandon from South Pacific.
Worse, fracturing the core alliance would immediately put Malcolm – and, really, everybody else – on their guards. We’ve seen it time and time again: Timbira, Galu, the Heroes, Tandang. As soon as an alliance turns on itself, it’s impossible to restore trust.
Right now, Andrea is in an ideal position. She’s SVP of Stealth R Us. Her alliance partner, Phillip, is the tribe’s nominal leader and its biggest jury goat. If Sophie Clarke, Kim Spradlin, and Boston Rob have taught us anything, it’s that the best move is often to keep everybody else from making a move.
Luckily for Andrea, the Favorites’ winning streak saves her from herself.