Monty Brinton/CBS
October 07, 2010 10:55 AM

If you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. – Law 39: Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish

Was Marty bulled in high school by someone named Jimmy? This season started out lousy with Jimmys, but the past two episodes have been a Jimpocalypse. First Marty pulled the dapper coach, well-groomed up above and well-medicated down below. This week, Marty’s evil eye turns on the Gloucester fisherman who just wants to be heard. For silencing Jimmy T once and for all, Marty wins his second Fishy Award!

Marty is faced with the classic strategist’s dilemma – keep the tribe strong or keep his alliance strong. Espada sentiment has turned against weakest link Dan. “Given my druthers, I’d pick Dan,” says Tyrone. “Dan has a hard time walking.”

Jane thinks that Jimmy Johnson has targeted Dan from beyond the grave. Even Marty’s BFF Jill, who is in a tight contest with Marty for “Best Island Hair,” wouldn’t mind seeing Dan go.

“I love Dan, but he’s the guy who sits every game,” she says.

For his part, Dan is do we know what Dan is? The only things we know about Dan are that he has perpetual problems with his footwear, he’s “not a mudder,” and he will proudly take the step of sitting out challenges for the tribe’s sake.

Oh, and we know that Dan is a solid vote for Team Marty.

In fact, in a secret scene, Dan goes so far as to say, “I know [Marty] wants to win the game. Which is fine with me. He can win it.” Did Dan learn strategy from watching Tocantins?

Eliminating Jimmy and keeping Dan solidifies Marty’s power. With Dan, Yve and Jill on his side, Marty would run the dominant Espada alliance.

“It doesn’t matter what they want to say about [assumptions that] Danny’s weak or why am I protecting him,” he says. “Numbers speak for themselves.”

What makes Marty’s move so genius is the way he baits Jimmy into alienating swing vote Tyrone. “All you’ve got to do with Jimmy T is give him a little bit of rope and he’ll hang himself,” says Machiavellian Marty.

Knowing that all Jimmy craves in life is the role of leader, Marty nominates Tyrone to lead Espada. When the tribe stumbles in the immunity challenge, of course Jimmy can hardly keep his mouth shut. And Marty uses Jimmy’s frustration to turn Tyrone against him. “His biggest feedback after the challenge today is that he wants to be leader,” Marty reminds Tyrone – relaying an implied critique of Tyrone’s own leadership skills.

Tossing back Jimmy T also takes out a potential rival in case there’s a swap. Savvy contestants prepare for every eventuality; you never know when the producers are going to mix things up. Jimmy was threatened by Marty and thought he wasn’t pitching in to the tribe’s urchin-collection effort.

That’s why Na Onka’s shabby treatment of Kelly B is worse than bad behavior; it’s bad strategy.

In Tocantins, we were careful to keep our tribe united. For any Survivor historians who still care, the reason we voted out Sandy K instead of Sydney on day 12 was that we didn’t want to alienate Joe and Spencer right before a potential swap. But it’s day 12 in Nicaragua, and both tribes are acting along alliance lines rather than tribal consensus.

Next week, we’ll see if they suffer for it.

Tell us: Is Marty running the game? What will happen at the swap?

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