Stephen's 'Survivor' Strategy Blog: Marty Makes a Deal with Sash

Fishbach wonders if Marty's move was smart or stupid

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS(2)

“Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane.” – Law 23, Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness Into Power

The dumbest move or the gutsiest? When I first heard the rumor that Marty was going to give away an immunity idol, I thought, “Marty, how could you? Did you completely miss Heroes vs. Villains? Don’t you remember the Dumbest Move of All Time?”

But last night, when Marty gave Sash his idol on Survivor Wednesday, Sash stayed true to his word and voted out former power player Jill. Only time will tell if Marty’s Hail Mary pass was a good idea. Did he build trust with the younger players? Or did he just give a new and powerful tool to his enemies?

There’s no question, however, that the scoundrel Sash wins this week’s Fishy. Sash coaxed the idol out of the chess master’s hands and established himself as the dominant force on La Flor. The BS Alliance is now running the show.

NaOnka Targets Alina

The episode started with Espada coming back from tribal council. While Dan reminisced about his days dodging bullets for Cosa Nostra, NaOnka was already targeting Alina. “[Alina] has these eyes that can just see straight through you,” she said. “We need to get Alina out next.”

Say what you will about NaOnka – she was in full game mode 100 percent of the time. Or, at least, when she’s not trying to quit. NaOnka’s problem is she can’t quite see the distinction between strategy and holy war. She’s stuck on 11. As with her crusade against poor Kelly B, suddenly everything about Alina was evil. When Alina shared a moment with the tribe and cried at the reward feast, NaOnka saw an insidious ploy. “She’s so grimy and so sneaky,” NaOnka said.

Jill’s Luck Runs Out

Over at La Flor, Marty and Jill were scrambling. The former rulers of Espada were now in the minority. And their former tribemate, Jane, had irrevocably flipped to the young side.

“Marty and Jill have treated me like I don’t exist from day one,” Jane said. Somehow, this happens on every season, in almost every tribe. The dominant alliance shuns or excludes one person – and that person spends the rest of the game wreaking vengeance. Think Candice last season, Shambo in Samoa, Erinn and Taj in Tocantins . . . The number one lesson any person going into Survivor should learn is the number one lesson in life: Be nice to everybody! No matter how annoying they are. Getting to the end can be that easy.

That’s something, as I mentioned before, that Sash understands. When Jane told her young alliance, “I was the ugly duckling over there,” Sash immediately responded, “You’re a prized possession over here.” Sash treats all his tribemates with respect – and, as a result, gains their respect and trust.

Maybe too much trust. The greatest testament to how much Brenda and Sash control the game came when Sash pressured Marty to simply hand over his idol. “You hand the idol over, and I look you in the eye man to man and assure you you’re not going home tonight,” Sash told Marty. He ent on to assure him that next time they go to Tribal Council, he’ll give him back the idol if he needs it. And if you believe that, I’ve got some coconuts to sell you . . .

Marty’s options were limited, however. Assuming Sash keeps his word – which is a big assumption – he doesn’t actually lose anything by giving him the idol. And it might just buy him enough time to wreak a little vengeance of his own. “It could go down as one of the stupidest moves ever. Or maybe not,” he said.

Jill’s fate showed just how much luck goes into playing Survivor. Jill was probably in the best position on the Espada tribe – a power player in the dominant alliance but not its main target. Then a tribe switch put her on the wrong side of the numbers and two weeks later she’s gone. I bet she’s regretting giving Marty the clue to that idol now.

Tell us: What did you think of Marty’s big move?

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