Stephen's Survivor Strategy Blog: The 'Real Game' Begins
“In reality the weakest motives, the finest shades of difference, often decide in favor of this or that method of applying force.” – Carl von Clausewitz, On War
Finally. Watching the Ometepe Six pick apart the Zapateras over the past three weeks has been like listening to a Celine Dion song – so tedious and painful that you pray for it to end. Now with all the Zaps safely housed on Redemption Island, where they will soon be struck dead by Matt’s divine fury, we get to watch the Ometepes scramble. Let’s start the real game of Survivor – the end game. For using the double-vote twist to usher out the last two Zapateras and usher in good television, the producers win this week’s Fishy Award.
Not much else happens this week in Nicaragua. The big gossip is that Andrea apparently has some human feeling left in her heart. When Matt gazes into her soul with the judgment of the Almighty, she starts to feel … well, she’s not quite sure what. “It’s just, like, a weird feeling?” she says.
That weakness doesn’t fly with the merciless Ometepe war machine. “It’s things like that where you’re kind of shaking your head going like – ah, I don’t know if you’ve learned,” Grant says. For Grant, Rob’s truest disciple, Andrea’s failure to learn the art of Rob-jitsu is inexcusable. If she can’t be assimilated, she must be eliminated.
At the challenge, Grant wins immunity, and finally reveals his deepest desires. “I love you, Rob!” he cries out in the throes of log-rolling passion. He then asks Rob to share his chocolate cake with him.
Kudos to Grant for picking Andrea second. Ever since John Carroll on Marquesas, Survivor strategists have ruined weeks of careful gaming by giving food only to their friends. By feeding his frenemy Andrea, Grant follows that classic aphorism: “keep your friends close, and let your enemies eat cake.”
After the challenge, Steve gives it the good old Zapatera try and shuffles aimlessly over to Natalie and Ashley. He mumbles something about voting out Rob and shuffles away.
Steve’s limp attempt at “strategy” summed up everything that’s been wrong with this season since the merge. Nobody can stand up to Rob. I was half-hoping that Russell Hantz would jump out of the twist box crying, “I’m Russell Hantz!” Russell understood that “strategy” isn’t just about coming up with ideas; it’s about playing on each individual’s fears and desires to bend them to your will. Without that personal appeal, nobody’s going to go along with your plan even if it is in their best interest.
At Tribal Council, Steve once again pleads with Murlonio to oust Rob. But Jeff reminds the tribe that Rob’s true alliance, Amber, actually beat Rob in the finals. Probst hints at what all the Groupies want most – not to win Survivor, but to marry Boston Rob. Natalie swoons. And Ralph and Steve are sent to Redemption Island.
Phillip and Matt
This season has seemed somewhat divided, like we’ve been watching three separate but interconnected stories: Survivor, Matt’s Trial of Faith, and the Phillip Show.
This week in the Phillip Show, Phillip communes with his dead Cherokee ancestors and finds his shorts. Incredibly, that’s a lot like last week’s episode, where Phillip’s dead Cherokee ancestors helped him accept his relationship with Boston Rob. Who knows what wacky hijinx Phillip and his dead Cherokee ancestors will get into next?
Like the Phillip Show, Matt’s Trial of Faith is in reruns. It’s that episode again where Matt’s faith is tested but God gets him through the big challenge.
But coming up next week, Matt gets some wacky new neighbors. How will he deal with them on Redemption Island? Tune in to find out!