Stephen's 'Survivor' Strategy Blog: 'Send Jeff Probst to the Middle East'

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

“The Art of War has to deal with living and with moral forces, the consequence of which is that it can never attain the absolute and positive.” – Carl von Clausewitz, On War

Send Jeff Probst to the Middle East! After the most uncomfortable Survivor episode since Ted spooned Ghandia in Thailand, somehow Jeff was able to restore racial harmony. Probst’s real future may not be to follow in Regis Philbin’s footsteps, but instead as the successor to super-ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

Can’t you just imagine Jeff, clad in blue shirt and khakis, striding through the desert and laying down the law and establishing permanent peace, before finally snuffing Osama bin Laden’s torch? For making peace between Phillip and Steve and bridging the racial divide between black and white, Jeff Probst wins his first ever Fishy award.

Yeah, sure, kudos to Rob and the Rob-bots for sticking with the plan and voting out Julie instead of Phillip. But was there really ever any doubt? The sooner Ometepe votes out all the Zapateras, the sooner they get access to all that sweet, sweet rice. Now with fewer maggots!

And anyway, Phillip’s antics only upped his viability as the perfect final tribal goat. Even he knows it. “Once they [Zapatera] get on the jury, they’re not going to vote for me,” he says. At this point, all he’s got is a lock on third place and maybe an off chance at fan favorite. The guy doesn’t even have any swim trunks!

The only Ometepe who wants Phillip gone is hilarious mean girl Ashley, who can’t stop herself from rolling her eyes and sticking out her tongue every time he opens his mouth. And as for the rest of the Groupie Alliance? Well, the real victim in the rice/race war is Natalie. “It’s really hard for me to just sit here and listen!” she squeaks out at tribal council. “Because I feel for Steve … and I feel for Phillip!” Damn you, you monsters, for breaking Natalie’s adorable little chipmunk heart.

Still, you have to feel bad for poor Phillip. All he wants is to fit in. And right now, the only people willing to hang out with him are his dead ancestors and Nicaragua’s bird spirits.

You learn everything you need to know about the Former Federal Agent when he receives a spirit vision from his grandfather. He takes it as a sign that his relationship with Rob has reached “the full circle of trust.” To Rob, Phillip is a piece on a chessboard – an annoying piece that gets on all the other pawns’ nerves. But to Phillip, Rob is the resolution of his complicated issues with his dead relatives.

It’s easy to see how Phillip, coming from that vulnerable, openhearted place, could see Steve’s remarks as racism – even if Steve is only verbalizing what the rest of America is thinking.

Redemption Island

Was anybody surprised when Matt once again pulled out a Redemption Island win?

I loved Rob’s stony game face as he watched the duel from the arena seats. The Robfather is starting to sweat about what happens if Matt rises from the dead a second time. “If he comes back and beats me, it’s over,” Rob says.

Last week, Rob sent the two biggest challenge threats, Mike and David, to Redemption Island to take down the apostate angel. Yet Matt’s faith in the Lord – and the two-person victory condition in the three-person duel – sent super-smart David to the jury bench instead.

Rob’s biggest ally right now is the isolation of the island itself. I spent about a week of total time on Exile Island, and I could feel myself mentally fraying from the solitude and the paranoia. Matt must be going stir-crazy by now.

It looks like that month-long isolation finally starts to take it toll next week.

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