Monday, May 6, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 12: The Beginning of the End

The title episode for this week's Survivor cannot be more fitting - we are approaching the conclusion of this season and this also signals the start of the destruction of the tight alliance of Stealth R' Us. For the most part, Andrea, Dawn, and Cochran had been in the steering wheel, especially after Phillip left the game. But with the final 3 dawning on them, we suspected that a shift in the game is going to take place soon.

The episode featured two tribal councils in one episode. The first half was rather predictable and went by fast! Reynold and Eddie congratulate themselves for staying and while they were saddened by the fact that Malcolm was gone (meaning, their plan on turning the game around didn't pull through), the fact that they're still IN the game means they're still in the running. Reynold also points out something that is important - they are two guaranteed votes for anyone in the majority alliance looking to make a big move. However, Reynold's fate in the game has been clearly out in the open - he needs to wear the immunity necklace after the first immunity challenge or he's a goner.

And speaking of the first immunity challenge, it was a variation of the final immunity challenge on Pearl Islands wherein castaways had to balance themselves in a floating platform. Wind and wave both played a critical factor in the success of this challenge. I knew right there and then that the women had a better shot at winning this (smaller feet and women are generally better at balancing than men). But in hindsight, I wanted Reynold to win in order to shake things up. And c'mon, you have to feel bad for the guy. Since Day 1, nothing had worked out for him in this game!

But Eddie, the other less cerebral component of the Three Amigos alliance, wasn't feeling concerned at all. He jumped off the platform at the first chance Jeff offered them food. Erik jumped in, too, for a donut. But we know that Erik isn't in trouble until this next vote. So, why the hell Eddie jumped, I have no idea! The girls from the majority alliance egged him on with Dawn saying, "Go for it Eddie!".

Reynold, on the other hand, had two great saves just when I thought he was about to go down the water. But he kept fighting until he lost his balance and off to the water he went! Sherri had no shame at rejoicing at all when Reynold dove into the water. Andrea and Brenda ended up slugging it out for the immunity necklace. Attempt at negotiation was there, but no one would give in. Andrea even told Brenda, "You know you're safe". But apparently, there was no trust in there, no matter how tight their alliance seemed because they were willing to stay there for up to 3 hours! Jeff was so ecstatic that the girls ended up making their own rules, just for the sake of novelty, as they both decided to lift up one of their legs just to make the challenge harder as none of them would be willing to jump in. Ironically, Brenda lost despite choosing which leg to lift up. Andrea ended up having immunity for the first time. But the bigger picture dictates that it shows exactly how competitive these two girls are and it was only a matter of time until they're threatened by each other.

The producers tried their darnest (or not) to make the following sequences seem more strategic and dramatic than it actually is. But we all know that the smartest move for them is to get rid of Reynold. Even though he was a useful vote for anyone who is planning to stage an uprising, he's still a threat to go to the end and make a case for the win. So, Reynold becomes the fourth member of the jury leaving Eddie on his own. Will he be able to survive the next vote? Or are things going to shake up soon as per the titular foreshadowing?

But before that, Andrea shared the hidden immunity idol clue she won during the previous immunity challenge with the rest of her alliance. They dug for the clue together, only for Erik to find it. But just as quickly as he found that idol, he also handed it over to Andrea. Cochran, once again, voiced out my sentiments. Apparently, he has a thing for the idol that he ends up giving them away.. to a woman. Andrea quickly grabbed possession of the idol, which makes the plot to get rid of their biggest threat seemingly impossible. Andrea's aggressive gameplay hasn't escaped the observant eyes of his alliance mates but Cochran noted how timing is critical in every move in Survivor, which is why he will try to be as patient as he can be before making the so-called big move.

The second immunity challenge for this episode is a combination of basic Survivor challenge elements: moving a buoy through a series of ropes, untying knots, building a staircase puzzle, and raising a flag. Competition was tight but Erik, Andrea, and Brenda pulled ahead of the rest, with Erik solving his puzzle first and winning immunity for the first time.

Just as I was thinking the same, Jeff asked him about the idea of giving away his immunity necklace again (as if to forewarn him not to!). Erik quipped, "I'm too scared to do that this time." Still not the smartest answer as it indicated that he'd give away immunity if he felt safe. I seriously think that Erik has learned a lesson from last time. However, I don't totally count him out from making the same blunder again... whether or not by giving away his immunity, but I'm still not sure if he's totally grasped how you should play this game. Funny thing is, we hear him talk about being in control of the votes for the past few votes now. Just to clear it up, you're being TOLD who to vote for and you just pick which side to go to. That is NOT taking control of the vote (especially if you had to resort to pointing names in a flag!).

As soon as they're back to camp, Andrea goes to work. She worked on blindsiding Brenda because her previous performance in the challenges reveal she's a big threat for her competitiveness, plus she hasn't screwed anyone over (unlike her, or most of them, obviously). I felt a bit of haste in Andrea's move that she ended up confiding to the wrong person about her plans - Cochran. One of the biggest strategists this season, Cochran quickly caught on to Andrea's plan. He felt that if she should start targeting people she felt threatened by, it's only a matter of time until the bullet is pointed at him.

When the rest of their alliance caught wind of the plan to get rid of Brenda, they concoct a sub-plan to blindside Andrea. They are walking on egg shells, though, because she has the hidden immunity idol in her pocket. Thus, they worked on keeping the plan on the down low, reeling in both Sherri and Erik to split the votes between Andrea and Eddie, just in case she would play the idol. Once again, Erik had this soliloquy about being the swing vote and taking control over which side has the power on the coming days.

Tribal council was a wreck. With the finals looming, everyone had their sights on making it to the Final 3. Hence, Jeff brought up the possibility of castaways already thinking about who they can beat at the end, instead of sticking with their original alliance. Cochran openly stated making Final 3 promises to basically everyone, to which everybody else agreed on, including Andrea. But she also reiterated the fact that she had found the hidden immunity idol during tribal council, which is a nice ploy by the editing team. Andrea hinted that she will play the idol if she ever feels paranoid. Lots of nervous stares from the other people in her alliance while I can't read Erik's reaction. Cochran earlier noted that he was feeling nervous about putting the success of this plan on Erik's hand because he hasn't proven to be very good at the strategic side to this game. Nonetheless, Andrea ended up not playing the idol and we saw Dawn take a very deep breath as Jeff paused and the dramatic music cues us up for the reading of the votes. But after a few nerve-wracking seconds and Andrea did not play her idol, we see a smile register on both Andrea and Cochran's faces. Then, the reading of the votes came and Andrea looked confused when two Eddie votes came up and then her second vote came in... She dejected, "What????" to her alliance mates. She eventually became the first female jury member and fifth overall.

Aggressive play does have its price but you can't play too aggressively, or else your alliance mates will think you will be gunning for them next. I can't fault Andrea for trying to play big and playing to win in the end. Let's face it, sitting next to either Cochran, Dawn, or Brenda in the finals isn't going to be an easy win. Tagging Eddie along is a good plan but if you get too close to the enemies, your allies will be suspicious of your intent. And with that, Andrea also earns the distinction of being the first female to be voted off Survivor with a hidden immunity idol in their pocket.

Who do you think is the threat to win at this point? Be sure to comment below or vote on the poll.

1 comment:

  1. I hated Reynold being voted out. He had his back to the wall since Day 1 and made it very far!!! I hope to see him compete again!!! Bennett


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