I never wrote a review of Episode 9 (it was sandwiched between two grueling baseball drafts), and Episode 11 is only hours away, so I have to play catch-up. Because I'm covering two episodes, I'm going to organize my comments around each Survivor, rather than attempting some ill-conceived chronological report. I'll start with the people driving the action and work my way through.
Here's the positive: while he is in the minority, he survived the last two votes and is still alive.
But, there's a lot of negative stuff to discuss.
First, he's in the minority because he put himself
there. I still don't understand why he went to Dawn with his plans of
usurpation right after Corinne got voted
out. True, he might not have realized Corinne did the same exact thing
the day before and it blew up in her face, but did he even ask himself why Corinne went home that night? I'll give him credit for acknowledging in the most recent episode that going to Dawn was a mistake, but I still don't know what he was thinking.
As for his playing both immunity idols at tribal council and blindsiding the Favorites - I'll admit it was great TV! But, wasn't it too much style and not enough substance? Yes, he shocked the veteran
players. Yes, they were forced to cannibalize Phillip. But, how much
did he advance his minority alliance in the game? Malcolm, Eddie and
Reynold are still down 6-3. Is the plan going forward for Reynold to win every individual immunity and Malcolm to find two idols an episode?
So, even though it was great theatrics, I think it was a
missed opportunity. Why not go to two people before the vote - tell
them you're playing both idols, and make it clear one of the majority is
going home? Isn't that the way you get a couple to flip and join your alliance? Instead, both idols were played, but he didn't get any agreements locked down before they were played.
I'm not saying the minority is done. I just think they could have had more leverage if they got people to flip before tribal council.
[Note: the one important defense in Malcolm's favor is that he found
the second idol so close to tribal council that he might not have had
time to maneuver - which is certainly plausible. However, the ones who
knew about the idol pre-tribal council (Dawn & Andrea) had time to confer with the alliance and adjust their plans. So, there had to have been some time left].
When Andrea realized she was being targeted
two episodes ago, and (competently) adjusted the tribe's plans to
counteract it, Dawn had the biggest problem with it. I thought Dawn was
being unfair, unreasonable and selfish. Last week, we found out why - she was about to crack (which she did).
Since her implosion, Brenda was able to find her retainer, Dawn got a decent meal at the reward, and she survived the vote. So,
maybe the seas will calm. I do have sympathy for Dawn's emotional
state. It's grueling out there. Dawn is playing for her kids, while
others think it's a dating service. I think the damage Dawn did to her game was minimal, and if her catharsis was in any way therapeutic, she will still be very much alive.
However, why did Dawn suggest finding the idol to the alliance, and all she could do was talk to Andrea and Malcolm while he was finding it? Good idea, no delivery.
Malcolm is getting owned by Reynold in the challenges. He got lapped in the reward while digging up all the bags (correct strategy, poor
execution as compared to Reynold) and then he got smoked in the
immunity by Reynold. I'm not sure why anyone would align with Reynold
all the way to the final three.
How is Reynold going to build a majority alliance if he doesn't win the next immunity? Hope Malcolm can do it? If Reynold loses the next immunity, I can see all those who are wavering say to themselves: 'now's the time to send this guy home. We'll listen to Malcolm's offers next time.'
Malcolm's tribal council blindside might have saved
here. If people had gotten wind beforehand, the Favorites might have
chosen to ditch her (they were murmuring about it right before the
At least she figured out the plot against her the episode before. There
could be a lot of knives out for her every week. We'll see how many
she can dodge.
Making all the right moves. Providing tremendous commentary. Hard not to root for.
Under the radar, but looking strong. She'll need to know when to make the crucial move. I think it's in her to do so (it's not like her game is filled with missed opportunities, thus far!).
He took one for the team, in many ways. He said at tribal for everyone to 'stick to the plan, and force them to play their idols, and if I go home, I go home.'
It made it easy for everyone to stick to the plan (only Erik didn't) and
it forced Malcolm and Eddie to play the idols (which they had to, as it
turns out - Eddie & Phillip both got four votes). Phillip did sacrifice himself. I think he did it partially to save Andrea, who he played with before.
As for Phillip not performing in
the immunity, he never would have won that. He was the first out of the
immunity the week before (when you had to stay in the water under the grating). Whether he had a childhood experience or not is moot - he's not comfortable in the water, and never would have won either one. I can't criticize him for what he did.
Might have had a window to get Andrea on his side, but that seems to have closed (even though he did give her the info to save herself). He might now be stuck in an observer role as others decide his fate
He might make it to the final four, but I'm
less and less confident he can win. There are too many good players
left, and he's not one of them. I'm not forgetting that I've seen Fabio
fly under the radar and win the last few immunities to win the whole thing, but Erik would lose a game of tic-tac-toe to Fabio, who was no genius.
Jeff really rode her during the last reward challenge ('Sherri slowing things down for her tribe as she crosses the planks', etc.) when it really was not her fault (it was Malcolm's). It's not the first time I've found Jeff unfairly picking on a Survivor during group challenges. My theory is that it's because Sherri hardly says anything during tribal council. Jeff hates that, and will rag on you when given the opportunity.
Didn't show much the entire game. I expect a lot of
gratuitous snarling and undue facial expressions while he sits in the
* * *
I enjoyed the last two episodes! It should be fun going down the home stretch!