I've heard from several of you saying that you felt sorry for Brenda after her ouster on Wednesday. You never want to see someone go out crying, but, Brenda's downfall was her own fault.
1. There is never any reason to win the challenge involving the loved ones. They make you pick who else gets the reward - a process that has NEVER made a friend, only enemies.
2. There is little reason to give the reward to the four others. It never buys good will. I've
never seen anyone vote for a Survivor at final tribal because they gave
them a reward. If anything, the others will use your boot-licking as an excuse to vote you out (another reason not to win the challenge in the first place). If you're liked, you'll be liked whether you gave out rewards or not (though not giving a reward will create enemies - see point 1).
3. Did Brenda really quit the immunity challenge or was it a "Phillip" quit, i.e., after losing the challenge you decide you threw it? It wasn't like this in the early seasons. When
did this concept develop of "you already won an immunity, let me have
this one"? How does anyone find that argument persuasive? Whether it
was a Phillip quit or not, I can't believe Brenda actually suggested
that she gave up on that challenge. Brenda - you got it backwards. You
should have thrown the reward and won immunity.
4. Brenda completely misunderstood Dawn's relationship with Cochran. I understand Brenda was laid back in the early going and didn't form alliances right away. But, she should have understood that a neurotic like Dawn would have major alliances on day one (which she did). I don't know what sort of retainer agreement Brenda thought she had with Dawn, but she clearly underestimated Dawn's pledge to Cochran.
I understand that by the end Dawn and Brenda were relying on each other
for emotional support. But, Brenda might have picked up on the fact
that Dawn has been such a wreck in part because she was torn between Brenda and Cochran.
As I said, you hate to see a sweet person like Brenda leave the game crying, but Dawn's betrayal was not that egregious. It wouldn't make Kim Spradlin's top 10.
However, I do dislike Dawn a little more because of it. The Andrea
blindside didn't bother me as much because Andrea's demands were
becoming ridiculous (suggesting to Cochran that Eddie be in the final 3) and she had a hidden idol. She needed to go more than Brenda. But, Brenda was becoming dangerous, and Dawn can defend the move.
As for tonight, the preview suggested a player leaves the game under unusual circumstances (injury or quits). Is is possible
Dawn's guilt overwhelms her? On the other hand, why did they spend 5
minutes last week showing Erik climb half-way up a tree? It served no purpose whatsoever, yet they had to have shown it for a reason? It got me thinking that something might happen to Erik later on.
I've enjoyed this season, but I've become concerned that it could end poorly tonight. Let's face it, not having the likes of Malcolm, Reynold, Andrea or Brenda in the finals does diminish the excitement a bit. I understand that the best players are going to often be targeted, but I see an awful lot of bottom-feeders left in this game. Eddie, Sherri and Erik do not make an All-Star team, and Dawn has been too emotionally inconsistent for me to take seriously the idea that she played a strong game. At this point, I feel only Cochran deserves to win. So, I'm worried I might not enjoy tonight if he doesn't. However, if someone pulls together a strong final episode (Eddie?), my opinion might change.
Going Into the Final Episode:
1. Cochran (30% chance of
winning). I think Eddie might have a lot of votes on that jury, so the
group has to get rid of him before worrying about Cochran. This, in my
mind, makes Cochran the favorite. He was well liked. No one can deny
he played a good game. He even won two immunities. I think the only one who can beat him is Eddie.
2. Eddie (25% chance of winning). Eddie has not performed well in the challenges and has had almost no say over any aspect of the game. He's alive because Malcolm handed him an idol and he is weaker than Reynold, Andrea and Brenda. These are not compelling arguments for his candidacy. He never says anything
interesting, so I have no reason to pull for him. However, he has
friends on the jury, and he seemed to be well-liked overall. He might
win, though it would be a weak one. If he pulls it out, I hope he does something special the last episode to earn it a little more.
3. Erik (20%). I still haven't
warmed up to him and I don't think I ever will. I thought his
existentialist speech about the island being a prison was overwrought.
It seems like the Survivors are suffering a lot more this season than
most. I can't figure out whether they have been given less than usual
or they are a bunch pf crybabies. As for Erik, I can't deny the fact
that there are avenues to him winning, especially if he's sitting next
to Sherri and Dawn (certainly possible). I have him lower than Eddie
because someone is leaving unexpectedly, and he seems a better candidate
to hurt himself than Eddie is.
4. Dawn (15%). I've seen
people struggle emotionally in this game, but never for this long. She
is a mess. I don't think she's going to make it, that's why I have her
so low. Even if she makes it in front of the jury, I don't think she'll explain herself well. She has a case to make. I honestly don't know if she can make it. She has talked about showing the jury that she made big/tough decisions, but can she crawl out from under Cochran's shadow? I might be underestimating her, but she needs to pull it together quick.
5. Sherri (10%). She doesn't say anything interesting,
doesn't do well in the challenges and made a lot of bad decisions
early. She's around because the good players cannibalized
each other. I don't think she was well liked. She might win if the
Favorites on the jury feel betrayed by Dawn/Cochran and decide to throw a
protest vote. I'm not rooting for her.
It's pretty wide open, I just wish it was populated with a couple of stronger players. We'll see how this ends.