As a refresher, each week, Tribal Talk will break down what happens at Tribal Council to try and determine what exactly caused the latest eliminee to get booted. Sometimes, that may mean a simple explanation of a simple boot, and sometimes it may mean a Cirie-style exit Tribal explanation with idols and advantages galore. This will usually entail a few different parts:
-A short analysis of one or two of Jeff Probst’s questions to the castaways.
-An analysis of how the plans made at camp compared to the actual result of the Tribal Council.
-A breakdown of any idol plays, advantages, and a review of who voted for who and why.
-An analysis of how the vote will affect everyone’s games moving forward.
NEW BONDS AND OLD ENDINGS
Alas, it appears that the third time was not a charm for fan favorite Joe Anglim, as we saw him eliminated from the regular game this week for the same reason that he was eliminated in his previous two seasons – being a physical threat. Additionally, this was the worst placement he has received (assuming he doesn’t return later in the game) in his three-leg run of Survivor, after placing 10th in his inaugural season Worlds Apart and 8th in Cambodia; ignoring all the placing changes that occur due to the Edge, he came in 13th in Edge of Extinction.
We would all like to think that after playing three times that Joe would pick up on the fact he needs to dial down his physical prowess a tad, but he failed to. Whether that is due to arrogance, adrenaline, or mere paranoia (In fact, I would imagine it’s a mixture of the three), Joe could not control his inner beast, and because of that, once again, it got the best of him. In today’s Tribal Talk, we will be examining the split vote and why all three remaining returnees were targeted.
PROBST: “Devens, what was the feeling at camp this afternoon? Was it casual? Was it frenetic? Did paranoia kick in?”
DEVENS: “Yeah, when it came to strategy, no one wants to tell you who they’re close with, and nobody wants to tell you who they’re going after. I mean, Joe didn’t do anything today! He just… painted! Like, are you that comfortable that you don’t need to talk to anybody? Or are you that scared that you’re not going to talk to anybody?
PROBST: “What was it, Joe?”
JOE: “I mean, I know where I stand with members of my tribe, I mean, I hope that Kama strong does stay strong! I’m relying on those past relationships to get me through this evening.”
RON: “Jeff, when you have the majority, you don’t need to scramble so much. We were relaxed because we knew we had the power; we didn’t need to scramble.”
PROBST: “Wow. Wentworth, that’s gotta be so frustrating to hear.”
WENTWORTH: “I mean, it’s funny… you kinda chuckle a little bit when he so blatantly says that, but at the same time, if you’re me, you’re always on the bottom.”
The reason I chose this whole chunk of conversation is that I feel that this gargantuan error on Joe’s part here should be pointed out to any casual viewer. If you watch Survivor every week, I’m sure you’ve heard a phrase before that goes something like “When you feel most confident is when you should be the most worried.” That statement is very true, and dare I say one of the truest statements about Survivor.
Time and time again, large majority alliances will sit at camp with their coffee and lounging chairs, laughing the day away and enjoying the sun and beach, knowing that they have a majority of the votes and have nothing to worry about. Then, at Tribal Council, someone whips out an idol or advantage, flipping everything upside down and leaving the majority alliance fatally unprepared. In fact, Wentworth herself has been on the right side of that scenario, saving herself from what would have been a fatal vote at Tribal Council back in Cambodia by correctly playing a Hidden Immunity Idol and wiping out a crazy nine votes of a careless majority who didn’t split. They were so cocky it didn’t even occur to them!
The moral of the story here is that it is a significant mistake on Joe’s part – and anyone else on Kama who was thinking this – to believe that they were safe simply because of having a majority. That belief is a fool’s belief because it is so easily preventable and yet the mistake is made time and time again.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
At camp, there was clearly a disagreement between Kama as to what to do. People like Ron thought it was an easy decision, i.e voting Joe, but others like Julie were on board for blindsiding Wentworth, an original Manu member. It became apparent that Kama must have come to a consensus that Joe was a physical threat and needed to go because he received most of his votes from original Kama members. The original Manu, including Devens, must have been playing a game of self-defense. They figured that one of them was going home and all they could do to try to keep themselves alive was to try to tack on votes to whoever Kama was voting for.
We saw this in how David voted for Wentworth and vice versa, Devens voted for Wentworth, and so on and so forth. Why Kama didn’t tell them? I’m guessing it’s because a) this was a blindside and had they told Manu, someone could have leaked it to Joe for brownie points and/or used it to blackmail Kama. Or b) they knew that they had the votes on their own, so they didn’t even need Manu/Lesu, and it was better to play it safe. Either way, I think Kama did make a good move, and this shows us is that they aren’t afraid to do anything if it’s for the better of their game, which means that our characters are finally starting to show strategic gameplay.
In this week’s Tribal Council, the Kama members, specifically Ron, had a very convincing poker face. He even baited Joe into backing what he was saying, and Joe walked right into the trap and planted himself face first in the snares. Once again, the point at which you should be most concerned is when you are most comfortable. The theme of Tribal this week was a standard “blindside” theme, where we hear about all the people on the bottom and how they have near to no chance of surviving. Then, out of nowhere, the majority flips and a major contender is sent home. Ringing a bell? It’s probably because we see these types of plays quite frequently on Survivor.
Over the years, players have figured out by watching that a Pagonging strategy doesn’t usually work well for anyone besides the person on top of the totem pole. Sure, you’ll survive quite a few votes and make it pretty far, but once only your alliance is left… the only thing you have is to hope that you aren’t next one on the chopping block. Now that people have realized this, players are more prone to flipping and mutinying on the majority that they are a part of. I’d describe it as a “one step backward, two steps forward” strategy. By taking a risk and offering yourself to the minority, if they “accept” your offer, you can prevent yourself from just becoming another layer of the totem pole. Plus, in this “Big Movez” era of Survivor, being able to not only mutiny successfully but also do it in a way that doesn’t cause bitter jurors can be a big green light when it comes to jury votes. If you can get them to see it as strategy and not personal, you’re golden.
Perhaps the most interesting result of this Tribal was how the Kama 6 managed to set it up so that everyone outside of the six aimed their votes at each other. That continues to fracture the outsiders and possibly hinders them from joining forces to mount a counter attack. It shows that the gameplay is ramping up and that is exactly what we need going into the merge!
As for ripple effects, Joe’s departure will leave quite a large one. With the obvious physical threat out of the game for now, the Manu/Lesu minority is still in the position they were before with a 7-4 majority hovering over them. Given how they turned on each other, either group is able to swing either way. I think that based off what we’ve seen so far, Manu/Lesu are in trouble because they can’t make as good of a case as they did for Joe for any of the other original Kama members. At this point, “Kama strong” may begin and we could see a full out Pagonging. Once Deven’s initial elimination took place, it became a given that Lesu would probably not ever be able to get back on the same page again. There is the chance Aurora will feel hurt and jump ship, but given the fractures at the Lesu side of camp, she might be jumping to a sinking ship.
The other option I could see is Kama and Manu/Lesu agreeing at least for a little while and Pagonging out the returnees, but I highly doubt that will happen because both Wentworth and David have right-hand men and women that would notify them of the plan, and both have idols (assuming Devens played his half for David).
Even if that were to happen, that would only last for two votes. I think at this point, a 4-8/5-7 is just too big of a gap for any long term flip to happen, and eventually original Manu is going to, fittingly, become extinct.
DOWN THE ROAD
The merge episode delivered exactly what we needed to see more of – character development and strategic gameplay. Kama made a move that I believe will benefit the strategic game going forward. Plus, considering that the editors portrayed Joe’s blindside as an unfortunate yet intelligent move, I think that it could be setting us up for even more of this gameplay later, perhaps all the more extravagant. And, with the Edge still in full swing, there is a whole new layer of strategy that has to be considered when plotting each boot. I am still standing by what I said in my first article of the season; I think we are in for a wild ride! See you next week!