Survivor – Double Down

final eight

Two Immunity Challenges, two Tribal Councils, and two players eliminated. We’re in the home stretch of this season of Survivor, and it’s been a good run. I like a lot of the players that are left, and I think the Favorites that remain are people who’ve improved their strategies since their original seasons.

That’s fun to watch.

At this stage in the game, no reward challenge seems to have a pretty big effect on the players. In particular, I was really noticing how terribly thin Erik has gotten. So I wasn’t surprised when players dropped out of the Immunity Challenge in exchange for food. But that doesn’t make it any less moronic.

Balancing Act

It was an endurance and balancing challenge, which I love – especially because that meant someone could outdo Reynold through sheer force of will. Almost immediately, Eddie jumped off his perch for a few donuts. What a dumbo! Honestly, that guy is THE WORST at this game. He knew he was on the chopping block, and yet he still gave up a chance at immunity. Had Reynold won, Eddie easily could have been voted out. He’d be full and sugar-high, but out of the game.

I think Erik also wanted the food, but it felt like there was some strategy to jumping ship because when he did so he also convinced Eddie to jump. Cochran also dropped out for some hotdogs and soda, which was disappointing but justified – he knew he wouldn’t last much longer.

andrea challengeIt all came down to Reynold, Brenda and Andrea. When Reynold stumbled and fell off the perch he basically sealed his fate. Andrea and Brenda both wanted to compete, and I’m glad they did. After surpassing three hours on the post they agreed to try it on one foot, and Brenda fell off. Good for Andrea! She’s a tough competitor and I’m glad she got an Individual Immunity win in.

Easy Vote

Andrea had also won “information in the game” at the challenge, which was the Hidden Immunity Idol clue. Erik was the one who eventually found it, but in classic Ice Cream Scoop Erik fashion, he immediately handed it off to the pretty girl.

reynold01Andrea was worried about Brenda’s competitive spirit and challenge prowess, and considered blindsiding her instead of voting Reynold. I think there were a lot of mistakes there. First of all, Reynold is a huge threat in the game and needed to be taken out when opportunity knocked. Brenda won’t win her way to the finals, but for Reynold that could have been a reality. Second of all, all of the threatening things about Brenda could also be applied to Andrea herself. Strong in challenges, strategic, likable. In targeting Brenda, I think Andrea shone an even brighter light on herself.

Tribal Council went as predicted – Reynold was voted out. But Andrea set herself up for her demise.

The Dynamic Duo

andrea01Andrea told Cochran that she wanted to blindside Brenda or Dawn, because she thought she could trust Cochran. She thought she could trust him, the way Corinne and Malcolm thought they could trust Dawn. Everyone was wrong. Cochran and Dawn seem to be doing an amazing job of concealing just how close their alliance is. They are making all their decisions together, and Cochran immediately told Brenda and Dawn about Andrea’s plan.

I like Andrea and I think she played well during both of her seasons. But she lost her main ally this year when Phillip got voted out, and coming to Cochran about a blindside just showed him what a strategic threat she is.

Snakes and Ladders

Man, Eddie really sucks at every facet of this game, doesn’t he? I mean, a fireman who can’t win a ladder challenge? Pfft. (I know, I know, it was a puzzle. No one expects him to be able to do a puzzle.)

The challenge required players to move through an obstacle course in shallow water, then untie knots, then put together a ladder-puzzle. Erik killed in the first part, then Brenda surged ahead on the puzzle. But Erik came back and won Immunity. For a guy as strong in challenges as Erik is, it’s shocking that his name hasn’t come up more (at all) at Tribal Council. Is it because he’s such a strategic non-entity that no one considers voting him out? Even though he’s mostly remained loyal to the Favorites alliance, he seems to float around from vote to vote, relatively untethered to anyone in particular. Could that strategy get him to the end?

After the challenge, Andrea brought up her idea to vote out Brenda and raised a lot of red flags. She told Cochran that she thought they could beat Eddie in the final three, and Cochran disagreed. I think Cochran was smart to distrust Andrea – she was playing a good game for herself, but I could easily see her wanting to take Eddie and Erik to the end.

Cochran, Dawn and Brenda decided that the time was right to blindside Andrea, and agreed to split the vote in case she played her Hidden Immunity Idol.

The wild card, as erikalways, was Erik. Andrea vaguely promised him final three (I wasn’t sure that constituted a promise, even though that’s what Erik said – but we didn’t see all their conversations) and Cochran never had. I don’t know what the right choice for Erik would have been here. Who can he beat in the finals? Definitely Sherri – I don’t think she has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning – but that might be it. He hasn’t played hard enough to win with this crowd.

The players went to Tribal Council, Andrea opted not to play her Idol, and she got smacked in the face with a sneak attach. Two votes Brenda, two votes Eddie, three votes Andrea. She was shocked, but seemed to take the blindside like a true player – bummed, surprised, and a little impressed.

Since Andrea was the one pushing to keep Eddie, I don’t think he’ll last two much longer. The Favorites alliance got a blindside out of the way, but they can still get rid of him before having to self-destruct. The question I have now is, who will Cochran and Dawn take to the finals with them? My money is on Erik – unless Cochran decides Dawn is too likable to take to the end, and cuts her loose. Then my money is on a final three of Cochran, Erik and Sherri.

Next week: Brenda targets Cochran, Erik wastes away, and family visits. I can’t wait! What did you guys think of this episode?

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