The Eyes— Disappearing Act

Things are starting to heat up in the jungles of Guatemala. Last week we saw some very interesting political moves take place, and I want to make sure we touch on those right away.

I am talking, of course, about all the events that went on in Yaxha prior to Tribal Council.

As I see it right now, this is where I see the power of this tribe: Gary is the leader, with Stephenie as a second-in-command. We saw her stand with him in the first episode, and last week, even though Jamie wanted to target her, she never seemed to be in any real danger, and she was in with Gary on the entire planning process.

Brian also seems to be in a prominent position, and the evidence of this one is quite clear. He decided that Lydia was not the best vote-off, and so he went and made the change. He told Lydia what was going down. As I was watching this unfold, I was wondering what the heck he was doing. It looked as if he was doing something stupid and was going to get himself kicked out as a result. In hindsight, however, I came to realize just how good he is playing so far.

I told you beforehand to watch out for him! He is obviously aligned with Lydia. That much is clear, because what other motive could he possibly have to try and go out of his way to save her, especially at the first Tribal Council, where you should just be happy it’s not you. There’s not always a clearly defined reason for a tribe’s first vote-out, so it puzzled me at first why he would try and save Lydia, and it just screams to me that they are aligned. One interesting thing that came out of one of Morgan’s post-show interviews was that she did indeed observe that Brian and Lydia were tight, and she and Rafe had formed a bond. I wonder if maybe Brian was effectively taking out his enemy’s competition…remember I said pre-show that these two are the master strategists! Watch out how they interact. Is it possible that Rafe had a tight alliance with Morgan, and Brian deliberately tried to destroy that to preserve his own alliance with Lydia? There’s no proof, obviously, but it’s fun to think about! Keep an eye on Brian, he is my new pick to win it all!

As for Lydia herself, I definitely underestimated her capabilities. I knew she would be an early target, but what I did not expect was how hard she would fight to defend herself. Remember in last week’s column I criticized Jim for not visibly trying harder to preserve his life in the game. Lydia obviously heeded my advice. Brian told her what was going down, and she instantly got up, went to Gary, and made a very convincing case for why she should be allowed to stay on the tribe. Whether you agree with me or not, it worked, didn’t it? I wonder if Lydia will become the next Sandra…..the person who is destined to be the first person voted out of the tribe, but then rises above all the others. If she is aligned with Brian, and the alliance sticks, it may not come as a surprise in the end, because while this all has yet to be seen, let’s say Brian hypothetically becomes the new Rob C. and ticks a lot of people off. If it’s a Brian/Lydia Final Two, the Jury may be ticked and vote for Lydia because she overcame more being one of the “older ones.” Now, this is all definitely jumping the gun. After all, it has only been two episodes. I am just keeping a close eye on Brian right now, and since Lydia seems to be part of that package, at least as of what we saw last week, then I am definitely going to be watching to see how that relationship plays out.

Another player I am keeping a close eye on right now is Danni. I like her. She’s definitely got some spunk, and I think she has the potential to become a major player. She had the big secret….Gary’s real former profession. One thing I was watching for was to see how she would use that information, and the revelation definitely came earlier than expected. However, after looking at her decision to reveal her knowledge early, I think she made a good move that may not work. By doing that, she definitely threw a monkey wrench into the opposing tribe’s dynamics, which can be a good thing. However, Gary seems to have dodged the bullet for now, but the seed has still been planted. At this point, I am truly hoping that they both make the merge, because I also want to see this storyline play itself out….at the very least, they need to make it on to switched tribes together.

Margaret is also currently in a good position. She is continuing to be the nurse and mother of the tribe, but she does not appear to be coming down too forcefully, like some in her position have done in the past. Besides, as of now, her tribe looks set for challenges, however, they need to remember to keep their guard up. They won the last two challenges, yes, but not by wide margins. All the challenges so far have been close, these tribes are fairly close to each other. This is definitely not going to be another season of domination as Palau was.

So those are the people I am watching right now: the Brian/Lydia connection, the Gary/Stephenie leadership dynamic, Danni, and Margaret. People who seem like they could go home fairly soon and/or will probably not win this game are Jamie, Bobby Jon, Blake, and Brianna (her name was apparently also considered last week, we just did not see it).

I truly do not have any idea what to do about predictions this week. Last week I listed Morgan as the winner, so my wonderful track record appears to be back again after some fair success in Palau.

Well, I’ll give it a shot anyway:

EPISODE 3 BOOT: Brianna
WINNER: Brian

“See” you next week!