The Eyes— Blindsided!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am not thrilled to have a new episode of Survivor on Thanksgiving night; I definitely like the “move it to Wednesday” technique that has been done in the past. However, that is not the way it is, so my VCR will be taping one of the most critical episodes of the season.

I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I truly believe, after the shake-up in the jungles of Guatemala last week, tonight’s episode could potentially go a long way in giving us a clearer idea of how the endgame is going to play out.

We’re down to seven people. This season, as hard as it may be to believe, is almost done, with the finale airing on Sunday, December 11. We are most definitely getting down to the wire, and the big shake-up that I was waiting for happened with the ouster of Jamie.

With the editing, it wasn’t exactly hard to see coming, but it was fun nonetheless for two reasons: 1) I didn’t like Jamie very much, and 2) I always love to see the game get changed around; it always makes for a more interesting ride.

This move had a few interesting effects. First, Judd was completely left out in the cold. Stephenie, who is supposed to be his buddy, didn’t even tell him about the flip. Second, this move could very well cost Stephenie the game.

What I want to do now is what I did last week and run down each player one by one and speculate where their positions could be going into this episode after Jamie’s surprise ouster:

STEPHENIE—While we’re on her, we might as well stay on her. As I said, this flip very well could have cost her the game. While it may have been smart not to tell Judd about the flip because he would most likely squeal and ruin it, it could also easily blow up in her face. We’ve all seen what a loose cannon Judd is, and this was like a slap in the face. I fully expect Judd to publicly confront her on it, and if he does, then that throws Stephenie out into a spotlight she has been doing a great job at avoiding. Even though she is one of the returning players, she has held power since stepping foot in Guatemala, and did it with very few players actually realizing it. Now that she could be thrown into the spotlight, there could easily bean adverse effect on her game.

JUDD—Why wasn’t he told? Well, like I said, most likely because he would have blabbed and ruined the plan. Jamie was annoying and paranoid and did need to go, and Judd could have been potentially disastrous. If I were him, I’d be concerned, because this should show him that he does not hold as much power in his alliance as he thought. As I said above, he could easily expose Stephenie, and quite possibly ruin her game. The only question is, will he realize it? I think if he goes on a tirade it will be because he’s Judd, not because he’s a smart player. (Which he’s not). And, as this turn-over demonstrated, he’s also not a respected one by the others in the tribe, not even his sidekick Stephenie.

LYDIA—I am constantly confused as to Lydia’s place in this game. She obviously has quite a good chance of making it far in terms of the fact that she is not a physical threat, but what constantly annoys me about her is that she does not seem to add any strategic value of her own to the game. Rather, she comes across to me as a skater. She made it a heck of a lot farther than I ever thought possible at the beginning, and she may slide her way into the Final Four if she keeps the low profile, but we’ll see.

RAFE—Rafe is an interesting character because he obviously knows the game, and yet, he is no Cesternino. I pictured him being a power player, and while he is doing well in the individual challenges (perhaps too well), and yet he tends to whine a little too much for my liking about people not being so negative or obnoxious. He seems to be thinking a little too much with his heart, and not enough with his head. I’m hardly one to criticize, because I always love to see people think with their hearts over their heads, but not in Survivor. It always leads to disaster. I hope Rafe does well, but at this point in time, I just can’t see him winning.

CINDY—Well, she had a much stronger showing this time around with a near-victory in the Immunity Challenge, but I’m still not seeing much more from her than complaining about people and situations. In terms of strategy, I have no clue where her head is really at, because most of the focus up until now has been on Stephenie and her posse, which Cindy was clearly a fifth or sixth wheel in. I wonder if Jamie’s ouster will provide her, Rafe, and Lydia with an opportunity to take over, possibly along with Danni and Gary. If that happens, it will be interesting to see what kind of place in this alliance she would have.

GARY—Well, Gary lucked out once again. He has another shot at Immunity, and if that fails, then maybe this shake-up will be enough to make some other players go at it. He needs to keep pushing a new alliance, especially using Danni’s vote to entice Rafe, Lydia, and Cindy into a complete power shift.

DANNI—Of all the people left, the person I want to win the most. She proved way back on Yaxha that she has a head for this game, and since the merge, she has been battling the numbers game. She has been lucky in that Gary and Bobby Jon are in the pecking order above her because of pure physical strength, which gives her additional time to find a loophole into the core alliance. She may have found it. Stephenie said last week she absolutely loves Danni. If Judd breaks off the connection, Danni could try to use her influence to sway Stephenie’s vote to her advantage. I think that, if she does it right, she could easily take over this game. And, if she gets to the Final Two, I think she would perform well in a Jury vote. She is my pick for the win as of now.

Well, it will be interesting to see. As I said, tonight’s episode could prove to be the key as to how this eleventh season may end up turning out. Whether it does or doesn’t, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting ride over these last few weeks.

Have a great holiday!

“See” you next week!