1. As I referred to last week, it feels like Survivor: Caramoan has only just now started and the awfulness of the pre-merge episodes seem like they took place a lifetime ago. I really think that each episode will only get better from here on out and if tonight’s is even close to how great last week’s was (and trust me, it will be), I have no problem standing behind my proclamation that this will be the best Survivor season of all time.
2. What stands out to me the most about this season is that the returning players have actually learned from their mistakes, making for a much better showdown. While I have praised Dawn repeatedly, last week’s episode was almost like a coming out party for Andrea. While it was difficult to sort out everything that happened (to the best of my knowledge it was Malcolm trying to swing his rebel alliance to take out the Wisconsin beauty) while Dawn wanted to mount an offensive against the rogue Favorite member from the Philippines, it was ultimately Andrea who made the best and safest decision which was to take out a fan. In the end, that’s all the Favorites need to do and not divert for any reason.
3. In managing to convince her alliance to take Michael out, Andrea also managed to force Reynold to play his idol (by giving it to Malcolm) and forced Malcolm to completely show his hand once again. While many are not giving the move the credit that it deserves, I have no problem saying that it was one of the best moves in Survivor history. Not only because Andrea managed to save herself, but also because of how much it damaged the game of everyone else. It also showed us how much power she truly has in Stealth R Us. Is this really the same girl who did Boston Rob’s bidding on Redemption Island? I don’t think so.
4. I am still determining whether I liked Reynold’s move of giving Malcolm his idol (which ultimately ended up being a waste). On one hand, he really had no other play and on the other, the reason you find hidden idols is to use them to save yourself.
5. Sherri is another player who is simply magnificent to watch and, like Andrea, not getting the credit she deserves. While newbie Survivor fans see Sherri as being nothing more than a Shambo-like extra vote for the Favorites, I believe that she is playing a much better game than that. She is clearly positioning herself in the good graces of Phillip who *thinks* that he is Enil Edam leader. It’s brilliant because Phillip has already shown that he is not above taking out one of his own in favour of keeping people around who are more loyal to him. I love Sherri’s confessional where she called Phillip her new Shamar and this point cannot be understated. Sherri is a master of attaching herself to emotional players and then manipulating them without even realizing it.
6. While we can all agree that Brenda has not played a major role this season, she has now reached the point in the game where her vote is critical. I honestly feel like she will decide how this game will turn out. She can choose to turn the tides now or keep the status quo. While she won’t win, I really believe she will decide who does.
7. Does Cochran pre-write his confessionals? No one could be this good on the fly. Also, it seems the producers love him as well. He has gotten away with more than anyone else including Boston Rob. A couple of weeks ago, he broke the fourth wall and referred to watching Survivor on Wednesday nights. Last week, he snuck in a plug for his personal Twitter account! I think he might be the most beloved contestant of all time.
8. While it shocks even me considering how much disdain I had for Malcolm last season, I am absolutely loving his game this time around. His never-say-die attitude is quite inspiring and I also appreciate how deep his strategic knowledge of the game is. While his time is coming soon, I know I will be sorry to see him go and I can now finally call him one of the show’s best players ever.
9. Since when did Cochran become the Colby Donaldson of challenges?
10. This season has reminded me why I love this show and dedicated my career to covering it. It’s the fresh start that Survivor so desperately needed.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, Survivor Caramoan