“Likeability is a liability”: Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites II May 8 2013 recap

9 May

OK, this is the last Wednesday episode before the season finale, crunch time!

We open the episode with Eddie, an unlikely narrator for sure. Especially since his lament is the same one he’s had all season: that this season is hurting his sex life: “All the chicks that I go after and wanna hook up with get voted out.” Everyone including Eddie sees him as the next person to be voted out, but what if he wins immunity? In that case “it should be Cochran,” according to Brenda. Unfortunately the person she says this to is… Dawn, the biggest tattletale in the history of the game! Several players this season have found this out the hard way.

Meanwhile, Erik the ice cream scooper is a poet but doesn’t, like,  know it:

So annoying to see

, like, coconuts in a tree

They laugh at me.

The tree he’s talking about is ridiculously tall, yet he tries to climb it, and it’s an amazing feat that he even makes it halfway up. Still, he soon realizes that it’s too dangerous.

Eddie goes to get tree mail and finds… a Sprint EVO LTE cell phone! Oh no, that’s the signal that this is a “loved ones” episode. Sorry recap readers, I hate this annual tradition and fast-forward through as much of it as possible. I’m sure it’s a great moment for the players in the game, but it’s just not enjoyable for me to watch people crying, which is just about all that ever happens.

And while everyone wants to spend time with their loved ones, really the best strategic move every year is to try your best not to win this reward challenge. Because the winner always has to pick someone else to come with him, invariably disappointing someone else in the alliance. Brenda and her father win the challenge, and it turns out the producers have opted to double the tear-jerking by having a second as yet unseen family member come along for each person. Probst lets Brenda get a video preview on… no you do not win a prize if you guessed it’s the EVO LTE from Sprint. Brenda chooses Dawn and her husband to come with her, but then Probst poses the dilemma: Brenda can either have a second loved one join both her and Dawn, or she can let the other four players have meals with their loved ones and she and Dawn have to do without. She wisely picks the latter. Cochran reveals later that at this point his mother told him “Brenda’s gonna win this game.”

Cue much family fun for Sherri, Erik, Cochran, and Eddie, and much crying for Dawn (who has to watch the party boat that’s just 50 yards away). As annoying as Dawn’s constant crying is, it’s somewhat justified here as she got the worst of all worlds: she didn’t get the hearty meal or the time with her husband, nor did she get the goodwill Brenda got for making the decision!

While Cochran is grateful for the time with his parents, he also moves Brenda up his list of threats because of the goodwill she’s getting from everyone. But first: will Eddie win immunity? He couldn’t be bothered to even try in a couple of recent challenges, but he’s clearly trying now.

The immunity challenge has the players holding onto a rope behind their backs, leaning over the water with their feet on the edge of a bridge, and with Probst using a winch to lower all of them simultaneously at certain intervals. Eddie can’t make it very long, and soon it’s down to Dawn and Brenda. Dawn says to Brenda, in essence, “let me have this, I’ve never won one.” Doesn’t that make Dawn particularly un-deserving of winning one now? Brenda doesn’t go for it, but after a while Brenda falls off and Dawn has won. Later Brenda tells the camera that she quit on purpose to let Dawn have it as a strategic move. Is this revisionist history a-la Phillip?

Boy, this challenge, and the episode, would have been way more fun if gamers like Andrea and Malcolm had still been around.

Anyway, back at camp Brenda is already saying she wants to take out Cochran after Eddie is gone. Why do I suddenly know so much about what Brenda thinks? Well, because her voice is heard three times as much in one episode as in the whole rest of the season put together! But Cochran thinks this is the perfect time to blindside Brenda. He’s reluctant to bring it up too aggressively since nobody else seems amenable to it (after all that sort of boldness was probably Andrea’s downfall), but then we see Sherri and Dawn both mulling it over…

Time for tribal council in front of an ever-growing jury, including Andrea (is she making eyes at Eddie?). Eddie says it’s been a good run. Probst reads out two votes for Eddie, one for Erik, and then Brenda-Brenda-Brenda. She’s voted out, as Malcolm makes a this-is-so-entertaining face in the jury. Brenda stands there a moment and says “I was honest with you guys. I was genuine with you guys.” As Probst snuffs her torch she says, “It hurts,” and cries as she walks down the path and out of the game. We see that Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri were the three votes against her.

Dumb Move of the episode: Brenda lets Dawn win the challenge (if that’s what happened).

Rankings Going Into The Final Episode:

I have to do something I’ve never done before, and that is to take someone off of my “no chance” list and put them back on the contender list. Brenda being voted off leaves me no choice. With Malcolm, Reynold, Andrea, and Brenda gone, the highly improbable has happened and the best four players in the game are gone. So if I had insisted on sticking with my prior system Dawn would be the only “contender” left. Oops! I think she’s anything but a lock to win.

So here are my contender rankings as well as who I think each player should try to get to the final three with if he/she wants to win. Yes, I have done the math!

#1 contender: COCHRAN should take Sherri and Erik. He has indisputably accomplished more than either of them. Cochran is really the overwhelming favorite given the recent events. There are 6 possible combinations of people that involve him, I see him winning three of them outright and tying for the win in two other cases (hmm, notice that there will be an even number of jury members, and the possibility of a tie). The combination he should avoid at all costs is taking Dawn and Eddie, as Eddie could get all the Fans’ votes while Cochran and Dawn evenly split the Favorites!

#2 contender: DAWN’s ideal colleagues in the final three are the same ones I suggested for Cochran: Sherri and Erik. That way the only votes Dawn doesn’t get are the people directly bitter at her. The person she should dump at all costs is her best ally, Cochran!

#3 contender: EDDIE should take Dawn and Erik. In that scenario I can see Michael’s vote going Eddie’s way, since Dawn helped oust him and Erik is not a gamer. Than Eddie would need to pick up the votes of his “bromigo” Malcolm and his showmance Andrea, plus Reynold’s vote which he’d have in the bag. Just as nobody can win the presidency these days without winning Ohio, Eddie would absolutely need Andrea’s vote to have a chance to win the game, no matter what combination of people is sitting next to him at the finals.

#4 contender: SHERRI should take Erik and Eddie. While she isn’t the mastermind she gives herself credit for being, she played to win more than those other two.

No chance to win: ERIK. Just for the heck of it, I’ll say his best shot would be to take Sherri and Eddie and thus get the favorites’ vote as the only favorite in the finals. I do not realistically see that happening though (I suggested that same combination for Sherri above, and think Sherri would be more likely to come out ahead). The bright side for the ice cream scooper is that he’s basically a cinch to make the final three, since he wants to go and everyone else should want to take him!

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