In last week‘s Survivor: Nicaragua recap we pointed out that we felt Brenda and Sash were not really in control, and could very well find themselves on the outside looking in. We also meant to add that, despite appearing to call the shots, Brenda is not Parvati, the cunning siren (and arguably best player in Survivor history) who probably seems like the best comparison for Brenda. Unfortunately for Brenda, there are critical, significant differences between the two. Brenda might feel like she has everyone under her thumb, but she lacks both the charm and, more importantly, the ruthlessness of Parvati (and while Brenda has seemed more than physically capable, we’d argue that she doesn’t possess Parvati’s considerable strength). Yes, Brenda had a seemingly strong alliance, with two of her closest allies, Sash and NaOnka, possessing immunity idols, but those two people are clearly intent on keeping those idols for themselves, while Parvati managed to acquire idols without even trying. Brenda went to Tribal Council with an idol in Sash’s pocket, while Parvati basically went with a bucket overflowing with her own. (And speaking of Sash, we probably should have also been pointed out that he’s no Russell Hantz, lacking his killer instinct, his courage, and, most notably, his deviousness).
Which is all a long way of saying that it was not surprising that Brenda went home this week, with Sash declining to hand over his idol as protection (see? We called it!). Brenda should have been more skeptical about Sash, because the history of Survivor shows that competitors rarely give away their idols, and they when they do it nearly always backfires (with the only real notable exception being Russell, whose gift to Parvati at Tribal Council in All-Stars was a game changing move that said as much about his brilliant strategy as it did about his recklessness. Sash would never have the guts to a pull a move like that, and nor would 99% of other Survivors. Which is why Russell was so dangerous, and one of the best of all-time). And not only did Sash hold onto his idol, but he wrote Brenda’s name down, content to turn on his supposed all-powerful alliance.
What also distinguishes Brenda from Parvati is that, as Probst grills Brenda about at Tribal Council, Brenda was too proud to scramble, deciding that playing it cool was the best strategy. Now, we’ll argue that, on the other end of the spectrum, Marty scrambled too much in this game, he overplayed, and if he dialed back just a bit he might still be around. Many of the Survivors agreed with his arguments, but his aggressive nature ultimately proved intolerable and too threatening. Brenda, on the other hand, barely put up a fight, banking on the allegiance of someone like NaOnka, who as already proved to be a liar and a thief. Smart. Brenda relied on Sash and Chase to think it through and come to the rational decision to stick with their alliance. But she basically waited until Tribal Council to make her case, when it was too late, and even then it wasn’t even a very convincing argument. Whereas, if this was Parvati, she wouldn’t have “scrambled,” but she would have persuaded her alliance and/or other Survivors to swing their vote in another direction. Parvati basically played the entirety All-Stars with a target on her back. And, yet, even though everyone knew she was a huge threat as a previous sole Survivor, she managed to get through Tribal Council after Tribal Council, not by scrambling, but also not by sitting back and waiting for someone else to make a move. She was aggressive, firm, confident, keeping her allies close and her enemies closer. Long story short, Brenda just didn’t have what it takes.
Always remember, Brenda, LOOSE SASH’S SINK SHIPS.
Which now means that this game is wide open, with very few alliances remaining. Conceivably, you could see anyone teaming up with anyone else next week. Heck, even NaOnka and Fabio, who have made no secret about despising each other, cooperated to oust Brenda. It’s exciting, but it’s also concerning. Because now you look at someone like NaOnka, who still has an idol, and is showing that she might actually know how to play this game, and you could see her making it all the way to the end, even without Brenda and Sash carrying her there. Or you look at Holly, who seemed like a goner for sure in week two, but is now getting confident and orchestrating power moves, and you can imagine a scenario where she goes all the way.
And that brings up another trend of this season: short-term memory loss. From week to week, it seems like the Survivors forget who they wanted to vote out at the previous Tribal Council and turn their sights on someone new. As we said, Holly seemed dead in the water, especially after filling Dan’s (obscenely expensive) shoes with wet sand and generally losing her mind. Now she’s seemed to gather up her marbles and take control of his game (but, hey, Holly, let’s watch the language. Kiss your high school swim team with that mouth?). Or take NaOnka, who is universally reviled, and seems completely unbearable. She’s emerging as a leader. Or Jane, whom Marty, rightfully, called out at several Tribal Councils and was close to going home last week (and probably would have if Brenda went with her gut, and not her desire to display her power). Marty was a little too obsessive and bitter about it, but he was correct that Jane is an immense threat. The other players seemed to agree at that time, but immediately forgot. And then Jane went on to win immunity this week and has a very real chance to win this game. And then there’s Dan, who narrowly escaped going home in week three, and would have if not for Marty and Jimmy T’s jealously of Jimmy Johnson. Dan is clearly the weakest player out there, maybe the weakest male player in all twenty seasons of Survivor, certainly the most handicapped, and while it seemed that his survival in week three was a stay of execution, he’s still in the game and the odds of him going deep in the game get better by the day. There’s no shot he’ll win this thing, but he went from being the clear favorite to go home, to a clear favorite to make it far.
And the target shifted again this week, not just to Brenda, but also to Benry (so we were perhaps mistaken in our assessment last week that Benry is flying under the radar and has a good shot to go all the way to the end). Chase noticed this week that Benry is a very real threat, physically and strategically, but as others pointed out, he’s not the greatest threat. So while we commend the remaining competitors for wising up and exiling Brenda, it was surprisingly that Benry was in the conversation at all, and further demonstrates that these Survivors are failing to look in their rear-view mirrors. And they might get burned for it.
Okay, this was all very long and boring. Let’s see what Purple Kelly thinks.
You want to add anything to that, Amanda?
Good work, girls. Right on top of it.
By the way, this is what we imagine Purple Kelly’s brain looks like when the wheels are turning in her head:
We’re being mean, we know, but she sounds like our six-year old nephew when he’s confused by the “got your nose” trick. And the girl didn’t even know whom to vote for. So sad!
(seriously, she has no idea what’s going on. While Sash and Chase flopped and voted for Brenda, Kelly was the sole vote for Benry. And she clearly didn’t know why, as she had absolutely nothing to say before casting her vote)
No Final Faces this week because, well, Brenda’s face always looks the same, either boring or annoying. Or both.
We should, however, acknowledge NaOnka for remarking that not only did she never think she’d fly in a helicopter, she also never thought she’d have passport. Listen, we know you’re from South Central (and we all remember the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox show. We never saw it, but we remember it), but all you need for a passport is a post office, a heartbeat and a 2″ x 2″ inch photo. In fact, if you ever dreamt of being on Survivor, you’d first need to dream of having a passport. Which is COMPLETELY ATTAINABLE. Even in South Central (we blindly assume).
So now we’ve come to our A-B-C of the week. Some very viable options, like Always Be Calm, as was Brenda’s undoing, or Always Be Cutthroat,, as NaOnka proved loyalty and friendship mean nothing to her (these concepts may literally mean nothing to her), or Always Be Clueless (see Purple Kelly, above, and this entire season). But we’re going to go with a wild-card this week, something in honor of a particularly loquacious week from Probst:
Always Be Chatty
Cause dude was all over the Survivors during the challenges, really just giving them the business. Maybe he’s finally had enough after twenty seasons, or he’s particularly frustrated with this batch of Survivors, or perhaps he was just in a frisky mood. Either way, he pulled no punches this week:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Benry, guest of honor at Friars Club Celebrity Probst. PROBSTED.
Before we go, let’s just check in with Jane: