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Mar 7, 2008

Survivor: Micronesia (Fans vs. Favorites) Episode 5 recap

What makes a Survivor contestant strong? Is it the ability to bench-press 250 pounds? Maybe it's someone who can run the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds, or someone who can hold their breath underwater for two minutes or swim for miles without tiring. It might not even be someone with physical strength, but loads of mental toughness, Hatch-ing their way through the game with not just the ability to lie, but the ability to make others feel unthreatened by them while they silently cut their throats.

Strength, and who has it versus who doesn't, was the topic of conversation following last night's episode of Survivor: Micronesia. Some claimed that the "bag of bones" Chet was far and away the weakest player in the game - a valid argument, as he's not particularly strong or agile, and doesn't appear to be playing the Outwit portion of the game all that much (at least, not directly).

That said, I feel the weakest player in the game was the one that got the boot last night - hulking firefighter Joel - and I couldn't be happier about it.

Mind you, this isn't some defense of the woeful underdog Chet. Even if you take him out of the equation, what you're left with in Joel is:

* a cancer of a teammate. He can hate Chet all he wants for Chet's weaknesses, but there is no leadership (or skill or strength) demonstrated in dragging a person around as a rag doll.

* an insecure big man that couldn't stomach the thought of not being the alpha male when Mikey B. was around - though instead of acting on it, he merely excelled at venting to the camera. He only acted on his desire to ouster Mikey when Tracy (more on her later) played him like a fiddle, using his insecurities to sway him away from voting for Chet (her alliance partner) last week.

* a terrible person. After dragging Chet through the Reward Challenge course, causing him to slam to the ground multiple times, Chet told Joel that he "hit his head." Joel's response: "I don't care." Sure, James might have been rude to Eliza last week, but at least he didn't cause her illness and then mock her for it. Joel displayed an appalling lack of caring for a TEAMMATE, much less another human.

So who's strong in this season of Survivor?

Surely, at the top of the leader board is Poseidon. Ozzy might not look like all that much, but his strength in challenges (speed, agility, etc), at camp (using his swimming ability to catch just about every fish in the ocean, less the shark Amanda caught), and in the strategic part of the game (hidden idol) put him on the top of the leader board.

You might say James was next, and I couldn't argue too much - he showed us last season that he has more than enough smarts to win (um, not counting his one fatal blunder, I suppose), he's well liked, and oh-by-the-way is now the lone representation of brute force on the island. You might also say someone like Amanda or Parvati - players of people and chameleons who remain somewhat invisible until their moment to strike arrives.

However, I'd like to make a case for Tracy as one of the, if not the strongest players in the game right now. On the surface, it would appear that this "Fan," not a tremendous factor physically and previously in an alliance of three outcasts (along with Chet and Kooky Kathy), wouldn't stand much of a chance in the game. However, as mentioned previously, Tracy owned Joel last week, challenging what little manhood he has in getting him and the rest of the tribe to save Chet and oust Mikey. Then, this week, with seemingly everyone against Chet, and without the aid of Kathy, who'd been picked by the other team during the tribal mix up, Tracy again led the ouster of someone-not-named-Chet, getting Cirie in on it, with her then apparently swaying Ozzie and Amanda to the cause. It was great to watch, and, outside of Ozzy and James, I'll be pulling for Tracy to win it all.

On a sad note, it appears as though Jonathan Penner may have to quit the game during next week's episode, as his leg injury looks to be getting worse rather than better. Here's hoping he gets to stick around, because I like the way he plays the game and I hate to see people leave due to any injury.

Finally, a few random notes:

* That Ice Cream Scooper is really getting on my nerves. He has the gaul to talk about Chet's weaknesses, but he couldn't weigh more than 120 pounds himself. More than that, though is that he looks like an idiot and confirms that suspicion whenever his mouth opens.

* On more than one occasion last night, I had to ask "Whatever happened to Ami?" She has been invisible this season, and despite her tribe being sent to Council last night, we didn't see her speak even once during the ten-minute lead-up or at the Council itself. Either she's in the game for the really long haul, or she has nothing even remotely interesting to say; considering her role in her first season, I'm guessing she's in this for the long run.

Survivor: Micronesia homepage at CBS.com

7 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: Micronesia (Fans vs. Favorites) Episode 5 recap"

Steve said...

Yep, Joel is a d*ck. I'm glad he's gone too.

Robb said...

Dang Fletch, for all of our differences last season we are on exactly the same page this time around. Tracy and Cirie are totally rocking my world so far. They are totally owning the game so far, it will be interesting to see how far they can carry it.

It seems like Ami finally gets involved in a storyline next week. But even James has been mysteriously absent so far, not to mention the two Fan girls. Joel has taken up a lot of screen time up until now though, so with him gone there will be more time for some of the others.

Nick said...

I agree that Joel was an asshole. Even though I laughed at what was going on (in a 'dear lord, that poor chet' slapstick kind of way), I really disliked how Joel was overall.

But I have to disagree about Tracy. Honestly, if Joel was as weak and insecure as you say, then it really mustn't take all that much to sway him another way. Also, I could have sworn it was Cirie, not Tracy, who decided to swing the vote toward Joel instead (she went on that big speel about how she'd be on the 'weak' list, so that's why she decided to make everybody vote for Joel). And I can't STAND Cirie. She might be outwitting people, but she's being truly annoying and despicable about it. And I'm still sore about Yau-Man.

I'm rooting for Ozzy and James.

Mrs Fletch said...

Joel hit the nail on the head with his closing comments - the tribe chose to keep Chet over him. Ha!

Don't get me wrong, Chet is a terrible player, but he's nice and nobody deserves to be treated like that.

Nick, I'm with you... Ozzy and James all the way!

Fletch said...

Robb, I'm not totally with you - I'm with Nick when it comes to Cirie. She lost me when she spearheaded the ousting of Yau-Man and her subsequent cockiness about it.

Nick, I'm pretty sure I saw Tracy put the bug in Cirie's ear about Joel. Then Cirie took it to the other Favorites.

Must Love Dogs said...

Tracy is my favorite fan. She is actively playing the Outwit card, but in a subtler way than Cirie. It's not just the words you say-- it's tone and body language that help/hurt your cause. This is way Jonathan tends to alienate others. I'm reminded of Rev. Lovejoy's daughter swatting down Bart's advances with "do you ever think anything you don't say?" He has some good points but he is so very, very blunt about it and has a gruff-sounding voice. Compare it to James-- even when he is calling someone a dumbass and questioning their ability to stay alive he sounds mirthful about it. You can't help but want to laugh with him.
I don't like Chet's strategy (he's a floater and not a funny enough one like Courtney to make me enjoy having him around) but I agree that keeping him was in Tracy/Cirie's best interests. Kathy benefits from it too, though not a part of their team. But maybe they can capitalize on that post merge? Ozzy lost a few cool points for Idol chatter, but I think he can still recover. He should be thanking his lucky stars he doesn't have Pappy's luck when it comes to choosing rocks. XD Natalie has yet to make an impression on me, and the two "whoa dudes" for the Fan Camp are indistinguishable in my eyes. Parvati is still being "the flirt". I wish she'd get a new strategy but I'm not going to kid myself. If I looked like that flirting would be my Plan A (but I'd try to develop a Plan B anyway). Eliza is as prickly as ever. Ami is oddly silent, I bet she makes a big move soon but I have no idea what it could be.
I miss Yau-Man and it seems like I'm going to miss Jonathan soon. He seems like a nice enough guy (I still remember who thrilled he was to reunite with his wife in that one challenge waaaay back), but the sort who would totally grate on you if you hung out with him 24/7. And his banter with Jeff? "Stop bitching and start throwing" Priceless.
I'm not going to talk about Joel beyond he was being incredibly cruel and it rubbed me the wrong way.

Sasha said...

I'm totally hoping Eliza will win it! She' a good player!