Why She’ll Win: Because she never gives up. Monica at least attempted to bring Shambo back into the fold and trick the Foa folk into voting for John.
Why She Won’t: Because none of those moves worked. Sorry, luckless hot bikini chick!
Probst’s Take: Monica wins only if she ends up in the final with Foa Foa members. I think Dave and/or Brett would defeat her in the final vote. Overall Odds: 30 – 1
Why He’ll Win: He has performed well in challenges and is well liked by anyone not named Shambo.
Why He Won’t: What’s his signature move? (And no, silently mouthing the word ”wow” to himself at Tribal Council does not count.)
Probst’s Take: If he can find a way to make it to the end, he’s just wacky enough that he might pull off a completely unexpected win.
OVERALL ODDS: 25-1
Why She’ll Win: She went from Galu zero to Foa Foa hero when she switched sides. The impact of that move is undeniable.
Why She Won’t: The ”yoga-loving 90210” jury may respect the move, but not the player. Even Shambo’s new allies don’t seem to think highly of her.
Probst’s Take: Her betrayal of Galu combined with being on the bottom of Foa Foa makes it tough for her to win.
OVERALL ODDS: 20-1
Why He’ll Win: He’s made no enemies along the way, which I suppose is what happens when you never speak.
Why He Won’t: Never has a player made it so far and been shown so little. A winner would never get the invisible edit Brett has. I’m not even sure the other contestants know who the hell he is.
Probst’s Take: Everybody likes Brett. If Brett makes it to the end, he wins. Period.
OVERALL ODDS: 15-1
Why He’ll Win: One would hope the law student would know his way around a jury.
Why He Won’t: His flat demeanor often seems robotic. Can robots win Survivor? Are they even eligible? And can we please get Robot Survivor into production immediately?
Probst’s Take: If Jaison makes it to the end, he’s capable of a very compelling argument as to why he deserves the million.
OVERALL ODDS: 10-1
Why He’ll Win: He was voted tribal leader even though he was totally unqualified and did nothing to earn it. Foreshadowing, anyone?
Why He Won’t: The anesthesiologist practically put us to sleep all season with his (lack of) gameplay. At some point you have to do something.
Probst’s Take: To win he’ll need to face the jury, pull a mask off his face, and say ”I was playing y’all!”
OVERALL ODDS: 8-1
Why He’ll Win: No one has played the game better. Russell found three hidden idols and got swing vote Shambo to flip.
Why He Won’t: Should the Super Survivor make it to the end, he will come face-to-face with his own personal kryptonite: one seriously bitter jury.
Probst’s Take: He could easily make it to finals, but can he get the jury vote? It’s either a slam dunk or a shutout.
OVERALL ODDS: 6-1
Why She’ll Win: She is the Amber to Russell’s Boston Rob — the nicer, prettier, more easily digestible option for vindictive jury members.
Why She Won’t: She could still be seen as a mere coattail-rider. Which she is.
Probst’s Take: She’s played a very quiet but effective game. But if she makes it to the end, she will have to work hard to convince the jury that she deserves the money.
OVERALL ODDS: 3-1
And now there is absolutely no debate. Foa Foa has done it. They have come back from an eight to four deficit and now are in charge of the game. Think of the odds Vegas would have given you on that not happening. Well, Vegas wouldn’t actually give you any odds, since they know the show has already been taped and they know that I would have emptied my bank account to take that bet and would now be retired living in Palau.
FIRST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
Nobody ever said all challenges would be created equal. If there is one consistent element of Survivor challenges it’s that they’re typically not things you can practice at home. When’s the last time anybody went bowling… using a coconut for the ball. But it was a little bit exciting, right? I loved Jaison pacing around the deck “visualizing” his final immunity winning toss. But hey, it paid off and kept Jaison in the game one more day.
NATALIE DOES HER LAUNDRY
It was a small moment but I hope you caught it as it speaks to the essence of Survivor. Natalie, in the midst of living on an island with a group of strangers, battling physically, emotionally, and socially for a million dollar prize still takes the time to wash and then hang her underwear on a branch in an attempt to keep them clean. You don’t get that moment on any other show.
FIRST TRIBAL COUNCIL
I hated to see ole Danger Dave go home. It’s no secret I root for the guy. He should be proud he hung in there a long time in a very tough game, but now it’s jury time, brotha.
Monica is a risky player. All she had to do was say, “If you say Dave, I say Dave” and let it go. But Monica was playing to WIN, not take second. I appreciate that kind of play very much. The fact that it didn’t work is irrelevant. You have to be willing to make those kinds of moves to have any shot of winning.
THIS IS HOW YOU PLAY SURVIVOR
When Russell began to get worried about Mick turning on him he made a statement that speaks to the kind of game he is playing:
Russell: “That worries me that he’s gonna send me home, cause that’s what I would do.”
That sentence, especially those last six words, “cause that’s what I would do” is the absolute essence of how you should always play Survivor. John Nash, the dude that was the inspiration for the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” spelled it out clearly in his thoughts on game theory. He said you must always make your best move based on the assumption that the other person is making their best move. That means you have to get inside their head, think what their best move is, assume they will make that move and based on that make your best move.
When Russell says, “cause that’s what I would do” that is precisely what he is doing. That is how you have to play Survivor. It’s one of the main reasons Russell has been so successful in this game. He is playing an extremely intelligent game. Don’t judge that book by its cover or the lack of a tooth here or there, the guy is putting that little pirate head to good use.
SECOND IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
Hmm… might as well just use the same line I used when describing the first immunity challenge:
“Nobody ever said all challenges would be created equal. If there is one consistent element of Survivor challenges it’s that they’re typically not things you can practice at home. When’s the last time anybody…. had to jump on a board to launch a bag into a basket 12 feet in the air.”
Thirty-three days of no food reduced Monica’s body weight to such a low level that the poor thing didn’t weigh enough to even get the bag close to the basket above her head. Worse news, Brett won immunity. It forced her into a desperate position – convince two people from Foa Foa to turn on one of their own.
AND SO SHE TURNED UP THE HEAT
Monica did a good job of stirring up the dust. She did such a good job that it almost worked. And she brought up a topic that doesn’t get much attention but is often a major factor in who ends up winning the game…
I CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU ON THE JURY
Okay, you want insight, here’s some insight. When Monica uttered those words to Russell: “I can make or break you on the jury” it was a million dollar threat. Mark my words… A million dollar THREAT.
When someone is voted out and joins the jury, there is absolutely nothing to stop them from talking to other jury members and trying to influence the vote at the final tribal council. A disgruntled jury member, (wait is that redundant?) could easily influence another jury member simply by making up a story that never happened and attribute it to someone who has made it to the final. In fact, it’s possible that one jury member could influence an entire jury. Even if we could keep the jury separated right up until tribal council, they could still talk and whisper to each other. So, what this means is you have to play an even better social game than it might appear. You have to develop such strong personal relationships that you are “lie proof” and that is not easy to do… but it is achieveable.
This season is still waaaaay up in the air. So many different ways it could turn depending on who makes it to the final.
We have two weeks left. Next Thursday and then the finale the following Sunday.