This analysis of "Survivor: All Stars" latest episode is by columnist Greg Feltes of CBS station WBBM in Chicago, who offers weekly commentary on the popular reality TV show.
I would like to note that tribal councils actually run for hours and then are heavily condensed into what actually airs. This means that we only see things that the producers judge as critical to the game. Could the fact that Shii Ann's "I have not yet begun to fight" tirade made the cut foreshadow the short-term survival of the Shii-Devil? We'll see.
I point this out not to brag or build up my ego.(I already know that I rule.) It just bears noting that "Survivor" mastermind Mark Burnett is first and foremost a storyteller. Very rarely do we see something that will not have a payoff somewhere down the line. (Although somehow I doubt Rupert's adorable attempt at alcohol poisoning will be this season's turning point.)
So take note of that beautiful sunset Rob and Amber were watching. Will one of them walk off into it?
Why Alicia Calaway is gone:
- She trusted Rob. Much like that OutKast video, it's not leaving the top spot anytime soon.
- She wasn't on her best behavior…from the very beginning. Alicia kept her (in)famous attitude problems in check nearly the whole game. Unfortunately, the word "nearly" is in the sentence preceding this one. Back on day three, she really got on Rob's nerves and he never forgot it. It was a minor slipup, but people are just looking for excuses to vote you out and the Robfather is extremely petty.
- She eliminated the wrong people pre-merge. Her consultations with Lex led to the departures of Richard, Colby and Ethan. What both failed to realize is that none of those three had a chance of winning and that each of them would have been bigger targets come merge time. He could have lasted several more days.
- She only had one alliance. Even if Rob's alliance with Alicia was genuine, she had only one person she could trust. Plus, what good is a two-person alliance in a game of 18 people? Combos like Rupert/Jenna and Rob/Amber are smart enough to realize that you need other allies to win the game. On top of that, her alliance with Rob was formed extremely late in the game, which means she might have missed other opportunities to protect herself.
6. Shii Ann: This week was simply a stay of execution as opposed to a pardon. Shii Ann has no room to maneuver and little recourse other than to win another immunity. Three things guarantee this.
Shii Ann's strategic position will never be as strong as it was this week. She had immunity. Someone from Chapera had to go and several were worried it might be them. It was the perfect time to convince three others to create an alliance that would guarantee a final four spot. Conditions were rife for an uprising…and nothing happened. Her pleas were met with deaf ears as Chapera refused to budge. They won't even let her make a pitch, which is ignorant considering a square peg can't fit into a round hole and five Chaperas can't fit into the final three. She is basically dealing with a brick wall.
Ironically, the one thing that kept her in the game will make her a bigger target than ever. Watching Shii Ann's determination at that immunity challenge had to be sobering for Rupert and Rob, both of whom will need immunity challenge wins at some point. No one saw Shii Ann as any type of threat before this week. Until now, there was always the possibility that Rob could fear a late immunity challenge win streak by Rupert and take him out early. Now, the dismissal of Shii Ann becomes an even higher priority than it was before.
It doesn't really matter at this point, but she shouldn't have gloated. The gloating was really unnecessary and probably finally soured any chance she had at opening a dialogue with Chapera members who became even more unified against her.
On a side note, I really loved her rant about how stupid her tribemates are for trusting Rob. It was nice to see hear on TV what everybody at home is thinking.
5. Tom: It looks bad for the good old boy. Rupert's award order had to be a slap in the face and show Tom the severity of his situation as Rupert blatantly awarded food to Rob, Jenna, Amber and himself before getting to Tom.
He is in a similar position to Alicia as he finds himself with no dependable partner to watch his back. Save Shii Ann, everyone else left has a very secure relationship with another player. On top of that, the final four appears set.
His only hope is to get Rupert to see his precarious situation and create a makeshift final four with Jenna/Shii Ann/Rupert and himself. It's not likely as everyone incredibly continues to take Rob at his word.
Of course, there lies the possibility that Rob is actually playing Jenna and Rupert to setup a final three of Rob/Tom/Amber…
4. Rupert: He's right. He shouldn't have won the reward challenge. He went with his gut instead of his head and it might cost him as he was forced to show whom he aligns with. Losing would have enabled him to keep Tom in the dark as to where his loyalties lie. As an added benefit, he would have been able to see what other people think of him.
He wouldn't have liked what he saw. While Jenna remains loyal to him, Amber and Rob view him as threatening and annoying. He is going to have to win the second-to-last immunity challenge to win this game or will he be the first of the final four.
Of course, there lies the chance that Rupert is actually playing Rob and Amber to set up a final three of Rupert/Tom/Jenna…
3. Jenna: It looks like Rupert and her have a nasty fight next week, which would be costly for her if Rupert goes back to holding Tom's hand. However, previews are notoriously misleading and I'd be surprised if they don't patch things up by episode's end.
For now, she is guaranteed to make the final four. Shii Ann is gone next week and Rupert or Tom will follow her the week after that. If she can make the final two, she has a very good chance of an electoral landslide, but that's a big if. She still looks set too play the spoiler role when it comes down to the final three, but will need to win immunity there unless she is still with Rupert and he wins it.
Of course, there lies the chance that Jenna is actually playing Rob and Amber to set up a final three of Rupert/Tom/Jenna.
2. Rob M: I don't see how he expects to win this because every time someone goes, they end up blaming him: Lex, Kathy and Alicia were talking vengeance before they even hit the loser lodge. That's three jury votes against him already unless he can convince Kathy to blame Amber for her dismissal. Now, all it will take is one more castoff to feel betrayed by him and that's the ball game.
Getting to the final two still looks like a very good possibility. Incredibly, presented with yet another golden opportunity, no one took their shot at him. Rupert went out of his way to reward him during the show's version of the NFL draft, Jenna likes him and Amber…well…she wants his jock.
If Rob is really as smart as he thinks he is, once it gets down to the final five, he should throw Jenna and Rupert under the bus and go with a Tom/Amber/Rob final three, which would guarantee him final two.
1. Amber: Rob keeps piling up the enemies and she keeps winning jury votes without even trying. She hinted at playing Rob, but no really believes that and she's not smart enough to pull it off. Still, her relationship has served her well because it would be stupid for Rob to take her into the final two if he has the choice, but he is going to anyway.
I'd like to see her be more active strategically, but there is no real reason to at this point. She should continue to let Rob do the heavy lifting for her because he comes off looking worse every week, while people like Rupert remain smitten with her.
Predictions for next week: Shii Ann is Shii Gone next week after a close immunity challenge loss. If she does manage to win, Tom is sent home.
Written By GREG FELTES