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At Last, The Game Is On

This analysis of "Survivor:All Stars" Episode Seven is by columnist Greg Feltes of CBS station WBBM in Chicago, who offers weekly commentary on the popular reality TV show.

Goodbye, Captain America.

Deal with it, Pretty Boy Zohn.

"Survivor" is back, and we have Lex van den Bergh to thank for it.

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After weeks of quitting and preordained boots, someone decided he wouldn't be typecast and actually took a chance. Imagine that?

Some observations:

  • Noted thespian Colby Donaldson played himself in an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this week, but he should have taken his cue from another HBO hit. Maybe then Colby wouldn't have gotten whacked by a former ally.
  • A shrug? That's the best you could do, Colby? You actually had to write that? Or were you unable to memorize what you planned to say? Either way, I will not be checking the Colbster in Shakespeare in the Park anytime soon.

Why Colby Donaldson is gone:

  1. He is a former winner (or might as well be.) If he had selected Keith Famie in the Outback, he easily would have been the winner of Season Two and everyone knows it. Thus, he was doomed to suffer the same early exit that will befall all of the past top finishers.
  2. People knew he didn't need the money. This ties into reason #1. There are two types of people in this game: those who are in it for the adventure and those who are in it for the money. Colby was in the first group, while nearly everyone else was in the second. His Season Two winnings and endorsements it brought his way have made him financially secure, which people resent. They are not about to let him add to that wealth.
  3. He was arrogant and didn't try to hide it. Because he didn't need the money, he played the game a lot looser, and it cost him. His conversation with Shii Ann and dressing down of her strategy was only one example of this new mindset coming into play and hurting him.
  4. He is perhaps the greatest physical threat in the history of the game. It never fails. A physical specimen is hailed as a hero when his tribe competes in team challenges in the early stages of the game. Yet, as soon as it is about to become an individual competition, that love and respect go flying out the window and it becomes every man, woman and child for themselves. Sooner or later, Colby had to go, and it turned out to be sooner.
  5. He pulled an Osten and just didn't care anymore. Colby put out a whole different vibe this time around and seemed resigned to his fate. He knew he couldn't win and played like it. He copped to this in some of the Survivor insider clips available on the official Web site. People really resent someone who doesn't take the game seriously, especially when you are getting a second chance and taking a slot away from someone else. (Michael Skupin probably is fuming at home at this very moment.)

Tribe Analysis

Mogo Mogo:

  • Ethan. Ethan is toast. His buddy Lex is playing a different game this time around and has left him on the outside, looking in. In addition, it is clear that his tribe is very wary of someone who could string together some individual immunity wins. On top of all that, even if he manages to make it to the merge, Boston Rob has been gunning for him since day one and will obviously make him Chapera's first target.
  • Lex. Though I love him for shaking things up, Lex's move might have been needlessly aggressive and could be his downfall. Colby and Ethan were rock solid alliance partners and they would also have also been Chapera's main targets after the merge because of their physical prowess. If Ethan goes in the next episode, Lex suddenly becomes the last Mogo Mogo physical threat to go after, post-merge. Now, Lex finds himself allied with Shii Ann, Jerri and (presumably) Kathy. Shii Ann and Jerri are notoriously unpredictable/disloyal, and Kathy could be working a deal with Chapera. Looking at all those factors, it becomes evident that too many things have to go right for Lex to win.
  • Kathy. I can't wait for her reaction next week when Mogo Mogo comes back sans Colby. I doubt she got that memo while at Chapera, and her tribe's unpredictable nature could only further spook her into siding with the Rob squad. Her tribe's loss at the challenge might have been the best thing to happen to her in this game so far if there is no paranoia surrounding her return to camp. First of all, never underestimate how rejuvenating a reward such as this one can be. It should reestablish her physical and mental strength. More importantly, it gives her options. If her tribe loses next week, she can side with Chapera after the merge with no consequences and guarantee herself a final six finish. If they win (meaning the tribes have equal numbers going into the merge,) she has the most connections to leverage the best deal for herself by either sticking with the Lex/Ethan/Shii Ann/Jerri alliance or making the switch to Chapera.
  • Shii Ann. Regardless of where she finishes in the game, she made the right decision. There was no future in siding with Colby, who couldn't hide his disdain for her and the way she plays the game. If she can't tolerate an annoying tribe mate, she shouldn't be in this game. Besides, it wouldn't be prudent to impede the efforts of her closest ally's (Kathy) closest ally (Lex.)! How would she justify it to Kathy when she got back? Still, she is in a precarious position with an alliance (Kathy/Lex/Jerri) that doesn't currently have the numbers.
  • Jerri. Lex's move only postponed the inevitable, but at least she has a fighting chance. At the very least, she got revenge on a sworn enemy, which was on her "to do" list. Her unlikeability and physical weakness become assets after the merge, but they don't do her any good if the tribesdon't go into a merge with equal numbers.

Tribe Analysis


  • Rob M. His significant contributions at the challenges are obviously critical to his tribe's successes, but the way he has cultivated a fun, light-hearted atmosphere at camp should not go unnoticed. Tension and constant backstabbing can wear on a tribe's morale and thus affect challenge performances. It also serves the dual purpose of maintaining the status quo, which obviously benefits his current regime. However, Mogo Mogo's tribal council shows that he has little chance of swaying a jury because of the intense reaction he elicits with his macho attitude. In the more immediate future, his leadership looks to be challenged next week by America's sweetheart Rupert.
  • Amber. It looks like her relationship with Boston Rob will be taken to another level, which is probably not the smartest move. I doubt Boston Rob is playing her and I doubt that she is playing Boston Rob, but the relationship is beginning to isolate them both from their fellow tribe members. All of their planning could be ruined if they are off cuddling somewhere when Tom/Alicia and Rupert/Jenna actually talk to each other and realize that Romber has made both groups the same deal. She needs to maintain flexibility and that is an impossibility if she is so closely connected to any one player. Still, if Chapera wins next week, such issues won't have to be sorted out for a while.
  • Tom. This episode only covered one day of the game and Chapera didn't have to talk strategy thanks to their victory, so it's difficult to get any type of read on his situation. It does look as if Rupert and Rob have some type of clash next week, which benefits Tom because there is only room for one jolly fat man on that island and Rob will chose him if Rupert does anything to upset the Robfather.
  • Alicia. Again, no news is good news for Ms. Finger Wag. She has stayed under the radar thus far and that will only benefit her in the coming merge.
  • Rupert. I have no idea what type of challenge awaits us next week, but it looks as if Boston Rob and Rupert throw down in some type of competition. This creates a tenuous situation for Blackbeard because it appears they haven't merged yet, which means they have to live with each other after the challenge. Rupert is too competitive to throw a game, but he has to temper his reaction, win or lose. Beyond that, he will have to seriously consider switching tribes after the merge because Boston Rob is playing to win and knows he can't topple someone this popular.
  • Jenna L. I still believe she is an outsider in her own tribe, but more prominent targets surround her. If she can survive next week, she is in a good position to make a run, post-merge, with her likeability and connections.

Predictions for Next Week:

I am a firm believer that things have a way of evening out in this game, which means Chapera is due for a loss so the tribes can merge with even numbers. If that happens, Boston Rob could end up targeting any number of people, but I think the former Saboga members are in the most precarious positions. If Mogo Mogo loses, Ethan is toast unless Jerri becomes even more annoying than usual.

My current ultimate Survivor pick:

I have to stick with Amber because

  • Lex made a dumb move that may have hurt Mogo Mogo's chances to stick together after the merge by aligning with physically weak, disloyal tribe mates.
  • Boston Rob continues to go unchallenged as leader and he will never ditch her.
  • If Romber makes the final two, she wins it in a cake walk.
  • I haven't seen anything that makes me believe that Alicia/Tom/Rupert/Jenna will figure out what Romber is up to until it is too late.
  • She is awfully purdy.

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