Analysis of "Survivor: Pearl Islands" episode four by CBS station WBBM in Chicago's "Survivor" columnist Greg Feltes.
"Throwing a challenge is the stupidest thing that Drake could ever do."
Now the above should have been apparent to the other seven members of Team Drake, but it wasn't. They let their hubris and petty emotions get in the way of a great thing. Team Morgan was dead for all intents and purposes, but, in one foul swoop, they stopped all momentum they had going. I am not suggesting that this is a deathblow. Far from it. I am quite certain that Drake can win one of the next two immunity challenges and go into the merger with an advantage over Morgan.
However, the loss sets off a chain reaction of events that could end up hurting Team Drake.
Short term, they have nearly guaranteed a reward challenge loss in the next challenge if it is physical. With a borrowed Rupert, Andrew, Ryan and Osten, Team Morgan has a definitive strength advantage. It also brings Team Morgan's morale back up to a level where they at least have some hope. They now could take one or two challenges and really get back into the game.
Finally, the decision to throw the challenge is based on the premise that there will be a normal merge. That is a very dangerous assumption to make in a game that is constantly evolving. What happens if the teams are divided into three's or if a merge doesn't take place at all? Wouldn't it be wiser to have as many Team Drake people in the game as possible? Why couldn't they completely eliminate Team Morgan first and then fight among themselves?
No matter how much of a physical threat Burton is, it's not like he was going to win seven individual immunity challenges and take the game. No player is immune forever. I also don't buy this "the tribe has to be unified to succeed" crap. Richard hated Kelly in season one. Colby and Tina hated Keith in season two. Everybody hated Rob last season. This game isn't about personality conflicts. It's about using whomever you can to take yourself to the top.
As for this week's bootee, Burton is gone for many reasons, with none of them being new to the game of Survivor.
The most psychologically intriguing reason is that he was the first one to come out and suggest that they throw the immunity challenge. Everyone else was probably thinking the same thing, but he was the first to verbalize the sentiment and thus became the leader of the movement. Leaders are very vulnerable in this game, especially those who aren't tribe elected.
He also told the wrong person about his plan. It was obvious that Rupert wasn't going to play along and telling him only gave his alliance more time to work on Jon. On top of that fatal mistake, he also trusted the wrong people and was a physical threat, which becomes a disadvantage as the game progresses.
Now for a quick look at the tribal situations:
Morgan: Darrah is physically weak and outside of the core three. She looks to be eliminated next. Only another Rupert like twist could save her.
Drake: We finally saw the tribe's true colors and it wasn't pretty. As expect, everyone was plotting and strategizing all a long and the whole unified tribe concept was a facade. With Rupert gone, it looked as though Burton, Shawn, Michelle and Jon had the numbers. I suspect Jon was the one who got cold feet and shifted his vote. Due to a preexisting alternate alliance, he most definitely told Shawn about this. So, Shawn covered his own butt at the expense of his friend.
However, I don't think Michelle was lucky enough to get that memo and was therefore blindsided. This will most likely strategically isolate her from the group and make it very likely that she is next Drake member to go. From everything we have seen, she's not all that resourceful and was relying on others to survive. She apparently doesn't get along with the older female trio, which would have been her only hope. Look for her to be the next Team Drake casualty.
Predictions: Team Morgan will have to move its shelter, but, with Rupert's help, will win the reward challenge. I tend to think that, with all of their strength and resources, Drake will rebound and win the next immunity challenge. Barring a twist, Darrah or Michelle will be gone by episode end.
By Greg Feltes