There was about a 20-second period there when all was right with the world. For those few fleeting moments, I was insanely giddy and convinced that the king himself had pulled one last MacGyver and strung together a last-second alliance to save himself.
I should have known better.
Richard Hatch, above all others, was doomed even before he set foot on the island. Still, he came anyway with little regard for his legacy or sanity. He knew he couldn't win and that freed him to some extent. While others were complaining or weakening, Hatch was genuinely having fun out there and he provided us with a great deal of entertainment.
I know a lot of people didn't like Richard. His popularity ratings were always among the worst during the two seasons he appeared on the game and he certainly didn't help things by eliminating America's sweethearts, Jenna Lewis and Colleen, with cold-hearted efficiency. That and his nakedness - lots and lots of nakedness. Yet, you have to respect what a worthy anti-hero he turned out to be and how he has managed to earn the respect of his tribe mates despite all of their preconceived notions of him.
It is unfortunate that his last adventure had to end in such unfortunate circumstances. The Susan/Richard reward challenge incident obviously will come into play next episode and have ramifications beyond the game. From my perspective, Susan saw that Richard was naked and chose to remain in the same spot when she had a free path back to her tribe. What did she think was going to happen? Still, she probably didn't think it would go that far and had it been Amber, there would have been a national outcry.
I really hope this doesn't mean the end of the contact immunity challenges because they continue to prove much more entertaining than seeing who can stand on a log the longest. How cool was it to see Boston Rob and Ethan finally go at it? I hope we get a rematch down the road and we just might if things continue.
Why Richard Hatch is gone:
- He was a winner and he didn't get to the point where that could become an advantage. As I noted in my preseason prediction column, there is no chance that a winner takes this game. People are so intent in that mindset that they are actually willing to diminish their own chances of winning to prevent a repeat from occurring. Being the first "Survivor," only made it more dicey for Richard. However, if he were able to make it to the actual merge, he might have been able to convince someone that he would be a good person to take into the final two because it would be a guaranteed victory. Alas, that didn't happen and his flame was extinguished for the first time.
- He was too smart and known as a tactician. If Rob C. went because he is too smart, what chance did Richard have? With their paranoid reverence, Mogo Mogo was watching everything Hatch did, which prevented him from establishing a solid alliance. Plus, no one was willing to take what he said at face value because they had season one in the back of their minds and that proved fatal. Kathy wasn't willing to take a leap with someone that had an untrustworthy reputation and without Kathy, a game-saving alliance was a no-go.
- They chose Ethan over Rupert. I don't know how this slipped past Richard, but he should never have allowed Lex and Ethan to reunite. They are as close as two people can be in this game with the possible exception of Romber. If he could have swung it, Richard should have pushed for Rupert, who has no previous dealings with anybody on Mogo Mogo.
Note: I'd like to point out that Richard's frequent nudity or flakiness had nothing to do with his dismissal. In fact, I think that was a shrewd move because it made him appear as if he wasn't really playing the game and brought down his threat level a little bit.
Lex: As long as Mogo Mogo can pull even with Chapera by merge time, Lex just might be in the driver's seat for the rest of the game. It is doubtful that Ethan would betray him. He is good friends with Kathy outside of the game and Colby doesn't have another choice. Plus, Shii Ann and Jerri are basically sheep, just waiting to be slaughtered if they lose more challenges. He finally got Richard and now he can hopefully refocus and direct his energies towards winning.
Ethan: Losing a reward challenge never looked so good as the former winner now appears to be a lock to make the merge unless something crazy happens. What happens after that is anyone's guess. His winner status basically guarantees defeat in any final two scenario, but he could still make the final four, especially with his immunity challenge prowess. However, if Mogo Mogo hits the merge with fewer members than Chapera, he is probably the first one gone because of Boston Rob's irrational hatred of him. Also, he could have been injured by the fall at the immunity challenge and not realize it. This would make him a liability and a (doubtful) potential quitter.
Colby: His gut led him to vote Hatch out, but this is the same gut that gave away a million dollars to Tina. He has final four potential, but must avoid the cockiness that he has been displaying of late. It would be in his interest if Jerri was the next book from Mogo Mogo.
Kathy: She probably made the right choice in alliances. It's best to play the percentages early on and then make an aggressive move. Eventually, if she is to win, Kathy must find a way to break up the Ethan/Lex/Colby trio or will finish no higher than fourth.
Shii Ann: If she can watch her mouth, she is likely the fifth member of the Mogo Mogo power alliance. That is a big if, though.
Jerri: Her reunion with Colby will probably be short-lived. I believe her interest in aligning with Hatch was genuine, but she couldn't take the chance that Kathy and Shii Ann would betray her, so she went the safe route.
Rob M: The Bostonian now faces his first real challenge in trying to maintain leadership. Controlling a tribe of five is easy, but a tribe of seven is a lot of personalities to keep track of at once. Jenna is a relatively docile person, but Rupert could become someone that others rally around. He needs to quiet down the rhetoric and be as gracious as possible for the time being. Still, he is in a position to control the game for the next 10 days.
Amber: Rob's protection will only go so far. She needs to make herself indispensable so the others don't resent her role as their leader's plaything.
Tom: He has got to curtail the drinking at some point or he could become a liability. It is now much easier to cut ties with him because Rupert could easily replace his production if need be.
Alicia: Now is the time for her to be under the radar, which she appears to be doing quite well, for a loud mouth. If she can avoid alienating Tom, Amber or Rob, she will make the merge.
Rupert: He is an immediate threat to Boston Rob and the sooner he recognizes that the better. Rupert can't get caught up in becoming liked at Chapera and needs to carry them to some immunity wins so he has political currency.
Jenna L: I was mildly amused at her frustration at being moved out of Saboga as she had apparently risen to the level of puppet master of all of three people. She is definitely a target if the group decides it needs to keep Rupert around for challenges.
Susan: Looks like we get the Sue of old next week, but I question whether a conversation with Jeff Prosbt is the best outlet to express anger and concern. She could easily wind up like Ghandia from season five who created controversy by claiming that a fellow tribe mate (Ted) felt her up while sleeping. When the time to vote came, it was Ghandia ejected and not Ted. Bottom line, people don't like people who rock the boat and it looks like Susan might cause some tidal waves.
Predictions for Next Week: Susan is voted out or quits.
My current ultimate Survivor pick: I am still backing Amber. Colby's gut tells me that someone surprising will win this game. Plus, Chapera currently has numbers and she appears capable of backstabbing Boston Rob when the time comes (and it will.)
Written By GREG FELTES