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Things (Finally) Get Interesting

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.

Anyone else tired of the pagonging?

It's sad when an episode's best moments reveal that Jenna (gasp!) is annoying. Well, there was that and then there was Rupert going Al Gore on his way-out-of-his-league wife.

Next week, we will see if it is possible for Rob to maintain every single one of his alliances without having to vote himself off.

Why Shii Ann Huang is gone:

1. She trusted R….oops. Force of habit. It will be back next week, but let's try this again.

Why Shii Ann Huang is gone:

  1. The other tribe had numbers. This wasn't so much Shii Ann's fault as it was Mogo Mogo's. Mogo Mogo should never have booted Colby and Ethan when it was still team immunity challenges. Perhaps Shii Ann could have spoken up about those ill-fated decisions, but it was likely best to keep her head in the sand and let others be the targets. Even if they had kept Jerri Manthey and booted Amber, they still would have been down six to four. Quite simply, they got pagonged.
  2. Her shifty reputation from last time made people wary of aligning with her. It's tough enough to get people to take a chance and make a power move, but it becomes much more difficult when you are known as the Survivor who went into a (fake) merge and turned on her teammates immediately.
  3. She isolated herself from Chapera. Shii Ann remained annoying and competitive to the very last second, which is great for entertainment value, but poor for her game plan. She could have been more gracious in victory last week and kept her mouth shut this week. Tom seemed somewhat receptive, but she needed at least one more person to pull off an alliance. Unfortunately, she burned all of those bridges long ago.
Power Rankings:

5. Tom: He was the good little brown noser this week with his choice to bring Rob and his brother along on reward. It's a blatant move, but a smart one nonetheless.

Tom is the only one in the final five without a reliable partner. We will find out next week if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

If it's a bad thing, Rupert, Jenna, Amber and Rob will hold their alliance and delay their inevitable confrontation until the final four by booting Tom.

If it's a good thing, he will become the critical swing vote and third member of Rupert/Jenna or Amber/Rob.

Rob's history of betrayal and the fluidity of the game make me believe that the latter will occur, which would virtually guarantee Tom a place in the final three. However, he would still need to win the final immunity challenge. There are too many things that need to go right for him to win.

4. Rupert: His fractured relationship with Jenna was likely overplayed and insignificant. The fact is that they need each other. Money has a way of mending fences.

Rupert's biggest asset the whole game has been his strength, but that's about to become a huge weakness. Rob and Amber are dead set on being the final two together, which requires one of them to win the last immunity challenge. It should be evident to that pair that Jenna and Tom are much easier to defeat in a stamina challenge. If Rupert doesn't win immunity next week, the others might view this as their last chance to take him out of the game.

Rupert's biggest problem has always been that he plays comfortably and rarely makes an aggressive move. This is a point where he can guarantee himself a spot in the final three if he asks Tom to align with him. All he has to do is ask, but will he? Probably not. He'll likely be content to see if his final four alliance holds up and then go from there. Will it? Probably not.

3. Jenna: She is in the final four regardless of what happens this week. Rupert isn't going to turn on her and Rob and Amber like her way more than they do like Rupert or Tom.

The question is will she survive beyond that? Her chances increase if it is Rupert who stays because they'll want to get rid of him next and then she will have a one out of three chance at a million dollars when the immunity is at stake.

Rob and Amber have already broken several promises and Jenna would likely be the victor in any final two face-off with either of them.

2. Rob M: Lex, Kathy and Alicia are already likely voting against him and then came Shii Ann's vote for Amber at tribal council. However, this was a vote of respect and admiration, which clearly indicates Shii Ann thinks Amber is playing the better game.

My math skills aren't what they used to be, but Lex, Kathy, Alicia and Shii Ann are FOUR people. That's how many votes it takes to win and he doesn't have any of them. Plus, he is still going to have to backstab at least one more person, which will likely cost him another vote.

If Rob votes out Rupert this week, he is likely in the final two, but the votes aren't there for him to win. He is going to have to make a hell of an argument to win back support, which is possible because Amber isn't the sharpest tool in the shed and he does have some charisma about him.

1.Amber: The chosen one continues to survive unscathed after every episode. Shii Ann's vote will likely be brushed off, but it was spot on. It is Amber's game to lose. Rob is currently taking the fall for all of the heavy lifting he has done in voting people off, while Amber sits there looking all cute and pretty. People will either respect her control of the situation or hate her passivity. It's likely the former because I doubt the people that Rob betrayed are going to come back and reward him for his ruthless behavior. It would be nice to win an immunity challenge so she can make the argument that she did actually accomplish something on the island, but that might not even be necessary.

Predictions for next week: It goes without saying that the next immunity challenge is vital.

Here are the various likely scenarios:
Tom wins Immunity
Rupert/Jenna vote Rob/Amber
Rob/Amber/Tom vote out Rupert

Rupert wins Immunity
Tom votes for Jenna
Rob/Amber/Jenna/Rupert vote out Tom

Jenna wins Immunity
Tom votes for Rupert
Rob/Amber/Jenna/Rupert vote out Tom

The real question is what will happen if Amber or Rob win immunity and have to finally make a call. Strategically, it would be best to vote out Rupert because he can win immunity challenges and keeping him would lead to a tie in the final four.

Therefore I predict Rupert is the next to go unless he or Jenna wins immunity. Otherwise, Tom gets to take a seat next to Mohawked Lex.

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