Well, in theory - Pat Ferrucci's recaps

A winner's edit?


Well, we’ve been waiting for it and it finally came: the final medevac.


Fitting the person going home was Joe.


While Kaoh Rong exceeded all expectations so far, at least for me and everyone I’ve talked to, three medical evacuations clearly diminished the season. We lost one of the more exciting characters early on, and now we have two jurors who weren’t even voted out. This isn’t ideal, I would argue.


With that said, Joe wasn’t really adding anything strategically to the season, so I guess I’m glad (considering he’s very healthy and OK) this is how he went and Aubry didn’t just get a free vote any longer.


So as usual, we won’t be talking theory this week since there wasn’t a vote off. As you know, I like to use theory to potentially explain the thinking behind a tribal council. And for the third time this season, we didn’t get to tribal.


In place of theory, let’s examine the four remaining contestants and what I think needs to happen for them to win.    


Dara Tribe



1. Aubry – Watching this week’s episode made me come to realization: We’ve all been hyping Aubry too much this season. Most of the folks writing about and commenting about Survivor online are strategy fans, myself included. And very clearly Aubry’s been the most strategic person this season, at least in confessionals. Even though we’re not talking theory this week, I will throw one out there: confirmation bias.


This concept, confirmation bias, is basically the idea that we all want certain things to be the truth, so we interpret information in a certain way to confirm our preconceptions. In Aubry’s case, everybody seems to have branded her the best player of the season and a strategic great. But I’d argue she’s made some big mistakes, whether it’s underestimating Cyd, not telling Tai to play his idol, not knowing she was done if Neal didn’t get evacuated … I could go on. Sure, Aubry’s been a good player and the way she got Tai back on her side this week was masterful, but I think we need to stop pretending she’s the best player this season. However, I think Aubry can win this season if she makes it to Final Tribal. In fact, I don’t think anyone beats her. So she just needs to get there. But… she’s not getting there.


That’s my prediction. I think she made enough missteps this week and last to put a big ol’ spotlight on herself. Without two straight immunity wins (assuming there’s a Final Two), Aubry’s gone. But, to win, she’ll need to get to Final Tribal and she has it in the bag. She can win with her current resume and what I assume will be a good Tribal presence.


A man and his chicken


2. Tai – Tai has his work cut out for himself. I think if he can get to the final two with Michele, he can win this thing, potentially. It’s hard to tell how the jury is going to respond to Tai. Since I’m trying to predict how someone can win, I think Tai needs to join with Cyd and Michele to boot Aubry next, assuming she doesn’t win immunity. Then, he needs to win immunity at Final Three and vote out Cyd. At Final Tribal, he needs to be clear about his motivations and why he made each and every move. And he needs to point to winning challenges, being nice, doing stuff around camp and earning advantages. But he also needs to own his flipping.


Do I think this is going to happen? Of course not. But if he did this, I do think Tai can win this game.




3. Cydney – Now, earlier I mentioned how Aubry wasn’t the best player this season. I think you all know why: Cydney clearly played the best game so far. She honestly hasn’t made a misstep yet, even if I thought she did at one point. All of her moves were clearly thought out and made sense. And I have to say she’s one of the best we’ve ever seen at reading people. The way she figured out the Tai and Aubry this week was genius.


I think if Cyd gets to Final Tribal with Tai or Michele, she wins easily. Just get there. As I mentioned last week, I do worry about how Cyd will respond if asked tough, aggressive questions since we’ve seen she doesn’t take to challenges well. But, against those two, I don’t think it matters. The jury will not respect Tai or Michele enough to give them votes. So, for Cyd to win, she needs to get Aubry out and she needs to do it right away. Then she probably has to win final three immunity because you have to figure both Michele and Tai know they have to take Cyd out in that scenario. But would Michele actually do it? Doubt it.   




4. Michele – Here’s the thing, I just guess I think far, far less of Michele’s game than others. I’ve talked with folks in the comments section about this a couple different times, but I just think Michele has done nothing. And I’m happy to have read at least Dalton Ross agrees with me. The jury, besides Joe, is filled with strategic players. Are they really going to vote for Michele? In fact, I kind of see Michele being very delusional at Final Tribal. We’ve seen that person before, the one who sits there and talks about all they’ve accomplished in their minds while jury just laughs. Think Sherri in Caramoan for example. I don’t know, the way Michele didn’t understand the whole Tai and Thai massage pun immediately, well, it made me think she’s just one of those people.


Now, with that said, Michele has done well in challenges and people like her. If she can get to the end with Tai, and do it by making one strategic move, maybe blindsiding Cyd for example, she could win. She needs to own her game, though. She can’t show up at Final Tribal and talk about her strategy being loyalty, because folks like Julia and Nick, who were much bigger allies to her, will just laugh and call her on that. She needs to be realistic; she needs to talk about just wanting to stick around and strike with one big move. She could beat Tai then, especially if Tai handlesTribal like he usually does. Oh man, a Final Tribal of Michele and Tai could be a massive comedy of errors. We’ll see.


Well, that’s it for the week. I hope you’re all as excited as I am for next week. I mean, I had to try really hard to come up with a scenario in which every castaway could win, but I could do it. And that means we have a relatively wide open finale coming our way, which will hopefully send this very strong season off with a bang. Let’s talk in the comments. Do you guys think I’m overlooking some scenario on any castaway?         

Pat Ferrucci Survivor 31 recapsPat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He’s seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he’ll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.