This is it, the final two days heading into the season-ending episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong. With that in mind, we (Jeff Pitman and Pat Ferrucci) are pitting our prognosticatory powers against those of our fellow scribes at (alphabetically):
The game? Which finalist will each juror vote for, and thus, who will win Survivor: Kaoh Rong?
Seems easy enough, right? Let's get picking, then!
Oh, no, wait. First, we should get to, "How do we get to the finals?" With the CBS ads announcing "3 Tribal Councils" in the finale, it seems most likely that we will have a Final Two. Although Redmond expressed doubt about this actually being a spoiler, so maybe it's not.
In my mind, which is often wrong, this end game is going to be fairly predictable. I think someone other than Aubry wins immunity (my guess is Tai) at final four and the remaining three vote her out unanimously. Obviously, Cyd knows this is the right move, Michele will just do what Cyd says and while Tai seems to have a connection with Aubry, he’s played a self-interested game the whole time, so why stop now? As final three, I think Cyd wins immunity and knows her best bet, strategically, is to take Michele to the final two. She’ll do that and we’ll have a jury of the current seven, plus Aubry and Tai. (More complete thinking here.)
Aubry and Cydney are the best strategists still playing, and both are savvy enough to recognize they'd fare better against (one or more of) Tai and Michele than they would against each other. Like Pat, I see one going out at F4. Unlike Pat, I think that person is Cydney. Then Michele probably wins the final three immunity challenge, and opts to face Aubry. (Woo!) (See also here.)
Juror #1: Neal
A strategist at heart, there’s no way Neal rewards Michele for the game she played. He might not know Cyd well, but she didn’t backstab him and she clearly played the better game. She also seems incredibly smart, which Neal will probably recognize.
Vote = Cydney.
The only person remaining who even talked to Neal on the show? Aubry. It's really, really difficult to imagine him voting for anyone else. They were a pair, up until his medevac split them. If Aubry's not there in the finals, he's probably still voting for Aubry. (After that, he'd probably prefer a strategist, so Cydney? Although he might also respect Tai's idol-finding ability.)
Juror #2: Nick
While Nick had an alliance with Michele, she backstabbed him. And I don’t think she’s going to have a very good reason why. Nick used to write Survivor strategy blogs and for all his hubris, I bet he doesn’t take anything in the game personally and truly votes for who he thinks played the best game. So, is there really a question? Vote = Cydney.
Nick could go one of two ways. He was shown mansplaining to Michele, but also keeping a tight strategic alliance with her after the swap. He also wanted to work with Aubry, but came in too late to make anything happen. Nick seems like the kind of guy who would be okay with losing to Aubry, but less pleased with losing to Michele, whom he seemed to think he had carried for a decent stretch of the game. ("I don't need to be carried, bro.") Seems most likely to be an Aubry voter.
Juror #3: Debbie
Well, Debbie had a connection and alliance with both the final two and got backstabbed by both. I think she had a deeper connection with Cyd though. But I wonder if that makes Debbie a little irrational in terms of who she votes for? I can see Debbie voting with her heart and not her mind. I don't know. Even though this is one of the toughest calls, I still think Debbie goes Cyd.
Vote = Cydney.
Debbie is a difficult juror to read. She said multiple times she wanted a woman to win, so if Tai sneaks into the finals somehow, he's completely out of luck. Apart from that, she actively formed alliances with each of Aubry, Michele, and Cydney. She seemed most hurt by Aubry's betrayal in voting her out, although Cydney and Michele seemed quite eager to make the exact same vote. Even so, chances are Debbie votes for Aubry (and after that, probably Cydney, and then Michele). They're fellow original Brains, plus Joe's almost certainly voting that way, and Debbie respects Joe's opinions.
Juror #4: Scot
Scot may have been backstabbed by Cydney, but I think he understands why she did what she did. And I think Scot will be loyal to brawn. I don't think he ever made a connection to Michele. Also, Scot was a good sport when he left; he understands a game is a game and will want to reward the best player. Vote = Cydney.
Scot briefly worked with Michele after the merge, then she dumped him for the women's alliance. Then he tried to get her to join him again, and she was completely out of the loop on his boot, voting with Julia for Tai. Meanwhile, he praised Aubry's gameplay and physical endurance. Seems like another Aubry vote. Although if it's not "Joe, Aubry, Joe, Aubry," then the entire merge episode was a waste.
Juror #5: Julia
This is another tough call. Julia is young and clearly had the best connection with Michele. But Julia's also a huge fan of the show and understands the mocks that could come from not voting for the most deserving player. In the end, because I don't think it's going to be unanimous, I think Julia will find some way to justify voting for Michele (there's that confirmation bias thing again). Vote = Michele.
Julia and Michele were perhaps the tightest duo in-game, and remain so after the fact. But she was also a surprisingly advanced strategic player, and the chief antagonist to Aubry and Cydney's plans. Does she go with original tribe bonds, and reward Michele? Or does she tip her cap to the strategists who bested her, and vote for Aubry (or Cydney)? This one really could go either way. On the surface, this seemed like a slam dunk for Michele, but after overthinking it, looks like another Aubry vote.
Juror #6: Jason
Again, we have a huge fan of the show in Kyle/Jason. And at no point during the season did it look like he held a grudge against Cyd. I think he’ll ask a bad question to the final two, one of those “look at me” questions, but I do think Kyle/Jason votes for the most deserving player. Vote = Cydney.
Jason really respected Aubry's effort in the 4/20 pot endurance immunity challenge (above). He also was close with Cydney over at Brawn, particularly when he helped her after she collapsed during the Ep4 RC that felled Caleb. And he really doesn't respect Tai's gameplay. So any combination of those two women with Tai comes out ladies first. His views on Michele, however, are... nonexistent? They were sort of in an alliance at the merge, but she went with the women instead. Then she seemed receptive to "trying something crazy" towards the end of Jason's run, but Cydney wasn't on board, so it went nowhere. Most likely Aubry. But no real reason to count out Michele, either.
Juror #7: Joe
Who knows what Joe is thinking? Maybe he'll ask Aubry what she thinks first? Joe could be a wild card here, but I think he knows Cydney's played a really good game and he thinks she's super smart, according to exit interviews. Without Aubry in the mix, Joe will be forced to make a decision. I bet he makes the right one. Vote = Cydney.
If Aubry isn't there, maybe Cydney? But if he can vote Aubry, definitely her. But if Aubry is there, as I suspect, this should be the easiest pick on the board.
So there you have it. The final tallies (of known jurors) are:
- Pat Ferrucci: Cydney, 6-1 over Michele.
- Jeff Pitman: Aubry, 7-0 over Michele.
Well, that's that, then.
But wait! There's more!
Double Jeopardy: The not-yet jurors
For the final four, we'll just consider them individually, since at least one, possibly two, will be joining the jury, but we don't yet know which two.
Potential juror #1: Aubry
There’s no doubt here, right? Aubry is voting for the most deserving. Cyd made every move with Aubry.
Vote = Cydney.
If Aubry goes out and Cydney makes the finals, then 100% Cydney. If it's Tai and Michele in a Final Two, then it's a tougher call, but most likely Tai. They had a real connection, and he did help her make some moves at critical points.
So yes, Cydney.
Potential juror #2: Cydney
I think Cydney votes for anybody but Tai. So if she's on the jury, she'll vote Aubry if she's in the final two and, if it's Tai vs. Michele, I think Cyd goes Michele because the two were in a tight alliance together and because I really don't think Cyd respects Tai's game. But Cyd knows Aubry deserves the win. So I'm saying Cydney votes Aubry or, if no Aubry, Michele.
Aubry and Cydney have had a tight working relationship since the merge, but Cydney and Michele have actually been together (and working together, more or less) since the swap. Even so, Cydney and Aubry are much closer to a peer-peer relationship than Cydney and Michele. Cydney most likely votes Aubry. Then Michele. Tai would be a distant second to either.
Potential juror #3: Michele
I don't know what's going on Michele's head. I really wish I do because it would help me understand her game. With that said, obviously Michele is going for Cydney first. No doubt in my little mind. So if it's Cyd vs. Aubry or Tai, Michele goes Cydney. But if it's Aubry vs. Tai (which was my backup final two), then Michele definitely goes Aubry. So, Michele votes Cyd.
Whatever decision Michele makes here, we can be sure she did it with a purpose. Also, "F___ Tai." Again, she and Cydney have been together since the swap, and she worked almost exclusively with Cyd, but was rarely shown talking to Aubry. So Cydney in any combination, then Aubry, probably.
Potential juror #4: Tai
Well, this is another who knows choice. In the end, though, I think Tai will vote with his heart and he's clearly made a bigger connection, at this point, with Michele… even if he doesn't feel the connection.
Vote = Michele.
With Tai, how he leaves the game probably has some bearing on how he would vote as a juror, especially when there's so little time to decompress before Final Tribal. To keep him on her side, Aubry can't be voting against him. Especially when he's now friends with Michele. Most likely Aubry, but possibly Michele.
So that's it. Disagree with our picks? Think we're close, but no cigar? Leave a comment below, or argue with us on twitter: @PatFerrucci (Pat, obviously) and @truedorktimes (Jeff). And don't forget to check out our worthy competitors (below), one of them may well have predictions more to your liking.