Why it will all come down to Coby
Who gets the boot tonight? I don't know! I know who SHOULD get voted out, but thus far I've seen little indication that Kuror is actually listening to me. So, instead, let's take a look at the Final Five, whoever they might be, and see what each eviction tells us about the balance of power.
First, we need to note that the power is split along gender lines. Each of the remaining men has taken an active role throughout the season. Each of the remaining women has taken a passive role throughout this same season. Alternative terms for "passive role" might be "flying under the radar" or "lazy moron."
Let's first look at the implication of one gender or the other leaving.
A WOMAN LEAVES
With a woman leaving, the men retain the power of determining Kuror's fate, and quite probably determining the final two. One woman's departure probably means the other two women were removing their competition.
I see Katie's departure as unlikely; she's too well protected. Katie's stronger move would be to send one of the three men to the jury; sending a woman home is less important at this point. Less important to KATIE, that is.
Jenn and Caryn need to retain Gregg, in my opinion; otherwise they have no protection from being the next to go. Their strongest move would certainly be to send Tom or Ian home, whoever doesn't have immunity. However, I really don't see either one as capable of making that game-winning play. This week will definitely determine, I think, whether or not either Jenn or Caryn deserve to be called Ultimate Survivor. What I *expect* to see is another dumb move from Caryn and absolutely nothing from Jenn.
Assuming neither Tom nor Ian get voted out, Jenn or Caryn's strongest move would be to vote out the other. Hang on to Gregg after having removed his alternative, and hope to be brought to the final two. The real possibility of winning immunity remains as a second hope of making the final two.
A MAN LEAVES
We need to look at each man individually, so let's cut directly to the possibilities.
Hey... it could happen. Do enough people now realize that last week was the chance, and possibly the only chance, to remove the probable winner? No... I don't think they do. I expect Caryn's dumb move of last week to continue through this week. I expect Jenn's lack of anything whatsoever during the last two and a half months to continue straight through the reunion show.
If Tom departs this week, however, SOMEONE made a brilliant move. The game is once again wide open. If Tom fails to win immunity, he probably IS gone. But Tom has handled the situation so well that even without immunity he has a fair chance of staying... as we saw last week.
This could certainly happen... but I don't think it will. I don't think either Tom or Ian will dump each other until they've arrived at the final three. If he does, though, Gregg and Jenn might fight their way to the final two. (And that's why I don't think either will allow the other to be dumped. There's no question that they have been successfully thinking strategy from day one.)
If Gregg leaves this week, we've determined the final three, and possibly the final two. Either Jenn or Caryn, or both, will have had to participate in his eviction, and they both will have just carved themselves out of the final three. Dumb, dumb.
Caryn seems to be thinking that aligning herself with Tom will bring her to the final two. Will Tom want to face the jury with Caryn, and Caryn claiming she made the game winning move of breaking up the Tom/Ian/Katie alliance? I don't think so! Tom's being honest; he's already told her so. He stood in front of the other five and promised her she could be number *six*.
Gregg's departure this week would mean that Tom (and in all likelihood Tom/Ian/Katie) has used Caryn's vote to remove Gregg, and that she'll be the next to go. (I would expect Caryn to be ejected before Jenn, because Caryn has the chance of winning immunity whereas Jenn does not. Send Caryn home at the first opportunity possible.)
Immunity aside, Caryn's the most logical one to go home this week. Tom and Ian would be most in favor of Gregg leaving (and if Gregg leaves, we know who has complete power - Tom and/or Ian). Jenn needs Gregg to stay and Caryn to leave. Caryn needs Gregg to stay (but doesn't seem aware of this fact) and Jenn to leave. If Caryn leaves, we have a possible indication of Jenn's strength.
Caryn's departure *could* signal the overthrow next week of either Tom or Ian, with Gregg leading the charge. But more likely it merely signals the continued Pagonging of everyone outside the Tom/Ian/Katie alliance.
I expect Tom/Ian/Katie to decide who goes home this week, and therefore I expect either Gregg or Caryn. Gregg seems to be using his brain, and therefore I expect Gregg to negotiate himself off the block, sending Caryn instead. (Jenn can be casually squashed at their leisure.)
Remember that Tom *did* seem to blink last week, allowing Gregg to send Steph over to the jury. I personally feel that allowing Steph to depart was fatal for Gregg. He could have aligned with her and retained her vote, possibly flipping someone from Tom/Ian/Katie over to his side. That *might* have been Jenn showing she *is* a powerful player. But it seems to mean everyone but Tom/Ian/Katie are in the process of being sent home.
Jenn's departure would be interesting. That could signal a power play by Caryn. I don't see anyone other than Caryn having Jenn at the top of their list. But if Caryn *is* making a run for the final two, she might manage to effect a suitable compromise which sends Jenn home this week. If Jenn *does* go home this week, keep your eye on Caryn!
If Katie leaves this week, I'd say we had as catastrophic an upheaval as sending Tom home. Perhaps more so. She definitely seems the least likely to be sent home. (And, if people think about that, they might recognize the threat of her non-threat potential.) The game is wide open again, and we could see ANY combination as the final two. Katie, it seems obvious, is simply being stored on the shelf for the final two. She'll take the second place prize, and perhaps she'll be able to parlay her national exposure into some program for bulking up while doing absolutely nothing on a tropical island.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF GENDER
Counting the jury and the final two, we have five women and four men:
- Coby, Tom, Ian, Gregg
- Janu, Steph, Katie, Jenn, Caryn
The remaining women have played a passive strategy to date. The remaining men have played an active strategy to date. Let's suppose we have one of each gender in the final two, and the woman continues her passive strategy. Who gets the votes?
With the exception of Coby, I *think* the men are most likely to vote in favor of the active strategy, since they themselves used that strategy. With the exception of Steph, I *think* the women are most likely to vote in favor of the passive strategy, since they themselves used THAT strategy. I expect Steph to despise the passive strategy and vote in favor of the active strategy. If Tom is in the final two, even though he cut her loose, I expect Steph to be strongly in favor of Tom as ultimate survivor.
What of Coby? I expect him to be completely aware of his role as swing vote, on national tv, during May Sweeps. I expect he *will* consider the merits of both roles. If the woman has done nothing amazing between now and then, he'll vote for the man. If a woman *does* make a decisive move to bring herself to the final two (perhaps merely winning immunity), he might give that million dollars to the woman.
And THAT is why I'm suggesting tonight's departure may well determine not just the final two, but the ultimate survivor. If the Tom/Ian/Katie alliance holds, Katie will probably slide straight through to the final two with either Tom or Ian (either Alpha Male will do), and Coby will hand the million dollars to Katie's Alpha Male.
On the other hand, if someone OTHER than Tom/Ian/Katie determines who departs tonight, what do we have? If that person was Gregg, that could mean he makes it to the final two, and Coby will hand him the million. If that person was a woman, she will have shown Coby the million dollar move.
So, we know precisely how the rest of the game will play out... if any of the final six are listening to ME!
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