This essay's about Katie. But to put Katie in context, we need to look at my list of the gutsiest moves in the history of Survivor:

1. Richard Hatch stepped down from the final Immunity Challenge during Season One.

2. Ian and Tom chose to face the Purple Rock this week.

3. The Final Two of Survivor All Stars conspired to share the prize money on live TV before the final vote was read.

Others will disagree with my list, but surely *choosing* to face the purple rock is one of the all-time gutsiest moves in ten seasons of Survivor. I found it interesting that IAN proposed taking the risk. To be sure, Tom didn't even hesitate: "Then that's the plan."

I'm ecstatic that we are FINALLY beginning to learn a little about Ian. As Ulong's destruction came to completion, Ian explained how excited he was that the real game could finally start. "I can hardly wait!" Everything we've seen shows Ian has plenty of game. The reward challenge's reward allowed the victims (Gregg, Jenn, and Katie) to experience a bit of Ian. We don't know much about Ian, but what we do know has to do with dolphins.

(What if Gregg had chosen to bring Ian instead of Katie, thus leaving nobody to inform Tom of Katie's plans? And Jenn had gotten to know Ian *with* the dolphins? But what-if's don't count in Survivor!)

However. This essay's about Katie. What might she do next? Does she still have a million-dollar move remaining to her? As things stand now, if she's in the final two with either Tom or Ian, she *will* lose. She suddenly needs a new strategy. The previews tend to be misleading, but the preview DOES give us a hint of a viable strategy for Katie.

It now appears that Katie has been strategizing for weeks, but the editing has been keeping us in the dark about that fact. (Thanks to Twinkle for pointing that out to me! Twinkle noted this possibility *before* the show aired last night.) As Tom explained, Caryn had warned him of this, but he (Tom) was unwilling to take Caryn's word over Katie's. The producers kept us in the dark about Katie's various offers of treachery, I think, to make this week's episode more dramatic. In short, as viewers, We've Been Bamboozled! But that's fine by me...!

I first wondered if Ian was lying to Tom about Katie, making up the story of her "treachery" so as to force action from Tom. But the Katie/Jenn/Gregg conversations on the boat show Katie WAS discussing them (the boat people) being the final three.

I also wondered why they were targeting Caryn rather than Tom. There's no question of Tom being the greater threat! But then I remembered they needed FOUR votes, and therefore needed a vote from Tom, Ian, or Caryn. Caryn wasn't to be trusted. Thus the plan became a five-to-one vote to oust Caryn.

I soooo enjoyed seeing Coby appreciate that second vote for Gregg. I'm also glad for Gregg that he was quick to realize he'd Been Bamboozled, which gave him a few extra moments to compose himself for a graceful exit. Too bad Coby didn't know that it was Jenn herself who knocked Gregg out of the immunity challenge!

At first glance, I wondered why in the WORLD Ian was so silly as to tell Katie their plans. Coby made the dumb move of running to Steph. Caryn made the dumb move of running to Tom. Here was Ian exposing all, to the treacherous one.

Ian's choice was brilliant. We *might* be able to look back and recognize it as the game-winning conversation. He informed Katie so that she could make a choice. Was she going to draw a purple rock with the big boys (well, Jenn and Tom), or was she going to accede to their will, and send Gregg home? Was she going to expose their plan to Gregg, or assist his complete rout?

So far as THAT encounter is concerned, the result was Unconditional Surrender. Katie made a very strong move in flipping alliances - and Ian nullified her efforts with a handshake across the table. By telling Katie, Ian protected Tom from facing the purple rock, *and* he forced Katie to *choose* to back down. I see that disclosure to Katie as brilliant strategy on Ian's part. Next week could be seriously interesting!

That observation leads us to the important question: What's next? With three women and two men remaining, Katie could well lead the attack. Immunity or no, three women can vote out one of the two men. Even Jenn understands this. The producers subtitled her understanding of "majority rule," so we could be sure that Jenn understood this concept of higher mathematics.

We're not seeing the fury of a woman scorned, but it appears we WILL see the petulance of a woman balked. It looks like Ian will pay for that one. Ian's young; the experience will be good for him. The more important question is whether Katie will use that energy to lead the women maligned together.

However, I don't think she will. Katie explained this herself. She will align herself *with* the power, but has no intention of *being* that power herself. I don't think she'll even *try* to form a three-woman malignment.

There are, however, other ways to take out a man. Ian's ready to "bring it on," but has he considered what a woman can do with the claws in deep? The previews indicate he's about to learn! Ian appears to possibly have a bit of a crush on Katie. There might be a bit of a spark heading the other way as well.

This past week, Ian put it to Katie, and she backed down. Next week, it appears, Katie will be putting it to Ian. Will he back down? The answer either way, I think, just may turn out to be Katie's million-dollar move.

Meanwhile, however, we have this question of the sparks flying. The previews show Ian being placed under the harrow. If there's a bit of interest between them, it seems logical that she'd be testing him a bit. Are we seeing mere petulance and resentment, or are we privy to something more?

I suspect we have a whole new game, as of last night. I suspect Katie has a whole new strategy, and it's coming from her own personal strength.

Bring it on!

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