The Nut Case Alliance
Drawing strength from chaos
by VikingBear, Monday February 20, 2006


This season, it's all about Shane. Shane's right and proper place is as the center of attention, the star of the show. It would seem inevitable that the Nut Case Alliance will self destruct. We can hope that Casaya will have soon had enough, and send Shane home.

However, I suspect, it's not that simple. The Nut Case Alliance is the strongest alliance out there. Each of these nut cases would be gone, without the support of the other nut cases. They've shown their willingness to stay allied for just that reason. The young pretty ones must stay together. They're each too nutty for any other possibility.

What about Shane? The first episode, he whined a lot, but nobody paid much attention to him. The older men were quite capable of setting up and running the camp without him. Shane did help, but it didn't really matter to anyone whether he helped or not.

Fortunately for Shane, the tribes combined during the second episode. Now his drama had an appreciative audience. He created an alliance, and his alliance protected him from sending himself home. It's all about Shane, and will probably continue to be all about Shane. The drama will continue - and so will the alliance.

To be sure, it might be possible to flip someone because Shane is so annoying. I don't think that will happen, though. Each of our nut cases is thriving on the drama. Shane's being the Drama Queen empowers them all - and, in comparison to Shane, each of them looks less of a nut case.

How can I say they're thriving on the drama, when Shane is so annoying to each of the other three in his alliance? Compare his behavior now, to his behavior among the Older Men. Back then, he whined, and nobody cared. Now, he's the center of attention. The other three are feeding it, and each of the four is drawing strength from the chaos.

Sending Shane to Exile Island could be interesting. That might allow the tribe time to rebalance without the drama. On the other hand, that could be bad for Bruce. Shane might well target him in retribution. Bruce is the one person distracting from Shane's being the complete center of attention. And, therefore, it's likely that Bruce will soon have to go. Too many of the young and pretty nut cases have been appreciating Bruce's contributions.

What can Bruce do?

Bruce, in my opinion, needs to now keep as low-key a presence as possible. His leadership and survival value has been established - as has his lack of any alliance whatever. Bruce doesn't need to make any effort towards keeping Shane the center of attention. Shane will take care of that himself. Bruce simply needs to avoid drawing any attention towards himself. As a potentially useful non-threat, he may survive to the merge.

Bruce has given thought to how to best work with each of the other persons. He mentioned that on camera (six people with six different personality profiles). He, probably better than anyone, understands the motivations of each person in Shane's alliance. Bruce's game, I hope, will be extremely interesting.

What of Cirie?

I haven't yet figured out what it is, but she has something going for her. She's been targeted twice for Tribal Council, but Tina left instead, and Melinda. She seems to have the ability to deflect a Tribal Council vote - and that's obviously an important skill. She showed her physical value in helping win the immunity challenge. (The losing tribe said the challenge was tailor-made for Casaya's extra weight.) She's never camped outside, she's afraid of leaves... and she's still there.

So... what of Casaya? Popular opinion seems to be that they'll self destruct, thanks to Shane. However, I don't see it that way at all. It's just as possible to thrive on chaos and drama, as it is to thrive on orderly progress. The leader tends to be voted off early, but on the other hand, a complete lack of leadership (as with Stephanie's original Ulong tribe) can mean everybody gets voted off. With Shane, we have a hated leader, and like Richard Hatch, he may go far.


Whereas the nut cases found their way to Casaya, the fools seem to have found their way to La Mina.

How can anyone who's even watched Survivor, let alone actually gone out in the woods, not see the loss of the fishing spear coming? Sure, we have the fool who actually lost the spear, but we also have the fool who took her out into deep water so she could lose it. What were they thinking???

I have to conclude that Dan and Terry knowingly allowed that to happen. They simply let nature take its course. If the spear fishing was a success, great; if the foolish took no precautions, well, so be it. Either Dan or Terry would have made themselves targets by intervening at the start of the fishing trip, if they had taken steps to prevent catastrophic loss of the fishing spear. Now La Mina is getting hungry, and now La Mina understands the concept of a catastrophic loss without either Dan or Terry having to explain it to them. Terry provided one little tiny fish for them to eat. Terry's the provider, but just barely - Terry remains as small a threat as possible.

What of the two younger men, Nick and Austin? They held the power in the tribe, or so they thought, by controlling the swing vote. Jeff explained their position at the very end of Tribal Council: No matter how tight everyone is, there's always someone on the outside. Dan and Terry are the core alliance. Nick and Austin are on the outside. They've already demonstrated themselves foolish enough to take Sally into deep water so she could lose the spear.

Having already proven themselves fools twice over (enabling the spear loss, and voting out their alliance), I expect the two younger men will continue to enable the two older men to survive. Their best hope, I think, is to side with the two remaining women and remove Terry - but I don't think they'll see that. I expect Dan and Terry will prove to be the better strategists.

At this point, the older men do seem to be deciding the game. The Nut Case Alliance revolving around Shane does seem to be working. I have great hopes for Bruce - but he seemed pretty useless in that last Immunity Challenge. Dan and Terry seem to be well able to handle living among fools.

The two remaining older women might both be well positioned. Cirie, afraid of leaves, can't possibly be construed as a threat. She has a great attitude (other than leaves), is pleasant to keep around. Ruth Marie is officially the physically weakest. Both she and Cirie have proven able to dodge the Tribal Council vote. No alliance, not cute, not young, not strong. Each could go far.

What of the rest of the players, the fools and the enablers? They'll continue to provide the entertainment.

Next Time, On Survivor - VikingBear's essays
(C) Copyright 2006 VikingBear, All Rights Reserved.