It’s appropriate that Erik’s comment starts this blog since the downfall of Galu all started with Galu voting out Erik, one of their own.
Survivor hindsight is no different than any other hindsight, it’s always 20-20. But man… if they only knew what they were starting, ‘ole Erik would probably still be wearing those black knee highs and most of the Foa Foa would be gone.
Instead… it’s wow, wow, wow.
Who would have ever predicted this kind of a turnaround? Galu, the tribe who dominated for so long is now in a giant hole, not unlike a grave, that they dug themselves.
They should heed the advice of Dave Matthews and start talking to the grave digger right now: “Grave digger, when you dig my grave, will you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain.”
Eric, gone. Kelly, gone. Laura, gone. What?
How in “Gods green earth” to quote Shambo, are Jaison, Mick, Natalie and Russell still in this game? Why have they been able to pull off a comeback and get themselves back in contention?
Two big reasons: The first is this… Survivor is an individual game: I keep saying it because it’s important. You can never take your eyes off the prize and the prize is ONE check for a million dollars. Not four checks, each for $250,000. Not 8 checks each for $125,000. ONE check for ONE million dollars. As long as Survivor remains an individual game it will continue to have unexpected flips and flops because everybody has their own agenda and that will always cause chaos.
The second reason for the Foa Foa comeback is “Game Play.”
Here’s my take on how Game Play factored into the comeback:
33% Russell’s individual game play, 33% Foa Foa sticking together and 33% Galu just flat out blowing one of the most dominant leads in Survivor history. It’s like they lost their brains somewhere in the South Pacific. And as of last night’s episode, they still haven’t found it.
YOU’RE AN IDIOT
I laughed out loud when John assessed Galu’s various voting strategies, each followed with: “You’re an idiot.”
I gotta say, from where I sit - and again my vantage point is all based on hindsight – he’s right. Targeting Russell? What? Here’s a guy who has shown you his willingness to play the idol and his ability to continue to find it. Trying to take out Russell makes no sense at all. Not in this episode anyway.
Mick has the individual immunity necklace so they really only had two choices: Natalie or Jaison. John is right, you have to try to get intel and/or take a guess as to who is the least likely to be given the idol and vote for them. It’s the only vote.
Maybe if they had done that things would have turned out differently. But I think a big part of John’s dilemma probably stemmed from the question of whether or not he believed the remaining Galu members were smart enough to help him make it to the end.
Laura and Dave’s jungle strategy meeting certainly didn’t give him any peace of mind, although it did provide me a favorite moment courtesy of Dave Ball:
John: “The vote is Natalie. Times five. Find a problem with that. I know you’d rather not—-“
Dave: “No, no, no. I’ll burn her right now, I do not care… bro.”
I really do pull for Dave Ball. Can’t explain it, doesn’t even matter why, I just pull for the dude. I have since he first walked into casting a couple years ago and continued even though we didn’t put him on the show at that time. When we brought him back again for Survivor: Samoa I was still rooting for him and as I write this tonight, I still am.
Back to John. When he found out they were going to use him as the bait, things really started to shift. Once that happens, a mutiny is almost sure to follow as people start to jump off the sinking ship. People like John.
BACK TO THE START
Like a good Tarantino movie, let’s play with structure a little bit and jump back to the start of the episode.
When everybody returned to camp after the last tribal council, Dave Ball came over to the Foa Foa four and said:
“You guys tell Galu I said this, ‘good move!’” Did I miss something? Does anybody know what Dave is talking about? Dave, you ARE Galu, and the move Foa Foa made was as much on YOU as anybody else.
Laura said it best: Wow.
She then followed with “I can’t believe that little snake.” Why is Russell a snake? Because he’s playing the game?
It’s always fun to hear one group talk about the other. When Laura wins two immunity challenges, it’s “Awesome.” When Russell finds the idol, he’s a snake? Nah. He’s awesome too, just in a different way.
LAST TRIBAL COUNCIL
Going back even further, (still with me?) let’s return to the end of the last episode when I said:
JEFF: (at last tribal council) “One more thing, the hidden immunity idol goes back into the game.”
As I said those words, I was thinking the same thing everybody else was thinking…
Can he do it again? Can Russell find the idol for a third time?
Russell: “They’re like magnets to me, I’m just drawn to them.” Now that is a damn funny and very cocky comment, but hard to argue.
THE HUNT IS ON
It was one of the funniest scenes of the season, the entire group scurrying about looking for the idol. And even with everybody following Russell…he STILL found it.
You wonder why nobody else finds the idol? Just take a look at how the rest of the group was looking for it?
Jaison could barely be bothered to pick up a rock. Dave was merely following Russell and in doing so nearly stumbled upon the idol but because he is so concerned with Russell he walks away from it and chases back after Russell. Hilarious.
Laura is following Dave so she’s no help. And what does Russell do? He easily loses everybody and doubles right back to where Dave was half-assed looking and finds… the… third… idol.
THREE IDOLS! Come on. You have to give him some credit. Check that, a lot of credit. We’ve had hidden immunity idols for a long time now and up until this season nobody has ever thought to just start looking for them, with or without a clue. Russell was so on top of his game that he gave us Producers a run for our money. We were as shocked as you are that he continued to find them before anybody else.
Once again I ask, “He’s starting to grow on you a little, right?”
Let’s give credit where credit is due – the difference in the Reward challenge was Natalie. Period. She won that challenge for her group. She extended her body waaaaaay out over the platform gripping it with only her feet and used her flexibility to reach much further than John was able to and that was the difference.
THE GAME IS GETTING COMPLICATED
Now that Galu is starting to scramble it throws everything into chaos.
Galu actually had a very solid idea. It took some doing, but Galu actually game up with a good plan. Convince Foa Foa they are taking out another one of their own - John. In fact, Monica did a very good job of working Foa Foa trying to convince them the vote was for John. Trusting anybody is tough on Survivor, but in terms of pure performance, she did a great job of justifying why she would not vote for Laura but would vote for John.
But John’s no dummy. Getting even one vote at tribal council is never a good thing. Getting four votes is way too risky. It suddenly becomes too easy for someone to “change their mind” and just vote you out.
Also working against the plan is the fact that Russell is as usual, one step ahead. He’s not buying it and he’s not backing off his plan to vote off Laura.
WHAT WILL HE DO?
John: If I’m gonna give you a Galu before you give me a Foa Foa, the next one needs to be a Foa Foa. Deal?
But even as he said it, John knew he would be making a deal with a guy who has proven week after week he cannot be trusted. That’s why Survivor is still on, 19 seasons later. You can never be sure what exactly is the best move.
It all came down to John. Does he risk his neck to save Laura and hopefully get rid of a Foa Foa member putting Galu back in charge… or… does he play a more self-serving game and flop to save his own hide knowing his quest for the million dollars may have gotten just a little bit tougher.
John played it brilliantly. He stayed true to Galu through the first vote, forcing a tie. This gave him the chance to see what was really going to happen. Then he had a choice:
A. Let it go to a tie and draw rocks, putting him in jeopardy of being sent home or…
B. Flip to Foa Foa thus ensuring he would stay in he game at least one more day.
He flipped and Laura became the third member of the jury. That was a big move.
IN CONCLUSION (Don’t you love it when you hear those two words.. finally, it’s over)
I know that Laura had people rooting for her and against her. Say what you want, but one thing you have to give Laura credit for is playing the game. From a producer point of view, she gave us everything we could have hoped for and then some. Sorry you had to go Laura, see ya at the live show.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
If you had to vote today for your “favorite” player from this season? Who would it be? I’m not talking about who you want to win the game, although it might be the same person, I’m talking about your “favorite” overall player or person in the game?
Look forward to your responses.
Check ya next week.
Check out our exclusive deleted scene below and Dalton Ross’s TV recap.