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Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Nicaragua': Episode 7

survivorImage Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSSash: “That’s not what I meant to say.”

Ah, I love an unexpected gift… especially a gift at Tribal Council. It’s one of the truths at Tribal Council that sometimes it takes a lot of work to get them to share anything of interest, and other times… they just offer it up to you like a fastball straight over the plate. Whack! And it’s outta here!

More on Sash’s comment later.

MARTY, MARTY, MARTY
With Marty, it’s all about Marty. He’s so certain he’s right that sometimes he almost convinces me that he’s right even when I know he’s wrong.

I really enjoy the rivalry between Marty and Jane. At this point it’s fair to say that Marty is losing, but the guy is really fighting to stay in this game and I love someone who plays as hard as Marty is playing.

JANE
I’m really starting to like Jane. She’s a slow burn. She’s been through a lot in life and I think that is part of the reason why she is so headstrong and fearless. Jane just doesn’t care what you think about her and that’s one of the reasons that if I had to choose somebody to be my mate in the foxhole, Jane would be high on the list.

The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Jane winning this game is going to be… Jane. She said it herself – “I want the cake and I want to eat it too.” How often do all of us fall into this trap? We want it all. You can rarely have it all. There are almost always compromises you must make as you make your way through the ultimate reality show – real life. I think Jane could get far in the game but the chances of her self-destructing are very high. Still not sure I’d keep her around though – she is extremely likable and if she does get to the end – write the check.

One of my favorite moments of the season was Jane catching and cooking a fish for herself. That’s a Survivor! Nice work.

SASH
Man, Sash is becoming a force. If I were playing with him, he’d be driving me nuts with his cocky, insincere attitude. But he certainly has one element of this game figured out – loyalty. He knows where to put his energy. Marty could learn a few lessons from Sash. I know Marty is once again screaming at the screen if he’s reading this, but I think it’s true.

CHASE
A lot of people are bagging on Chase because of his inability to make a decision or stick with an alliance, but when Chase starts talking about his dad and their relationship he sucks me right back into liking him. Don’t let him get deep into this game or he could win his way to the end.

REWARD CHALLENGE
Because of the rough water in Nicaragua we couldn’t do a lot of water challenges, so we built a large cement pool. It never ceases to amaze me what our art department can create and execute.

As far as the challenge, I loved this one. It’s fair for everybody, (okay with the exception of Dan) you could play it at home (Okay if you had a swimming pool) and it’s just fun to watch. But the best part of the challenge came once again thanks to Survivor’s favorite comedy genius… Fabio!

YOU KNEW SOMEBODY WAS GOING TO DO IT
Fabio peeing in the pool was a moment that still makes me laugh when I think about that day and the look on his face as he was doing it. I enjoy Fabio. He’s a charming young man who often speaks before he listens but is so open and shares so many thoughts that he’s endeared himself to me. No Fabio, not everybody pees in the pool.

THE FOOD REWARD
The various emotional and intellectual reactions to the “reward lunch” were so representative of the game of Survivor as well as “real life” human dynamics.

First, you have Alina who cried because she felt joy, or so she said. Had I been there, I would have believed her because I think I’d probably feel something similar.

Then, Holly reacted like a “mom” and offered Alina a hug of comfort and safety. Once again I believe this was a genuine emotion.

And then… Naonka. Naonka reacts by saying she thinks it’s all a bunch of strategic baloney. She didn’t buy it for a second. Which then gets me to thinking… she could be right. It could be a bunch of strategic baloney.

If I had to play this game I would be constantly fascinated, endlessly uncertain and completely exhausted by the non-stop manipulation.

SMARTEST PLAYER IN THIS GAME
It’s not Marty. It’s not Jimmy T. It’s not Sash and sorry Fabio, but it’s not you either. From my vantage point, it’s Brenda. While she doesn’t have all the qualities of a player like Parvati, she’s close. Besides, it’s her first time playing, give her a chance. She reads people very well, she is smart enough to know when to back off and let someone else get the glory and she knows how to flirt without it being too obvious. What she lacks is the real killer instinct. I think she is so used to getting everything she wants in life handed to her that she hasn’t had to work hard enough to really know how to bury somebody. Put her and Parvati together and they’d be lethal. In fact, the two of them should sign up for Amazing Race.

Brenda and Sash are a pretty good team and right now seem tough to beat so long as they don’t turn on each other. Sash is very good at this game as well; what holds Sash back is simply the way he carries himself. He’s a bit shady. Whether he is shady in real life I have no idea, but his demeanor certainly causes me to think twice – even three times. Ever read Blink by Malcom Gladwell? He would tell you to trust your gut and if Sash told me he had a great piece of property for me to buy, I’d instantly question his motives because if it was truly “great,” Sash is the kind of guy who would buy it for himself.

They are a good team because they complement each other and if I had to decide who was truly leading it would be Brenda, but the one who is gaining most from the partnership is Sash.

Perfect example: Once again, Brenda has a great idea – get Marty to give them the idol. She is the one with the brilliant idea but she empowers Sash to be the one to make the deal happen. Great strategy… but no killer instinct to do it herself. Same as the time when she let Naonka find the other hidden immunity idol. Brenda could have two idols right now. If Parvati had been playing, she would have gotten the idol for herself and a kiss from Marty at the same time.

Instead, Sash gets the idol and now has the opportunity to win favor with Marty by keeping his word. It’s a huge move for Sash and a potentially big mistake by Brenda.

Brenda might argue that she is staying “clean” of everything so nobody is mad at her, but if the two of them make it to the final, Sash can play the “strategy card” and the “I kept my word card.” I give this round to Sash.

My favorite line of the entire pitch to Marty:

Sash: I think it makes sense, but I can’t tell you what to do with your own idol.

THAT’S the shady part I’m talking about! If Sash thinks it makes sense… don’t do it!

To Marty’s defense, I think Marty is right – he has to try something and the idol was going to get flushed out one way or the other. Giving it to Sash gives him a lifeline to Sash with the hope that something will happen to change things up.

TRIBAL COUNCIL
“Jane’s a flipper.” Marty has such a double standard. He complains that people aren’t playing the game and he also complains when people do play the game. Jane is playing the game. There is nothing wrong with what she is doing, it makes sense to try and get with the majority. Man, I talk a lot about Marty.

THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT TO SAY
It was the single biggest mistake of the game so far… a simple slip of the tongue. I was questioning Sash on why he was the one who had possession of the idol if indeed it was an idol for the entire “alliance.”

While defending himself, Sash uttered a phrase he would love to have back – “If there comes a time when I lose trust in them.” Ooops. He meant to say “When they lose trust in me.” A Freudian slip?

Freud believed that we reveal what is really on our mind by saying something we didn’t mean to say.

He believed that slips of the tongue provided an insight into the unconscious mind.

So… did Sash just reveal something? Of course he did! Anybody who actually believed that Sash was ever going to share the idol deserves to be voted out. His Freudian slip was only damaging in that everybody heard him actually say what they were already fearing he was thinking.

FOR NEXT WEEK
Sash has the idol.
Marty is in trouble.
Anybody who challenges Sash for the idol may be in trouble too.

But most of all, Sash may be in trouble. He has a weapon in the hidden immunity idol and he just revealed that he will use it if he ever feels he is in danger. In doing so, he just put a big target on his back.

See ya next time.

PS –I honestly, truly just realized that I didn’t say anything about Jill being voted out. That is mind-blowing. I LOVED Jill in casting. I thought Jill could win this game when I first met her. She was a favorite. I wasn’t intending to slight Jill in any way. There just wasn’t anything to say. She played a very quiet game. The numbers were never on her side. The tribe switch didn’t help and her alliance with Marty did her in.

I had written and proof read the blog and was literally attaching it to send to Dalton Ross at EW.com when I realized I had made no comment about the person who was voted out.

I do know this though… I’m so glad it wasn’t Naonka.

Oh, be sure to check out several treats in the video player below, including: an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, Dalton Ross’s pre-game interview with Jill, and the latest edition of EW’s TV Insiders podcast, which includes discussions on everything from Survivor and Dancing With The Stars to Project Runway and more. Plus, don’t miss Dalton’s recap, “Mellow Yellow.”

Originally posted October 28 2010 — 7:00 AM EDT

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