I can understand, psychologically, why bringing loved ones in for a challenge is important to the players. As a viewer, though, I always dread the loved ones episode; it’s virtually never strategically interesting. When they devote twelve minuets of an episode to greetings from Great Uncle Al followed by twelve more of weepy reunions, you’ve blown half an episode.
Things really didn’t get started until after reward. Russell turned his sights to Parvati, imagining her to be his biggest threat to the million. He has Rupert and Colby on board, of course — what else are they gonna do? — and he uses the typical scare tactics on Jerri to get her to agree as well.
The problem with scheming before the immunity challenge is that your schemes kind of fall apart if the number one target wins immunity. Which Parvati did.
Russell tried a bit to swing things over onto Sandra, which caused a weird scuffle between Sandra and Russell and Rupert I sort of didn’t understand. Tribal council saw Rupert give a boring monologue about how one of the villains will have to prove themself “Top Villain” for some reason. Then Sandra played her immunity idol and Rupert went home.
Truly, I was sorry to see the big lug go. He wasn’t playing a great game, but he was playing, which is a huge step for him. Maybe we’ll see him back in six seasons for All-Stars 2.
Who’s gonna win? This Sunday being the finale, I now have all the information I’m gonna get. We have five contestants left, which means a final three to look forward to. So the first question is: who is that final three?
Colby is out next, no question. The only chance he has of staying in this game is for Russell or Sandra to win immunity… which is really just another way of saying “for Russell to win immunity”. If Russell wants to keep Colby in (and that’s a pretty big “if” as it is), he will only do so if it means getting rid of Parvati. Which he can’t do if Parvati is immune. Or if Colby is immune (because he wouldn’t have any leverage to get Colby to vote for someone other than Russell himself). Or if Jerri is immune (because he won’t be able to scare her if she has nothing to be scared of). If Sandra or Russell are immune though, Russell will be able to scare Colby and Jerri into removing Parvati.
But that probably won’t happen. So Colby’s gone next.
The final four is trickier to decode. Obviously everyone wants to go up against Russell in the finals — who would vote for him? He’s essentially a lock. Jerri is another good one to take to the finals, because she can be knocked down with a single “she road coattails” argument. Anything that applies to Russell in this game also applies to Jerri, except Jerri didn’t actually have the stones to take the risk herself.
The people you don’t want to be sitting next to are Parvati and Sandra, who can both make strong arguments for playing a kickass game and maintaining strong social ties. Sandra was very much her tribe underdog, and her former tribe knows that. On the other hand, Parvati can probably milk a lot of sympathy out of that Danielle vote.
Here’s the crazy thing, though: Parvati and Sandra have both won before! That blows my mind! The two players in the best position to win it all have that winner’s stigma on their backs! I would have never guessed this is the place this season would have ended up. Amazing.
Russell’s only shot at winning, as I see it, is to get to the finals with Parvati and Sandra, then try to defeat them with the “well, they already won once” argument. It’s a pretty weak argument though, and I don’t think the jury will fall for it. This pits Parvati against Sandra, a battle I think Sandra can win. After all, the first few jurors are old allies of hers from the tribal game, and the last few are allies of hers from the merged game.
There is the extremely slim possibility that Colby, sucktard to the stars, has just been saving himself for one last push right at the endgame. If the stars align and he wins two immunities in a row, I believe he can sweep the jury by playing the “I didn’t lie, I didn’t steal, I didn’t cheat” card.
My final prediction: Sandra, with a side of Colby if he manages to pull out a good ol’ Texas miracle.