Last week I predicted Galu would elect Erik their new captain, since he’s the best guy for the job. I underestimated the tribe’s capacity for wickedness. The four guys (Erik, Dave, Brett and John) got together and decided to elect Shambo chief for their use as a figurehead, bringing the dimwitted ex-Marine into their alliance to be safely excised when the game gets down to five. There was a mock vote and everything! The girls on the tribe didn’t even realize something was up until it was all said and done, by which time it was too late. A brilliant move executed brilliantly, and a joy to watch.
The reward challenge had what I felt was an interesting twist. It was structured like a game of Memory, with various wilderness survival items hidden about. If your team found a match they could either take the point in the challenge or take the item back to camp. This could have the unusual side effect of a tribe losing the challenge but still coming out ahead in swag. That’s not what happened this time, though; Galu took a tarp and a firemaking kit back to camp and still knocked Foa Foa out of the water 6-3.
Shambo made two mistakes in her new leadership role, both at the memory challenge. First, sitting out of the challenge herself meant nominating someone else from the tribe to speak with the chief’s voice. She chose Erik, but Dave yelled at her to switch to Brett, so she switched to Brett. I’m not clear on why Brett was the better option here, or even who exactly this “Brett” guy is, but the way she folded up after being chided showed everyone who is really in charge at Galu. Second, she chose Laura to miss the reward and go spy on Foa Foa. The choice was fine. The mistake was sharing the reasons behind her decision, as though she had to justify or defend it. She’ll make a great sacrificial lamb when the time comes, but at least she’ll make jury.
Meanwhile on Foa Foa we begin to see the weakness of Russell’s strategy. Playing so hard so early meant sending a lot of strong Foa Foas packing, and now they’re left with a weak tribe. Russ himself is strong, and Mick seems to be doing alright, but Jaison is completely drained. Natalie and Liz are practically sticks. Russ started playing individually from the beginning, but that only works if you’re on the winning tribe. He is, however, learning from his mistakes and spent some time planting the seeds of a post-merge alliance.
Next week the tribes merge and the game begins for real. Foa Foa is down but not out; I’ve seen tribes of four hang strong and make miracles happen in the home stretch. A lot depends on whether or not Galu makes that time-honored mistake of believing their lead in numbers means a few of their members are expendable. Making Shambo chief may have fixed the problem of her flipping, but Monica and That-Other-Girl aren’t completely dumb. I have the feeling this game is going to get ugly before it gets pretty.
Who’s gonna win? It’s hard to stick with Russell at this point, but I’m going to do so. I’m nothing if not consistent.