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mmmpshow

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  1. Survivor Season Preview and Episode Recap Podcasts:
  2. Following Finale: In a season that was light on strategizing and lacked compelling figures -- so much so that, for the first time in recent memory, Jeff Probst did not label it as "the best" or "one of the best" in Survivor history during the reunion show -- perhaps it is fitting that a background player throughout most of the season, who employed the worthy but otherwise unremarkable strategy of simply creating good relationships with everyone, wins the title of Sole Survivor. Michele's responses to the jury were fair enough, and her decision to abandon her closest ally Julia in favor of the alliance led by Aubry in order to eliminate Scot and then Julia was a turning point. She should not have been criticized for never having been forced to strategize in advance of tribal council until after the merge, since her and Nick were fortunate to be on tribes which never lost immunity. At the same time, she should not have been praised for appearing to raise her game late by winning challenges versus a thinned out field. When Probst commented during the reunion show about how the producers had contemplated adding the juror removal twist for seven years but never implemented it until now, it was a clear sign that the producers felt this was a weak season in need of a jolt. Michele played this advantage better than Tai or anyone else played ones they garnered, as she made the correct decision to remove Neal, who had vicious words for her on his way out and probably had the best chance of persuading jurors to vote for Aubry. Despite all the rhetoric from the jurors about demonstrating good gameplay, their votes seemed to more reflect their preconceived notions about their assigned labels of "Brains," "Brawn," and "Beauty" more than anything else. Perhaps the most prophetic words uttered by any castaway all season were by Jason in Episode 7 (the merge): "Beauty always goes with the jocks, always. It's just the way of the world." Michele garnered votes from her former Beauty tribemates Julia and Nick and from the former Brawn tribemates Cydney, Jason, and Scot, while Aubry garnered votes from former Brains tribemates Debbie and Joe. According to the majority opinion of the jury, making appearances trumped making moves, as Michele's outward displays of success was more impressive to potential swing votes -- likely Jason and Scot -- than the behind-the-scenes work of strategizing and building consensus done by Aubry. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  3. Following Finale: Aubry did everything she could possibly do to win the jury's vote other than win more challenges, which the jury apparently valued more than her constantly fighting from a disadvantaged position (underdog Brains tribe at merge, losing allies Neal and Joe to medical evacuation) and continuing to build consensus toward the winning vote every step of the way -- her most compelling argument against Tai but useless against Michele. Certainly she regrets not going along with Tai's plan to eliminate Michele at the vote which instead eliminated Jason. In the final four, Aubry's fatal mistake was failing to target and eliminate Tai -- a plan she could have easily sold to Cydney and Michele -- because Tai's jury vote certainly would have gone to her over Michele and Cydney. As things turned out, she would have only needed to persuade one other juror to see the merit in her gameplay instead of the two that she wound up needing. (Maybe Tai could have advocated for her; if Cydney had competed in and won the final reward challenge, it is possible that she would have removed Joe, leaving Neal to advocate for Aubry; or she would have removed Nick, one of her greatest detractors, giving Aubry the three Brains and Tai's votes.) Aubry's journey from start to finish was more impressive than Michele's -- and certainly involved overcoming more obstacles -- but in the end, the numbers did not favor her. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  4. Following Finale: Tai certainly had the most compelling argument for succeeding in overcoming social obstacles. His warm, genial nature and unique background and perspective made him the most compelling castaway this season, which pop star Sia recognized during the reunion show. Scot's criticism of him not using his advantages properly was hypocritical, as Scot walked off the tribal council set after his elimination with Jason's idol in his pocket. As expected, Tai struggled to make arguments in his favor. His most poignant moment was describing the Vietnamese proverb about the floating hyacinths and using this to describe his view of the game. While it was both accurate in the game and in life in general, it was not going to impress a jury which was fixated on which castaway presented the strongest image. Michele's comments to Tai in the previous episode about shying away from making connections with certain people seemed spot on then and even more relevant during the final tribal council. It was admirable that he admitted his meekness toward Jason and Scot, but showing weakness and vulnerability was not going to be persuasive at a time when people are looking to reward strength. Tai's best argument could have been how his vote to eliminate Scot was the critical turning point and for the other votes in which he was on the wrong side, those were opportunities that jurors had to change the game but failed, notably his two votes against Michele, which if Jason and Joe had considered, would have certainly given them a much better chance of winning the title of Sole Survivor. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  5. Following Finale: While Cydney probably stood little chance of garnering a majority vote for Sole Survivor, her downfall was her failure to build a fire (foreshadowed by Michele's advice that she need not practice). As described under Aubry, hindsight suggests Cydney could have benefitted from attempting to sell Aubry and Michele on voting to eliminate Tai rather than accepting a chance of a deadlocked vote. Cydney may have considered at each of them on the jury and felt that Aubry would have supported her over Michele and Tai, while Tai probably would not have, so she needed to keep Tai in the game as a finalist. Cydney's heartfelt speech about playing the game to support her mother was moving, but it would have not been enough to sway the jury. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  6. Following Finale: Joe's medical evacuation in the previous episode was unceremonious and foreshadowed by Cydney's comments to the camera shown in between the scenes of their reward feast. It is mind-boggling how he could not have known how this could be a result of gorging on a highly disproportionate amount of food in comparison to the previous 33 days. Obviously, Joe was an ardent Aubry supporter in the finale and was going to set her up to make her best argument -- that she was on the winning side of all the votes for elimination and was the primary recipient of all the key pieces of information that led to those votes. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  7. Following Finale: Jason was not going to be compelled by Tai's reasoning for betraying him and Scot. While he said that his vote was up for grabs (which seemed obvious from his hesitation in the voting booth), it appears he valued Michele's decision to move to Aubry's alliance as more impressive than Aubry recruiting Michele. After listening to Scot's high praise of Michele, it is not out of the realm of possibility that these two close allies probably agreed on her merits. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  8. Following Finale: Julia’s support for Michele in spite of Michele's betrayal of her was intriguing. Similar to Jason, Julia probably viewed Michele's move to Aubry's alliance as more impressive than Aubry's recruitment of her. She also might have resented Aubry for leading the charge to distrust and target her the moment she joined Jason, Scot, and Tai on that reward challenge. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  9. Following Finale: Scot's criticism of Tai's misuse of power was highly hypocritical. Scot had fallen in love with the notion of using the "super idol" and failed to use the idol handed to him in a traditional way, which would have had the same desired effect at the tribal council in which he was eliminated. It was surprising to see Scot praise Michele so much, since he appeared very respectful of players who strategized. Yet his initial distaste for the original Brains tribe members probably governed his decision. Scot could have come into the final tribal council with a little more open-mindedness than he apparently did (like his closest ally Jason). https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  10. Following Finale: Perhaps like Julia supporting Michele despite being victimized by her, Debbie felt the need to support Aubry's growth in the game, which included turning against Debbie. She criticized Tai's flip-flopping, upon which Tai astutely corrected her, yet Jason and Scot had already laid the groundwork for propaganda against Tai earlier tribal councils. Debbie's banter about the many hats she has worn in life was enjoyable. It is a shame she did not get more facetime during that show. The only person who finished worse than her who got any facetime was Caleb. The audience did not get a chance to hear anything from Nick, Neal, Peter, Anna, Alecia, Liz, Jenny, or Darnell. (Alecia could have shed light on the bullying she encountered.) https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  11. Following Finale: Nick led the discussion by the jurors and succinctly pointed out what each finalist needed to do to win the jurors hearts and minds -- Michele to prove intelligence, Tai to demonstrate awareness of gameplay, Aubry to show confidence. He suggested that votes were up for grabs, although the fact that they went strictly along the Brawn-Beauty alliance lines indicates that not that many were actually up for grabs. By a narrow margin, Michele was the most successful in accomplishing what Nick's challenged the finalists to do. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  12. Following Finale: Neal's comments to Michele upon his exit were heartless, rude, and revealed lack of character. Obviously, he was sour upon losing his voice and vote in the jury, but he could have displayed more class and recognize how her vote was a sign of respect toward him. https://t.co/TgKXWegqXs
  13. Following Episode 13: Aubry wins a vote for Sole Survivor in a final two pairing against any of her three opponents. She certainly has Joe and Neal's vote. She does not have Debbie's. By way of her competitiveness at challenges and her overall gameplay, she has earned the respect of Jason, Scot, and Nick. And, unlike the other three castaways, she was always pitted against them (based upon the Brawn and Beauty's original plan to take out the Brains before Neal's evacuation), so they do not view her votes to eliminate them as much of a betrayal as Cydney, Michele, and Tai's. Julia's vote for or against Aubry is hard to predict, as would the votes of whichever two of the final four are added to the jury. However, it seems like a lock that Aubry would earn at least five votes, which is a majority. She also can make a solid case that she overcame great obstacles in losing her closest allies in Neal and Joe and still persevering in the game by sustaining good relationships with Cydney, Michelle, and Tai, which was exemplified in this episode by how she repaired her relationship with Tai to the point where he would have sided with her at the next vote, if it had been held, even though he would have been better served to eliminate her. Aubry is the Sole Survivor if she can survive the next two tribal councils, but she probably needs to win at least one immunity challenge along the way, which might be a tough task when considering Cydney and Michele's recent performances in challenges. If there is a tie involving her at the final four that cannot be settled, which is quite possible considering her and Tai vs. Cydney and Michelle, the rock draw would immunize the two who received votes, making the one without the immunity necklace who did not receive votes vulnerable, and that person probably would change his or her vote to Aubry rather than accept an automatic elimination. So Aubry must further solidify an alliance with either Cydney or Michele in case she does not win immunity. She seems capable of doing it. Likelihood of a final two vs. a final three: With Joe removed from the competition on Day 34 and four castaways entering the season finale episode, it is a near certainty that there will be a final two instead of a final three, since a final three would mean only one tribal council for elimination before the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor, which would be a deviation from the traditional format of the season finale episode. Also, there would be a six-day lapse between the previous tribal council (Day 32, Jason's elimination) and the final tribal council for elimination (Day 38), which seems incongruous and unfair to the jurors who would have only attended six tribal councils leading up to the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor.
  14. Following Episode 13: It seems like Tai has been doing damage control throughout most of his time on the island. Yet the best case he could make is that his votes have only resulted in two eliminations, while Aubry, Cydney, and Michele's have caused all of them. (Michele cast a vote for Tai at Scot's elimination in a planned split vote.) At the same time, this reveals what Michele astutely pointed out to him in this episode -- he only appeared willing to work with certain people. Tai's response to her -- about naturally having good feelings about some people, not having them about others, and following his gut -- was understandable but probably would not win any points with the jury, since they will appreciate people willing to work with everyone (like Aubry). Even though Tai was not the best strategist or the best at cultivating relationships, his actions in finding a hidden immunity idol, earning an advantage, and spreading rumors about the "super idol," had the greatest influence on votes. If Tai is able to eloquently point out this and his work ethic to the jury, he could win a final two vote against either Cydney or Michele. Likelihood of a final two vs. a final three: With Joe removed from the competition on Day 34 and four castaways entering the season finale episode, it is a near certainty that there will be a final two instead of a final three, since a final three would mean only one tribal council for elimination before the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor, which would be a deviation from the traditional format of the season finale episode. Also, there would be a six-day lapse between the previous tribal council (Day 32, Jason's elimination) and the final tribal council for elimination (Day 38), which seems incongruous and unfair to the jurors who would have only attended six tribal councils leading up to the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor.
  15. Following Episode 13: Michele displayed her keen insight into interpersonal relationships when she talked frankly with Tai about his hesitancy to create relationships with everyone and how that drew ill will toward him from people like her. Michele's social game was not noticed much during the early stages of this season, since she was insulated within the strong Beauty tribe and even further within the women's alliance in that tribe. She was also benefitted by winding up on the strong Chan Loh tribe after the swap. So she did not have to go to tribal council until the merge into one tribe -- a distinction that only she and Nick shared. In a final two pairing with Tai, she would probably have friends on the jury in former beauty tribemates Julia and Nick and former women's alliance ally Debbie. The question is whether she would receive Aubry, Joe, and Cydney's votes. My initial thought is that she would, since they would respect her over Tai, since Tai sided with proverbial evil-doers Scot and Jason at times during the game. Yet Tai also turned the tables on them in a game-changing manner which might have earned their respect. Likelihood of a final two vs. a final three: With Joe removed from the competition on Day 34 and four castaways entering the season finale episode, it is a near certainty that there will be a final two instead of a final three, since a final three would mean only one tribal council for elimination before the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor, which would be a deviation from the traditional format of the season finale episode. Also, there would be a six-day lapse between the previous tribal council (Day 32, Jason's elimination) and the final tribal council for elimination (Day 38), which seems incongruous and unfair to the jurors who would have only attended six tribal councils leading up to the final tribal council to vote for the Sole Survivor.
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