This, ladies and gentlemen, was a truly historic episode of Survivor. Historic because it featured a tribe switcheroo? Hardly. We’ve seen plenty of those before. Historic because it featured the always controversial throwing of a challenge? Nope, but we’ll get into that plenty, don’t you worry. No, this was a historic episode ofSurvivor because my wife actually sat down and watched it with me, something that hasn’t happened since season 1, and that was only because she was stuck nursing a newborn in a one-bedroom apartment with nowhere to hide. For some odd reason the stars must’ve been aligned just right last night, because she actually plopped down on the couch next to me to watch. There was still nursing going on, but just between me and my Milwaukee’s Best. And here was her take: ”Those two are so f—ing annoying I want to smack them.”
She’s speaking, of course, about Peih-Gee and Jaime, who not only threw the challenge but laughed about it during said challenge, afterward back at camp, and even into tribal council. And I’m not just saying this because I’m married to the broad, but I think my wife may have a point here. Okay, let’s get into the throwing, from both a strategic and social standpoint.
Strategically speaking, it was a very risky but very bold move. With their Zhan Hu mates Frosti and Sherea switching to Fei Long — and Aaron and James moving the other way — Peih-Gee and Jaime were counting on a few things when they decided to take a dive. They were counting on the fact that if the other tribe lost the immunity challenge, then either Frosti or Sherea would be sent home. So there was assumption No. 1. They were also counting on a merge at 10 people, so that if they threw two challenges (and whacked Aaron and James) they could make it to the merge with a 5-5 tie between original members of the tribes, as opposed to being in a potential 7-3 hole. The merge does usually happen at 10, but not always. So there was assumption No. 2.
But let’s assume for a second that their assumptions are accurate. Is being down in numbers even so bad? How many seasons have we seen the people who were down in the count at the merge turn around and end up winning the whole damn thing? Remember Chris from Vanuatu? Danni from Guatemala? Yul from Cook Islands? All were on the wrong side of the numbers game at the merge and took home the $1 million check. So here’s my point: Never assume. Especially this early in the game. Plus, you have to know that if producer Mark Burnett and host Jeff Probst catch you acting all smug and thinking you know exactly how everything is going to play out, they are going to make sure you are humiliated for assuming you decoded their little game.
NEXT: Trust busters