By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Alliances this season have been especially fluid on the 32nd season of CBS's ever durable game "Survivor." Blindsides have become the standard move at tribal council.
But this week, the only person left without an ally - Kyle Jason - was cut in almost predictable fashion. He made such arrogantly stupid moves earlier in the game (yah... hide the machete and ax! Great idea!). The result: nobody wanted to play with him anymore.
Bodybuilder Cydney Gillon of Douglasville is now in the top five, guaranteeing her own safety by winning her first immunity challenge.
The challenge was topsy turvy and fun to watch. Each survivor had to place blocks one by one that spelled the word "immunity" on a very unsteady platform attached to a rope. For a time, 71-year-old Joe Del Campo (who has never been close to winning anything) led but speed cost him. Then he had trouble even spelling the word, much to host Jeff Probst's amusement.
Others each led momentarily but kept losing control of the blocks. Cydney's strategy: go really slowly, virtually guaranteeing she would not drop her blocks but placing herself at risk of getting surpassed by others. The much speedier Jason lost his blocks once but in his second try, he caught up and briefly passed Cydney. With just a few feet to go for a win and survival for another week, Jason dropped his blocks and Cydney pocketed her first immunity necklace. This made great TV.
Cydney also shows her prickly side yet again. She does not like being dictated to without proper consultation, which is partly why she went against her brawn tribe earlier in the competition.
Twice tonight, her hackles were raised. First up, Joe annoys her when he commands she get wood while she is still eating.
"I don't do orders well," Cydney says, seething.
Then again, Joe doesn't really matter to anybody in the grand scheme of things. He will be cut at some point unless someone thinks sticking him in the finals means more votes for them. (It would. Joe wouldn't get any votes against any of the other players.)
Cydney has been targeting the guys and wanted Jason out, no matter what.
But Tai Trang - who has been three parts lovable, one part disloyal - brandishes his immunity idol and his power advantage around and decides to take out Michelle Fitzgerald instead of his former ally Jason. (He feels she has made no enemies and would be a greater threat in the finals.) He tells Cydney to vote for Michelle instead of "asking" her.
Cydney: "You're not going to dictate my f***in' game."
"Cydney is not going to be bossed around and told what to do," says a worried Aubry Bracco, Cydney's closest ally who thinks she might "blow up the game" if her temper takes over.
So Cydney decides to flout Tai and informs Aubry her intentions to stick with Jason. Aubry now has two allies wanting different things and feels she has to make a "Sophie's Choice."
To help her cause, Cydney smartly informs Michelle about Tai's plan.
Michelle proceeds to go after Tai during the tribal council in front of the jury members.
"Is there a group [as in an alliance] and a smaller group [as in a mini-alliance]?" Jeff asks.
"Tai has turned on every alliance," Michelle noted. "I have proved to be loyal."
"Not only are you on the bottom, you aren't even wanted," Jeff concludes to Michelle.
During the tribal alliance, Cydney says with a deep sense of annoyance: "It's Tai's way or the highway."
Tai, worried his alliance is fraying, decides to use his advantage and double up his vote against Michelle, hoping that would be enough to get rid of her. (He keeps his immunity idol in his pocket.)
But alas, he was alone. Nobody else voted for Michelle. Everyone else stuck with the plan to get rid of Jason.
Now this rather frayed final five alliance will have to eat its own next week. I presume Tai can only use his immunity idol one more time and will certainly do so, guaranteeing he makes it to the top four. Otherwise, there are no guarantees.
Cydney's chances of winning "Survivor" continues to improve with each week she survives. I think Aubry is the only remaining player who has played a better game than Cydney. But the dilemma for Cydney is Aubry is her closest ally.
Given Tai's inconsistent moves, he might not actually get as many votes as Cydney in a final two. Joe? He will be gone soon and has zero percent chance of winning. He gets credit just for making it this far at his age. Now would Cydney do particularly well against Michelle? She might. Michelle just has not made many moves despite being nice and loyal.