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‘Survivor: Cagayan’, Episode 5: Quite the Cliff-hanger

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Written by : published Thursday 20th March 2014

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The “Brains versus Brawn versus Beauty” premise was no more, beginning with tonight’s episode of “Survivor: Cagayan.”  Two tribes – each made up of seven contestants – would be formed from the three previous tribes.  A tribal shake-up usually has exactly one universally-shared impact for those in the game:  It is a turning point.  The question is, for whom would it be a good thing?  And whose game would it ultimately end up ruining?

In case you missed the episode, be sure to get caught up by watching Survivor: Cagayan Episode 5 , and then be sure to read my weekly Episode Recap before continuing on to this “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

It’s still way too early to tell the full, lasting impact of tonight’s Tribal shake-up, but one thing is clear:  Old Tribal lines mean next to nothing moving forward.  What a difference a week makes.  It’s hard to believe, but suddenly the former Brains Tribe now represents the strongest intact alliance left standing.  In tonight’s episode alone, we saw Beauties turning on each other, and we also witnessed the crumbling of the Brawns alliance.

You’ve got to love good ole’ Uncle Cliffy, but you also have to admit that he wasn’t going to last all that long in any scenario, tribe switch or not.  If you remember, Cliff’s tribe had tried to throw the previous challenge in order to vote him out and he probably would have gone home the very first time the Brawns would have gone to Tribal.  On his new tribe, well, we saw what happened.  And even if Tony would have tried to get LJ out, LJ could have played his Idol and then Cliff would have gone home anyways.  And if LJ would have went home with the Idol in his pocket?  Well, Cliff would have just been Tony’s next target…or as Trish suggested, an instant target and physical threat should he make the merge.

Yes it was a tough road ahead for Cliff in any scenario.  But the question is:  Did Tony make the right move in voting him out?

We must always remember, that we never really know or get to see everything that goes on out there.  We are seeing three days-worth of conversations and activity edited down drastically to fit a one-hour program…which is filtered by the producers in how they choose to tell the story.   That being said, is it possible that LJ, feeling threatened, might have talked to Tony about having an Idol?  With that bit of knowledge, Tony would have known that in voting for LJ, it would have resulted in Cliff going home anyways once LJ played his Idol.  Instead of that scenario, he could gain an ally in LJ by allowing LJ to keep his Idol and just flipping on Cliff, as he did.  Tony could have done all of this and still hid the fact that he also, in fact, possesses a hidden Idol.

There is an upside to aligning with LJ and Jefra, if you’re Tony.  He still has Sarah as an ally on the other tribe, should she survive (and it appears that she may, with that fractured tribe).  If Lindsey does indeed quit next week (ugh), that leaves Woo in a desperate position, where even if he was mad at Tony for blindsiding Cliff, he would be at Tony’s mercy and Woo wouldn’t have many other allies left in the game.  If Lindsey doesn’t quit, she would be next, followed by Woo.

Tony’s problem moving forward lies in how close Trish has gotten with LJ in such short time.  If Lindsey does quit, Tony could find the tables completely turned against him in no time.  He does have an Idol to play, but that may not be enough to dig him out of a hole.

This all being said, I don’t agree with Tony’s move.  Of course he may not know it, but in getting rid of LJ, he would have gotten rid of another Idol in the game:  Either LJ plays it and therefore flushes it from the game, or LJ leaves with the thing in his pocket.  Either way, getting another Idol out of play would have been huge for Tony.  With LJ gone, he would have still had Trish, Jefra and maybe even Woo (who had previously been on board with getting rid of Cliff) to target Cliff for a blindside at a later point.  Either way I feel he would have put himself in a better situation than he will find himself in with LJ remaining in the game.

So what do you think?  Was it in Tony’s best interest to blindside Cliff or was it a huge mistake?  Will Lindsey quit next week and what impact will that have?  And at the other camp, who should the three Brains choose to align with and who should they target first?  Post your comments and thoughts below!

Follow me on Twitter!  @tomsantilli, and check out my website at tomsantilli.com for more Survivor coverage and my full database of current and archived movie reviews.

About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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