At Least He's a Savvy Geek

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I was pleasantly surprised at the upheaval in last night's Survivor. "Pleasantly" because I feel neither Jenna nor Alex "deserves" to win (I'm undecided about Heidi). "Surprised" because Rob gave up a sure minimum finish of 4th place in exchange for an outside chance at the win. Rob's comments about Jenna and Heidi paint him as an infantile, pathetic geek. But he knows the game. And he was smart to recognize that he was first on the chopping block for his little alliance. But he may not have been smart enough.

If his new allies have any brains, Rob's just slit his own throat. By betraying his old alliance, Rob has proven himself to be untrustworthy. That makes him a liability. And he just rendered himself obsolete. If Butch, Matt, and Kristy turned against him, the three of them would still have a majority against Jenna and Heidi and could coast to the endgame. If they leave Rob around the battle lines become murky. If they're smart, they'll get rid of him now before he can switch sides again. Matt seems to feel beholden to Rob, but his vote wouldn't even be required-- Jenna and Heidi are sure to vote for him. And if Rob, by some miracle, makes it to the end, there's no way Alex, Jenna, or Heidi would vote to give him the million.

At this point I'm pulling for Kristy, even though that's a lost cause-- as I've said before, you'd have to be an idiot to take her into the finals with you. But you've gotta root for somebody, and I'd rather see one of the hard workers beat the cocky people.

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I must admit, it was great to see the smug crowd who were sunning themselves while other worked get their comeuppance. And it was also good to see Matt come up with a plan and start playing Rob a little as well. I don't doubt Rob can still talk circles around Matt, but it's good that Matt now will take some of what he says with a grain of salt. I wondered if Rob's clear infatuation with the Heidi and Jenna (and the possibility of being there with them for a hypothetical "menage" near the end) would keep him from jumping ship when it became clear he was done at 4. I was very surprised he let Deana go before considering how well their alliance was going. her timing was clearly just a week off. Amazing how unselfconscious the "backlash" against Kristy for getting her letter instead of letting Jenna (who has been at best unkind to her) was. Yes, Jenna's mom is ill, but Kristy got no food *and* allowed Jenna to buy her letter as well. But more importantly, can anyone be more alone there than the one deaf person? At this point I am pulling for her and someone like Butch or Matt who might actually be noble or stupid enough to take her to the finals with them.

Don't underestimate Rob. His Survivor savvy has taken him surprisingly far - he has now betrayed four sets of trusting allies, and has been the swing vote four times. It looks now like he's been the true leader of the game all along, and maintaining that status for only nine more days with these half-wits for tribemates should be a breeze. Winning the final vote will also be easy: He's already got winning votes from Alex and Deena, who recognize how smart he was to betray them. (Deena already hinted on cbs.com that she's rooting for Rob to win.) Matthew will almost certainly vote for his "best friend" as well, betrayal or not. So how can Rob secure two more votes? Ironically, have Christy as his opponent in the final two. She's the only person who Jenna and Heidi hate more than Rob. That would leave Butch and Dave as the only two votes against him.

It wasn't until this past episode that I finally started to like Rob and root for him. I went through the same change of opinion over Richard Hatch and Brian Heidik: These guys speak so harshly of their trusting allies in the testimonials, but damn if they aren't playing the game the way it needs to be played to win.

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