All Star Strategy #2:  Go To Bed, Old Man!
Written by Mario Lanza on 02.06.04

"It would be a good thing if young people were wise, and old people were strong... but God has arranged things better."
-Martin Luther

At 8:58 PM on February 5th, 2004, millions of Survivor fans took a dagger right to the heart. The collective Survivor world felt a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  That's right, we lost Rudy. And it is only episode two.

This week's episode brings to light something I mentioned in my pre season column. Every boot this season is going to be huge. Every episode will be big and there are no freebie votes in the bunch. So yeah it sucked to lose Rudy, but we better get used to it.  Because every bootee from here on out will be this memorable.

I enjoyed this episode a lot, particularly the story of the hapless little Saboga tribe. First off, you have former boyfriend and girlfriend Ethan and Jenna on the same tribe, which is always good for laughs. And then you have still-a-little-too-sensitive-for-his-own-good Rupert and I'm-not-pissed-off-enough-yet-to-be-mean Jerri. And then throw in yeah-Pagong-my-ass-we-know-how-to-play-Survivor-too Jenna Lewis and this is a tribe that will be fun to watch all season long. And I hate to keep harping on it (actually, no I don't) but Saboga, I told you that you would pay for voting out Tina. You screwed with fate and you voted out the nice one, and now you will suffer. Don't say I didn't warn you. When your tribe is smited by the heavens, don't come running to me.

The toughest thing for me so far is picking out which tribe I am supposed to be rooting for. I mean seriously, I have favorites on every team! I have no idea who I am supposed to be cheering for in the challenges. It's almost like stimulus overload at times. This season is almost too much to try and follow all at once.

Here are my predictions for next week:

* Saboga - Ethan is starting to really resent the way he is being treated, and things are about ready to come to a head. But the problem is that Jenna simply doesn't want him there and Rupert thinks he is a doofus.  And that is half of the tribe.  Ethan really has little chance to alter his fate at the moment, at least unless something marvelous and wonderful happens. And if Saboga returns to Tribal Council and votes out their best athlete (Ethan), well, they might as well just pack it in for the rest of the game and give up. If Saboga goes to TC, unfortunately Ethan will be voted out.

* Mogo Mogo - It seems so incredibly obvious that Richard will go first, but something is nagging at me that he won't. He seems like he is hiding something from us, and whatever he is hiding will probably turn out to be important. The Mogo Mogos are the least developed tribe so far and their dynamics are still a bit of a mystery. I am certain that Lex, Colby, Shii Ann, and Kathy will be safe the first time they go to Tribal Council, but will their first boot be Jenna or Richard? My guess is that if they go to Tribal Council next week, Jenna M. will be voted out.

* Chapera - Wow, the super tribe. Who woulda thought?  It appears that Tom, the Robs, and Amber will be perfectly safe. It seems like an obvious pick to say that Sue would be the first to go home but Alicia could slip in there instead if she pisses off the wrong people. But in this case I will stick with the obvious and predict that Sue will go first.

In any case, next week's episode should be a fun one as the games are really starting to heat up. By day six, the competitor is starting to come out in these people, and everything is set to kick up a notch very soon. I am loving this season so far and I expect more of the same next week.

~~ My favorite moments of the week ~~

* Richard was walking around camp naked and Colby was checking out the guy's package. You could see Colby's eyes darting down to sneak a peek every time that Richard walked by. It was pretty funny.

* The players are so jaded by now that when Jeff unveiled blankets as the first reward, most of the players just yawned and said "that's nice." No one seemed to even care that they were going to get blankets.

* I have obviously been watching the Mole too much lately. Because when Jeff offered to cut Saboga a deal after the reward challenge my first thought was that someone was getting an exemption.

* It was funny to see that the "rubbing sticks together" method didn't work for any of the tribes.  Because we now have a record.  For the eighth consecutive season, nobody made fire by rubbing wood together. Seriously, does that method even work at all? Is it all just a myth? Has anyone ever successfully started a fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together?  I am beginning to think it's not possible.

* I loved Richard's speech about how getting fire and water were all just "extraneous crap" and were not really a part of the game. Speeches like that are why I love the guy. Long live the man of flame.

* When Tom crawled out of the water in the immunity challenge, his pants fell down. The editors actually had to blur out "Little Tom." And to my knowledge, Tom had no feather sticking out of his butt this time. It was hard to tell, we may have to call in the judges to review the tape.

* I loved Mogo Mogo paddling their boat even though they were 80% underwater. That was just a funny image.

* When Ethan voted for Rudy, he said it was "purely strategical." Then he smiled as he was placing the ballot in the box. It looked like he realized he just said something stupid and he knew we wasn't going to get a second take.  By the way, for you kids who love to use it at Survivor Sucks, "strategical" is not, nor will it ever be, a word.

* "We'h stahvin' ovah heah." - Boston Rob

* "When I saw that Tina was gone, it made me very excited. Cause I think she's a big phony." -Rob Cesternino (note: Rob, we're gonna have words after the season.)

* "Alicia's got a big mouth. She's gotta learn to shut it." -Boston Rob

* "I caught a fish! I poked it with a stick, I caught a fish!" -Rupert

* "Say it, Jeff! Say it! Chapera!" -Boston Rob screaming as Chapera was crossing the finish line at the Immunity Challenge.

* I loved Rudy's final words. They were possibly the greatest final words ever, wow our first actual threat of physical violence against the other players.  Well, unless you count Rudy's many threats of violence towards people in Borneo. "If I was them, I'd stay clear of me. 'Cause I got a lot of friends."

~~ Important/Notable Events this week ~~

* That really weird Kathy scene where her face dissolved into a picture of the moon. Was that shot important?  Is she supposed to be our winner?

* As usual, the second boot of the season was the mercy vote/illness victim. Some things never change, not even in All Stars.

* Jenna Lewis actually made a good point when she explained why voting out the winners was a valid Survivor strategy. It is really no more shallow than voting out a leader or a challenge threat. So yeah, crap on Jenna all you want, but she did make a good point.

* A lot of people have completely changed their personalities this time around. Kathy is mellower, Colby is more laid back, and Jerri is much much quieter. In fact, Jerri's tears over having to vote Rudy out were one of the sweetest moments of the season so far.  Can you believe that someone would write that Jerri had a moment that was sweet?  She is doing well so far.

* Ethan's new badass side is fun to watch.  I am guessing it was there in Africa too, we probably just never saw it.  I think it is safe to say that Ethan's character has been developed better in two episodes of All Stars than it ever was in thirteen episodes of Africa. I am really enjoying watching Ethan version 2.0.  I love that this version is liquid metal.

* Sue didn't say a word the entire episode. I bet that never happens again.

* Did you notice in the reward challenge that Richard was one of the fastest players to sprint down the beach to the ocean? Is he that much faster than we think he is? Or was that mostly momentum, like a rock gaining speed as it rolls down the hill? Can we get a physics expert to help out with this one?

* Speaking of unexpected athletes, Kathy and Tom appear to be all stars in the water. I didn't expect that at all. But then again we have never seen the Africans (Tom, Ethan, Lex) in the water before. These are their first water challenges ever, they didn't have any that season.

* The underwater boat challenge totally reminded me of a similar challenge in Marquesas, the one that I have always called "The Gabriel challenge." That was the one where Gabe went underwater and was pulling out 15-16 rocks at a time (while his teammates were only grabbing 1-2). Seriously, I would love to see Gabriel in a second All Stars. I think he would surprise a lot of people the second time around.  Let's make it happen, Burnett!

~~ Diana's comments on this episode ~~

* I would like to thank CBS for all the gratuitous animal clips in this week's episode. Our 18-month old son was entranced. This was his favorite episode ever.

* It is nice to see that Jerri's "Sideshow Bob" hair came back this episode.

* Kathy was absolutely correct that Lex should have started the fire at night. That was ridiculous. I wonder if his gut told him not to make the fire.

* Richard was naked during the immunity challenge and then at the end he jumped into the boat. Well he barely made it into the boat and he almost had a little "pinching" accident as his lower body clipped the side of the wood. If he had gotten his you know what squished against the side of the boat it wouldn't have been pretty.

* Ethan has the best eyerolls in Survivor history. He rolled his eyes very dramatically when Jeff asked Saboga about the immunity challenge and it reminded me of when he rolled his eyes at Silas wanting to have a "strategy talk" in Africa.

* At the reward challenge Saboga offered to share fire with everyone else and it made everyone happy. And as they panned down across the line of players all you could see were Colby's big white teeth as he smiled. I'm glad to see he brought back his Texas Teeth.

* Jenna Lewis has always been a motormouth but now she has added being cocky as well. And a cocky motormouth is never a good thing.

* The funniest thing about these episodes are all the shots of a blurred out naked Richard. But what is funny to me is that sometimes the censors get lazy and just blur out his whole body instead of only his genitals. So sometimes you just see Richard's head and then a big blurry blob underneath. It always makes me laugh when that happens. Having Richard on the show definitely makes the censors work overtime.

* I wonder when the players started to respect Jeff Probst? You could tell back in the first season that no one ever did.  But by now they all love the guy. When did the change happen?

* I particularly enjoyed Jeff's "Mike Brady" lecture at the end. "You know, kids, voting Rudy out was a strategic choice. But sometimes we have to make these choices in this game, and that's what makes Survivor so complicated." It was like something right out of the Brady Bunch movie.

[Mario's note: Darn her for stealing my Mike Brady line. She beat me to that joke by like half a second. Mike Brady jokes are always popular in the Lanza house.]


Saboga bad, Chapera good. Rob trashed Tina. Grr.

1. Amber Brkich
Ambermania is already sweeping the nation.

2. Tom Buchanan
Tom can simply get along with anyone.

3. Rob Mariano
Fear keeps people loyal. If they're scared, they'll do what you tell 'em to do. That's straight outta the Godfather. And it's true.

4. Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien
Is still mad at Vecepia.

5. Lex van den Berghe
There is no way he hasn't made a final two alliance with Colby by this point.  I am sure we just haven't seen it.

6. Rupert Boneham
The only Saboga with much of a chance to win.

7. Colby Donaldson
We really haven't seen much of the Colbster yet. We demand more Mogo Mogo next episode!

8. Shii Ann Huang
Like Colby, we haven't seen much of her yet.

9. Rob Cesternino
I wish we would see more Rob and Rob interaction. I am curious if they actually get along or not.

10. Alicia Calaway
The finger is about to come out. Just wait.

11. Jenna Morasca
Is she there? We haven't seen her much. Has she commented on Kathy's middle aged body yet?

12. Richard Hatch
He's up to something...

13. Jenna Lewis
She's in tight with Rupert but this tribe seems doomed.

14. Jerri Manthey
Rupert would pick Jenna over Jerri if it came down to that.

15. Sue Hawk
Still looking for tapioca.

16. Ethan Zohn version 2.0
I am enjoying the guy immensely but he will be facing an uphill struggle every single step of the way. I wish him the best of luck but it is really only a matter of time.

Boot pick for next week: Hmm... it's harder with three tribes. But since Mogo Mogo is consistently pretty weak in the challenges I will say they lose and Jenna Morasca goes home next week. Just a hunch.

Mario Lanza is a 29-year old writer and programmer from Los Angeles. He is the lead author of the S-C All-Star Stories as well as Survivor: Okinawa (currently on episode 5!) He hates spoilers, so please don't write him if you have any. Please just leave him be.