Pearl Island Strategy #6:  Trish gets Punk'd
Written by Mario Lanza on 10.25.03

Rex O'Herlihan:  "You shot me in the neck.  You're not a good guy at all!"
Bob Barber:  "I'm a LAWYER, you idiot!"
-Rustler's Rhapsody

Christa outlasted Osten!  Christa outlasted Osten!  Tee hee!  Tee hee!

I am really enjoying this season so far.  It's not the glitziest season, or the most controversial (yet) season, or the best location, or even the best cast, but for whatever reason Survivor: Pearl Islands is really growing on me.  I would already rank it among the top three or four seasons, although that certainly could change if we wind up with a crappy ending.  But the weird thing is, I can't really pick out WHY I like this season so much.  If I had to take a guess, I would say it is probably because Pearl Islands has been so unpredictable.  Think about it, the last three boots were Burton, Michelle, and Trish.  Did anyone pick those three to go?  In that order?  I highly doubt it.  Not even the vaunted S-C crystal ball nailed all three of those boot picks.  You hear that, ball, I am calling you out.  This website isn't big enough for both your graphic and my graphic, you worthless little crystal fraud.

There is just something about the boot order this season that has been fascinating.  It is following a very strange pattern, and my power rankings go nuts just about every single week because some random new person no one ever thought about just got the axe.  I guess the best way to describe this season is that Pearl Islands has been incredibly twisty and spazzy and random, despite the fact that we haven't even had a major twist yet!  In fact, the season is already a lot like the Amazon in that sense, the power tends to shift all over the place all the time.  It is never the same as it was a couple of hours ago.  But the difference between the two seasons is that in Pearl Islands, it is actually happening organically.  Things are shifting naturally, without a forced twist to help all the chaos out.  Pearl Islands is the first time that shifting has ever happened organically and it is pretty neat to watch.

Oh yeah, and the players this season are actually turning out to be quite memorable.  I know I bitched a couple of weeks ago that we didn't know half the people in the cast, but think about it.  You are going to remember a lot of these people: 

-Osten, the bodybuilder who is scared of his own shadow and who dresses in rags. 
-Jon, the cocky and evil halfling who plays to the cameras as blatantly as it has ever been done before. 
-Sandra, and the many eloquent ways she can drop an f-bomb on you. 
-Christa, the quirky girl who always has a cold. 
-Andrew, the reluctant leader who always wears a sportcoat. 
-Oh yeah... and that Rupert guy.  Can't forget about him. 

But seriously, this cast already has a lot of character to it and I am really starting to see it come out lately.  Two thumbs up to the casting department for this season, whoever you are.

The theme of the episode this week was yet again the downfall of the Drakes.  They are simply done.  In fact, by this point, you can actually see the fork sticking out of Jon's back.  It is that obvious.  But despite their downfall as a tribe, a few of the lesser seen Drakes are starting to pop up in my mind as potential winners.  I still think the winner is going to come from Morgan, but if it happens to be a Drake I think it will be one of the following:

* Sandra:  Trish made a very interesting comment about Sandra on the Early Show on Friday.  She said that Sandra would always go along with any vote.  Sandra would jump onto the bandwagon of any alliance in the game "so long as the target wasn't Sandra."  Now that sounds a LOT like a guy named Rob Cesternino last season.  That sounds like a player who always knows where the vote will be headed and then will just jump aboard.  I am beginning to realize that Sandra is a very underrated Survivor player.

* Christa:  Christa grows on me more and more every week.  I have no idea why, but there is just something about her that seems very likeable and quirky.  I don't think she WILL win, but I know she will get pretty far. 

* Shawn:  Drat that Shawn.  He sits at the bottom of my power rankings week after week, yet I just KNOW he is going to do well in this game.  He keeps doing that exact same alliance-hopping thing that Sandra is doing, and it saves his butt week after week.  I think Shawn has more going on for him than he likes to let on.  I am keeping my eye on him.

I now think Sandra, Christa, and Shawn all have a decent shot to win this game.  I don't think Jon has a shot in hell.  And despite Rupert's massive presence in the episodes, I still think he goes soon.  In fact, I bet he goes home before Jon does.  I will go as far as saying I think Rupert goes home next episode.  We'll see.

Over at Morgan, there is one guy who is just growing by leaps and bounds each and every week in my eyes, and that is Andrew.  I can't even begin to get into how much respect I have for the guy after the last couple of episodes.  He is maturing into a strong leader, he is soft spoken, he is non-abrasive, and he just plain rocks.  His touching moment with Rupert where he had to beg for rice last week started it and his speech this week about Jon trying to ruin his team's morale just cinched it even more.  I am a big Andrew Savage fan all of a sudden.  It was just so inspiring to watch him come through in the immunity challenge against younger, more athletic players, simply because Andrew wanted to be the guy who kept his tribe's spirit up.  I don't know how the producers managed to do it, but they took a lawyer for the Jerry Springer Show and they transformed him into the inspiring and motivational hero of the Pearl Islands.  Forget Rupert, I am suddenly realizing that Andrew is the hero we are supposed to be rooting for. 

And let me be the first to say it.  A lawyer hero?  What the...?

So next week is the big twist.  I would like to say I have no idea what is going to happen but, as always, people have felt the need to email me and give it away.  So I have a pretty good idea what is coming next week.  And if I am right, I think it is ridiculous.  We'll see, I will save my rant for next week if and when and after it happens.

My predictions for the winner of Pearl Islands remain the same.  Ryan and Andrew at the top, Tijuana just a notch below them.  Although I am very worried about quiet little Darrah just hanging around week after week, because she is right up there too.  If a Drake wins, I think Sandra or Shawn are the most likely winners.  And I think that no matter what the twist is next week, Rupert goes home.  Johnny Fairplay is a much more logical pick if the game continues in a linear manner, but all bets are off after a twist/merge hits.  When in doubt, vote for the big man, who also happens to be the biggest threat left in the game.  So I pick Rupert to take a hike in episode seven.

~~~~ Weekly Notes ~~~~

* One interesting thing to note is that Rupert is getting the "god edit" this season.  That means that every time he speaks, he always says something that is correct.  He is always logical, he is always right, and from a narrator point of view he always tells the truth.  It is the exact same thing that I tried to do with Paschal in our All-Star Alaska story, make him the omniscient narrator who knows all and who speaks directly to the audience.  In fact, now it makes me wonder if Rupes actually will be around all the way to the end.  Hmm.

* I have mentioned before that Jon has gotten atrocious editing this season, and this week's episode confirmed it even more.  From the editing, we are being led to believe that he is a cocky little punk who nobody likes.  But if you watched the Shawn-Jon argument over bamboo, pay attention to the fact that EVERYBODY took Jon's side afterwards.  Up until this week, I think Jon was liked and respected by just about everyone.  But then again, by this point he has now cast a vote against more-than-a-little-bipolar Rupert.  So from here on out all bets are off as to Jon's safety within the tribe.  Rupert might actually murder him.

* Okay, here is my random movie reference of the week.  This one is pretty funny.  When Jon was yelling at Shawn, his voice got progressively higher and higher as Jon got madder and madder.  It reminded me of my all time favorite "a man yells like a woman" moment from the movie Rain Man.  Tom Cruise is yelling at Dustin Hoffman about underwear and he starts yelling in a very girlish manner "What difference does it make what kind of underwear you're wearing?!  What difference does it make?!"  Jon's screaming just reminded me of the movie since, like Tom Cruise, Jon is also a wee little demi-human with a high voice.

* The cannonball challenge was pretty sweet.  I had no idea cannonballs would slice like that in mid-air.  They looked like one of Randy Johnson's sliders.  It was also amusing to see that the producers used such tiny little cannonballs.  I hate to pick on Jon again, but maybe they did that because the this was the only size cannonball that Fairplay could lift.  Either that, or maybe they were worried that Osten might drop one of the heavier cannonballs on his foot and die.

* Speaking of Osten, I would like to personally congratulate him on surviving another harsh episode in the Pearl Islands.  For the SIXTH (!) consecutive week, Osten managed to survive and not meet a tragic fate at the hands of Mother Nature.  And just to show you how monumental a feat this was, Diana and I have put together a list of the ways that Osten COULD have died this week, but didn't.  Here we go:

- The pelican could have eaten him
- The pelican could have charged him and given him a heart attack
- He could have gotten a splinter from bamboo pole he used to poke the pelican.  The splinter could have then become infected and caused heart stoppage
- The pelican could have gored him after Osten poked it
- He could have severed an artery while sharpening the machete
- In fact, we can touch on any number of ways the machete could have been dropped or mishandled or otherwise become a lethal weapon
- The cannon in the reward challenge could have blown up and killed him
- He could have accidentally shot himself with the cannon
- He could have accidentally burned himself alive while the lighting cannon
- When loading the cannon, he looked DIRECTLY INTO THE BARREL of the loaded cannon.  Needless to say, don't ever do that again Osten.
- He could have shattered his wrist while knocking fists with Andrew.  This could have led to infarction.
- If Morgan had won reward, he could have contracted E.Coli from the raw steak
- If Morgan had won reward, the lobster spines were extra pointy.  They could have pierced his esophagus.
- Grill accidents galore would have been possible if Morgan had won reward
- The lobster was packed in ice, which could have caused severe frostbite if mishandled
- During the immunity challenge, his neck could have snapped like a twig because of the weight of that wooden beam
- The humiliation from being beaten by Christa could have led to shock-induced coma

Needless to say, Osten once again put his health on the line for the purposes of entertaining us.  And entertain us you did, Mr. Taylor.  Here's hoping you will make it through the seventh episode in one piece.  *crosses fingers and bites lip, nervously*

* Okay, I'll admit it.  I personally loved Jon's plan to take the Morgan team morale and stomp it to pieces.  It was deliciously nasty.  The only problem was that he just didn't pull it off very well.  If it were me, I would have done it much more subtly... like let on that Rupert has given away all their tribe secrets.  Or that Rupert secretly called them a bunch of sad-ass losers when he got back to Drake.  Jon is fun, and strategic, but is hardly very subtle about stuff.

* I had two favorite moments of this episode.  One was Osten and the pelican, that was just ridiculous.  He is so damned funny when he is scared of every little thing.  But my second favorite moment was during the immunity challenge, and it was much more subtle.  Christa explained to Jeff that she had "developed some new freckles last night," and Darrah looked over at Christa and she kind of chuckled.  To me, it looked like Darrah was thinking, "Gosh, she talks weird.  She got a funny ol' accent."  And the thought of Darrah laughing at someone else's accent?  Well I just find that hilarious.

* Diana gets a kick out of how Drake will always sit Jon out of every physical challenge.  And sure enough this week he sat out in favor of Christa (who rocked!)  At the time, I made some joke about how if they hadn't sat Jon, he would have stood up there for five minutes and then dropped the bar.  He would have been eliminated before any weight had actually been put on it. 

Jon:  "Aaaaaghhh!  Sorry guys, I couldn't take it.  *rubs his sore neck*
Jeff:  "Jon has dropped out of the contest at zero pounds.  Nice job, Fairplay."

* There was a little quickie moment in the episode where Shawn and Rupert made a final two pact.  Don't forget that... just in case.  Also, remember Shawn's voting comments:  "It's my game now."

* Do they actually save the middle seat at Tribal Council for Jon?  Because it sure looked that way to me.  Everyone else was seated first, then Jon came in and took his (usual) seat front and center.  I think it is safe to say that Jon enjoys the attention.

* You can never really have enough shots of Rupert looking wounded.  He is such a big teddy bear. When he is upset, he is REALLY upset.  It is fun to watch a person with their emotions so visibly on their sleeve like that.  Rupert can be as happy as a five year old one moment, then something bad happens and he immediately turns into Crabby McPoutylip. 

* Trish is going to take a lot of crap on the internet this week but I don't think she really played things all that poorly.  When she was talking to Jon and Sandra, she made some very good points about how Rupert was beloved by both teams, and how he controlled everything that went on at camp.  I do think it was dangerous to target him before they knew when the merge was going to be, but they DO have to get rid of Rupert sooner rather than later, and everyone should be aware of that.  So I don't think Trish made the wrong move at all.  Where I think she screwed up was in the timing.  She should have tried to get Rupert out RIGHT BEFORE Tribal Council.  She gave Sandra way too much time to go warn him, and when that happened then all hell broke loose.  So I salute Trish, a good player who fell earlier she should have fallen.  She is likely to be forgotten in Survivor history, since she was booted too early to be a legend and too late to be a victim.  She fell right into that gray area of middle episode oblivion.  But she was a good player who was a good sport, a class act, and who handled all of her post-show interviews with dignity and without a hint of bitterness.  Oh, and like the lesbian shopkeeper pointed out, she has really cool looking eyes.

* Okay, time for the quote of the week.  This one was easy, it happened right after Jon decided to stomp all over the Morgan morale.  Andrew reacted in a very leaderlike way by saying:

"Jon claims he threw the chess/checker/water challenge.  Well I just think that's nonsense, and I think it's bad sportsmanship for him--- little bastard--- to indicate that we didn't fair and square win that challenge.  So I don't think they DID throw it, but just for that little pissant to take that away from us... it's ridiculous."


Pretty much the same as before.  A few people move up or down this week, but the top three remain Ryan O, Andrew, and Tijuana.  I am torn between Ryan and Andrew for the top spot, as I think either one of them are the most likely winner this season.

1. Ryan Opray
Still the man.

2. Andrew Savage
Very VERY close to Ryan.  Andrew is really coming alive the past couple of episodes.  He will be tough to beat.

3. Tijuana Bradley
In a good spot.  Plus she has been awfully quiet in recent weeks.  She will be in no immediate danger for a long time.  

4. Sandra Diaz-Twine
Jumping ship and changing alliances in true Cesternino fashion.  Keep an eye on her.

5. Darrah Johnson
No reason to rank her any lower than this.

6. Shawn Cohen
He is quietly sticking around week after week, and he is gaining some momentum.  He is not as dim as he appears.

7. Christa Hastie
One of my favorites.  She would be a blast to hang out with in real life.

8. Osten Taylor
It would still crack me up if he won, but he won't.

9. Jon Dalton
Evil Gabe has to find a way to save himself now.  I think his time will be up soon, but it won't be next week.

10. Rupert Boneham
Rupert is so good and so powerful and so well-liked, he just HAS to be voted off soon.  They all have to realize that.  All of them!

Special Note:  The movie I quoted at the beginning of my column, Rustler's Rhapsody, is a western parody from the mid 80's.  It is one of my all time favorite guilty pleasure comedies, yet I can only name maybe 5 or 6 people on the face of the earth who have ever even heard of it before.  But you should check it out if you can find a copy, it is highly recommended!


Mario Lanza is a programmer who lives in Los Angeles with his ever-quotable wife, Diana, and their two small children.  He is the lead author of the S-C All-Star Stories and the upcoming Survivor: Okinawa.  He likes to memorize and quote random movies.  This is a trait that annoys people.