Thailand Strategy #12:  My Name is Freeze
Written by Mario Lanza on 12.13.02

"My name is Freeze. Learn it well, for it's the chilling sound of your doom."
-Mr. Freeze, BATMAN & ROBIN

Not too much to talk about in terms of strategy at this point. Pretty much the die has been cast for most of the players. What it will come down to at this point is skill, intelligence, and a whole lot of luck. Who has it, who knows how to win, and who wants it the most?

Right now, as I said last week, all signs pretty much point to a Brian victory. I mean, he has so much going in his favor at this point it is almost making a mockery of the game. I got a pretty funny email from a reader named Dennis Goodman, who pointed out:

People might say that this season is boring and I am starting to believe it is all because of Brian. Imagine watching Michael Vick play against a high school football team. It would get pretty boring. I see Brian that way. He has everyone thinking they are a friend.

So let's run down the case as to why Brian will probably win. Let's see:

* He is the one with the most intricate master plan.

* His plan involves multiple options, involving possible roles for all, and backup options as well.

* He is the best athlete left, by far.

* He is probably the smartest player left.  And if not, he is very close behind Clay.

* He is probably the most likeable one of them all. And yes, I know he is being edited as a villain, but he has to be likeable in real life to get away with the stuff he is getting away with. We just aren't being shown all of his interpersonal skills. Did you notice that everyone seemed happy for him when he won immunity?

* Two out of the three other players are planning to take him to the final two.

* Everything is business to the man, friendships do not exist. At least Richard Hatch PRETENDED to be interested in people for the cameras. Brian doesn't do that.

* And, most importantly, Brian is the smooth talker. The kind of guy who could make an excellent jury speech. I have seen a lot of people write about how he will be cold, arrogant, or condescending in his final speech, but I don't think anything can be further from the truth. He knows when to turn on the game face, and when to turn on the nice guy face. I wouldn't be surprised if he was involved in politics at some point in his life. And you wonder why people hate politicians.

The only real drawback against Brian I can see right now is that he might have some pissed off people on the jury. And the only argument I can bring up against that is... so what? The people on the jury are all gonna be pissed at someone or other. Yeah, Brian screwed Ted.  But then again, Helen screwed Ted too. Maybe they all screwed him. I'm just saying that Brian isn't completely alone in screwing people. If he did it, they pretty much all did it.

Two other things that could possibly get in the way of Brian winning are his arrogance, and just plain bad luck. He is more than a little bit cocky, maybe you have noticed? I keep waiting for him to take credit for inventing the wheel, writing the Bible, and fathering the baby Jesus. So he will have to watch out for that overconfidence, if possible. Stuff like walking slowly and deliberately up the stairs to win the immunity challenge certainly doesn't help. But then again, maybe he doesn't have to watch out for overconfidence. Who knows, if anyone can get away with it I bet Brian can. And as for luck, you can't really control that. What happens will happen. Ask Lex with his diarrhea in the final immunity challenge. Some things just can't be helped. Oh, and one more funny point from Dennis Goodman, in regards to Brian's poor choice of spelling (is 'Raod Trip' a Gaelic spelling?) in the reward challenge:

I guess his one downfall is a mild case of dyslexia. No wonder he makes so much money as a car salesman. It takes a special person to be able to sell a 12,700 car for 17,200.

So here we are on the eve of the finale. Just four remain, including two that I thought would be here from very early on (Helen and Brian) and two that I never thought would have been here in a million years (Clay and Jan.)  I would really be happy with any of the four of them winning. Well, okay, except Jan.  That isn't a slam on Jan as a person, I just don't think she has really shown any strategy thus far. Although if Clay OR Jan wins, it will hurt me a lot as a predictor, since I think I ranked them #44 and #47 respectively (out of 16) in my pre season predictions. I like Helen a lot, she is a heck of a player.  And she would be a fun winner. And I knew I thought I wanted Brian to win earlier, but when I found myself cheering for him during the immunity challenge last night, I finally realized where my heart lies as a fan. I want Brian to win.  I am behind him 100%. This is my fatal flaw, I often root for the villain. And the reason why I will often root for the villain is simple: I always root for the player who simply wants it the most. From Richard Hatch, to Tina Wesson, to Brian Heidik, to Lex van den Berghe, to Teri and Ian from this season's Amazing Race, I root for the players who would kill to get to that final spot. My allegiance always lies with the cutthroats.

Just some quickie notes before my final thoughts (tm Jerry Springer).

- Do you think Helen was nervous to share a bed with drunk, extra affectionate Ted? Wasn't she the only person who believed Ghandia's side of the story? How close did we come to Grindgate II?

- My wife called Ted's boot in the first five minutes of the show. "Look at Brian's eyes," she said, "He isn't making eye contact with Ted. He's lying to Ted." Which once again proves my old theory, women are creepy.

- How can you have a Tribal Council and not show any of the voting comments? Inexcusable! I hate when they do that. These people say stuff when they vote for a reason. I would rather lose a little suspense and gain a little insight, particularly in this season.

- Jeff Probst's slam on Rosie O'Donnell ("No singing, no dancing!") was pretty funny. And I bet CBS had to cut out the next line too, when Jeff added, "And at least I don't have a giant head."

- Brian has the weirdest sense of humor, from his middle finger to the camera, to his whole "I'm the iceman" speech. Is he being intentionally cheesy, or is that just the way he talks?  He is such an odd awesome person.

- Oh, and I think it's safe to say now that Brian was our great villain.

Final Thoughts on the Finale:

Here we go, another memorable finale. First off, I have to say that every single one of the Survivor finales has been great. My personal favorite finale was the Africa one, and only because of what I thought was one of the single most dramatic moments in Survivor, when Kim Johnson had to choose between Lex or Ethan. But from the snakes and rats of Pulau Tiga, to Colby's promise to take Tina to the final two in Australia, to Lex's diarrhea and Kim J.'s choice in Africa, to Vecepia's backstab and the purple rock last season, they have all been memorable. Expect something big to happen in this year's finale.  Expect some great villain to emerge, or some hero to pull off something heroic. Because one thing has been true about every finale.  The great players show themselves in the final moments of the game. We will see who is the best of the best this year (or the luckiest of the lucky.)  And again, keep in mind that NO ONE was even talking about Vecepia Towery before the finale last year. She was just "the other one." So if Helen or Clay or Jan suddenly shows themselves to be a great strategist, then I will take back all the Brian-love I have been spouting the past couple of weeks. I am still predicting a Brian win, but you never know!

In personal news, I will be pulling every string I can to see if I can attend the finale. You see, I work in Beverly Hills, about three blocks from CBS studios. I can see the freaking CBS building every day from my desk! They are having the finale right here, and I could walk over there from work if I wanted.  So in the tradition of sneaky people everywhere, I will be trying to weasel my way into the studio.  So next week in my column, I will either have a running diary of what transpired at the finale, or I will be dead because I was beaten to a pulp by Burnett's goons. Either way, it should be a day to remember.


Along with just about every columnist on the face of the earth, I believe that Brian told us the boot order this week. Jan, then Helen, then Clay against Brian in the final two. And it ends with him giving us all the finger.

1. Brian Heidik
The overwhelming favorite. Sure, he has drawbacks, but there are so many things that favor him getting at least to the final two that I think he has to be your favorite to win.

2. Clay Jordan
The person I feel Brian wants to take to the end. If Brian manages to piss off enough people, Air Jordan could theoretically pull out the upset. But still, everyone seems to hate Clay, so it seems unlikely.

3. Helen Glover
I would be thrilled to see Helen win, but I feel that Brian will end her stay here, and probably not in a pleasant manner. She will be an angry juror.

4. Jan Gentry
Jan who? Although on the plus side, Jan did make some decent strategic points this week (like why Brian keeps Clay around.)


** All-Star Survivor: Alaska Update **
Episodes one through four are written, we are working on #5 right now. Two people have read previews of it and thought it was great, so keep an eye out for it! Here is the official promo. And if you haven't yet, check out All-Star Survivor: Hawaii from last season.

Episode one of All-Star Alaska will debut here on Survivor-Central on Dec. 20.
Title: This Aint No Summer Camp.


Mario Lanza is tired and can't think of a creative signature line today. Let's just say he is a Survivor fan and he writes this column every week. I know, that sucks. Oh, and his column also features neither singing, dancing, nor women with giant heads.