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Stimpy's Take

Jessica "Figgy"
Justin "Jay"

Survivor: What Happens When We Assume
Strategic and Tactical Analysis by Dr. EJ
October 24, 2016

Did what he had to do.
We have to live our lives according to certain assumptions, or we just can’t live without paralysis.

But all assumptions have risks. I assume my relatively new car will start, but there are so many things I don’t know about the workings of a car that if it didn’t work on a given day, it could be explained – accurately or not – by someone in the know, or someone pretending to know.

And when I would be best to have a plan for my car not starting – there is always something else I can do with my day, of course.

After swaps in Survivor, it is a basic assumption tribal alliances will remain tight, especially with those who have the numbers. But relying on this is dangerous! Who discovered this most last night? How about:

Ce Ce: You knew that Chris was not tight with you and Dave. Some pandering would have been useful. He needed to know there was a clean slate now. You assumed the three of you would vote out the two Millenials – you were wrong. Now your game is over.

I thought your Vanua teammates played a lot better:

Michelle: I like your strategy of not leaving anything to chance. Unfortunately, you had no power yesterday, though you tried to make a deal with Ce Ce. But you’ll get another chance now. You have put Dave’s name out there. Can you convince your tribemates to blindside him so he doesn’t play his idol or counterattack? Or are you better off allying with him and blindsiding Chris? Either way, staying active is your best bet in the bind you are in.

Chris: I understand your not trusting your former Gen Xs. Did you choose the right tactic in voting off Ce Ce? You still have a dangerous man in Dave. You may have to follow up the distrust strategy and align with Michelle and Zeke to blindside Dave. Otherwise, you’ll have to turn on one of your new allies, and Michelle seems the most likely. If you can blindside Dave, though, you may have bought your way into the Millenials with your alliance with Zeke.

Zeke: Nice job winning the trust of your new tribemate. You can continue to build a new alliance, and get some numbers for the merge, by voting off Michelle. It’s this proactive step – you know she is dangerous, and that Dave and Chris have a crack that can be exploited later, that is in your best interest.

Dave: You did what you had to do to keep your options open. Now everyone has a reason to work with you. Again, I think Michelle has to go. She is putting your name out there, and with the idol, once she is gone, you are safe. Plus, you can learn to work with Zeke, who you may need later, too. Other tactics – voting off Chris and being the minority Gen Xer, voting off his ally Zeke and pissing him off – are plausible, but risky.

And the new Takali:

Taylor:– Listen to the woman (Figgy). You can’t assume you have the numbers to be as brazen as you want. Start working with the other members of your tribe, starting with shoring things up with Adam, while simultaneously preparing to sell him out to Ken and Jessica, who you should also be schmoozing. Leave nothing to chance, and give yourself options.

Figgy: – Don’t mess up your good work! If you stay strong, you can convince Adam to stick with you, or sell him out. Or even sell out Taylor if he doesn’t get the message – you can even use your “letting your guard down” as the previews say, as a reason to let him go – you can tell your tribemates you don’t want emotions to ruin your game, and it is unhealthy for Taylor to stay. You’ll find supporters, no matter which way you go, if you remain logical.

Adam: Keep up what you did last night. You worked on your numbers with the Millenials, while also informing the Gen Xs of your status within your former tribe – which for all they know is bogus. You have given yourself options, knowing you cannot trust the numbers.

Ken and Jessica: You built a bond last night, and you are a solid power couple, even if not romantically involved. Now – who do you want to sway? The logical Adam, who could be a threat later? Or the emotional couple Taylor/Figgy, whose immaturity and unpredictability could be your undoing. Choose wisely, but stick together – nice job burying the hatchet after the previous episode.

And finally, the new tribe, Ikabula:

Bret and Sunday – Numbers dictate a move here. The passivity last night is concerning. You have to find the crack. Michaela has put a bit a target on her back by being so verbal about her disappointments --- that can make her a target for the others. Jason is awfully cocky, prime to blindside. Hannah can be swayed, or, alternatively, sold out as too risky to take along. Find these things out and start politicking.

Michael, Will, Jason, and Hannah: What amazes me about all of you is your adaptability, which you are not “supposed” to have, according to Brent. Jason did a lot of work, demonstrating his value over the Gen Xs. Will is very agreeable. Hannah has shown herself to be a team player. And Michaela was awesome with the fire and the challenge, keeping her emotions out of her actions. You are a solid four – keep it that way until it has to change. This isn’t assuming – you have worked to keep yourselves four strong.

I’ve said it before – Survivor can change in a blink of an eye, and you have to be ready. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, I have thoughts about who is likely to win, and who isn’t, but one unsuspected move – positive or negative – can change that, and moves after a tribal swap have to be especially calculated.

After next week, we’ll have some more information on who is stepping most carefully, and I’ll have updated strategic and tactical considerations.

Doctor EJ is a licensed clinical psychologist by trade, but his passions include the great game of Survivor, and its social machinations. He is also passionate about travel, and claims to fame include visiting all 50 US States, and losing 145 pounds, both of which are discussed at his blog, The Better Half's Travels at He can be reached at

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