Survivor Roundtable
By BOP Staff
December 17, 2014

Can you believe the other players were this dumb?

Jim Van Nest: Who are you rooting for in the big Blood versus Water 2 finale? I have to admit, I'm actually rooting for the Twinnie. Missy and Baylor are just horrible.

I have a ton of thoughts on Jaclyn. The biggest is how much she kinda bows to Jon and his whims. She had the right read on almost every situation and in almost every one, she let Jon have his way anyway. I have to shake my head at her.

I don't think you can play the game much worse than Keith has...and yet, if he's in the final three, he's probably our winner. So go figure.

Natalie has been pretty good in challenges. She's made some decent moves in the game and for the most part hasn't annoyed me near as much as I thought she would.

In a season of bad play...she's the best of what's left, it would seem.

Kim Hollis: Lord, I don't know who I’m rooting for. It's just a terrible group. I suppose I’d choose Keith just because it would be funny. I just can't root for Natalie.

David Mumpower: I'm still rooting for Jaclyn. I actually disagree with Jim on the couples dynamic there. The primary reason that they are in the mess they're in is because the boys were jerks to Jaclyn. Their unwillingness to play a social game forced her hand in going with the other alliance. And Jon does exactly what she says because he is ultra-whipped.

Ben Willoughby: I don't have much hope for Jaclyn making it to the end or winning. She's an outsider in the final five, without any clear alliances of her own. You would think that someone who has shown some good insights into the game would have spent some time over the last 30-plus days building those alliances, but from what we have seen she has worked mostly through Jon.

Every time we have seen her and Jon have a discussion, she has been on the money - except possibly that one time a couple of episodes ago when she was upset at not going on the horsey-ride and decided it might be better to flip again with Alec, Wes and Keith. So I think she and Jon have a dynamic that he always knows what he wants to do, regardless of whether it is the best move, while she always second-guesses even if what she wants is the best move. So I wonder if that, combined with hanging around with her boyfriend all the time, makes others think of her as flighty and insecure.

David: Natalie is responsible for the single strangest behavior this season. She saved Jon then spent the body of two (or three?) episodes talking about how badly she wanted him gone. Even by Survivor standards, that was irrational.

Ben: Natalie saving Jon in one tribal council, only to immediately turn around and start plotting his demise was completely rational. Natalie's best path to the end was to get there with Missy and Baylor, and that meant keeping her alliance together which, for the moment included Jon. If Jon had been voted out, it would have been Missy and Baylor, Natalie and free-agent Jaclyn, against a solid four of Reed, Alec, Wes and Keith. That is not a good outcome for Natalie. Protecting her alliance - and creating opportunities for her partners - was the right decision. She gets credit for being a savvy player by convincing Jon to play his idol and save her alliance, and then gets extra credit for masterminding Jon's elimination from the game.

Jim: I really started noticing Jaclyn’s deference to Jon after my wife said something about it. Everything is about Jon and his game. And every time Jaclyn had the right read, Jon would tell her he didn't think she was right and they'd continue down the same path. If not for Jaclyn and Natalie telling him to play an idol, he'd have been gone a while ago - which actually would have been better for Jaclyn’s game.

Ben: I wonder if bringing your spouse on Blood vs Water is a bigger handicap in the game than bringing a sibling, child or parent. You are there with a bunch of strangers, plus the person in your life that you want to spend the most time with, and that must really hamper your ability to develop the individual alliances that you need to win.

Jim: Overall, though, it's hard for me to come up with enough care to even debate it. This season deserves a Twinnie Win.

Ben: You deserve a crotch-kick for using the T-word.

Jim: By the way....did you realize that Keith is the same age as Jeff Probst? Crazy!

David: Man, he looks 80 and a hard, Courtney Love 80 at that.

Kim: Huh... I suppose I probably would have put Keith in his 50s and Jeff, too, but they do seem markedly different.

Jim: I know, right? Makes me want to spit just thinking about it.

Also, I was listening to an interesting Cesternino podcast with Laura and Ciera from the first BvW. Not a lot of love for the new mother/daughter team there. Laura just said it would be a dream to take both Missy and Baylor to the final three. She can't believe how nice it would be to take two goats to the final tribal.

Ben: Laura is assuming that she wouldn’t be the goat? Huh.

David: The problem with this line of thinking is that an argument could be made that everyone but Keith is a goat.

Jim: And Keith is terrible at the there's no real clear cut winner I don't think. I'm hoping for a Keith-Natalie-Jaclyn final three. If that happens, it could be a time where the final tribal answers actually make a difference. *shrugs*

Ben: I think Natalie wins there, easily. The answers would make a big difference in a Missy-Jaclyn-Keith final three though.

Jim: Is there any way at all that people could scarp the final 3 and vote for Jeremy?

David: I'm on Team Josh rather than Jeremy. If Rocker's skank doesn't quit, Josh and Reed are in complete control of this game. Keith wins because the jury is all dudes. That's why I presume he is the biggest target. How Jaclyn treats the betrayal is the most interesting remaining question.

Jim: I actually preferred Josh as well...he and Jeremy are #1 and #1a for me as far as players go. Do you think Reed would vote Keith the way he screwed his game? I was thinking the same thing at first, but wonder if Reed (and by proxy, Josh) would vote for Keith because he's a terrible player.

Ben: I think Keith would be the worst possible winner for the season and possibly the worst winner ever. Yes, even worse than Baylor. This is because he spent a good part of the season not knowing what was going on. When you don't understand that people are allowed to lie when they answer Probst's questions at Tribal Council, you don't deserve a vote, much less a win. And I can't see the people on the jury who consider themselves serious players - Josh, Jeremy, Reed and Jon - voting his way. They’ll all want to be seen voting for the winner.

Jim: Alec votes for Jaclyn because she's hot.

David: I think Jaclyn's voting would be the most interesting. The reason why the game broke the way it did was because she went with the women, bringing Jon along with her. She doesn't have a relationship with the dudes, and Jon is kind of a traitor. I could see her still getting support because she is smart, attractive and wasn't a lump at camp. I could also see her getting shut out against even Missy and Baylor. As much as it blows my mind, there are scenarios where Missy wins the game.

Ben: I think the guys blame her for not going with them. And I also think if Missy makes it to the end with anyone but Natalie, she stands a chance at winning. The other players either haven't played the game, or haven't demonstrated they have been playing it.

Jim: Egads, man...don't say that. Missy cannot sit among Kim Spradlin, Rob Mariano and Cochran as a Survivor winner.

David: As we said in a recent recap, she's no different as a winner than Tyson or Cochran. The meek have started inheriting the Survivor earth.

Ben: I'm not sure “meek” is the right word when she has played such a controlling game. Everyone’s afraid of upsetting her.

David: I bet the teachers at Baylor's schools were all terrified of Missy, as was the PTA.

Jim: Obviously, we'd have to agree to disagree on that. Missy would be the worst winner ever. Even worse than Vecepia. That's right, I said it. Even worse than Vee!

David: A couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed with Jim on Missy. I am being forced to reconsider, though. She is a stupid and treacherous woman who has taken helicopter parenting to her logical extreme. She has always formed strong alliances, been in control of who gets voted out basically since the merge. She has orchestrated the surprise votes that even her allies did not expect. And she has eliminated threats effectively, which is exactly why so many lousy players remain. In a certain way, she is an evil genius. I think this is what Sarah Palin looks like as a Survivor player.

Ben: While they're personally not my favorites, I do think Missy and Baylor received more attention for their bad behavior than others - I'm thinking mostly of Reed here. Missy has been pretty forthright about being there to win the game, so you can put her in the same category as Jeremy, Josh and Jon, who were also there to win and didn't really care who knew it. And Baylor siding with her mother over Josh - who voted for her in the very first episode - is seen as some sort of betrayal. There were game reasons that Josh kept Baylor around - the exact same reasons why Baylor has been kept around by other players - so I don't think she owed him anything.

My own opinion of Missy and Baylor is that they are just not very good at Survivor. In The Godfather Part II, Johnny Ola talks about his ancient boss, Hyman Roth, and how he led a long life. "One by one, our old friends are gone. Death, natural or not, prison, deported. Hyman Roth is the only one left, because he always made money for his partners." Missy and Baylor didn't create many opportunities for their partners - except the opportunity to go along to the end with them and beat them.

Kim: I think if Natalie makes the final, she wins. The guys like her, she's had good alliances with the rest, and I *think* she can articulate some reasonable answers to questions (I'm not sure of this because of her weird thing where she kept Jon around even though she wanted him gone).

But I actually wonder if Keith/Missy and someone don't team up to get her out of there. Commercials are promising a final blindside, though we know that word does not necessarily mean what they think it means.

David: I don't think Natalie can keep her mouth shut about her (weird) hatred of Jon. Whether that helps or hurts her with the jury remains to be seen.

Ben: If she has managed to keep her mouth shut to them so far so far, I think she’ll do just fine.

Kim: Yeah, I don't necessarily think that's going to hurt her with this group.

David: It all depends on how she does it. If she is short and to the point, the guys will dig that. If she meanders, the He Man Woman Hater's Club will be reminded why they didn't want to talk to any of these women in the first place.

From the meta perspective, what has happened with Baylor and Missy is the textbook example of how well the Blood vs Water concept can work. An inseparable duo has made enough straggler allies to impose their will on the game.

Jim: I agree...if Natalie makes it, she wins. I think against anyone. We can argue over whether she's the best player or not...but I think she can make the best argument. And the fact that she convinced a handful of people that she actually got confused about her vote (Jaclyn seemed to be the only one who saw through that)...I think she can convince them to give her the money. Especially when I think Jeremy, Reed and Josh are likely already inclined to vote for her anyway.

David: Keith is the one that I believe beats anybody. Wes is tight with the other dudes. They will want to reward his dad. There is an Occam's Razor element to this. No matter how impressed anybody is by what Natalie has accomplished, Keith was the patriarch of their alliance. If he makes it to the end, I'd be shocked to see them not reward him.

Kim: I would agree. I think Keith has a chance to pull off a win if he's in the final... except that he's going to have to talk. But if Keith is in the final three, I don't *think* Natalie is. (Although I think Baylor/Natalie may combine to get rid of Missy, which would be something, or maybe they use Jaclyn for a Missy vote before getting rid of her.)

Jim: I'm with you on this. I don't think there's a way that Natalie and Keith are in the final three. If they're both in the final HAVE to think they'll be targeting each other and one will go home.

David: The other potential surprise is that Missy's injury grows worse and she has to be removed.

Jim: I hate the Survivor promos. Because of the “One Final Blindside,” I can't imagine that Missy gets med-evac'd. But you never know. She could leave right off the bat and then Natalie is the huge blindside leaving Keith with an easy win.

David: As strange as this is, Keith seems to be in a mother/father relationship with Missy. So, I think Natalie would be their target. Baylor has the relationship with Natalie, which leaves Jaclyn as the person with no real allies. There isn't even a way for her to work a deal at the five.

Ben: Keith also has a relationship with Natalie, in that she was the one who stuck her neck out and saved him over Alec. And he's the type of person who might feel he owes her over someone like Missy, who didn't try to keep him in the game.

Jim: A lot will hinge on the final challenges. Obviously, Missy is out of contention. These balance/strength challenges are rough on they kinda screw tall people and at 6', she's the tallest out there. Natalie and Keith have proven to be real solid challenge competitors...and if it's not doing something with your feet, I think Baylor is a non-factor.

I want to see a straight up test of wills challenge...let's see who wants it the most.

Ben: Test of wills? Sure, so long as it isn't "balance one thing on top of another thing".