The Baker's Dozen

Reaching conclusions


With only two episodes left – this Wednesday and the 2-hour finale on the 17th – the season is reaching its conclusion… which allows us to reach some conclusions about the players and the season entire.


I find myself in an interesting spot this week: there’s a lot to write about, the game’s gotten interesting, but I remain ambivalent about it all. So much of what we’re seeing is the end result of manipulation, which leaves a bitter aftertaste (the worst part of this is that in the minds of the producers this validates the steps they took to salvage the season – which means they’ll do it again). But when I push past that disappointment, I realize one fundamental truth about Survivor: the game always takes care of itself. After a month of deprivation, people become who they really are, and with a million dollars on the line, people find themselves emotionally and psychologically tested in ways that are utterly unthinkable in daily life. Where the endgame’s involved, even bad Survivor is good Survivor.


With a double episode – and with narratives coming into focus – there’s much to touch on, but given that I’m writing this on Monday afternoon (it was a lost weekend), I find myself with a choice: Either take the time to craft thirteen points of interest, or talk about everything that I hastily scribbled on my notepad last Wednesday night.

You know what? I’m gonna go through Door #2. If you come here looking for depth over breadth, don’t worry, I’ll start with a long exploration of Natalie’s decision to vote out Alec. After that, though, I’m going to topic surf wherever the currents take me.


(Warning: Some of you may have read a version of #1 on Facebook… if so, apologies for the repetition.)


Natalie and Keith

1) Natalie – whose overall game I highly respect – made a horrible move.


To be fair, I understand some of her thinking… and yet she chose the worst of the three paths available to her.


She resisted the Jaclyn blindside, I would guess, because to target Jaclyn is to lose one of her paths to the Final 3. Before the second Tribal Council of the night, Team JJ and Baylor/Missy saw Natalie as their #3. Taking out Jaclyn would mean Jon would no longer want her there at the end, both strategically (she made a big move which helps her endgame resume) and emotionally (because she took out his girlfriend). Although, if Natalie isn’t planning to go to the end with either member of Team JJ, what does it matter if Jon is angry? (I do think that Natalie sees Jaclyn as a goat – another reason to keep her around.)


Going after Jaclyn has benefits, though: undercut the power duo, make Jon paranoid and desperate (he probably plays worse alone), and makes it "everyone against Jon" at F6, F5, and F4. To make it to the end, he'd have to play his idol once and win two immunities – not impossible, but much harder than the current situation (F6 with an idol and Jaclyn still in the game). You've got two sacrificial lambs to take out if things don't go your way (Alec and Keith), and you've made a move that you can talk about at Final Tribal Council.






Now, Alec: It’s not like there aren’t reasons to vote him out. By removing Christy the Younger – whom Natalie had to fear Baylor and Missy might choose over her as the Missy/Baylor #3 (Baylor because she's flirting with him; Missy because bringing Alec would likely guarantee mother or daughter wins the million) – Natalie keeps Keith around, who serves two purposes: possibly beating Jon in a challenge, and Missy/Baylor won't choose Keith over Natalie.




And yet, Natalie's easiest path to the end was to do something she didn't want to do: DO NOTHING. She's (myopically) focused on removing Jon (and avenging Jeremy), and she feels that she needs to make big moves to pad her endgame resume. But if she just lets Keith go, she's in a Final 6 with two tandems who trust her... and Alec, who won’t win an immunity challenge, which would turn all of the attention onto Natalie (if the tandems decided to stick together). If Natalie were to feel that Missy might consider blindsiding her, rather than taking out Jaclyn, she could point out that she has an idol… and I think at that point, Missy joins Baylor (who, despite the flirting, was willing to part ways with Alec) and Alec goes home. And then, all Natalie would need to do is assure Jon and Jaclyn that she's with them – do the same with Baylor and Missy – and she's in the Final 5 with an idol, which means she's in the final 4.


Jon, too, has an idol, so he gets to the F4 as well, which means that they have to take out Jaclyn at F5, unless she's immune (either her own win or Jon's), and then the alliance will have to sacrifice Missy (but it won't be her fault). Natalie would be vulnerable at F4, but everyone would be focused on Team JJ (one or both of them), not her, so she's in the F3…


Bottom line: If Natalie votes out Keith, Alec goes next, she plays her idol, and unless Jon wins individual immunity, she goes to the Final 3… and probably wins.


Natalie, Jon, Jaclyn


Sadly, Natalie wanted to keep around players who she feels are on her side: the two tandems and Keith. Not a bad idea at F6 to be in the game with a group of people who are after each other and think you're a loyal ally. The problem is, that's who these people were BEFORE she made her move. By taking out Alec, the two tandems no longer trust her, and at least Missy is smart enough to know that Natalie is now a danger to win the game (because Natalie is making moves). Her only real assets now are Keith, who has no power and will go with whatever group isn't going to go after him, and Baylor, who will ultimately listen to her mother. As for Missy, she can't possibly trust Natalie at this point: not only did Natalie switch her vote without telling Missy, she also didn't tell her about the idol for a couple of days – and Missy is a woman who wants and needs to be kept in the loop. 


To sum up:


Best option: Voting out Keith. Natalie remains the fulcrum between the two power tandems, and Alec isn't likely to win a challenge. He goes at F6, Natalie picks Baylor and Missy over Team JJ, Jaclyn goes at F5, followed by Jon at F4 (although that challenge will be tailor made for Jon), and Natalie cruises to a win over Missy and Baylor (or has a bigger fight on her hands against Jon and Baylor). At no point is Natalie ever targeted until F4, and only then if Jon wins immunity. And if that happens, there’s an outside chance she can convince Baylor to vote out her mom instead of her.




Second best: Voting out Jaclyn. Big move for the endgame resume. Shows Missy and Baylor that she's with them to the F3. Take out Jon at F6 if you can... if not, Keith. Then Jon at F5 if you can... if not, Alec (yes, there’s some worry that Missy/Baylor might vote out Natalie over Alec/Keith at F6 and F5 because they're goats and Natalie isn't – Natalie has an idol for one of those spots, though). Take out Jon at F4 if you can... if not, Natalie is vulnerable, but might be able to convince Baylor to vote out Missy. On this path, Natalie is vulnerable twice, rather than once, but in return for that risk she has a Probst-approved “Big Move” that could sway the jury.


Last and least: Voting out Alec. Natalie betrayed her alliance (especially after stressing at Tribal that the five should stick together) – and that pushes Jon and Missy even closer together. Now, Natalie is a real threat to win the game AND she has an idol – so she'll be targeted at every Tribal between now and the finale. All Natalie got out of this was removing the threat that Baylor would pick Alec over her at F5 (voting out Alec is not a “Big Move” – the jury will not be impressed with Nat blindsiding a Christy, and remember, some of the members of Natalie’s alliance will be on the jury). The price she paid for taking matters into her own hands was being vulnerable at every tribal from here on out (with only one idol to save her).


Horrible decision.




A few more notes before I move on:


Jon** I’ve heard that Natalie took out Alec to undercut Jon’s power in the game… but I just can’t see Jon, Jaclyn, and Alec swaying Missy and Baylor to take out Natalie. It’s possible, I suppose, given Missy’s bond with Jon. But I think Missy insists that both Jon and Natalie remain in the game – because she feels they’re loyal to her – and Alec still goes home. (That said, Natalie would have a far better read on this dynamic than I.)


** I think we’re seeing the end result of Natalie’s inexperience and lack of knowledge about the game here: she needed to model her moves on Sophie Clarke’s, someone who knew to ride her alliance until the last possible moment and understood that sometimes the best move is no move at all.


** Speaking of inexperience, for someone who so desperately wants to get revenge on Jon, Natalie has a funny way of showing it: She needed to assume that the idol would be replanted, and when it came time for Missy to pick someone to go to Exile, Natalie needed to volunteer. If she knew her Survivor history, she would have known that when there’s a dominant alliance making the game stagnant – and when you’re a favored nation (the producers love what Natalie is bringing to the game right now) – then there’s going to be an idol out there for the finding. She could have been at the Final 6 with two idols (and made any move she wanted to at the second Tribal); instead, Jon is re-armed and dangerous.


** The teaser this week shows how Natalie is going to explain away her actions: no one talked to her before Tribal, and so she wrote down the wrong name. The other players may buy it – they’re a gullible bunch – but they won’t BELIEVE her. There’s a difference…


** To explain: There is a spider web of social connection that underlies all of existence: we’re all interconnected to one another in a four-dimensional web of relationships (which extends into the past and the future as well as the here and now). Obviously, the people closest to us – friends and family – are much more tightly bound to us. And so it is with Survivor: players can feel the depth of their connections with one another, and after a month out there, they can sense when the connections, the strands of the spider web, are getting frayed. Baylor knows that Natalie is lying… which means she’ll always be worried that Natalie is lying to HER. Missy already doesn’t fully trust Natalie, because the idol discovery remained hidden from her for a couple of days. And now, Natalie – someone they have all identified as a smart, strategic player – suddenly forgot whom to vote for? They may accept her excuse – it might even be plausible – but it’s like when prey lands on the edge of a spider web: everyone will feel the vibrations of this vote, and they will not trust Natalie the rest of the way.




And now, we surf…



Wink wink

2) Keith is going to win


I know, I know – last week I said Jon would win.  In my defense, had the season ended after last week, I think the edit would support that conclusion. But Jon got a LOT of doubt in these two episodes…


Indeed, these two hours were all about letting us know what Jon is going to argue at the Final Tribal Council.


He’s going to take credit for moves that weren’t his: playing the idol to save himself, which was Natalie’s doing… targeting Jeremy, which, according to exit interviews, appears to have been Reed’s plan… and positioning Jaclyn and himself as the swing votes, when even Jaclyn admits within the episodes that she’s not sure how and why this keeps happening…


… and he’s going to talk about his dad’s brain cancer and possibly Jaclyn’s medical condition. Double sob story. If this were the Jeff Probst Show, that narrative might even win over a jury…


But Keith killed those arguments at the second Tribal when he said that the jury is “sharp enough to see through that stuff.” In that moment, Keith was speaking for everyone who had been voted out (their faces certainly didn’t contradict what Keith was saying). Indeed, the only reason to include that shot is to set up the Keith vs. Jon showdown at Final Tribal Council.


Keith, meanwhile, might have a number of votes already locked up: Wes, Alec, and quite possibly Reed (and with him, Josh). If the final three is who I suspect it will be – Keith, Jon, and Baylor – then these are the obvious votes:


jurorsJosh: ?
Jeremy: ?
Wes: Keith
Reed: ?
Alec: ?
Jaclyn: Jon
Missy: Baylor
Natalie: ?


The end of the game always comes down to three interrelated factors: How much the jurors like a particular player, how the jurors feel about how THEY will be seen having been defeated by that player, and how they wish their season to be remembered.


With those filters in mind, let’s fill in some gaps:

Josh: ?
Jeremy: Jon
Wes: Keith
Reed: ?
Alec: Keith
Jaclyn: Jon
Missy: Baylor
Natalie: Jon


My thinking: Natalie has said that she thinks Jon is playing a good game (she believes Baylor is a follower and Keith is a floater). Jeremy, meanwhile, won’t want to vote for any of these three, but in the end, he and Natalie will discuss it and get on the same page. Alec is a bit of a wild card: He’s close to Jon and Jaclyn, but he’ll listen to Wes, the only bro who’s at Ponderosa with him, and vote for Keith.


(For the record, I think Jeremy might end up voting for Keith over Jon… I have a feeling that the Ponderosa Debates won’t be kind to Team JJ.)


ReedThat leaves Reed and Josh: Who do they respect? Like? And want in the middle of the cover of the San Juan del Sur DVD?


Baylor’s a brat, so she’s out. It comes down, then, to Jon – who grows more insufferable every day – and Keith, who would be the perfect WTF winner to a train wreck of a season.


In the end, this is a social game, and I think Jon’s sense of entitlement – cultivated over years of a privileged life – will get the better of him.


Keith’s your winner, folks.



3) I’m always fascinated by the paths of communication.

Given that Survivor is a social game, information is invaluable – and if you can track how people get it, you’ll know what’s REALLY going on, no matter what people tell you. (Indeed, one effective strategy is to share random information with various players, and then track who ends up knowing it – that will tell you who is talking with whom.) To be sure, players HAVE to be aware who is going to find out when you tell a particular castaway some key information.


Mom! Mom!


Which is a long-winded preamble to this: Baylor can keep a secret for a couple of days, but eventually, she’s going to open up to her mother. It’s really hard to sustain a lie – even a lie of omission – when you’re around one another 24/7, particularly when Missy is probably intuitively aware of Baylor’s “tells.” Baylor is going to explain to Missy that Natalie voted out Alec intentionally – and that’s when Missy will know for sure that she can’t trust Nat, and, more importantly, understand that she cannot beat her at the end.


Which means at that point, Natalie will have to go.



4) Who told Jon about jury management?


It’s funny that he’s the only one we see talking about cultivating votes on the jury. I mean, he’s not doing it well – everyone can see through him – but at least he’s aware that perception matters. (How very telling that Jaclyn doesn’t understand at first what he means when he’s talking about taking credit for playing his idol.)


To be fair, I’m sure everyone’s either talking – or thinking – about it. Why, then, do they keep making decisions that will undermine their standing with the jury? Natalie’s move, once everyone knows it was intentional, will alienate the people she betrayed. By taking credit for moves everyone knows he didn’t make will hurt, not help Jon. Missy, meanwhile, continues to belittle and berate people who will be heading to the jury. Once again, it’s like these people understand the concept of jury management, but aren’t fully aware how to do it.


5) Speaking of that jury management scene…

It devolved into a debate over who would make the Final 3, Jon or Jaclyn.


One thing’s for sure when a couple has an argument like this.


ONE of them is going to be there at the end.



6) Random observation about Keith…


How many times has this guy had the first confessional of the night? He’s acting as a narrator – but he’s also making strategic commentary. As I’ve said before, the producers are bending over backwards to give this guy air time…


(By the way, this is one of many questions and observations I don’t have time to research at the moment…)


7) There are three levels of perception we need to concern ourselves with…

… how the players see themselves… how others see them… and how we, the viewers, are seeing them (thanks to the edit). A quick run-down:



Jon & Jaclyn** He sees himself as the hero… the prohibitive favorite… steering and controlling the game.


** The other players see him as a threat… but also as entitled and arrogant… yes, he’s constantly in the middle of votes, but that has more to do with circumstance than intention.


** Viewers are getting one heck of a hero edit (the producers are helping give Jon credit for things he didn’t do, such as create the plan to blindside Jeremy)… and yet, they’ve included some doubt this week, which means his experience with the jury will be a rough one.



** She sees herself as an equal partner in everything she and Jon have done.


** The other players see her as a coattail rider.


** We’ve been given a pretty invisible edit (other than when she’s creating drama where there needn’t be any)… she didn’t even get to talk about her own medical condition.



Missy & Baylor** To her, she’s in the middle of everything, and instrumental in major swings of power.


** Unless they’re misdirecting us in their exit interviews, the jury members don’t think much of Missy… and the players in the game don’t seem to be all that impressed, either.


** We’ve been given a mess of an edit with Missy… sometimes, she’s shown as playing a great social game, other times she botches it badly (for example, the Julie conversation about staying in the game). 



** She thinks everyone has underestimated her because she’s young…


** … but the other players feel she’s a brat (did you notice that no one jumped to Baylor’s defense other than Missy?).


** She’s been given more than her fair share of screen time, probably because she’s one of the Final 3.



Natalie** She’s highly self-aware: she knows she’s played well and put herself in a position to win… but she also knows her faults and flaws (I bet she beats herself up for the Alec blowback she’ll feel back at camp this week)… she also knows that she’s the only one out there with an intuitive understanding of how to play this game (this is where being a “reality show veteran” gives her a huge edge: when the other players are buckling under the stress of the game as the end approaches, she’s gaining momentum and traction and focus).


** The other players know she’s good – and are starting to understand that she’s DANGEROUS.


** Natalie disappeared for large swaths of the season, and was all but invisible at the merge… but she’s all over the narrative now (in large part because she HAS to be). Feels a lot like a Final 4 finish to me… but I really hope I’m wrong.



Keith** He thinks he’s been holding on by a thread for weeks now… no illusions that he’s got any power at this point… knows he’s done well in challenges, but suspects that this has more to do with luck than anything.


** The other players see Keith as a likeable “character,” someone who is doing the best he can without having much say in who stay and who goes.


** We’ve seen a LOT of Keith; he’s been on our screens more than someone like him usually is (Cowboy Rick in South Pacific, for example). As I’ve been saying for weeks, we don’t get this version of Keith unless he’s important. In the absence of big moves or other in-game influence, it HAS to mean he’s in the Final 3.


The gap between perception and reality can tell us much – about the personalities of these people, but also how dramatic (and uncomfortable) Final Tribal Council will get. I think if we were to go back and do a comprehensive study of Survivor players, the ones that had the best read on how others saw them were the ones who fared the best at the end (because it’s about having a well-developed sense of empathy).


More proof that Keith is our winner.



8) Babysitting other players is a double-edged sword.


Clearly, Natalie and Missy decided that Jon and Jaclyn needed to be watched constantly, so that Reed couldn’t make a move, and the numbers are low enough now that you can put players on lockdown.


It’s a solid strategy, one that I’d be tempted to employ myself, but it’s dangerous: people don’t LIKE to be babysat.


In the short term, you control the players and the vote…


… in the long term, though, they may resent it enough to turn on you, or refuse to vote for you at the end if you do it.


That’s why Boston Rob’s buddy system worked so well: he wasn’t the one doing the watching.



9) Missy should have picked Natalie and Jaclyn to go on the reward…


Baylor would have gotten over the snub, and even if she remained mad, she’s never going to backstab Missy.


They all KNOW that Jaclyn is inclined to flip – and needs to feel wanted. It’s annoying when someone is wired that way, and no one wants to feel obliged to give a reward to someone, but Missy needed to suck it up anyway and bring the beauty…


On a related note: I think some of Jaclyn’s indignation came from a sudden realization of what was SUPPOSED to happen, if Missy had been thinking strategically…


Anyway, Missy also had to pick Natalie over Baylor, because it’s all about the endgame at this point: you need to make sure nothing can happen while you’re off enjoying yourself. Natalie is a wild card and a self-interested strategist. Can’t fully trust her.


Of course, Natalie shouldn’t have been an option – as I said before, she should have volunteered for Exile.


And really, no one should have wanted to win the reward in the first place: It’s one of the Commandments! Late game rewards are a trap. Getting picked is fine – doing the picking always does some damage (it’s fraying those spider web strands).


And really, the dominant alliance should have pre-gamed this whole challenge (rather than deciding on the fly): who would win, and who that person would have picked. Game everything! Leave nothing to chance.


It was Jon

10) Why was the Alec/Keith vote being split in the first place?


Did they really think that Keith or Alec could possibly have an idol? If so, why? And who proposed the plan? Was it Natalie?


Splitting votes at F7 opens your alliance up to precisely these sort of shenanigans… which is why I would have questioned both the plan and the planner.


It’s almost like these people just kept splitting votes out of habit…


11) One of the things I love most about the endgame…

… is how, after a month on the beach, after all of their masks have been removed, castaways become who they really are.


And so it is with this bunch:

            Baylor is a brat.
            Missy is a brat enabler who lacks real empathy.
            Natalie is a reality show schemer.
            Jon is an entitled, self-important goofball.
            Jaclyn is a high-maintenance, passive-aggressive, ego-driven pageant girl.
            And Keith is a good ole boy.


Were I to encounter the island versions of these people, I know I’d love Nat and enjoy Keith… I think the rest of them would drive me nuts.


12) People enter Survivor with all sorts of addictions.

Caffeine and nicotine, of course, but that’s not what I’m talking about.


People get addicted to what they feel makes them important.


Powerful people want to have power wherever they go. Intelligent people want to be seen as smart. If we’re nice, it kills us when anyone thinks we’re mean.


JaclynJaclyn, I feel, is addicted to being wanted. Thus the flirting. And the power game with Jon.


Every day, she glides through life being seen as beautiful and charismatic and charming.


(I know she’s had hardships in her life. I don’t mean to downplay them. I’m just pointing out the advantages she’s had throughout her life’s journey.)


Unfortunately, Jaclyn’s addiction has been at the heart of a lot of bad gameplay. Fighting with Jon for six hours was HORRIBLY unwise. As was flirting with Alec.


She’s an addict – and her desire for a fix will undermine not only her ability to win the game, but Jon’s too.


13) More flawed armchair psychology…

The way Jon and Jaclyn acted during the bed of pasta reward suggests that they believe, on some underlying, foundational level, that how the game is unfolding validates what has undoubtedly been a pretty charmed existence so far in their young lives.


They let their guard down, as so many players do late in the game… their assumptions about themselves, about the game, about life are on full display.


And sometimes that ain’t pretty (even if the people are).



14) More proof that production is punting San Juan del Sur and focusing on Season 30…


The challenges are getting pretty redundant (and helping players with certain skill sets, wouldn’t you say?)…


Oh, and they entitled a late-season episode, “Kind of Like Cream Cheese.”


They’re not even trying.


15) A random observation about something random…

When we don’t have any idea who the winner is likely to be with two episodes to go, the winner is random.


Not random: Jon and Natalie


A little random: Missy


Random: Jaclyn, Baylor… Keith.


RIP, coconut chop

16) The “Coconut Chop” challenge is dead.


If THIS group can figure it out, then it is irretrievably broken. I can totally understand Probst’s frustration. This is a challenge which SHOULD reveal the fractures in dominant alliances.


There’s only one way to salvage it: Use it when there’s a Final 2 (and the players know it’s a Final 2), and make the reward incomprehensibly awesome. Yes, players could still game the game and refuse to make hard choices. But if you incentivize enough, they’ll turn on each other.


Side note, since I’m talking about this challenge again: I loved how Natalie asked Jon what she should do. In that small moment, she made him feel like he was in charge… and he’d take all the blame for whatever she did. Well done, Twinnie.


17) How little Alec must have given the producers…

… if two of his limited confessionals were about meat collecting and cream cheese.



18) I feel the need to emphasize this…


“We’re in the middle AGAIN. I don’t understand how this keeps happening.”


That’s Jaclyn talking about the position she and Jon keep finding themselves in.


Good players create opportunities. But Team JJ is LUCKY. They don’t mean for this to happen – it just does.


They’re not playing the game. The game is playing THEM.


And the more I think about it, the more I don’t see players like Josh and Jeremy giving their respect – or vote – to Jon and/or Jaclyn if they’re in the Final 3.



19) The Confederacy of Dunces claimed another victim.


I feel bad for Reed. His exit interviews were outstanding. He deserved a far better fate than to be unable to scramble because an indulgent, passive-aggressive couple couldn’t get past their differences and play the game.


And now Reed joins the family of players who spoke the truth at Tribal but it gets them nowhere. He was completely right about the situation awaiting the two couples at Final 5: One of the tandems is wrong.


(Interestingly, Missy didn’t deny that she, Baylor, and Natalie were locked in as a Final 3. Instead, she pointed out the Jaclyn/Alec flirting. Classic misdirect.)


A game well-played, Reed.


You and Josh were the strongest tandem this season, and I don’t think it was particularly close.


20) More proof that one of Jon and Jaclyn make it to the Final 3…

That long, lingering, sun-soaked montage of the two of them in the midst of their lovers quarrel… those moments aren’t wasted on players who come in 6th and 5th.


21) More Jon and Jaclyn!

Once again, production sat them in the middle at the second Tribal Council.


Just like at weddings, where people sit at Tribal Council matters – A LOT.


Information is everywhere, if you just know where to look.



22) Two random comparisons for you!


Jon is reminding me more and more of Mike Skupin: instrumental in the game, but lacking self-awareness about how the other players perceive him.


And I think Jon and Missy fancy themselves as Malcolm/Denise redux. They’re not, of course, but I bet they’ve talked about it (if – and it’s a big if with this group – they’ve seen Survivor: Philippines).


23) Is it just me…

… or did Natalie at one point propose this alliance to Baylor: Natalie/Baylor/Keith/Alec.


What if that happened… and they were sharp enough to take out Natalie at F4?


A final three of Keith, Baylor, and Alec?


Dear god.


24) Proof that Baylor is a brat…

During the coconut chop challenge, Baylor’s answer to the “Who owns a spray tanning company” question included something about Julie and trail mix.




25) One of the Survivor Commandments: look around the moment Probst says you just won the immunity challenge…


… and see if the other players aren’t happy.


All Jon needed to do was get one glimpse of Natalie and Baylor to know that they didn’t want him to win.


If he was at all observant, Jon would know that he’s being targeted by his alliance.

Instead, he thinks everything’s just fine.







26) For those of you wondering if this is going to be a Final 3 or a Final 2…


It’s going to be a Final 3.


There’s no way that in a Blood vs. Water season that they’d plan on a Final 2.


If a couple made it to the end in a Final 2 season, it would be the most boring Final Tribal Council in the history of the show. (And we’ve had some bad ones.)


It’s a Final 3.


Book it.


27) There’s a recurring image this season…

Power players going for a solitary swim in the ocean.


Jeremy did it… and was voted out.


Natalie did it this past week.


I’m guessing that the San Juan del Sur ocean is a lot like the waterfall in Marquesas: when production includes a shot of you in this particular spot, you’re doomed.


Surround and drown.


28) At long last, prediction time.

For Natalie, targeting Alec had to be step one in a plan, right?


She convinces Jon, Jaclyn, and Missy that her vote for Alec was an accident…


… and then she turns to Keith and Baylor and says that Jon is now the target.


The problem will be Missy, who won’t want to get rid of Jon (edit: and the recent promo confirms this).


I have faith that if Natalie is being targeted, she’ll sniff it out, and she’s got an idol to protect herself.


Jon, too, has an idol to play.


Natalie wants to keep Keith around (and the edit suggests he stays)…


So there’s really only one choice here: Jaclyn.


Who would object, other than Team JJ?


Natalie has a big move for her resume… Baylor can take the credit if Natalie is voted out before the Final 3… Keith will be happy that it isn’t him… and Missy would have Jon all to herself.


Yep… Jaclyn’s going home.




That’s it for this edition of The Baker’s Dozen – if you’d like to keep the conversation going, leave a comment below!


Andy Baker

Andy Baker is a long-time, but definitely not long-winded, Survivor blogger.

Follow Andy on twitter: @SurvivorGenius