Survivor: Samoa: The (Beginning of the) Emancipation of the Aiga Castaway ( Episode 12)

Call me sinister, but the most enjoyable part of the past few Survivor: Samoa episodes isn't exactly when a blindside develops at camp and unfolds at Tribal Council. The minutes between the immunity challenge and the vote is full of chatter, and at this point all you want is action rather than words. Sure, I'm fascinated by the politics in a way I never thought I would when I first watched Survivor, but talk is tentative. It doesn't get you anywhere until it happens, when Jeff reads the votes. I don't feel satisfied until the votes are read and the object of the blindside slowly realizes that he's on his way out.

The last four episodes--last night's included, and yes, I'm excluding the clip show--have seen four people go, and nothing is more enjoyable than seeing their faces change slowly. Erik, very confident that Galu will prevail, slowly looking confused and then defeated when he realizes his own tribe mates kicked him out. Kelly, comfortable that their dimwitted plan is successful, eventually dropping her jaw when Russell played his immunity idol and saw all their votes cancelled out. Laura's face didn't really change, but you can sense her disappointment when one of her own went against her.

And that one, John--oh, his face was a delight! "Yeah, they voted for Mick. Plan's working! Oh, wait, that's my vote! Ahh, Shambo voted for Dave. I saw that coming. I'm safe. Uh-oh, who voted for me? And another one? And another one? Oh (expletive), I'm screwed! And Laura thinks I'm screwed! I don't want to go to the jury! Laura will kill me in the name of whatever's in the sky! Noooooo!" (Obviously I took the liberty of guessing what he was thinking when the votes came.)

It took a while, but I'm happy that the individual game has finally begun. It's a slow, slow burn, but it's begun. Sure, the tribal game at the beginning is important, especially if you're to get yourself a sure shot at the merge, but this season it dragged its course. The past four Tribal Councils have been lots of fun, but frankly you know what the yellows will do, and what the purples will do. I wanted someone, anyone, to start playing the game for himself, rather than worry about alliances.

Okay, so Russell's been doing that, and Shambo's been doing that to an extent--just wait for her to snap after the horrible events this week, poor her--but the rest are still sticking with their old colors. "Purple power forever!" is outdated ideology at this point. They haven't figured out that as their ranks are slowly decimated, they'll go down the drain unless they break free. That's what Shambo's done, and that's what John tried to do. Dave and Monica will never break out of that mindset. The yellows also have to figure out that Russell is not their be-all--so, go, Jaison, you should've thought of this ages ago!

In the end, it sucks to watch the final vote go across tribal lines. That wouldn't be any exciting, at least from experience. At least last night they were exchanging niceties as Aiga, rather than as Galu versus Foa Foa. Next week, I'll be waiting.

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