Fake Survivor: Micronesia
Fans vs Favorites I
**To follow along with the action, here is a link to the Fake Survivor: Micronesia simulation**: http://brantsteele.net/survivor/micronesia/r.php?c=lSdX1xif
This week on Fake Survivor, we get to find out how theoretical newbies will do against theoretical returning players. In the real-world, Fans vs Favorites seasons will always be heavily slanted against the new players because of the elements. Veterans have already lived through Survivor and know what to expect, that’s a huge advantage.
On the internet, the advantage doesn’t really exist. These players aren’t out there freezing and starving, none of them even know they are playing Fake Survivor. So it’ll be interesting to see how this simulation goes.
Here is your new player roster for the season:
This certainly looks like a cast of fans on a Fans vs Favorites season. Gretchen Cordy is the standout character going by real-world analogues. A guy like Gabriel Cade also draws some interest. I would be hard-pressed to ignore that we have the Bae, Queen Jenny Guzon-Bae on this tribe. None of these players were bad characters in the real-world, they just didn’t have the biggest presence either. Consider this their chance to make a real splash in the Fake Survivor universe.
And now, the moment every fake player has been waiting for, we get to find out their competition:
Coach Wade (Fake Survivor: China, 12th place)
Peter Baggenstos (Fake Survivor: China, 4th place)
Peih-Gee Law (Fake Survivor: Fiji, 4th place)
Cao Boi Bui(Fake Survivor: Cook Islands, 11th place)
Brooke Struck (Fake Survivor: Cook Islands, Runner-Up)
Jennifer Lanzetti (Fake Survivor: Panama, 3rd place)
Nicole Delma (Fake Survivor: Panama, 5th place)
Drew Christie (Fake Survivor: Guatemala, 3rd place)
Jenna Bowman (Fake Survivor: Palau, Runner-Up)
Malcolm Freberg (Fake Survivor: Thailand, Runner-Up)
Of course, there was some production favoritism going on in these selections. Particularly in the case of Coach and Cao Boi but if any of you have any issues with this cast, take it up with Fake Jeff Probst on Twitter. I hear he’s open to listening to suggestions on social media.
There are some big names in Fake Survivor lore on this cast. Malcolm lost one of the narrowest votes in Fake Survivor history. He then barely missed the cut on Fake Survivor: All-Stars. He’s no doubt pumped to be back for a second chance. Likewise, Jenna Bowman should have won her season according to universally everyone. Her loss to Jimmy Johnson still stings and she is back for revenge. Brooke’s loss was a little more conclusive but she is back to prove that her willingness to make risky moves (like going into a 50/50 rock draw) will pay off the second time around.
We also have some fallen angels in Drew, Jenny, Peih-Gee and Peter. Drew and Jenny (who is seemingly incapable of playing without at least one other Jenn/Jenny on her season) were very cutthroat players their first time around, we will see if that trend continues. Peih-Gee and Peter were players who had to fight for every inch they got in the game. They likely want to come in and establish a little more control this time around. While Nicole wasn’t a fallen angel, she found herself, much like Peih-Gee and Peter, fighting to overcome the odds. Her boot in Panama was one of the sadder votes because of how much effort Nicole put in staying alive throughout her season.
Regardless, this tribe will be led by Coach (at least in his mind). It doesn’t matter that he has the worst results out of any returning player, this is his time to shine. For going out so early in Fake Survivor: China, Coach had a big presence on the season. He was like the mini-boss you face halfway through a game before finding out who the real enemy is going to be.
Can you imagine this tribe where Coach, Drew and Cao Boi have to coexist? The rest of these players are would be so annoyed approximately 3 hours into the game. They might all ask to be voted out, Fairplay style, to avoid having to continue existing with them.
The season begins with a challenge right away. Two individual immunity idols are hidden on an island across from the starting point. One idol for each tribe. Whoever finds their respective idol will be safe from the first tribal council their tribe will attend. Call this the “Yau Man smashing Fairplay’s mouth into a boat” memorial challenge.
For the newbies, Neal creepily emerges from behind some trees and finds the idol first. For the returning players, Peih-Gee is the one to do so. Already, Peih-Gee is putting in some work to avoid falling into an early minority. She does not want a repeat of her first season.
After the “challenge”, we find out the tribe alliances. Ali, Queen Bae, Jonas, and Ted have formed a 4-person alliance on Airai. Alexis, Carl, Gabriel, Gretchen and Neal are a 5-person crew. Sally is on neither side just yet.
The favorites on Malakal are a little less decisive. Brooke, Drew, Jenny and Peih-Gee have something going. Two of the most vicious players, Drew and Jenny, have decided to align early on. It’ll be fun to see how their personalities mesh. Jenna, Malcolm and Nicole have formed a little counter trio. It seems Malcolm and Jenna have a runner-up bond that Brooke wasn’t a part of. They probably respected Nicole’s fight on her original season and saw fit to bring her in.
Coach, Peter and Cao Boi are all without alliances at this point in the game. It seems pretty believable that nobody would want to work with Coach, who is no doubt spouting off unrequited advice and acting like he has the most experience in the game.
It’s interesting to note that Nicole and Jenny have not aligned. They played in Panama together and for most of the season, were at odds with each other. Sometimes, returning players who come from the same season but had been opponents in the past will still ally together, familiarity being a big thing, but not in this case. Similarly, Cao Boi and Brooke have not aligned despite being on the same season. The same might be said for Coach and Peter, although that might still change.
In an upset that recalls the real Survivor: Micronesia, the fans win the first immunity challenge of the season. We will lose one of our returning players to kick off this season. It’s just a matter of who it will be.
Before tribal council, alliance mates Peih-Gee and Drew have a minor fight. Maybe Peih-Gee feels too safe because of the idol she has for the first tribal council. She might be trying to impose her targets on her alliance a little too much. Then again, maybe Drew is just being Drew and being kind of a douche.
It’s time to vote, it becomes clear right away that there are two potential boots for this first vote: Malcolm and Jenny. My initial reaction when I saw the first few votes was that Malcolm was doomed, given his smaller alliance. But when all the votes were counted, we were in a 5–5 tie for the first vote of the season. These returning players don’t mess around.
Both alliances voted with each other. Coach and Cao Boi sided with Malcolm’s alliance because they liked Malcolm more than Jenny. Peter sided with Jenny’s alliance because he liked Jenny more than Malcolm. On the revote, a few players weren’t comfortable to go to rocks for either player and flipped votes. Peter was one of them, which wasn’t surprising. Peih-Gee was the other, which shocked me.
That meant on the revote, Jenny was voted off 7–1. She was such a huge part of her original season that seeing her go out so early is very saddening. We didn’t get to experience part 2 of Lanzetti cutting throats at every opportunity.
The fact that Coach played such a pivotal role in the vote is also going to go to his head. He might now feel like Malcolm’s alliance owes him a lot for voting with them and that might become a unifying factor for both alliances to call a truce and vote Coach out. Let’s keep track of that.
Malakal comes back with some fire and takes out the fans in the second immunity challenge. They elect to send Carl to exile island and going with Carl will be Peih-Gee. She is really going all out to secure as many advantages as possible early in the game. It’s a good strategy if nobody catches on but she will become a big threat quickly if the rest of her tribe notcies what Peih-Gee is trying to do.
On exile, there is indeed a hidden immunity idol. Unfortunately for both Carl and Peih-Gee, neither player can find it. They will both go back to their camps empty handed. Less of an issue for Peih-Gee, who does not have to go to tribal council tonight. For Carl, it might be a difference maker.
At tribal council, Neal is immune thanks to his day one idol. The question will be where Sally lies. If she is going to side with the 5-person alliance, we can expect a 6–4 vote against someone from Ali’s alliance. If Sally wants to force a tie, then she can make things interesting.
The two targets are Carl and Jonas. I bet Carl wishes he had found that idol right now. Both alliances vote as expected, leaving the vote 5–4 in favor of Jonas going home before Sally’s vote comes in. Will the fans play as hard as the favorites and have a tie on their first vote of the season?
No. Sally decides to go with Carl’s side and vote against Jonas. He becomes the first fan voted out of the game. Sally played it safe and it’s hard to blame her. It’s easy to root for the tie when you’re not the one drawing rocks for your life in the game. When it’s your first vote of the season, that is even ballsier. I understand Sally’s decision not to pull the trigger.
Airai wins the next reward challenge and sends Cao Boi out to exile island. Ali will have the privilege of sharing the island with him. This would be an ideal time for her to get a headache as Cao Boi will be on hand to heal it.
Much like Carl and Peih-Gee previously, neither exiled player is able to find the idol during their stay. This is odd behaviour for a Brant Steele simulation as I find that most idols are usually discovered the second it becomes a possibility.
Airai continues its success against the favorites by winning the immunity challenge too. This will force a fractured Malakal to resolve some of its dynamics by voting out a second member of their tribe. Before they can go vote though, it’s stated that Cao Boi’s behaviour has been rubbing people the wrong way. Which is also how Cao Boi treats people’s headaches.
With Jenny leaving in the first vote, that cut her alliance’s numbers down equal to the Malcolm, Jenna, Nicole trio. The decision for who will be leaving will mostly be in the hands of Coach, Peter and Cao Boi, who are not aligned but can swing any vote whichever way they prefer.
The Brooke, Drew and Peih-Gee alliance decides to target Peter. Their logic makes sense. He was the lone outsider to vote against Malcolm’s alliance in the last vote. By offering to vote out Peter, both alliances can agree on a cease-fire of sorts for at least one round. Coach agrees with this and votes against Peter as well. At this point, Coach is just voting for who he likes least to go home. Maybe Peter isn’t honorable enough for Coach.
Unfortunately for the Brooke alliance, Malcom’s side of things sees an opportunity to strike. Getting Peter on their side didn’t prove to be difficult when the target landed on him. Considering Cao Boi’s been annoying people, they were able to talk him into voting with them too, or risk being on the chopping block.
With five votes collected, Malcom’s alliance had the numbers to strike against Brooke’s side. From their choice of target, I sense a pattern. It seems like this tribe is determined to get rid of previously cut-throat players because following Jenny out the door will be Drew. A very sad ending for our prophet who had surely foreseen a much better result heading into the game.
Malakal turned it around in the next reward challenge and sent Queen Bae out to exile. She was accompanied by Brooke. On exile, the island was left undiscovered for the third round in a row. These players are not looking hard enough.
The reward win wasn’t enough to completely stop the bleeding because Airai once against brought it to Malakal in the immunity challenge. These favorites are not exactly dominating this season so far, at least not in terms of challenge abilities.
Before tribal council, Brooke and Peih-Gee got into a little scuffle. Peih-Gee is likely annoyed that for the second season in a row, she has found herself in a minority alliance. For Brooke, the anger probably stems from the fact that this is the most opposition she has ever faced on Survivor.
At tribal council, a truce of sorts between both alliances was hashed out. They both agreed not to target each other but instead, go after the swing voters. There was only one problem with this plan: both alliances didn’t agree on who would be the target.
Malcolm, Jenna and Nicole decided to target Peter, feeling like his usefulness had run out after he helped them get rid of Drew. Brooke and Peih-Gee wanted Coach gone, mostly because… well, he’s Coach. Cao Boi agreed because there can only be one long-haired, eccentric man on the island. Coach, left with no other option for survival, opted to vote against Peter.
Another tie vote, the 2nd in three tribal council for the favorites. Given that both players weren’t aligned to either side, I figured someone was going to flip their votes and avoid rocks. For some reason, this didn’t happen. Brooke has been known to go into rock draws against her own best interests but everyone else should have avoided this like the plague.
When everyone had drawn a rock, Nicole was the one to reveal the cursed purple stone in her palm. There was no reason for her to go home like this and her alliance really misplayed this entire vote. Now, both concrete alliances have two people left and the outsiders outnumber them. This was a colossally stupid decision for Malcolm, Jenna and Nicole.
Not that it will matter for the time being because after this vote, it’s time to swap the tribes. Unlike the real-life fans, these Airai gives have come in and handled the favorites quite nicely. They now have the numbers advantage going into the swap and stand to enter the merge with a real shot to crown a newbie winner against these veterans. There’s still a lot of game left to play though.
These are the new tribes:
The new-Airai tribe inherited Jenna, Peter and Brooke. All of these players have voted against each other’s plans at one point or another. Peter has been on both women’s side for votes but has never pledged any allegiance to either. These three are not an ideal bunch to get together and face the fan adversity.
Staying on Airai are Alexis, Gabriel, Gretchen, Queen Bae, and Ted. The first three names are aligned together. The latter two are part of the minority alliance that has already lost a member. There is some breathing room for the favorites here if they can figure out that Ted and Jenny need the favorites’ votes to overcome the opposing alliance. There’s also just as big of a chance that Airai just votes Airai strong because that is a Brant Steele special.
On new-Malakal, Ali, Carl, Neal and Sally get to lives with the veterans. Carl and Neal are partnered together, split up from the rest of their majority alliance still on Airai beach. Sally has voted with them in the previous Airai vote but is not formerly part of the alliance. Ali was part of the minority alliance that lost Jonas in Airai’s only tribal council thus far.
Remaining on Malakal are favorites Coach, Cao Boi, Malcolm and Peih-Gee. This is a mess of players to stick around. Malcom and Peih-Gee are on opposing sides. Peih-Gee just tried to vote off Coach, along with Cao Boi who is unaffiliated on this tribe. These players have a chance at overcoming the numbers advantage that Airai collectively poses but I’m not sure they can pull it off.
Airai wins the next reward challenge to continue the dominance over Malakal. The latter finally overcomes their issues by winning the following immunity challenge and forcing Airai to go to their second tribal council, though in a new permutation.
The favorites’ chances of surviving this vote depend on Ted and Queen Bae. If they want to take a shot at Alexis, Gabriel and Gretchen, they will need at least 2 of the former Malakal players (unless they can somehow convince the majority alliance to pick off former Airais before going after the favorites). The caveat is that the duo can still vote out a favorite here and take their shot at the other alliance in a later vote if they want to. The favorites really are at the fans’ mercy.
Before the vote, we take a quick trip to Malakal where Carl has isolated himself from everybody. Not a good time to pull this move Carl, your alliance needs you bro.
At tribal council, it became clear that, at least for the time being, the fans were sticking together. Jenny and Ted stuck with the other alliance to pin 5 votes on Brooke and send her home. The favorites were much less unified as Jenna strayed away from Peter and Brooke to pin a vote on Peter. This is dire straights for the favorites.
Airai wins the next reward and chooses to send Malcolm (stupidly) to exile island. Gabriel is chosen from his own tribe to go along with thim. They should have chosen two OG-Airai members to go together and find the idol. This is a dumb decision from the fans to give any kind of breathing room to the favorites. Thankfully for them, neither player finds the idol that I’m convinced is actually just a fucking stick at this point for it to go so unnoticed.
Malakal wins their second consecutive immunity challenge, likely dooming Jenna or Peter. The favorites on Malakal should really be reading the writing on the wall and throw this challenge but if they are unwilling to work together, I guess it makes sense to keep winning a stave off elimination.
There is still a slight chance for survival for Jenna and Peter. First, they must be on the same page and not vote against each other. Second, they need to convince Jenny and Ted that this is the moment they must take a shot against Alexis, Gabe and Gretchen.
Both Peter and Jenna realize that this is the case and put in the work. Despite their best efforts, Jenny and Ted are not swayed. Knowing that death is knocking and feeling frustrated at their lack of success, Jenna and Peter threw some votes on Big Ted. Maybe as a sign to wake him up to the alliance that is eventually going to roll him over. It doesn’t matter, in a 5–2 vote, Jenna becomes that last favorite standing on Airai and Peter goes to Ponderosa to drown his sorrows.
Malakal wins the next reward and the fans are able to convince the favorites to make some moves completely against their best interests. They send Jenny from Airai to tribal council instead of Jenna and from their own tribe, they allow Ali to go. Once again, this all means nothing when neither player can find the idol but seriously, these tribes are making shaky exile choices.
The Malakal tribe then wins their 3rd consecutive immunity challenge. Cao Boi and Ali then get into a minor fight, as all winning tribes are known to do. Cue the sad music for Jenna because I don’t see any way in which she emerges from this tribal council unscathed. This is the end of the road for her. We get some modicum amount of hope when it’s announced that Ted has isolated himself from the tribe.
You know when something amazing happens, the first reaction is to not believe it? That’s exactly what I did when I went to tribal council and found out that somehow… Jenna escaped certain death. Ted’s behaviour was enough to annoy the Alexis, Gabe and Gretchen alliance to vote him out. Jenna pilled on by throwing her vote on him too. Ted got so isolated that he couldn’t even vote on the same page as Jenny, with Ted voting against Gretchen and Jenny voting Jenny, thinking the plan was in place. In a 4–1–1 vote, Jenna lives to see another day.
Airai wins the next reward and sends Coach and Gabriel to exile. You know how I feel about allowing opposing tribe members to go to exile, but I’ll make an exception for Coach. Can you imagine the martyrdom that would be a Coach and Gabe exile segment? I’m salivating at the thought. Neither find the idol.
Malakal’s immunity winning streak finally comes to an end when Airai’s 5 remaining players pull out a huge win. Considering Jenna narrowly escaped death in the previous round, this should be a sign for the favorites to come together but we’ll see what happens with this tribe that hasn’t voted since the swap.
Before the vote, Jenny and Gretchen have a huge fight on Airai beach. Jenny is probably pissed that they voted off her ally and kept a returning player ahead of him. At Malakal, the OG Malakal on Malakal alliance dissolves, which is not promising for their upcoming tribal council. But let’s not forget that Carl isolated himself from the tribe a while ago, and that would end up making a difference in this vote.
Ali and Sally, not really allies, decided to vote together to keep their OG tribe as strong as possible. They voted for Coach. Carl being a loner now, decided he wanted to target Ali, likely stemming from being on opposite alliances at Airai. Neal used his vote to throw onto Sally, the player who allowed his alliance to seize majority in the first place.
So, the OG Airais are clearly all over the place. This opened the door for Malakal to take control of their tribe. But Malakal was just as messy. Or they were strategic, it’s hard to say on Brant Steele. Malcolm and Peih-Gee, once enemies, opted to vote together against Ali. Coach and Cao Bui decided to throw their votes on Sally, because they don’t like her.
You have two possible scenarios here. Either Malakal knew how Neal and Carl would be voting. In this case, you can safely assume that Malakal split the votes to avoid a potential idol play. If they didn’t know the way Carl and Neal would be voting, Malakal was simply throwing votes into the wind and hoping for the best. I’m going to choose the former.
Malakal won the next reward and sent Alexis and Neal to exile island. Sigh. Finally, someone with actual vision visited exile island as the trip proved prosperous for Alexis. Given that Neal is part of her alliance, he was probably ecstatic for Alexis to find this idol, giving even more power to the Airai majority alliance that continues to thrive. They also got to exchange information about both camps, allowing them to formulate a game plan moving forward.
In a challenge I would have thrown, Malakal won the following immunity challenge. Yes, Jenna just survived an unlikely vote on Airai but why test that again when the favorites have gained numbers advantage on the fans on Malakal? Especially after Neal and Alexis got the chance to discuss on exile island?
Miraculously, the Airai majority alliance doesn’t see fit to tackle the Jenna issue just yet. Instead, they take care of loose ends by focusing on Queen Bae. She has gotten into a huge argument with Gretchen and Airai likely fears Jenny’s loose lips at the merge. Maybe if they keep letting Jenna survive, she’ll feel some gratitude towards them? Though that seems unlikely after this vote in which Jenna refused to vote for Jenny and instead, pinned a vote on Gretchen along with Jenny.
Malakal wins the next immunity challenge. This is an even worse decision not to throw than the previous round. What are the favorites on this tribe doing? Jenna is now in serious, serious trouble. There are no other options on Airai that aren’t part of the Airai majority alliance.
In an odd choice, Alexis opts to play her idol at this tribal council. Does she not feel safe with the alliance that has been together this entire game? Seems like a bad decision that will breed insecurity within her own alliance. Regardless, all three members of the Airai alliance vote for Jenna and that will be the end of her game.
Jenna did well to survive as long as she did under these circumstances. That makes two heartbreaking losses for her. This one stings much harder just knowing that the favorites could have done something about it by throwing a challenge to keep her safe.
Finally, we get to the merge. Airai comes in sporting a 6–4 advantage over the favorites. That said, Ali was never part of the Airai majority alliance. Carl was part of that alliance but has since removed himself from any partnership and has been acting strangely. The 4 Malakal players remaining have come from different alliances (and in two cases, no alliances) but have voted together in their last vote and have the advantage of experience on their side. At this point, I’m not comfortable calling this game for either side.
Ali wins the first individual immunity challenge of the season. That is big for her, just in case Airai collapses, she would have been an easy choice having been on the outside of the alliance on that tribe. Now the target will have to shift if there is going to be an insurrection coming from the favorites.
Instead, as is often the case for the merge vote, there is a big group that comes together. This big group includes everyone except Coach and Ali and they all vote for Coach. It seems like the favorites have no inclination on staying together, at least not with Coach, and our noble one is sent home 8–2.
At the reward challenge, the group that wins opts to send Alexis to exile. You know, the one player that has managed to find an idol so far. That’s good if you’re part of her alliance. It’s bad if you’re anybody else in the game. She proceeds to prove her reputation by finding a second idol.
Feeling the heat after his fellow unaffiliated favorite got the boot in the previous round, Cao Boi leaves nothing to fate by winning the next immunity challenge. At this point, it feels like Airai is starting to really take over this game and the favorites winning immunities will only delay the inevitable.
Further confirming that thought is Peih-Gee being sent home in a 7–2 vote. Malcolm decided to hide his vote with the Airai tribe, hoping to be assimilated into their numbers. Cao Boi did no such thing, staying by his Malakal castaway until the bitter end, following Peih-Gee into voting against Ali.
Cao Boi continues the hot streak by winning his second consecutive immunity challenge. Unless Malcolm’s infiltration mission has been hugely successful, this will be the end of the line for him. It should be noted that before tribal council, the alliance between Neal and Ali officially dissolves. Maybe a glimmer of hope for Malcolm?
When the votes returned, it was confirmed. There was indeed a glimmer in the air. Feeling like the numbers had been secured, the Airai 4 (formerly 5 before Carl’s defection) turned on their fellow OG Airais. The target became Ali, who has been impressive playing from the outside of the power structure. Neal, formerly Ali’s ally, opted to voted with the majority. So too did Malcom and Cao Boi. The only support for Ali? Carl, who went against his former alliance to vote with a person he once opposed and even voted against.
Seeing Ali go out before the rest of the favorites had to ignite some fear in Neal. Enough fear to push him into winning the follow immunity challenge and keeping himself safe for at least one more round. With Neal not being an option, Airai knew they had to turn back to OG Malakals. They chose Malcolm, maybe out of fear of a challenge run but if that’s the case, maybe they should have voted out Cao Boi, who already has two immunity wins.
Either way, Malcolm’s game ends here. Short of the goal he set for himself. Most of these returning players will hang their head in shame because they allowed the fans to take control of this game. They had a chance to stop it but didn’t seize the opportunity. Now they all pay the cost.
Somehow, Cao Boi becomes that last favorite standing. Coming into this game, he would not have been the betting favorite. He had the second worse finish out of any favorite in his original season and he’s eccentric as hell. Through a combination of challenge skill and circumstance, he will be the last hope for these veterans. Godspeed Cao Boi, Godspeed.
For Airai, now becomes the time to build the resumes. The most visible Airai player to me so far has been Alexis. She’s found two idols and has accumulated a lot of opposing votes, indicating that she is likely seen as the leader. Alexis keeps building her resume in episode 15 when she wins her first individual immunity challenge.
At tribal council, the expected occurs. Cao Boi is put to rest, along with the returning players’ honors. These fans have really taken the game to the veterans and made a name for themselves as Fake Survivor players. No longer will Fans vs Favorites be scoffed at as a theme. These fans have made it a legitimate competition and the fans will have the first point on the scoreboard.
Gabriel wins the next immunity challenge to keep the pace with Alexis. Speaking of Alexis, she plays her idol at this tribal council, makes sense since it’s her last chance to do so. This is another easy vote. The alliance has carried Carl to the top 5 despite his betrayal. They owe him no further placement and in a 4–1 vote, end his game at this point.
This alliance has done so well at sharing the spotlight that they “allow” Neal to win the next immunity challenge. With Alexis vulnerable, I really think the other three should take their chance now. She seems the obvious winner out of these four players and letting her get one immunity away from the end-game is a mistake. It’s an even bigger mistake when in theory, this crew is expecting a final three.
It seems like the alliance disagrees with me. Gretchen is seen as the big threat because she attracts all three votes available. Maybe she was the big social player of this alliance. Maybe she had more pull than we can understand from this simulation. Or maybe they just made a mistake.
Gabriel wins the final immunity and the right to choose who will go to final 2 with him. He smartly, in my opinion, chooses to send Alexis home. She becomes the next in a long line of robbed goddesses we will surely see again in the future.
Between Gabriel and Neal, my choice would be Gabriel. They were part of the same alliance but Neal had an easier road to the end. After the swap, he ended up on Malakal, a tribe that only lost one immunity challenge post-swap. Staying on Airai, Gabriel was part of the trio that swung the game firmly in the fans’ favor. It was on Airai where their majority alliance eliminated both most of the Airai opposition from Ted and Jenny and all of the returning players on their tribe. It’s because of Gabriel (and Alexis and Gretchen) that Airai had such an easy road in the post-merge. That kind of hard work deserves recognition.
The jury did not agree with me. Neal received 7 of a possible 8 votes. 6 of those votes were because Neal “won lots of immunity challenges”. Sure, Neal won three immunities, but Gabe won two, not to mention the final challenge that won him his seat at the final tribal council. Gretchen gave Neal his vote because they shared a strong bond. The lone Gabe voter was Peih-Gee, who liked Gabriel more.
America’s favorite player ended up being Peih-Gee. Her tale of woe, once again finding herself fighting against the current, is one that appealed to almost everybody. She is a lovable presence on both of her seasons and has managed to put together a strong case for a 3rd opportunity despite the returning players’ poor performances here.
Next week, we go to Gabon and hope for as much of a clusterfuck as the real Gabon ended up being. Until then, the tribe has spoken.