Okay, looks like I got the spoiler protection right on the "VM" post, so let's give it another shot with tonight's "Survivor." Again, if you don't like this arrangement, let me know in the comments.
In today's column, I alluded to Cirie pulling a strategic move that's the best of its kind I've seen since Amazon Rob. At the time, I was working off a preview tape that cut off just as the votes were being cast, so I wasn't sure if she had pulled it off. Knowing that she had, I have to direct some major applause in the direction of our resident sufferer of Phyllophobia. Because, damn.
She still may not win, but there was no way she was going to win if she hadn't engineered Courtney's boot. Terry, who right now looks like the most obvious candidate to win the final 3 challenge, wanted to bring Courtney before the jury. So did Shane, who until now had been calling all the shots about who stayed and who goes. By eliminating Courtney, Cirie has made the F2 choice much more of a toss-up, she's gained the eternal gratitude (and potential votes) of Danielle and Aras by saving each of them from a potential boot at the hands of either Shane or Terry, and now she may be in the power position in her alliance. Unless there's a purely mental immunity challenge between now and the end, Cirie's not going to be able to count on having that necklace, so now her only path to victory is by eliminating anyone who the final three winner might want to face more than her.
The downside, of course, is that after more than a month (in game-time) of getting along by going along, she has now revealed herself to be a puppet-master of the first order. (To the players, not to us; anyone who watched her talk Melinda and Ruth Marie into keeping her and getting rid of Tina knows the woman has some serious mental game.) The fact that Danielle and Aras owe her so big makes her a less appealing final two competitor, and on the flip side, she's definitely cost herself Courtney's vote. So if she's up against, say, Terry, she's probably already lost (Austin, Sally and Bruce seem firmly in Terry's pocket, though I could be wrong). No one has even though of voting against Cirie since the night Melinda went home, but when you pull the wool over two of the power players, you no longer get to fly under the radar.
Still, Bravo. At this point, she needs to pray that Terry loses the next challenge so they can force him to cough up the idol, then stick close to Aras and pray he can beat Terry in the final challenge.
Good to see the return of Bruce, though he still looked a little green around the gills on that jury bench. (Or maybe he just suffers in comparison to Austin, who now looks like a catalog model after a week of bed rest and grooming.) Oh, and Shane? Greg Buis called; he wants his coconut phone gimmick back.
What did everybody else think?