Survivor
China Reunion

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Miss Alli: C- | Grade It Now!
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How It Didn't Happen

Jeff has more questions for Todd, asking him about his strategy of making an alliance with Amanda on the first day. Todd's only explanation for choosing Amanda, incidentally, is that they "had some sort of connection." He says that he proposed an alliance to her, which she took him up on a few days later. He then explains that he decided he needed Courtney in his alliance, because she was smaller than he was, so if they lost a challenge, she would be voted off and he wouldn't, because he wouldn't be the smallest. OH MY GOD THAT MAKES NO SENSE. That's a reason you'd hope she'd be on your tribe at the very beginning, I suppose, and it might be a reason you wouldn't pick her to vote her out the first time around, but it's not a reason you'd want her in your alliance. Quite the opposite. Courtney's the last person you'd logically pick for one of your close allies if your hope is that she's the easy boot in the event your team loses immunity. This makes no sense, it doesn't appear to be a theory Todd had an opportunity to put into practice nor a theory he actually put into practice, and I don't understand why we're talking about this instead of about things that really happened. I mean, the reason Todd's saying this is that the other option -- "Courtney wound up in my alliance because she was on my original tribe and wasn't Jean-Robert or James" -- kind of makes it sound like some of this fell in Todd's lap. Which it did, but we're not talking about that.

Incidentally, among the million missed questions in this reunion -- and often, Jeff asks the right questions, but in this episode, he asks completely the wrong ones -- is the issue of why Amanda was really a good alliance partner. You know why? Amanda has the magic combination. Two factors. Know what they are? Because Jeff can't put it together, and when I tell you the magic combination, you'll know immediately why Jeff can't put it together. Amanda is great at challenges, but not at politics. This is how, if you are ever on Survivor, you should pick your alliance partner. Dreamz. Boston Rob. Pick someone who is good at challenges, but bad at politics. Jeff Probst can't process this, because he can't look at a slim, swimsuited-woman and think "challenge monster." He thinks challenges are about James, and Aaron, and Colby, and Ozzy. But is Amanda good at challenges? Absolutely. As much as anything else, Todd is here because Amanda is good at challenges. Amanda is the only person who was left, by the time they were desperately trying to get rid of Peih-Gee, who was capable of keeping Peih-Gee from winning an uninterrupted string of immunities and knocking somebody -- quite possibly Todd -- out of F3. If Todd were a woman and Amanda and Peih-Gee were men, Jeff Probst would see this immediately: "You needed him to be strong in challenges, because otherwise that other awesome guy would have rocked you both by bulldozing his way to F3!" But because Amanda and Peih-Gee are girls, Jeff Probst can't see that this was the endgame -- that Challenge Monster Peih-Gee had to be taken out by Challenge Monster Amanda in order to protect Challenge Suckybaby Todd. Good at challenges to protect your alliance, bad at getting votes. Great alliance partner.

You know...it's only now, as I write this, that it occurs to me that there's a decent argument to be made that if Todd and Amanda are indeed much like Rob and Amber, as has been said over and over, he's the Amber, and she's the Rob, and not just because he won. She's the one who got out James. She's the one who recognized what a threat Peih-Gee was. She's the one who kept immunity away from Peih-Gee when that mattered and Denise when that mattered. Good at challenges, good at thinking of the right strategic move, bad at getting votes: Amanda and Rob. Hopeless in challenges, not much with strategy, but there to scoop up votes at the end: Todd and Amber. Very different delivery and affect, but ultimately? Similar role. I'm just saying.

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