Stephen's Survivor Strategy Blog: Holly Changes the Game

Holly Sends Brenda Home on Survivor: Nicaragua - Recap
Stephen Fishbach and Holly Hoffman
Monty Brinton/CBS(2)

11/18/2010 AT 08:25 AM EST

"Be wary of friends – they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy." – Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends

There's just no gratitude on Survivor. Last week, Sash and Brenda made the hard decision to vote off Marty to placate the alliance of Chase, NaOnka, Holly and Jane. This week I bet they were missing that extra vote. The former top dogs turned tail as the rest of the pack chased them down. For flipping the script on the BS Alliance, Holly Hoffman wins her second Fishy award.

What a long strange trip it's been for the HoHo. Holly started the season with a crazy ladies' alliance with first boot Wendy Jo; when Wendy was voted out, Holly vented her anger on Dan Lembo's shoes. She was saved from the chopping block by the tribal swap, but seemed content to be the younger tribe's "cool mom."

This episode, however, Holly shows she's good for a lot more than just letting the kids stay up as late as they want. She completely up-ends the tribe dynamics by targeting Brenda and Sash, and convinces everybody else to join her. After getting Jane on board, Holly tells Benry, "Everybody's listening to Brenda – including me." It's an off-kilter tack to take, but it works.

Chase Spills the Beans

The only thing standing in Holly's way is Chase. He has more face-palm moments than an episode of Gilligan's Island. For one thing, he's convinced that Benry is the real threat. Benry? His biggest move this game has been the "ceremonial loser dismount." What about Kelly Purple, Chase? She doesn't talk very much – surely she's up to something?



Chase decides to anger the entire tribe and let Brenda in on their plan. It's a good strategy, if you can't count. Unfortunately for him, Brenda decides she can't be bothered to try to stay in the game. "Like, I'm not even that impressed," she says, when he first tells her about the plan. That leaves it to Chase to try to brave the wrath of the Carolinas and cobble a counter-alliance together.

Holly earns her Fishy by making sure she doesn't lose any votes to last-minute gaming. When she sees Chase take Fabio off for a private conversation, she charges after. "I just think Brenda's been the ring leader," she says to the guys, apropos of saying something.

It's one of the secret strategies of Survivor. You can stop other people from scheming just by making sure they're never alone together. Holly shuts down Chase's attempt to sway Fabio just by showing up.

"If Brenda's gone, I'm playing the game with people that I don't really trust," Chase says. Maybe without Brenda leading him by the nose, Chase will finally have to wake up.

The End of the Minority Alliance

Honorable mention goes to Sash this week for coolly casting out Brenda after almost a month of being BFFs. Giving Brenda the idol would have been suicide for Sash. He would only delay the tribe's plans for three days, and basically ensure that he'd be following Brenda to Ponderosa.

Voting out Brenda and holding on to his idol gives Sash a lot more leverage in the coming weeks. Also notice the elegant way he sidestepped Jeff's question about whether or not the Marty vote surprised him. "I think a lot of people were surprised," he says, neither quite lying nor quite telling the truth.

The king is dead. Love live the queen.

Tell us: Who uses wood crates to protect a fire?

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