Rift between young and old brings bad tribal blood

by John Teti | 10/22/01 5:00am

"Well I ain't worried about it -- this is just a game!"

That's how Tom explained away his forgiveness of Kim (Boran) after she fell during the reward challenge (and thereby broke one of last week's rules). Who cares if we starve? It's just a silly game.

A friendly reader e-mailed me after my last Survivor recap to wonder why obnoxious Tom evaded the verbal chopping block. (I was also reminded that drill sergeant Frank is in Samburu, not Boran as I had it -- the author of the message works in the Stacks, natch.)

Don't worry, Tom's hypocrisy puts him at the top of this week's list. You might remember that the Virginia goat farmer grew red in the face while screaming at Clarence for eating beans without permission.

Yet Kim got off scot-free even though her tumble cost Boran many cans of food and a slew of other supplies. Granted, she didn't mean to do it, but "it's just a game" is awfully lenient. Yes, there's the "game" part. Then there's the "million dollars" part and the "getting something to eat so you can live through tomorrow" part.

Tom's condolences were nonsense, but so was the title of this episode -- "Who's Zooming Whom?" I hope my friend in the Stacks can tell me what this means because the American Heritage Dictionary couldn't clear it up. I guess I have been "zoomed" by the "Survivor" writers.

This episode marks the first time that "Survivor" has clearly defined an alliance instead of tormenting us through hints and sidelong winks. The cameras afforded us a clear view of the pact between the four oldest members of Samburu.

Led by charismatic Frank, the Geezer Gang was disgusted by the whippersnappers, what with their acting like it's a "vacation" and making "jokes" and having "fun."

Perhaps sensing the Efferdent Elite's irritation, Lindsey made a concerted effort to show her value to the team by sitting up halfway from her beach towel and asking, "You don't mind if I don't help, do you?"

Silas pitches in more often -- it gives him a chance to flaunt his glistening pectoral muscles for the cameras -- and this work ethic caught the eye of the Codger Cadre. After deciding to adopt one of the ingrates as their own to gain a voting majority, they grabbed Silas for a "water run" and gave him the hard sell.

"He would be a complete fool and an idiot not to stay with the tight four," hairy-armed Carl said in private.

To bring home the point that the Metamucil Marauders are a close bunch, Frank pointed out that Linda's status in the group is "so concrete, she's buried in the bottom of the Hoover Dam." This quip becomes even stupider when you remember a bit of trivia: there is so much concrete in the Hoover Dam that it won't completely cure for decades. (True!)

The question now is whether Silas will join the Osteoporosis Order in their evil conspiracy. The editors left it ambiguous. I don't think he will, but should he? Would he be a complete jackass and an ignoramus not to?

No. In fact, he should stay with the young people. If Silas joins the older group, he becomes the fifth wheel. Even more significant, he puts himself at a disadvantage in Tribal Council.

Let's assume that Silas pledges his support to the old members of Samburu. They all agree to vote off effeminate Brandon, who bothers don't-ask-don't-tell Frank. At Tribal Council, Silas keeps his promise and votes for his fellow bartender's torch to be snuffed.

But what if the seniors double-cross Silas and vote for him instead? They will still gain the majority, but with an alliance of four instead of five. A smaller alliance is always preferable if you don't have to sacrifice voting power. They'd be complete simpletons and morons not to stab Silas in the back.

Silas should ally himself with the younger group and get them to vote in a bloc. The tie at Tribal Council will narrow the field to two candidates, and Silas will be able to see who "zoomed" whom on the ballots.

If he wasn't betrayed by the Antique Alliance, Silas would still have an opportunity to cross over, albeit with much less trust, by voting for the seniors' pick in the second round of voting.

Or he could stick with the young folks all the way through. This would result in an unresolved tie at Tribal Council, and without previous Tribal Council votes, we don't know how the deadlock would be broken -- it has never happened.

Assuming that Silas's team could find a way to win, though, he would become king of the young instead of court jester to the old.

Things are much less complicated over at Boran, where Jessie wouldn't drink water because it tasted bad. After seeing her guzzle a shot glass of cattle blood without wincing, her refusal became that much more irksome. I would have kicked her off, too.

The vote at Tribal Council was unanimous, except for Tom's vote, again for "C.B." Tom is apparently distinguishing his vote from the others to send Clarence a message -- in his own words, "I'll forgive, but I won't forget."

Why not? It's just a game.