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'Survivor: Cagayan', Episode 9 analysis: Well-played?

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Wednesday's episode of "Survivor: Cagayan" was intense...but was it smart? There was tons of drama and yet another Tribal Council that was hard to predict and once again ended with a huge bang. Be sure to watch the episode in case you missed it, and be sure to get caught up with the full Episode 9 recap.

And be warned: Spoilers from this week's episode are to follow.

So wow! Tony's paranoia led him to make a preemptive strike against someone who he considered to be one of his biggest threats in the game. The question is: Was this a good move for Tony to make, and to have made it when he did? There are several ways to consider what just happened.

On one hand, you can't quite fault Tony for his logic. If LJ had made it to the end, he would have been an incredibly tough person to win against. As Tony was able to assess, LJ did think a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack and therefore might have posed a strategic threat...eventually.

But I ultimately feel like this move was a mistake that will come back to bite Tony in his poopy shorts. In LJ, Tony had an ally who even said tonight that he would take Tony to the end with him. It's hard to fathom that just two weeks earlier (six days on Survivor!), Tony and LJ had played hidden Idols on one another. Looking back, if Tony was really plotting this blindside days in advance, what a brilliant move. Playing his Idol made LJ endlessly trust him, which put him right where he wanted LJ to be...you know, the whole keep your enemies closest thing. But it may be a double-edged sword for Tony. Because in blindsiding LJ when he did, it will be nearly impossible for him to regain any real trust with his former allies, other than Woo, who he has firmly tucked under his wing.

If you're Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah, your chances just improved tremendously. They needed Tony to come through for them, but do you think for a minute they want to work with Tony long-term? Depending on how violent the reactions are to LJ (and future) blindsides, Tony could in fact become a perfect "goat" candidate to take to the end to face a bitter jury. But Tony isn't supposedly playing for second place, he's in it to win it. Who did this move impress as far as current or future jury members are concerned?

It's still too early to tell what Tony's next move is. Will he try to reassemble with Trish and Jefra? Likely. Has he flipped over to Spencer's side? Unlikely. The worrisome x-factor in all of this now becomes Kass, who we know will vote with her heart, head be damned. Knowing how LJ got blindsided, she may truly be a free agent moving forward. Suddenly, if Kass were to re-align with Spencer, Jeremiah and Tasha - with Spencer's Idol - they could take control of the game. Not that Kass could win at this point, but still.

LJ and Tony were actually the perfect team, but often "dream team" alliances fizzle in similar ways. Tony is so ramped up and intense, while LJ is cool, calm and collected, understanding the virtue of patience in the game. Tony and LJ together have been - and would have continued to be - a lethal combination. Jury votes right now are stacking up in favor of Trish and even Jefra, all of whom should be well liked thus far by LJ, Morgan and Sarah.

It's hard to believe that after how this season started, we are now down to eight players...three of which came from that dysfunctional, pathetic Brains tribe.

In other news, next week's preview doesn't bode will for fans of Woo or Tony. Could that be karma who knocked Woo from that tall tree? Let's hope he's OK. If he gets evacuated, Tony will suddenly be all alone in this game.

Be sure to watch the day-after interview with LJ as well as his arrival at Ponderosa.

Be sure to subscribe to this column (above by my name) to receive email alerts of new postings, as you will not want to miss my exclusive one-on-one interview with LJ on Thursday!

Also, make sure you check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, Survivor Fever.

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