Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 6

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? After five rounds you guys have voted Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep as the best living actor and actress respectively. But we are not stopping here. In the last round we want to see who is the best of the best?

The results will be announced on a future podcast episode of Dual Redundancy. To make sure you don't miss the episode be sure you are subscribed to us on iTunes, Stitcher, and/or YouTube!

To vote in the final round click here. Only one vote per device.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 6 Strategy Blog: Tony Baloney

by Mike Ladue

Back before Showtime's CIA drama Homeland became a colossal mess, Mandy Patinkin's character gave Claire Danes' character some blunt feedback: "You're the smartest and the dumbest f*cking person I've ever met." This is relevant because A: Showtime is part of CBS, which airs Survivor, and B: that's the same reaction I had to Tony's gameplay tonight.

His plot to create paranoia around Jeremiah by giving him the Solana idol clue was just crazy enough to work, as Jeremiah was just stupid enough not to catch on, and everyone else was just smart enough to anticipate more twists in the game. Tony may have won the battle in pinning a target, but with Jeremiah still in the game, he's losing the war of finishing his hits.

Another battle Tony won: the Immunity challenge, where he was integral in solving the final puzzle that spared Solana from another Tribal. Another war lost: Probably the whole game. By chanting "Final Five! Final Five!" he alienated Sarah and gave the disjointed Aparri castaways more reason to unify. And who's their biggest threat? Tony.

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #10: Win with grace. Remember Gervase last season, hooting and hollering at the Tadhana tribe after an Immunity win? It directly lead to his niece, Marissa, getting the axe. Remember when Shii-Ann, the last Mogo Mogo member standing, won the bucket endurance challenge in All-Stars and exploded with joy? Alicia was quick to point out the Shii Devil still had to return back to camp with them, and only earned herself 3 days of safety. Excessive celebration isn't allowed in the NFL, and it shouldn't be allowed in Survivor.

The Solana tribe seems solid enough to stick together come the merge, though LJ and Jefra both expressed unease about Tony's bull-in-a-China-shop strategy. As long as he's taking all the hits making moves against others, the beauties have his back. That fair-weathered loyalty usually isn't the stuff of endgame alliances though. If he wants to survive to Final Five, Tony's gonna need that idol in his pocket -- and maybe a couple more.

Upon losing the IC, Aparri came to a fork in the road: Keep Alexis or keep Jeremiah. Both had strong ties to the Beauties that stayed on Solana. Jeremiah maybe had an idol clue and definitely had a history of breaking his word. Alexis had a mouth bigger than her brain.

They stuck with Jeremiah, which is an interesting choice. Had he played an idol, they would have flushed it out and still sent Alexis home. Should the merge come -- which it will next week-- he's a physical threat that will be targeted long before Alexis. In truth, had Alexis made the merge and Aparri gained an advantage, Alexis would have easily slid to final five and possibly to the FTC.

I worry, though, about the tact shown by Spencer, Tasha, Kass, Morgan and Sarah while picking a side. They clearly wanted to blindside Alexis, but also made it known that Jeremiah is persona non grata within the alliance. His word is garbage, he's shifty with his idol clue… If I were Jeremiah, I'd flip back to LJ and Jefra, who'd gladly take a strong guy for a few weeks to out-play Spencer and Sarah in challenges. Alexis might have remained loyal if the brains kept deluding her of her position within the alliance.

They were damned either way, and though Jeremiah is a serious wild card come the merge, at least he's not as unpredictable as Tony.

Up for Grabs

-Episode MVP: It's gotta be Tony, I guess. Though the moves he made will probably screw up his game in later episodes, the battles he fought tonight worked out. What's the line from Game of Thrones? "Winning three battles does not make you King?" Enjoy it while it lasts.

-Fallen Comrades #1: Nobody has quit the game quite like Lindsey. Osten was physically exhausted, Sue was, infamously, violated/humiliated/dehumanized/emotionally spent, Jenna was missing her ailing mother, Janu was over it, FairPlay was apparently in withdrawals, Kathy, Na'Onka, Purple Kelly and Dana couldn't handle the elements, and Colton, in the two times he played, couldn't handle anything. Lindsey did what very few reality show contestants do in the throes of the game: she realized her actions have real-world consequences, and it's more important to be a role model to her daughter than "that dreads girl who punched Trish right in her horse mouth." She chose brains over brawn, and I've gotta commend her for that. Trish can take her "Shame on You, Lindsie" banner and shove it. (Did it remind anyone else of this classic banner?)

-Fallen Comrades #2: Alexis seems like a sweetheart who just isn't very good at Survivor. For a fan to go out there and get blindsided must be devastating.

-Of course Spencer would enact the right strategy at the Reward Challenge - toss your buddha high up into the air, then attack the opponent's before your's lands. He's a smart kid!

-The fine folks at Vulture did a March Madness bracket of Greatest Reality TV Seasons, and Survivor: Borneo was in contention! Head over there to see how S1 fared, but also check out this list of their proposed 10 Best Strategic Moves in Survivor history. For those interested, here are the top 10 that came to my mind, in chronological order:

-The Tagi alliance votes out Gretchen, Borneo
-Rich steps down during the Final Immunity Challenge, Borneo
-"You Take Care of Her, I'll Take Care of You", All-Stars
-Chris goads Twila into getting angry at FTC, Vanuatu
-Cirie targets the Casaya pawns, Panama: Exile Island
-The Edgardo blindside, Fiji
-The Reichenbach Fall, Micronesia
-Russell muscling his Foa Foa foursome to the endgame, Samoa
-Parvati's HII double-down, Heroes vs. Villains
-Boston Rob's buddy rules, Redemption Island

-Survivor: Cagayan is shaping up to be one of the series' better installments, in large part due to the editors' generosity of screen time. Each of the 11 remaining contestants has some degree of depth and characterization, which is rare in an age where most seasons focus heavily on returning players or godlike Russell/Malcolm figures. With the merge approaching next week, I've decided to go contestant-by-contestant and grade their pre-game strategy thus far. This has no reflection on their chances at winning, just at how they've navigated the pre-merge portion of the game.

Spencer A-
Kass B+
Tasha B+
Sarah B
Morgan B
Jeremiah C
Jefra B-
Woo B-
Tony C+
Trish A+

Just kidding, Trish gets a C-.

Who would you have voted out, Alexis or Jeremiah? Do you think Tony can carry his Solana crew to the Final Five? Write your comments in the sand below or contact me on Twitter: @MikeTVLadue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 5

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? After four grueling rounds we have a final four! Will Robert DeNiro or Leonardo DiCaprio win best actor? Will Meryl Streep or Sandra Bullock win best actress? Vote to decide both of these and which two will face off in the final round!

Each new round of voting and the results will be announced here on the Dual Redundancy Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

To vote in round five click here. Only one vote per device.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Podcast Episode 54: Winding Down: "Justified" "Hannibal" & "The Walking Dead"

You're busy. We get it. Not everyone can spend hours all day monitoring and watching everything in television and entertainment news. That is why Mike and Dave are here to do it all for you. At the end of every week we will wind down all the important things you may have missed in a week full of entertainment.

In this week's episode we recap Justin Bieber's deposition video and legal troubles (2:54), Ivan Reitman stepping down from Ghostbusters 3 (9:57) and our initial thoughts regarding the first trailer for The Giver (15:45). We also wind down Justified's "Weight" (24:01), Hannibal's "Hassun" (33:20) and The Walking Dead's "The Grove" (43:00). Finally, we explain the results of round two and three of our third annual March Madness bracket (57:49).

You can also listen to past episodes of the podcast on iTunes or on our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 4

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? After round three some big names are gone including Tom Hanks, Christian Bale, and Kevin Spacey on the male side and Julia Roberts, Kathy Bates, and Julie Andrews on the female side. Make sure you vote in round four so your pick does not get left behind!

Each new round of voting and the results will be announced here on the Dual Redundancy Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

To vote in round four click here. Only one vote per device.

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 5 Strategy Blog: A Numbers Game?

by Mike Ladue

Even casual fans have probably heard the phrase, "Survivor is a numbers game." But is it true?

Ultimately, yes. To win Survivor you need more votes than each of the other people sitting next to you at Final Tribal Council. But until that point, Survivor is most certainly not a numbers game. You can point to the introduction of the Hidden Immunity Idol in Guatemala as a major shift in the dynamic, where a person on the wrong end of a unanimous vote can live to fight another day. But really, Survivor has never been a numbers game due to the inherent presence of the plain-old Immunity challenge. Theoretically, a contestant could be immune from the vote in every single Tribal Council, both tribal and post-merge, and never have to worry about the numbers until FTC. (And let's be honest, if someone won every. single. challenge., how could you not reward him/her with your million-dollar vote?)

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #9: Survivor isn't a numbers game, it's a people's game. Had LJ been from any of the other 49 U.S. states, he'd probably have gone home -- or at least used his HII. But being from Masachussetts, he forged a connection with Trish, who did some talking to Tony, who all teamed up with Jefra to oust Cliff. I've never witnessed such a turn of events in the show's history; one's hometown saving someone from elimination. LJ gets the MVP of tonight's episode, simply by being born at the right place. (And also for playing it so damn cool when pressed on the HII. Unless the editors just showed random stone-faced shots at opportune moments, LJ should switch careers with Garrett and become a pro poker player.)

Cliff did everything right. He established strong bonds early on with the right people. Sure, the crazy lady on the tribe disliked him, but she disliked Lindsay WAY more. And Cliff was an asset in challenges! Did you see him holding that pole? The entire Aparri tribe could have latched onto him, like the orcs hacking on ents at the end of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and he still wouldn't have budged.

But Cliff was Cliff. He is a person, and some people don't like other people -- especially celebrity people who make a lot of money. I knew it'd be Cliff's downfall, though I expected -- for other contestant's sakes -- for it to come way later in the game, even at FTC, when numbers actually matter.

In Cliff's mind it was 4 vs. 3, the fourth being Tony. But Tony had been sowing seeds to dethrone Cliff since he spilled the beans to Sarah about the fake conversation. And Cliff's intimidation tactic definitely didn't work on Tony, who's got a lot to prove to the boys in blue back home. And Cliff wasn't about to get on his knees and beg (though I wish he had, though, because he'd probably still tower over poor Tony). It's reminiscent of Brenda's unwillingness to scramble to save herself in Nicaragua. Had these two swallowed their pride, they might have lasted a bit longer.

Tony made the right move tonight. It's obvious he was out of the Cliffhangers (™) alliance and would have been cut loose after at most two more losses, or sooner should Cliff and co. start seeing his physical strength as a post-merge threat. And, assuming Tony did make the merge, he'd probably join up with Sarah, who'd still be hell bent on voting out Cliff. This was the tidiest move for Tony, as it ties up loose ends.

Alternatively, had he blindsided LJ, he'd firmly establish a Brawn alliance, or at least project that image to the other tribe. Sarah, his Cops-R-Us ally, would probably be targeted. This move keeps her safe and moves the target to the Beauties on Aparri, who stand to gain more come the merge with LJ and Jefra in play.

To be fair, the Beauties are doing a good job targeting themselves. Alexis and Morgan's cat fight shows, again, numbers in Survivor are superficial. 3 Beauties =/= 3 Allies. The only reason the 3 Brains = 3 Allies is because they've played more game. As Cliff noted, the [NBA] series doesn't start until you lose your first game. Compared to Sarah and the Beauties, Kass/Tasha/Spencer are seasoned veterans. My first instinct was that Sarah would be the swing vote in a Brains v Beauty beatdown. Now, it looks like it'll be Morgan vs Alexis, with Sarah the one sitting pretty out of harm's way.

The Brains are getting a fantastic edit. I can see these three going all the way now, like the Jalapao 3 or Foa Foa 4 (OK, I guess Erinn outlasted Taj in Tocantins and Brett outlasted Jaison in Samoa, but they're still examples of underdogs nearly sweeping the competition). But none of them are giving off Winner vibes yet, which is great. The editors are keeping lots of characters in play, and it's making for a great season of TV.

Up For Grabs

-MVP: LJ, you stone cold fox, you.

-Winner Pick: I'll start doing rankings?
1. Spencer (Could it be that obvious? He's getting a glowing edit)
2. Tasha (Team Brains, but not enough to single her out as favorable)
3. Kass (Team Brains, but way too much negativity)
4. Sarah (Team CopsRUs, but starting to feel more Stephenie than Danni)
5. Morgan (If a Beauty does it, it'll be her)
6. Tony (We didn't even see his reaction to being separated from Sarah? Bad news)
7. LJ (Solid, not spectacular)
8. Woo (Too quiet)
9. Jeremiah (Too much foreshadowing of his downfall)
10. Jefra (Too little character)
11. Alexis (Too much negative perception)
12. Trish (That branch hit her in the head in Ep 1, and by God I'm sticking to that)
13. Lindsay (Probst on the beach next week = not a good sign)

-Sarah outing Morgan's secret about the rice vs. HII choice goes to show how hard it is to successfully maintain a lie out there.

-Hopefully the reunion will feature a twerk-off between Trish and Alexis.

-Jeff Probst doesn't know the sex of the Immunity Idol, so he checks the crotch. Oh Jeff.

-Are gongs traditional instruments in Filipino culture? Seemed out of place to me.

-Trish said she's no Mrs. Robinson. Right, Trish, that was Kail on Big Brother 8, and we all know how well she did (not very).

-Did Tony make the right choice? Is Lindsay gonna quit? Can the Brains go all the way? Cast your thoughts below or send a treemail tweet to: @miketvladue.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dual Redundancy is Back on ICTV!

Dual Redundancy is back on ICTV…well sort of.

No, it's not a new season but classic episodes of Dual Redundancy are now back on Ithaca College Television's website. Relive some classic moments from season two when we aired all across Tompkins County (and to the world thanks to their live stream). These episodes include interviews with fellow Ithaca College students as well as the faculty of the Park School of Communications.

All the episodes can be found here in the ICTV Archives:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 3

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? After round two some heavyweights are gone including Al Pacino, Bill Murray, and Daniel Day-Lewis on the male side and Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, and Amy Adams on the female side. Make sure you vote in round three so your pick does not get left behind!

Each new round of voting and the results will be announced here on the Dual Redundancy Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

To vote in round three click here. Only one vote per device.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Podcast Episode 53: Winding Down: The 2014 Oscars "Resurrection" "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" & "True Detective"

You're busy. We get it. Not everyone can spend hours all day monitoring and watching everything in television and entertainment news. That is why Mike and Dave are here to do it all for you. At the end of every week we will wind down all the important things you may have missed in a week full of entertainment.

In this week's episode we recap the 86th Academy Awards (1:53) including Batkid's snubbed segment (4:38) and the feud between the writer and director of "12 Years A Slave" (10:00). We also wind down Resurrection's pilot called "The Returned" (14:10), the premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (24:19) and the season one finale of True Detective called "Form and Void" (36:29). Finally, we explain our third annual March Madness bracket and who moved on to round two (54:11).

You can also listen to past episodes of the podcast on iTunes or on our YouTube channel.

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 4 Strategy Blog - No-Brainer

By Mike Ladue

Last week, I rambled on about how loyalty is an important factor when voting at Tribal Council. It's not the only factor, however, as Loyalty + Physical Prowess > Loyalty + Choking In Every Challenge Ever.

On the Beauty tribe, things looked bleak for Morgan. Being down by 3+ in numbers is never a good position to be in, and few rarely recover. Those that do -- Sandra in HvV, Danni in Guatemala -- often go the distance. But Morgan showed some promise, taking a page from Tony and dropping some white lies. Did Jeremiah want LJ out that badly? That's not how I remember it, but the story was believable enough (and honestly, Morgan was defeated enough) for the target to stick. All of a sudden, Jeremiah's vote looks like a bad decision. TOLDJA!

The Beauty tribe dominated both challenges, the first being one of the all-time best sources of physical humor the show can deliver. Look back at All-Stars' puzzle bloodbath, or even Colby drenching Jerri with water in Australia. This season's didn't disappoint, as apparently John Kirhoffer and the challenge crew decided to build all the protruding rails at crotch height. Poor LJ and Spencer. Were I in their shoes, I'd hold the bag in front of my waist to protect it from sharp, pointy hazards.

The second was tailor-made for the Brawns, who couldn't manage to throw the challenge against the pitiful Brains. (Flashbacks to Matty single-handedly preventing the pole-balancing challenge from being thrown in Gabon!) Cliff, who's played more NBA games than Michael Jordan, only narrowly managed to out-shoot Spencer. Maybe it was Jeff's incessant coaching from the sidelines that distracted him? The man has hosted Rock & Roll Jeopardy and Survivor; ESPN is the obvious next step in his Trivial Pursuit-like journey through television. Or maybe it was how the challenge was subliminal plugging for CBS' March Madness tourney? Regardless, Cliff should be even more ashamed than Spencer for missing those shots.

Speaking of ashamed… Sarah. Sarah should be ashamed. She's running around like a chicken with her head cut off (or twisted off, in the case of the Beauty tribe. Also, how ridiculous was the whole egg debacle? So ridiculous). She's fallen right into Tony's trap and is gunning for Cliff/Lindsay. She turned to Woo, an established Cliff-Hanger(™), and made some pretty convincing arguments towards getting him out. All of these, however, conflict with my pro-tips.

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #5: Don't throw the challenge. You will lose momentum and you will lose sleep and you will lose numbers and you will lose the game. Unless you're Richard Hatch and you've established an endgame where the only way you win a million dollars is if you drop out of the final challenge, give it your all. Cliff won't go on an Immunity run post-merge and you can easily blindside him then.

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #6: Celebrity = Goat. Remember how I suggested you find the most likable person on the island and quickly dispose of him/her? This rule trumps that one. There is NO WAY a celebrity will defeat a single mom or a college student in a jury situation. Cliff has (or had and lost) millions of dollars, and no matter how well he plays, he's not getting another big check. Lisa Whelchel played strong enough to garner at least a few votes in Philippines, but the fact she was a former child star (and, worse, lied about it) nullified any jury traction. You've gotta be a real scumbag to lose a jury vote to a celeb -- in which case, there's no way you'd ever win Survivor.

But it looks like Woo's on board… I think? Watching him scuffle away from Sarah, shouting "WE'RE GOOD!", when Tony approached leads me to believe he's a nervous player. Nervous players are easily swayed. Once Cliff approaches Woo with another deal, Woo's probably jumping back in the (sinking) canoe with him.

So far, Tony's plan is working. Sarah is off his trail and targeting Cliff. Woo is apparently intimidated by his presence. His house of cards is immaculately constructed. By swearing on his badge and talking about "dragging dreams through the mud" he's shown shades of Jonny Fairplay and Tyson, in addition to his already Hantz-ian behavior. But, to me, it all feels so forced, so unnatural, so… pathetic? Tony is a good cop trying to play bad cop. I'm not buying it.

Which brings us to the Brains, in last again thanks to J'Tia. Not since Crystal Cox has a contestant been so spectacularly bad at challenges. Sure, swimming is hard. Puzzles are hard. But placing a flag on a platform and lifting a rope is NOT hard, compared to what Spencer's crotch went through. (For all my Archer fans, this is where you yell "Phrasing!')

The meta commentary from Spencer and Kass at tribal was great. The audience is treated (or sometimes nauseated) by edits handed down from the production gods that foreshadow certain player's worth. We can surmise, for instance, come finale night Jeff won't be handing a million-dollar check to Lindsay. While on the island, in the moment, Lindsay is just as viable a contender as anybody else. How can you possibly predict who's going to help your game?

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #7: Know Your Survivor History. Kass and Tasha racked their brains over whether a merge or tribe swap was coming. The answer, to Survivor super fans, is an obvious yes. There have only been two other seasons in which 18 players were divided among 3 tribes, All Stars and Philippines, and in both of those seasons, tribes were shuffled after 4 eliminations. With this being the 4th Tribal of the season, odds are Kass and Tasha would soon be playing with new blood -- and as the scenes for next week show us, this is exactly the case.

That doesn't automatically mean keep the loyal J'Tia and cut the alienated Spencer. The shuffles in question weren't your run of the mill tribe swaps -- in each instance, the last-place tribe in a reward challenge would be absorbed into the other tribes. If Kass, Tasha and their third amigo lost the challenge, two of them go to Team Beauty (or whatever the name we actually have to learn now), one to team Brawn, to even things out 7-7. In order to stay intact, they need to win. To win, frankly, they need Spencer.

Spencer gets MVP this week for not only putting on a good show at the Immunity challenge, but also convincing Kass and Tasha he's not jumping ship the first chance he gets. And I believe him! He doesn't seem live a spiteful guy, especially because the ladies on the tribe have shown him respect. When Cochran flipped on his Savaii tribe in South Pacific, it was because he'd been mercilessly bullied. Shambo in Samoa, too. I guess that's SURVIVOR PRO TIP #8: Don't Be A Bully. 

In my opinion, the Brains made the right choice. Best case scenario, Spencer seems loyal enough and will probably be more of an asset in socializing and swaying stragglers than J'Tia. Worst case, Spencer is picked off first due to his strength, buying Kass & Tasha 3 more days.

Up For Grabs (Formerly Random Thoughts):

-Episode MVP: Spencer.

-Winner Pick: Sarah, for at least one more week, because of the whole "two cops in the finals" runner. I don't think it's Tony. It's not Lindsay, Cliff, Woo, Alexis, LJ, Jeremiah, Jefra or Trish. That leaves us with Tasha, Kass, Spencer and Morgan still in the running.

-Historically, cops suck at Survivor. The average placement of acting/former police officers is 14.25 (counting Debb, Maralyn, Jessie, Ken, Amy, Cristina, Betsy and Mark/Papa Bear. Wow, lots of lady cops!)

-Fallen Comrades: You hung in there for as long as you could, girl, and I applaud you for that. Kass and Tasha nearly kept you! You nearly made the tribe swap! There's no telling how far you could have inched along, you poor little pawn. At least you're a winner outside of the game.

-Having two challenges per week is good for most fans of the show, bad for me and the blog, but I obviously still found A LOT to say.

-Did the Brains make the right move? What'll happen in the upcoming tribe swap? And where do chickens come from?? Share your thoughts in the comments or with me on Twitter, @miketvladue.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 2

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? After round one some early favorites are gone including Dustin Hoffman, Denzel Washington, and Johnny Depp on the male side and Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman on the female side. Make sure you vote in round two so your pick does not get left behind!

Each new round of voting and the results will be announced here on the Dual Redundancy Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

To vote in round two click here. Only one vote per device.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 3 Strategy Blog - Dot Dot Dot Hmmph

By: Mike Ladue

Making it to the endgame of Survivor is extremely difficult without trust. To quote the idiot college kid from Good Will Hunting (one of my favorite films), "trust is life", which applies exponentially more on the island than in the real world. More so than fire, at least in the pre-merge rounds, trust is what keeps you alive.

We saw it with both David and Garrett last week. Both made moves that alienated them from the rest of their tribes, painting them as untrustworthy and sealing their fates. Sure, J'Tia destroyed all the rice, but everybody kinda expected that of her (see: Kass, Tasha and Garrett's chat in the water). Nobody knew where Garrett's head would be, thus they sent it rolling.

Trust was central to this week's episode, whether the main players in question (Jeremiah for the Beauty tribe and Sarah for the Brawns) realized it or not. In Jeremiah's case, he did. Literally everybody in the tribe believed Jeremiah was acting in his or her best interest.

That's an interesting position to be in. I'm surprised swing votes aren't targeted more often (the best, and only, example I can currently think of is Dolly in Vanuatu, which was so early in the game it hardly mattered). Of course had Jefra, Alexis or LJ spilled the beans they'd be voting for Jeremiah, they'd make the choice for him and he'd side with the outsiders, and vice-versa. The risk is too high.

So did Jeremiah make the right move? Let's look at his options. By voting out Brice, he solidifies himself in a four-person alliance with LJ/Alexis/Jefra, with Morgan once again the odd girl out. Should the Beauty tribe lose again, Morgan's an easy target -- low physical asset, low social prowess, low camp contribution. But smart players should always be thinking two moves ahead, and it's here that Jeremiah may have stumbled.

Jefra found out Jeremiah had been playing both sides, a fact that could seriously come back to bite him. Once Morgan's gone, the Beauties will be that much closer to a merge, where physical strength shifts from favorable to threatening. Jeremiah, then, becomes the outsider, the one who "played both sides" in a guilty by association scenario, the one everyone likes, and thus must be ousted.

SURVIVOR PRO TIP #4: Find the most likable person and vote him/her off. This is probably the most controversial Survivor advice there is. But if everybody likes someone, regardless of any other factor, they're the biggest threat to your game. If they make it to the end, they win. 9 times out of 10 juries disregard strategy and vote emotionally. Fabio was a goofy, fun-loving guy whose late Immunity run earned him a win. So was JT. And Bob. Jeremiah could fit that criteria, if given the chance to make it that far. (This is controversial because going against an obvious favorite might draw ire from production. If you're going to oust the season's biggest hero, be prepared to assume the rule of the season's biggest villain).

Anyways, had Jeremiah stuck with Morgan and Brice and eliminated Alexis, he'd be in a majority alliance stacked against LJ and Jefra. As an audience, we know LJ found the Hidden Immunity Idol, and could use it as swift payback against Jeremiah for betraying the foursome. Had he not found the idol, moving forward with 2 stragglers is twice as dangerous as with one. Another loss would probably seal Jefra's fate. Whoever survived would itch to join Brains / Brawn and better their situation (a la Shambo). It's worth noting that misfit alliances tend to crumble (a la Timbira, Fang and nearly Casaya). Sticking with who he fits with may be the simplest, most natural choice.

Unfortunatlely, Jeremiah is pretty much damned either way. In this day and age, being a young, fit, likable male is the worst position for a Survivor contestant. After 20+ seasons of dominance, the tide has turned. This is the first time the first three contestants voted off were all male. Being the swing means you're in the middle, and unless you're Sandra Diaz-Twine, it's extremely difficult to hold that position to the endgame.

Brice, our narrator from last week, established an outcast bond with Morgan and a southern bond with Jeremiah. Put another way, he made 40% of all the right moves. Alexis may not have reached out and takes strategy with him, but he obviously hadn't tried connecting with her, either. Social butterfly he was not, as the Survivor greats are those who get on everybody's good side. Look at Kim Spradlin, Tom Westman, Aras Baskauskas, Yul Kwon, or J.T. Thomas. Instead, his Tribal confrontation with her was awkward, as if he knew he'd lost the war. I'll miss his candor at Tribal and sassiness in confessionals. But he failed to earn the trust of his tribe's majority, so there's no excuse to make for his early boot.

Trust comes into play at the Brawn tribe as well. Tony confided his cop identity in Sarah, who claimed to have "Cop-dar", from the makers of Gaydar. She took this small victory and ran with it, not realizing he packaged several small lies with his larger truth. His story about Cliff and Lindsay plotting against her? Total bull. Props to Tony for stirring the pot within an otherwise fully-functioning tribe, at least challenge-wise.

But for some reason, the show seems less inclined to give Tony his credit. Sure, he's gotten personalized hashtags like "#CopsRUs" (aka the worst alliance name ever. Seriously. If I ever make it on the show, I'm teaming up with other tall gangly men to form the Daddy Long Leg Brigade, Parvati/Amanda/Cirie/Natalie be damned). The editing, specifically the music cues, paint a different picture.

Maybe it's just me, but Sarah comes off as way more likable than Tony. Tony gets Russell-like confessionals, without the Russell-like music cues, promos, or production favor. He's more reminiscent of Gabon's Ace than Samoa's Russell. He's downright dunce-like. Then again, Sarah comes off as Palau's Stephenie: strong, likable (lovable?) woman who gets dealt a bad hand.

I see the Tony/Sarah story going one of three ways:

1. Sarah catches Tony in his lies and blindsides him (possibly as early as next week, as Sarah targets a "him" to Woo. Is she naive enough to go after Cliff directly to his ally?)

2. Tony blindsides Sarah, burning that bridge come jury time (a la Chris and Julie in Vanuatu)

or, least likely,

3. Sarah and Tony reach the finals together.

Last week I narrowed the winner pick down between Sarah and Kass. Of the two, Sarah is the one I'd feel comfortable still backing, and this pick to win a Final Tribal over Tony. Kass seemed out of touch with Tasha, the new HBIC of the Brains tribe. I guess it all comes down to who Tasha feels she can trust more deeply.

Random Thoughts:

-MVP: LJ, for finding the HII and keeping his alliance intact through Tribal.

-Winner Pick: Sarah, with Tasha surpassing Kass for second place. Spencer still seems like a future All-Star, not a current season winner.

-Fallen Comrades: Brice just didn't click. Socially, he seemed too aggressive to gel with the laid-back pretty boys and girls. It's a fine line between missing out and over-strategization, and Brice erred too far towards the latter. I'm sure he'll be hilarious on Twitter!

-The vertical maze was DOPE, and designed by a dream-teamer, apparently.

-Props to the Brains for practicing the challenge. Did it help? Not really, as they made up time on the puzzle. But they're definitely using their knowledge of the game's ins and outs to their advantage.

-Splitting votes is always so risky, and we've seen it go wrong so many other times, I partly was disappointed for it to work so well against Brice tonight. Alexis displayed a firm grasp of the game's rules, though. You go girl!

-I made a few mentions to music cues this week, so it's worth mentioning the departure of Russ Landau, Survivor's resident composer since the very first season. From what I've gathered, production felt they'd amassed enough music over the past 27 cycles to fill the silences. Obviously that didn't work as planned, since we were treated to unoriginal music during the Brains tribe's water-tossing segment. Landau's loss is immeasurable to the Survivor brand and one I'm already mourning greatly.

-Did Jeremiah make the right move? Are you down with Cops-R-Us? Share your opinions in the comments, or with me personally on Twitter: @miketvladue.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dual Redundancy's 3rd Annual March Madness Bracket: Round 1

It is March and that only means one thing: March Madness! Even though we do not discuss sports we still wanted to join the bracket fun and make one for ourselves.

So far we have learned that Arrested Development was the best television show and that The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie. This year Dual Redundancy wants to know who is the best actor/actress? We have chosen 32 actors and 32 actresses and have them competing head to head against each other. After we have a winner in both categories we will have them go head to head in a final round to determine the best living actor or actress!

How did we calculate who made the bracket and what seed each person got? Both Mike and David created two separate lists of actors and actresses and had the Dual Redundancy fans submit their choices through social media. We then calculated the awards (Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar & Tony) received for their performances (not counting producing or directing credits). For example, an Oscar win was 10 points, an Emmy win was 8 points, an Oscar nom was 5 points, etc. We then took these scores and added their AVERAGE box office gross (adjusted for inflation). For example, if an actor's total is $82,203,900, 8.22 was added to their total. The top 32 in each category made the cut and like most brackets the number one seed is up against the lowest seed.

Each new round of voting and the results will be announced here on the Dual Redundancy Blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

To vote in round one click here. Only one vote per device.