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Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 10: Scout's Honorby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 11/19/2004
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I actually thought about writing much of this column before the latest episode broadcast, substituting in "Chris" or "Chad" where necessary. I guess I should have, with the answer, as seemed likely after Lea's departure, "Chad."
The wages of strategic sin have come back to haunt Scout, and maybe Twila, too. They should have made their move a few days earlier with the Three Amigos intact. The math caught up with them in this episode, as Twila made so clear to Scout: 4-4 rather than 5-4 means risking the Purple Rock O' Death, and nobody's going to jump from sure safety into that situation.
Worse, Scout chose exactly the wrong target to go after. With an irritant like Eliza, you want to keep her around as long as possible - take her in front of the jury with you, if you can. Scout knew Eliza was displeased with the results of the previous "ranking" challenge days before and so she could have played on that (or, perhaps better for harmonious relations, have Twila do it for her). The target should have been Ami, because surely she could convince Eliza that the fish rots from the head down of the group seemingly slotting her into sixth place.
Worst of all, when Scout perceived she couldn't get a fifth vote, she should have dropped it all immediately. As long as she didn't rock the boat, she would have been an ideal person to carry far into the game, given her lack of physical (and, it would also appear, strategic) prowess that made her a non-threat. Now she has managed to give most of the women a reason to vote her off for disloyalty, and she reaped absolutely no reward for her risk-taking.
And, of course, Scout handled her lobbying all wrong. Even Eliza could have seen the advantages of being in the triad in a 3+2 alliance as opposed to one where she was a singleton floating in a group of four. Perhaps even Julie could have been convinced, although she might have been hesitant because that meant putting secret ally Leann on the other side of the fence.
Twila's guilt by association with Scout also will hurt her as well and so after Scout she becomes a clear target, particularly additionally because of her physical prowess. Ami's gang will not want a singleton guy floating around so, barring an immunity win, Chris goes (especially since they should know by now that he can't be trusted since only a strategic deficient - hold on, given the strategic talent of most of the women, I need to rephrase this to make my point - even strategic deficients can see Chris either was a idiot to follow Lea's phantom request to vote him off, or he's lying about it; what possibly could Chris gain by helping his friend out the door or selling him out given that vote distribution?).
But then follows after him untrustworthy Scout and then can't-choose-friends- wisely/biggest threat left Twila, if Ami has her way and immunity wins don't interfere. And, there's little Scout or Twila can do about it now, for Scout's actions may well have solidified the other four into a cohesive unit of whom most probably won't wake up until it's down to five, if even then.
Twila needs to accept the fact that she's now slated for fifth and must prepare for that, letting Chris and Scout go. Her best bet then is to resurrect the camaraderie of her minority status with Julie during days over with the men. If she does, she's got a jackpot in store, for Julie might bring over Leann as well. At that point in the game, Julie would have to find a compelling reason for Leann to cease her being Ami's female lapdog, and promising her the chance to be in a 3+1+1 lineup with Twila the odd woman out of the triad may well turn the trick. As they say in the sporting world, this trade (of loyalties) would benefit both parties, survival for Twila and getting from a four- to three-woman group with the dyad for Julie and Leann.
Whether they'll realize this is another story. As perhaps the tenor and tone of this column suggests the strategic thinking so far among these players has been adequate to miserable. Nobody is coming close to playing a great game; Ami so far has performed the best of the bunch but she would have been pre-jury fodder with most past season lineups. She's the only one that seems to be thinking much ahead, even if it is simply, but her arrogant style (if we can trust what Mark Burnett shows us) is so off-putting that only strategic deficients would not overthrow her the first chance they get. Then again, considering who we're dealing with here…
Just as a side note, since my area study in comparative politics is the South Pacific, it was great fun to see the reward challenge reward. Yes, boys and girls, yanqona does all sorts of interesting things to you (for the uninitiated, even one sip gets you started). I do hate to shatter the contestants' illusions, but my interactions with ni-Vanuatu lead me to believe that the "villagers" depicted who Jeff Probst said "lead a very different lifestyle than you do" (or something like that) probably all have day jobs. Chances are the bigpella shown rapping with them is more likely to have seen a picture of Ami when she was a (dye) blonde than he actually wears grass and lives in a thatch hut (if you don't know what I mean by the Ami reference, ask fellow RNO writer Mike DeGeorge - he'll clue you in). [Aforementioned Associate Editor's Note: Check this article for an explanation.]
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out the other Episode 10 columns already posted:
Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he teaches, among other things, classes in international politics, international organizations, and diplomatic history. He has published in the area of gaming simulations in international politics.
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