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Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 11 MVP: Game Changing Momentby Betsy Wasser -- 12/01/2004
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Every week, one of the sponsors of Survivor recognizes a “potential game-changing moment.” Most of what’s happened this season has been pretty straightforward (which of course has me kicking myself since I decided to take over the MVPs this time around instead of predicting who’d be voted out next). But this week, tribal council truly did shake things up. Chris spent most of his time expecting to join Sarge and Chad on the jury, and when he didn’t win immunity, he was sure he was done for. Leann said that winning immunity wasn’t life or death for her, so she was certainly surprised when Jeff snuffed her torch. And from the looks on their faces, Julie and Ami certainly weren’t expecting this outcome.
Chris got a new lease on life, and, as he pointed out, he didn’t even do anything to make it happen. Eliza, too, recognizes that she has just barely escaped elimination several times. But the reason the two of them are still in the game is the actions of one person: this week’s MVP, Twila.
Twila changed the game around, but not before making what could have been a fatal error. It doesn’t seem right to talk about her good moves this week without also acknowledging the bad, and they were indeed pretty bad. Right after tribal council, Chris, desperate to stay in the game, told the alpha females about Scout’s failed attempt at a coup the week before. Leann confronted Twila about it, and Twila made her one bad move of the week. First, she told Leann that she and Scout never tried to vote out anyone other than Chad, and that Chris was just trying to stir things up. It was a totally plausible explanation, but Twila didn’t leave well enough alone. She panicked, and told Leann that it was Scout’s idea. Oops- Twila made it obvious that there definitely was a plot.
Luckily for Twila, Ami, Leann, and Julie were so confident in their plan that they didn’t seem to factor in the possibility of anyone else making a move against them. Leann actually told Twila’s closest ally Scout that she promised final four to Julie and that she never promised the same to the older women. Just like the Rotu tribe in Survivor: Marquesas and like Alex in Survivor: Amazon, the alpha females really seemed to believe they’d earned their spots in the finals and that everyone else would happily accept it. But Twila was too smart for that.
Once the alpha females made their decision to spare Chris for a week and get rid of Eliza instead, Twila saw her opening. The key wasn’t to get rid of Eliza, but to get her on their side. After all, she, Scout, and Chris needed one more person, and Eliza was the outsider. And because of the torch-snuffing reward challenge, Eliza knew she was an outsider – she was ripe for the picking. So, Twila found Chris, who would be glad to do whatever he could to stay in the game, told him that Eliza was the key, and told him to convince her to vote for Leann.
In the short run, Twila managed to upset the power base of alpha females. In the long run, she may have gained the strong allegiance of both Chris and Eliza. After all, she was the one who saved the two of them from being voted out. If she plays her cards right, they’ll remember her fondly and will be loyal to her further down the line. Twila is now in an excellent position, and that is why she deserves the MVP award this week.
Next week’s episode will be interesting. I doubt Ami will take this lying down, and I’m curious to see if she manages to turn things around again or if she’ll be the next to go. We’ll find out soon.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. Her favorite Game Changing Moment of all time came in Marquesas when the Rotu 4 were eliminated. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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