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Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 13 MVP: Last Man Standingby Betsy Wasser -- 12/11/2004
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It seemed like a foregone conclusion after episode 12 of Survivor: Vanuatu that Julie would be headed home. She was, after all, on the outside of a four-person alliance. Would she be able to work some strategic magic to stay in the game? Well, she gave it a valiant effort, and if she’d pulled it off, there’s no doubt that I would have given her the MVP award this week. But alas for her, she didn’t pull it off. One person was instrumental in the vote this week, and that was Chris. For that reason, he is without question this week’s MVP.
As I said, Julie made a really good effort to stay in the game. When the five got back from tribal council, Twila lashed out at Eliza for mentioning the fact that she swore on her son’s life. The two of them had an ugly argument about it, and Julie saw the big, gaping crack in their alliance and decided to work it. She was easily able to convince Eliza to vote out Twila before her – but only if Chris agreed to the idea as well. Julie waited for a good opportunity to talk to Chris alone, and she got one when she won the reward challenge.
No fool, Julie brought Chris with her to the volcano to eat hot dogs and talk strategy. She laid out a good case for breaking up Scout and Twila. Chris, in turn, did some smart strategizing of his own. He let Julie know he was open to the idea, even going so far as to say that she was the person in the game whom he felt closest to. At the end of their conversation, Julie felt hopeful and probably more secure than she had since the last tribal council. If Chris had said, “Thanks, but there’s no way I’m going to break my alliance,” it would have been a mistake. Julie was desperate to stay in the game, so knowing that Chris wouldn’t vote with her, likely would have tried a different tactic altogether. She could have gone back to camp and told the other three women that Chris was planning to betray them, so why not vote him out instead? Instead, Julie didn’t feel compelled to play another angle, leaving Chris himself safe.
Back at camp, everyone surely knew that on the overnight camping trip, Julie would be trying to change Chris’s vote. Chris knew that, too, so the second he returned to camp, he gave Twila and Scout tight hugs and fervently assured them that nothing had changed. The two of them felt confident that they could trust Chris and had nothing to worry about, so the two of them, then wouldn’t conspire against Chris.
That just left the matter of Eliza. He talked to her, and she agreed that even if he didn’t vote Twila at tribal council, that their final two pact would still hold. With that final assurance still in place, Chris’s decision was pretty clear. He could vote out Twila. Then, if he faced the jury, he’d probably have two hostile jurors – Twila and Scout. If he voted out Julie, only Julie would be mad at him, since he promised Eliza the two of them were still together. Chris probably also gambled that if it comes down to it, he’d have a much better chance at winning challenges against Twila and Scout than he would against Julie and Eliza (who just won the last two challenges).
Chris’s strategy could still backfire on him, there’s no doubt about it. If Eliza wins immunity at the next challenge, he’s probably gone. Scout and Twila will stick together, and since they can’t vote Eliza, they’ll give him the axe. It was a tough choice, and nothing Chris can do at this point will assure him an easy trip to the final two. But I think he gave it his best shot. We’ll find out on Sunday if his gambles will pay off.
Of course, not everyone at RNO agrees with me that Chris made the right move. Can’t get enough Survivor between now and the finale? Check out our other articles!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments or MVP nominations at email@example.com
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