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Survivor: Guatemala Episode 10 MVP: Blindsided!by Betsy Wasser -- 11/23/2005
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Last week, I gave the Most Valuable Player award to Gary. His head was on the chopping block, but he pulled out all of the stops to stay in the game, culminating with finding the hidden immunity idol and saving himself. That was good enough to keep him around for one more week, but it certainly didn’t save him. Unless things changed, the opposing tribe still had the numbers to vote out Gary or Danni this week. As fate would have it, things did change this week, and it was almost entirely due to this week’s MVP, Rafe.
Rafe has been uncomfortable being in an alliance with “the axis of evil,” including Jamie for quite some time now. He was embarrassed when Jamie trash talked the other competitiors during the feast or fight immunity challenge. He squirmed under Jamie’s incredible paranoia last week, but couldn’t do anything about it if he wanted to, since Jamie won immunity. This week, Jamie made Rafe feel even more uncertain about keeping him in the game.
Jamie was incredibly uncomfortable when his alliance-mates Stephenie and Judd went off on a reward with Danni and Gary, so he decided to have yet another talk with Rafe about where his loyalties are. Jamie asked Rafe to swear to a final three alliance with him and Judd. Rafe made what I thought was his one big mistake this episode by not just saying yes and telling Jamie what he wanted to hear. If you’re talking to a player as desperately insecure as Jamie, for the love of toast, don’t give him any reason to doubt you or he’ll get rid of you. I can understand where Rafe is coming from. He doesn’t want to give his word unless he really means it, but it’s awfully hard to win Survivor unless you can finesse a situation like this better than Rafe did.
Jamie then digs his hole a little deeper by begging Rafe to swear to sticking with the original six of their old tribe. Rafe says he promises to do so, just as he’s promised so many times before. Here’s where the lightbulb over Rafe’s head starts to glow a little more brightly. Jamie obviously isn’t feeling secure about anything, including the final six alliance that would be awfully easy to keep. Rafe has never given him a reason to question his loyalty for a minute – no particular friendliness witih Danni or Gary, no significant time alone with them – and yet Jamie is asking him to reaffirm their commitment again. Someone so insecure is bound to be unpredictable.
At the immunity challenge this week, I was cheering for Gary and Danni. I like both of them a lot, plus it would make the game a lot more interesting if an immunity shook things up. I was disappointed to see that neither of them made the finals (in fact, I’m pretty sure they left Danni for dead in the first leg of the race) because not a single person fighting for immunity really needed it. But the person who did win was none other than Rafe. One of the rules of thumb for Survivor is that you always need immunity, even if you don’t think you do. Rafe raced hard in this challenge and should be very proud of his immunity victory.
Still playing, Rafe realized that he’s won two individual immunities and came in second in another. If he’s not careful, he thought, he might come across as a threat. Interesting logic, and kudos to him for thinking that way.
After the challenge, Jamie asked Rafe to play Mancala with him, which Rafe said he does every single day as an excuse to talk about the game with him. Once again, Rafe had to reassure Jamie that they’re solid at six. Rafe promised he wouldn’t vote Jamie out, but added that if Jamie asked him again, he might just do it. At this point, Rafe totally reminded me of my dad. We’d go on long family car trips, and inevitably my sister would start whining that she was hungry and wanted to stop for lunch. It drove my dad nuts, and he’d tell her, “For every time you tell me that you’re hungry, I’m going to wait another fifteen minutes before we stop to eat.” It shut her up every single time.
Like my dad on those car trips, Rafe had had enough. He talked to Lydia and Stephenie about the possibility of voting Jamie out. The two weren’t sure about it, but obviously, Rafe talked them – and Cindy – into breaking rank and voting out Jamie. Interestingly, none of them talked to Judd about it, which was probably a good idea. Judd has clearly been loyal to Jamie, plus Jamie was Judd’s best bet in the final two, so if Judd had warned Jamie, the two of them might have had time to change things. Judd’s not going to like it next week, but if he’s smart, he’ll keep that to himself and will quickly work his way back into the fold.
I think voting Jamie out was the right thing to do. He was a loose cannon, and sooner or later, his paranoia would have convinced him to not stick with the six. Plus now, Rafe’s alliance is still strong at five, so if they want, they can resume their plan to Pagong Danni and Gary. Rafe masterminded the plan to vote Jamie out, plus turned in an admirable performance at the immunity challenge. He is establishing himself as a leader, but in a subtle way that I don’t think paints a big target on him. Rafe played very well this week and deserves the MVP award. Well done, Rafe!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online and never whined during car trips. She can be reached with MVP nominations and comments at at betsywasser@Gmail.com.
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