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Surviving the Jury on SurvivorPage 8
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Once all of the questions have been asked, players have one final chance to influence the jurors: their closing statements. Most of the time, players simply reiterate what they said in their opening statements—this is how I played the game, this was my strategy, and this is why I think I should win. It’s a great chance to firm up your argument.
In the most recent seasons of Survivor, however, some players have used slightly different tactics. Matthew said in his opening statement that his morality and integrity were important aspects of how he played the game. But throughout Tribal Council, several players made it clear that neither he nor Jenna could claim a moral high ground. Alex, in particular, said that he never wanted to hear either of them claim again to have played with ethics. So when Matthew gave his closing statement, he dropped all of his claims about morality and admitted that he had been deceptive, but that it was all part of the game. Nobody was buying it—all of the jurors had seen Matthew come to tribal council week after week talking about honesty. Once he had to answer for his actions, Matthew had changed his tune and claimed that it was necessary to lie. It was the equivalent of repenting on his deathbed, and the jurors were not impressed. Jenna won in a landslide.
Similarly, Lill used her closing statement to ask the jury to separate the way she played the game from the Scout uniform that she was wearing. Once again, the jury didn’t buy it. It’s true that Lill didn’t choose to wear the Scout uniform knowing she’d be shipwrecked with nothing else to wear. But she did decide to have that uniform on for her publicity shots and for it to be the outfit she wore the first time she met all of the other players. Lill knew very well the way other players would perceive her for wearing a Boy Scout uniform and should have known that by wearing the uniform, the other players would associate her with the ideals upheld by the Boy Scouts. Lill herself also invoked the Scouts many times in the course of the game. She talked at Tribal Council about representing her troop. She talked on her first day on the island about how she encourages her boys to tuck in their shirts to respect the uniform and look like Scouts. She talked to Burton about his being an Eagle Scout and was thrilled to see that he still remembered the “Scout’s honor” sign. She said repeatedly that Burton and Jon kept reminding her that they were playing a game and that she’d have to lie, and how much it upset her. When they wanted to vote out Darrah before Sandra, Lill got upset that they were being dishonest. She didn’t care if Darrah was a bigger threat—it was just wrong. When Jeff brought the final three mimosas at camp, she talked about how sweet he was and asked him if he’d like to join a troop. And when she, Sandra, and Jon set fire to the ship with everyone’s torches on it, she gave her best Boy Scout salute to the wreckage. Then, when the jury tells her that she hasn’t represented the Scouts well, she all of a sudden claimed that she was not there as a representative of the Boy Scouts? All of her actions prior to that point contradicted that statement. Lill did her best (as Scouts will do) to come across as an honest player and a representative of scouting until she saw that others didn’t agree. It was too late.
On All-Stars, after facing so many bitter jurors, Amber and Rob suddenly spoke of the regrets they had. Amber said that she learned a great deal from her time on the island, but that she learned the most in the past few minutes from the jury and that she’d try to apply it to her life. Rob was very emotional and apologized for any hurt feelings the jurors might have. He said that he expected tension from the jury, but had no idea how much he would face. I can’t help but wonder if Rob would have fared better if he had been more direct and honest with the jurors. If he had told them honestly that he came to win and did what he had to to make it to the final two, and that he outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted them. He only would have had to sway one juror. Perhaps someone like Shii Ann, who seemed to respect strategy, might have changed her mind.
Twila tried to change her tune in her closing statement as well. While she opened by saying she played hard and deserved to win, then continued by refusing to apologize to Eliza, when it came time to close, Twila teared up and said that she forgot other people’s feelings in her quest to win the million. She asked the jury to forgive her so she could forgive herself. Chris, on the other hand, continued his trend of telling the jurors what they wanted to hear. In fact, he addressed each one in turn, telling Julie, Sarge, and Chad that he’d be their friend no matter how they voted. He told Eliza that he did owe her that apology. And he told Ami and Leann that he did what he had to do to win. It worked, and he beat Twila five votes to two.
Most recently, Aras and Danielle pretty well stuck with what they’d been saying all along. Daniell put the best face she could on her strategy, saying that she made the decision to align herself with strong people. Aras said that he played the game the best he could. He tried to smooth things over with Shane, saying that their friendship was genuine. He then threw in a joke about how he is indeed homeless and could use the cash. Neither tried to put a new face on how they’d played, so their closing statements just cemented what they’d had to say already.<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next-->
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