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Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 12: Diminished Powerby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 05/07/2010
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OK, so Greeks were told they would actually be paid only for the hours they work riot, markets plunge, the British likely voted up a hung parliament, and what are we paying attention to? Whether Rupert and Colby could survive a double send-off.
And, yes, not only did they survive, but also they likely saved some poor woman from another beatdown at Bootlegger’s tonight after Russell finally reversed recent trends and scored strategically against females. But even as he diminished Parvati’s power, one person suffered an even greater loss of power and another clearly benefitted from the move.
This new dynamic began with the first eviction. Of course, voting off Candice as part of the split was the right move then. The (then) core alliance of Parvati, Danielle, and Russell should have known that Sandra and Candice could not be allowed to stay in the game because of the potential mischief they could perform with a surviving Hero at six.
More specifically, if one had an immunity idol (and one would have), a 3-3 tie could work to their advantage. Her guile made her as serious a threat as the guy Heroes, so she was a good choice to go despite what Russell wanted. His interest was that Candice could serve as a counterweight where he could entice Sandra or the zilch Jerri – best of all, both – to break up Parvati and Danielle.
Frustrated there, he won a short-term victory when he got cipher Jerri to switch at the last minute to give Danielle the boot. While watching that satisfaction may quell his fists of fury, it effectively ended any chance of his winning the game. Rather than force the break – is he so in love with his modest abilities that he thought Danielle and Parvati wouldn’t consult each other? – he needed to hang back and make any attempt at six or five, and at that time make sure it was Parvati who went.
But having prematurely provoked the crisis after getting the Heroes to detest him, now Russell has succeeded in encouraging the same from the Villains. So what if he flips to Colby and Rupert and they win a tiebreaker at three? The only person he has any chance of beating in front of the jury is Jerri and at least one other person will likely be with them in that scenario. They will make a useful idiot of him, but if that doesn’t happen, Parvati’s smartest play would be to take him and Jerri in front of the jury, where she’ll win every vote.
So the obvious winner as a result of his ill-advised move is the same player who has been gaining strength for some time now and also would benefit most from paring Parvati’s power – Sandra. When all is said and done, her snapping up the hidden immunity idol may have been a million dollar find. Since she can’t use it at four, she’s virtually guaranteed that spot because at six either Russell will try to force a tie by targeting Parvati with the Heroes or get used by her to eliminate a Hero. The latter is more likely since he won’t be able to find an idol and may be on Parvati’s hit list if he doesn’t win immunity outright.
At five, Sandra does become a logical target either way because as a former winner she would be considered the most dangerous left by either Russell or Parvati, so then she plays it and then she knocks out a Hero, because she can beat any of Parvati, Russell, Jerri, or a Hero in front of the jury. This means her only problem now is taking the last step to win to get to three.
In the easier scenario, she’s at four with Parvati, Russell, and Jerri. Here, if she doesn’t win the final challenge, Sandra has to pit Parvati against Russell, where she is more likely to succeed with Russell given his ego and the fact that Parvati has a sure jury vote in Danielle. But Parvati should do the same against her, so it’s touch-and-go. Still, it’s better than if she ends up against Russell, Jerri, and a Hero, as her chances are reduced considerably because either Hero would know she would be the most competitive in front of the jury and work for her elimination. It can all become academic if Sandra does win the last immunity challenge – she then wins the game.
So now essentially the situation is that only three people can win the game: Parvati if Russell doesn’t defect, a Hero if Russell does, or Sandra if she can prevent either from knocking her out at four. Russell may not yet realize this so, in his misplaced euphoria, Jefferson St. in Lafayette may be that little less controversial tonight.
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When not watching for strategic elements in Survivor, Jeffrey D. Sadow is trying to teach about strategies inherent in international relations, diplomacy, governance, political campaigns, and lots of other neat stuff as an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
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