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Survivor: China, Episode 6 MVPs - The Best Laid Plans…by Betsy Wasser -- 11/01/2007
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For fifteen seasons now, we have been watching Survivor’s impressive shots of bikini-clad women running in challenges, taking baths, and whatnot. But now, in the historic sixth episode of Season 15, we at last got equal time for male hotness. That’s right, people: I’m talking about the magnificent scene in which James took an outdoor shower. James, I salute you.
Was I also supposed to talk about challenges and strategy and stuff?
Okay, okay. This episode had that, too. This week, several players had what they thought were foolproof plans that went awry. Such is life when you’re playing Survivor. The players who had the best plans, and who have the best chance of seeing them play out, are the ones who will win the MVP awards this week.
Let’s start with Zhan Hu. Last week, Peih-Gee and Jaime had the brilliant idea of throwing a challenge. Normally, when I say “brilliant idea of throwing a challenge,” I’d be oozing sarcasm, but that’s not the case this time around. Jaime and Peih-Gee figured that they could get rid of former Fei Longs Aaron and James and protect Frosti and Sherea at the same time. Then, if the tribes merged at 10, they’d have a 5-5 vote, which is certainly better than the alternative in which they all get Pagonged. It honestly was not a bad plan. It wasn’t guaranteed to work, but it was a well-calculated risk.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for them as well as they’d have liked. Peih-Gee had the opportunity to talk to Sherea privately during the reward challenge and told her that the other Zhan Hus were still looking out for Sherea’s interests. Sherea didn’t give her much of a reaction. That, coupled with the fact that Frosti avoided eye contact, worried the Zhan Hus. Peih-Gee, Jaime, and Erik panicked and decided to abandon their challenge-losing strategy and do their best to win immunity.
The trouble is, the three of them were operating on less than perfect information. Sure, Frosti didn’t make eye contact with them. Otherwise, he’d have been loudly telegraphing to the other Fei Longs, I am going to go right back to my old tribe the very first chance I get! And that would be stupid. As for Sherea, Peih-Gee was too vague when she talked to her. Instead of saying that they were “still with you,” Peih-Gee should have been completely direct. She should have spelled out, “We lost that challenge on purpose to protect you and Frosti and are going to do the same at the next immunity. Zhan Hu power, baby!”
That might have gotten her a bigger reaction.
Instead, the Zhan Hu three were stuck with half a strategy. They got rid of Aaron, but then abandoned their strategy, which meant they really gained nothing. They’re in some pretty serious trouble when it comes time to merge – next week.
The Zhan Hu who is in the best position now is James, who is only a Zhan Hu in the most technical sense. James now not only has the immunity idol from the Fei Long camp, but he also knows where to get the idol in the Zhan Hu camp. He went from being firmly on the chopping block to having two immunity idols. When Todd approached him about getting the clue to the hidden idol, James was smart enough to throw his lot in with a canny player. The timing couldn’t be better, since the tribes are about to merge. A big strong guy like James is a serious challenge threat, so the other players were likely to vote him out at the first opportunity. Now he has a lot more to bargain with – idols he can keep for himself or give away to win allies or get rid of enemies. Luck had a lot to do with it, but still, without a doubt, James played the best for Zhan Hu this week.
What about Fei Long? Todd, I love you, buddy, but you didn’t play this one quite right. There were flashes of brilliance. He made the move to approach James and ask for the clue to the hidden immunity idol instead of just hoping for the best. Todd also knew that his best tactic was to convince James that it was in his own best interests to help Todd – and it was. But Todd made a whole lot of blunders, too.
His attempts to get the hidden idol weren’t exactly smooth. Earl and Yau-Man were able to team up to get everyone away from the spot where Yau-Man needed to dig. Todd and Amanda attempted to get the idol down in plain view of everybody. That plan fell apart when Frosti tried to help them. They should have just abandoned getting the idol at that point and just kept up their pretense of getting shingles off the roof. Just because a plan won’t work that very second doesn’t mean it won’t ever. Then, Todd and Amanda’s big idea to hide the idol from Frosti was to have Amanda stand on it. That tactic didn’t work for me in 8th grade Geography when my friend Amy and I were trying to hide our note passing habit from Mr. Ybarra, and it didn’t work for Todd and Amanda this time. So, they told Frosti. And then Todd proceeded to tell everybody else. That’s fine. The element of secrecy doesn’t always help you if you’ve got the idol. But Todd really made things unnecessarily complicated for himself.
Todd’s big genius plan was to give James the idol, have James throw the challenge, and get Fei Long to work extra hard to win. Okay, but why not just tell James where the Zhan Hu idol is, tell him to get it, and keep the Fei Long idol for himself? It’s not like James needs two idols for this plan to work out. I am afraid that Todd’s downfall might be the same as one of my all-time favorite Survivor players, Rob Cesternino. He is thinking too much and is strategizing too hard. People are going to be afraid of him, and they’ll vote him out for self-preservation.
So, who does win the MVP award for Fei Long? Definitely not Jean-Robert, whose obnoxious behavior continues to make sure his days are numbered. Here’s a hint, dude: don’t refer to yourself as a “bad boy.” If you’re really that bad, you won’t need to say so. Not Courtney, either. I am all for her suggestion of getting rid of Jean-Robert, but the only reason she could offer up benefited only herself. The rest of the tribe wasn’t ready to change their vote just because it’d be better for her. As for Denise, I don’t blame her one bit for not being able to eat that bird. She really tried, you could tell. Amanda? She was part of the whole Frosti debacle, so I can’t give her the award this week either.
The player who came out of all of these strategic twists and turns the best was Frosti. He completely lucked into the Todd-Amanda alliance. He might have been an outsider before, but thanks to Courtney’s confession at tribal council that she doesn’t feel close to anyone else, Todd and Amanda might be inclined to favor him over Courtney, original tribal lines aside. Even though he’s a challenge threat, they never even considered voting him out instead of Sherea. He now has strong ties to people on both tribes, which gives him a lot of options, come merge. Plus, he completely rocked out that gross food challenge, performing the best for his tribe by far.
Survivor: Australia winner Tina said that good luck contributed a great deal to her win. James and Frosti had luck on their side this week. So far, they are using that fortune well, earning them both MVP awards. We’ll see if they can continue to perform well next week.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with MVP nominations and comments at email@example.com.
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