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Survivor: The Amazon - Why Deena Is in the Perfect Positionby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 03/10/2003
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From a strategic perspective, we may be on the brink of the most intriguing installment of Survivor ever. And, if she fulfills the promise she has shown to this point, Deena will be responsible for that. Back in its very first edition, grandmaster Rich put together a coalition within days that carried him to victory. In this version, we have another such coalition coming together almost as rapidly - the Hottie Harem in Jaburu whose original members are Heidi, Jenna, and Shawna. But they aren't the main strength of this group. It was Deena's wise decision to throw her lot in with this group. After Janet's departure, she had a choice - the Harem or the others. Jeanne appears to be a hard worker, JoAnna was too, plus her abrasiveness would be good to carry to the finals, and Christy, after a bit of whining, looked good to carry a load around camp, too - and was looking for allied support. In the short run, it may have appeared beneficial for Deena to bring this group together and to begin to eliminate the Hotties.
However, strategic long-term thinking dictated otherwise. Recall, the imperative of a minimum winning coalition, in an eight-person setup, makes (unless you're Brian in Survivor 5) the 2+1+2 alliance ideal - a senior dyad, a junior dyad, and a singleton (the senior dyad being the one the singleton is closest to). Once eliminating all other opposition, a dyad wins over the singleton, hopes to keep that singleton loyal, then ousts it and the member of the broken dyad to send themselves into the final vote (as opposed to the singleton becoming disloyal, creating a two-on-two struggle for supremacy in the final four, and potentially a PROD [Purple Rock o' Death] situation).
Yet it's not enough to find your alliance, you must also have it able to fight off any potential alliance from the other tribe as well after the merge. This would be a tall order for Deena because, making this Survivor series remarkable, a five-person alliance also has begun to emerge from Tamaqui. One dyad - Roger and Butch - clearly has coalesced, but the other three (Alex, Dave, Rob) act so far as singletons (beneficial for Roger and Butch, making revolt against them late in the game less likely). In essence, when she had a decision to make, she couldn't just look at the next week (assuming the merge happens within the week), she had to consider which four with her have a better chance of ousting any nascent coalition among the guys.
That would be with the Hotties, from the reactions from the younger guys at the challenges. Being that she's an assistant district attorney, needing to read well defendants, witnesses, and jurors, I give Deena the benefit of the doubt that she recognizes that the younger guys will have a weak spot for the Hotties. The Harem may get the opportunity at just a single tribal council, but if the Hotties work their charms, the Harem can gain the upper hand numerically and it's going, going, Pagong for Tambaqui. Additionally, the Hotties to this point have not impressed with their physical (as opposed to their physiques) or mental prowess. All this sets up Deena well for endgame with them in terms of her winning (or their not winning) immunities. Even better for her, she wooed Christy (who I think more guys would call "cute" rather than a "hottie") as the fifth gal into the Harem. No doubt Christy on the outside world has shown herself as gritty, but one would think that her inability to hear may cost her at a crucial time in endgame, giving an advantage to Deena. One may liken this situation to something I teach in my American Government class - our government was designed ordinarily to be weak; that is, no one part of our government can unilaterally impose the interests of those that control it over all others. Only when several or all parts combine can our government act powerfully, serving collective interests most of the time. Deena, by luck or design, has found herself in such a situation - the Harem is strong collectively, but most members weak individually. If Deena can ride this one to the end, she'll be up there in the pantheon of Survivor greats, close to the top with Rich and Brian.
Her greatest challenge, and opportunity, right now rests with Shawna. The situation reminds one of Sean's status in Survivor 1 - not a part of the alliance, but guileless enough to be used by it. She might set back group efforts over the next week (again, assuming a merge by then), but, from Deena's perspective, so what? If Jaburu loses an immunity, it gives Deena the chance to toss out her greatest rival, Jeanne. Even if they lose the next two (see below to understand who Deena ought to get tossed), that might not even be a disadvantageous situation.1 2 Next-->
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