Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Strategic Overview of Survivor: Big Mistakes, Big Opportunitiesby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 10/10/2003
View Printable version of this article
More days bring more goofs in this installment of Survivor. Obviously, Burton’s came out the biggest. It’s kind of humorous because, at this early point in the game, stronger players generally do well – unless they start scheming. Early plotting, as Nicole so well demonstrated only days earlier, brings about immediate distrust. Whatever chance Burton had of placating Rupert, with the big guy already suspicious of him, went out the window as soon as he secretly revealed to him that he wanted Rupert in an alliance and to throw the next challenge.
Smart players realize that it’s far better to wait for people to come calling to you that to telegraph your strategy by seeking to put a group together. You let the group come to you by demonstrating your superior value to the tribe. Rupert caught on quickly and has kept quiet; after the error of stealing shoes he has played excellently. Burton did not and he got sent off.
Rupert also correctly understood that the tanking of the challenge constituted another strategic error, which would hit home as soon Probst revealed that the losing tribe had to temporarily and forcibly transfer a player of the winner’s choosing. While this meant that Rupert missed out having a vote to influence his tribe’s bootee (hey, good word because it kind of sounds like the pirate word, “booty”), apparently they knew what to do without him.
Seemingly, Rupert has figured out that he needs to be at the center of an alliance of weaker players, comprising essentially of my recommendations from last week, except substituting Sandra for Michelle. Oddly enough, Jon figured out the correct side to go for, despite his delusion of mistaking the swing vote he thought to be himself for having a permanency that could influence the future balance of power. He didn’t seem to realize that it’s good for one turn and one turn only, after which you must stick with the ones you chose to dance with or else the evident duplicity earns you a quick ticket to the losers’ lodge.
As events transpired, the swing nature of his vote never materialized because of another huge error, Shawn’s unexpected and unfathomable vote against Burton at tribal council. Perhaps he thought Jon had decided to choose to go with Burton and so he could present himself as the others’ savior in voting out Burton. Except that Trish, Sandra, and Christa long ago cast their lot with Rupert and against Shawn so, had Jon voted against Christa, Shawn would have cut his own throat in destroying the only existing alliance that would keep him in the game. Now that he has signed on with people who will turn against him, in the process simultaneously alienating Michelle, only luck, a favorable swap among tribes, or some fast maneuvering if he makes the merge can save him.
By contrast, Rupert continues to get dealt and play all the right cards. For the next few days on Morgan, he can use his time there wisely to find a pal or two in case things go wrong in his nascent alliance at Drake, or, at the very least, throw up enough smoke to make Morgan’s survivors at the merge not realize until it’s too late that Rupert’s alliance will take control of the game.
With a big opponent in his tribe gone, an excellent alliance to take him far coalescing around him, and a chance to gather information and spread disinformation in front of him for the upcoming days, seldom has a player constructed such a powerful position. Now it’s up to Rupert to exploit that.
Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he teaches, among other things, classes in international politics, international organizations, and diplomatic history. He has published in the area of gaming simulations in international politics.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Pearl Islands page, and take a look at our Temptation Island 3 page and our Race to the Altar page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article