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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Who Will Go in Episode 11?by Betsy Wasser -- 11/25/2003
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Last week, there was a major power shift in the Balboa tribe. Darrah and Tijuana, who thought they’d be heading home soon, got a new lease on life; and Rupert, who thought he had everyone under his control, was sent home. Last week, without the help of spoilers, I correctly guessed Rupert’s ouster. Can I do it again? Let’s look at the new tribal politics to predict who will be voted out next.
Last week, Burton, Jon, and Lill forged a new alliance with Tijuana and Darrah to break up Rupert’s alliance. The two Outcasts and Jon convinced the women that Rupert was too big of a threat and needed to go. It didn’t take much to talk them into that plan—Darrah and Tijuana knew that otherwise, they’d be headed home themselves. Will the new alliance hold?
Sandra and Christa seemed shocked to see Rupert go at Tribal Council. And as the two people closest to him, they know that the last vote does not bode well for them. Knowing their days might be numbered, they could decide to fight back. Sandra and Christa could approach Darrah and Tijuana and offer them a final four alliance. If D and T stick with Burton, Jon, and Lill, they’re looking at fourth and fifth place. In an all-female alliance, they have the best chance to win the game.
If Christa and Sandra convince Darrah and Tijuana to vote with them, the four of them will likely target the strongest member of the counter-alliance: Burton. Burton has won two individual immunities so far and is an obvious threat. If the women have the chance to vote him out, they should. If Burton wins immunity, they should target the scheming Jon. Christa and Sandra should know that they need to take action to stay in the game. They should know that Darrah and Tijuana are their best shot at getting those two votes that they need. And Darrah and Tijuana should realize that with the other two women, they will make the final four. It all makes perfect sense… and yet I don’t think it’s going to happen.
I believe that Christa and Sandra started playing the game the day they made a final three alliance with Rupert, and then immediately stopped. They relied on Rupert utterly—not only for food, but also to tell them who to vote for. Christa and Sandra aren’t still in the game because they’re good players, but rather because they rode Rupert’s coattails. Both of them have made enemies around camp. Sandra infuriated the Morgan tribe when she looted their tarp, and Christa has apparently (though we’ve yet to see it happen) gotten on a lot of people’s nerves. I don’t think either of them has the political skill to convince Darrah and Tijuana to jump ship.
Burton and Jon, however, are excellent schemers (Lill is not, but she will vote with Burton and Jon). When they approached Tijuana and Darrah last week, they told them exactly what they wanted to hear: “Stick with us and you’ll go far. Here’s who we’ll vote out, and here’s how it will work to your advantage.” A strong Survivor player is able to paint a picture for a weaker player, showing them exactly the future they want to see. Brian Heidik from Survivor: Thailand was excellent at this tactic. He had Helen, Ted, and Clay all convinced that he would bring them to the final two. Not one of them ever schemed to pair with someone else. When the Balboas return from Tribal Council, I believe Burton and Jon will successfully tell Christa and Sandra exactly what they want to hear.
The two guys will tell Christa and Sandra that they weren’t really breaking the alliance, but rather getting rid of the biggest threat. Rupert is so strong that when you get a chance to vote him off, you need to do it right away, or he’ll keep winning immunity. They would have told Christa and Sandra about the plan, but they were afraid of what might happen if they did. After all, just look at what happened to Trish when she hatched the same plan! But with big threatening Rupert gone, it can be business as usual. They can promise the two women a final four alliance even give them the opportunity to choose who will go home next among Darrah, Tijuana, and Lill.
I think Christa and Sandra will believe their story because they want to believe it. We already know that the two of them have already thought about what a threat Rupert was and how they might get rid of them. The episode before last, they spent some time alone in the ocean talking about how they might form an alliance to boot Rupert. Later, they talked to Darrah and Tijuana about how they’d gather food in case either Rupert or Burton “got hurt” and could no longer fish for them.
I also suspect that Sandra tacitly used her vote at Tribal Council to get rid of Rupert. Sandra knew from the conversation she overheard that Jon and Burton were plotting against Rupert. She and Rupert believed Lill was the swing vote. After Rupert talked to Lill, he was convinced that she would continue to vote with him. Let’s say Sandra believed that. That would mean that at Tribal Council, there would be four votes for Rupert (Jon, Burton, Darrah, and Tijuana), and, if she stuck with her alliance, four votes for Darrah (Rupert, Christa, Lill, and herself). But Sandra didn’t vote with her alliance; she voted for Jon. Even if Lill had voted with Sandra’s alliance, her vote for Jon would have meant a 4-3-1 vote, sending Rupert home. By voting separately from her alliance, Sandra got rid of Rupert without having to write his name down.
Christa and Sandra will buy Burton and Jon’s story about breaking the alliance only to get rid of Rupert because they too believed he was a threat that needed to be eliminated. With the final four agreement in place, they’ll select Darrah as the next to go. Why Darrah? Well, their previous alliance picked Darrah to go, so for whatever reason, they must consider her the next best target. Convinced of their safety, Christa and Sandra won’t even consider an alliance with Darrah and Tijuana.
Meanwhile, Burton and Jon would also be wise to talk to D and T to thank them for their votes, talk about how great it is to be in power, and to promise the two of them final four slots as well. Tell them they’ll get rid of Christa and Sandra first, to completely destroy that old alliance. Then Lill will be next—alas, she’s a nice lady, but she doesn’t deserve to win. The four of them will triumphantly go to the finals together. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Grateful to be back in the game, D and T will buy it.
So, which pair of women will Burton and Jon tell the truth to, and which will they lie to? I think Burton, Jon, and the loyal Lill will get rid of Christa or Sandra first. Christa and Sandra aren’t as good at plotting and scheming as Burton and Jon are, but they seem to be a heck of a lot better at it than Tijuana and Darrah. Christa and Sandra are, therefore, the greater threat. One of them needs to go home next. Christa, who seems to be on everyone’s nerves, will have her torch snuffed.
Betsy can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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