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Survivor: Vanuatu – Advice for the Remaining 9by Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/10/2004
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Survivor power structures are interesting to examine. They are almost always tentative as people look ahead at their future positions, and sometimes break apart completely over seemingly minor incidents. Sometimes, the ebb and flow of power can have unexpected consequences, which makes the game so interesting. For example, suppose Julie hadn't lied to Twila about having a final-four deal with the men? Would Twila have still jumped back to the women, or would she have pulled Scout in with the men? It's hard to say, but it's the kind of thing that keeps my mind occupied late at night when I can't sleep.
Of course, toying with power structures via challenges and rewards has been a part of Survivor for some time. It's where the smart players realize the consequences of challenges before they play them. When players see challenges that force them to reveal power structures, it's time to reconsider playing to win.
Still, the really smart players might start doing the math now that they've merged. The game started with 18 players and only runs 39 days. True, two players exited at the same time due to the double tribal council, but in some fashion the extra player has to be disposed of. There are only a few realistic ways of going about it: an extra tribal council, a double-elimination at one tribal council, or increasing the number of final candidates to three. An extra tribal council is probably what most of them expect, but a double-elimination tribal council (where the top two vote getters would get sent home) should scare certain players, as a minority alliance could take out the enemy leader at the same time. A three way fight for the jury vote would be interesting, though it would require all post-merge Survivors to be in the jury pool to obtain seven votes (a 3-3-1 vote would be possible, but easily broken if each finalist wrote down a tie-breaker vote for one of the other candidates in the event they got the single vote in such a scenario).
In any case, the current power structure clearly has the women in control. What steps should each of them be taking to ensure their long term progression, and is there anything the men can do to fight back in a minority situation? It's advice for the remaining nine.
Ami: I wrote in my last two columns that your biggest problems were surviving the mid-game, not getting to it. I also said you needed to play for the win at the merge, as well as to get every female's vote after you tossed away Rory's open position. You did it. You need to do two things right now: work out a target sequence for the men to be eliminated, and figure out which players you'll want on your side once the alliance has to feed on itself. These players should be Leann, Julie, and Eliza.
Leann: You are sitting pretty. The women are in control, and you aren't the target in any coup that might come up. Stick close to Ami for now. She's calling the shots pretty well, and you can avoid the firefight for now. The time for your own coup is later.
Eliza: You've made a remarkable turnaround from the days where your mouth drove everybody crazy. Indeed, that is your biggest worry at this point. If you can keep your mouth shut, you can ride the alliance for some time. You'll need to bond with Julie – at some point it may be any woman for herself, and she's your best bet for an ally.
Julie: You've managed to make it to the merge, so you don't have to worry about being targeted now. You'll need to bond with your old ally Eliza, and then figure out which players you can use to advance yourself in the game. Your options are probably Ami and Leann, or Scout and Twila. Listen carefully to everything – you might be able to use it soon.
Twila: You've jumped to the women, and you're stuck with it, for better or worse. Unfortunately, the betrayal means you probably can't recruit the men back into an alliance. For now, stick with Scout and see if you can figure out a way to plot with Julie and Eliza further down the road.
Scout: Ami is now in control of the alliance, and it might be wise to let her get overconfident by letting her direct the next few votes. Then it's time to plot a counter-coup. For now, it would be wise to stay out of the limelight and let the burdens and price of leadership fall on Ami, particularly the feelings of the men who are about to be eliminated. People will admire the work of somebody who took out the leader – particularly at the jury stage.
Lea: It's time to scramble and try to cut a deal. It will take five votes to boot somebody, so you'll need two females to switch votes in order to build a winning hand. Twila can't be trusted after the last vote, and Ami has no incentive to change her power structure, so it's time to try to deal with Julie and Eliza. They were part of the youngins back in their Yasur days, so they might feel vulnerable to the old status quo. It's your best option (other than winning immunity), as I suspect you are the next target.
Chad: I don't think you are the next target, but the clock is running. You'll need to bargain with some of the women, so be prepared to turn on the charm and keep your feelings in check. A crack might open up; be prepared to exploit it if it comes along. You are in a tight spot, but survivors have gotten out of them before. Be flexible, and be willing to either buy or sell votes.
Chris: Like the other men, you are in some serious trouble, and you'll need to find some women who want a new deal, and quick. Bargain out your vote to any faction that is in the market for another member. This may mean talking to each women individually about long-term game strategy, and pointing out the time when your vote could help put them in control. If you can map out strategies that keep yourself and them in control down the line, you might be able to get a new hold on the game.
Rory: What went wrong? Well, it doesn't matter how you slice and dice it; the fact is that the women stuck together after the merge, and you were the first target. Unfortunately, your skill at challenges only postponed your elimination from pre-merge to post-merge. Ironic, isn't it?
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Vanuatu Episode 8 articles:
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his cats, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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