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Survivor: Vanuatu – Why Sarge Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/12/2004
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It seemed inevitable. Last week, Rory was sent packing and the men knew they were in trouble. They tried to make a comeback, but it just wasn’t meant to be. So it was that Sarge was next on the chopping block. But was it inevitable? Might he have found a way out of it? Why did Sarge lose?
The way we answer these questions, of course, is to look back at What Vanuatu Survivors Should Have Learned and see how Sarge did at following the guidelines therein.
The first says to scheme and plot. At first, somebody might have the urge to say that Sarge did not do well in this arena because he refused to lie or to compromise his character – as he noted in his final words. However, it is not always necessary to lie in order to be a good plotter. Sarge is one example of this.
Sarge knew that an immediate alliance was necessary for long-term survival in this game. According to my interview with J.P., Sarge first went to the young guys on the team and asked them to consider an alliance. When they blew him off, he went to the elders. The elders were smart enough to know a good thing when they saw it. So one by one, the youngin’s were sent home. Never did Sarge try to cut a new deal with them or make them think they were sticking around. Never did he waver on the alliance, even though Rory was pissing him off. He had made promises and he was going to stand by them. Those promises were backed by his honor, which allowed his alliance to stick together, knowing that they were solid.
After the tribal swap, Sarge realigned and made a final four promise to Twila. Although he wanted Julie to stick with him and the other guys as well, he never made a bigger promise than he planned to keep with her. Of course, that didn’t stop her from telling Twila that he had. Note that I said, above, that it is not always necessary to lie in order to be a good plotter. Now it’s time to add the second part – that a good liar can often out-scheme a non-liar in Survivor. Julie has proven that point again.
From this discussion, it is obvious that we don’t have to worry about Sarge in terms of the second rule, plotting and scheming too much. Similarly, he did fine in the category of pretending to be nice. Sure, he had some run-ins with Rory, but it seems just about everybody had a few run-ins with Rory, so I have a hard time placing the blame for that on Sarge’s shoulders. Besides, he never let it get in the way of their alliance, and he even told Rory that all of that was behind them once the merge occurred (not that it ended up mattering, but still…).
How did Sarge do in terms of the fourth rule – not letting emotions control him? Well, we’ve already seen that he did not allow negative emotions to guide his thinking. He stuck by his strategy and his alliance, even though he was not getting along with one of the members. But might he be guilty of thinking with his emotions when it came to trusting Twila? Frankly, I don’t think so. Yes, he trusted her. Yes, part of that was because they became fast friends. But she gave him good reason to trust her. And if she hadn’t been fooled into thinking he was untrustworthy, she would indeed have stuck by him. Besides, it wasn’t like he had much choice at that point – it was either trust Twila or… be outnumbered anyway.
However, now we come to the big issue – don’t be too much of a threat. Just as this is the main cause of Rory’s demise last week, it was doubly so for Sarge. There were, after all, three possible targets this week even if there was no chance of having any woman in danger. Sarge was directly in the gun sights because he had shown himself to easily be the strongest in physical challenges. So when the women had a chance to get rid of them, they had to take it. As Jeff Probst said at the end of the episode, the way for an outnumbered person to save himself is to win immunity ‘til the end. They couldn’t let Sarge have that opportunity.
Moving to the sixth rule, we come back to Sarge having no problems. He never showed any signs of laziness, and his work ethic certainly had nothing to do with his ouster.
One thing that might have was his lack of flexibility. We discussed that he picked an alliance and stuck to it. But did he stick to it too much? Sarge never gave himself a backup plan. Part of that was simply due to him not wanting to promise different things to different people. Part of it was that he didn’t have much opportunity. By the time he really had a chance to change things up if he wanted, it was pretty much too late.
So did the Alinta tribe do the right thing in voting Sarge off? From the majority female alliance’s perspective, certainly! As already noted, he was the biggest threat to win challenges. However, it might not have been in the best interests of individual alliance members. Scout talked about how she thinks she has been knocked down a peg. Twila had the wool pulled over her eyes by Julie. Eliza may be on the outs because of her behavior. If any two of these women could have agreed to work together, it might have worked out better for them to go with the guys. Then again, if Twila was already promised fourth place, Scout couldn’t really have hoped for better than fifth. We already know she’s destined for about that spot with the women – and she may believe it could go higher. As for Eliza, she might have problems with the women, but she has pretty much no connection at all with the men, and thus no reason to think she would have a better chance by siding with them. Twila might, but again, she needed a cohort to tip the scales. With all of this in mind, each woman likely figured it was in her best interest to stick to the original plan, and it’s hard to argue with them.
Sarge came into the game with a good plan to form a solid alliance and stick by it. Unfortunately, that solid alliance ended up in the minority and he had no backup plan. To make matters worse, Sarge stood out among the men as the obvious leader and the best challenge performer. Plus, he had a connection with Twila that could have spelled trouble later in the game. To put it simply, Sarge was a huge threat that the women had to deal with. That is why Sarge lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Vanuatu Episode 9 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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