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Survivor: Vanuatu – Advice for the Remaining Fiveby Jeffrey Clinard -- 12/06/2004
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Immunity is an interesting concept. It means different things to different people at different parts of the game. It's always nice to have, but sometimes it's more important to keep it away from somebody. Immunity has to be examined within the context of each player's position in the game, and the challenge played out according to the proper agenda of each player.
Episode 12 of Survivor: Vanuatu had a game where it was possible to either play to win or play to deprive somebody else of immunity. Ami certainly had to play to win – with it she was safe from the vote and would have bought herself both more time and a different political situation. However, in the late rounds of the game, everybody but Ami should have been playing to deprive immunity to Ami. People in an alliance that controls a majority of the vote do not need immunity. Julie, who must have known she was a secondary target to Ami, also should have realized Ami wearing immunity was a death sentence for herself, and played accordingly.
However, nobody took advantage of the possibilities the shuffleboard challenge offered in terms of playing to deny immunity instead of to win immunity. Ami had a good position, and everybody kept trying to improve their own chances of winning instead of working to destroy her chance to win. However, on the flip side, Ami failed to realize her best shot at winning immunity wasn't to score another hit, but to try to dislodge one of Chris' tokens from a scoring position. It would have been much easier to do, since velocity wouldn't have been a concern (more is better when trying to knock a piece off a scoring position). If she had played like that, she might have tied up the score and gone to a tie breaker, and possibly won it.
Chris also let us in on the current tie-breaker rule. In simple terms, if the tribe deadlocks after a vote and a run-off, the potential victims are taken off the block and the rest of the tribe gets hit with a purple rock of death scenario. I have to hand it to the producers – they are making a tie vote so painful it will almost force them to hash out a deal before it goes to sudden death. However, it makes Ami's attempt to broker a tie vote situation look somewhat foolish. It would be a great deal for Ami, since as the target, she would be safe from the vote. However, there is no way in the world Eliza or Julie would risk going home in order to save her. Ami had to either win immunity or find vote #4. Unfortunately, it didn't look like she tried bargaining with Chris, Scout, or Twila. Indeed, she failed to take a page out of Twila's book and send somebody else (Julie or Eliza) out to try and cut a deal with the potential fourth vote.
I also want to say a few words about the reward challenge. The car is nice, as was the resort getaway, but more importantly, it broke the tribe in two overnight. It couldn’t have broken better for the current power coalition, since the minority players were separated. Ami took the time to play a full court press against Eliza (which was absolutely the right move), though she also should have tried to a cut a deal with Chris.
However, back at camp I have to wonder what Twlia and Scout were thinking by talking about a potential problem with their power structure (in the form of Eliza) right in front of Julie. Were they feeding her false information, trying to hint to her that she could take Eliza’s place (if she had only spoken up), or just so arrogant to believe Julie couldn’t do anything with that information? It’s the kind of thing producers want to happen when the tribe is broken apart like that, though it doesn’t appear anything really changed as a result of it.
There are only five people left, which means three votes can control the game at this point. What should everybody be doing? It's advice for the remaining five.
Twila: You and Scout have each other's back, and that's a great place to start. What you need is the third vote to carry you into the final four. The question is going to hinge on who you can trust, and who you would like to face in the jury. Chris might be the safe vote, but Eliza might be the smart person to go after. Most of the jury has had a problem with her at one time or another. The question you'll need to answer is if she will work with you. Also, you have to keep your temper and mouth under control. Sure, I'm amused when you speak your mind, but sniping at people is no way to buy a jury vote. Nothing in the game can be personal – it should be all business.1 2 Next-->
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