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Survivor: Vanuatu – Why Chris Wonby David Bloomberg -- 12/13/2004
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It’s been so long since we had a winner who was truly deserving of winning, but finally Chris has come to our rescue. Unlike some of the other recent seasons, when it seemed the best player did not necessarily take home the million dollars, I won’t have to struggle to explain why Chris won.
So let’s get to it! Even though this is the sole article about why a person won during a season (as opposed to why all the others lost), we still start with the same basis: What Vanuatu Survivors Should Have Learned. The main difference between this one and the 17 others is that Chris did a lot more right than wrong.
The first rule, and the one that Chris truly understood, is to scheme and plot. Chris did this in abundance! First, he was part of the older guys’ alliance, which saved his butt in the very first episode. He knew he needed to support that alliance as long as he could, and he did so until it became obvious that it was time for a change.
After Rory was sent packing, Chris knew it was all downhill. Rather than make a stand, he decided to try another path by joining the women in voting against Sarge. It seemed like a silly thing to even bother with, but that, along with other maneuvering, actually helped.
Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Chris was handed a way out. But it was not merely the poor decision from Leann and Ami that let Chris stay in the game. We found out later that Julie helped by lobbying to keep Chris around – and, of course, Chris was behind that because of the way he was playing Julie. It was a fortunate confluence of events, but a lot of it occurred because Chris never gave up.
Once Chris had an opening, he never stopped working on it. He had separate Final Two alliances with both Twila and Eliza. He had Final Three alliances with both Scout and Julie as well. Chris gave himself a number of different optionsand took the one that he felt best suited him. Yes, that meant stabbing Julie in the back. Yes, that meant stabbing Eliza in the back. Oh well. To Chris, it was a game, and he played it as such.
Chris also did a good job of avoiding the error of scheming and plotting too much. A few times it looked like he might be overdoing it, such as when he kept going over things with Julie and Eliza – but eventually, he just said he was going with them and shut ‘em up. Some might say he should not have lied to Julie and Eliza, but should instead of said he wasn’t sure, or something like that. I disagree completely. If he had shown uncertainty, he could have put himself in the position that got Christy voted off in Amazon and Dolly voted off earlier in this very season. The opposing alliances might have felt that he was a threat for not making up his mind. By assuring both sides that he was with them, he took this issue off the table and nobody even considered it. Plus, both Eliza and Julie voted for him in the end, so his lies did not come back to haunt him.
Chris fully understood the third rule, pretending to be nice. He knew that if he went on the warpath, the women would close ranks. But if he was as sweet as can be, he figured he might just get one or more of them to think with their hearts. He was right.
But it was more than that. Chris also understood that it wasn’t necessarily enough for him to be nice. He needed somebody else to be nasty. Several times we saw Chris encouraging Twila to air her feelings and say what she thought. He even got her to lash out at Eliza during the jury questions, before she figured out what his little plan was. It was an excellent job on his part!
Chris did similarly well in the fourth rule, not letting emotions control him. Quite the opposite, Chris used emotion to control others. He told Julie they were like brother and sister – and then stabbed her in the back. He convinced Eliza that he was the only one she could trust – and then stabbed her in the back too. He might have liked either of the two younger women more than the elders, but he knew that he had a better shot at winning against Scout and Twila. Chris was thinking along strategic lines the whole way through.
What’s even more remarkable is that usually people who use cold strategy in this way end up with the brunt of the criticism at the final jury. But Chris brought along Twila, who did let her emotions control her to an extent and had pissed off so many people that they didn’t seem to care too much that Chris had been lying too! Eliza and Julie were upset with him, but he turned on the charm and the apparent emotions just when he needed to. He knew full well what they wanted to hear, and he gave it to them. In return, he got their votes.
The fifth rule is to not be too much of a threat. Whether by design or by happenstance, Chris appeared to be the least threatening of the remaining guys after the merge. Rory, Sarge, and Chad all seemed to be more likely to win challenges, so they were the first three to go. Chris really stepped it up when he needed to, and when it couldn’t come back to haunt him.1 2 Next-->
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