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Survivor: Vanuatu’s Finale and Reunion – Redemption All the Way Aroundby Ken Kellam III -- 12/21/2004
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If Survivor seasons were food, Vanuatu would be a donut: Nothing in the middle, but plenty of delicious stuff surrounding it. In other words, the latest edition of TV’s first competitive reality show got off to a promising start, but soon seemed to incur the wrath of the fire gods, who apparently struck it with a curse of dullness. That curse was lifted just in time, with a few episodes still to go before the finale. Starting with the ouster of Leann, the show seemed to find new life.
In some ways the show’s comeback mirrors that of Chris, its eventual champion. The show seemed as doomed to boredom as Chris did to expulsion. But once he stayed instead of Leann, Ami, etc., the season started picking up steam, and so did he. Chris had more escapes than Houdini, and some of them may have been just as spectacular.
Now, it’s been said that luck is opportunity meeting preparation, and make no mistake about it: luck definitely played a part in Chris’s victory. But then, no one ever won Survivor without a bit of luck. That includes Rich Hatch and Brian Heidik, two of the most skillful players ever.
Furthermore, that doesn’t mean Chris didn’t play a major part in his victory. I’m not sure anyone has ever manipulated the jury so masterfully. Yes, he groveled, and as Scout noted, he was full of “____,” but he was playing the game, and playing it well. He told the jury exactly what they needed to hear, and did it superbly. Maybe he overplayed the friendship card with Eliza and Julie, but they voted him the cash anyway.
On the finale, let’s start with the argument between Twila and Eliza the night after Julie’s ouster. It all started with Eliza whining (again), this time stating she had never said someone doesn’t deserve to be there, as Twila said about her. Actually, Twila tried to avoid the question when Jeff Probst asked her directly, and even when she said some of them indeed didn’t deserve to be there, she tried to avoid mentioning names. It was Eliza, remember, who told Jeff Probst that Twila was referring to her.
At this point, Twila reiterated her point to Eliza, stating the Syracuse co-ed doesn’t deserve to be there, and is only there because she’s been riding coattails since day one. She also informed Eliza that she (Twila) has worked hard and played the game hard (and argued hard, I might add).
First of all, it’s hard to blame Twila for speaking her peace, as apparently Eliza had gotten on her nerves since the game started. Having said that, however, it wasn’t a smart idea for Twila to come out and say this to Eliza so close to the end of the game. Remember, Twila may have needed Eliza’s jury vote.
But Eliza certainly didn’t do herself any favors, pointing out that she had won the most reward challenges of anyone, and that maybe she was playing by conserving her energy for the challenges. Frankly, I don’t buy it. More likely, Eliza was simply lazy for the sake of being lazy, and when she got called on it by Twila, she used the old “saving myself for the challenges” excuse. In fact, maybe she should be called “Elazy.”
Let’s examine her argument for the moment. The first person to use it was Gervase way back in the initial edition of the show. But it could only take him so far, and eventually, he ended up in the jury anyway. Then there was Sarah from Marquesas, quite possibly my least favorite Survivor of all time. More than one person noted her laziness around camp, but she used the same argument. However, the game was still in the team stage when she said it, and not once in the twelve days she was in the game was she ever on the winning side in an immunity challenge. So if indeed that was her plan, it failed miserably.
And let’s point out that rewards aren’t as important as immunity challenges, and Elazy only won one of the latter. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t win it when she really needed to. And, let’s not forget that one of the reasons Elazy (boy I love saying that) won so many reward challenges is that her main competitors (Sarge, Chad, Rory, Leann, and Ami) kept getting booted.
She then had the gall to say maybe if Twila had conserved her energy she (Twila) would’ve done better at the challenges. Elazy needs to get something straight: If Twila had conserved her energy, Elazy wouldn’t have been half as well-rested or well-fed as she was, in all likelihood. And let’s not forget that this laziness was the reason Elazy’s own tribe wanted to turn on her; they didn’t felt she didn’t deserve to be there either.
Finally, Twila pointed out that Elazy was still there only because everyone had used her, and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, there has probably never been a bigger tool in the history of the series. Finally, Elazy called Twila a “dumb bitch.” I’ll let you insert your own “pot and kettle” comment here.
Since I’ve already stated that Twila wasn’t smart to argue with Elazy, let’s call a spade a spade: Eliza similarly wasn’t smart about it, and if her chances of getting Twila’s jury vote weren’t dead, they were certainly in a coma.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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