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Survivor: Guatemala – Advice for the Remaining Sevenby Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/23/2005
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Since the fourth season, the producers of Survivor half gave up on the pretense of the merged tribe’s challenges being simple and straightforward. I only say half because some games are on the square, but most have ramifications. While the Marquesas coconut chopping challenge was the most infamous example (it showed a pecking order, which earned the Rotu 4 a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment), every edition since then has included challenges which don’t test the mind, body, or spirit, but the political structure of the tribe.
The odd thing is that no matter how much the Survivors realize the “reward” is a trap, it’s one they fall into again and again. The most important part of the reward challenge was not the overnight stay, showers, or food... it was the separation. Four members were off on a luxury adventure; four others had to tend camp, eat what they could get, and sleep in the bush.
Smart Survivors will attempt to manipulate such adventures to further their own agenda. Back in Vanuatu, Ami used it as a full-court press to try to swing Eliza. It was the correct move; as was Chris doing his best to counter it at every turn. In Guatemala, Gary turned the opportunity into his chance to try to swing Stephenie. He correctly recognized her as the decision maker, and played on her problems with her own alliance member (Jamie). In addition, he offered up a reason for a new alliance (where the strong would survive) which might have played on Stephenie’s fears of being expendable.
Still, the elimination of Jamie was a power move. Five votes controlled the exit, and even with Judd left in the dark, the situation resulted in Jamie’s departure. That makes for an interesting situation. The core alliance seems to be Stephenie, Rafe, and Lydia. They need another vote to control the outcome, but that is pretty much up for grabs. Judd was tossed to no-man’s land after the last vote (not having been informed of the new power structure and vote), and Gary, Cindy, and Danni all voted to eliminate Jamie. Of course, the fact that they need a fourth vote also leaves open the possibility that the ones who want to be that fourth might form a counter-alliance and take control of the game.
Finally, while I often advise players to try to keep the “core group” together (mostly to whittle down the numbers to a point where a sub-alliance can take control of the game), there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way was shown by Chris back in Vanuatu, where he made two different promises to two different set of women, and finally shut up about it. Jamie made a key mistake by lobbying too hard for the status quo, particularly with Rafe. Lobbying that hard indicates desperation. While that kind of desperation is understandable from somebody who is facing elimination, Rafe probably worried that his vote was unimportant after the next elimination (meaning he wasn’t part of a core four-person voting block).
Still, after the events of the last episode, it showed that everybody is still in the game, and needs to develop a plan to move forward from the current situation. It’s advice for the remaining seven.
Gary: Right now, you’re impressing me a good deal with your ability to correctly assess where the cracks were in the Nakúm alliance, and doing what you could to exploit it. To be honest, you are a better Survivor player than I ever gave you credit for, and that can only help you in the future. Your main agenda is to keep fracturing the alliance. Judd was left out of the decision to eliminate Jamie, and he’s likely to make a scene. Just talk to Stephenie and point out that her alliance still controls four votes (Stephenie, Lydia, Rafe, and Cindy) and getting rid of Judd can’t hurt her. If you can direct the next vote away from yourself via politics or immunity, you may be in a position to become the third vote when there are five. Good luck!
Judd: Your alliance decided not to share the last Tribal Council’s little surprise with you, so you may want to consider yourself officially excluded from the inner circle. Your position has dropped, but it doesn’t have to collapse completely. First, resist the urge to yell and scream about the decision. It will only alienate some of the nicer members of the tribe, like Rafe and Lydia. See what you can do to get rid of Gary or Danni next, then start looking for final three agreements. You may be in a position to sell your vote if you can keep calm and focus on the next elimination, instead of the last one. However, realize you can’t ever trust anybody completely in this game.1 2 Next-->
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