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Survivor: Guatemala – Advice for the Remaining Sixby Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/30/2005
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I sometimes think I rant endlessly about how the challenges, particularly after a merge, are not really straight games anymore, but just opportunities for the producers to throw monkey wrenches into the game of Survivor. Each episode since the merge has had those games, and sometimes they have long-term effects.
In particular, food has become an issue, not in and of itself, but as to how the Survivors are getting it through challenges. Lydia in particular has been upset about how the food has been won or lost, and feels Stephenie has gotten more than her fair share of it – at the expense of herself.
A fair and balanced look at the rewards and food shows that Stephenie and Lydia have gotten food, or not, mostly based on their own efforts. Both of them chose to eat rather than compete at the first merged tribe immunity challenge. In the next challenge, Stephenie placed better than Lydia in the reward challenge, but got an extra boost because Judd picked her to share the center table with him. In the latest reward challenge, Cindy won the coconut chopping challenge (yeah, it was smashing pots and the concept is thematic to Guatemala, but essentially the game is the same – in the end, it’s a pecking order, and a grudge match), and picked Rafe to go with her.
However, the games of Cindy and Lydia merit examination, because they are somewhat in contrast to each other. Lydia initially was a tribal liability, but wired herself into the political structure of her tribe, then survived the swap, and then the merge. Cindy seemed to be a tribal asset initially, but she was swapped into a bad position. She survived, then has slowly wired herself into a final four position.
Cindy’s game has been a classic example of when a Survivor is in a bad political position, they should play for time. Once Judd sold out after the swap, Cindy made herself more or less invisible, and when they went to Tribal Council, Margaret and Brooke took the hits. She was next in line, but the merge flipped the game and she sold her vote to the Nakúm alliance. Over time, her position in the alliance has improved. Jamie’s attitude got him booted, and now that Lydia seems to have been tossed by the alliance, Cindy’s position has improved dramatically – she holds the key fourth vote.
Lydia is a case where a Survivor has let the survival situation take over the Survivor situation. The truth is that being nice, selling a vote, doing work, and all that doesn’t translate into a Survivor win. Lydia has suddenly gone from valued alliance member to outcast, all because of food. She seemed to think that Stephenie has had more than her fair share of food. While Stephenie did choose to eat rather than compete at the first merged tribe immunity challenge, Judd picked her for the open bar and the dessert tray. Lydia’s own performance in the challenge led to her substandard meal, and forcing everybody to watch the head table was a part of the game. Lydia also was the person who caused the defeat of the reward challenge that sent half the tribe off to food, showers, and a bed to sleep in.
The point of the reward challenge has always been to show pecking orders and decisions made by the individual Survivors, and this time it was no different. Gary showed his grudge against Cindy (also shown by his votes at the last two Tribal Councils), Lydia went after Stephenie, and Lydia, Rafe, and Cindy were mostly left alone until the end. Cindy ended up winning the challenge and had to pick somebody to take with her. Picking Rafe was an inspired move that allowed her time to bond with him for an endgame alliance, while leaving Lydia and Stephenie back at camp together to duke it out over the food issue. It worked to her advantage as she has gone from the fifth wheel of the Nakúm alliance to a member of the core four votes needed to control the tribe.
Still, nobody has yet lost the game. Everybody has to think about the endgame at this point, and even a dominant alliance has to crack. After the next vote, only three votes will be needed to control the tribe, and everybody should be thinking with that in mind. What should each player be doing to get to that point? It’s advice for the remaining six.
Cindy: You’ve done a remarkable job of moving up the ladder in the power structure, becoming a more needed person with the elimination of Jamie and the self-destruction of Lydia. What you need now is a plan to make the final three. It will take three votes to control the tribe after the next elimination. I think your best shot lies with Rafe and whoever is left of Lydia or Danni after the next vote. However, you might be able to bargain with Judd and Stephenie. Good luck!1 2 Next-->
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