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Survivor: Guatemala - Advice for the Remaining 13by Jeffrey Clinard -- 10/20/2005
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Brian and Blake provided a stark contrast in styles during the fifth episode of Survivor: Guatemala. Brian wasn’t all that into the praying bit, but he bowed his head, said “amen” at all the right places, and pretty much went with the flow. Then he played his game of “Bait Blake” with superb skill, leading him into telling stories which didn’t sit well with the rest of the tribe. Apparently Blake never considered that a tribe that did that much praying might not be comfortable with his hedonistic lifestyle. Stories about getting drunk or talking about how birth control pills moved his girlfriend from a D to a DD cup size probably helped alienate Danni and Bobby Jon enough to make them comfortable writing down his name on a piece of paper.
Still, even with the tag team of Amy, who started the whole “Golden Boy” concept, Brian, who led Blake down the path of destruction, Gary, who worked Danni, and Bobby Jon after the groundwork was laid, I think Brian knew that it was a hail Mary at best. Brian’s reaction at tribal council indicated he was shocked that it worked. He certainly wasn’t the only one; I think most viewers never expected the old Nakúm members to go after one of their own like that. Well, stranger things have happened on Survivor.
While I’ve written before that I considered the original Yaxhá tribe weaker in their ability to win challenges, it appears they are much better at the political game that the original Nakúm tribe. After they were shuffled up, the new Nakúm members flipped Judd, and the old Yaxhá tribe flipped both Bobby Jon and Danni. This is a remarkable achievement, as an outnumbered original Yaxhá tribe has probably seized political control of both tribes.
The reward was a fairly nice one given the environment - chips, dips, lounge chairs, a swimming cage, an umbrella, and towels. The challenge, however, was possibly one of the worst blowouts for a mutli-part challenge. I’ll give a lot of credit to Brandon; I’ll put some of the blame on Jamie, but in the end it amounts to the same thing in the end. However, what Brandon did right was stretching the rope tight over the edge of the table, thus increasing the tension.
For the immunity challenge, the obvious way to go was to run over anybody in an attempt to catch the projectile. If you couldn’t catch it, knock the other team over so they can’t catch it either. It also helps if the launcher picks their spot well. I’m not completely sure of how the catapult worked, but if the amount of release force was fixed, a long shot as far as possible to the left or right (depending on the tribe) was the best way to go. If the catapult could be adjusted for less tension, then a short path might have been better. The basic idea in either case is the same; minimize the chance of the opposing receivers intercepting it, and maximize the chance of a friendly reception team catching. The reason for the long shots with a fixed amount of force is that it minimizes hang time, which increases the chance of an interception.
Still, as this episode shows, the game is usually not won or lost on the challenges. It’s won or lost in the social end. So what should each of the Survivors be doing to advance themselves in the game? It’s advice for the remaining 13.
Nakúm: The new Nakúm is finally on the scoreboard with an immunity challenge win. It was a good shot in the arm for morale, and forced the new Yaxhá tribe to go to tribal council for the first time, which is always a plus. Tribal council can sometimes can strife and divisions, which can’t hurt in the long run.
Stephenie: I hope that with that immunity challenge win we see a lot less of the “poor me” show that has gone on too long. Right now your position is fairly secure, but you have the chore of figuring out your tribal political priorities. Judd is annoying, but he’s still useful to the tribe right now. As annoying as he can be, keep him and get rid of Margaret next if you go to tribal council. Your tribe is still vulnerable, but you can make the merger if you play a good political game.
Lydia: Nice job in starting some tribe spirit, and an additional well done for your role in winning the immunity challenge. Life is good for you right now; you’re in a political majority and you’ve got another win behind you. Keep working on the fish and morale, and you’ll stick around for some time.
Cindy: I’m glad you didn’t get baited into a fight with Judd, since that would have been counterproductive to your position. You are still in a worrisome position, but the longer you stick around, the better your chances are of lasting until the merger. I think you need to try to finesse your way out of your current position to make it to the merger. Judd is totally annoying, and Margaret has gotten into it with him. First thing is to be very social with the ex-Yaxhá tribe members. Be nice, act nice, fake being nice if you have to. If you go back to tribal council, go along with a move to eliminate Margaret. After that, start playing on how annoying Judd is, and cut a deal to eliminate him. That plan might buy you two weeks in the game.
Margaret: It’s always a mistake to call people out for betrayal, particularly if you’re in a politically minority situation. It moved you up to “next” on the target list when you should have been trying to figure out a way to make it somebody else. Your best shot is to let Judd be as obnoxious as possible. Take a page out of Brian’s book and provide the shovel that Judd uses to bury himself. It’s quite possible that the rest of the tribe will vote him out just to be rid of him.1 2 Next-->
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