Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 8: Advantagesby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 11/04/2005
View Printable version of this article
The sextuplets in the majority did exactly the right thing by resisting the urge to boot Jamie during this week’s episode. For his part, Jamie did exactly the wrong thing, to a lesser degree so did the minority while particularly Stephenie, Lydia and Rafe benefited from the turmoil.
Jamie, quite obviously, proved himself to be an irritant of the highest caliber. The minority’s mistake was, hindsight tells us, choosing to exploit that rather than quietly try to work over Cindy and (probably) Lydia to their side. But it was a risk they had to take.
When possessing a 6-4 advantage, an even-man situation, the majority must resist the temptation to loosen an idiot like Jamie from its ranks, because the ensuing odd-man situation doubles the defection requirement for the next two votes. At 5-4 it takes just one of your people to flip to become the minority, while a 6-3 advantage obviously means two, and the same applies (unless someone is crazy or desperate enough to defect to make for a tie vote and throw away sure advancement to take a chance with the Purple Rock O’ Death) when it’s 5-3. Thus, if there is an irritant in the majority that absolutely must be ejected, the time to do it is when there is an odd-man situation transitioning into an even-man arrangement.
The requirements to rid yourself of an irritant are fairly stringent because, ordinarily, you want to keep one for fodder for the jury to consume if paired up against that person in front of it. Three conditions must apply: (1) that person has apparently paired up with somebody else, (2) another person seamlessly can be moved into that slot in the alliance, and (3) another irritant exists in the alliance. From the perspective of Stephenie, Lydia and Rafe, and for a different reason Cindy, all conditions have been met.
For the first three, a major concern of theirs should have been the perceived bonding of Judd and Jamie. Towards endgame, they would have to be dealt with. But now, the couple can be blown up with Judd’s blessing, it would seem, disempowering him without alienating him (otherwise, the pair could threaten to defect). Further, Judd also is an irritant; having two around is superfluous because you can take just one front of the jury). Even better, the three can maintain a five-person ideal alliance by inviting Cindy into the group – a real plus since she is less physically a threat.
This is why Cindy benefits, and why Jamie’s meltdown was both a gift and curse to the minority. Had the majority been less strategically astute, it would have given the minority an opportunity to stay alive longer and get back in the game, being only a vote short. But at the same time, it removed any incentive Cindy had for defecting so she should have rejected any entreaties from the minority, knowing she was about to move into the majority alliance on a permanent basis. (For the same reason, Rafe should reject any siren song from the minority). So, it came down to all or nothing for Brandon on the hope the majority would crack early; it didn’t, so he got nothing.
With Judd stupidly giving his consent, now Stephenie, Lydia, Rafe, and Cindy should make this move. But two of them will end up more disadvantaged than the other two if it goes down, which should become obvious to them after at least one more turn passes by (apparently, Bobby Jon’s ouster or, if he saves himself one way or the others, Danni’s).
Quietly, Gary has taken more and more control of his fate. He’s gotten himself (if Jamie goes) slotted for sixth place – in the minds of Stephenie, Judd, and Cindy. Rafe and Lydia need to be thinking differently, with Gary hoping they do. Early in the game Gary helped protect Lydia, and he and Rafe seem to have formed some connection, and it appears Rafe and Lydia are getting along splendidly as well. Just as talk by the majority of Jamie going in all likelihood was a clever ruse to discourage a coup, heading into seven remaining, Rafe and Lydia need to continue to talk as if (probably) Danni and then Gary would be going heading into five left.
At seven, they need to appear to permanently defect to Danni and Gary in order to oust their most powerful player, Stephenie. A tempo move then is needed to ditch the inoffensive Cindy, but then Rafe and Lydia meet another tough crossroads. They must realize that Gary and Danni will be too tight to break up and they need to engineer the easiest opponent in front of the jury so they must then hop back and take Judd to send Danni packing. Then they can eliminate Gary and head to the final immunity challenge a win away from the million, but even with a loss by both, whoever gets picked by Judd to go at this point would win anyway.
Gary must sense that at seven is the time to perform a full-court press to ensure that Rafe and Lydia flip his way (six obviously would be too late because the move would create a tie at 3-all). Danni also must make sure, if necessary through blackmailing Gary by threatening to reveal his Cowgirl etc. past, that she gets invited for the ride to five. This means that if Jamie goes next, at the next immunity challenge Danni, like it or not, must make sure that Bobby Jon does not win that immunity.
Of course, if they anticipate a jump back by Rafe and Lydia, they’ll have to hope for key immunity wins at the appropriate time. But the move still inevitably makes sense, because to make it at least to five and four you’ve got to get past seven and six.
For her part, Stephenie needs to be aware something like this can happen. A determined Rafe and Lydia can thwart anything she does short of a string of immunity wins, but if they haven’t figured this out, she needs to do everything possible to stop them from doing so. If, in fact, she is thinking this far ahead, then a case could be made for her to keep Jamie because that would allow her to keep three others in the fold and make a jump by the two others at seven futile. At six, though, the other five could gang up on her (and should, if it comes to that) so to risk not breaking up the pair now means she would have to have a lot of confidence in her challenge-winning abilities.
So if Rafe and Lydia are not thinking strategically well, then the game well may devolve into a straight-up Pagoning. Assuming it happens, at six left all should agree to bounce Cindy and then one of the non-paired three should become kingmaker. That would most likely appear to be Lydia, because to the thick-necked twins she will appear to be the least threatening. As a result, perhaps Lydia should decide not to send off Jamie since this strategy easily could get her at worst into the final three just an immunity win away from winning it all (at this time, anybody left probably could beat Judd or Jamie in front of the jury).
This is why Rafe must insist that it go down, now. If so, he takes command. If it doesn’t Lydia and, to a lesser extent, Stephenie have the opportunity to take charge. So, if Jamie does go next time, it will be more than just sending packing an annoyance. It well could determine who gets the upper hand going into endgame.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out the other Episode 8 columns already posted:
Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he teaches, among other things, classes in international politics, international organizations, and diplomatic history. He has published in the area of gaming simulations in international politics.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Guatemala page, and take a look at our Amazing Race 8 page and our The Apprentice page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article