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Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 11: Shake It Upby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 11/28/2005
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I only got to watch the last 20 minutes of the latest Survivor episode as sub-moronic KSLA in Shreveport ran late because of the Broncos-Cowgirls football game went into overtime, and then ran a 30-minute special on, get this, the LSU-Arkansas football game tomorrow. I could see running a special on the likes of Saturday’s Oklahoma-Oklahoma State contest given the former has won the most national championships and games in college football from 1950, but a whole half hour on a the latest game between two teams whose mark in college football is largely insignificant? And, worse, instead of backing up Survivor and showing all of it, just to cut in to show only the last third?
Anyway, I think I gathered a good gist in that final twenty minutes of what did happen over the course of the entire show in part thanks to Jeff Probst’s loquaciousness at tribal council. Occasionally I catch Outdoor Life Network’s broadcasts of the earlier series (the final episodes of Pulau Tiga are on even as I write) and the contrast between the Probster now and then is quite stark, him being much more taciturn at tribal council, which I enjoy much more than the current part-gossipy, part-amateur psychoanalyst content of his remarks. But this time, I was grateful at his dispensing of information and pop psychology. I like to get my analyses out quickly for faithful readers, thus I’m doing so at risk of being unaware of important developments.
But from what I gathered, several mistakes were made this game by people who had a chance to go pretty far. It started with Lydia complaining about Stephenie, which was very stupid because, given the former’s place in the game she had absolutely nothing to gain from publicly attacking an ally. The only conceivable reason this might make sense is if she felt there was way too much complacency about Stephenie’s position in the game.
The situation was that dyads were forming to jockey for position at endgame, Stephenie/Judd or Cindy, Rafe/Lydia, and Gary/Danni. The upcoming vote was key because if the latter two teamed up, the former (regardless of whom Stephenie picked or even if she could bring both on board) would be eliminated. If Lydia perceived that Rafe especially did not seem aware that a move had to be made now or else Stephenie would try to use Judd and Cindy to eliminate her and Rafe, her going public is reasonable. Not smart, because if she felt this, she needed to handle it behind the scenes.
Still, it would be a fatal error only if another person cooperated in the stupidity. If Stephenie now felt it were time to drop Lydia from the alliance of five as a result of the outburst, from Lydia’s perspective, so what, since a move was about to be made against Stephenie? It took Rafe’s double stupidity which have put both his and Lydia’s chance into severe jeopardy by his disavowing of her as well. To distance her from him is the most egregious error yet made in this installment, because kicks out a huge support for himself and hands Stephenie more power, and the error is compounded when he lops off another potential ally by ousting Gary.
The game now is much simpler. Stephenie is trying to retain Judd in her orbit and is bringing in Cindy; Rafe will be the odd man out at four. This almost is the optimal lineup for Stephenie because both of them have been carried to this point and because of Judd’s brusqueness and untrustworthiness, accentuated by Gary’s well-played (if desperate) outing of Judd’s mendacity regarding the immunity idol. Lydia might be a slightly better choice than Cindy, but even if Stephenie is racking up a few enemies on the jury, against either of these two she should win.
(The practical effect of Gary’s outing of Judd is negligible. Had a player not yet seen as boorish been revealed as a knave, the impact could have been considerable, and might even have resulted in last minute shifting to vote against him which would have saved Gary. But telling others a rogue lied isn’t exactly going to change their worldview of the game and actually reinforces in their minds that Judd’s the one they want to bring to the jury.)
Stephenie’s next target if possible should be for the jugular, Rafe; when an opponent slits his own wrists, grab the knife and apply it to his throat. Danni should follow if possible, then Lydia. Cindy will cooperate because she knows a final immunity win would give her the million bucks versus Judd, and Judd will because he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed strategically.1 2 Next-->
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