Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 13: Told You So...by Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 05/12/2006
View Printable version of this article
I guess we should have suspected something when it became clear that the crew at Survivor was going to break with the format of the past four years that had the final episode start right after the determination of the final four contestants. Fortunately, there’s strategic stuff that can be reviewed, both retrospectively and prospectively.
Aras did the only thing he could to stay in the game, win immunity, and Terry now paid for his double folly of not using the idol at its optimal time (when Nick’s neck was on the line, which would have put his group down only 5-4 and likely would have flipped Bruce to his side) and then revealing the idol too quickly by thinking he could use it as a bribe. Even if Terry had hung onto it past its time of optimal use, keeping it a secret could have allowed him to sandbag Cirie. If she and Aras did not think he had it, they might have voted for Terry, but he (and perhaps with Danielle) could have lopped off Cirie without having to go to a tiebreaker and risking Danielle.
But it also was Cirie’s mistake to have chosen the wrong target days earlier by taking out Courtney. By not taking out Shane instead, Terry’s next win would have led to Danielle’s departure, and the latest tribal council vote then had a chance of being finessed by Cirie and Aras because Courtney would have been much more likely to stay loyal to Cirie than did Danielle. Simply, Cirie would have told her they were voting for Terry but she and Aras would have thrown their votes Courtney’s way. It would make no difference whether Terry voted for her also or for Cirie, Courtney would be gone and the goal of Aras and Cirie through to the final three would be accomplished. (And, had Aras not won immunity, Cirie still would go on with an even better partner in Courtney.)
Of course, Courtney might have defected to Terry as did Danielle, but the point is Courtney was much less likely to do that. Perhaps now, with Cirie having put herself in the position to be ejected, my fellow voters for the RNO Hall of Fame fully understand why the moment awarded to her for ousting Courtney is ill-deserved: why engineer the ouster, if you don’t have to, of the best person you could have taken to the final three and the one who would have been the most loyal to you – thus the one who would have gotten you farthest in the game?
However, there’s still another consideration here which, frankly, I nor anybody else I guess really understands: when can you use the hidden immunity idol? After initially not thinking this was possible, all along I and other viewers were given the impression that its holder could pass it along at the conclusion of the vote. Yet Terry did not do so to save Danielle from the tie-breaker. If he could have, he had every incentive to do so because she would have been his weakest competition in front of the jury and it was an asset that immediately wasted afterwards. So either this was not possible, which would alter some of the strategy I’ve laid out in past columns, or it was another dumb move by Terry. I wish somebody in a position to know would clarify this. And whatever happened to the revote provision – they just skipped right to the tiebreaker this time.
So, what now? If Cirie wins the tiebreak, Terry is most endangered, since she or Aras would take each other in front of the jury. But if he wins the last immunity challenge, he’ll take Cirie since Aras is seen as a tougher opponent and he’s been out to get Aras for a long time. Cirie better hope she wins the tiebreak and then, if she can outlast Aras in the final challenge, tank it to let Terry win yet probably have her win the game as a result. So Aras needs to win that last challenge or at least have Terry drop out first because it would be politically impossible for Cirie to win it and not take Aras.
If Danielle wins, Terry’s position becomes much stronger. An Aras win still gives Aras the game (up against Danielle in front of the jury) but Danielle must know that and that thus her only chance is to bring Terry because that at this point is probably a 50/50 proposition (a Terry win obviously has him bring Danielle for the same reason). This is because it is debatable who Courtney and Shane dislike the more, Danielle or Terry, whereas they probably are solid votes for Aras and Cirie.
So, it’s simple now. Aras wins the game if he wins the final immunity. Terry can win if Danielle can win the tiebreak and Aras does not win the final immunity. The same goes for Danielle. Cirie can win if she wins the tiebreak and Terry wins final immunity.
We’ll have to see. The chances for interesting strategy at the end are few, but, who knows, maybe something will happen that can provide some good strategic play during a season where there have been many opportunities to do so, but almost all of them have been missed.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out the other Episode 13 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: Exile Island page, and take a look at our Amazing Race 9 page and our The Apprentice page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article