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Strategic Overview of Survivor, Episode 5: Addition by Subtraction?by Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 10/13/2006
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It really made little difference whether Stephannie or Cristina went, as neither to that point showed they had much in the way of staying power. The incident did point out three interesting things about that tribe’s dynamics.
First, one must wonder what Nathan was thinking. Here he was, a very logical target after having been left out in the choice of evicting J.P. previously, yet the group lets him in on its intention to send Cristina packing. So then he goes out and starts stirring things up by suggesting Stephannie wanted to go. This might have proved advantageous to him had he had any vested interest in keeping Cristina, but, if anything, he was closer to Stephannie. So why try to distract the group from choosing somebody shortly after having identified yourself as an outsider, for seemingly no good reason? He escaped punishment, but it’s not something recommended for the future.
Second, apparently no solid alliances had been formed. Were that the case, the decision to boot either would have stayed on Cristina, or the women would have picked off another man.
Neither occurred, and that might well have to do with the third thing: Parvati’s position continues to improve the most. Days ago, she hesitated in pushing the female advantage to vote off J.P., and she lost influence as an arbiter between groups. She appears not to have committed the same mistake as, for whatever reason when several of Raro debated the Cristina vs. Stephannie question, even after Nathan’s account of Stephannie’s presumed telegraphed request to be tossed out, her declaration that she intended to vote her conscience was presented to viewers as when the decision between the two got made.
With a female gone, Parvati can resume the role of arbiter, and her best bet lies in going with the guys. Her charms will beguile them more than the females, although she should realize she needs backup to create an alliance of the optimal five and to provide some protection.
Who better to ask for backup than Cristina – not because she’s a policewoman, but because Cristina now feels threatened and she will not charm the guys. That pair can use the guys to get to the merge, and then, if they feel they will be used by the guys if all make it to endgame, look for other options. This move would oust Rebecca or Jenny next.
Meanwhile, the instinct for the Yul-Becky-Jonathan-Candice axis to pick a fifth and that it be Sundra is spot on. They are far enough along in the game to take a chance on her weakness, Ozzy is too threatening to take on, and Cao Boi and Jessica have become a pair which is one too many for their purposes.
Sundra brings the right quality of being a strategic lightweight, politely expressed by Yul as “not manipulative.” She expressed indecision about this, which, if it persists, will end her game life: this constitutes an offer to go farther in the game than she ever could otherwise, so she should grab it. Ozzy then definitely becomes the next target.
Still, as long as the immunity challenges feature some intellectual component to them, he won’t have to worry much. Raro had that one won except they didn’t reason out the final, winning (literally) step: you didn’t have to get all feet on the platform, just all body parts above it. Raro still has the physical edge, but the mental edge belongs to Aitu and, as the game has demonstrated more often than not, the latter ends up more important than the former for winning.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out the other Episode 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.
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