Survivor: The Amazon – Transferring Immunity: A Game Advantage... or a Curse?by Jeffrey Clinard -- 04/01/2003
For the second time, Survivors are given the opportunity to transfer the immunity necklace to somebody else. And, for the second time, people are wondering why anybody would be crazy enough to transfer immunity. There might have been good reasons in the past when past votes could come back to haunt people (example: Tina gave up her perch to protect the vulnerable Keith in Survivor 2, which also ended up protecting her; similarly, in the same series, a Kucha could have given up immunity to the vulnerable Jeff to protect him). But since past votes can't come back to haunt a Survivor anymore, what possible reason could somebody have for transferring immunity?
The real answer to the question is something rather devious. When immunity is absolute, there is nothing any of the other players can do about it. They can't vote them out. That's all there is to it. But when immunity becomes a commodity to be transferred at will, it becomes a different situation entirely. The answer lies not in why would a player give up immunity of his/her own free will... no the answer lies in the plots of the other players.
There is one thing more valuable in the game than immunity... and that is an alliance. Rudy in the first series admitted he didn't pay attention to a word Jeff Probst said during the witch hunt immunity challenge. He knew no matter what he wasn't going home at the end of the day. Political power and protection are the real keys to the game. Once you have it, your worries cease to exist.
What does that have to do with immunity and the ability to transfer it? Simply this: There is a situation where giving up immunity makes sense. Indeed, it has already happened once. In Marquesas, Kathy found herself in the power position to eliminate one of the members of the remaining factions of Sean/Vecepia and Neleh/Pascal. At the time, my advice to the remaining five advised her to use transference of immunity as a weapon. All she had to do was blackmail the wearer of immunity. It came down to the situation of where she controlled the deciding vote. She could threaten to vote out the partner of the person wearing immunity unless she was given the necklace. If she got it, she could vote out the person of the faction's choice. If she didn't, she simply voted out the partner of the person wearing immunity. As it happened, Kathy ended up wearing immunity herself (and expressed surprise that nobody offered her a deal to transfer it). She didn't need to use the weapon she had in order to advance herself in the game.
Once again immunity is something that can be given up. Once again, it's not a blessing for the person wearing it; it's a curse. The only sane reason to give up immunity is for political protection. Somebody who is the swing vote can demand immunity as the price for political power. It's devious. It's evil. But it's the only reason why anybody would give up immunity.
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his kittens, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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