Survivor: The Amazon - Right Move, Wrong Timeby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 05/06/2003
Right move, wrong time.
Rob knew he would have to get Christy evicted at some point. With her going to the jury vote, she would win against almost anybody 4-3 (save Jenna or Heidi, where she would triumph 5-2). But he did it one turn too early. As I argued after last week's episode, he had to pause one move for his own safety before splitting his new alliance. Yes, I know it was hard to disappoint the Naked Hotties, but he had to hang in there and resist their scorn for three more days before offering a lifeline to one.
And, yes, I know Christy may have worried him by her uncertainty on sticking with him, Matt, and Butch. But surely he knew of her deep antipathy towards the Hotties and should have known she would never would have passed up a chance to vote out one of them. That was her undoing - at this point of the game you simply must choose somebody (Butch was her only real choice) and create a strong dyad.
Had Rob remained patient instead of panicking, his run to the final three was clear. First split the Hotties, then split Butch and Christy, keeping Matt by his side, then arguing to the preferred singleton (a Hottie, because they are less popular) that it would be better for her to take a chance on winning the final immunity (and hinting he'd take her to the finals if he won immunity) than perhaps losing on a tiebreak if allying with the other singleton. There would go the other singleton, and Rob would be an immunity win away from a million (because he would take Matt and win, whereas Matt or, say, Jenna, would not take Rob, knowing they would lose to him in the jury).
Now two scenarios, neither as good as the above, present themselves to him. First, he could sway Butch into his camp and next time send off a Hottie. That would work just as well as the above except Butch could go the other way and send him packing. Simply, he gave away control of the process if his strategy were to engineer a split. Or, all four could send Butch off, but now Rob's left with a risky tie vote after that. It would be hard to imagine that he could get one Hottie to sell out the other, and to turn on Matt not only would cost him a potential jury vote, but increase his reputation for fecklessness within the jury.
A sellout or two is fine along the way; it makes you look strategic. But a sellout almost every week makes you look like you purely use people, which does not impress Survivor juries. That is the real cost of constantly jumping around. And it might come back to haunt him sooner than he thinks. Let's say they send Butch packing next. Then, Matt (if not winning immunity) may just figure that Rob's about to sell him out (and that he can beat the Hotties the easiest in the final immunity challenge) so he may vote for Rob, and each Hottie should go for that knowing that their best chance of winning, if not both being in the finals, would be against Matt.
If you pull the trigger too early, there just may be a backfire. Rob's impatience took him out of an almost-sure final three and made his chances of winning it all a whole lot dicier.
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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