Survivor: The Amazon Ė Robís Next Movesby Jeffrey D. Sadow -- 05/09/2003
To date, Rob has shown excellent reactive instincts in Survivor. Now, contrary to his protestations that heís out of moves, heís got to take some proactive measures to have a chance at winning the game.
Robís mistake of booting Christy before a Naked Hottie did not come back to haunt him. It could have, because Butch had more incentive to go with the Hotties, because they are the physically (and probably the mentally) weakest players in the game. Maybe he took pity on them since they must remind him of some of his students, in intellect and demeanor. As a result of choosing the wrong pair, now itís Butch who should experience the haunting.
Once again, Rob must do the dirty work, for he finds himself in a Rich Hatch-like position: thereís only one person he can beat, and so he must set the table to give himself a chance to face Jenna. That wonít be easy, because Matt has turned into a monster who may not lose either upcoming challenge. Matt has shown the vulture-like instincts of Vecepia, hanging around without a lot of guile. But unlike her and like Colby (who, unlike her, lacked guile so that he let himself get played by Tina) is formidable enough with his own abilities to put himself in front of the jury.
This means Rob loses, even if Matt takes him to the jury, which is likely given Mattís loyalty to him. Matt could be beat Jenna as well, but itíll make him feel better and make him look better to bring along Rob, who he also beats. Somehow, Robís got to get Jenna into the final three and must have Matt there also, for two reasons. First, if Matt (or Rob) wins immunity they can select their victim. Second, if Matt were not to win the next immunity, Rob could not sell him out, for that could be the final straw in the minds of the jury concerning his burning player after player (unskillfully, unlike Brian in the last edition Ė thatís what made Brianís skillful, his ability to do it and not have the others realize he was selling out player after player). Such a move means he would lose even against Jenna. But by Matt not winning immunity (and if not Rob), Butch may, which is the one thing Rob cannot have happen.
Thatís because Butch must go next for Rob to have any shot at winning. Similar to Richís situation, Rob is part of the last stable dyad (for Rich, with Rudy), but faces the dilemma that his partner is more popular. He needs his partner to get him to the final three, but then needs for both his partner and himself to lose the last immunity challenge. That means for Rob to win the title, he must have Jenna win immunity and execute Matt, her figuring she has a better shot of winning against Rob.
Rob must go to Matt and explain that, despite whatever bond Matt may have with Butch, only Butch could beat Matt now. Rob must promise to take Matt to the jury and frankly admit that he would probably lose as a result. He must emphasize that Butch has a better shot of winning that final immunity than Jenna, and if Butch were to win it, Rob would be a surer thing to be up against than Matt, so Butch probably would send off Matt. Thus, Rob assures himself of a spot in the finals, and even a chance to win it all.
About the only thing that could stop him would be Butch winning the second-to-last immunity. For Rob, that brings a Hobsonís choice of selling out Matt (which the others would gladly countenance) and sealing his own fate, or getting rid of Jenna, the only person he can beat. Notice also that this is the only way Jenna probably would not go to the final two as well.
So, if Rob and Matt are thinking strategically, it pretty much comes down to Butch having to win the second-to-last immunity challenge. If he doesnít and one of them does, Butch takes a hike. If Jenna somehow wins, an interesting Purple Rock oíDeath situation will emerge if Butch thinks clearly and lines up with Jenna (the only way, in fact, I can envision a scenario where Matt and Jenna can get to the finals, unless Matt does sell out Rob which I consider unlikely; or it could be another way that Rob could sneak into the finals with Jenna, but thatís asking for a lot of luck from his perspective).
Thus, the final strategic moves for Rob go as follows: (1) get Matt to cement a reciprocal bringing of the other to the jury if they are in that position, (2) convince Matt to go along with him and oust Butch at the next opportunity, (3) get he or Matt to win immunity, and then (4) Rob throws the last immunity challenge and hopes Jenna wins and tosses Matt. With a lot of luck, if Matt beats Jenna, then he may even beat Matt in the jury.
But you have to get to the finals in order to win. Robís done enough to be considered to this point a good, solid player. Letís see if he has what it takes to be a great one.
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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