Survivor: Cook Islands Episode 11 MVP – Ladies and Gentlemen of the Juryby Betsy Wasser -- 12/07/2006
I am thoroughly enjoying this season of Survivor. Yul’s strategy using the immunity idol has been very interesting to watch, certainly more compelling than watching Terry keep his in his pocket while winning individual immunities. We also saw Candice, a player with a target on her back, do her absolute best to stay in the game. She ultimately failed, but you’ve got to applaud the fact that she gave it a real shot.
This episode showed some good play from several Survivors. I do have a player I’d like to give the ultimate MVP award to, but I’d also like to give other players honorable mentions. Let’s look at them first.
The food auction reward is a mainstay of Survivor. Every time, Jeff Probst promises that the auction will end without warning. If you want to eat, you need to bid right away, rather than holding off for something better. That’s exactly the strategy Jonathan employed. He bid, and he bid lots. He wasn’t afraid to blow his money, because really, what else are you going to use it for? His aggressive strategy scored him a hot dog, fries, beer, pizza, and then the opportunity to brush his teeth. In contrast, Adam, Candice, and Yul walked away from the auction with absolutely nothing. Poor Sundra got stuck with a sea cucumber, but at least she got something! Jonathan gets an MVP moment for making that challenge his own personal smorgasbord.
That’s an MVP moment for Jonathan, and that moment was unfortunately short-lived. David Bloomberg has never written about food rewards in his “What Survivors Should Have Learned” articles, but only because it’s never cost anyone the game. But believe me, Survivors should have learned this: If you got food and other people didn’t, shut up about it. No one wants to hear about how full you are, how good the food was, about how you can’t believe how much you ate. No one wants your half sucked mint, and no one wants to smell your pepperoni burps. Even if people claim to want to hear all about your reward, don’t give them every tasty detail, or they will resent you. Jonathan managed not only to irk the former Raros, but also his own allies. Had he kept his mouth shut and his burps to himself, he’d have been better off.
Another MVP moment came during the auction when Becky spent all of her money and part of Yul’s for Jeff’s promise of “power in the game.” When Becky started bidding, Parvati asked her why she was bothering. The former Aitus already had power in the game, so what did she have to gain? Well, the answer was simple: if Becky got the mystery envelope, that meant Candice didn’t. Becky wanted to make sure that her opponents didn’t get any advantages at all if they could help it.
If Candice had won that auction, she still would have been voted out. She probably would have sent Yul or Ozzy to Exile Island to weaken them for the challenge, but it wouldn’t have affected the game. But Becky had no way of knowing that her losing wouldn’t have changed things up. Remember, not long ago, Danni won “game power” in an auction. It allowed her to win the immunity challenge, kept her around for another vote, and lead to her winning a million dollars. Becky was smart to keep any potential advantage out of Candice’s hands.
The final honorable mention goes to Adam. Adam knew that he desperately needed to win that immunity challenge. If he hadn’t, he likely would have been the next to go. Sure, the former Aitus were eager to boot Candice, but getting rid of Adam’s muscles would be a smart move. Adam won when it really counted, and he won by a lot. Any move you can make that will keep you around for one more week is always a good one. Well played, Adam.
With those honorable mentions awarded, it’s time for this week’s MVP. I hope you’re all not bored with my handing these out to Yul, but the fact of the matter is, he deserves it. Yul is playing very, very well. Let’s look at the details.
Candice tried her best to throw him some curveballs this week. She told Jonathan that Yul called him selfish and that none of the Aitus liked him. Yul didn’t get defensive or say she wasn’t telling the truth. In fact, he didn’t have to – Jonathan is selfish, in that he acts in his own self-interest. Jonathan knows that’s true, and he knows that Yul knows it. Jonathan also knows that the Aitus might not be charter members of the Jonathan Fan Club, since he defected. But Jonathan gets that it doesn’t matter. They don’t all have to be friends to ally on Survivor. And the beauty of it is, Yul knows that would have been Jonathan’s reaction, and that is exactly why he wanted to work with Jonathan in the first place. Yul was very smart indeed to choose a rational partner like Jonathan, and equally smart for not letting Candice rattle him.
A bigger challenge for Yul was the threat that Adam, Parvati, and Candice dangled in front of him: vote out Jonathan, or you’ll lose our jury votes. This was an option that I’m sure Yul considered. The three of them have every mark of being vindictive jurors. They feel betrayed by Jonathan (even though they seem to see nothing wrong with Candice’s betrayal of her allies on Aitu, which was much the same). Will he lose jury votes by keeping Jonathan in the game?
It’s hard to say if, when push comes to shove, Parvati, Adam, and Candice would really be able to vote for Jonathan over Yul in the final two. If they’re taking a “lesser of two evils” approach, they’ll pick Yul. Besides, who’s to say that Yul really will take Jonathan to the final two? If he’s really worried about how the jurors will perceive him, he still has the excellent option of Becky. Granted, Becky hasn’t gotten on anyone’s bad side, but all he has to do is point to her and say “coat tails,” and he’s a million dollars richer.
The other smart thing that Yul did this episode was to get his hidden immunity idol out of hiding. The Raros – Parvati in particular – still weren’t convinced that he had it. Now that everyone’s seen it, they’ll be all the more reluctant to vote for him, since the vote will bounce off of him if he plays it. Yul now even has the option of using the idol to protect an ally. If everyone thinks he has the idol and won’t vote for him, he could secretly give the idol to an ally, say, Jonathan, at a critical tribal council to protect him.
The only thing that Yul should be cautious about is to make sure his allies continue to feel like part of a team. He should not assume that Ozzy, Sundra, and Becky will be happy to lose to him. Brian in Survivor: Thailand was one of the smartest players of all time because he made each and every member of the final four confident that he’d take them all the way. No one was afraid of him, so no one voted against him. Yul should do everything he can to give that level of comfort to the other players. He’s a great player, and I’d hate to see him ejected prematurely.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached at Betsywasser@Gmail.com.