Survivor: Cook Islands - Advice for the Remaining 15by Jeffrey Clinard -- 10/17/2006
I think Jeff Probst was a bit hard on Raro during Tribal Council, saying they have not done well in challenges. While they have lost three of the last four, and two immunity challenges in a row, they are actually closer to even since the tribes were integrated, with Raro claiming the first immunity challenge and the latest reward. Unfortunately, Jeff is correct if heís assessing a major danger signal coming from the Raro tribe - their wins have been based on physical strength. Add even a dash of teamwork or strategy, and the Raro tribe has gone down the drain.
I donít think Iíve made it a secret that, given a choice, I bet on the tribe with the higher average age to outperform the younger one. There are a lot of reasons, but one of them is that with age, a certain amount of ego goes out of the equation. Older men are less interested in being the alpha male and more focused on results, while women probably have the flirting option taken away from them, along with the accessories (figuring out how to make mud packs and cosmetics out of the local flora and fauna instead of getting fish and fire is a classic mistake). Plus, the older you get, the more mistakes people witness (both their own and those of others). It makes them less likely to repeat them, or recognize when a certain strategy isnít going to work.
Raro won the reward challenge because they do have strength on their side. Theyíd have had more if J.P. had still been around, but overall there were plenty of other buff he-men to carry the load on the reward challenge. On the other side of this, a hidden element of many editions of Survivor (including this one) is that smaller people are an asset as well. Last week it was getting moved through a rope course; this week it was traveling on pole platforms (and getting all tribe members on top of a small one). However, there were other elements to the immunity challenge that helped give Aitu the edge they needed to win.
First, Aitu abandoned the third pole almost immediately. It was useless, unless the rules allowed the tribe to use it as a kind of tripod to carry the tribe member from platform to platform. Second, Aitu took a calculated risk to increase the gap between the poles for Becky to close the lead of Raro. While they didnít catch up, they put pressure on Raro. That kind of pressure leads to mistakes, like the way Raro attacked the final, key element of the challenge. Their whole human Jenga structure collapsed because they didnít have a strategy for getting everybody on the platform. They did get seven people up, but Rebecca, in her attempt to join them, caused the whole thing to collapse. Cao Boi fell off the structure once, but perhaps it was because he knew that it was better for him to fall than bring everybody down with him. In the end, it appeared Candice and Flica were hanging on the backs of other tribe members, giving Yul and Cao Boi much needed foot space for their final, coordinated move to win the challenge.
Both tribes are going to Tribal Council next time, so everybody really needs to consider their position in the game and how to advance. Itís advice for the remaining 15.
Aitu: Iím actually a bit surprised that you didnít get a penalty for invading the other teamís camp. Of course, I donít think Ozzy, Cao Boi, or Flica knew they had landed there, but you should have left once you realized where you were. Still, your tribe is showing that strength isnít everything when it comes to challenges. Iíll be interested to see who goes home next; it might be a very telling Tribal Council.
Jonathan: Youíve made your second trip to Exile Island, though the key difference is that the first time the talisman was available, and this time it wasnít. I wish you had tried to monitor the expressions of Yul, Adam, or Candice when you told Jeff Probst you thought the talisman had been recovered. It might have tipped you as to who had it. Right now you have a secure position and should not have to worry about being voted out.
Yul: Your expression might have given away the fact you possess the immunity talisman, but with all that was going on, I think you got away with it. Your position continues to be one of the strongest in the game, as you have both political allies and the hidden talisman. You also managed to snare the fifth vote your group will need to control the tribe. You are both safe and playing a great game.
Becky: You performed well in the challenge and have a solid alliance to back up your political game. Thatís good news. Youíll be safe at Tribal Council and should be ready for the eventual merger. However, your time at camp might be better spent than comparing your underarm growth. Being lazy is noticed and can possibly be used against you in the future. When it comes to figuring out who to send home, Iíd suggest Flica. Cao Boi is useful for fire, and Ozzy brings in food. Flica just isnít as useful as the others.
Candice: You made a good decision by not joining Flica, Cao Boi, and Ozzy on their little adventure. Not only did you not row to Raro Island, but you didnít have to listen to Cao Boiís story in the process. Besides, you took the time to join the others of your alliance to pull Sundra in without fear of being overheard. The only advantage to going would be to spy on the outcast group, and that would be outweighed by the possibility of your own alliance taking advantage of your absence to plot against you. Well done.
Jessica: Iím impressed by your show of strength, balance, and patience in the immunity challenge. You crossed the distance standing up and showing great coordination. However, you just made my top list of dangerous people to go against in the final three challenge. All three of those elements often come into play during final immunity challenges. For now, your reluctance to initially grab Jonathanís offer for the alliance is starting to hurt your position, as the four core alliance members made a deal with Sundra. You need to shore up your position with them. It may mean selling out Cao Boi to order to keep advancing in the game.
Cao Boi: Iím sure youíve lived a fascinating life. Refugee, boat person, new life as an American, Survivor player who is a Zen fire master and resident headache cure. However, that doesnít mean that everybody else wants to hear it. If you talked a little less, you wouldnít be in a vulnerable position. Youíre going to have to convince the tribe that your fire and challenge skills make you worth keeping. Otherwise you might be out at Tribal Council.
Ozzy: Youíve been in a vulnerable spot ever since the tribes were integrated, but your attempts to form a new power structure were doomed from the start. While going off with Cao Boi and Jessica would have been smart if they were swing votes, it still takes five votes to control the vote, and you might have done better to try to become the fifth to the core group. Still, youíve made yourself valuable with your fishing and challenge skills and I think youíre going to survive this visit to Tribal Council. However, it might not hurt to plant some ideas about how useful you are compared to the others as an insurance policy.
Sundra: You did the right thing in taking the offer proposed by the core alliance. They needed a fifth vote; you needed protection. Besides, itís always wise to accept deals; you can always break them later. However, your deal is a short term fix; when things shake up again youíll either need to get a new deal with other people or make yourself the key third vote in the Yul/Becky or Jonathan/Candice situation.
Raro: Your tribe does not appear to have stable politics, as the tribe has gone after the bossy people and the people who seem to want to go home. What you canít have is either anarchy or dictatorships; anarchy leads to tribal chaos and dictatorships beg to be overthrown. Your tribe needs to learn how to work together more efficiently or youíll be going back to Tribal Council many more times.
Cristina: Watch what you are doing. You were lucky to escape elimination, and your attitude annoyed a lot of people. Also, losing bits of octopus didnít help your position; nor was trying to shift the blame to Jenny. You need to regroup with the other women and emphasize that if you donít stick together, the men will be on even voting strength if you donít go after one of them at the next Tribal Council. I think you should suggest Nate as the target, as Jonathanís talk about Exile Island should indicate a possibility that Adam has the talisman in his possession.
Nate: Honestly, your game play leaves a lot to be desired. Everybody was set to vote out Cristina until you passed along the message about Stephannie and the mashed potatoes. I canít see any compelling reason for getting rid of her in Cristinaís place, and spreading rumors that another person wants to be voted out have led to reversals before (most notably in Survivor: The Australian Outback). Youíve done well in the food-providing area, but you have to be smarter in how you play the game or youíll be going home soon. Push to get rid of Cristina now. Itís your best option.
Adam: Iíd glad you were firm with Cao Boi in his attempts to get resources off your island. Somebody had to say ďnoĒ and you did it in a polite manner, noting you worked hard to get the spices. I think you were the secret hero in getting rid of the unwanted guests. At Tribal Council, youíll have to try to get rid of Cristina again. Itís your best option for keeping the men off the block. If it seems like you canít do it, run a bluff and pretend you have the immunity talisman. Something subtle, like a statement that Jonathan was right when he said the talisman isnít on Exile Island anymore. It makes you less appealing as a Tribal Council victim.
Rebecca: I donít blame the immunity challenge loss on you, even though your move to get to the platform caused the rest of the tribe to fall off the platform. Simply put, your tribe didnít plan the assault on the platform well, and the body structure was unstable to begin with. You need to get together with the women and decide which man to get rid of. If the consensus is still Cristina, go with it. Better her than you.
Jenny: Nice job in the challenge; your work helped give the tribe a small lead at the start of the immunity challenge. You canít be blamed for the loss. Youíll need to decide whether getting rid of Cristina is more important than keeping control of the tribe via women votes. I think control is needed, so take a careful look at Nate or Adam as targets.
Parvati: It seems the message you sent at Tribal Council last time was received, as the men stepped up their workload at camp. However, you need to learn the lesson that telling somebody youíll ďthink about itĒ when they approach you for a vote is a mistake. It didnít hurt you, but it has cost two former players the game when they refused to commit. In any case, your position has improved as the removal of Stephannie makes your vote more important to the women. Go along with their suggestions for the target.
Brad: You are in something of a strange position, as you donít seem to be a part of the men, but also donít seem to be a full-fledged member of the womanís voting alliance. It kind of makes you a floater, and they can do well if they know how to play and take advantage of the mistakes of other players. I donít think you are in danger right now, so you can go with the flow. Alliances in Raro do not appear to be set in stone, so you have some time to see how things develop.
Stephannie: What went wrong? Last week you accepted the blame for the immunity challenge loss, and this week you opened up your mouth about mashed potatoes. Nate spread the story around, and you didnít do enough to counteract it. It all resulted in your elimination.
Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since the second series, and has published over 100 articles about the show and given advice to nearly 150 different Survivors on RealityNewsOnline. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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