Survivor: Vanuatu – Women Shake Up and Rock Vanuatu Island
So much for the sacred stone and the mystical power it should have endowed the men. The women have ruled the game so far and look to call the shots until the finals. With six women left, Chris is just along for the ride. Sarge and Chad sealed their fate in the jury pool because they did not implement sufficient foresight and strategy at the crucial moments. On the other hand, most of the women have employed keen insight and perception into their strategy and analysis of the game dynamics as well as the personalities that shape the outcome of each 3 day leg. Let’s take a look at each of them individually to assess how they have done and predict what they need to do to win.
She had carefully crafted a nurturing matriarchal role for herself early on, which was important when the women were divided into two sub-groups and her opposing alliance lacked direction and mature guidance. She was able to weed out the weak links with the help of her two strongest guards, Twila and Ami. Because she led under the radar, the women were unable to see where the hit was directed from and organize a counterstrike. The men were also unable to target the head of the tight female tribe. Her greatest contribution to the female supremacy comprised of her masterfully devised re-shuffle of the teams. Scout and Sarge were selected as the leaders. In paper, rock, scissors Sarge won the option to either select the team members or select the team he preferred given the options created by Scout. Scout carefully divided the teams so that a stronger male athletic dominance opposed a numerically advantaged female team. The order of selection for each tribe went as follows: Rory, Eliza, Bubba, Leanne, and Amy on the numerically advantaged estrogen team and: Chad, Jules, Chris, Twila, John on the testosterone advantaged team.
It is important to note that she placed one member on each tribe in order without deviation until she got to John. Instead of maintaining the sequence, going back and forth as she did and place him on Rory's team, she opted to place him on Chad's team. Then Sarge chose which team he wants. He naturally selected the team with 3 men (Chad, Chris, John) as opposed to only two on the other (Rory, Bubba). Scout realized this and knew she would then be sent to Rory's tribe by default. This put her in a tribe with 3 other women plus herself so 4 total. This helps her because in the long run, the women would protect her from men who would see her as a liability because of age. The next twist was crucial, Lisa remained as the only woman left (given there were more women than men to begin with). Jeff gave her an option which team to join. She wisely selected the team with the female majority. (Eliza, Leanne, Amy, Scout and now her) With only two men, she was secure. If she joined the other team 4 men would outnumber the women (Julie, Twila and her if she joined). Scout envisioned this outcome, so that basically, it would come down to numbers again, which was exactly what Scout needed and sought.
Afterwards, Scout lost “warrior-elder queen” status to Ami who staged a brilliant, successful coup. Scout lost two opportunities to reclaim her dominance by failing to envision a counter-alliance with Twila and another woman (perhaps Eliza) along with the men in order to outnumber Ami’s dictatorship. But it is not entirely too late. With Sarge and Chad in the jury, Chris is out of allies. Eliza has also recognized that she was the first woman eliminated in the pecking order. Scout must enact the genius diplomatic master counterstrike Kathy Vavrick-O'brien deployed in Survivor: Marquesas. At that time, Kathy recognized that the Rotu Four lead by John was about to systematically eliminate the divided factions. She organized the misfit hodge-podge insurgence and turned the tables. She convinced Neleh and Pascal to set aside their differences with Sean and Vecepia in order to work together with her in their united cause to outnumber and disassemble the Rotu Four: John, Robert, Tammy and Zoe. Likewise, Scout must organize Twila, Chris, and Eliza to strike at Ami’s armada. But this is their last chance! Fail now, and concede defeat to Ami’s plan.
She has proven herself to be one dynamic and worthy opponent. Forget Alexander the Great, the current lackluster reality competition season has their warrior heir-apparent: Ami the Ambitious. As mentioned earlier, pre-merge Ami set her sights on female domination and seized the throne from Scout by targeting Scout loyalist Lisa. Post-merge, Ami silenced Rory by sending him to loser lodge, solidifying her power. Her power circle was intact against insurgency attempts by loyalist Leann and so her dominion grew to the level of Brian Heidik winner of Survivor: Thailand. During that season, Brian set the groundwork for the ultimate blueprint for intricate alliance control and balance over a group of malleable servants and meek cowards. He essentially assured different players final four, then final three and ultimately final two statuses to several people at once while simultaneously maintained harmony amongst his cohorts so that no one got wise to his plan. He was so masterful at his deception and control that the others actually fought amongst each other to maintain his favor, allowing him complete manipulation.
So far, Ami has been able to hypnotically manipulate the other women to pagong the men and relinquish final decisions over to her. All actions must meet her approval first or else suffer her wrath and risk being ostracized from the tribal control group. Her Sapphic siren trio: herself, Julie and Leann capsized Sarge’s alpha male alliance by summoning Eliza and Twila to do her beckoning. Her biggest threat right now is Scout and so she should either remove her from contention immediately or continue to diminish her influence by taking out her only numeric outlet: Chris then Twila. The important criteria for her continued control over the others is to have them all collectively agree that Ami’s plan is their only viable solution to the finals. So far, her duplication of the Brain Heidik plan has been flawlessly executed. However, if anyone can outwit and outplay Ami, it would be Twila, who seems to understand best how to maneuver the dynamics of the twists in the game by being adaptable.
According to popularity polls and what I have been reading on message boards, Twila has become the new standout castaway that most people are rooting for. Although not quite as high in the polls, she is somewhat the female version Rupert Boneham of Survivor: Pearl Islands. She began as somewhat of a misunderstood misfit worker who did not assimilate well with others on her tribe because of her own self-consciousness. By her own admission, she does not get along well with women and prefers the social company of men. What helped her advance in each segment of the competition was the fact that she was always in an alliance that needed her. Like Rupert, she was a hard worker and strong competitor in the challenges so even the women who didn’t like her, recognized she was valuable to the tribe. In addition, the elder women needed her for numeric supremacy against the oblivious and directionless youngin’. But what really helped her was her adaptability into any social setting. Even when surrounded by petty squeamish women, she did not complain. Then when she was outnumbered on the men’s tribe she instantly bonded with key figures Sarge and Chris based on their views and values. Afterwards, she blossomed and grew accustomed to the demands of the game, keenly aware that diplomacy, secrecy and planning were vital to outlast.
Twila is caught in a precarious power struggle between two opposite but tempting roads to final four. Her decision in the upcoming leg of the competition will set the course for the rest of the game. She could side with Ami, the dominant figure who already deemed Twila worthy of final four unless Ami wises up to the notion of selecting Eliza over Twila for an assured final two victory. On the other hand, she could join the insurgence Scout must execute with well timed precision. It is riskier because she will have to place her fate in the hands of backstabbing rejects Chris and Eliza. However, if she were to proceed to final four with diversified Scout, Chris, and Eliza she will be in the strongest position to win challenges and the jury vote in direct contrast to Ami’s strong hold with Julie and Leann. I believe this is Twila’s season and she must make a bold move here to secure her strength in the finals, otherwise the hurdles may be too high and numerous to overcome. After all, there are three other opportunists in waiting who desire the banishment of last remaining man and the two elders before sinking a dagger into their Empresses’ back.
Julie, Leann and Eliza
These three are lumped together because they have each played an intricate part in the success of the female alliance by assuming a one-dimensional role. When separated from her core alliance, Julie was able to distract others from the obvious plans. This is reminiscent of Survivor: All Stars winner, Amber Brkich. Amber endured the unbelievable fate of being the only teammate to transfer over the other side from a random selection in a hat. Because numbers were also critical at that juncture, it was conceivable that her enemy team would throw the challenge so that they could eliminate Amber in Tribal Council. While Ron Mariano did his part to work a deal with Lex van den Berghe, Amber approached Kathy Vavrick-O’brien with her promise to convince Rob to spare Lex and Kathy in a secret pact because they were currently outnumbered and Rob would surely enact vengeance for her dismissal. Likewise, Julie was sent to sleep with the enemy. The men could have thrown challenges to discard her and Twila. Noticing Twila was bonding with the guys, Julie recognized she needed to step up her game. She stepped up her game by stepping out of her clothes. The distraction helped and even Twila tipped her hat to her, conceding an inability to compete with a woman half her age regarding sexual arousal. Then Julie pulled a game altering move, she lied to Twila stating the men promised her final four status as well as Twila, placing doubt in Twila’s mind whether the men were trustworthy. That diabolical move was fair play in this game and doomed the men’s chances to operate a successful union against Ami. In addition, she has remained loyal to Ami and even established a strong dyad with Leann. She needs to play up the Amber Brkich method; riding a strong dyad into final two then secure the win over a more uncharismatic partner.
Leann’s loyalty is undeniable, and was emphasized in Ami’s unspecified praise of unquestionable loyalty and trust bestowed upon her from her alliance. She has been a low-key figure throughout the game but emerged as Ami’s second in command and personal informant. Like Wayne Smithers to Mr. Burns on the Simpsons, Leann is Ami’s dependable snitch and go-to guy. She increased her importance by wisely selecting Julie as her companion on the reward retreat on an inactive volcanic picnic. Julie’s affiliation was a question mark that required reinforcement. Leann is likeable but not a threat, as Chad’s likeability seemed to be. Strategically, she is most reminiscent of Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor: Africa. In that season, Ethan was unquestionably loyal to control freak Lex van den Berghe. While Lex assumed the bad guy role, calling the elimination shots, Ethan was seen as a good guy who played well. Ethan bided his time and allowed Kim Johnson to win final immunity, who then favored him over Lex as a final two challenger. Leann must ride the loyalty train to the final three then allow one of the other two to set in motion her own demise. If the same pattern arises, Leann should either win final immunity herself or allow Julie to win and eliminate Ami, for fear of a strong competitor. The alternative is everyone’s sure bet for victory in final two, Eliza.
Eliza’s strategy has been somewhat erratic and risky but she managed to pull it off. She is basically an alliance jumper and began her gallant leaps from the start of her first tribal council. Her paranoia and quick temper set the stage for several disadvantaged opportunists to seek an opening to upset well laid plans of the majority. While always a target because of her nonstop incessant chattering, deflection was cast on other trouble makers which lead directly to the premature ousting of Dolly and Mia. She then rode the majority power alliance de jure, and may yet upset the balance of power yet again. Scout, Twila and Chris are relying on it, which must be disheartening considering her unpredictability. If I had to compare her style to any former winners or standouts (and I use those terms loosely here), I would have to say she is reminiscent of Jenna Morasca of Survivor: Amazon. Essentially, Jenna lucked out and if Eliza wins then the same can be said of her. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But if that’s her fate then Eliza must accept any majority power faction that exists at each stage or leg of the competition then suddenly dominate in the immunity challenges until the final two. The odds of lightening striking twice in exactly the same way are extremely unlikely.
What about Chris? He doesn’t have a shot in hell. He has been carried by other stronger players in the entire game. He should have been the first person eliminated but he was saved when Sarge wanted to formulate a 5 strong alliance and the younger guys foolishly turned him down. Recognizing Sarge was essentially breathing new life into his game, Chris jumped at it. The older guys’ alliance pagonged the younger ones so Chris made it to the merge. He was then allowed to hang around because others were more of a threat. There really is nothing to consider why the women spared him as the last man since he is not a threat to outwit, outplay or outlast any of the women. Early congratulations to the women for pulling off the first female final four…or dare I say first female final six?
John H. Sotomayorhttp://www.elitestv.com/pub/2004/Nov/EEN41a29b088de61.html