‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 12

Image by @Survivor_BUFF

My Big Question: Back in 2008, Jeff Probst and I did a video segment called the “‘Survivor’ Question of the Week” where we’d debate the merits of a specific topic. One of those topics was, “Who was the least deserving winner in ‘Survivor’ history.” I chose Chris Daugherty because I felt like he was lucky that the female alliance fell apart when it did and I didn’t like how he misled people like Eliza before voting them out. The lying struck me as very unnecessary.

However, that was based on a four-year-old season I had watched before yapping about “Survivor” was my actual job. So for this rewatch, my main goal is to critique Chris’s performance to see if he deserved my worst-ever ranking.

And with that, let’s get back into this mess…

My Thoughts…

This is probably one of those things that’s way easier to say than to actually do, but Ami should have tried to keep her cool after Tribal.

Chris must be giddy. We all love us some “Survivor,” but could you imagine going from the chopping block to having a clear path to victory all in the course of one vote?

Gah! Eliza’s shoulder blades! She looks like a pterodactyl. I’ve never rooted so hard for someone to win reward. Feed this girl.

Apparently the Eliza shocked face isn’t a Tribal Council exclusive feature. It also makes appearances during car challenges.

When was the last time the runner-ups got to go on reward? Making the winners pick is much more strategic.

I laugh every time a challenge starts and people going flying past Scout. I’m well aware that I’m a jerk.

Even without the car, this is a pretty awesome reward.

Seven thumbs up to Chris for the speech he gave to Eliza at dinner. Reiterating that Twila and Scout are super beatable is super smart. In fact, they’re probably the only two left that Eliza could defeat at a final Tribal.

Either the editing on Eliza’s return to camp was wonky or Twila has no social game. I’m thinking it was an editing trick as the two seemed to be joking around at the immunity challenge.

I can’t imagine Ami’s guilt trip toward Eliza is that effective when Ami literally voted for Eliza three days earlier.

“From Smug to Shocked – The Ami Cusack Story” forward by Jeff Probst.

Kind of a blah episode as it’s pretty clear how the pecking order is going to shake out until the final four.

Discussion Questions…

Ami, Julie, and Eliza…second hottest final six behind Micronesia? Maybe Redemption Island? One World?

What’s the male equivalent of that? Nicaragua? Cook Islands?

If you’re Julie, is there anything you can do except win immunities? She has to be the one nobody wants to go to the end with, right?

What should Eliza’s end game be? I’m thinking Scout due to Twila’s closeness to Sarge.

Is there any way Scout could pull off a win?

Post your answers and questions below, and be sure to swing by True Dork Times for awards, stats, and more…

 

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7 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 12”

  1. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    Agreed that this episode was a bit of a letdown after the magnificence of Episode 11. Not that the editors didn’t struggle mightily to pretend there might be some way Ami could save herself.

    Yes, Julie’s potentially dangerous to go up against. If you’re Scout or Twila, Julie gets Ami, LeAnn, and Eliza’s votes, and would need just one more from Sarge, Chris, or Chad. Eliza’s probably in better shape against Julie, but not much. Chris would have the best chances against her.

    I think Twila is a better F2 opponent for Eliza than Scout would be. Scout can make a reasonable argument that she ran things, made a big move, and she’s better spoken. Twila should get hostility from Leann and Ami, no matter who she’s up against. She’s far from a Hantz/Phillip-style modern goat, but Twila has very few close personal bonds to anyone (except Scout and maybe Sarge).

    Yasur kept Scout around for unknown reasons, even though she was a clear challenge liability. With so many jurors who were part of that tribe, that’s a warning sign that Scout could be dangerous to be up against in a final vote.

  2. Drew M Says:

    What can Julie do?:

    Not seeing many clear paths for her to the finals other than win immunities. At this point, is it that cut and dry that Chris is on a path to a win? Probably not. Scout and Twila are probably counting on the ability to team at F3 to oust Chris and let the jury decide the winner from the lesser of two evils, so they have no incentive to suddenly join with Julie. Unless they figure it would be easier to win a F3 immunity against her? Probably no definite advantage between facing her or Chris. Chris isn’t abandoning his plan right now either, for the reasons he brilliantly laid out for Eliza at the reward. Would Eliza join Julie right now? She wouldn’t unless she convinced Scout and Twila to also vote for Chris, and then you have a 2-2 deadlock at F4. So yeah, Julie’s stuck.

    Eliza’s end game?:

    Honestly, she might want to consider something like a Scout Twila and her F3, and then bank on winning immunity then and ousting someone of her choice. Never that wise to bet your lot on immunity, but if you’re going to do it, now is the time, since you’re competing against 3 50 year old legs (i’m subtracting Scout’s bad one). This is if Chris doesn’t win F4 immunity. If he does, then you have to encourage him to boot Twila with Scout, because of the Sarge relationship. Then once again it comes down to whoever wins immunity between her and Chris at F3. Loser goes home.

    A Scout win?:

    She would have to face Twila, right? Mayyyybe Eliza, if the jury just feels downright annoyed by Eliza? Has she really done enough socially or strategically to warrant the cheque? I say 90% no, no matter who she faces. Does she give a decent jury speech though? Quite possibly. Highly unlikely but not impossible.

    And finally, the most important question you’ve posed, Gordon: hottest final 6. I’ve run the numbers, made some pie charts, and for my money Fans v. Favorites had the nicest F6, with Parvati, Amanda, the underrated Alexis and Natalie. I’ll slot Amazon in next because of the Jenna-Heidi connection (and of course Butch), probably followed by the Andrea-Natalie-Ashley trio of power of RI.

  3. Big Tom Says:

    Micronesia is easily the hottest final six of you take out cerie there are still four stunners. Redemption island makes a close second because not enough girls and rob dom’ed that season love the book club keep up the great work

  4. Andy Baker Says:

    GH: Ami, Julie, and Eliza…second hottest final six behind Micronesia? Maybe Redemption Island? One World?

    ** Given that I think starving Eliza looks like a grey alien, I think this F6 falls behind One World, just because I have a thing for Kim and Chelsea. Throw in Leann, though, and I might even let the Vanuatu group go up against Micronesia…

    GH: What’s the male equivalent of that? Nicaragua? Cook Islands?

    ** Has to be Gabon, doesn’t it? Matty, Ken and Bob. Cross-demographic sex appeal.

    GH: If you’re Julie, is there anything you can do except win immunities? She has to be the one nobody wants to go to the end with, right?

    ** There’s very little she could have done — according to interviews with her and Chris, she did all she could to pull him close and convince him to take her (and Eliza) over the Scout/Twila tandem. Didn’t work. But it was probably her only chance.

    GH: What should Eliza’s end game be? I’m thinking Scout due to Twila’s closeness to Sarge.

    ** At this point, I think anyone sitting next to Twila at the end will win.

    GH: Is there any way Scout could pull off a win?

    ** Sitting next to Twila.

    Other thoughts:

    I totally agree about the reward challenge — force them to pick!

    Also agree with Chris keeping Eliza close with the “we can beat the older players” speech (conveniently forgetting that Twila won a pretty tough endurance challenge).

    The reason why Eliza shouldn’t have needed any convincing to vote out Ami: At the tribal council when Leann went home, the first vote or two was Eliza… Eliza looked over at Ami, who gave her a condescending, apologetic nod, as if to say, “Yep, it’s your time.” From that moment on, Eliza should have wanted Ami gone gone gone.

    I have a feeling that Chris would have thrown the reward challenge if it didn’t mean Ami, Julie and Eliza going off together… he’s already got his hooks into Scout and Twila, so he doesn’t need any more time alone with them. Can’t let Ami work her magic on the young girls…

    My respect for Twila keeps growing — not only was she a key architect of the endgame-changing flip, but she is playing the game HARD. Always thinking strategy. And her no-nonsense attitude with Ami at TC was AWESOME. “You been HAD!” Loved it.

    Am I the only one who thinks Ami is capable of making even her genuine tears feel manipulative? She gets Eliza to cry… and immediately, the moment is over for Ami, she wipes her eyes and crosses her fingers that Eliza will flip. Impressive.

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      I see your Gabon and raise you Fiji. You’ve got Earl as your standard leading man, Dreamz as the bad boy, Yau Man for the geek appeal and Boo as the good old country boy. Tocantins is probably worth a mention too, with JT as the country boy, Stephen as geek appeal and Coach as the epic hero.

      I’m surprised that so many people are convinced Twila can’t win. I haven’t seen what happens at the final tribal, so perhaps there are more players upset with her swearing on her family’s name than I thought.

      I think perhaps it would have benefited Twila to talk about that more pragmatically, explaining that it’s something that she and her son don’t personally feel crosses the line or affects her out-of-game integrity. I did like the way she checked herself with Eliza, laughing that her word didn’t count for anything anymore. But she needs to do that at Tribal Council, planting her own narrative for the jury.

      I do agree with you that she’s playing the game hard and thinking strategically… I’m kind of glad I know the outcome, because I would abolutely be rooting for at the end.

      It’s a pretty good final two, really: one of the better strategists and one of the better social players. And of course, the social player always wins….

  5. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    Random note before I get onto the episode itself… We watched these past two episodes at my parents’, both of whom had seen Vanuatu during its original run. Like Gordon, my Dad felt that Chris was an undeserving winner–he thought Twila should have won.

    Also, my husband (who still does not know the outcome) had Ami as his pick to win. Now that she’s been voted off, he’s re-assessed the cast and predicted Chris as the winner. He knew Eliza didn’t win anyway, and her winning the car only confirmed that! The way he sees it, Julie hasn’t done anything and Scout and Twila aren’t well-liked.

    As for my own thoughts on the episode, I was impressed that Ami went straight back into what she does so well, creating that peaceful girly-chat atmosphere (it strikes me that Ami’s probably really good at the whole barista thing, regardless of her coffee-making skills). She made a stab at the post-tribal-council good sport act, although she was too defensive to pull it off.

    Ami’s problem was that she didn’t have enough girly-girls left to make her BFF alliance into a majority. We never saw her work Chris…. did she? She wrote Twila off because of the whole vow thing and was clearly at odds with Scout. At the end, she just didn’t have the social range she needed to survive.

    I found her reaction to Twila’s promise-breaking interesting. Ami’s one of these people who clearly knows and loves this game, but has a very firm view of the ‘correct’ way to play it, which can leave her looking a little naive. She can’t hold back in challenges to make herself seem less of a threat, and while she can lie, she has drawn a line at invoking your family, and is absolutely disgusted that Twila’s pushed her own personal line a little further than that.

    Incidentally, how many other Survivors have sworn on their family and got away with it? I know Cirie did it to Shane who did not forgive her, but I don’t think any of the other jurors would have held it against her. I’ve a feeling Sandra did it too… Who else?

    Onto Gordon’s questions:

    Hottest final six: To be honest, I never got the appeal of most of the Micronesia girls, but then I’m not really the target there. Looking at the men, I wouldn’t go for the Nicaragua guys except maybe Chase (Fabio looked better with his hair cut off, but he upgraded from ‘Surfer Dude’ to ‘Boy Band Member’, so he’s more for the teeny-boppers).

    I’d probably go for Cook Islands, mostly for Yul, though objectively speaking, Adam and Ozzy were also perfectly presentable (Sundra is beautiful too). I would also put forward Samoa as a contender. You have to take Russell out of the equation, but Mick and Jaison were both attractive, and Brett had his hippie-charm.

    *Julie’s chances* I’m not sure. I don’t know if any of the guys would necessarily vote for Julie, over anybody else–they have a genuine attachment to Twila and Chris, and might see Eliza and Scout as having had a harder battle to get to the end, or to have done more actual gameplay (all Julie can really take credit for is sowing paranoia in Twila). So that’s two or three votes she’s lost right there. Leeann would vote for Julie over anybody else, I suspect. Ami would perhaps vote for Eliza instead, to prove a point (I did like you!), but not for any of the others. I have no clue about how Eliza would vote… not for Scout! Twila and Scout I am sure would vote for each other (have no idea whether Scout *does* vote for Twila at the end), but I expect they’d vote for Chris over Julie and possibly Eliza too, for the same reason as the men.

    So Twila wins against Julie, Chris probably does, and I see Scout doing so.

    Couple of notes here: in Leeann’s Reality News Online interview, she said that she didn’t want to be up against Twila who was liked by both men and women. Which is interesting because that’s not really come across in the show (not for the women anyway). Obviously, Leeann’s gameplans pre-dated the whole vow-breaking bit, and Ami’s public denouncement of that… I wonder just how much that cost Twila.

    Secondly, Twila and Julie had a bond at one point, yet we didn’t see Scout and Twila say anything to Julie while the others were away onn reward… They were worried that Ami would work on Eliza, so why didn’t they work on Julie? Either the editing cut out a lot, or the ttwo older women have given up on the social game at this point, which must have been a real boon for Chris.

    Final Twila comment–I’m thinking that at this point, she really needs to target Chris. She must know that she’ll lose her easiest jury votes (Chad and Sarge) to him at the end, whereas he would likely be another one for her. That risks a tie at final four, between the two young girls and the older women, but I’d fancy Twila and Scout at making fire over the other two any day–not to mention that she could probably talk Eliza or Julie into voting out the other with an F2 promise, playing up Scout as the biggest threat to win.

    Eliza’s end-game… I’d say she needs to go with Scout or Julie. It was interesting that Chris was playing up Scout and Twila as the easy contestants to beat and that Eliza seemed to be buying it. I wonder how much Eliza and Julie (and possibly Scout) are overlooking the threat Chris presents because there are only two men on the jury and everybody else was so gung-ho about seeing a woman win.

    I do think Scout could absolutely win if she got to the end. She’s the real underdog out there, what with her age and effective disability. And she doesn’t coast. Would Dan Lembo have tackled that reward challenge course knowing that he had no hope of winning? She might have been useless in every challenge, and taken the easy role in all the team ones, but she’s pushed herself hard for the individual ones. She’s also been a workhorse around camp, and has done her best to change the course of the game.

    Basically, she has a good case for winning, so it all comes down to how much people dislike her. I think she really occupies a kind of neutral ground among the jurors as Twila-lite. The women probably hate Twila more, and the men probably like Twila more. So she loses against Chris but could win against any of the women–she just gets the Lopevi vote against Julie/Eliza and the Yasur vote against Twila.

    • Andy Baker Says:

      SF: Ami’s one of these people who clearly knows and loves this game, but has a very firm view of the ‘correct’ way to play it, which can leave her looking a little naive.

      ** Ami comes by her naivete honestly — she had never watched Survivor before being cast on the show. She was going to be on The Amazing Race, but had to pull out for some reason — so the casting people offered her a spot on Survivor. She watched one season on DVD — and within two weeks, was flying to Vanuatu. Her approach the first time around (as opposed to Micronesia) was entirely intuitive and natural — which helps explain why, when forces were marshaling against her, that she wasn’t entirely sure how to save herself.

      By the by, I always look forward to your contributions to these conversations…

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