Jennifer exposes herself as the powerful player, with Stephanie's ousting.
Jenn as the Ultimate Survivor
by VikingBear, May 1st, 2005
Coby's on the Jury because he was the ultimate threat. I know this is true because Coby told us so.
Janu's on the Jury in fulfilment of her plea bargain arrangement.
Stephanie's on the Jury because... I'm not really sure why she's there. But she is, and the reason *might* be the same reason that leaves Jenn with the money by a 4/3 vote.
Jenn noted some weeks ago in confessional that Stephanie needs to go right away. That was even more important to her than taking a shower with their drinking water. Gregg has pushed hard and consistently for Stephanie's ousting without much plausible reason for doing so. Steph's on the Jury; Gregg won.
We aren't shown this as Jenn's doing, but let's assume for a moment that this *is* the case. Let's assume for the moment that Jenn is making her move in a brilliant (gag) play for the finish. If we *do* look at it from that perspective, what do we see?
First, we needed to remove Stephanie. She *is* a greater threat than any of the men. That's because Steph's the uncommitted vote, coming from a respected player. She could swing a vote either way, and her vote is most definitely outside Jenn's control.
With Steph out, her run for the money becomes possible. *Any* pair can be targeted. Four can turn on two, and send one of those two home. The threat of ousting can be used as a stalking horse to break up the pair and target some *other* pair. Will Tom/Ian/Katie split into a pair plus odd man or woman out? Possibly so... possibly not... if not, send Caryn home.
The key is, who CAN be sent packing, and by whom, without risking a negative Jury vote? The answer is to induce one or more of the men to spearhead the ousting. Let the men take the heat; sweet little useless Jenn hasn't done anything to offend anyone.
What if we split up Gregg and Jenn, sending one or the other to the Jury? To do so risks two negative votes. At the moment I see a split vote (4 to 3) as quite possible regardless of who are the final two. One offended jurist could make the difference. As it has in seasons past.
*Can* we send Jenn home now? In theory, yes. The other four simply agree to send her home. But, each of the four risks retaliation. And, therefore, there's a good chance that one of the four will jump sides (rather than running that risk). And, therefore, there's a good chance that *two* of the four will jump sides. The coup fails in the counter-coup; Jenn wins. Each of the remaining women have seen to it that the women don't trust each other. And, therefore, I'm inclined to look at each woman's strategy in relationship to the men.
Meanwhile, Caryn is the more obvious target to be sent home this time around.
Having done so, we have Gregg/Jenn on the one side, and Tom/Ian/Katie on the other. Tom/Ian/Katie continue scrambling because it's not clear who will bring whom to the final two. With Gregg and Jenn, we assume, there's no question. Gregg would not want to bring Tom or Ian, and like Romber wouldn't pick Katie over Jenn.
If Jenn and Gregg (or Jenn and anyone) make it to the final two, Jenn has by definition demonstrated a valid strategy. If she can articulate it well enough, she should get Coby's respect. I expect Coby will vote on the person's merits as player, rather than for other considerations. He seems a strong student of the game.
If Coby remains annoyed at the bullying tactics of Jenn's opponent, she may well get Coby's vote. She might be able to play Coby's vote by *calling* it bullying. She might likewise have the vote of the other Useless Ones - Caryn, Katie, Janu, and if available, Gregg. She can certainly claim that Kuror kicked ass *as a tribe* like no other tribe in history, and point out that she was in fact a part of that tribe.
The Useless Ones *were* a key to the overwhelming victory (or so Jenn could argue if it occurs to her). Ulong was beset by a lack of leadership; they were a collection of strong but not particularly brilliant individuals. They were *individuals* whereas Jenn was an integral part of a *tribe*. Jenn's cooperation and lack of friction *was* a critical contribution (gag).
I personally don't think she needs to bother trying for Stephanie's vote. And, therefore, she can play strongly to the unified aspects of Kuror. She can realistically claim that her passivity was in fact a strong contribution to the destruction of Kuror. Without that active cooperation in the form of Useless Passivity, half of us wouldn't even be *at* Tribal Council right now.
So what are Tom and Ian doing during Jenn's takeover? Wondering how to get out of their own too-strong alliance. Neither wants to go against the other at the finals. Dump the other in favor of Katie? Katie obviously hopes so... and so does Jenn. Keep Caryn as the least threatening? They well know the threat of a non-threat.
What about a three-men alliance? That plays right into Jenn's hands. Drop Katie and Caryn, the other contenters for Ultimate Uselessness. That puts Gregg, Ian, Tom, and Jenn in the final four. One of the men *must* go next; business is business, and it *can* be done without hard feelings. Or can it? Jenn can surely see to it that there *are* hard feelings. What they did to Katie. And so on.
Now we have Jenn and two men in the final three. Jenn *could* win the challenge and move to final two. Yeah, right. Either man *could* take Jenn and settle for second place. By properly handling the Jury, Jennifer *could* win.
Let's look at the final three from a different perspective.
The final three could be all men, all women, two men, or two women.
Could it be all women? Sure. The three women team with Gregg to dump Tom and Ian; they then dump Gregg. (Note that the women are not aligning with each other. They are aligning *with Gregg* to remove Tom or Ian.) That does make the final challenge interesting, with only the Useless Ones competing for endurance. Older and determined Caryn against Thrives on Coconuts against Jenn. Jenn wins, brings Katie with her as the more useless of the two, and hopes the resentments allow her to win. Gag.
Could it be all men? Sure. Turn on Caryn and Katie. Gregg gets immunity. Jenn's gone, the men shake hands and come out fighting for the final challenge. No hard feelings. Business is business. (No wonder men are so easy!)
Could it be two men and a woman? Sure. Gregg and Jenn, and either Tom or Ian, who remain because of immunity wins. The last one standing brings Jenn as the goat. Jenn wins.
Could it be two women and a man? That seems the least likely, and I don't quite see how it *could* happen unless we have a pair of suitable immunity challenges. Which, of course, makes it quite possible. If the man wins the final challenge (which is likely on pure endurance), he obviously brings one of the Useless Ones. Most likely this is Gregg and Jenn. Jenn wins. Gag.
Meanwhile, either Katie or Caryn could play the role I've described for Jenn. Hook up with Tom or Ian, splitting the Tom/Ian alliance, presenting herself as the goat for the final two. We could easily see the three Tom/Caryn (though I would have thought Katie/Tom), Ian/Katie, Gregg/Jenn alliances.
Whichever man fails to win immunity is gone. It's tempting to say his alliance would be next, but if we see the three-pairings this week, I think we'll see a complete reshuffle the following week. An alliance of three pushes one of the other two, but the editing will play the usual game of things changing shape minute by minute.
Do I believe all that? Nope! I *do* believe Jenn has become an extremely powerful player, as explained above. I hope this is recognized, and she's sent packing.
At this point, I personally feel Tom and Ian are best off forming a solid final-two pact. Stand as the final two, and let the jury decide. To me that would be the essence of all of the positive aspects of Survivor. I like both personally more than any other player, though I recognize that editing is playing up that likeability. What some (most?) see as Tom's arrogance, I see as sincerity and confidence. I think we're seeing the real Tom, and I like what I see.
I likewise like what I see in Ian. Ian's quite possibly the stronger player, and has successfully kept Tom in the spotlight. I hope Ian does well and goes far.
The winning strategy for *anyone* else is to divide up Tom and Ian. And, therefore, I believe the winning strategy for Tom and Ian is to not divide up. They could well decide that going head-to-head in the final challenge is winner take all, presenting themselves to the jury in that light.
Business is business, and I see the basis of a very long-standing friendship in the making. Tom's been there done that, and Ian's right beside him doing it.
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