Sometimes, even the best laid plans have a habit of blowing up your face. A lot of fans of Survivor: Vanuatu were almost begging for that to happen with Ami. It’s not that her plan is particularly horrible or unfair in itself. Even Ami’s biggest critics have to admit that she has taken a simple concept, in this case an all-woman alliance, and taken it farther than anybody could have imagined. As her plan continued in it’s successes as the game wore on, Ami quickly went from that hot chick with the huge boobs to the arrogant leader of an annoying band of bitches. After seeing the rest of the men picked off one by one, Chris was going to need either immunity or a bunch of luck to stick around in the game.Chris started the episode with a slightly different strategy than the last time he left tribal council. Before, he had tried to get the women to trust him by telling them that he voted for Sarge. After Chad was sent home, Chris tried a sort of scorched earth campaign, and decided he would shake things up as much as possible. He immediately began to talk about the plan to get rid of Eliza, and how Ami would be next. He implicated Scout and Twila as the masterminds behind plot, and although Chris believed that he would be causing a lot of dissent, Leann noticed that everything that Chris was saying was obviously for his own benefit.
Still, with the new information about a possible break from the original alliance, there had to be some damage control, an activity in which Ami has excelled all season. She had to do it the previous week when she heard people wanted to take out Eliza. Leann, who has been Ami’s right hand all year long and has benefitted from having no pressure on her for her individual performances, started talking to Twila and described her as a “panic player”. If you look at it from Leann’s perspective, the description fits, as Twila has kind of run around and entertained ideas of all sorts of alliances, but sort of returns to the women at the end, seemingly in fear of the alternative. But if you look at it from Twila’s perspective, she has been very pragmatic. I haven’t given her enough credit for using her brains in the game, but I think she has sensed for awhile that she was going to have to change some things up.
The reward challenge was a memory test. The tribe members would answer questions about other challenges to gain points. The person with the most points at the end of the game was set to receive a one hour online chat with a family member, thanks to the satellite and PowerBook they had set up on the island for them. Since Jeff isn’t the cold-hearted bastard that I am, he even allowed all of the remaining contestants have a sample little conversation with their loved one. Everybody was crying, but Twila could barely contain her emotions. She asked that somebody help her with the typing, because she didn’t know how. On cue, Jeff pulled out a video camera, and Twila was the first to have a one minute video conference with her son. Eliza’s mom, Scout’s partner, Ami’s girlfriend(who didn’t have implants), LeAnn’s best friend, Julie’s best friend, and Chris’s fiancée all had a nice little chat. And damn, for being on a remote location, the video was quite good. It was almost like they were on the island with them. It turned out that the loved one’s were on the island with them. Eliza answered the most questions correctly, but when Jeff was set to announce that she won the video conference, he revealed that they had set up a studio for all of the sample video conferences and that studio was, indeed, on the same island as they were. Eliza’s didn’t just get to meet with her mom, Susan, for an hour, she got to take her mom home to the Alinta camp and spend the evening with her. Our generous host was kind enough to let all of the losers get a little bit of face to face time with their loved one before they were shipped off the island.
Back at the Alinta camp, Susan gave us a little insight into what the family members of the Survivors must go through when they are away. You know worrying about things like their health, if they floss properly, and whether or not they will catch the Ebola virus. And no, I didn’t make that last one up just to be funny, Susan actually said that on camera. Whether it was an actual fear she had, I can’t say. I will say that there hasn’t been an Ebola outbreak on Vanuatu since NEVER, and so the chances are pretty slim anybody will catch it on their stay. (I lived in The Hot Zone, I should know.) With Susan occupied, the more important business of the day could progress, namely weeding out who had tried to get Eliza, and then Ami, out last week, and what could be done about it.
Having already badgered Twila, Ami and Leann went on to interrogate Scout. Now, Scout was actually the person who tried to muster up the troops for mutiny the week before, but she vehemently denied everything and tried to put the blame back onto Twila, and started getting ornery and flustered about the notion of her trying to go against the alliances. She later admitted that it was all a ruse to do some damage control and that although she had said she wanted to play the game with integrity, all of that went out the window, and she is not going to do whatever it takes to win. Scout did get Leann to admit certain things about her ambitions for the final four, that pretty much validated Scout’s reason for trying to break up the group in the first place.
Leann and Ami went back to Twila, and tried to intimidate her once again. I can’t be positive how serious they were, because I am sure Scout was more persuasive, but I have no reason to believe that these two would have believed that Twila was capable of coming up with her own plan. Even if I hadn’t seen Scout do all the scheming the week before, I would have thought it would have been a little out of Twila’s range to scheme as she has been accused. In their second go around on Twila, Leann and Ami were ridiculously obnoxious, or at least even more so than they had been the whole season. They were so bad, even Ya-Ya would have thought them to be a little too high and mighty. After getting Twila to swear that she would stick with their plan, they started discussing it right in front of her like she wasn’t there. It was so patronizing, and they did it for no other reason than to display their power in front of Twila in order to get her scared of what might happen. Twila said that they didn’t have to be afraid, but once away from them said God would forgive her for lying if she won a million dollars.
Before the immunity challenge, Eliza’s mom sped off in a boat, but not before giving her daughter the shirt off of her back, literally. Without any article of clothing that had sleeves, Eliza seemed cold, and so her mom took it off the help her out. After removing her clothes Scout said “Now that’s the kind of woman we like here”. Thinking about that phrase bombards me with many intriguing but disturbing images of daily life at the camp if Scout really had her way. The separation of mom and daughter was short-lived, however. The immunity challenge brought all of the loved ones back for one more go. Each of the tribe members were to direct their loved ones, who were to be blindfolded, to three bags of puzzle pieces among a field with several obstacles. The first team to collect all of their bags and finish the puzzle would win immunity for the survivor. Chris had earlier learned from Julie (who he called his mole) that the current plan was to get rid of him, so he knew that he would have to win immunity to stay in the game. He tried his hardest, and was screaming orders louder than anybody else once the game got underway. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t part of the best tandem. Ami and her girlfriend retrieved all of the bags and finished the puzzle first. Everybody else was in the fight for their lives it seemed, except LeAnn, who was laughing at all of the silly commands she gave her friend.
Once everybody returned their camp (without their loved ones, Jeff had used all of his tricks), Lisa continued with her bravado, and really started talking up a lot about who deserved to be in the game, and who didn’t. For most of the people there, the answer was Eliza. They think she slides by because she has often been the lesser of two evils. Some may argue that Eliza has slid by, but so has pretty much everybody from the original Yasur tribe. Ami did most of the planning and was the one who was kept the plan rolling. Leann hasn’t done much, and has proven to be a lightweight in any challenge requiring physical exertion. Julie depended on her bare ass to get her through the tough times, but at least it was a strategy. Scout would have been voted off long ago had Lisa, Mia, or Dolly not tried to do their own thing. Twila works harder than everybody, but has been sneaking through just fine. Eliza might have done less work than some others, but as far as doing things worth to “deserve” being in the hunt, she has done just as well as everybody else. Ami wasn’t too fond of the plan, but it seemed like the other women (Scout, Leann, Twila, Julie) were set on it, so she decided to go along. At this point, I believe a lot of the anti-Eliza has been jealousy. She was never on the inside with the group, having been the scraps of the Mia alliance, and she probably talked so much it simply pissed people off. In short, listening to Leann give her reasons for sending Eliza home was like listening to an Alan Keyes stump speech, you want it to be over even before it begins.
Julie, of course, went on to tell Chris about the plan to vote out Eliza. Amazingly enough, he was going to pull off a major upset by sticking around at least another week, and he did absolutely nothing to set the plan into motion other than relying on the cattiness of women to show up and save him. Left to their own devices, the internal rivalries of a group of women will always get them in the end, especially if one of them is younger, better looking, or has bigger boobs. While he was going out to collect wood, Twila was prepared to set into motion an even greater upset. What could be greater than saving Chris? Well, that would be saving Eliza and breaking up Ami’s power in one fell swoop. Twila told Chris that he has been sitting on the key to the win for a long time, and he should really think about it. When Chris finally mentioned Eliza, Twila laid out her own plan. Basically, Eliza can’t trust anybody, but if Chris wanted to change the game, he can convince Eliza to vote with him, and Twila assured him that Scout was with the idea.
If it wasn’t for the overbearing nature of Ami and Leann, I don’t think this plan ever would have happened. First, they brow beat Twila and Scout for thinking of other alliances. This was just enough incentive to get Twila to think her crazy thoughts of independence. Second, they were almost openly hostile to Eliza and never respected her, meaning she was going to be open to plans that took them out of power. Third, Chris was in a no-lose situation. Unless the producers started to load up on the physical immunity challenges, it would be harder for him to weasel out of being voted off. To get this whole thing to work, Chris had to convince Eliza that not only was there a plan to vote her off that evening, but that she should go along with him, Twila, and Scout on an entirely new plan.
At tribal council, in one of the biggest surprises since Rupert was voted off, Leann was sent home leaving not only herself, but Ami and Julie shocked. Leann was going home, but Julie and Ami had to live with the fact that they were on the losing end and no longer in the power block. Ami lost her closest ally, and it is going to take a lot for her to remain in the game, because Twila, Scout, Chris, and Eliza all have reasons to want her gone next week. The producers couldn’t have picked this one any better, because now everybody is going to be in a mad scramble to stay relevant. Although the center of power has shifted within Alinta, it is a fairly loose combination of people who have no ties to each other except for Scout and Twila. In fact, you can say that most of them have a certain amount of distrust for the others.
In the reunion shows, Leann is certain to complain about being lied right to her face by some of the other women. But if you want to see where Leann went wrong, look no farther than her immunity challenge performance. She admitted during tribal council that she didn’t believe it was “a matter of life or death”, and once you take that complacent attitude, you are bound to get sent home.