Amazon Strategy #13: Six Votes??
Written by Mario Lanza
Okay, this is it. My final Survivor Strategy column of the
season. And rather than do a normal column, I am trying something that
I did last season for the Thailand finale. I am going to sit here and
write a running commentary. So here are my comments as they come up
during the episode.
Sorry I wasn't in the studio this
year, but maybe next year CBS will realize that we have no rain in Los
Angeles and that it is possible to actually plan events out here around
the weather. Take that, you east coast savages.
- The show is ready to begin! And as with every Survivor night this
will be a family event. I am joined by my wife, Diana, and our 3-year
old daughter, Vanessa-- the normal viewing team. They will both be
assisting me with my commentary tonight. And in keeping with the
festive spirit of the evening, we had an Amazon themed dinner right
before the show. That's right, tonight's menu consisted of nachos,
Pepsi, and s'mores. Just like they eat in Brazil.
- The credits are rolling! I hope that Rob wins. Diana doesn't care who
wins, as long as Jenna doesn't win. And Vanessa just had a temper
tantrum over jelly beans and was banished to her room. She will
hopefully return later in the evening.
- The season recap starts, and it goes over the events of the past 36
days. Some favorite moments: Ryan stares angrily as his torch is
snuffed out (he would have been a fun player had he stuck around), Alex
gets macheted in the face again (ouch!) and Dave gets "blindsided" by
the alliance. Uh, didn't Dave pretty much KNOW he was going to be voted
out unanimously? I'm not sure that is really "blindsiding." And we are
treated to the painful scene of Christy waffling over her alliance with
Rob one more time. Please stop showing that, it hurts to watch.
- Did you ever notice that the opening credits give away the boot order
for the men? Four of the male players are shown doing the balance beam
challenge: Daniel, Ryan, Dave and Roger. And which four guys were voted
out first? You guessed it. Was that just a coincidence?
- A commercial for The Amazing Race 4! I don't watch a whole lot of TV
other than Survivor, but if you haven't seen the Amazing Race, you
really should. It is a great example of reality TV done well.
- Wow, Butch is really starting to look like Keith Famie, what with the
heavy white beard and all. And Matt just dropped his first "dude" of
the episode. Things are going well.
- There is NO WAY that Jenna is going home first. The editors are
harping over and over and over about how the guys will kick her off
first, so I think you can pretty much bet she will win immunity. I can
guarantee it, it always happens like that. Matt says Jenna is
next. Rob says Jenna is next. She is therefore not next. My
wife utters a pre-emptive "this sucks." She just doesn't want Jenna to
8:16 PM - Butch dances again. No comment.
- The first Immunity Challenge! And it is a strange one too, a
blindfolded maze. Add that to the nasty mud and rain that the
players will be walking through and this one is going to be an effort
to win. But it doesn't matter since we all know Jenna will win,
8:19 PM - Once again, Diana hopes the winner of the challenge is "anyone but Jenna."
- Matt gropes Jenna in the maze. This is quickly followed by Rob
groping Matt. Everybody gets to cop a feel today! Rob realizes
this and he immediately heads towards Jenna...
8:22 PM -
In a very tense finish, Jenna pulls off the miraculous upset. Gee,
didn't see that one coming. The world rejoices for young Miss Morasca.
Diana and I turn to one another and we both say the exact same name:
"Butch." Butch is going to be gone first.
8:25 PM -
Vanessa (our 3-year old daughter) is released from her room during
commercial and she comes downstairs to watch TV. She makes her penance
with us and we can all watch Survivor as a family again. Good girl.
- Rob is nearly having a nervous breakdown. He thinks he is going home.
I don't blame him. But I don't think Matt is completely out of the
woods either. If they were smart, they would all team up to vote Matt
out. But they probably won't do that.
- Butch strategizes with Jenna, as he hopes to get Rob out. Rob
is now officially in trouble. "Youngest and Oldest" looks like they
might be a team. And I have to say it is nice to see
Butch actually do something. He actually came off like a player
8:32 PM - Rob says "Don't screw me over, Matt." That is foreshadowing if I ever saw it. Ten bucks says Matt screws over Rob tonight.
- Matt and Jenna make a super secret alliance to the final two. They
will both take the other one if either one wins the final immunity
challenge. Smooth move by Matt, who is really starting to look
like actor Adam Baldwin.
8:35 PM - It looks set. Butch will be the first person voted out.
8:36 PM -
The first Tribal Council. The jury files in, and Christy and Heidi have
to share the back seat of the jury bench. I bet Heidi loves that.
Hopefully she won't get any deaf germs on her. Heidi is all dolled
up, her hair looks much poofier than it ever has in the past. She gets
several closeups. I am guessing the cameraman has wood right now.
- Rob votes for Butch: "All the firewood in the forest is not gonna
keep your torch lit tonight." Ha ha. A great quote from the
quotemaster of the Amazon.
8:41 PM - Butch is gone. We are down to three.
- Commercial break. Time to discuss our theories. I predict that the
final two will be Matt and Rob. They showed the Matt-Jenna pact in
great detail, but I just don't think that is going to happen. I just
think Rob was meant to win this season, it all seems right. He just has
to be in the final two. Diana is very worried about Jenna still being
around. She feels that Jenna is going to be a much tougher F2
opponent than people expect. She thinks sympathy will play a big factor
and she doesn't like that. I mention that Matt has a final two pact
with both Jenna and Rob, and because of that he should just throw the
final challenge. That way, he doesn't have to lie to either one. There
is too much potential fallout from him choosing his F2 opponent, so he
might as well take it out of his hands and make somebody else do it.
- Getting ready for the final challenge. I hope it is "Hands on the
Idol," I love that challenge. We are also getting ready for the torch
walk, which is always one of the best parts of the season.
8:49 PM -
The final three players get a scale and they get to weigh themselves.
It would be funny if Rob literally was a 98 pound weakling, but he
actually weighs in at around 130.
- Instead of a torch walk, the players get a ride on a sea plane. Not
sure if that is a good tradeoff, but whatever. Although on the
plus side, we FINALLY get to see our first pink dolphin! Yay,
finally, after CBS teased us with them in all the pre
season promos. Thanks a bunch, guys. Oh, and Rob gets to share the
back seat of the plane with Jenna. If nothing else, when he goes
home, Rob can now say he got Jenna alone in a backseat. Sometimes
it is the little victories in life that are the sweetest.
- I was hoping for a Raiders of the Lost Ark reference, but it never
came. When the plane was flying out of the jungle, I wanted Rob to say.
"There's a snake up here! I hate snakes! I hate 'em!" Oh well.
PM - My daughter Vanessa makes her first observation of the evening. She points to Jeff
Probst and says "The man's name is Jeff." See, she is starting to grasp
the subtle nuances of the game.
- The final three ride in a
canoe to their final immunity challenge. And I have to say I enjoy the
canoes appearing to glide through thickets of grass. That was always
one of my favorite images of this season, all those gliding canoe/grass
8:57 PM - Matt tells us that he is going to throw the immunity challenge. That's my boy!
PM - Commercial time. No torch walk yet. Are they actually going to have one? I
hope so, because I don't know about you, but I know I will get choked up when I see when Ryan got snuffed.
Wait, was he the first guy kicked off or the third? I forget. Wasn't he
Asian? Anyway, we can't send this season off without at least one more shot of
Daniel looking directly at the camera, or of Heidi saying something foolish.
Come on CBS, you gotta give us that closure!
9:02 PM - The final
Immunity Challenge. This one is going to be held at Tribal Council. Butch comes in, and
he doesn't have a beard anymore. Ye gods, he looks old. And five of the jurors are
dressed in black, what's up with that? The final three look pretty cool
with their orange facepaint on, especially Matthew. And I'm glad to
see that Rob took the time to paint his kneecap. But you know what, this means no torch
walk! No way! And now we're stuck with stupid Fallen Comrades as the final immunity challenge? Yuck.
9:03 PM - Okay good, no Fallen
Comrades. It is the perch again. Nice choice. It shouldn't last more than
a couple of minutes though. Diana comments that this challenge is nasty, and I
agree. The ones based on willpower are always a bit sadistic.
PM - Matt steps down, clearly throwing the challenge. And if you read
Jenna's lips, she clearly says "shit." She knows it is all up to her now. Matt
forced her hand, just like he should have done.
9:06 PM - Things are getting tense. Rob
just offered Jenna a final two deal, and she turned it down. Rob can clearly read
the writing on the wall by this point, he knows he needs to win the challenge to get to the end. It was a nice try
though, offering a deal there was definitely the right move. Rob doesn't care how he gets to the final
two, he just wants to get there.
9:07 PM - Uh oh, something is happening... the music is building and swelling... somebody is about to fall.
9:08 PM - Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PM - With Rob out of the challenge, you can say it right now. The final two is Jenna and
Matt. Women always win the balance contests, I should have seen that
coming. I wonder how long that challenge took? For once, we didn't get
a timer on the screen. But take nothing away from Jenna, she pulled out immunity when she needed it.
PM - Jenna says she wants to go to the final two against a person she
can't beat. You can't beat EITHER OF THEM! And then she gives
my personal favorite Jenna quote of the episode, about how she doesn't
care if she winds up in first or second place. Wait a minute, if the entire
reason you signed up to play Survivor was to help your mom pay her medical bills, wouldn't
it make a BIG difference between first and second place? That's a lot
of money! But whatever, we will get back to that later.
- Rob knew he was going home, and he is gone. Jenna just slit his
wince, in pain for my long lost brother. But the jury smiles.
all glad to see him gone, they couldn't be happier. My
wife begrudgingly admits that Rob worked hard and that he was the
best player. But
she is still dreading a Jenna win.
9:12 PM - Rob's final words. He seems to go out with some class. Hopefully he is a nice juror.
PM - Commercials, time to discuss. Diana and I both think that Matthew
will walk away with this thing. We both predict a 5-2 Matthew win. Matt
played it great at the end, Rob never even realized that his Frankenstein Monster had a
side deal with Jenna. Say hello to your newest millionaire, Matthew von
9:16 PM - A commercial for Mitsubishi,
advertising "dual front air bags." And then to demonstrate, they show a
picture of Heidi walking into a wall. Just kidding. Sorry, I couldn't
- More random thoughts during the commercial
break. Jenna is now officially the worst final two player ever. At
least Kim Johnson did the cooking around camp, and at least Neleh
mints. And ALL season long they have been building up the big Christy
feud, so you knew there had to be a payoff at some point or another.
It appears now we can see where it was going. Maybe Christy
will be the 4th vote for Matt, the one that
seals the game for him. And I comment to Diana that if Jenna DOES
somehow win, she can buy a new Zeta Crown and/or jacket, so at
least there is something positive that can come out of it. Diana isn't
In lieu of the torch walk, we have Matt and Jenna having a "crate
paint." They paint the names of their departed teammates on a crate
while they reminisce. The replacement torch walk is pretty good, I
guess, but you can
sense that the producers probably prodded them to do it. "Quick, take
and paint the names of the other players. Oh, and do it in order. Oh,
and comment on each one as you do it, and what you miss about them. I'm
sorry, we forgot to film a torch walk, this is the best we can do." In
the fake torch walk, we get more slams against Roger (ouch!) and more
comments about Dave saying
"booyah." Oh, and in a convenient bit of editing, we aren't
shown what Jenna says about Christy. I guess it wasn't a heartwarming
to hear a potential winner say "The deaf girl tried to talk to me once,
so I just
bitch slapped her until she started to cry." I guess that line must
have been edited out.
9:26 PM - A Matt confessional. He
admits, for the 100th time this season, that he has been clueless all along, which
destroys my theory that he was always playing dumb. He also admits to throwing
the final immunity challenge. Then he points out that Rob was the mastermind out here since
day one. What? Not Heidi?? But Heidi told us SHE was the mastermind. Now
- Matt is going to go home
after the game and, instead of studying Swedish, he is going to watch
more TV. So I guess
the lesson learned here is that television is liberating. Take note,
potential terrorists, our television = freedom. But the lack
of Swedish also means that Matt will no longer be able to shop at Ikea.
He clearly did not plan this whole thing out very well.
9:29 PM - Matt
and Jenna burn their boat. They torch it in a manner reminiscent of a
Viking funeral. Matt also very nearly torches HIMSELF, as the boat explodes
into a really nifty fireball and blows up in his face. This is likely the only way that Jenna can win
Survivor, and she came oh so close. But it does back up Matt's comment
from last episode. The guy -is- a pyromaniac.
9:32 PM - The
jurors give their thoughts as Matt and Jenna travel to the final Tribal
Council. Rob is a poor sport (boo hoo.) Christy is still waffling over her decision (go
figure.) And Alex asks the question that I would ask. "Why should I vote for
you?" He just wants one of them to admit to playing the game. Deena seems
to prefer Matt more, as she all but calls Jenna a panty waste. And I
didn't realize how much I missed Dave's cool voice until I heard it
9:35 PM - The final Tribal Council begins.
PM - Matt and Jenna make opening statements, although Matt ventures
dangerously into Neleh territory ("I was honest, I played fair, I just want
you guys to love me.") Alex rolls his eyes at this.
9:41 PM - Butch almost dies when a tree branch comes crashing down onto him. Matt replies with proper concern, saying "Dude!"
- Butch asks Matt and Jenna to fess up if they ever lied. Matt answers
well... truthfully... but Jenna messes it up. She says she lied to
she neglects to mention the fact that she lied TO BUTCH JUST TWO DAYS
AGO! She told Butch she was going to vote for Rob. Oops, minor detail.
PM - Rob asks them why the person sitting next to them should NOT
win. This is a great question, I always like this one. Go for it. Slam your
opponent. Matt claims that Jenna has done nothing. Jenna says Matt was a
hanger on and that he doesn't really need the money. I think Matt answered this
one better, I would guess two votes for Matt at this point.
- Alex asks them to state their biggest regret. Jenna says that
trusted people, which is a horrible answer. That is a cop out answer
because all it does is place the blame on others, you aren't actually
critiquing yourself. Matt says that he tried to go with Ryan at
start, and when Ryan was voted out it plunged him into depression.
Neither one answered the question all that well,
but Alex is going to vote for Jenna anyway, so it doesn't matter.
PM - Heidi takes a moment from reading her Mensa book to ask a
question. She asks which player in the jury is the most deserving. Matt knows he
damn well BETTER say Rob, and he does. Good boy. I figure Matt has won the game
right now, all he had to do was acknowledge Rob's greatness and he has
it all wrapped up. Jenna also says Rob. Heidi asks if there is anyone else
who deserves it too, you know, like me. Jenna and Matt refuse to answer the second part of the question,
so Heidi all but begs them just to say her name. No dice. Jeff tells
her to shut up and sit down. Rob covers his face in embarassment, and I laugh. My
wife comments that Heidi digs a hole for herself every single time she opens
her mouth, and it is true. That was ugly. And it is pretty clear that
Jeff doesn't like Heidi much either.
9:48 PM - Deena is
sure to come up with a good question, and she does. Should the jurors
only vote based on who needs the money? Jenna, not surprisingly, say
yes. Deena doesn't seem to have a question for Matt, and I take this as
a sign that she has already made up her mind. I think she is a Matt
vote for sure.
9:50 PM - Christy comes up to speak, and
Jeff grins. You can tell he clearly loves the final jury
questions. He loves to see the finalists squirm. And this one should be
particularly fun to watch. "Jenna, you said that you had a handicap,
that you were beautiful." Ouch! You can see where this one is headed,
and it is not going to be pretty. But Jenna, to her credit, handles this
question pretty well. And I think she makes a good point, people
like her DO get underestimated out in the real world. But come on, Christy won't ever vote for
Jenna, so what is the point?
9:52 PM - Dave asks a bizarre
question, which famous leader do you most emulate? Matt says Jason Voorhees.
Jenna says Cindy Crawford. Ok, I kid. But neither one really answers it
well. I think Dave was hoping they would answer some famous sports figure.
PM - One last commercial. We go over our vote tallies, to make our final
predictions. I figure Matt has three votes in the bag: Rob, Christy, and
Deena. I figure Jenna has Alex and Heidi for sure. It is technically
anyone's game, but I think that Butch will vote for Matt, thus leaving
Dave's vote irrelevant. So I am tentatively predicting a 5-2 Matt win. I
think the only suspense is if it will be a 5-2 Matt win or a 4-3 Matt
win. I am very confident about this. The only thing I can't figure out is why Alex
hates Matt so much. Why is that?
9:57 PM - We're back.
Final arguments begin. Jenna admits that she wasn't the strongest player, but she
did her fair share of work around camp. Matt claims that he doesn't deserve a title of
integrity, because he was lying to himself. Not great speeches, but
9:58 PM - Final voting begins. Butch votes for
Matthew, which I think cinches a Matthew win. Alex and Deena's votes
are not shown. Heidi tries to vote for herself, and Jeff forces her to change
it to Jenna instead. She says that she adores Jenna. My wife makes another
unflattering comment about Heidi's intelligence, and I make no effort
to rebut it.
9:58 PM - Christy's vote is not shown, but she sneers as she is casting it. I think it is
safe to say that she didn't write Jenna. We don't see any more votes, but we
hear Rob's comments. He says he was impressed how this person got
to the final two. It is meant to sound like he is talking about Jenna,
but he can't possibly vote for her, right? I can't imagine a guy like
him could possibly handle losing to Jenna. After all, wasn't she the same girl
he called a "halfwit" just last episode?
tallies the votes and, in a nice hokey pre-taped segment, he speeds off
with the votes on
a jet ski. He disappears into the deep dark Amazon night. His
corpse will be found five months later under a log. It will have
been mostly eaten by piranha.
- I was wrong. Jeff
survived and he is now... in New York? Wow, that is a fast jet ski. But
handedly causes a Code Orange terrorism alert when his lone jet ski
approaches New York Harbor unannounced. He just barely avoids
being gunned down by the Port Authority. Maybe next time he will alert
them that he is coming beforehand.
- A nice
propaganda shot of the Statue of Liberty. Ah yes. USA!
And then Jeff is on the
subway. Two seconds into his subway trip he is mugged for
the voting urn. Ten seconds after that he is beaten by
local toughs when he tries to hop a turnstile. Welcome to New York,
tourist. Now give us your wallet.
10:02 PM - We are now indoors
at the Late Show studio. I knew this was going to happen ahead of time. Our
webmaster, Murtz, is in New York and he tipped me off earlier today that the rain would
likely cancel the outdoor finale. So it was moved indoors at the last
minute. And I am impressed that they got the Tribal Council built on
such short notice.
- The final two are seated. We are
ready for the last vote. Jenna looks great, she is less sticklike for a
change. And Matt looks.... hey... who IS that guy? That's not Matthew
von Ertfelda, that's Dean Cain! And what is with the spiky hair? Diana
likes his new
look, she says he looks cute. All I can say is that he looks FAR less
creepy now that he has actual skin on his skull.
10:04 PM - Both Matt
and Jenna predict they will lose, 5-2. The audience seems to want Matt
to win. And I was wrong, Matt is STILL creepy. I take it back.
10:05 PM - The votes are read. And the winner is...
PM - This sucks. 6-1? How in the $%*# did that happen? NOBODY saw that
coming. First off, Jenna is probably the weakest winner of all time.
True, she DID have a strategy, and Matt wasn't all that great a player
to begin with, but six to one is just ridiculous. NO ONE should get six
votes. I mean, what did Matt do that was so wrong? Did they find
him too creepy? Did they think he was nothing without Rob? Did Jenna just give
really great jury answers?
I know I try very hard to say nice things
about everyone, and I try to praise all of the winners, but this Jenna win
is going to be hard for me. I just don't see it. I am usually very good at
predicting these things, and that 6-1 vote just came out of nowhere. I can't
even imagine why it was so lopsided. I do agree that Matt was nothing
without Rob, at least at the beginning. But he turned into a fairly strong player by
the end. He was respectful, he was strong, and he seemed very likeable. He just
didn't have any enemies like Jenna did.
know that in upcoming
weeks, I will probably soften on Jenna's win. I will start to
give her the
respect she deserves. But I just don't feel right about this finale. It
just struck me as wrong, on several levels. First off, the person that
I wanted to
win (and the person that I thought would win) didn't win, and that has
never happened before.
Ever. And I am never off this badly. This vote just
SCREAMED out that
something went haywire, or that the editors lied to us. I
cannot fathom why Christy (or Rob) would have ever voted for
Jenna. Christy hated her guts. Rob just referred to her as a
HALFWIT! And why on
earth would Deena vote for Jenna? Was it simply a chick thing?
don't know. Usually I can see the logic in things, but the jurors this
season just baffled me. I'm sure I will accept Jenna in time. I don't think she
was an awful player. She certainly got more likeable towards the end. And true,
Matt was never the strategic mastermind that I thought he was, so it is no real
big loss to me if he didn't win. But a six to one vote, that's what
really kills me. I KNOW it wasn't just a sympathy thing. I know that the jurors
wouldn't do that.
There is SOMETHING about Matt that really struck the
jurors the wrong way. Or there is something about Jenna that the jurors
really love. Either way, we didn't see it on TV because the editors didn't show it to us. And I will spend the
Survivor offseason haunted by and wondering about what really happened here.
just struck me as being wrong. No one should ever get six jury votes.
And I can't explain it any better than that. That ending was
wrong. That wasn't the storyline we had been given.
Lanza is a programmer and writer living in Los Angeles. He is currently
writing All-Star Survivor: Greece, which comes out May 30 at S-C. This
will likely be his final Survivor Strategy column. After four seasons,
he would like to work on different projects for the website. Please drop
him a line if you have enjoyed his weekly strategy columns!