This analysis of "Survivor: Vanuatu"'s latest episode is by columnist Greg Feltes of CBS station WBBM in Chicago, who offers weekly commentary on the popular reality TV show.
Why Lea "Sarge" Masters is gone:
His alliance made a gigantic miscalculation.
There's no point in beating this particular horse to death. John should have been kept in favor of Julie for a variety of reasons, including gender equality.
Sarge can't blame anyone but himself for his fate. He is the one who made the decision, while the oh-so-pretty Julie snuggled up with him and blinded him to what was really going on.
His alliance's last-ditch attack was uncoordinated.
The fact that Sarge, Chris and Chad all managed to vote for different people at Tribal Council really says something about the resolve and effectiveness of their alliance. They blew the small opportunity of getting the women to vote out Eliza first by shifting their focus and asking Eliza to join their alliance with Twila.
Flexibility is one thing, but throwing everything up against the wall to see what sticks isn't a viable strategy in this game. What would have happened if Twila, Scout and/or Eliza had a change of heart at the end and voted with them? Their scattered votes would have doomed them anyway.
He was a physical threat.
After a merge, it is essential to take out a big immunity challenge threat whenever you get the chance. A nightmare scenario for the Yasur alliance would have seen the final seven include the six women and Sarge. In that situation, Sarge could ruin the pecking order and win a few challenges to buy himself more time. Chris and Chad don't present the same degree of threat.
Unless he wins immunity or a major shakeup occurs, Chad is the next to go. He has too compelling a story to be allowed anywhere near the final two. In addition, he seems to be highly resentful of Julie and unwilling to cope with the situation, unlike Chris.
Chris has exactly the right mindset right now. He realizes the situation and isn't complaining about it. You can tell Ami and the women respect him for it. There is a good chance that respect could translate into outlasting Chad, which is Chris' most immediate priority. When you are in such a precarious situation, your singular goal should be to last one more day, because that might be the day that things totally shift in your favor.
Chris surprisingly voted for Sarge and spoke to the camera as if were his fallen compatriot, "This is for you. Not against you."
Some might mistake that statement for blatant rationalization to justify his betrayal, but it's not. It's actually a good philosophy. One more vote for Eliza or Julie wouldn't have saved Sarge anyway. By voting for Sarge, Chris is indicating to the women that he is willing to go along with their plan and accept his fate, which he has no real intention of doing.
If voting for Sarge means that Chris outlasts at least one woman, then he truly is honoring his friend with his vote by signaling that he is still playing the game hard and hasn't given up just yet.
However, determination isn't enough. Chris has approximately six days left on the island (assuming Chad goes first) to build an alliance with at least three other people. If he can't accomplish that, his only hope is to pull a Colby and win all of the remaining challenges, which doesn't seem very plausible.
Julie's recent, masterful manipulation of Twila finally got out and that's not a good thing for the game's most resourceful player. She will already have trouble getting at least four jury votes (the number needed to win) if she makes the final two, simply because the three guys do not want their betrayer to win. Now, she has played Twila for a fool and it's unlikely the gruff female will allow the player who cost her a final four spot to win. Assuming Sarge, Chris, Chad and Twila vote against her in the jury vote, she automatically loses.
However, her chances of making the final two continue to grow steadily. Her adventure with Leann was a great opportunity to rebuild a trust in each other that had been destroyed by the time that they spent apart in different tribes. It appears as if she has found at least one person she can trust, which is critical when the game becomes individual orientated.
It appears as if Julie is a lock for the final four.
She has horrible instincts. She made a mistake in letting Julie fool her. She compounded the same mistake by admitting dissatisfaction with her tribe and a preference for the guys. You could see the shock on Leann's face. Why admit something like that, especially if you are going to remain a lemming and vote against the guys until your tribe turns its attention to you?
She could be the first of the six remaining females to go because of this ill-timed honesty. Her options are limited because she is so socially awkward and has already betrayed her only other potential allies. It's best for her to attempt to a move now while some men are still around and desperate enough to agree to anything to survive.
Scout is starting to realize that it's not mathematically possible for all six girls to fit into the final four. She looks around and sees Julie bonding with Leann and starts to question whether she will be on the outside looking in when it comes time for the final four.
It appears Scout believes she will be one of the two Yasur females discarded before the promised land, which I am not sure is true. Twila and Eliza seem to be in far more precarious situations, so a move might be unnecessary. Unfortunately, promos hint that Scout gets aggressive next episode and makes a move against Ami, which would give the men an opening they don't deserve.
If Eliza didn't understand her place in the pecking order before the reward challenge, she certainly got a wakeup call. After the three men were taken out in short time, the women quickly targeted Eliza. This indicates she will be the first post-merge female to be voted out.
With her unending paranoia and loud mouth, it's difficult to imagine her making it to the final two and then winning. She has to decide whether sixth or fifth place is fine with her. If it isn't, she needs to try to form a new alliance with the guys and hope for the best.
She's right - she shouldn't have won the immunity challenge. It was unnecessary and just served to demonstrate how strong a competitor she is.
Ami should have taken Scout's discussions with the guys a lot more seriously. Things have a tendency to snowball and no alliance is bulletproof.
Leann made a smart move by taking a then-unknown factor (Julie) away from everyone else, so she could have a talk with her and establish where she stands. Julie also presents a backup option for Leann in case her alliance partner, Ami, goes down in flames.
Predictions for next week: Scout mounts an attempt to shake things up, but fails as she is unable to pull together enough members. Chad is voted out.
My current ultimate Survivor pick: Leann. Her alliance could coast for two more episodes before it falls apart. Plus, she has strong relationships with the game's two strongest players in Julie and Ami. The real key is she has avoided seriously offending anyone in the jury, unlike stronger personalities.
BY GREG FELTES