Survivor Vanuatu: Episode Thirteen
Now Who's In Charge Here?!
By David Mumpower
December 3, 2004

That's right, if you do some google searching, you can easily find her Playboy pictures.

When we last left Survivor, the royal trio of Ami, Leann and Julie had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

While Julie was off minding her own business, Leann and Ami bullied Scout, then Twila into making sure they accepted their places in the order of things. The result was so effective that Leann got eliminated, Ami saved herself only due to winning immunity, and Julie found herself wondering who she had to shamelessly flirt with now in order to survive.

The unlikely quartet of mortal enemies Scout and Eliza plus Scout's stalkee Twila and sole remaining male contestant Chris is in control. If their shaky alliance can stay together for another two votes, some of the worst players in the game this season will find themselves in the final four. The key is how Ami reacts to the peasants revolting. If she can keep her cool and restore one of the women back into the original Estrogen Alliance, all is not lost. If not, she has exactly three days left on the island and Julie is going to have to flirt with Twila.

After a series of little intrigue, we find ourselves poised for a big finish.

As one might expect, night 30 at Alinta finds Ami a bit agitated. Through clenched teeth, she compliments Twila and the others for "A really nice move". Meanwhile, her eyes offer unspoken promises of unimaginable but inescapable horrors to be administered later on. Peasants can be so trying when they demonstrate free will. Queen Ami recognizes she must crush their spirits and quickly, but the first move is always caution and reconnaissance. Subtlety is the key.


Twila: "Screwed you, didn't I?"

Ami: "You didn't screw me. I'm still in the game. You screwed Leann. I'm still here, baby, kicking hard."

Okay, so much for the light touch.

Unwilling to acknowledge her own responsibility in recent events, Ami focuses on the insignificant minutiae that does not indict her. She locks in on Twila promising on her son's life that she was loyal to the crown. Judging from the grotesque overreaction of Ami, I can't help but wonder how she would have handled that dead grandmother nonsense from a couple of years ago.

Quite satisfied with herself, Twila spends the evening reclining. She confidently declares that Chris, Scout, Eliza and her "got all the pire". After a couple of rewinds on the TiVo, I am able to translate "pire" as "power". Even a lifetime spent in the deep south had not readied me with the ability to decipher that one in a single take.

The first test of the new alliance's pire is the reward challenge. The first part of the prize is a hot meal at a hotel resort. As Eliza shows off the shocking effects of a lifetime spent eating salad (her emaciated shoulder blades are sharp enough to chop coconuts), we fully begin to apreciate her need for the breakfast buffet. The other prize is a new car. More specifically, it's the Pontiac G6, roomy and luxurious, yet surprisingly affordable. I keep waiting for Billy Ocean to show up and shout, Get off of my island! Get into my car! But alas, it's not to be. Presumably, no one could locate him.

The challenge itself is a grueling combination of swimming and navigating balance beams on an obstacle course. Ami, perhaps resigned to her fate or possibly still charged up from the previous night, dashes off to a quick lead. I find this strategy poor as she seems more interested in winning the car than in saving her strength for the immunity challenge. That's the one that will determine how Survivor destiny, after all.

Demonstrating how exhausting this challenge is, Ami is spent after two legs. The tortoise, Eliza, passes this hare on her way to an easy victory. The catch here is that the top three contestants all go to the resort. This will force gameplay negotiations into the vacation sabbatical, so positioning is key.

Sensing this, Chris wages war with Julie for third place. At one point, he even taunts her by asking if she badly wants to win. When she quickly acknowledges that she does, Chris devilishly declares that he does as well then proceeds to beat her. While diabolical, it's for the best. The weak-willed Eliza would have been easily swayed had she spent 24 hours alone with the two women whose acceptance she so desperately craves.

Elize drives her shiny new Pontiac (look at all those features...surely, those can't be standard!) to the resort destination. When the trio arrives, Ami spends a half hour showering and deducing strategy. Upon completion of her cleansing, she immediately enacts her new tactic. Ami apologizes to the naive, gullible Eliza about past behavior. She also makes certain to point out how poorly Scout has treated the girl. Effectively, Ami is Obi Wan Kenobi and Eliza is Stormtrooper #3.

At night, Ami somehow gets Chris to sleep on the sofa, out of earshot from the ladies. From there, she spends the body of the evening pointing out the hundreds of ways Eliza's life would be better if she eliminated Scout instead of Ami. An entire island away, Twila somewhat prophetically states that the silver-tongued Ami (not that way, pervs) will try to work her charms on easily manipulated girl. Some clever editing cuts to exactly this happening.

The highlight of the segment, though, occurs at dinner. Ami, wholly without irony, says the following. "Listen, I know that you guys want to get rid of me, because I am the physical power player." When did Ami turn into the egomaniacal heel of Alinta? It's like watching Terrell Owens on a date.

The subtext of tonight's episode is the raging feud between Ami and Scout. The older woman finished a distant last at the reward challenge, wounding her pride. She is also still bitter over recently being told in no uncertain terms that she was not welcome in Queen Ami's final three. The duo spend the episode fighting over rations, physical appearance, and even blankets. This last one is punctuated by a cry from Ami of "Get your own damn blanket!" I don't think they will be watching Xena: Princess Warrior together any time soon.

Posted without comment: "It's like Scout put a pile of cayenne pepper in my pants and said, 'Hey, let's dance!' Well, I'm ready to dance." --Ami

Probst sighting! The immunity challenge is fun. It's a form of shuffleboard where each of the six contestants get five attempts to score with their pucks. Since Ami has been telling everyone left (but Eliza) to puck off, we deem her the favorite. The goal is to place your puck on an island or, in lieu of that, knock an opposing puck from scoring position. In the end, it comes down to Ami and Chris. If she is able to either score or attack one of his pucks, she forces overtime. Otherwise, he wins. Based on her recent play, it's fittng that Ami knocks her own puck out of contention, eliminating herself instead of Chris. How prophetic. He wins immunity, and she is left scrambling for votes.

Recognizing the peril of her plight, Ami immediately lays on the heavy, heavy guilt with Eliza. She claims that she stuck her neck out for the girl millions of times...except for that last vote when she wrote down Eliza's name, but I don't suppose we are supposed to remember that.

In a stunning development, Eliza appears genuinely conflicted. Desperate to be accepted by all the pretty, popular girls, she begins to prioritize what's important to her. The answer to this question is not what you might expect.

Sure, Eliza will only be on the island another six days, so the two will soon be separated anyway. And, okay, keeping Ami would give Eliza a 25% chance of being eliminated at tribal council if the vote is tied, thereby costing her a million dollars. What you have to consider, though, is that if Eliza does not vote against Ami, her new friend will like her more! You understand why she's so conflicted. A million dollars is great but a fake friend acknowledging her existence for the body of the next week is hard to pass up.

Let's be honest here: Ami's odds are not good. As far as the contestants know, the tiebreaker is that if two people tie, they get immunity. The other four contestants would draw straws to see who is eliminated. Voting for Scout while her three allies vote for Ami would mean Eliza is risking her own neck for little to no gain, even if we ignore that making the final four against weaker competition such as Scout and Twila is a dream come true. In short, I don't care how much Eliza likes Ami, she is self-involved and likes herself a lot more. "You will hurt my feelings if you vote for me," is not going to be enough to save Ami. Unless Eliza is even more vapid than I think she is.

She's not. After a tear-filled, artificial feeling tribal council where two women who have voted against each other in the past 72 hours profess love, Ami is voted off 4-3 over Scout. Twila sums it up best: "Drama queen until the end."

Ami reserves her parting shot for out-of-nowhere mortal enemy Scout. "Scout, you're pretty good at hiding your nasty side, but your true colors come out. They are no part of any rainbow I have ever seen." The hemp hippy retaliates with this gem: "Ami, queens get dethroned. And a lightning will strike a lone tree on top of a mountain faster than anything."

These chicks make Big Tom sound lucid.