Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Vanuatu recaps
Survivor: Vanuatu recaps - Episode 3
"Double Tribal, Double Trouble"
By: Jeff Pitman | Published: June 13, 2012

trollyThe Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Week award (the "Trolly"): Eliza
Honorable mention: Twila

To be clear here, nobody on this season is pulling a Russell Hantz-style performance. People are getting camera attention based on their actual personalities and from their impact on the game, not from manufactured characters they're acting out. Still, we have this dumb award, and somebody has to win it. And when we add up the relative screen time, the winner this week is obvious: Eliza. (A narrow win over Twila, simply because Twila paid the price of getting votes cast against her for her attention.)


Eliza was the focus of discussion as the episode opened, as Yasur returned from the tribal council in which Eliza's flip to the older women's alliance resulted in a surprise Dolly boot. Then, after the challenge, when John K visited Yasur to suss out alliances, Eliza latched on to him, explaining her fragile position within the tribe. Then, when John was talking to non-Dolly voters, Eliza marched over and started talking again. Which led to this classic confessional quote from John K: "Eliza just didn't stop talking. She just kept talking and talking and talking. I mean, she seems really sweet, I'm sure she's really nice, but the bottom line is, 'Oh my God, would you please stop talking!'" Brilliant!


Let this be a lesson to modern-day Hantz wannabes: You don't need to crank up the rehearsed cattiness in confessionals to get attention. Just talk. And talk and talk and talk.


icuThe Purple Kelly Memorial Invisibility Cloakee Unmasked! award ("ICU!"): Bubba
Honorable mention: Scout, Julie, Leann, Ami, Chad, Brady

After getting a light-hearted confessional ("I slept like a baby... woke up every two hours and cried") and an even-better strategy discussion with JP last episode, Bubba was virtually completely unseen in this episode. No confessionals, not involved in any conversations in camp, nothing to say at tribal. Somewhat bizarre, but considering the episode had to cram in two challenges, an in-camp visit, and two tribal councils, perhaps not entirely surprising, especially since Bubba was really a disposable vote by the majority alliance. Same for Chad.


Similarly, a lot of the women at Yasur who didn't figure in to the Twila-Mia fight, or who weren't named Eliza, weren't shown. Julie was just as endangered as Mia when the episode opened, yet was invisible. Scout, for once, had nothing to say. And Leann and Ami continued to take background roles. (Spoiler alert: for most of these people, there's still plenty of time to learn more about them.) Still, an unbalanced episode, edit-wise, but probably the best that could be expected from a double-boot episode.


beastyThe Colby Donaldson Memorial Challenge Beast award (The "Beasty"): Chad
Honorable mention: John K.

With the advent of the first individual challenge, we finally have the ability to accurately gauge challenge threats. Technically, John K should be the winner here, since he actually won individual immunity (and is part of the minority alliance on his tribe), but he's just showing he's an asset to his tribe, pre-merge.


In contrast, Chad is currently safe on Lopevi, but in coming in a close second on the individual IC, he showed to Yasur that he could be a threat in post-merge challenges. When you couple that with his tribe's previously expressed concerns about his amputation winning him sympathy votes, perhaps not a wise performance by Chad.


slittyThe Cirie Fields Memorial Smiling Backstabber award ("Slitty"): John K.
Honorable mention: Lisa

It's not entirely clear that John K's decision to award individual immunity to Ami was his best possible move, but since it was about the only strategic decision shown (apart from Eliza and Lisa each deciding to abandon the alliances they voted with in the previous episode, the thinking behind which was hidden), we'll have to go with John K for this week's Slitty.


Going over to Yasur, John K already knew three things: he was on the outs in Lopevi (but safe that night), Yasur had just voted off one of their younger women, and he had the opportunity to throw a wrench into their tribal dynamics. So his decision to award immunity to Ami was somewhat odd on the surface: he chose Ami because she was the person least likely to receive votes. His stated reasoning here, however, was sound. In trying to avoid favoring and/or angering any of the Yasur women, he made his best possible post-merge play. With little hope of flipping a 5-3 imbalance at Lopevi, his best hope is to join up with Yasur post-merge. Without knowing Yasur's composition in advance, giving the necklace to Ami maximizes the chances that people remaining at the merge won't hold a grudge against him.


It's not foolproof, and perhaps it would have been a better to move to guarantee a weaker Yasur by handing immunity to Scout. But since Eliza had mentioned (in his presence) wanting to vote against Scout, Ami was the safer choice.