She’s met presidents and prime ministers (apparently) but according to herself, the highlight of Debbie’s colorful life was getting to meet Survivor winner John Cochran and gaining an advantage in the game. Debbie chose the extra vote advantage as a part of her reward package on the best Exile Island ever, despite an extra vote never being used to the owner’s advantage. So can Debbie be the first to use the extra vote correctly, or will it be the kiss of death for her as it has been for other (smarter and better) Survivor players?
Keeping a Secret a Secret
As disappointing as the Extra Vote has been since its introduction into Survivor it was probably the right choice for Debbie, given her other options. An advantage for the tribe at the next Immunity Challenge does nothing to benefit Debbie personally. A fake Idol could cause a great deal of paranoia and confusion about Tribal Council. Game Changers hasn’t needed Immunities to cause crazy Tribal Councils so far and there is a very big risk of someone calling Debbie’s bluff on the fake Idol. Debbie picked the best advantage she could but it is not obvious how she could use that extra vote.
The best thing that Debbie can do is keep her extra vote under wraps as long as possible. Luckily for Debbie, unlike previous extra vote recipients, no one has any idea she has the advantage. While it wasn’t always known what exactly the advantage was from Dan on Worlds Apart to Tai on Kaoh Rong, everyone in the game knew they had some power over the game when they got their extra votes. The advantage made them targets and in more than few cases the extra vote ended up being the reason they were eliminated. Debbie is uniquely positioned to keep her advantage a secret until she uses it and that is exactly what she needs to do.
It could argued for Debbie using her extra vote to try to entice a castaway into her alliance. The extra vote could be a bargaining chip for someone’s loyalty the way other contestants have used Hidden Immunity Idols but that’s probably not the wisest option. So far on Game Changers when someone makes a big move they are viewed as a threat and are quickly voted out. Debbie showing off her extra vote is only going to make her viewed as a force in the game which frankly no one, including the audience, is seeing her as at the moment. Debbie should keep her extra vote a secret until she can use it in a Tribal Council to eliminate a big threat.
Backing into a Great Move
The hardest thing for Debbie to determine is to who she needs to target. Debbie should probably keep her extra vote until there is a merge or another tribe swap. Debbie isn’t in much danger on the new Nuku tribe. Jeff Varner, Tai and Ozzy are probably the three biggest targets on Nuku now and Debbie doesn’t need to sacrifice her extra vote to take out any of them out. They will probably cause their own doom, especially Ozzy. Oddly, Debbie’s unstable nature and bizarre feud with Brad Culpepper could actually end up working to her advantage this one time in the game.
Even though Brad is severely outnumbered when it comes to the gender ratio on the new Mana tribe, he is still in an excellent position. Brad has been one of the big surprises of Game Changers. He was a hothead and a rather pompous idiot in his initial season but Brad has been much more reserved and smarter this time around on Survivor. Brad has almost been the Sandra of his own tribe(s), positioning himself into a power spot but not being too pushy or obvious about it.
While Debbie’s tantrum at Brad after the balancing challenge was based on seemingly nothing, she wasn’t wrong about Brad being in control. Debbie was just way off base with how she approached it. Brad is a danger this season on Game Changers and he is easily playing one of the best games this season. It’s only a matter of time before others besides Debbie realize what a good job Brad is doing this season and want to take him out. There is a very real chance Brad will have covered himself enough with a big alliance that it won’t be easy to take him out and that’s where Debbie’s extra vote can come in handy.
But what do you think? How do you think Debbie should use her extra vote? Should she target Brad Culpepper with it? Who would you like to see Debbie try to get rid of this season? Do you think Debbie will be smart enough to use the extra vote to her advantage?
Survivor: Game Changers airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)