Lea "Sarge" Masters becomes the tenth castaway to be booted from 'Survivor: Vanuatu'
By Reality TV World staff, 11/12/2004
The pagonging is on. Despite increasing signs of cracks in their alliance, Survivor: Vanuatu's six women alliance held strong for another week. As a result, Lea "Sarge" Masters, the 40-year-old drill sergeant from Columbia, South Carolina that the women perceived to be their biggest remaining threat was voted out of the competition during last evening's Survivor broadcast.
Survivor: Vanuatu's ninth episode opened with the merged Alinta tribe returning from its first Tribal Council in which the women teamed to vote off Rory Freeman. Still reeling from the realization that Twila Tanner, the 41-year-old highway repair worker from Marshall, Missouri, and Julie Berry, the 23-year-old youth mentor from Gorham, Maine, had broken their alliance with their former male Lopevi tribemates, Alinta's three remaining men recognized that a gender war was underway and that they might not last much longer in the game.
When the tribe convened for the Reward Challenge, series host Jeff Probst explained that the challenge would be a trivia and individual elimination challenge similar to the now legendary Survivor: Marquesas "coconut chop" challenge that exposed the Final Four alliance's planned boot order of their fellow castaways and led intended fifth and sixth place finishers Neleh Dennis and Paschal English to rise up and team with their fellow outcasts to overthrow the foursome led by John Carroll.
Remarkably, the Alinta women's alliance appeared ignorant of the events of Survivor: Marquesas and quickly set about exposing the pecking order of its own group. First to fall were all three of the remaining Alinta men, with apparent women's alliance leader Ami Cusack personally lighting the final skull that caused Sarge -- the episode's eventual bootee -- to become the first castaway eliminated from the challenge.
With the men out of the way, Eliza Orlins, who along with former swapped Lopevi member Julie was the remaining member of the Yasur tribe's losing "younger women" alliance, was the next to be eliminated, followed by Julie. With only the group's core foursome left, Scout Cloud Lee, the 59-year-old rancher from Stillwater, Oklahoma who appears to be settling onto a "along for the ride" lemming role similar to that of Survivor: Thailand's Jan Gentry, followed next. The move left Ami, Twila, and Leann Slaby, the 35-year-old research assistant from Kansasville, Wisconsin, to battle it out for the reward of a chicken wings and champagne picnic on the mouth of an inactive volcano.
After eliminating Twila to win the competition and seeing Eliza still vocally fuming over the clear exposure of the tribe's internal pecking order, Leann appeared to recognize (at least in hindsight) the potentially fatal results of their actions, and as a result she quickly selected Julie to join her on the excursion. While on the excursion Leann made a pact to take Julie to the Final Two with her and instead send Scout out of the game fifth -- a move that would, should Eliza attempt to team with the three remaining men, likely prevent Eliza from being able to convince Julie to also jump sides and serve as the swing vote that would allow Eliza's group to take down the women's core foursome.
Fortunately for the women's group, rather than attempt to take advantage of Julie and Eliza's outsider statuses to attempt to sway the pair to join their threesome and overthrow the other women, the three remaining men instead attempted to utilize Eliza's clear discontent as a vehicle to persuade the other women to eliminate Eliza from the competition. A strategy that seemed shortsighted and destined to only buy the men three more days on the island even if successful, the plan seemed doomed to failure from the beginning.
The men's luck got worse at the next day's Immunity Challenge, a memory puzzle challenge during which all three remaining men were eliminated during the first round while all six remaining women advanced. Sitting on the sidelines, the men eventually watched Ami win individual immunity.
Back at camp awaiting the upcoming trip to Tribal Council, it appeared to finally dawn on the men that perhaps they might be better off attempting to utilize Eliza's unhappiness to convince her to sincerely ally with them rather than attempting to convince the other women that she was a threat to join them and therefore should be voted out.
Approaching Twila, Sarge cleared the air over Julie's previous lie that the Lopevi men had also approached Julie about joining their endgame alliance. Twila appeared somewhat receptive to the men's new offer, but inexplicably none of the men were ever shown approaching Eliza regarding the possibility of teaming with their group. As a result, with seemingly nothing coming of the men's chaotic strategy attempts, even one of the men, Chris Daugherty, the 34-year-old construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio, voted for Sarge during the Tribal Council vote. Further demonstrating the clear disfunction of the men's team, even the other two men couldn't agree on a target, with Sarge voting for Eliza and Chad Crittenden, the 35-year-old teacher from Oakland, California targeting Julie, resulting in the drill sergeant being voted out of Survivor in a 7-1-1 vote.