Once again history repeats itself. It always does. Especially on Survivor. Anybody remember back on Survivor: All-Stars when Boston Rob pleaded with Lex to save his soon-to-be wife, Amber, promising his loyalty in return? We all remember how that turned out… Lex was the next person voted out. Sound familiar?
John made a huge move last week when he aligned with Russell and Foa Foa and switched his vote forcing Laura out of the game. It was a big move that I fully appreciated. He risked alienating Laura and other Galu members to put himself in a better position in the game. Unfortunately for John, the big move was poorly executed.
As always hindsight is 20-20, so ”with all due respect” to John (which my buddy Lopez says means you don’t actually respect the person at all), I offer this analysis of why John is no longer in the game.
John made three big mistakes that led to his ouster. The first mistake John made was in making a deal with the one guy you simply cannot trust – Russell. Russell is nothing if not consistent and he is consistently untrustworthy.
Russell is also a great player. Yes, I said GREAT. Russell used John like a mercenary. By convincing John to switch sides, he got what he needed which was another Galu member voted out. That was John’s second mistake. He should have insisted that in order to get his vote, they must first vote out a Foa Foa. He didn’t. That was a fatal mistake. Because once Laura was voted out, John was no longer of any use.
From Russell’s vantage point, it was an easy and extremely wise vote to get rid of John as soon as possible. In doing so, Russell and the rest of the Foa Foa tribe officially changed the game. Foa Foa (plus Shambo) is now in control of the numbers. Brilliant.
One of the best ideas we’ve had in recent years was in Guatemala when we introduced the ”advantage” to the auction. Danni bid on the advantage, it helped her win the challenge and she ended up winning the game. Jaison made a great move in buying the advantage. It’s money well spent and we (producers) always make sure that the advantage is significant enough that if you play it right, you have a very good chance of winning the challenge. It’s the biggest move Jaison has made in the game and it paid off big time.
To be fair, it’s easy to sit at home and say Jaison made the right move in buying the advantage, but when he saw Mick buy an entire meal moments later for the same amount of money, believe me he had 2nd, 3rd, 4th thoughts about how he had spent his money.
But by the time the challenge came around Mick’s meal had already made it’s way in, through, and out his body and it clearly didn’t help him in the challenge. Good move, Jaison.
Side note: Dave Ball, thank you for not bidding on the shower.
APPLE PIE - THE THIRD MISTAKE
The biggest moment of the auction was not the $200 peanut butter and jelly sandwich that Natalie bought, nor was it Jaison buying the advantage in the challenge. The biggest moment of the auction was John deciding to not share the apple pie with the rest of the tribe. His third and final mistake.
John: I’m confident that nobody is going to vote me off because I didn’t give them a piece of apple pie.”
NOTE TO ALL FUTURE SURVIVORS: Whenever you are given a selfish vs. selfless choice, you ALWAYS choose the selfless option. Always, always, always. Survivor is a social game. John could have used that pie to buy a lot of good will from a lot of people, and I absolutely believe had he done so he would still be in the game. Instead he lost even more favor because he was seen as selfish. The truth is it was a golden opportunity that he wasted. Then again, I say that as I am finishing up a pizza while I write this blog. It’s a tough position to be in for sure, but that’s why we do it – to force the Survivors to make tough decisions.
We’ll never know for certain how much of a part it played in him being voted out, but it definitely did not help him, and had he given up the pie he might have saved himself. You never want to give anybody a reason to vote you out. Never.
While we’re at it, if you ever find yourself playing Survivor and muttering something that begins with: ”I’m confident…and ends with ”won’t get voted off” start packing your bag, cause the blindside is already in motion.
Admittedly, Shambo is a bit of a kook, but you have to find a soft spot in your heart for a woman who shares a clearly heartfelt goodbye to an about-to-be slaughtered chicken and promises to see them in heaven when they’re back together… only moments before she cooks them over an open fire.
First off, Natalie was impressive. A major effort. I tested this challenge myself and those wooden planks were very heavy. Natalie dug deep and outlasted everybody except Dave and Jaison and Jaison had an advantage.
I was so happy to see the advantage pay off for Jaison. Not because I’m rooting for him but because I respect big moves. Spending all of his money for one advantage was a big move.
The look of shock on John’s face was one of the best of the season. It was almost, not quite, but almost, hard for me to watch. He never ever saw it coming.
Also, I’m not sure why Laura is so concerned with whether Shambo knew what was going on or not, but it says to me that there is clearly still some bitterness between the two and if Shambo makes it to the final you can bet she will not have Laura’s vote.
So where do we stand now? Well, this much we know for sure: It is a new game. Foa Foa is now in charge and you can bet that Monica, Dave and Brett are very worried about their future.
The good news is that once again the numbers are uneven and that means that somebody on Foa Foa is now a potential swing vote. The remaining Galu members have to find the crack. They have to find out who is on the bottom of the Foa Foa totem pole and convince them that joining forces is in everybody’s best interest.
The only shot they have of pulling that off is if they start thinking like Russell and ask themselves, ”What Would Russell Do?”
See ya next week. Don’t forget to check out the deleted scene below and read Dalton’s recap.