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Survivor: Samoa – Why Laura Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/03/2009
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For the past few weeks, we had seen blindside after blindside – surprises not only to the contestants but to viewers as well. Most recently, not so much. After all, Shambo and the Foa Foa had been gunning for her for weeks now, so the fact that they finally got her was not a huge shocker. It does, however, bring us to the question of why they wanted her gone so badly. Why did Laura lose?
While we now have a bit of additional information in the form of the recap episode that aired on Thanksgiving, I’m not sure we need much from there to answer our questions. Let’s proceed through What Samoan Survivors Should Have Learned to see where we end up.
First and foremost, players need to scheme and plot. Laura seemed to understand this coming into the game, as she told me in my interview with her that she planned “to align with somebody who was really aggressive in the game and was ready to play,” then she would step aside at the end and let that person get taken out so she could move to front and center. It’s not a bad plan, but her tribe didn’t have the right person for it – as she noted to me, it was better suited has Russell H. been on her tribe.
Without that, we saw Laura essentially form an alliance of the women on Galu – not including Shambo, of course – with her acting as the leader. In addition, we found out that she and Brett surprisingly knew each other from their real lives (from church) and therefore had a solid bond as well. It would have been an interesting story to see if one would have turned on the other if they’d gotten to that point together. Alas, we’ll never know.
If Galu had stuck to the original plan of voting out the Foa Foans one by one, Laura would have been in a pretty decent position. She had an alliance of women plus a super-secret spy with the men, feeding her information. She was set.
But then she went wrong with the second rule, scheming and plotting too much and backstabbing too soon. Specifically, Laura was too eager to get rid of Erik before the Foa Foans had been dealt with. She admitted to me that she knew Russell was going to come after her and she knew Shambo had been targeting her. Admittedly, she knew John and Erik had been gunning for her earlier, and that there was a new plan to target one of her own allies. But if she had turned that plan back around on Foa Foa rather than on her own tribemate, I would venture to say Laura would still be in the game now. As Shambo said to Monica on the recap show, Galu ceased to exist when they blindsided Erik.
The third rule talks about flexibility. I’m not really sure how to rate Laura here. On the one hand, she was flexible in that she didn’t get wedded to the idea of eliminating all the Foa Foans before turning on her own tribemate – but I just criticized her for that, so I can’t very well support it now! I think she could have been more open to the idea of being flexible when it came to her choice of allies, but she did appear to take Natalie into her confidence, so that was something. Overall, I’ll call this one a toss-up.
It’s also difficult to examine if Laura played too much with her emotions, in violation of the fourth rule. She wanted Erik gone for both emotional and strategic reasons. She wanted Russell gone for both as well, I believe. So I don’t think her emotions really overruled her strategy – they seemed to work mostly in sync with each other.
I do think she could have done a better job of hiding those emotions, though, in accordance with the fifth rule. Early on, when she visited Foa Foa, she pretended to have a deal with Russell. But once he showed up at the merge, she totally blew him off, refusing to talk deal with him and getting all snarky with him. As we all know, Russell does not deal well with strong women who oppose him, so that instantly put a big target on her as far as he was concerned. She might have been able to avoid that if she’d simply pretended to go along with him and been nicer about things. Heck, she even admitted as much to me in our interview, saying, “and I wouldn’t change a thing. I know it sounds funny to say because it could have cost me the million dollars, but there are some things money just can’t buy.”1 2 Next-->
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