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Survivor: Thailand - Why Ken Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/14/2002
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Now that the merge has finally arrived, the contestants have moved into a new phase of the game. At this point, they would normally target the strong members of opposing alliances. In other words, Ken being voted out was pretty much exactly what you'd expect. But was that all there was to it? Let's take our usual look back at What Thai Survivors Should Have Learned and see what we can find out.
It scarcely needs to be said that the first rule is to scheme and plot. Ken did a bit of this early on, as he was on the main Sook Jai alliance that eliminated Jed, Stephanie, and Robb. He also did some more just last episode as he joined with Jake and Penny to get rid of Erin while Erin thought the other two were voting out Ken. But now he was in a merged tribe with his group being down two members as compared to the other. This was not a good place to be. But we didn't really see Ken doing much of anything to get himself out of the trouble he was in. Sure, he talked to Jake, but Jake was the one running around, trying to get somebody from the opposition over to their side. Ken just seemed to sit back and talk about why it wouldn't work. It was almost as if he was counting on winning immunity or just resigned to his fate.
This therefore eliminates the worry about scheming and plotting too much, keeping it secret, or backstabbing too early. So we'll skip to pretending to be nice. From all appearances, Ken had no problems here. He seemed to get along with pretty much everybody, though there may have been something behind Brian's imitation of him as a guy who is just looking for women - however, we didn't see whatever that might have been. Suffice it to say that he didn't have any problems in this area.
He also didn't have any problems in the area of emotional control. Even though he had befriended Shii Ann previously, he joined the others in Sook Jai and voted her out when it became clear that she had planned to jump ship (and, she noted in my interview with her that she would have done the same thing to somebody else if they had tried to join up with the opposing tribe). He recognized that the game is the game and friends are a separate issue. Similarly, he didn't have any anger problems either. So this is another non-issue.
Last we look at the work situation. Although Brian claimed that he would be voting based on who had done (or not done) work around the camp, we saw nothing to indicate that this was really an issue when it came to Ken. So let's just toss that one on the fire, too.
So did the others make the right choice in booting Ken? Yes. We are (finally) at the stage of the game where you should vote off the strong people who can win challenges - as long as they aren't in your alliance, of course. The ex-Chuay Gahn members saw that Ken was a real threat. He was strong, and he was able to make it even in the mental portion of the first individual immunity challenge (though he sure blew it in the final leg). They could have targeted Jake instead, who was the leader of the three remaining Sook Jai and therefore would have had an emotional impact, but when you're up five to three and about to make it five to two, picking off the leader is less important than getting rid of the strongest player.
In the end, then, it was indeed mostly that Ken was the strongest - but that's not all. Ted could easily be a bigger threat, as could Brian. But Ken was not able to get people to cross tribal lines. He only needed one person from Chuay Gahn in order to create a tie situation where he at least might have had a chance. But that didn't happen. He appeared to leave the scheming and maneuvering to Jake - at least from what we saw (and that's all we have to go with right now). He should have taken it into his own hands and pressed harder on Chuay Gahn to find the crack in their alliance. For example, what if he had approached Ted and told him that the others were planning to vote him off? Sure, the others would have said that it was untrue, but with Ted already feeling depressed and sick of Helen, maybe - just maybe - he might have jumped ship. We'll never know for sure now, but it couldn't have hurt.
Ken needed to scheme more or win immunity. He was unable to do either. That is why Ken lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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