Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Survivor: Thailand – Jan, Helen, and the Human Factorby David Bloomberg -- 11/20/2002
View Printable version of this article
There have been a number of articles explaining that Jan and Helen are in a good position to get to the final four if they play their cards right (for example, “Helen Continues to have the Best Position on Survivor: Thailand” by Jeffrey D. Sadow, a professor of political science). I agree wholeheartedly – if Jan and Helen switch sides and ally with Jake and Penny to vote off two of the Chuay Gahn guys, and if Helen and Jan then switch back to the remaining Chuay Gahn male and ally against Jake and Penny, they have it made. But will it actually happen that way? I just don’t think so.
While Helen has already shown that she will jump from a weak alliance to a strong one – when she sided with the guys against Ghandia rather than the women against Clay – Jan has shown no such ability. Sure, it’s possible that behind the mask of an insane woman who buries dead animals there is a scheming Machiavelli just waiting to be let loose, but I doubt it. The only time we’ve seen her try to plan anything related to a vote was when she told Ghandia that they should target Clay rather than Ted and even claimed Clay was the cause of the problems around camp. I still don’t understand that one, and it may have contributed to Helen’s decision to switch sides. Other than that, we have not seen anything resembling strategy from Jan.
We also have not seen anything resembling guile from Jan. Even though she has long known that she’d be the next to go if Chuay Gahn had lost an immunity challenge, we never saw her trying to get in good with the guys’ alliance in order to suggest they vote out Helen instead. Since the pseudo-merge and then the real merge, we have not seen her talk to Sook Jai members about getting together. And even when it was obvious that Jake, Ken, and Penny would be looking for help, she did not offer herself up as a potential alliance-partner, nor did they apparently even think of going to her.
Another factor is that Jan picked her tribe. She feels some loyalty to them, as shown when the players were given the opportunity to switch tribes. Even though Jan knew she would be next to go if they lost an immunity challenge, she stayed put because it was her tribe. Chuay Gahn may be gone in name, but not in spirit, and I cannot see her deciding to go against her teammates.
But what if Helen somehow convinced Jan that it would be in her best interest to join her and jump over to ally with Jake and Penny? They would need to vote out two of the guys and then jump back to the other. Why? Because if they go in to the final four tied at two apiece, it is unclear what might happen. They might tie up the vote and face the purple rock of death (or this season’s equivalent). More likely, Helen might pull another switch and side with Jake and Penny – after all, she is not joined at the hip with Jan the way Paschal and Neleh were last season, and she would not risk her own demise in the game just to protect Jan. So from Jan’s perspective, jumping back to the remaining Chuay Gahn would be preferable. But again, I cannot see her thinking that far ahead and plotting it all out.
From Helen’s perspective, it would still be beneficial to jump back, especially if the remaining Chuay Gahn male is Clay. The three of them could vote out Jake and Penny, and then Helen would probably be in the best position to win immunity. Does anybody think Clay would do well in the standard trivia questions about former tribemates? He just complains about people talking – he doesn’t actually listen. And Helen could almost certainly outlast him in any endurance challenge they might face.
On the flip side, what if Jake and Penny were to realize the same thing and decide to grab Clay for a final rush to the end? Indeed, Clay might be more likely to go with them than his traitorous former cohorts. And I think Jake and Penny (especially if she is truly as manipulative as we have heard) have a better chance of figuring out that this is the way to go.
So, overall, Helen and Jan really do have the chance to take control of this game. In a perfect world where everybody thought logically and planned strategically, they might even be able to pull it off. But when human emotions and the ability to outthink (or not) come into play, it turns everything upside-down. People are not machines, and the human factor is one of the most important in the game of Survivor, in part because it often defies logic.
What do I think will happen? Frankly, I think Sook Jai will continue to get Pagonged – Jake and Penny will be the next two to go, followed by Jan. After that, it’s likely that Helen will be next, but that depends on the immunity challenge result. Brian has secret alliances with both Ted and Clay, and if those remain secret, he is in a good position to make it to the final two, and perhaps even get the win.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent Survivor articles at the Survivor: Thailand page and take a look at our sections on Big Brother 3 and The Osbournes. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article