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Survivor: Thailand - Why Helen Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/20/2002
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Okay, now that we've already discussed Why Brian Won, let's start looking at why the others in the final four lost. We'll begin with fourth place and Helen. Of course, we'll be looking back at What Thai Survivors Should Have Learned to see where she went right, where she went wrong, and why she lost.
Helen did many things right - but not enough. We can see the start of that by looking at the first rule - scheme and plot. Helen made an alliance with Brian (one of many he'd made, but she didn't know that). She also turned on Ghandia when the time seemed right (and, indeed, that was the correct decision). Her mistake was in trusting her alliance partner. She thought he meant to take her at least to the final three, and never seemed to doubt it for a moment. When she was given the opportunity to form a counter-alliance with Ted and Jan, she blew it. Later, she would come to blame Jan for it, but from what we saw, she did not exactly try very hard to get Jan to go along with this plan. Indeed, she made a comment about how she had fulfilled her promise to Ted to talk to Jan, but it was obviously a half-hearted attempt. Then she turned around and spilled the beans to Brian. Indeed, Helen had several opportunities along the way to turn the tables on Brian, but every single time, she chose to stand by her (alliance) man.
So what about scheming and plotting too much and backstabbing too soon? Well, Brian may have said at the final Tribal Council that he chose to boot her instead of Jan (and not warn her) because she had been plotting against him, but as I explained in the article on why Brian won, I think that was a cover. He didn't really think she was plotting against him - she had told him everything! But he didn't want to tell her that he booted her (without warning) because she was a threat to him. So I would have to say that Helen did not scheme and plot too much - because I think she didn't do it enough!
In the "Pretend to Be Nice" department, I think Helen did a fine job. She had bad feelings about several of her tribemates (notably Clay) but she didn't let that get in her way. She knew she was going into a final three with Clay, and for strategy reasons, she accepted that and played nice.
This leads us directly into the question of whether her emotions controlled her. The answer is obviously that she did not. She played the game strategically (though not necessarily as smart as she could have been), and she rewarded the most strategic player. Even though she was pissed off at Brian, she still pulled herself together in the final vote and helped give him the million dollars. Why? Because he was the best player. She chose not to be vindictive; she ended the game as she had played it, by not giving in to emotion.
And of course, when we come to the fifth rule, Helen did a great job of providing food and being a hard worker. There really isn't much more to say about that.
So, what about Jan, Clay, and Brian - were they right to vote her off at this point? Well, for Brian, definitely. Helen was a bigger threat to him than either of the others - she had to go. For Jan, yes. If she had raised a ruckus about it, the others would have simply voted off Jan instead - as was the supposed original plan. This way, Jan got into the final three with the possibility of winning immunity and advancing to the finals. It didn't work out that way, but at least she had a shot at it. For Clay, maybe. It's hard to say who Clay had a better shot at beating - or if he had a shot at beating anybody. Helen did annoy some people; the question is whether she annoyed them enough to make them consider voting for Clay over her. The answer is that she probably did not. So with all of these maybes and probablys, it was probably (there it is again) in Clay's best interest to stick with Brian and hope that his backstabbing ways would shift the jury to Clay's side.
So then, why did Helen lose? Mostly, it goes back to the beginning of this article. She missed her chances to push aside the Brian/Clay alliance. Several times, she had the opportunity to place herself in the best position to win (for example, see discussions here and here). But she thought the path to victory involved walking arm-in-arm with Brian. But the used car salesman convinced her to buy a lemon, and she thought she was getting something sweeter. She trusted Brian and therefore did not work to overthrow him. That is why Helen lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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