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Survivor: The Amazon – Why Matthew Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/13/2003
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Going into the finale, and even into the final vote, many people assumed that Matt was going to win. Jenna had been portrayed as a bitchy, spoiled, self-centered brat. Matt as a kind of psycho guy who was at least likeable. But instead, the jury voted in a landslide to give the big prize to Jenna. What the heck happened? Why did Matt lose?
As always, we’ll look back at What Amazonian Survivors Should Have Learned to see where he went wrong and what he did right.
The first rule, of course, is to plot and scheme. Matthew came into this game not knowing what to expect. He joined with Ryan and Daniel early – an alliance that was doomed to failure almost from the start. After that, he was constantly on the outside of alliances. Rob led him on, making him think he was a part of alliances and a valuable link in the chain with Butch, but until near the end, Matt was disposable.
Luckily for Matt, he didn’t get disposed of, though, because the main alliance was too busy tearing itself apart from the inside. Each week it seemed like it was going to be his week to go, yet each week somebody else went instead. It was not until Alex made the mistake of telling Rob how the final four vote would go that Matthew suddenly became a player. He figured out that Rob was the most likely to be on the outs of the core alliance. Rob approached him and said he needed Matt and the other outcasts to get rid of Alex. Suddenly, Matt was a player!
From there, he helped get rid of Christy and then Heidi. And I do mean “helped,” because Rob was obviously still in charge. It was only during this time that Matt really began to play the game of Survivor as opposed to just being a survivor in the wild. Matt made final two plans with both Butch and Rob. He later made a secret alliance with Jenna that he told us he might or might not honor. He was definitely picking up more the game through Rob’s tutelage, but, to be honest, he seemed to think he was more of a strategist than he actually was. Throughout most of the game, Matthew came as a tag-along with Rob.
So, did he scheme and plot too much? No – with one possible exception. When he threw the final immunity challenge, it was a very Rich Hatch-like thing to do. But as Rob pointed out to me when I mentioned this to him later, Rich Hatch won. Hatch did it because he felt either Rudy or Kelly would bring him to the final two because he was the least likeable of the three remaining. Matt did it because he had agreements with both Jenna and Rob to go into the final two. He knew it was a risk, but it was one that appeared to pay off. The problem is that he might have gotten into the final two, but he didn’t win. Rob told me that he didn’t vote for Matt in part because he knew Matt had thrown the final challenge. Plus, if Matt had held on to win, he could have chosen who to take into the final two with him. Maybe he would have taken Jenna. If so, might he have gotten more votes because he at least worked to get there? Maybe he would have taken Rob. If so, he might have gotten anti-Rob votes from Heidi, Jenna, Alex, or Dave (to go along with Butch’s). He wanted to get to the final two without appearing to stab somebody in the back, but Rob still knew what had happened, and the others on the jury might have as well.
The third rule is to pretend to be nice. Matt took a different direction with this and pretended to be a psycho! Well, he says he pretended. Alex, at the reunion show, was obviously not convinced, nor were others. That said, when Matt was not being a psycho, he was nice. He gave up a visit from his mom so the others could spend time with their relatives. Under normal circumstances, I would say he must have known that the producers would reward him, but Matt didn’t really seem to know much about the game, so I believe he really thought he was giving up his visit. In any event, it was a definite act of kindness that those who were there would hopefully not forget. It made Rob wonder if his position at the end had changed. It was a good move and helped fulfill this rule.1 2 Next-->
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