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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why Trish Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/24/2003
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Wow. As I said at the end of my Episode 6 recap, that pretty much came out of nowhere! Normally, we have some time to see contestants making mistakes slowly, leading up to their eventual demise. Not this time. It went from being obvious that Shawn was going to him suddenly being the deciding vote! Meanwhile, Trish went from being perfectly safe to having her torch snuffed. What a turnaround!
As always, we’ll look back at What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learned to determine where Trish went wrong, with most of it being based on what we saw this most recent episode, since there just wasn’t much to go on before then.
Starting at the beginning, did Trish scheme and plot? Absolutely. That much is obvious. She was originally part of the alliance that ousted Burton when he thought he was getting rid of Christa. Then she decided to form her own sub-alliance to get rid of the man she perceived to be the biggest threat, Rupert. Frankly, the idea was sound. She was right in saying that Rupert is a huge threat to win it all. He can indeed go all the way by staying with Drake, or he could probably go all the way by switching over to a Morgan alliance. So, with that all said, she was absolutely correct that they need to get rid of him. The big question is when.
That brings us to the second rule, against plotting and scheming too much and backstabbing too soon. On the face of things, this certainly looks to be what happened here. However, it might not be quite so simple. Let’s take a closer look.
As Rupert indicated in his Tribal Council speech, Trish was definitely anticipating the merge – something you can never be truly certain about (just ask Shii Ann!). She was assuming they wouldn’t need his strength again – or at least that Shawn could pick up the slack until the merge occurred. She also did the math and determined that a million dollars is worth starving for a few weeks after Rupert was gone (which, to me, shows just how well-fed they have been compared to previous contestants).
However, sometimes you do need to anticipate a little bit and try to plan ahead. It won’t be perfect, of course, but if you wait for events to overtake you, you may find yourself stuck in a bad situation. She was trying to be proactive, looking ahead to a time when Rupert would be a threat rather than an aid.
But shouldn’t she have waited? Well, maybe. As she said, he could win with either tribe. If she had waited to make her move until after the merge, the Drake alliance (presuming nobody else defected right away) would first have to get rid of and/or absorb several people from Morgan. Then she would have to convince them to get rid of Rupert whenever they had enough of a majority to make it possible and he didn’t win individual immunity. Remember what happened in the first Survivor when Rich decided it was time for Kelly to go? She screwed up all those plans by winning challenge after challenge. If anybody in this group could duplicate that effort, it would be Rupert. Furthermore, if the Drake alliance did get somebody from Morgan to defect, odds are that it would be Rupert who could pull that off. That means he would have even more people loyal to him on his side, which would have made Trish’s task even more difficult at that point.
On the other hand, if she had waited until a later time, it would have been more obvious to everybody involved that Rupert needed to be stopped. Right now, the end seems so far away. As their numbers dwindle, people might look around and say, “OK, he helped me previously but now it’s every man/woman for him/herself!”
But Trish thought she saw a chance and jumped at it. Here is where the problem lies – she jumped without really looking where she was going or who she was jumping with. She brought up the idea to Jon and Sandra and thought both of them were in. Should she have known better? Well, I think that perhaps she should have.
In our interview with Burton, he noted that Rupert “was pretty much just hanging out with Christa and Sandra most of the time.” If Burton noticed this, how did Trish miss it? Or maybe she did know it but thought that Sandra would flip on him anyway. In either case, this is the main place she messed up.
I would also suggest that she messed up in trusting Jon and allowing him to be the one to talk to Shawn. First of all, everybody there had to know that Jon wasn’t trustworthy, even if he did end up going along with Trish this time. Second of all, by letting him be the one to talk to Shawn, she had no real assurances of what would happen and removed herself from direct contact with him. It kind of reminded me of Matthew and his “chain” from last season. Although it didn’t happen, Jon could have easily have told Shawn they were going the other way – to turn on Trish. Or Shawn might have managed to “flip” Jon upon hearing the plan. Either way, it would have spelled bad news for her – and she never would have known it was coming.
But let’s stick to what did actually happen. She thought that Sandra would simply turn on Rupert. Instead, Sandra ran to Christa to tell her, who then immediately pulled in Rupert, who then pulled Shawn into the group. In just a matter of what was probably a few hours (maybe less), Trish went from perfectly safe to out of the game.1 2 Next-->
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