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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why Shawn Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/31/2003
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Well, this is definitely something new – having to write two “Why XXXX Lost” columns in one day, although Osten’s certainly will be a bit different than usual. Shawn’s, however, will follow the usual format. We will look back at What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learned and see where Shawn went wrong. In this case, it was something of a surprise to many people, but we’ve had a night to think it over, so let’s see where we end up.
The first rule, of course, is to scheme and plot. Shawn did that pretty well in the early going – or so he thought. He had what he thought was a four-person alliance with Burton, Michelle, and Jon. Within that, he had a sub-alliance with Jon. All in all, a pretty good position. Well, until the first actual vote, that is. At that point, he found out that Jon wasn’t really in the four-person alliance. However, he was in the two-person alliance with him and warned him to change his vote. Shawn’s no dummy – he saw which way the winds were blowing and switched, leaving Michelle out in the cold.
After that Tribal Council, he tried to convince the others that he really never liked Burton anyway. Uh huh. Nice try, Shawn. But still, he stuck around while Michelle was sent home.
He was next in line to go until Trish tried a bit too much plotting and scheming of her own, and while he didn’t take the initiative, he was smart enough to see that it was in his best interests to go along with Rupert when the opportunity presented itself.
So overall, he did an okay job there – but he bet on the losing horse early. The next question is if he schemed and plotted too much. To this, I’d have to say no. One area where he did fail was in keeping his scheming secret since it was obvious to one and all that he had been on Burton’s team until the last minute, as already mentioned. Did that help to do him in? We’ll come back to that later.
One area that he really blew was pretending to be nice – especially when it came to Jon. Yes, Jon is an obnoxious idiot. Yes, Jon argued with others on the tribe. But at least Jon never threatened to beat anybody up; Shawn did. Furthermore, Shawn was a drag on the rest of the tribe several times because he seemed more eager to argue about doing work instead of doing it. I’m not even sure if it was all laziness on his part (which we’ll address below) rather than just always wanting his way. Not a good way to survive on Survivor.
The fourth rule is not to let your emotions control you. Shawn gets a mixed review on this one. On the one hand, when he saw how things were going with Burton, he quickly decided to vote him out rather than to try to stand by his pal. On the other hand, he couldn’t restrain himself when it came to Jon and let himself get far too upset. Although Jon is an idiot, Shawn came off looking like, well, as Jon said – a Neanderthal.
Shawn also had a problem with the fifth rule – not being too much of a threat. Even though there is no real clue as to when the merge will be, they know it has to come eventually, and Shawn is a big strong guy (though he might not always show it). Jon is so weak that the tribe would rather have Christa in a contest of pure strength than him!
But beyond that, Shawn is a threat in another way. He is a threat to form a counter-alliance to Rupert and the two women. Now, you may be saying, “Hell, so is Jon! Jon even tried to vote Rupert out once!” And that’s true. However, the Drake tribe doesn’t know who might be returning. They saw the way Burton led the Outcasts and may figure he has a good chance of coming back. In fact, on the CBS website right now, one of the preview questions is, “Will Sandra face her worst fear of having Burton return?” If the three of them were truly worried that Burton might return, the best move would be to get rid of his former ally and good pal, Shawn. Sure, Shawn voted against him, but he only did that after being warned that Burton was going anyway. Jon was the one who really stabbed Burton in the back, and as such Burton is a lot less likely to pair up with Jon to try to form a counter-alliance. So at least in their minds, this makes Shawn simply too much of an overall threat to keep around.
Shawn also failed in the sixth rule, which says that providing food wins allies and you shouldn’t be lazy. Shawn was perceived as being quite lazy – probably the laziest guy on the tribe. And rather than providing food, he consumed quite a bit of it, as Rupert had noted previously. Jon may be obnoxious, but at least he worked.
The seventh rule, being flexible, didn’t really come into play here. It did help Shawn stick around a bit longer as he was quick to vote against Burton and then against Trish last week. But in the end, it didn’t really help the final outcome.
So, did the tribe do the right thing by voting out Shawn instead of Jon? Frankly, I’m not really sure. Both of them had their minuses and, um, their other minuses. Neither really has any plusses. Rupert and his harem of two know that Jon went against them. They know that he is untrustworthy. They know he is an obnoxious idiot. But they also know that Shawn is belligerent, lazy, argumentative, and a friend of Burton’s. Plus, as noted in Professor Sadow’s Strategic Overview article, Jon may be easier for the other three to control than Shawn. Rupert put the fear of God into him (or at least the fear of Rupert) and they may figure they can direct Jon better.
There may also be one final factor in keeping Jon, if they were thinking far ahead (which I actually tend to doubt they were, but you never know). Jon is perfect to face in the final two. I mean, who would vote for this guy to win?!
All in all, they probably did make the right decision, as much as most of us watching would have preferred they remove Jon from our TV screens.
In the end, Drake was faced with a choice between two players who had many negatives and few – or no – positives. They looked at the full pictures and decided to keep the one who appeared to be most obnoxious, but might be more controllable. Shawn was lazy, argued when he didn’t want to do something, threatened violence (though many of us would have against Jon in similar situations), and was more of a risk to join an opposing alliance than Jon. That is why Shawn lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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