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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why Burton Lost… Againby David Bloomberg -- 12/12/2003
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Well, this is something new. It’s the first time I’ve had to explain why somebody was voted out of Survivor a second time! But what’s even stranger is that to a large extent, the reason Burton was voted out the second time mimics the reason he was voted out the first time. The details are different, but a large part of the overarching cause is the same.
By now you’ve certainly read my recap and perhaps already also taken a look at the “Strategic Overview of Survivor” article. That’ll give us a basis to work with. Of course, our starting point is What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learned, and in Burton’s case, he had two chances to learn it all!
One thing he definitely did understand was scheming and plotting. No doubt about it, he had this covered. In fact, he was so good at it that he began to think that nobody could do it better – certainly not those three pathetic coattail-hanging women. Pah! They weren’t even worth worrying about, he was such a good schemer.
So does my above sarcasm indicate that perhaps I thought he schemed and plotted too much? Or didn’t keep it secret? Or backstabbed too soon? How about all of the above? Burton did scheme and plot too much. He had a deal with Jon, but we kept seeing them talk about it again and again. Maybe he didn’t trust Jon (Lord knows he had good reason not to) and thought he had to reaffirm their alliance repeatedly to keep him in line, I dunno. But the more he talked, the more chances other people could overhear – which they did. That didn’t lead directly to his downfall, but it did show them that he and Jon were making very different promises to different people.
He also schemed and plotted too much for the very reason that they promised too many different things to too many different people. Brian Heidik, of Survivor: Thailand, got away with promising different things to different people because he got them to trust him so much that they never compared notes. Burton and Jon were not in that kind of position. They were lucky up until last night that people either hadn’t compared notes very well or hadn’t cared that the two of them were making different promises. But their house of cards finally collapsed.
Another part of scheming and plotting too much was the constant shifting that they did. Let me clarify – the constant shifting that they did while trying to keep Lill as an alliance partner. For God’s sake, she was wearing a Boy Scout uniform, didn’t they understand that she was uncomfortable with all the lies? She came to understand that some were necessary, but she simply could not accept making an alliance with somebody and then breaking it at the drop of a hat. We could debate all day whether this is a flaw on her part inside the game, but the point here is that Burton and Jon should have understood this and worked with her accordingly. Instead, they just kept jumping from one plot to another, and Lill was left behind.
They also failed to keep their scheming secret. It was obvious to everybody that they were in it together to the Final 2. Jon promised Darrah Final 2, but she saw right through that. Lill thought Burton promised her Final 2 – and whether he actually did or didn’t, she saw that she wasn’t going. When Brian from Thailand was making his plans, none of the others suspected that he had a solid alliance with anybody else. But here it was obvious, and that seriously hurt their chances.
Finally, it can also be argued that Burton backstabbed too early – or at least set up the planning to do so too early. If he and Jon had just kept their mouths shut with Lill until after the immunity challenge, she might never have thrown in her lot with the other women. As it turned out, the point was moot anyway because Darrah won immunity. So they could have voted off Sandra and been done with it. But Burton was once again a bit ahead of himself. Remember that part of the reason he was voted off the first time (see Why Burton Lost) was that he backstabbed too early by throwing the challenge.
All in all, he really blew the second rule.
He generally did okay with the third rule, pretending to be nice. Certainly he was nicer than Jon was, and if he had made it to the end with Jon, that might have helped him. He was also nice to the faces of the women even while he was talking about how stupid they were behind their backs. This didn’t really play a role.
One thing that definitely did play a major role was that he allowed his emotions to control him. He had decided ahead of time to bring Jon on his reward because they wanted to have fun together. They didn’t really like the people they’d gone on rewards with previously. He wanted to enjoy his time, so he brought Jon rather than biting the bullet and bringing Lill. I really hope the food was good and he really hit it off with Jon, because that one night of enjoyment may have cost him a million dollars.
If he had followed proper strategy instead of his emotions, Jon could have stayed at camp and kept an eye on Darrah and Sandra while Burton took Lill and buttered her up about how far she would go. The three women would never have been left alone to scheme and plot, and Burton would almost certainly still be in the game.
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