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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why Lill Lost… Againby David Bloomberg -- 12/16/2003
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Lill began the game as an outsider and ended it in second place. Along the way, she was voted out once and came back as an Outcast, teamed up with Burton and Jon but them realized they could screw her over, struck out on her own, and won the final immunity challenge. Quite a roller coaster for the Boy Scout troop leader. In the end, she joined the ranks of players who won the final immunity challenge but lost the game (Kelly, Colby, Kim, Neleh).
Lill did a number of things well in order to get to second place, but she also failed in other areas. As always, we will take a look back at What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learned to figure out where she went right and where she went wrong.
As everybody knows by now, the first rule is to scheme and plot. In her first incarnation within the game, Lill pretty much did none of this, as we discussed in the first column on why Lill lost. Her second time around, she started to adapt to the game a bit. She joined with Burton and Jon to help run their schemes. She didn’t really initiate anything of her own for a while, though – until Burton and Jon told her they were going to toss Darrah. Then she plotted with the other two women to overthrow Burton – a good move. After that, at Jon’s urging she pushed Darrah and found that Darrah had no intention of bringing her to the Final 2, so she plotted with Sandra to get rid of Darrah. So it was late in coming, but she did finally do some conniving of her own. Unfortunately, by that time she was in a potentially unwinnable situation.
It would seem silly to ask if Lill schemed and plotted too much after just saying that she only started scheming and plotting at the end, but if we look into the minds of the jurors, perhaps we should investigate it further. Many of the jurors were obviously upset that Scoutmaster Lill had dared to lie to them. Horror of horrors! How dare she?! The fact is that she didn’t lie any more than any of the others – less than most. But they had the perception that she did it more because she helped to get each of them voted off, in some cases – such as with Rupert – lying directly to their faces. So while she didn’t really scheme and plot too much, she was blamed for doing it.
Is this fair? In my opinion, no. For the others to say that Lill shouldn’t lie because she happened to be wearing a Scout uniform, but everybody else could lie because they weren’t, is hypocritical. She didn’t choose to wear that uniform throughout the game – though it should be noted that she did choose to wear it for publicity photos, so in a way she was indeed planning to represent the Scouts. But what happened to Lill is similar to what happened to Neleh in Survivor: Marquesas. Everybody looked on Neleh as this innocent little girl. When she helped to blow up the Rotu-4 alliance, she wasn’t congratulated on beating them at their own game – she was attacked for stabbing them in the back. Notice anything familiar? Nobody expected Lill to stab them in the back, so when she did, people were angry. So she didn’t scheme and plot too much, but unfortunately the jury believed that she had done too much, relative to their own impressions of her.
The third rule was to pretend to be nice. This Lill certainly did well, though I doubt she was pretending. She even continued to be nice to those she knew were going. Unfortunately, this played in to the above problem, where people saw this nice Scoutmaster lady and couldn’t believe she was also playing the game.
One area where it might be said that she failed was in allowing her emotions to control her. She had a Final 3 alliance with Burton and Jon. When they wanted to go after Darrah, she decided that just wasn’t right. While it was probably good strategy for her to break the alliance at that point and go with the women, she didn’t actually seem to do it because of strategy, but because of emotion. She wanted to save Darrah. She didn’t think it was right to throw off Darrah after promising her Final 4. Similarly, when Darrah didn’t want to talk about who she would take to the Final 2, Lill got upset. Maybe it was good strategy to boot Darrah at that point, but again, she seemed to do it at least as much because she was upset at Darrah as because of strategic reasons.
Finally, in her last decision, she chose to take Sandra instead of Jon. In her favor, it must be said that Lill firmly believed she would lose against either, and I tend to agree that she would have – despite what we saw at the reunion, Jon had repeatedly used his silver tongue to talk people into doing things they shouldn’t have, and I think he would have talked at least four people into voting for him. However, she ended up making her decision with her heart, not her head, as she herself admitted. Taking Sandra guaranteed at least two votes against her (Rupert, Christa); taking Jon guaranteed only one (Burton). But since she felt she would lose no matter what, she went with emotions and took fellow mom Sandra. It might have cost her $900,000 (though, again, I still believe Jon would have won).
One area where Lill definitely succeeded both before she was booted the first time and after she came back was in doing work around the camp. However, it was not a reason she was kept nor a reason she lost, so we’ll quickly move on.
The seventh rule is to be flexible. From the time she came back from the Outcasts, she had not been terribly flexible – she locked in with Burton and Jon. However, once she realized that she didn’t want to be in that alliance anymore, she did indeed become more flexible and able to adapt. She and the other two women got rid of Burton. But then, rather than just mindlessly getting rid of Jon, she changed course to boot Darrah. We might argue about whether she did it because of strategy or emotion or what have you, but the point for this particular part of the discussion is that she did it. She looked around and decided that she should do something different than was planned.
Lill made it to the jury, but couldn’t get the big prize. She did a good job of telling the jury why they should vote for her. She was honest and forthright. But almost all of their minds were already made up.
Lill was an Outcast. Because of this, she was destined to be, at most, a second-place player. Once she got back into the game, her only real chance was against Burton, but he would certainly point out that both were Outcasts and he played the game better than she had – and so she still would have likely lost. Her game skills came to light much more in her second time around than her first, but everybody on that jury knew that she had a second chance that others didn’t.
So while we’ve discussed some other things above – lying with the uniform on, being emotional, etc. – all of those were almost certainly secondary in the minds of the jurors even if they discussed them more in the final Tribal Council. It really comes down to one thing. Lill lost once previously, and that is why Lill lost again.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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