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Survivor: Pearl Islands – Why Sandra Wonby David Bloomberg -- 12/16/2003
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Once again on Survivor, the best schemer and plotter didn’t win. It has happened many times before, it will happen again. But the fact is that Sandra won, so now it’s time to examine why. So as with every time we look at why people lost, we will use What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learned as the basis for our investigation into why Sandra won.
Although we’ve already established that Sandra wasn’t the best schemer and plotter in the game, let’s look at how she did. Early on, she found herself alone and hooked up with Rupert, who was also alone, adding Christa at some point as well. Trish was in there as well, even saying in her interview with RealityNewsOnline that she was in the alliance with Rupert and Christa before Sandra. But whatever the exact order, the four of them were together… until Trish decided to get rid of Rupert. While Trish believed that Sandra would help vote out Rupert, instead she alerted Christa, who told Rupert, who turned everything around. So why am I going back and retelling this story? Because of something else Trish told us in her interview. She said, “her strategy was as long as it wasn't her she would vote anyone off.” Mind you, this was Trish saying this. Trish wasn’t in the jury. Trish never heard Sandra make those statements as part of her statements to that jury. So it wasn’t just a case of Sandra trying to make it seem like she had a strategy all along – Trish knew about it even back then. In this particular case, Sandra actually went against her strategy and alerted Rupert rather than voting him out. But the point is that Sandra did indeed have a strategy to keep herself around.
Later in the game, she tried to keep tabs on Jon and Burton by listening in on their discussions. She alerted Rupert to what was going on, but both of them failed to understand the significance, which allowed Rupert to be voted off. That’s when she finally kicked into gear and started plotting on her own. She knew that she and Christa were doomed if she didn’t get somebody else on their side. So she talked to Tijuana and managed to get her to overhear the plots of Jon and Burton. Then, after getting Tijuana and Darrah on her side, she made the mistake of double-crossing them because she listened to Jon.
Each step of the way thereafter, Sandra tried to work on new plans, although she often reverted back to her original plan of giving her vote to people who would promise that she would stick around and trying to stay in the background.
Sandra definitely didn’t scheme and plot too much, and she generally did an excellent job of keeping her scheming secret. That’s why she was never seen as a threat – because it always seemed that somebody else was in control. Indeed, it might be said that somebody else always was in control! But in any case, she succeeded here.
In general, she also succeeded in the third rule, pretending to be nice. Sure, she had a few fights with Jon and apparently cussed out other people as well, but there are some people who can get away with behavior like that and some who can’t. Sandra appears to be one who can. Instead of viewing her as a jerk or a bitch, people just saw her as a “straight-shooter.” They actually gave her props for speaking her mind. They seemed to feel that deep down, she is a nice person.
Another area in which she mostly, but not always, succeeded was in controlling her emotions. Luckily for her, when she failed it didn’t matter. For example, when she voted against Jon after he had pissed her off at Tribal Council, that vote could have mattered if it would have otherwise come down to a tie. She lucked out that there were enough votes to boot Rupert anyway and so she was not held responsible for Rupert being sent away. But usually she voted according to strategy – her strategy, at least – whether or not she liked the person in question. So even though she had worked to convince Tijuana and Darrah to come to her side, and even though she appeared to like Tijuana and Darrah a lot more than Jon and Burton, she decided to get rid of Tijuana. While I still disagree with the decision, it was obviously made based on whatever strategy she had in mind and not based on emotion. Similarly, when she decided to go along with Lill and Jon to get rid of Darrah, it was done based on strategy and not emotion. If it had been based on emotion, she would have gotten rid of Jon.
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