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Survivor: Vanuatu – Why Travis Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/15/2004
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Travis, aka Bubba, was sitting in a pretty good position on Lopevi. He was part of the majority alliance. Within the majority alliance he was at least one rung above the bottom – occupied by Rory – and he was friendly with Rory on top of it, which could have helped if the alliance fragmented. But then, things were shaken up – and I don’t mean the earthquake. How did Bubba go from such a great position to the wrong end of a unanimous vote? Why did Travis lose?
As always, there is only one way to really delve into this question, and that is to look back at What Vanuatu Survivors Should Have Learned. From there we will examine what Travis did right, what Travis did wrong, and why Travis was sent packing.
Everybody knows the first rule, so say it along with me: Scheme and plot. Bubba is the first guy voted off this time around who actually did scheme and plot in the beginning. All the rest of the guys so far had been the young studs who bemoaned their fate as targets for the older guys. Mind you, J.P. kind of blew that in my interview with him when he mentioned that Sarge actually tried to form an alliance with them before he went to the older guys!
But in any case, Travis knew a good thing when he saw it, and that good thing was an elder alliance formed almost immediately. In fact, Travis thought it was such a good thing that it should be carried over after the tribal swap. So he tried to signal and talk to Chris about it at the immunity challenge. This is where we go from scheming and plotting to scheming and plotting too much – not to mention a failure to keep his scheming secret.
Maybe it was a good idea to try to keep the men together. But I’m sorry, I just don’t see that Lopevi was going to throw two immunity challenges in a row simply to keep Bubba and Rory around. I don’t think they would have done it for anybody, let alone those two in particular.
And I think Lopevi was absolutely correct in not throwing the challenge. You never know what might come next in Survivor, so setting yourself up to fail is rarely a good idea. Let’s say Lopevi did throw this challenge and the next. OK, Julie and Twila are gone. Now what? If they lose another by accident, they have to vote off one of their own men! Whoops! And meanwhile, who is to say that Bubba and Rory are still loyal by the time the merge comes around? People switch sides all the time.
So it was wrong for Bubba to think Lopevi would throw the challenge for him. And it was really wrong to suggest it in such an obvious setting, with all his supposed teammates around him! He might as well have hung a sign on himself that said, “Target Me!” Well, in effect, he did.
The third rule is to pretend to be nice. Bubba seemed fine in this regard – helping out around camp, getting along with the others, etc. Indeed, the women even claimed that until his signaling incident, he wasn’t the target, so they must have been getting along with him alright (well, other than Ami, who was pissy about pretty much everything).
Fourth is to not let your emotions control you. Again, not really a problem here for Bubba.
Was Bubba too much of a threat? We know the other guys have been voted out mostly for this reason, but at first glance it would seem not to apply here. However, upon further thought, it does indeed – the women knew that Bubba was not really a part of their team. He was still playing it men vs. women, so they had to as well. It seems several of them briefly thought about keeping Bubba around for challenges, but the fact that he was already trying to make plans to reunite with his old tribemates at the merge certainly overrode any thoughts in that regard. It wasn’t just that Bubba himself was a threat, but all the men. So by eliminating him, they made themselves safer later in the game.
The sixth rule, against being lazy, didn’t apply here, since as soon as Bubba came to Yasur, he was working hard. But the seventh definitely did. As we just noted, Bubba was still thinking in terms of the men against the women. He was not flexible enough to recognize that with every change in the game, players must go with the flow. He should have been more worried about trying to form new alliances within his own new tribe, rather than worrying about maintaining old alliances in his old tribe – especially in front of his new tribe.1 2 Next-->
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