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Survivor: Guatemala – Why Margaret Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/21/2005
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Margaret was viewed as an essential person while her original tribemates were sick. When they returned to health, the tide began to turn against her. When the tribes were switched up, she found herself in an even worse situation. How did Margaret drop from most valuable player to the point of being sent home rather than the ranting and raving Judd? Why did Margaret lose?
I must admit, as I was watching this week’s episode I was convinced that Judd’s tribe was going to turn on him after his rude, arrogant behavior. But not a single one of them did! I really shouldn’t have been surprised, though, because it only reinforces what I’ve been saying for 11 seasons now. How is that? Well, let’s look back at What Guatemala Survivors Should Have Learned to find out.
The first rule, of course, is to scheme and plot. And right off the bat, we get to what I was just talking about. This is the most important rule and, if done properly, can trump everything else. Like him or not, Judd has done it properly. He saw he had the power by switching sides and joining with Stephenie, Rafe, and Jamie – and he jumped at the chance. Margaret was right to note that he joined them almost as soon as the tribes were switched up – the problem is that she didn’t think of it first.
The minority alliance needed to move just one person from the majority. Margaret could have been that person, but she chose to stick with her original tribal group, ignoring the parts of this rule that say, “it isn’t always the best idea to stay in a tribal alliance” and “players need to appear to be part of the overall tribal alliance, but they should also keep their options open.” Judd understood both of these things – Margaret did neither.
During their Tribal Council argument, Judd claimed that Margaret would have sold him out the way he sold her out if she could have. But I don’t think that’s true – Margaret was not that kind of player. While that may be considered a good thing in polite society, Survivor is not polite society, and it helped lead to her ouster.
Margaret didn’t even make any real attempt that we saw to get the others to turn on Judd after Brooke was voted out. She told the cameras that she was going to wait for the right moment – did that moment ever come? Did she think Tribal Council was that moment? It wasn’t. By then, the alliances were set and she was obviously not going to change any minds. She should have been working on it much sooner.
The second rule says not to scheme and plot too much – obviously, Margaret didn’t have a problem there. However, what little scheming she did was not secret. She was staying in her original tribal group and that was that. This meant there was no reason for Stephenie, Rafe, or Jamie to consider keeping her around. Sure, they would have still kept the majority within the tribe, but if they made it intact to the merge, it was likely that Margaret would try to rejoin whatever allies she had on the other tribe. Judd, on the other hand, might be more likely to stick with them – at least if it seemed like the best option for him at the time.
Third is to not let emotions control you. After watching Tribal Council, it would be easy to say Margaret was the less emotional of the two combatants. She stayed calm and collected while Judd ranted like an idiot. Indeed, if this had been The Apprentice, I would be applauding her. But it’s not, and Jeff Probst doesn’t make the decision on who goes, so convincing him that she was right would not have accomplished a thing.
When it comes to the actual play of the game, Margaret was the more emotional one. She latched onto her group and didn’t want to let go. Judd, on the other hand, recognized that the goal is not to make friends, but to make allies. So he made some new allies. She didn’t.
Margaret generally did better than Judd at the fourth rule, pretending to be nice. However, by the time Judd really got into his bad behavior, it was too late. Margaret’s problems came earlier in the game, when she was still on her original tribe. Several of the guys there complained about her being bossy. While it didn’t look like a big deal to me as I watched it, obviously it came across that way to the young guns of the tribe. That – and likely other incidents – affected how Judd thought of her, which made it that much easier to dump her and move to another alliance.
Margaret didn’t have any issues with the fifth rule, being too much of a threat. The only threat she represented was the likelihood of rejoining her former tribemates in the event of a merge, and that can barely even be counted.
The sixth rule tells players to be flexible, and once again Margaret failed. Judd understood that things change – the tribes were switched up and old loyalties didn’t have to necessarily remain. While I’m sure Judd was exaggerating, he pointed out several times in Tribal Council that Margaret was pining for the old days and the old ways, wanting to get back together with the original tribe. It wasn’t going to happen, and Judd knew that. It was time to move on. As the rule notes, “you can’t simply tie yourself to one alliance and hope that it survives.” Margaret tried to do just that.
There was no problem for Margaret with the seventh rule, against being lazy. So what about the eighth – did her tribe do the right thing in getting rid of her? Well, for sanity reasons I’d say no. But that’s just the point – strategy has to overcome that. This has been the most physical edition of Survivor to date, and Judd is certainly better at challenges than Margaret. Beyond that, Judd convinced Rafe, Stephenie, and Jamie that he was on their side. He convinced them so thoroughly that Stephenie couldn’t even fathom what Probst was asking her when he wondered how she could trust somebody who so easily threw away his previous alliance. So it made perfect sense for the majority to keep one of their own alliance members, even as obnoxious as he was, rather than somebody so squarely on the other side.
Judd clearly came to play the mental game of Survivor, but was primed for the physical game as well. Margaret, on the other hand, was playing a much different game – the nice version. Sometimes this type of strategy has worked, with tribemates throwing off the obnoxious member of their tribe. Heck, just look back a week to the opposite tribe and how they tossed Blake! But Judd’s allies were willing to ignore his behavior in favor of his perceived loyalty. Margaret was clearly not a member of their alliance and would never be. She failed to make a move to switch alliances when she had the chance and quickly found herself on the outside looking in. Her inflexibility outweighed Judd’s obnoxiousness. That is why Margaret lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Survivor: Guatemala Episode 6 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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