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Survivor: Guatemala – Why Bobby Jon Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/11/2005
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When Survivor: Guatemala began, the biggest question on most viewers’ minds was whether the new teams of Bobby Jon and Stephenie would accept them and try to learn from their previous experience or the two would be targeted because they already had their shot at the prize. Obviously, the former was true and both players became integral parts of their alliances. Bobby Jon made it to the jury, but that was as far as he would go. Why did Bobby Jon lose?
Last week I noted that we have moved to a new point in the game and players must change their play if they plan to survive. However, we still use What Guatemala Survivors Should Have Learned to answer our questions – in this case, both the big question in the title of this article and the smaller ones like how Bobby Jon managed to stick around as long as he did.
In his first stint on Survivor, Bobby Jon did not want to follow the first rule, scheming and plotting. In my interview with him at the time, he told me his plan had been to use “hard work and desire” in the game. He added, “I know it's Survivor and you're supposed to scheme and lie, but that's not how I do business.”
Still, this time around he seems to have decided to do things a little differently. While he was not a backstabber or alliance-jumper like, say, Judd, Bobby Jon did do a bit of scheming to try to save himself. He got rid of Blake when it became obvious that he was a liability. He talked Stephenie into keeping him around at least one more week so he could be on the jury – of course, “one more week” could always turn into more, though it didn’t in this instance. He then turned around and talked to Jamie and Judd about how Stephenie would turn on them, trying to plant a seed in their minds and break up the alliance.
Ultimately, none of this really worked, but at least he tried. And he did have a solid alliance going into the merge – it just happened to be a solid alliance that was in the minority. I still believe I was correct in saying that Bobby Jon should have sought out Stephenie for a “final two” alliance, because both of them needed each other in the end. That didn’t end up happening, though.
Obviously, Bobby Jon didn’t scheme and plot too much. However, he didn’t keep his alliance secret either – as I mentioned last week, though, pretty much nobody has kept anything secret, at least for now. Some may question whether Bobby Jon did the right thing in voting off Blake a few weeks back, or if that was backstabbing too soon. The answer is that it was not too soon because it helped pull that entire tribe together.
The third rule says not to let emotion control you. Bobby Jon is a very emotional player, as we’ve seen for two seasons. He tried to use that emotion to shift alliances last week, but it didn’t work (though he did use his emotional plea to Stephenie to get him one more week). However, Bobby Jon himself did not fall prey to this himself by making decisions based upon emotion – at least not in any way that affected his standing in the game.
Fourth is to pretend to be nice. Bobby Jon seemed to be a nice guy and he really only had a problem with Jamie. Should he have restrained himself more when dealing with Jamie? I say no. He helped highlight for the others how big Jamie’s problem was. On a less-solid alliance, that could have caused a fracture. It could have worked in large part because Bobby Jon was seen as a nice guy, and who wants the jerk to go further than the nice guy? In the end, strategy won out over emotion, but it was probably the best attempt Bobby Jon could have made.
The fifth rule is what gave Bobby Jon a lot of trouble. Once he got past his first few days of illness, Bobby Jon became a huge challenge threat. I suspect he was not the first on his alliance to go only because of his deal with Stephenie to get to the jury. He was the originally-planned second person to go until Jamie misunderstood Gary and wanted to target him. It reverted back to Bobby Jon when Gary pulled out the immunity idol. Danni was never even discussed as an option because they all felt Bobby Jon was more of a threat than she was.
Bobby Jon made something of an attempt to be more flexible this time around. As already discussed, he made the deal with Stephenie and he also tried to crack the alliance through Judd and Jamie. However, he was perhaps not as flexible as he needed to be. We did not see from Bobby Jon the same willingness to jump alliances as, say, Judd. It likely wouldn’t have worked anyway, but Bobby Jon could have made it clear that he would be willing not only to crack the alliance, but to become part of a new alliance. Again, I’ll point back to what I had said previously about him needing to make a final two alliance with Stephenie, but again, that never happened.
Bobby Jon certainly never had a problem with the seventh rule, which tells players not to be lazy. He was probably about as hard working a Survivor contestant as we’ll ever see. So that moves us to the question of whether his tribemates made the right decision.
I continue to believe that Stephenie will not win even if she makes it to the final two, because she had her chance already. Thus, her only hope was to bring Bobby Jon with her to the end, and thus it was a mistake for her to help vote him off. Yes, she could bring somebody like Jamie, and she might still have a chance. But that is relying on personal likes or dislikes, and Jamie could potentially turn that around by talking strategy. We’ll see how that plays out.
As for the others, there is obviously a “final four” alliance within the group of six. The two outside that group should be trying to figure out what their best course of action is and not simply hold on to their solid group. This would have been a good time to consider jumping to the Bobby Jon/Danni/Gary alliance, because adding two to their mix would have given a majority. Now, a jump of two will only give a tie. Still, a jump now would have put the two in a minority position when they get to the final five, so I’m not convinced it would have been much better for them. They are likely better off waiting a bit and trying to maneuver themselves into the final four later – thus, voting off Bobby Jon made sense. It was an even simpler decision for the rest of the alliance because Bobby Jon represented a strong member of the opposition – somebody who had to go.
Bobby Jon did more scheming and plotting this time around, and it got him to the jury. However, it was not enough to get him to the finals. Part of this was simply being on a losing tribe once again, part of it was that he didn’t go quite far enough in his attempts to make and break alliances. Bobby Jon was a strong competitor who was at the point of living one Tribal Council at a time. He thought he had made it past this one, but was pushed back into the spotlight by Gary’s find of the immunity idol.
We can’t blame Gary for Bobby Jon’s game demise, though. Bobby Jon was already in a bad position. He was a strong challenge threat who did not have a correspondingly strong group of allies to support him. That made him an enemy of the majority alliance, and it also explains why Bobby Jon lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Survivor: Guatemala Episode 9 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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