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Survivor: Guatemala – Why Lydia Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/12/2005
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Lydia was almost sent packing in her tribe’s first vote. But once she made it past that point, she stuck around for so long that host Jeff Probst repeatedly wondered how she did it. So how did she do it? And why did her run end with the final four? Why did Lydia lose?
It’s all over but the analysis, which means four articles from yours truly. We’re starting with Lydia and working our way to #1, but we continue to use the same methods we’ve used all season: What Guatemala Survivors Should Have Learned. Let’s see what Lydia did right and where she went wrong.
The first rule tells us that Lydia needed to be scheming and plotting. While this didn’t seem to be a major part of her game plan, Lydia understood that it was a necessary part of sticking around. In the second episode, when Lydia got word from Brian that she was the target, she began doing what was necessary by speaking up on her own behalf. It worked! Despite an alliance, Morgan was voted out and Lydia stuck around.
This continued to happen. It seemed Lydia’s name kept coming up, but just not at Tribal Council. She had formed an alliance with the right people, and that carried her along even though she was one of the weakest players when it came to tribal challenges. This is why scheming and plotting is the first rule. You can be the strongest physically, but if you don’t have support from other players, you’re toast.
Once Lydia got to the merge, her lack of strength was less of a worry and more of a help as the other players focused on eliminating the threats. But again, the main factor was that she was part of the alliance of six that should have been ruling the roost. She was apparently on the bottom of that alliance, but with each time the alliance turned on one of their own, Lydia was there to support the idea – and not incidentally move up the ladder.
But her lack of being truly part of the “in” group when it came to alliances finally caught up to her. Rafe and Danni had a tight alliance. Rafe and Stephenie had a tight alliance. Lydia had been brought along, but no more.
Obviously, then, Lydia didn’t scheme and plot too much, so we can breeze through the second rule.
What about the third, not letting emotions control you? Lydia didn’t really seem to have much problem in this area, either. For example, while Jamie had apparently been her protector for most of the game, when the alliance turned on him, Lydia went right along with them. She might have felt bad about it, but she also knew those feelings had to be put aside. Then as the game got even tighter, she recognized that she needed to vote with the majority no matter who was going and what she might have thought about the person being targeted.
Through most of the game, Lydia followed the fourth rule as well in pretending to be nice. Indeed, several people talked about how everybody on the jury loved Lydia. I’m not so sure that would have converted to votes, but being well-liked can be an asset. Only once did we see Lydia not being nice – when she went after Stephenie in one of the food rewards and complained that Stephenie had already eaten plenty. While I certainly understand her frustration, it simply was not smart to make such a blatant attack on one of the leaders of your alliance. It might not have made any difference, but it sure didn’t help get her in good for a potential final two situation.
In any case, just as I said above that being well-liked can be an asset, it can also turn into a threat, which leads us to the fifth rule. Lydia was obviously never a challenge threat. This is one reason she lasted as long as she did. But as the game got closer to the end, she became a different kind of threat – a threat to win it all if allowed to go to the final two. This was a threat that was taken very seriously by the other members of the final four.
Sure, it was unlikely that Lydia could win the final immunity challenge. Despite what Stephenie said at final Tribal Council, everybody should have known it would be based on endurance. But nobody knew exactly what kind of challenge it would be. Maybe Lydia could have done well if it just involved standing in one position or balancing; indeed, Rafe told me in his interview that Lydia likely could have outlasted even Danni if it had been simply standing on blocks. And it only takes one stupid move to get knocked out of one of these types of challenges – just ask Rafe this time or go all the way back through Survivor time to recall that Rudy had a similar lapse in concentration in the very first one. Nobody could afford to take the chance that Lydia might win final immunity and go into the final two because they were under the impression she was so well-liked that she would win.
The sixth rule tells players to be flexible. As we’ve already discussed, Lydia jumped around with her vote as necessary. She did hitch herself to the majority alliance, but did not just let it rest there. She was seemingly always around to throw in her vote when it meant somebody besides her would be sent home.
The seventh rule doesn’t seem to play much of a role these days, but it did for Lydia. That rule says providing food wins allies and people shouldn’t be lazy. When people have to make early votes based on little information, working hard and providing food can be key – and Lydia did them both. She came in knowing she would have to be the kind of person who cooks, cleans, and keeps moving. She did them all. So when it looked like a majority of players on her original tribe were targeting her, she was able to talk to them and point out how she caught minnows, how she worked around camp, etc. In the end, her tribemates listened to that reasoning and voted out Morgan instead. Lydia kept up that attitude and work ethic throughout the game, which made it that much easier for people to pick somebody else when it came time to vote.
Did her tribemates do the right thing when they voted Lydia off in fourth place? Even with 20/20 hindsight, it’s not terribly clear. Rafe told me that he was afraid the jurors might see how she overcame the odds and want to vote for her. Furthermore, he believed he could beat Danni and also believed either Danni or Stephenie would bring him to the final two. So at the time, voting out Lydia made the most sense.
Lydia did a good job in fighting her way up from the brink of being the first member of her tribe to be voted out. She worked hard to get to the merge and then hung back a bit while the power players knocked each other out – occasionally giving one of them a boost out the door. She overcame the odds against her, but in doing so also made herself a bigger target for the end.
In a way, it’s ironic. By doing good things along the way, Lydia kept herself around. She worked hard, she was friendly, she was liked by all, etc. But when she got to the final four, her fellow players looked at her and realized that Lydia had worked hard, was friendly, and was liked by all – which was a huge threat to them in front of the jury! With that thought in mind, they could not allow her the chance of getting to that point. The person who was the least threatening throughout the game became the most threatening at th end. That is why Lydia lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Guatemala Finale articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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