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Survivor: Guatemala – Ken’s Final Lookby Ken Kellam III -- 12/21/2005
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It’s been over a week since Danni was declared the winner of Survivor: Guatemala, so we’ve had a chance to think about the way the game ended, as well as the Reunion Show. And as always, there are questions.
Since Danni ended up in first place, let’s discuss her first as well. Mainly, did she deserve the victory? I read one post that claimed she did nothing to deserve the win, and I could not disagree more. After all, she knew what she had to do in the auction, and did it (earning herself a Reality TV Hall of Fame Moment in the process). Then, she made good use of her advantage at the challenge, switching places with Stephenie at the right time. One person claimed she used it too early, but my contention is that if she won the challenge, she used it at just the right time.
Judd claimed that she skated through the game. Well if she did, the footing was awfully treacherous at times, and she very deftly navigated her way through various obstacles on her way to the million-dollar check. Luck definitely played a part in her win, but nobody ever wins Survivor without luck playing a part.
In the last immunity challenge, it has been argued that Danni’s height worked in her favor. While that’s no doubt true, every challenge will favor some competitor in one way or another.
When Jenna won the final immunity in the Amazon, it was noted that being a model, she was used to being in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. Similarly, Danni spent time in the same industry and may have had similar experiences. Speaking of which, did anyone else think that Danni bore a resemblance to Jenna at the Reunion Show? Talk about cleaning up nicely…
How ironic was it that the finale was running late due to a game between the Cowboys, Gary’s old team, and the Chiefs, Danni’s favorite team? Danni also mentioned that her beloved Kansas Jayhawks could never seem to win the Big One, so she felt some of the pressure. But thanks to Danni, there’s at least one Jayhawk who won it all.
Let’s take a look at runner-up Stephenie. My friend Rachel, a regular RNO reader, predicted Danni would defeat Stephenie if she went against her, and that’s exactly what happened. I wondered if the vote would be a landslide in favor of Danni, due to the various people Stephenie betrayed. While it might seem like a foregone conclusion, remember that this is Survivor, and nothing is ever for sure. After all, how many people predicted Jenna’s victory in the Amazon, let alone by a 6-1 margin?
I don’t know for sure, and maybe I’m naïve, but I’d like to think Stephenie’s loss had everything to do with the way she played THIS game, and little if anything to do with this being her second time to play. (Though, according to Stephenie herself in her RealityNewsOnline interview, she believes that playing the game a second time had a lot to do with not getting votes.)
This marks the third straight time that the final immunity winner has gone on to get at least five votes in final Tribal Council, and the second straight time the margin was 6-1. However, it seemed that in Palau, Katie lost not only because Tom was well-liked, but because of how she treated people apart from the game. By contrast, it seemed as though Stephenie lost due to the way she played the game.
What about Rafe? If Stephenie is to be believed, he was doomed to the jury regardless of what he said to Danni after the final immunity challenge. However, at the very least, releasing Danni from her promise to him was poor strategy.
The previews referred to him as the mistake-free player, but that was before the finale aired. His other mistake was losing his concentration during the final immunity, when he needed it most. No doubt Rafe surprised millions of viewers, and himself, by winning so many immunities.
But like the Atlanta Braves, who seem to always have a stellar regular season only to fade in the playoffs (except for one World Series title), Rafe faltered at the wrong time. There is no doubt in my mind he earned his spot in the final three, but he has no one to blame for his loss but himself.
As for Lydia, she was, in my view, the least deserving of this year’s final four. True, she was nice and smiled a lot, but that can only get you so far. She made it to the point in the game where her weakness was an asset, but that asset became a liability in the final challenge she participated in. Her performance in that challenge was like her game: too little, too late.
Stephenie did more than her fair share of strategizing, Rafe won a slew of immunities, and Danni came from behind. What exactly did Lydia do to get in the final four? She seemed to do little in the way of strategizing, and was basically along for the ride. As Jeff Probst said, he had to wonder what she was still doing in the game.
Let’s take a quick look at the fifth player in the final four. No, not Jeff Probst, but rather, the chicken that everyone ate except for Rafe. Let’s dispense with the notion that their devouring the sacrificed poultry caused the subsequent rainstorm. Unless you can show me scientific evidence that eating a mangled chicken somehow causes clouds to open up, I’m not buying it.
Was Rafe’s first mistake in the game not eating the chicken? Think about it: They were near the end, they were starving, and needed all the protein they could get. Sure, it’s nice that Rafe showed some cultural sensitivity. But when you’re famished, you suffer not only physically, but mentally. Could the lack of protein in his belly have affected Rafe to the point of causing him to lose his concentration during the last challenge? Just some, uh, food for thought.
Let’s take a look at some of the moments from final Tribal Council. Jamie seemed perturbed that Stephenie would talk to him and be nice to him right up until she voted him out, because he wouldn’t talk to someone if he were planning to vote them out. Jamie, it’s called “pretending to be nice,” one of the long-standing rules for those who want to win.
If you don’t talk to someone, it at least gives the impression you’re plotting against them and gives that person reason to plot against you. If you talk to them right up until you oust them, they don’t have a reason to suspect you want them out.
One of the more interesting comments was when Stephenie said she thought she could beat Lydia, but being super-competitive, she wanted to go up against the best. Chances are that Lydia was going to vote for Danni anyway, but Stephenie didn’t do herself any strategic favors by telling Lydia she could’ve beaten her. Somehow that just doesn’t strike me as something you tell someone when you want their vote.
But was Stephenie’s comment true? If they jury voted Danni over her, it’s not out of the question they also would’ve voted Lydia, if for no other reason than pure spite. For that matter, “none of the above” might well have gotten more votes than Stephenie at this point, if that had been an option.1 2 Next-->
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