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Survivor: Exile Island – Why Ruth-Marie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 02/24/2006
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What we saw on our television sets didn’t make Ruth-Marie out to exactly be a power player. However, sometimes we don’t see all that is going on behind the scenes. In order to look at why a person was voted out, it helps to use all available information. As such, we will not only look at Ruth-Marie’s behavior on TV, but at what she told us in my interview with her. Then we’ll find out why Ruth-Marie lost.
Of course, all the information in the world isn’t going to help if we don’t have a logical way to organize and review it. That’s where What Exile Island Survivors Should Have Learned comes in. Let’s look back to see what Ruth-Marie did right and where she went wrong.
The first rule tells contestants to scheme and plot like their lives depended on it – because, in the game, their “lives” do depend on it. While we didn’t see much of Ruth-Marie scheming on the air, she was a lot more active than we were led to believe. In her interview, Ruth-Marie told me she made alliances with Cirie within an hour of hitting the beach on her old tribe, and then duplicated that with Dan in the same timeframe with her new tribe. She knew she had to play the game.
And she was right. In my earlier interview with Melinda, she said if Ruth-Marie had not approached them before Tina, that original vote might have gone the other way. And certainly Ruth-Marie’s alliance with Dan helped her survive the first La Mina vote, and at least made the second vote a tough one to decide.
However, Ruth-Marie herself also admitted that she didn’t scheme and plot enough when she needed to. She told me that when Terry was on Exile Island, she became a little too comfortable while Sally became a bit more desperate. Sally was working Austin, but Ruth-Marie did not respond in kind. She had her alliance and presumed it would see her through – and it didn’t.
Obviously, we cannot fault Ruth-Marie for scheming and plotting too much, so we can skip past that one.
Ruth-Marie definitely understood the value of the third rule, being flexible. In fact, when I asked her what her strategy was, coming into the game, she said, “stay flexible”! She understood that she needed to have plans that allowed her to “change on a dime.” However, Ruth-Marie was not really able to put that plan into action. On the original four-person tribe, there wasn’t much flexibility to be had. And once she got to La Mina, she played the cards she had, as already discussed above.
The fourth rule says not to allow emotions to control you – another one we can skip over for Ruth-Marie. The fifth tells players to pretend to be nice. Since La Mina was a big lovefest, that’s another one that wasn’t an issue. And since we’re blowing through the rules, let’s do the same with the sixth and seventh, which say not to be too much of a threat and not to be lazy, respectively – neither of those applied to Ruth-Marie.
With that, we suddenly find ourselves at the eighth rule, which tells the other tribe members that at this point in the game, they should be looking at voting off the weakest links. In terms of challenges, it does seem that La Mina made the right decision as to who the “weakest” was. In terms of strategy, however, there was some doubt as to whether Sally would stay true to her word or flip into another alliance at the merge. Still, if they don’t start winning some immunity challenges, it won’t matter, because they will be completely decimated by the time they even get to the merge. So looking at that aspect, yes, La Mina was correct to keep the stronger woman.
Still, that was not by any means a foregone conclusion. The four men had an alliance with Ruth-Marie, no matter how Terry and Austin might have rationalized it away. Ruth-Marie understood the importance of Survivor strategy. She knew she had to be flexible; she knew she had to make alliances. But by her own admission, she “got a little too comfortable” and didn’t press the issue with her allies while the outsider, Sally, was doing exactly that. Ruth-Marie had several rules covered, but Sally pushed the men on the eighth, and she showed just how strong she could be in the immunity challenge. Sally outmaneuvered Ruth-Marie when it counted and successfully played on Terry and Austin’s fear that Ruth-Marie was the weaker of the two. That is why Ruth-Marie lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Exile Island Episode 4 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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