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Survivor: Exile Island – Why Nick Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/31/2006
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It would have only taken one person flipping to the La Mina alliance for Nick to be safe (presuming Terry chose to use the immunity idol). But that one final puzzle piece never fell into place. Why couldn’t they get that vote? And even without it, why was Nick chosen over Austin or Sally? Why did Nick lose?
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve done this, but I think we can shake off the rust and answer our questions. We’ll use What Exile Island Survivors Should Have Learned as our guide, as always, so let’s get to it.
The first, and most important, rule is to scheme and plot. Nick did fairly well in this area, having teamed up with Austin and, as a pair, hooking together with Terry and Dan. Even better was that they convinced Terry to dump Dan in favor of continuing with the younger guys (though I attribute that to Austin rather than Nick – Nick is still a part of the duo).
That was great to keep Nick around until the merge. But he and his alliance went into the merge on the short stack, as poker players say. They needed to bring somebody over to their side… and they failed.
The thing is, from what we saw, it was almost all Terry doing the talking when it came to attempted flipping. When it wasn’t Terry, Austin was doing some probing. Nick seemed to always stay in the background. If this was indeed the case, perhaps he was doing it to avoid the limelight and hopefully the associated target. But whatever the reason, it also meant he was putting his game future in the hands of others. And those hands were unable to carry the day.
Obviously, Nick didn’t scheme and plot too much. His scheming was certainly not secret, but there is little he could have done about that since the vote went down tribal lines. Maybe he could have tried to convince the Casayans that he would jump to their side, but they had no reason to care – they already had the majority!
The third rule tells players to be flexible. Nick really only had one opportunity to be flexible in this situation, and I just mentioned it in the previous paragraph. He could have gone to the Casayans, or a subset of Casayans, and tried to convince them that he was ready to flip. But again, they had no reason to care because they game was already in their hands.
Fourth is to not let emotions control you and the fifth rule says to pretend to be nice. Nick had no problem in either area, so we’ll move on.
The sixth presented Nick with some issues. It says not to be too much of a threat. With Terry around, Nick might have figured he was safe for at least the first vote. The problem is that the threat that is Terry did exactly what a real threat does – he won immunity. That left Nick hanging in second place for that challenge, otherwise known as the second-biggest threat. As Cirie said, he was viewed as “Terry number two.”
Often, there isn’t much somebody can do to truly shield themselves from being viewed as a threat. However, Austin did the right thing – he played up weakness (though I can’t believe he actually admitted it in Tribal Council!). So even though he came in third, he still was seen as not being as strong as Nick. The target shifted.
Getting back to areas where Nick had no problem, we see that the seventh rule says contestants shouldn’t be lazy. Nick was obviously fine in that regard.
That brings us to the question of whether the tribe – or more specifically, the Casayan alliance – was right to vote off Nick. Frankly, it’s a little difficult to know what’s going through everybody’s head. As but one possibility, perhaps Bruce, Cirie, Courtney, and Danielle have some sort of outsiders sub-alliance and are planning to vote off Shane and Aras one the La Mina stragglers are gone. Certainly, then, it wouldn’t benefit Cirie or Bruce to jump ship now. If Bruce is not in another sub-alliance, then that means Shane and Aras successfully pulled the wool over his eyes, and he would have been better off flipping. Otherwise, it seems likely that plots and subplots are hatching, and we simply haven’t seen them yet. As such, it did make sense for all of Casaya to stick together and vote out the apparently-strongest available La Mina alliance member, aka Nick.
And really, that pretty well sums it up. Nick was in a position where there simply wasn’t much he could do. He didn’t appear to scheme and plot as much as his teammates, Terry and Austin, but for all their attempts it still made no difference anyway. He could have tried to convince the Casayan alliance to take him in, but it seems highly unlikely that would have worked. Once Terry won immunity, it came down to a choice between Nick, Austin, and Sally. The Casayans wanted the biggest threat gone, which eliminated Sally from the picture. Austin’s little acting job during the challenge did just enough to convince the Casayans that Nick was the stronger of the two. In the end, that’s why Nick lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Exile Island Episode 7 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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