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Survivor: Exile Island – Why Austin Lostby David Bloomberg -- 04/07/2006
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Austin survived just long enough to make it to the jury – in part through a little acting job last week. But even after spending 48 hours alone with Danielle on Exile Island, he couldn’t convince her to jump ship. Was there anything Austin could have done differently? Why did Austin lose?
We’re at the point of the game where those who are voted out become jurors and will decide the winner at the end. But that doesn’t really change the way we examine the losses for a while yet. So, as usual, we’ll look back at What Exile Island Survivors Should Have Learned to see what Austin did well and where he could have done better.
We all know what the first and most important rule is: scheme and plot. Austin did this quite well! In fact, he did it so well that before the merge I dubbed him the power behind the throne. He came into La Mina paired up with Nick and on a tribe with two other pairs. He and Nick picked the right one (Terry and Dan) as allies and proceeded to wield his influence with Terry – to the point that Terry eventually sided with Nick and Austin over his own original ally!
Unfortunately, Austin was not able to wield that same influence once the merge occurred. He certainly tried, and was an integral part of the maneuvers to get people like Bruce and Danielle over to his side. But the problem was that he was trying to sell a “sure thing” to people who already felt like they had a sure thing! Yes, he and Terry could tell people they were going to be the first voted out of the group of six, but there was little they could do to show people they were in danger, and that certainly contributed to the problem in convincing them.
On the flip side, Austin could have tried to join the Casayan alliance at the expense of his own. But the odds of that succeeding were even lower than trying to get one of the Casayans to flip. They had nothing to gain by accepting him.
Considering that all his attempted plotting didn’t get any Casayans to jump ship, I think it’s safe to say Austin didn’t scheme too much, which would have violated the second rule. Yes, it is true that his alliance was no secret, but there was hardly anything he could have done about that in a series when votes are going purely down tribal lines.
The third rule tells players to be flexible. Really, Austin’s ability to follow this rule was somewhat limited by the fact that, as already discussed, there was no reason for the Casayans to want him joining their alliance. The only flexibility he had was to try to stick around a bit longer than the other La Minas, which he did by faking weakness in the first individual immunity challenge. Hey, it got him to the jury!
The fourth rule says not to allow emotions to control you. This was not a problem with Austin, and in fact he sort of tried to get Danielle to violate the rule herself by playing on the time they spent together on Exile Island as a reason to jump to his side. It didn’t work.
Austin also did fine in the fifth rule, pretending to be nice. Heck, he didn’t seem to have to pretend – Austin appeared to be one of those guys who everybody just likes.
The sixth rule takes us back to Nick’s little ploy to appear weaker than he really was – because he didn’t want to be seen as a threat. It was a smart move, though coming in third as opposed to second doesn’t really show that much weakness. Still, I doubt he would have been able to convince anybody that he was less of a threat than Sally, so it didn’t really matter.
Austin had no problem with the seventh rule, which tells players to work hard, so we can quickly skip it.
This brings us to the question of whether the other tribe members did the right thing in voting out Austin. Undoubtedly, Shane, Aras, Courtney, and Cirie did. What about Bruce and Danielle?
The real key appears to have been Danielle, since Bruce seemed to indicate he would jump ship if Danielle had done so. Danielle was even offered the immunity idol in return for her vote – that’s a pretty tempting offer. It’s hard to know exactly why she didn’t take them up on it. Was it a matter of trust? Did she think Austin was trying to take advantage of the time they’d spent on Exile Island? Or was it something else?
I suspect it’s that Danielle has other plans. We already know that she, Courtney, and Cirie were thinking of tossing Shane if there had been another Casaya-only Tribal Council. That idea may still be in play. Danielle might not care one bit about who Shane thinks will be in the final four, because she believes he won’t be there. If this is indeed the case, she has no reason to jump to La Mina. Indeed, if Terry uses the immunity idol and knocks out Shane or Aras, so much the better for her!
With this possibility in mind, it does appear that the tribe members likely made the right decision in booting Austin – though I will say that Aras had a very good point about targeting Sally first in case Terry had given the idol to Austin. Luckily for Aras, Terry chose to hold onto it.
Austin played well while he was on La Mina. He guided Terry’s decisions, which were of course to his own advantage. But at the merge, Austin found himself in an untenable position. He tried – oh how he tried – to break up the Casaya alliance. And considering how fragmented they had become before the merge, it’s somewhat surprising that nobody was willing to make the leap. But try as he might, it just wasn’t going to happen. With Terry once again holding immunity, that meant Casaya pegged Austin as the biggest threat. He couldn’t get them to break, he couldn’t join up with them, and he was more likely to beat ‘em than Sally. That is why Austin lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Exile Island Episode 8 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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