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Survivor: Exile Island – Why Aras Wonby David Bloomberg -- 05/15/2006
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Early in the game, Aras did not seem a likely candidate to win. A couple of his original tribemates thought he was a bit nutty as he tried to start a fire using mind power. Then, after the switch-up, he revealed the core alliance, which is generally a big blunder. But Aras kept on chugging along and eventually found himself in the best place possible – sitting next to Danielle at the end. Why did Aras win?
Throughout the season, we have taken 15 looks at why people lost (three of them in the last 12 hours!). Now it’s finally time to use the same criteria found in What Exile Island Survivors Should Have Learned to examine the flip side – what did Aras do right to end up where he was?
First and foremost is the rule that says to scheme and plot. Aras knew that good alliances were the key to Survivor, and he made one with Shane, Courtney, and Danielle as soon as the tribes were switched up. That put them in the majority and, in their minds, ensured they would move forward while throwing out the others.
Somewhere along the way, that alliance became a bit scrambled. Cirie moved into it while Danielle was pushed to the outskirts. But then Cirie spotted a threat to both Aras and Danielle, and convinced both of them that it would be in their best interests to join with her in the complicated maneuver that got rid of Courtney and then Shane. Aras was smart enough to recognize the potential problem when it was pointed out to him, and to pull the wool over his pal Shane’s eyes when it became necessary.
Aras stuck with Cirie until she lost the fire-making challenge and left in fourth place. Then he made attempts to get back together with Danielle, telling her that he was her best option and that neither of them could win against Terry. His convincing eventually worked, as she essentially handed him a million dollars.
Earlier in the game, Aras had a bit of a problem with the second rule – specifically the part that says to keep your scheming secret. Aras was so confident in his original alliance in the switched-up Casaya that he spoke openly about it, telling Melinda and Cirie that they would be the first two to go. He might have seen it as simply a way to be nice to them, as he described in the reunion, but it was just plain bad strategy. Especially at this point in the game, when they were not going to become jurors, it is always better to take somebody by surprise rather than giving them the chance to turn things around. Melinda was unable to work any magic, but eventually Cirie did just that. Aras didn’t pay the price, but others in the alliance certainly did!
Still, Aras did well with the other portions of the second rule. He did not scheme and plot too much, nor did he backstab too soon. He went with Cirie’s plan to take out Courtney when it was necessary. Indeed, as he pointed out when Courtney tried to accuse him of stabbing her in the back, she was trying to oust him at that very same vote! While his deception of Shane did cost him a vote at the end, it still had to be done and didn’t end up hurting Aras.
The third rule tells players to be flexible. Aras teaches yoga, so of course he’s flexible! But that’s not what the rule means, obviously. Still, Aras did well here. He could have stuck to his original plan with the core Casaya alliance. Doing so would have spelled almost certain doom for him. So when Cirie came to him and told him of the plot to get rid of him, Aras saw an opportunity and took it. That is exactly the type of flexibility players need on Survivor. Also, I should note that while Courtney was targeting Aras, he was not truly in danger at that vote. But he had information that Shane and others would go after him next, so he moved preemptively with Cirie to eliminate the threat.
Fourth is to not let emotions control you. Aras generally stayed pretty centered when it came to his emotions, though he did let loose on Terry a few times. Still, none of those situations occurred when it came to voting. Yes, Shane was a friend. But Aras saw what he had to do, and did it. Similarly, he wasn’t terribly pleased with his young female allies at some points, but he did not consider throwing them to the wolves just because of that. He stuck with them until it became strategically better to do something else.
Similarly, most of the time he managed to be nice, in compliance with the fifth rule. He had those few outbursts with Terry, which could have hurt him at the end by causing him to lose Terry’s vote from the jury box. But Aras apologized to Terry and made everything okay, thus earning back Terry’s respect for being able to admit when he was wrong.1 2 Next-->
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