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What Cook Island Survivors Should Have LearnedPage 3
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It should be noted that the best schemer does not always win. While this is the most important rule, it is not the only one – and immunity challenges always have the possibility of messing things up, especially if you reach the Final 3. Following this rule will help you get to that point, but after that you’re on your own.
Note that I have been talking about making alliances, not making friends. See Rule 4, below, for advice about friendships.
2) But Don't Scheme and Plot Too Much/Keep Your Scheming Secret/Don't Backstab Until You Absolutely Need To
There's a fine line that needs to be drawn. If you spend all your time scheming and plotting, and you try to scheme and plot with everybody, everybody will know what you're up to. In the end, nobody will trust you and they'll turn on you. This is precisely what happened to Kelly in the first season. She tried to be all things to all people. Instead, it cost her everything when Susan turned from a trusted friend to a hated enemy.
It has happened again since then, of course. Clarence in the second season tried to plot with everybody and nobody trusted him. Kelly in the third series did not necessarily try to plot with everybody, but because she was friendly and spent time with some of the others, she was seen as a potential traitor. While she did not actually jump ship until it was obvious her shipmates were going to make her walk the plank, the seed had already been planted in Lex's mind (or gut) when Brandon helped it to grow. Gabriel in the fourth season did something similar when he was friendly with Rob and Sean and refused to swear a blood oath to stick with John's Rotu 4 alliance. But then John himself fell in part due to the same issue because he had made deals – fake or real – with just about everybody.
Many viewers thought that Rob C. from Amazon fell because of this flaw. But while he was definitely scheming and plotting a lot, and everybody knew it, he managed to make everybody think that he was being honest with them. Jon in Pearl Islands somehow managed to pull off a similar feat, as did Boston Rob in All-Stars. This is a method reminiscent of the one used by Dr. Will on Big Brother 2 and again by both Jun and Alison on Big Brother 4. It takes a special kind of schemer to pull it off, and it’s not something I expect to see work very often, but when it does, it can be pure poetry.
In the second series, Debb tried to scheme too much, too soon, and started spreading stories that Jeff wanted to be voted off. When this got back to Jeff, it cemented the unanimous vote against Debb. In the third series, Brandon violated this rule by jumping from the Samburu + Kelly alliance to Lex's camp. He did indeed help get rid of Kelly, but then Lex's cohorts decided that if a guy couldn't even keep his word to his original team, he was not trustworthy enough to stay with them, either. Off he went.
We've already mentioned Shii Ann, who I think deserves a bit of special dispensation because she was tricked by the producers. It's easy for us to say she plotted and schemed too much (as she said herself), but the fact is that she was on the right track and then the train turned out to be heading in the wrong direction.
There is also Christy from Amazon, who avoided any sort of plotting and scheming for most of the game, and then ended up being voted out because she did too much of it! She was approached by two opposing alliances and refused to make a promise to either. Bad move. The opposition realized they were both vulnerable if she couldn’t tell them for sure and joined up to get rid of her instead! What’s worse is that Dolly duplicated this same mistake on Vanuatu, also refusing to say which alliance she was going with, which caused some people from each side to join together against her.
An important part of this rule is that players should not be open about their scheming. This part Shii Ann definitely did violate, as she flat-out told Ken that she was going to join with the other tribe. Similarly, the Samburu split was obvious to one and all. On the other side, Lex felt he needed to be honest to Clarence and then again (at least partially) to Kelly before voting them off. Sorry, but that was the wrong move. Lie to their faces, and then vote 'em off. There is no reason to alert them to their impending doom – it only gives them time to plot their own counterattack, which Kelly almost successfully did against Lex.
A similar situation presented itself in Vanuatu, when some viewers thought Chris should have told Julie and Eliza straight-up that they were going home, rather than lying to them right up until they were voted out. However, Chris knew that he had to lie to prevent a possible counter-attack, as he explained in his RealityNewsOnline interview.
As much as some targets say they want to know ahead of time, and as much as players might feel like it’s a good idea to let them know in case they make it to the Final 2 and have to face them at the jury, the fact of the matter is that it’s better to risk it and at least get to the Final 2 rather than giving your target an opportunity to turn the tables.
How do we know that it’s the wrong move? Because in case there was any doubt, Alex showed us on Amazon and then Ian showed us once again on Palau. Alex schemed and plotted too much, he didn’t keep his scheming secret, and he backstabbed before he absolutely needed to. Wow – three for three. That’s impressive. Impressively bad, that is. They are all related to one thing, though – his revealing to Rob that he would vote against Rob in the final four. By doing this, he was looking too far ahead and scheming too much. He obviously was not keeping it secret since he told the person he was planning to vote out, and he backstabbed too early – he turned Rob from a friend to a foe by taking out the knife, showing it to him, and telling him exactly where he planned to stick it in Rob’s back. Had he just kept his mouth shut, he would have been in a much better position.
Ian’s issue was a bit different in that he just couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut. First, he admitted to Tom that it would have been a difficult decision on who to vote out if he had won immunity. Tom is a bright guy and realized that Ian might be doing some plotting outside the alliance. And indeed he was – he told the women he’d vote against Tom if Tom hadn’t won immunity. Maybe it was just talk – many people speak of hypotheticals in the game – but hypotheticals can come back to haunt you. Ian found that out, as did James in Big Brother 6. Then Judd faced the same problem in Guatemala when he was trapped by Danni and Lydia into saying things he shouldn’t have. Be careful who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about at all times!
The downfall of the Rotu 4 in Survivor: Marquesas is also almost entirely due to their failure to recognize the part of the rule that says to keep scheming secret. They thought they had it made. They were in the final four and there was nothing anybody could do. So when it came time to chop down those coconuts in an immunity challenge, they laid out their plans just as clearly as if they'd written ‘em down and handed ‘em out. Paschal and Neleh were shown that they were not part of the core alliance and the best they could hope for would be fifth and sixth place. By making their scheming so apparent, the Rotu 4 were instead chopped down one by one, just like those coconuts – and they also were recognized in a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment. Mark Burnett knows darn well how that challenge went, and there has been at least one in each edition since then. Until Palau, nobody else had fallen for it. But Gregg did just that when he tipped his hand in a reward challenge and showed exactly who he was standing with and who was on the opposite side. Bad, bad move.<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next-->
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