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Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Jessica Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/09/2006
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Fire-dancing? Check. Stilt-walking? Check. Roller-derby? Check. Custom sewing? Check. Outplay, outwit, outlast? Not so much. Jessica is a woman of many talents, but sticking around on Survivor was not one of them. Why wasn’t Jessica able to dance around the flames of her tribemates’ torches, which all stayed lit while hers was snuffed? Why did Jessica lose?
All of our questions can be answered by paging through What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned. In fact, I already see one issue before we even get to the rules.
In the portion of the write-up before the first rule, the article briefly discusses what happened in each season. When discussing the third season, I said:
Survivor: Africa saw some people revert to the cluelessness of the first series, owing mostly to those who admitted they had not paid much attention to the first two (I wonder if we’ll see a reprise on the Cook Islands). Ethan, the winner, said that he watched the previous series; Silas, who lost, said he hadn’t. There is a big hint in that – but is it a hint everybody knows? By now, frankly, there is no excuse for coming on Survivor if you haven’t seen previous editions. Yes, that includes people who were recruited, because a number of seasons are available on DVD now.Yes, I wrote the above before I knew about Jessica. As she flat-out told me in my interview with her, “I was never tuned in to Survivor. … I was not familiar with season after season and the strategies.” At least she realized, albeit too late, that this was a problem, when she noted, “I think it benefits you in the game if you are aware of the different strategies people have in order to manipulate and stay in the game longer.”
Indeed, that’s what these rules are based on – the different strategies people have put together over the course of season after season. And the first, and most important, does indeed relate directly to manipulating people, specifically through scheming and plotting. Jessica failed here.
Early on, she just wanted to hang around with the cool people. She quickly learned that the hanging around part necessitated actually staying in the game, and was convinced by Jonathan and Cao Boi to vote out Cecilia. But she still didn’t go in for this part of the game and was completely shocked when Cao Boi tried to enact Plan Voodoo and instead was voted out – with herself being the only person on the tribe who was out of the loop.
As soon as we saw the result of the vote, it was pretty clear that Jessica would be the next to go. Sure, sometimes people who were out of the loop can make it back in, but it seemed very unlikely with Jessica, given her aversion to scheming (which she specifically admitted in her interview with me).
She did try to convince people to keep her over Jonathan because Jonathan is creepy and seemed untrustworthy. But her main problem was that she was an outsider saying this. Candice and Becky might have some misgivings about Jonathan, but for now he’s their ally. Jessica is not and never has been – and she would have said anything to stick around longer. So it only made sense that they nodded their heads and agreed with her statements about Jonathan, and then voted to keep him around.
Since we chastised Jessica for not plotting enough, certainly we can’t say she did it too much. While it did seem like some of the players grew annoyed with Jessica’s lobbying, it seems obvious that she was going anyway. At that point, she had little choice other than trying to convince them to keep her – she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.
However, I’d like to address one of her complaints. On The Early Show, Jessica said she just wanted her tribemates to be honest with her about the coming vote. She reiterated the same thought in our interview, saying, “I lost a lot of respect for them” because they wouldn’t be straight with her. She added, “I kind of figured they would be that way.” The thing is, she should have figured they would be that way, because being that way is smart! To quote from the second rule, “Lie to their faces, 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.” So they were right and Jessica was a bit too hopeful.1 2 Next-->
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