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What’s Love Got to Do With It? – How Ten Seconds Cost Five People a Chance at One Million Dollarsby Jennifer McBride -- 11/30/2006
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Normally I’m less critical of Survivors than the Reality News Online writers. After all, fans of the show have the benefit of a bird’s eye point of view, hindsight, and a logical story arc provided by that Cook Island god, Mark Burnett. Nothing is quite as neat as the producers might like us to think. And it is a lot easier to think, given a full stomach and water that doesn’t taste like it came from the back end of a parakeet.
But Candice’s decision to mutiny was mystifying, and the long-term effects have given proof that she really didn’t have any plan. Ironically and unfortunately, her defection also dragged down the chances of her current allies Parvati, Adam, and Nate (and one ex-ally, Jonathan).
Of course, each contributed to the downfall with their own boneheaded choices, but they never would have had the opportunity to make so many obvious mistakes if Candice had just kept her feet on the mat. After all, stupid people have blundered into the top two before – and they will again. Instead, Candice threw it all away for a man best described as a frat-boy boor.
Or did she?
Was there any logical reason, given the knowledge she had at the time, for Candice to jump ship? Is there ever a reason for a Survivor to leap from a known situation to an unknown situation?
A Survivor should only switch tribes for one of two reasons: the obvious is if they think they are about to be being voted off; the less obvious is if an ally needs them.
Could Candice have thought that she was insecure in her own tribe? There may be reason to think so. After all, she said that Jonathan hadn’t been solidifying their alliance lately. Instead, he had been focusing on Yul. She must have been aware that Jonathan considered her a puppet, and I can understand being angry that she was being taken for granted. From the footage, it appeared Jonathan didn’t bother to throw her so much as a mackerel when it came to pre-mutiny strategic discussions.
Jonathan’s conceit is understandable because he made the mistake of thinking that Candice’s mind worked the same way his did. Of course he didn’t need to be constantly in communication with Candice, thus setting themselves up as an obvious duo to be split up. Of course she had to know that he would never logically prefer Yul to Candice since Yul and Becky were tied at the kneecap. Of course Candice would see that even if Yul betrayed Becky, in a jury vote he could still beat Jonathan because Yul was managing to make friends with everyone. Of course Candice couldn’t find a better alliance partner than ol’ snake-in-the-grass Jonathan.
Ah, the oft-held mistake of believing that Survivors think rationally. Jonathan knew that Candice was allied with Adam – after all, he relied on Candice’s connections to get him in with Raro while she was on Exile Island. But he didn’t realize that he just wasn’t capable of competing with Adam’s biceps for Candice’s attention. Given the friction between Jonathan and Adam over leadership in the early episodes, I’m amazed Adam gave Jonathan the marginally warm welcome he did.
Jonathan could only have expected to break into the Adam-Nate-Pavarti alliance if he brought something valuable with him. Candice brought her feminine wiles, but Jonathan… brought a bunch of stinky fish. In this case, it was enough to save him from immediate extinction, but he would never have had to rely on his dubious skills in the first place if he had just paid a bit more attention to his partner. Then he would have known that she wasn’t as close to him or as attuned to tribal politics as he thought, and he would never have taken the risk of switching buffs. At the very least, Candice wouldn’t have disavowed him, and he might have had a better chance of displacing Nate in Raro’s alliance.
So, given Jonathan’s neglect, Candice could have reasonably believed that Jonathan was playing her. To what end? First, he could have been planning to vote her off at the next opportunity. Since several of her tribemates had been cultivating the idea that Jonathan was untrustworthy, the doubts might have festered. In that case, Candice could have guessed his motives a move earlier and switched her allegiance to Aquaman, Flica, and Sundra, all of whom probably could have been easily persuaded to break up the threatening duo of Yul and Becky. If the idol had come into play, the backlash would have probably been directed at Ozzy, who was perceived as the most threatening, while Candice secretly held all the strings.
But since Candice didn’t even discuss that possibility with the others on-camera, it’s logical to assume she felt safe. Equally, she must have been content with a non-leadership role. She probably thought that, even if Jonathan wasn’t remotely trustworthy, she still came out ahead of Ozzy and Sundra in the tribal pecking order. And, come the merge, she had her original alliance to fall back on. So there was every incentive to stay where she was from an internal tribe perspective.
Candice should have realized that her allies weren’t in danger, either. When spying on Raro’s Tribal Council and watching Adam at challenges, she should have recognized a victor’s body language. If he was falsely confident, there was little Candice could do about it. Since Raro had six players, the only likely way Candice could have saved him by herself was if the vote was going to split three-three, in which case, at best, Candice could have saved Adam the trouble of a tie-breaker. At worst, she would jump into a losing position and perhaps be sacrificed in his place. If she shared Jonathan’s suspicion that Adam held the hidden immunity idol, surely she should have known that he would be safe until a knife in the back could make a difference.
So, strategically, there was absolutely no reason why Candice should swap tribes, even if she thought that her alliance partners were playing her. She dumped strategy in favor of happiness. I hope it was worth a million dollars, because she would have been a strong contender to win had she decided otherwise.1 2 Next-->
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