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Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Jonathan Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/13/2006
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Jonathan had been playing a dangerous game on Survivor for almost his entire time. He darted from alliance to alliance, and back again, racking up enemies. Along the way, some of his fellow players also talked about how they found him obnoxious and unworthy. Which caused him to be voted out? Why did Jonathan lose?
The case of Jonathan being voted out is really a perfect one for this column. There are numerous causes that appear to have come into play, and it helps to dig into What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned to see whether one of those causes overshadowed the others or it was a combination of factors. Let’s take a look.
Jonathan certainly knew that the most important thing he had to do on Survivor was to scheme and plot. He knew coming into the game that he had to stay one step ahead of everybody else, even telling me in our interview, “If a move was going to get made, I wanted to be the one to make it. I did not want to get played. If I was going to think of something, somebody else was going to think of it, so I was going to do it faster.”
This meant that Jonathan was not going to wait around for alliances to happen, he was going to create what he needed. Since the first rule specifically says, “From the very beginning, you have to start making alliances and cementing relationships,” we can see that Jonathan was headed in the right direction.
On the original Raro tribe, Jonathan was in the majority alliance. On the merged Aitu tribe, he was in the majority alliance. After the mutiny, on the new Raro tribe, Jonathan was once again in the majority alliance. And when he flipped back to Aitu, he again put himself into the majority alliance. Indeed, Jonathan was in the majority alliance for the entire game, right up to the moment he was voted out by his own majority allies!
Also to Jonathan’s credit, he came over to Raro at the mutiny as the last person added to the tribe. Most of the others didn’t particularly like him. Yet somehow he lasted through one, two, three eliminations before the merge!
So if Jonathan was on top of the game to this extent, what went wrong? Well, that’s where the second rule comes into play. It says, quite clearly, “Don’t scheme and plot too much” and “Don’t backstab until you absolutely need to.” Jonathan had problems in both areas.
Let’s address backstabbing first – specifically, the mutiny. Candice previously gave her reasons for jumping ship. While they were not quite enough to land her in the Reality TV Hall of Shame, they weren’t necessarily very good either. Jonathan suffered from some of the same problem. He was – as far as he knew – closely aligned with Candice. He knew Yul and Becky were too tight to break up and he believed Adam had the hidden immunity idol. So he felt it was best to be with the idol and not with an inseparable duo. Thus, he knew he had to go to his original Raro teammates at some point. That point came sooner than he expected when the mutiny arrived and he made a quick, though he says calculated, decision to go with Candice.
Looking back, it was obviously the wrong decision, as Jonathan himself admits. As he told me, “I played such a careful, deliberate game,” until that point. He recognized that Ozzy was probably the next Aitu to go, and then Sundra. He would have been safe down to four. But he blew it. In his own words, “I played an endgame way too soon.” That’s very similar to backstabbing before he needed to, which also describes what he did to his Aitu allies.
Now let’s address the scheming and plotting too much. I’m pretty this is obvious to everybody. Jonathan was a known schemer on his original tribe and then on Aitu, long before the mutiny. Players I interviewed said things like, “Jonathan creeped me out” (Jessica), and described him as a “pushy used car salesman” (Cecilia). But as long as he was on their side, people didn’t seem to mind too much… until he turned on them.
Then Jonathan mutinied and left behind four rather upset people. It is amusing to me that the Aitus took out their anger on Candice, repeatedly sending her to Exile Island, while leaving Jonathan alone. It’s almost like his betrayal didn’t surprise them, while hers did. That says something about their impressions of Jonathan.
The mutiny was where everything went wrong. When Jonathan later found himself in the position of needing to jump back again, he really didn’t have a whole lot of choice. Yul blackmailed him into rejoining the Aitus (earning himself a Reality TV Hall of Fame Moment in the process). We’ve already briefly addressed this elsewhere, but just to drive home the point – despite what some people have thought, Jonathan really did not have a choice in the matter. He could not have lied to Yul and then convinced his Raro allies to vote out Becky because the Raros refused to believe him.
Besides that, Jonathan was pretty much guaranteed to get no better than fifth place if he stayed with the Raros. However, jumping to the Aitus meant the possibility for getting further – for example, potentially joining with Ozzy and Sundra to oppose the inseparable duo.
What is the point I’m trying to make here? That jumping back to the Aitus was not scheming and plotting too much. It was the right move at the right time. However, he had put himself into the position where he had little choice but to do that because of his poor decision to mutiny previously.
Still, whether we think rejoining the Aitus was the right thing to do, obviously his previous Raro allies disagreed. Adam and Parvati, in particular, believed he was scum for doing what he did – apparently forgetting that this is Survivor, not One Big Happy Family, and also forgetting that they themselves had backstabbed people who were supposed to be their allies (Brad, Rebecca, Jenny).
But let’s get back on track with Jonathan. We’ll move on to the third rule, which tells players to be flexible. I think we’ve established that in some ways, Jonathan fit that description – too much so, in fact. But when he returned to the Aitus, he was showing the necessary flexibility. Some players would have ignored or blown off Yul’s overtures – and been tossed because of it. Jonathan saw that it was the best deal he was going to get.
However, in other ways, Jonathan failed to be flexible enough. The rule specifically notes as one example, “when you are in an alliance of lazies, working hard may not be the best idea.” It is true that Jonathan wanted to show his worth to his Raro allies by feeding them, and I can’t fault him for that. But if he was going to do the extra work, he needed to keep his thoughts about it to himself rather than letting it slip that the rest of his tribemates were lazy do-nothings, even though that’s exactly what they were!1 2 Next-->
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