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Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Yul WonPage 2
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That brings us to the fifth rule, which says players should pretend to be nice and keep their politics and controversial beliefs to themselves. It is a tribute to Yul that we have no idea what his politics or beliefs might be! As Probst said, Yul was like the U.N. All the other players recognized it – he was trying to play them and the jury, all while not saying anything that might offend. It got to the point that Candice would only accept a yes-or-no answer from him on her question, and even then he tried to supplement it! Yul was, frankly, a master at pretending to be nice – or maybe just actually being nice – and it helped him win over some of the jurors.
Another area where he succeeded was in not being too much of a threat. This may seem odd since some players called him the Godfather or the puppetmaster, but it still holds true. As he told me in our interview, Yul allowed Jonathan to play the role of the overscheming villain. He allowed Ozzy to play the challenge threat role – though he admits he might not have been able to stop him anyway!
Yul let himself fade into the woodwork behind the bigger personalities. When there was discussion among three of the Aitu four about getting rid of somebody before the finals, nothing we saw indicates any of it ever centered around targeting Yul. Part of that could simply be that he held the idol, but even when Adam suggested getting rid of the idol, it still didn’t happen. Watching the show – and even before it began – Yul seemed like the most obvious threat. But as it played out, he managed to keep that aspect of himself under wraps.
The seventh rule says not to be lazy and that providing food wins allies. Yul certainly never came off as lazy, but he allowed food production to be taken care of by others – Ozzy and Jonathan. Therefore, it was neither a plus nor a minus for him.
And now we get to the jury phase. Here we look at whether Yul set himself up well for this most important part of the game. I think we can safely answer that question with a “yes.”
We’ve already discussed how Yul bought himself a key vote from Adam by making a deal to do what the Aitu four had already planned to do! And Yul admitted to shamelessly working the jury. And he really did. You could tell when he said certain things at Tribal Council that they were aimed at getting the jury on his side. He didn’t wait for final arguments – he subtly (or maybe not so much so) planted seeds as time went by. Then he helped those to grow in the final questioning. It didn’t convince everybody, but he got the votes he needed.
Overall, Yul played a masterful game. But that’s not always enough to win it. The first rule closes by noting “that the best schemer does not always win.” Indeed, if this edition had followed the first 12 Survivor seasons and had a final two rather than a final three, Yul could have been in trouble. There would have been one more challenge. If Ozzy won it the way he won almost all the others, I cannot imagine he would have taken Yul to the final two. But as Yul himself said, there is certainly luck involved in the game. Yul saw that luck in getting sent to Exile Island at the right time to pick up the hidden immunity idol as well. But in all cases, Yul made the most of his luck, both good and bad.
Scheming and plotting might not win every edition, but it still remains the most important aspect of the game. Winning challenges, as Ozzy did, certainly is another important aspect that can get a person to the finals, but it is somewhat risky because one false move and that player could be gone. Or, as in this case, they might be questioned as to what they did other than challenges.
Yul played the “outwit” part of the game better than anybody else this season, and most people in the other 12 seasons as well. He did it without making too many enemies and without becoming the villain. He only won by one vote, but the votes he received were well-earned, and that was all he needed. Despite his protests to the contrary, Yul was indeed the puppetmaster. That is why Yul won.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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