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Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Becky Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/20/2006
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Becky has found a place for herself in Survivor history, though one she probably did not want – she was the first finalist ever to receive zero votes. Yes, it’s a bit different because she was also in the first threesome to face the jury, but still – ouch. Let’s push through the pain, though, and determine what went wrong. Why did Becky lose?
Throughout the season of Survivor: Cook Islands, we saw Becky as the second in command to Yul – though some have said she was an equal partner. But when it came time for the first three-way vote in Survivor history, she was third by a long shot. How can we explain these results? Let’s take a look back at What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned, to see what we can dig up.
Becky appears to have come into Survivor with a pretty good understanding of what she needed to do in the game, and this includes following the first rule by scheming and plotting. The rule specifically notes, “From the very beginning, you have to start making alliances and cementing relationships.” And in her interview with me, Becky said, “I also knew the importance of finding people who you trusted. With 20 people, I knew I had to find some allies right away.” That alliance with Yul lasted the entire 39 days, and they never once considered turning on each other.
They did, however, turn on others as necessary and plot a course all the way to the finals. While Yul won, he has continually given support to Becky as one of his partners in the game. For example, in his interview with me, Yul discussed the voting out of Nate and noted that when he found out how there was the possibility of Ozzy and Nate starting to form an alliance, he “ran back to Becky” to talk about it.
Similarly, Becky talked to me about how, before the mutiny, she and Candice “would strategize and go back to our respective male partners,” even though that wasn’t necessarily shown very much on TV. She added, “I was behind the scenes making the necessary alliances to stay in the game.”
The problem may have been that she was too much behind the scenes and the jury didn’t know about it. As Adam told me in my interview with him, at the time he did indeed consider Yul the puppetmaster, but upon watching the show and seeing some things he hadn’t known about, he realized that Becky did have input he hadn’t realized.
But if Adam didn’t know about that input until later, then certainly most of the rest of the jury didn’t either. Candice might have, given that she conspired with Becky earlier in the game, but that’s about it. Yul was the public face of the alliance – for good or for ill – and Becky was stuck in the background even as she followed the first rule.
Obviously, then, Becky certainly followed the second rule. She didn’t scheme and plot too much, she didn’t backstab too soon, and she certainly kept her scheming secret! As we just noted, perhaps a bit too secret.
With that in mind, we can move on to the third rule, which tells players to be flexible. Many times this season, I have quoted the portion of this rule that says, “you can’t simply tie yourself to one alliance and hope that it survives.” And here I am repeating it again.
Yes, it’s great that Becky had such a tight alliance with Yul. She has a friend for life now. But we’ve said it in previous seasons – Survivor is a game and we treat it as such in these columns. So that means I have to criticize her game play here.
As I said earlier, Becky never even considered turning on Yul. That’s great in an ally, but if she wanted to win herself, she needed to realize that she could never do it against Yul. At some point, she had to break that bond if she had any chance of winning. But when I talked to her, she said she never even considered it. Mind you, she gave some good reasons, saying they both represented the same things and, “Turning on him would have been like turning on your family.”
But as I noted, this is a column about strategy in getting to the win – or not – so we cannot leave these stones unturned. It wouldn’t have been easy, both emotionally and in actually doing it, since he had the hidden immunity idol, but Becky’s only chance to win was to abandon Yul somewhere along the line and step up to claim his role as the brains against Ozzy’s brawn.
As it happens, this leads us directly into the fourth rule, about not letting emotions control you. I just quoted an important point from Becky a couple paragraphs ago – turning on Yul would have been like turning on family. And Becky has said that Yul’s friendship is worth more than money. However, this rule specifically says of the other players, “treat them as pawns in a game, not as potential friends for life.” As much as we might admire Becky’s sentiments, we cannot ignore that she broke this rule utterly and completely.1 2 Next-->
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