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Survivor: China – Why Aaron Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/25/2007
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Aaron was on top of the world, leader of the tribe that was kicking butt and taking names (well, making Zhan Hu write down names). Then a twist sent him to that same Zhan Hu. He wanted to take his winning ways, but the original Zhan Hu members had other plans. Is there anything Aaron could have done? Why did Aaron lose?
This is a rather odd situation, and one that doesn’t, at first glance, seem to necessarily lend itself to our usual method of using What China Survivors Should Have Learned to analyze what happened to Aaron. But let’s give it the old college try and see what we can see.
No matter what happens, the most important rule is always to scheme and plot. Aaron did understand this and we saw that he formed an alliance with Todd and Amanda on Fei Long. But that wasn’t going to be much help to him over on Zhan Hu. Indeed, quite the opposite as Jaime and Peih-Gee correctly recognized that Aaron would jump back to his old allies once the merge hit (I say “correctly” because Aaron confirmed it in my interview with him.)
What Aaron really needed to do was form an alliance with members of new Zhan Hu – even if only for a few days. Once Zhan Hu lost the challenge, he did try to talk to Erik, but by then it was too late.
Aaron was thrown into a situation that did not bode well for him. But he needed to do more politicking before the challenge. Maybe he figured that between himself and James, they had it locked up (and indeed they would have under normal circumstances), but nothing is ever certain. He needed to analyze the situation the same way Jaime and Peih-Gee did and realize that he had to give them a reason to want to win. Maybe it wasn’t possible, but we’ll never know because I don’t think he went down that path at all.
It’s pretty obvious that Aaron didn’t scheme and plot too much. We could say that he failed to keep his scheming secret since Jaime and Peih-Gee knew he would jump back to Fei Long at the merge, but we couldn’t really expect him to see this twist coming. As noted above, he needed to do something to overcome it, but there was no way to hide what was obvious.
Aaron’s ability to follow the third rule was definitely tested – was he flexible enough? Short answer: No. Once Aaron and James got to Zhan Hu, the focus was on winning the challenge. We didn’t see anything that indicated they had a backup plan – or even a thought that they needed to ensure that the original Zhan Hu amongst them would agree with the thought that winning was everything. Aaron was thinking along one track only – and he got derailed.
Aaron did fine in following the fifth rule, pretending to be nice. Indeed, while James was spouting off about how horrible it was that they lost, Aaron stayed in the background. He probably figured this would save him for a few days, but he didn’t realize that the Zhan Huers were using reverse psychology – send away the one who seemed the most comfortable.
And they did that because of the sixth rule, which says not to be too much of a threat. A guy who was willing to still be friendly and nice and accept the situation is a much bigger threat than a guy who is disgusted and just wants to go home. Aaron would have likely tried working on Erik (though it’s unlikely it would have worked) if he had stuck around. James will probably just stay mad.
The seventh rule was a non-issue, as Aaron was certainly not lazy. So that brings us to the eighth rule and a look at whether Aaron’s tribemates did the right thing. This is a tricky issue, as a lot of people have strong feelings against throwing challenges. However, I think it is as Peih-Gee said: You need to win the war, not the battle. They are taking a big risk, but it might just pay off. And, as already noted, Aaron was indeed planning to rejoin his Fei Long allies if he made it to the merge.
So if the original Zhan Hu were going to throw the challenge, did it make more sense to boot James or Aaron? It probably didn’t matter a whole lot, but since Aaron wanted to stay and James didn’t, keeping James – a broken and hopeless man – made somewhat more sense. Why risk having a guy around who really wanted to still be there and might be able to do something about it?
Aaron was put in a lousy position by the twist this time around. It’s quite possible that there wasn’t anything he could have done about it. However, he needed to at least try – and try along a different track than the “let’s just win the challenge” route he took. Aaron needed to have a backup plan. He needed to try to convince the original Zhan Huers that they wanted to win that challenge. He needed to try to convince them that he could give them something of value later in the game. But he didn’t do either of those things. Maybe he would have failed, and in that case we could have said that the twist was the reason he was voted out. But since he didn’t even try, we have to conclude that this is why Aaron lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: China articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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