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Survivor: China – Why Amanda Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/17/2007
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I knew going into the final that there was no way either Denise or Courtney could possibly win. Amanda, however, seemed to have a pretty good chance. But then it all fell apart. How did she win the last two immunities and seemingly have the game in her hand, but end up in third place with only one measly vote? Why did Amanda lose?
The answer to this may seem obvious to those of us who watched the final episode, but we’ve seen before that what appears obvious is not always so. Then again, sometimes it is. To differentiate, we will use our standard method of looking back at What China Survivors Should Have Learned to see where she did the right things and where she went wrong.
Amanda seemed to understand that the first rule of Survivor was scheming and plotting. She hooked up with Todd very early in the game and stuck with him the entire time (we’ll get to that point later). Along the way, she did her fair share of deceiving and backstabbing, as was necessary to get to this point in the game. Indeed, she was the one who pushed to vote out James, though it seems to me that was a rather obvious move.
Amanda also participated in other decisions along with Todd, and they frequently discussed the possibilities on how to play. She seemed to have a pretty good understanding of the game, as further evidenced by her attempt to get Denise to side with Peih-Gee when they were voting to get down to the final four, and also as we saw her saying Todd was her biggest threat.
Unfortunately, while Amanda may have understood the game, she sometimes failed to play it correctly. All we have to do is look at her final voting decision to see that. As I just noted, she knew Todd was her biggest threat, and yet she didn’t vote him out!
I think we need to skip directly to the fourth rule to further discuss this issue. That rule says not to allow emotions to control you, and her failure here is the specific cause of her inability to follow through on what she knew was the proper strategic thing to do.
Somewhere along the way, the game caught up to Amanda. She seemed to be doing fine when she was merrily going along and backstabbing people with Todd. She was okay when she booted James. But then, emotion took over. After spending the day alone with Peih-Gee, she suddenly felt a bond that hadn’t been there for a month. We could see on Amanda’s face how depressed she was that she had to vote out Peih-Gee (because they couldn’t convince Denise to go along with targeting Todd instead). This was the beginning of the end for Amanda.
Amanda’s emotional downfall continued when she decided to invite only Todd to share the pizza reward and flat-out told him what she was thinking. Why she would tell the sneakiest player in the game that she didn’t trust him is simply beyond me. What did she expect him to say? As it turned out, he really did want to take her to the finale, but him telling her that didn’t seem to make her feel any better.
Worse still is that by talking to him, I think Amanda seemed to reignite their bond. I believe this played into her inability to turn on Todd in the vote to get to the final three. She had become emotionally attached to Todd while also being emotionally attached to Denise. The struggle with her final vote took a lot out of her, as again evidenced by the way she looked and acted at the final four Tribal Council.
Amanda was done. She said herself, after that Tribal Council, that she was over all of this. She had made it through 37 or so days, but couldn’t do it in the final 48 or so hours. This was particularly ironic given that it took so much inner strength to win the last two immunity challenges – yet that very inner strength collapsed when it was time to use that power to her advantage.
Getting back to the usual order, let’s look at how Amanda did in terms of the second rule. I would say she did okay in not scheming and plotting too much – indeed, we just talked about how she didn’t do enough when the time was right. And she certainly didn’t backstab too soon, given that she didn’t do it when she should have!
Unfortunately, she did a little too well at keeping her scheming secret while also not doing it well enough. A player should keep their secrets during the game, but the jury is often the time to spill the beans. Amanda did the opposite. Everybody knew she was with Todd during the game, but at least some of them didn’t know she was more than a tagalong – that she was a partner in the planning.
This meant that when it came time for the final vote, Amanda was at a disadvantage. She could have played the strategy card like Todd did, but she had kept it too much of a secret early and failed to get that point across to the jury. So many of the jurors probably felt she was as much a tagalong as Courtney.
The third rule tells players to be flexible. Once again, Amanda had the opportunity but failed to use it. She went directly against the rule by sticking with her one and only alliance all the way to the end. What makes it worse is that she knew Todd was her biggest threat, and she still kept him around.
Amanda did apparently try to get Denise to join her and Peih-Gee in a coup, but Denise wouldn’t go for it. Given the way Amanda later failed to make her own move against Todd, I am forced to wonder if perhaps Amanda could have done a better job of attempting to persuade Denise.1 2 Next-->
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