Survivor: Why Amber Lostby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
As my regular readers can see (presuming you found me – and, of course, you wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t), I’ve moved. But just because I’m on a new site doesn’t change my dedication to writing about Survivor. So, as we do every week, it’s time to take a look at who was voted out this episode and try to get a handle on why they lost. In particular, I use the criteria I wrote up in my article, What Future Survivors Need to Learn.
The first rule, as always, is to scheme and plot. Early on, Amber was definitely a schemer. Or, should I say, she hung out with one – Jerri. In the Survivor II Field Guide, Amber predicted that her conniving side would come out during the game. And it did – to a point. That point was when Jerri was voted off, and Amber was left alone and vulnerable. She tried to stick with her fellow Ogakorans, but it was only a matter of time. I think she was perhaps a bit surprised that the time came so quickly (as perhaps was Colby), but she just couldn’t get inside their voting bloc. Sure, she schemed – but she schemed with the wrong person.
The third rule – voting off the strong when they are threats – apparently played some role in her selection to go this time. Keith said she was a tough competitor as he voted for her. I’m not sure I agree, although she did come in second to Colby (who had immunity this time) in the reward challenge. But in my view, she might have been one of the “weak” in that she was an unallied straggler, just waiting to be picked off by the wolves.
The fourth rule is that you shouldn’t backstab until you absolutely need to. Amber never really had to worry about this, but what about Tina and Keith? They apparently joined with Rodger and Elisabeth to take out Amber this time. It obviously wasn’t good for Amber, but it might not bode well for Tina and Keith, either. We’ll have to keep our eye on that one.
Number five is to pretend to be nice. Well, she did some pretending, but she wasn’t very good at it. I mean, looking back at when Jerri picked her to share in the reward challenge after the boomerang competition, Amber was really quite a lousy actress. While she pretended to be surprised at being picked, the rest of the tribe rolled their eyes. When Jerri was around, Amber didn’t need to do much pretending, because she felt safe. Once Jerri was gone, it was just too late.
Next is the rule against forming emotional bonds. It could be said that Amber’s bond with Jerri was the eventual cause of her downfall. But was it really an emotional bond (friendship) or a strategic one (scheming)? Probably a mixture of both. But whether she was Jerri’s friend or only her ally, it really didn’t matter. The fact was that she chose to stay close to the most-disliked person in the Outback. And it cost her.
The final rule, that providing food is good and being lazy is a bad idea, didn’t come into play much for Amber. She definitely wasn’t lazy, but we didn’t see much of her providing food, either. Rodger and Elisabeth, meanwhile, did a lot of the fishing (when they still had gear) and generally made themselves quite useful. I doubt that contributed much to the choice, but it may have had an impact.
In the end, it really comes down to Amber’s close alliance with Jerri that caused her to be voted off. She was not a spectacular player on her own – as Tina said, she mostly flew under the radar. She decided to ally herself with somebody who she thought was a strong leader and would take her to the finish line. But she bet on the wrong horse. And that is why Amber lost.
Remember to take a look around the site. Check out the other Survivor and Boot Camp articles, as well as the book reviews. Here are some of the most recent articles:
Surviving the Outback, Episode 11: Water, Water Everywhere