Why "Mad Dog" Lostby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey wasn't voted off because she failed to play the game right or was nasty or didn't get along with the group. Instead, she had to go because she was considered a weak link on the team when it came to physical challenges. Even as an ex-cop, she was 51 years old and, at more than a decade older than anybody else in Ogakor, simply could not keep up with her teammates. Thus, in keeping with the voting strategy of removing your weakest members first, she had to go so the rest of the tribe would have a better chance of making it to the merger.
Or did she? Keith thought that they should keep her around for any upcoming intellectual challenges (of which there ended up being two in the very next episode). Indeed, Mad Dog focused on her "mental strength" in discussing her plans, as described by the Survivor II Field Guide. But mental strength is much more difficult to see and evaluate; and it's easy to blame somebody for falling down during the race that led to the next Tribal Council, especially when the result was so close.
However, this is not the only reason she was voted out of the tribe. Many of her cohorts – including even her best friend there, Tina – united with each other to vote as a bloc. They learned the lessons of the Tagi alliance and made sure they would all vote the same way. While in the voting booth, Tina said she had made a promise and had to honor it. Similarly, Jerri explained that her vote was strategic.
That is precisely the type of plotting that is necessary to win. Rich Hatch knew it, and these players have learned from him. It is to be expected.
One of my pieces of advice was that the player not turn on those who trust them until it's absolutely necessary. In this case, the argument could be made that Tina did just this to Maralyn – her supposed friend. But, in fact, had Tina not voted with the rest of her group, they would have seen this as exactly that sort of stab in the back. She could easily have been the next one targeted. So, when it comes down to a group of one other person or a group of four others, you have to go with the numbers. Tina was absolutely correct to vote against Maralyn.
Two other pieces of advice I had were to pretend to be nice and not to form emotional bonds. I think Maralyn "failed" in both of these areas. She wasn't pretending – she really was nice. And she did form an attachment to Tina and possibly Colby as well. Meanwhile, Tina, who probably was also really being nice, did understand that there was a time when the emotional bond had to be cut in favor of winning the game. Considering the way some of the other Ogakor members are getting "friendly," we will likely see more of this type of thing – friends (or more) on one level, but strong competitors on another.
Maralyn certainly wasn't lazy, and she didn't fail on most of the other counts. But her one problem was simply being the oldest and, physically, weakest member of the tribe. By costing them the immunity challenge – at least in their minds – she cost herself the game. The others played it well by banding together, removing the weakest link, and ignoring emotional attachments. All of these reasons come together to explain why Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey lost.