Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Cao Boi Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/01/2006
Cao Boi seemed destined from the start to leave Survivor fairly early. But he did make it through several votes that could have gone against him and had a pretty good strategy for making it through this most recent one. What happened to turn the tide against him? Why did Cao Boi lose?
We will not consult the spirit of the immunity idol to find the answer – it didn’t help to save Cao Boi, after all! But instead, we will follow our usual path through What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned to find our answers.
The first rule is to scheme and plot. However, that wasn’t so much Cao Boi’s first rule. Indeed, he even told me in my interview with him that “more people should look at it as an adventure rather than a million dollars.” While this may be an admirable recommendation in some ways, it’s not so much when it comes to sticking around in the game.
Cao Boi was there to have fun and participate in an adventure. He had barely seen anything of previous seasons and he was not going to sit around all day, scheming and plotting. He would much rather row over to a nearby island and have fun! Again, these are admirable traits in real life, but they are a sure path to destruction on Survivor.
It might have seemed like Cao Boi did a little scheming during his first Aitu vote, originally aiming at Becky and then switching to Cecilia. But more than anything, he was schemed against, as Yul “played the race card” according to Cao Boi, and helped convince Cao Boi to change his mind.
Cao Boi did indeed try his hand at scheming when it came to Plan Voodoo. But it was scheming of a somewhat undirected sort. That is, he was convinced that it was important to flush out the holder of the hidden immunity idol. He was further convinced it was one of the Caucasians on the tribe – Jonathan or Candice – and not Yul.
His plan was a good one… in theory. But Cao Boi failed to take into account several things. First, that Yul might hold the idol and not want that revealed. Second, that even if Yul didn’t hold the idol, he was allied with Jonathan and Candice! Third, most of the tribe was similarly allied with Jonathan and Candice, and not with Cao Boi. Fourth, Cao Boi did not really have a good reason for people to give up these alliances just to find out who held hidden immunity. He said the Caucasians might join together at the merge and dominate the others, but it seemed to be more of an excuse than a legitimate reason. And together, these rather important items spelled doom for Cao Boi’s plan.
The second rule says not to scheme and plot too much, not to backstab too soon, and to keep scheming secret. I wouldn’t say Plan Voodoo fell into either of the first two categories, but it certainly was in the third. By telling just about everybody on the tribe, Cao Boi virtually guaranteed the targets were going to hear about it and try to turn it around, even if their allies didn’t. The enormity of the plan ensured that a person in Cao Boi’s position – that is, a man without an alliance – would be highly exposed.
The third rule tells players to be flexible. Reading through that rule, we find that it talks a fair amount about working to fit in with your tribe. For example, if your tribemates are mostly lazy, don’t show them up with work. That’s not the case here, though. Instead, for Cao Boi, it perhaps should talk about how if the rest of your tribe is taking the game seriously, don’t take it too lightly. Yes, it must have seemed like a wonderful adventure to go over to the other island, but in doing so, it only underscored the main alliance’s view of Cao Boi as flighty and unreliable.
Fourth is to not allow emotions to control you. I’m sure that was difficult for Cao Boi, because he seems like a person who really lives by his emotions. Indeed, in my interview with him, he described the game as “exciting”; when he talked about going to the opposing camp, he truly did expect them to be generous with him. Cao Boi was not playing the game so much as living the adventure. While this rule focuses on dealing with people not as friends or enemies, but rather as opposing players, the fact is that emotions can interfere with game play in other ways.
But even the main focus of this rule came up for Cao Boi. He trusted Yul, considering him a friend. Because of this, he didn’t really consider that Yul might have the hidden immunity idol; he didn’t really consider that Yul was aligned with Candice and Jonathan; he didn’t really consider that by telling Yul the whole plan, it might go up in smoke.
The fifth rule has two parts – pretending to be nice and keeping controversial thoughts to yourself. Cao Boi certainly did well in the first part, as he seems to be a genuinely nice guy. But the second part, not so much. Cao Boi said what he thought. If that meant he wanted to take the immunity idol to what was said to be a reward challenge, then that’s what he said. If somebody disagreed with him, he argued. Cao Boi definitely had his own way of thinking about things, and sometimes he needed to mentally push down what he was really thinking and allow things to progress more smoothly.
Sixth is to not be too much of a threat. Cao Boi failed in this regard for a couple reasons. First, while he might not have been seen as a physical threat, he certainly showed his prowess in a couple areas. One of those areas is fire-starting, which just happens to be the tie-breaker in Tribal Council votes. While I doubt anybody said, “let’s get rid of the best fire-starter,” it might have played a bit in the back of their minds.
A more serious way in which Cao Boi was a threat was simply in his attempt to find the immunity idol and target people who were part of the tribe’s main alliance. As already mentioned, he told Yul he was targeting two of Yul’s main allies. And he had previously attempted to vote out Becky, Yul’s tightest ally. It’s not clear if Yul engineered Cao Boi’s downfall, but I’m sure he played a role in it. Allowing Cao Boi to stick around was simply too dangerous for the main alliance.
Cao Boi did well with the seventh rule, as he did his part to provide food and work around camp. But unlike some other people this season, laziness had nothing to do with the reason for Cao Boi being voted off.
Now we turn our attention to whether the rest of the tribe was correct in voting off Cao Boi. It should be obvious that those in the main alliance certainly were – and that doesn’t really leave many others left. Those remaining, such as Ozzy, are in the minority and could not really have bucked the majority alliance anyway. And then there’s Jessica, who got left out in the cold.
Cao Boi is the type of person who would be good to have in a real survival situation – well, as long as you can put up with his stories. He can build a fire. He enjoys adventure. But in the game of Survivor, these things are not nearly as important. Cao Boi did try to scheme, but his lack of knowledge of the game aspects hurt him. He was too open with his plan, sharing it with almost the entire tribe, including somebody who had every reason to want the plan dead. And he was something of a loose cannon in the eyes of others. Cao Boi was a lot of fun to watch and a good guy to be around in real life, but he didn’t fit in with his tribe and the scheming he attempted ensured the majority would turn against him. That is why Cao Boi lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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