Survivor: Cook Islands Ė Advice for the Remaining 12by Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/07/2006
Trust is a big issue in Survivor, as people trusted by nobody are usually eliminated sooner rather than later. When building alliances, Survivors must trust the others in the alliance to vote the same way. Some players lose the game because they trust the wrong people, or their alliances lose trust in them. There are plenty of exhibits in the Reality TV Hall of Shame where Survivors lost the game because everybody lost trust in them.
Ironically, the best Survivors know when to trust, when not to trust, and when to break trust. There was a great deal of talk about Jonathan and how people didnít trust him. Long term, nobody should, but his actions should indicate to the other people in his alliance that he is trustworthy at this point. Indeed, if he knows the game and people believe heís playing it too hard, they should realize he isnít going to abandon his alliance at this stage of the game. There were not enough votes for him to control a counter-alliance, and the possible members of such are unreliable players at best. Jessica had no idea how to play the game, and Ozzy had already thrown a challenge once.
Speaking of Jessica, she should have inferred the rest of the tribe didnít trust her to keep her mouth shut, as shown by Aituís last two Tribal Councils. The short version is that the tribe didnít trust her, so they didnít tell her Cao Boi was going home last time, and that she was going home at the latest Tribal Council. Survivor is dominated by players who know what they are doing. I have to think that Jessica was so far from a clue about the game that the rest of the tribe didnít even bother making up a story about voting out Jonathan or Ozzy. I donít think she was blindsided by the vote as much as incapable of seeing what was right in front of her face.
Finally, Jeff Probst noted that Aitu didnít trust Nate enough to compete in the challenge. Aitu let silence be the response. A good piece of general advice for Survivors is to never answer loaded questions. However, I suspect Aitu didnít send Nate to Exile Island because the only really nice piece of information he had was that Jessica wasnít clued in as to the last vote. Itís pretty much a moot point as Aitu sent Jessica home. On the other hand, sending Nate to Exile Island would have kept him from sharing information about the enemy camp for a bit. Raro didnít win bread and peanut butter, but they did go back to camp with Nate and the information he had to share.
As far as the challenges went, I liked them, but for the most part the reward and immunity challenge were similar in design. However, they had a key difference as to which element of the challenge was more critical. The reward challenge required six trips, with each swimmer forced to make at least one trip to get the keys. Strong swimmers were essential as this was the longer phase. In the immunity challenge, each swimmer only had to make a single trip. It was still better to use the strongest swimmers, but the puzzle team was more important in the immunity challenge as it was less likely the swimmers could build up a huge lead. Still, two ďswim out and get stuff, then have the rest of the tribe solve a puzzleĒ challenges in a single episode was bad planning in my opinion.
The previews show that Survivors have a chance to alter their fate in the game. If the chance means swapping tribes voluntary or moving to a new, third tribe, anybody who feels they are ďnextĒ should grab it. Ozzy and Brad (if the previews are any indication) should jump; most of the rest should stay where they are. There are a few exceptions, but that is all covered in my advice for the remaining 12.
Raro: I think one reason for your problems is that you donít consider things from a strategic viewpoint. Sundra was a weaker swimmer who had so many problems it let Aitu build a huge lead in the reward challenge. In addition, I donít think bread was the right choice for the reward. It goes bad faster, and with the rain, there was a good chance youíd get soggy bread that spoiled even faster.
Nate: You did a good job during your time at Aitu, handing out useless information and keeping your eyes open. Iím not sure you got information that was useful, but keeping your mouth shut was a wise idea. You have a good sense of strategy and knew Raro was making a mistake at the reward challenge. Perhaps you were the kidnap victim because you were the brains of Raro. I suggest you get rid of Brad as the tribe has lost faith in him. Otherwise, work to eliminate one of the women.
Brad: Youíve got two problems, and they arenít good. First, the tribe has lost faith in you, and probably blames you for the loss of the reward challenge. Second, you probably pushed the choice of potatoes over bread too hard. I agree that potatoes were the better choice, but if the tribe had wanted skateboards as the reward, you have to go along with it. Youíre not in a good position, and if given the chance, change your fate, even if it is a blind chance.
Adam: I suspect you took a beating at Exile Island, as you didnít choose to swim in the immunity challenge. It was the right move if you were exhausted. If you have a chance to switch tribes, donít do it. At this rate, you are looking good for making the merge, but if you jump to be with Candice, I believe it will backfire on both of you. Jumping would just telegraph your position in the game.
Parvati: Your position seems fairly secure right now, as others are revealing themselves to be weak or outsiders. Thus, you should stay exactly where you are and work with the rest of the core Raro tribe members to get rid of outsiders or the misfits if you return to Tribal Council. Also, stick with Jenny. The common ground of bitching about Brad is as good of an excuse for an alliance as anything.
Rebecca: You might consider jumping if you get the opportunity. Depending on the Brad situation, you might be the next in line if he decides to jump. Then again, anybody who jumps might be considered an outsider, and if they get a second chance, they might go after the weaker of the two outsiders. Itís a hard pick, but I advise you to not change your fate. Your position is a bit weak in either case, but you might be able to sell Raro on getting rid of anybody who jumps into your tribe on the basis that a merge is happening soon, and getting rid of a strong player is to your advantage.
Jenny: I donít blame you for being upset with Brad; he made a poor choice and probably cost Raro the challenge because of it. Your position has actually improved, though; Rebecca showed herself to be weak, and lots of people resent Brad. You should stick with your core and work to get rid of them, or target a strong guy when a merge looks almost inevitable.
Aitu: If the most Nate learned during his time at your camp was comparative flora and Jessicaís complaint about being left out of the loop when Cao Boi was eliminated, you did a good job. Your tribe is also looking strong at the challenges, winning the reward and leading for most segments of the immunity challenge. Listen to Jonathan - you lost the immunity challenge, but not by much. Many of your challenge wins were blowouts.
Jonathan: Some members of the tribe donít trust you, despite your actions, which show trust. The only way around that is to tone it down a few notches when it comes to strategy sessions. Also, you can point out that your efforts all benefited the core alliance; you got Cao Boi and Jessica to vote out Cecilia. Your best hope is for you to merge with a slight edge so that you are too valuable to be voted out early. Until then, it seems clear that when all was said and done, your alliance trusted you.
Yul: I really admire how you can stand in the middle of a discussion about voting Jonathan out because heíll be strong in individual challenges with a straight face. I actually think you are a big threat in individual challenges. Right now, even if you donít feel the mistrust from Jonathan, lie and say you do. It sets the stage for Jonathan taking the hit later in the game.
Becky: You played out your conversation with Jessica well, pretending that she had a point, then voting her out that night. In addition, as long as you are tight with Yul and Candice, you are in a better position than mistrusted Jonathan. Your position is fairly secure unless things really get shaken up.
Ozzy: You have a messed-up position. Youíre a great provider and a fierce competitor. You are also a political outsider, and the last person on Aitu outside of the alliance. If you get the chance, change your fate. It canít hurt, though understand you might only be delaying the inevitable. Challenge threats get booted quickly post-merge. No matter what, you need to work hard at the challenges to keep immunity.
Candice: You looked cold during the reward challenge, but while you didnít have the stellar performance youíve shown before, you did well enough in both challenges. However, in a choice between a great food provider/challenge winner verses a loyal member of your alliance at this stage of the game, always pick the alliance member. Ozzy is unlikely to feel like a full member of your alliance at this point, and is a bigger challenge threat than Jonathan.
Sundra: You need to encourage the mistrust of Jonathan because if Ozzy somehow leaves, then it might be him or you. So you should agree to vote him out because heíll be tougher in physical challenges and is less trustworthy than you. Even if you merge as is, it helps sell everybody on getting rid of him before you.
Jessica: What went wrong? A complete lack of understanding in how the game works. While you made an effort to get Jonathan voted out, his alliance had no reason to do so and you suggested no new long-terms plans that benefited them.
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Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since the second series, and has published over 100 articles about the show and given advice to nearly 150 different Survivors on RealityNewsOnline. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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