Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Brad Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/16/2006
In watching this season, I didn’t feel like we really got to know Brad. He helped the women vote out J.P. and was Cristina’s sole loyal ally. He chose not to swim but rather to work on a puzzle in a reward challenge. He made a few comments at camp that caused his tribemates to wonder about his loyalty. But what caused his tribemates to choose to cast him aside rather than one of the two newcomers? Why did Brad lose?
As always, we will seek to resolve these questions by digging through What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned. By the end of this column, we’ll have all the answers we need.
Unfortunately, just as we did with Jessica last week, we don’t even get to the rules before we encounter our first set of problems for Brad. There, I briefly talked about what happened in each season and noted, among other things the problems that occurred when people went on Survivor without having seen previous seasons.
I detailed those quotes in “Why Jessica Lost,” linked to above, so I won’t go through them in detail again here. But Brad specifically told me in our interview, “I had only watched like season one and a couple episodes of other seasons.” Uh oh. As I said last week, the rules we go over here are based on the different strategies used by people over the course of years. Ignoring that information is so reckless if you’re trying to play Survivor to win.
This brings us to the first rule, which tells players to scheme and plot if, indeed, they want to win. But again referencing what Brad told me in our interview, “I wasn’t really scheming or plotting for myself. I’m not much of a schemer.”
That pretty much says it all right there, doesn’t it? No, not quite. Brad added, “I tried to play an honest game, I thought that’s what I did and it got me in trouble.” Indeed. Brad realized too late that honesty is rarely rewarded on Survivor. Mind you, if he had watched more of the previous seasons, he might have learned that before being voted off…
Still, Brad thought he was in an alliance with Nate, Adam, and Parvati. They told him he was safe and he believed them. If he had done a bit more scheming, he might have realized that his position in the tribe was less than secure.
Obviously, then, Brad didn’t have to worry about failing to follow the second rule, which says not to scheme and plot too much. So we move on to the third rule, which says to be flexible. Brad didn’t do very well here, I’m afraid. The rule specifically notes, “you can’t simply tie yourself to one alliance and hope that it survives.” Brad thought he was in an alliance and that was all he needed. But it looks like he never was really in that alliance – not solidly, anyway.
It’s easy to look at the mutiny situation and say that Brad should have jumped ship to rejoin Yul and Becky. However, he had no way of knowing whether Yul and Becky still would consider him an ally. And he didn’t want to make enemies of his Raro tribemates. Remember that to win Survivor, you need to get all the way to the end, not just past the very next vote. Making enemies of half the people in the game doesn’t seem to be a good way to go toward that goal. And besides, hindsight is 20/20 – he thought he was in an alliance and would be safe.
The fourth rule says not to let emotions control you. I did not see this as an issue with Brad, so again we’ll move on. Fifth is to pretend to be nice. While Brad could be blunt, as he was when he said it would be every man for himself after the merge, I don’t think there was anything about him that would push people away. He obviously should have watched what he said and the way he said it, though.
Sixth is to not be too much of a threat. Brad was not considered a physical threat, but he was a threat for another reason. His comment about it being every man for himself, however, was just one indicator his tribe had that Brad might not be loyal to them. Indeed, he told me, “I probably would have jumped” to the Yul/Becky alliance at the merge. And his Raro tribemates could obviously read this in him, as he also said, “one of the last scenes was Nate saying I would have merged back with my Puka tribe and I was a threat in that regard.” So Brad answered the question for us here – he was indeed a threat.
The seventh rule says to provide food and not be lazy. We didn’t see anything that really indicated this was an issue. However, I do wonder if some of the tribe thought Brad was being lazy by choosing not to swim at the previous challenge, which helped to cause their loss. I understand his reasoning for deciding to try the puzzle portion, but it left him open to criticism for backing out of the physical portion of the challenge.
At this point in the game, though, laziness is not such a big deal compared to trustworthiness. So did Brad’s tribemates make the right decision? It’s difficult to say. I do think they hit the nail on the head in pinpointing Brad’s likely decision to jump from the Raro alliance – he admitted as much! I also think Jonathan, the other possible target, will continue to be a sycophant, which means his tribemates have plenty of time to get rid of him. Besides, if there is a merge soon, there is no way his old allies would take him back.
It’s not entirely clear how Brad’s tribemates knew he was a threat, but they definitely did know. Furthermore, Brad had not done any particular scheming and plotting, but rather just trusted his game fate in three people who were themselves trying to figure out the best way to win. Brad needed to increase his flexibility and shop around a bit to see where he truly stood in his tribe. He failed to do that while at the same time making it obvious that he would leave the very allies he was counting on to save him. That is why Brad 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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