Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Jenny Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/22/2006
Jenny was the victim of the surprise message in a bottle. But while she said in our interview that Mark Burnett outwitted her, that’s not really why she was voted out. What were the reasons? Why did Jenny lose?
“Beware of messages in bottles” is not one of the rules to be found in What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned. However, there are other things that Jenny could have known about and should have prepared for. Let’s see what they were.
The first rule, of course, tells players how they need to scheme and plot. Jenny understood the basics of alliances and how important they are, but she didn’t seem to necessarily think ahead about how alliances can shift and how she might find herself suddenly on the outside.
Jenny was comfortable in her alliance until the Mutiny. At that point, everything changed and Jenny needed to change with it. She should have immediately realized that all four original Raro were now together in her tribe. This never bodes well for outsiders. Furthermore, everybody knew about the Candice/Adam love interest. This also did not bode well.
But Jenny still went along with the plans that had been determined by the likes of Adam. When the tribe was at eight – four original Raro/four not – she helped boot Brad. It was really at that point that she should have seen the possibility of an original Raro foursome taking control. And that was also the point at which she could have perhaps done something about it by insisting, for instance, that they vote out Jonathan instead.
The problem, I think, is that Brad and Jenny didn’t really get along. So Jenny was likely all too happy to boot Brad. It wasn’t until later that this became a problem.
Once Brad was gone, the original Raros were in complete control. Early in the most recent episode, Jenny talked about how important it was to keep their five-person alliance (herself, Rebecca, Adam, Nate, Parvati) in the game. And she was right! But by Tribal Council time, the others had turned on Rebecca, and Jenny couldn’t do anything about it. In fact, I’m not sure Jenny tried to do anything about it, other than talking to Adam, who was absolutely the wrong person with whom to discuss it.
Indeed, that was when her downfall was sealed. Jenny specifically talked to Adam about voting out Candice. Hello? She didn’t believe him when he said he would, but simply by talking to him about it and indicating that she wanted him to boot her, she painted a big red target on herself. Adam now knew where she stood.
Part of this is creeping into the territory of the second rule, which talks about keeping your scheming secret, but I’m talking about it here because my point is that Jenny needed to be plotting against Adam, not with him. She needed to have realized that with Rebecca gone, she could well be the next target. She should have conspired with Nate and Rebecca to try to bring Parvati or Jonathan over to their side. Jonathan was the most likely, due to his nature, I think.
Since we already started discussing the second rule, let’s move on to that now. I don’t know that we can specifically say Jenny schemed and plotted too much, but I think it’s safe to say there was something about her that made people think she was untrustworthy. Part of it was the impression she gave, part was in her mistakes.
I just discussed the major mistake – scheming with Adam instead of against him. That alerted him to her thoughts and was viewed by him as backstabbing before she needed to. But that wasn’t the only issue.
When I interviewed Brad, he specifically said, “I didn’t really trust Jenny.” He added, “there’s something about that girl from day one that my guy was like, ‘don’t trust this girl, she’s kind of shady.’” Indeed, she did not appear to be a part of her original tribe’s alliance, as Brad was close to Becky and Yul while she didn’t seem to be. Being viewed as “shady” and plotting against the girlfriend of one of the main allies in her tribe is a bad combination.
The third rule tells players to be flexible. In this case, it affects Jenny in a couple different ways. While it would be unreasonable to expect players to think, “Hmmm, there might be a double-vote in the note, so I need to prepare for that,” it is perfectly reasonable to expect those same players to be thinking more than one vote ahead rather than being locked into the one-day-at-a-time strategy.
My father called me after the double-Tribal Council and asked if I thought the tribe had guessed the note called for a second vote, because the results were so lopsided against Jenny. But no, there is no evidence they believed that would be in the note. There is evidence, however, that the original Raros were thinking ahead. We saw Adam say that because of the way Jenny was acting, she was the most likely one to go after Rebecca. Obviously, the original Raros discussed this point and were thinking about the future.
But just as obviously, Jenny was not thinking ahead. She told me that if she had realized she was in danger, she’d have spoken up at Tribal Council. But she apparently felt fairly safe. While she was plotting to oust Candice or Adam, she didn’t realize that the others figured this out and were gunning for her.
The other way in which Jenny should have been more flexible was that, like Rebecca just before her, she missed the part of this rule that says, “you can’t simply tie yourself to one alliance and hope that it survives.” Jenny believed that her five-person alliance would hold together, even as she was helping to tear it apart by joining in the voting out of Rebecca. As mentioned earlier, she needed to see the danger signs earlier and do something about it.
The fourth rule says not to let emotions control you. I don’t think this was an issue for Jenny, other than as I’m about to discuss in the fifth rule. That one tells contestants to pretend to be nice and keep controversial beliefs to yourself. Jenny made some enemies early on in the form of Cristina and Brad. While this didn’t directly lead to her downfall, I do think they helped mask the overall alliance picture for her. That is, if she and Brad had gotten along better, she might have seen how dangerous the original-Raro foursome might become. Instead, I think she was all too happy to get rid of Brad. So in that way, she had issues with both the fourth and fifth rules, but they were mostly tangential.
Sixth is to not be too much of a threat. When the original Raros chose to vote out Jenny, it wasn’t because she would be a threat in individual challenges after the merge. Nor do I think, as she indicated to me in our interview, that they all suddenly decided she was weaker in tribal challenges and therefore would be a threat to them winning one if no merge arrived.
Instead, Jenny was a threat because she had flat-out told Adam she wanted to vote out Candice. If the tribes merged, she was the most likely to flip to the other side because, despite not being tight with Becky and Yul, she might have eventually seen the writing on the wall and realized she was no longer in her supposed alliance’s plans.
The seventh rule says not to be lazy and that providing food wins allies. Jenny didn’t do anything wrong here, but I do think Jonathan did some things right. He wasn’t satisfied with his position as an original Raro, but worked extra-hard to make sure he proved his worth.
That brings us to the eighth rule, which discusses whether or not Jenny’s tribemates should have voted her out. At this point, I think the answer is a resounding yes – for four out of five of them. The original Raros appear to be solid. Jonathan may be the least solid of all of them, but I don’t think he was in a position to do anything different, because he was the likeliest one to go instead of Jenny! Nate, of course, was the one who didn’t benefit by Jenny leaving, but he was also the one who didn’t vote against her. I think he realizes now that if there is no merge, he’s screwed.
But Jenny got screwed first, and we’ve laid out the reasons why. She did not think ahead far enough to realize the likely outcome of the mutiny – that the original Raro tribe would be back together again and cause former allies to become expendable. And when she did think ahead, she shared those thoughts with the wrong person, Adam. The double-vote was supposed to catch the Survivors unaware and unprepared. But she had telegraphed her desires in a way that allowed the original Raros to know ahead of time who they wanted to vote off next. That is why Jenny 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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