Survivor: Cook Islands – Why Ozzy Lostby David Bloomberg -- 12/20/2006
Ozzy was oh-so-close to winning a million dollars. Instead he has to settle for $100,000 and a new car. Still not bad. But why didn’t he get that one more vote? Why did Ozzy lose?
Ozzy did a lot of things right. He won a ton of challenges and kept himself around by sheer force of will. But in the end it came down to brains (Yul) vs. brawn (Ozzy). When we look back at What Cook Island Survivors Should Have Learned, the focus is definitely on the former. Let’s see what Ozzy did right in that regard – and what he didn’t.
The first rule was one that Yul certainly understood, but the question is whether Ozzy did as well. It says players need to scheme and plot in order to survive. In fact, part of it looks like it was written for Ozzy, as it notes, “hunting and fishing are likely not very big issues; instead, the real survival skills necessary here are more along the lines of something you might learn from Renaissance schemer Niccolo Machiavelli than anything you can get out of a survival book.”
Ozzy was definitely in the “survival book” camp. And we can’t exactly hold it against him! However, he did not seem to go out of his way to make alliances – rather, they came to him.
It’s not a bad plan, but one that relies on others to make it work. In his interview with me, Ozzy said his strategy was to be the top provider and make people think twice about voting him off. And to skip ahead to the seventh rule, that is a good thing. But there is a reason “providing food wins allies” is the seventh rule and “scheme and plot” is the first. Yes, food is good, but providers have been voted off before and will be voted off again. The only certain way to stick around is to have a trusted alliance.
Ozzy himself realized this after it was all said and done. He told me, “I probably screwed up a bit in my strategy in that I didn’t do enough politicking and did too much fishing.” I think Ozzy’s analysis of himself is dead-on accurate. Given a choice between spending more time on the first rule or the seventh, the first is definitely the way to go.
But you might ask, “How did Ozzy make it so far if you’re saying he wasn’t good at this, David?” Ah, because he found himself in an alliance through very little political effort of his own. Recall that before the mutiny, Ozzy was considered an outsider on the Aitu tribe. They were already starting to worry about him post-merge and had already thought about getting rid of him. The mutiny solidified his position on the Aitu alliance – again, not really through his own scheming actions. And then his own string of immunity wins brought it home, all while the others in his alliance thought again about voting him out if ever he didn’t wear the immunity necklace.
When Yul has been going through his post-win interviews, he has frequently talked about the group making decisions. But I don’t think “the group” included Ozzy in this regard. In my interview with Sundra, she specifically said, “Becky, Yul, and myself discussed everything.” Note who is missing from that list. She continued in the same vein with, “Yul never ever said this is what we’re going to do, he always came to Becky and me and we all spoke about it together.” Again, her and Becky. Not Ozzy.
Similarly, Yul discussed, in my interview with him, how he pulled the wool over Ozzy’s eyes by having Jonathan pretend the only way he would flip was if they voted out Nate. This took out a potential threat because Nate and Ozzy had at least the beginnings of a possible alliance.
And Yul also spoke of how he competed hard in challenges until he saw that Ozzy had them in the bag, and then let up a bit (though he admitted Ozzy would have beaten him in most or all of them anyway!). The point is that Ozzy was never really as much a part of the inner circle as the other three. I’m not saying he was totally out of the loop or had no say in matters, but he wasn’t quite as hardcore as the other three. He had a purpose – to win challenges so the Raros wouldn’t. But he was not really the schemer.
So, after all that discussion, I think it’s safe to say Ozzy was okay with the second rule, which says not to scheme and plot too much. And he certainly didn’t backstab too soon, given that he never stabbed anybody in the back! So we’re good on that front.
The third rule says to be flexible. Ozzy really did not succeed on this front, as he did what the rule advises against and tied himself to a single alliance. Yes, Yul did the same thing, but as I explain in Why Yul Won, the difference is that Yul was the one guiding the alliance while Ozzy was just tagging along.
No matter what plan one of the Raros approached Ozzy with, he never went along with it. Maybe he simply figured he could win immunity all the way to the jury and they would respect him for that enough to give him the million. It almost worked, after all! So it is somewhat difficult to criticize him too much for not breaking ranks. Indeed, if he had gone along with one of Adam’s or Parvati’s or Candice’s schemes and he did still make the final three, he likely would have been facing a jury of mostly Raros (and thus likely to vote for their own) and Aitus he’d double-crossed (and thus less likely to vote for him). So in this rare case, I’m going to say sticking with the alliance was the right thing to do.
Certainly, Ozzy didn’t have any problems with the fourth rule, which says not to allow emotions to control you. While he played with his heart and soul, he didn’t let that heart interfere. A perfect example is the aforementioned situation with Nate. It was pretty obvious that Ozzy and Nate were becoming friendly. But when Ozzy found out that (supposedly) the only way to get Jonathan to flip was by voting out Nate, that’s just what he did. He did not allow friendship to get in the way of the game.
The fifth rule advises contestants to pretend to be nice. Here, Ozzy didn’t have anything to worry about. He seems to be a nice enough guy and didn’t have to put on a special game face. The votes he did get are good indicators of this fact.
Of course, the sixth rule was shot to heck by Ozzy. It says not to be too much of a threat. Do I really need to explain how much of a challenge threat Ozzy was?! But here’s the thing – it didn’t matter. Because Ozzy never lost immunity when it counted, this rule had nothing to do with his loss!
We’ve already discussed the seventh rule in conjunction with the first, so there’s no need to retread that ground. So how did Ozzy do in the jury phase? Well, as we’ve already noted, he only lost by one vote, so he didn’t do too bad. But there were a couple votes he expected to get and didn’t. For example, there was Adam, who would have voted for Ozzy, but had made a promise to Yul. What was that promise? He agreed to vote for Yul in the end if Yul got rid of Jonathan before him. Yul did exactly that, even though, as all the Aitu four have said, it was a group decision to rid the game of Jonathan.
But that is one of the keys here. Yul took credit for what the group as a whole did. Occasionally that meant taking blame as well, but in this case, it got Yul a definite vote. Even to this day, Adam refuses to believe that it was truly a group decision. As he told me in my interview with him, “Yul ran the show. … I still don’t think Ozzy or Sundra really had any input.” By not playing the social game – both earlier and then leading up to the jury – Ozzy left out a key component.
Ozzy played so much of Survivor well. He was a challenge phenomenon. He caught more food than anybody. And the alliance he was in made it all the way to the final four. But as I noted earlier, Ozzy himself admitted to his one fatal flaw – emphasizing survival skills over Survivor skills.
I said in Why Yul Won, “Scheming and plotting might not win every edition, but it still remains the most important aspect of the game. Winning challenges, as Ozzy did, certainly is another important aspect that can get a person to the finals, but it is somewhat risky because one false move and that player could be gone. Or, as in this case, they might be questioned as to what they did other than challenges.” That is the situation where Ozzy found himself. His skill in certain aspects of the game cannot be denied. But the one missing link in his game was also the most important. That is why Ozzy 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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