Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific Episode 9 Thoughts

When this season began, one of the major questions that everybody had was how would Brandon Hantz's play compare to his uncles. After 9 episodes, we now have a similarity between the two. Unfortunately for Brandon, the similarity is one that is fatal to his attempts to win the game.

When Russell first played the game, he was by far the best strategic mind in the game, and easily was the best strategic player. To this day, many people (myself included) believe he should have won Survivor: Samoa.

However, Russell had a horrendous social game. It wasn't enough for him to beat the other players. Instead, he had to remind those who he beat that he had beaten them, and outsmarted them. He also had to treat everybody who was against him as though they were garbage, and make that obvious as well. He made it uncomfortable to live in the camp, and thus difficult for people to want to vote him to win the game. In the end, this ended up biting him in the ass.

Brandon seemed to be playing a different game than his uncle. He wasn't a successful manipulative player, but he chose to eventually play with honesty, instead of deception. He favoured tribal unity than splintering the tribe so he can advance his own agenda. And most importantly, he seemed to favour not insulting others.

But this episode, we saw another side of Brandon. One that decided to laugh and insult Savaii, so that he can protect and stand up for his new friend Cochran. While this could almost be seen as admirable (wanting to defend a friend against the perceived bullies), it is also death to his chances to win a final tribal vote.

One of the things you need to be aware of when playing Survivor is how others perceive you. Most of the time, this is to make sure you know where you stand in the game and whether you need to scramble or make a move to improve your lot. But it is also important to know who you are perceived because these are the people who are going to decide whether you win or lose. You need to know if you need to mend fences, or if you need to possibly change your approach to them.

But even if you know where you stand, it won't matter if you do nothing to change that perception. Much like his uncle prior to him, Brandon seems to be revelling in tormenting the Savaii tribe while he has the advantage. And just like his uncle prior, Brandon will end up losing the game because he can't control himself when he has the advantage. More importantly, Brandon doesn't seem to comprehend how much damage he is doing to his chances to win the game.

So congratulations to Brandon and Cochran on making the final three. You would think both would be aware of how Russell Hantz blew two shots at $1 million, but instead they continue to make the same mistakes.

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