Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan Episodes 1-5 thoughts

A rant, if you will allow me, on losing sight of the big picture.

This isn't directed at Lindsey for what she did this episode. In fact, what she did was the opposite of losing sight of the big picture. She had the foresight to know that if she continued in the game as a member of the Solana tribe, she was

(BTW, why is the Solana tribe the purple tribe and not the orange tribe?)

Tonight, Alexis got caught up in trying to push her agenda too agressively. If she had just let things play out normally, Jeremiah would have been the next one to go with no worries. That clue that he was given had sealed his fate, especially when the explanation that he gave was so unbelievable to a tribe that doesn't know Tony and his propsenity to stretch the truth. (That Jeremiah was telling the truth made it an even better moment on a season that has consistently delivered thus far.) But instead, she pushed the issue, pointing out that Tony yelling "top 5" meant they thought they had somebody on the other tribe. But the obvious answer to that question was Sarah, not Jeremiah, no matter what Tony did. As well, the even more obvious answer was that Tony wasn't even thinking of having a 6th person in the loop to flip. If he was, why would he flaunt that the top 5 was the 5 members of his tribe and not include the mystery 6th person?

Plus, Alexis pulls a Tony earlier on in the episode. When she saw her Beauty tribe mates come out for the Reward Challenge, Alexis became giddy. Not the best side to show your tribe when you have already indicated that you are willing to flip on your original tribe.

So instead of just saying "It's Jeremiah tonight, right?" Alexis had to continue to push for what had already been seemingly decided. Between this and her excitement about her Beauty tribemates being still in the game, it threw more shade on her instead and eventually caused her ouster. You have to know what is going on around you, and Alexis did not.

This losing sight of the big picture has been a common theme this entire season.  It began with the Brains tribe losing their minds a few times.

David kicked it off by designating his strongest player, Garrett, as his weakest player. In post game interviews, David gave a logical reason for it - he thought that there was going to be some sort of initial competition to give an advantage to one of the tribes, and he wanted his strongest player to be in it. The thing is, he never explained that to Garrett, instead hoping that his attempts to smooth it over by saying "No hard feelings" would be good enough. Not seeing that he needed to rebuild that trust with Garrett ultimately caused his demise.

Of course Garrett managed to screw things up later on. He felt like he had his 3 - himself, Kass and Spencer - and he didn't see a need to make Tasha feel welcome. Add in his insistance that once everybody had told J'Tia that she was going that there was to be no strategizing and he set himself up to get voted out. If he took a step back, he would have realized that he didn't have that much to be concerned about with Tasha and Kass talking. J'Tia was a mess. There was no reason to think that the Brains tribe, who were already reeling, would vote somebody else out without a great reason. Being viewed as a tyrannical leader was a pretty good reason.

Brice actually didn't lose sight of the big picture in a crippling way; he just lost sight of it in a simpler way. Specifically, he didn't seem to realize that giving Jeremiah a choice of voting with a group of 4 and voting somebody out or voting with a group of 3 and going to rocks was a non-starter. He needed the 4th, which he didn't seem to put any effort into acquiring. A big detail which lead to the other side voting him out, seeing him as the stronger player between himself and Morgan.

J'Tia obviously didn't see the big picture when she dumped the rice out. It was an FU move that could have also served as an unoffical quit (a "I'll give you a reason to vote me out" type of thing.) But it actually got her 6 more days on the island (with her being loyal, but an easy boot.) They were just a hungry 6 days.

And then there was Cliff. Cliff thought he was in the majority alliance, and thought that he was ahead in the game. But he overlooked a key thing - making sure that everybody else you are aligned with feels as though they are a part of your team, and not definitively at the bottom. He didn't do this with Trish, who definitely thought that Lindsey and him view her as the most expendable, so she made her move before he could make his.

The best players of the game are able to balance the immediate needs of their moves with the long term implications. They understand that they need to manage their allies and their enemies, and make them all feel wanted. This season, not being able to differentiate between the minutia and the big picture has cost most of the players who have left the game.

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