It’s fascinating to think about what Survivors should have done or could have done to experience just one more day out on the island. As a spectator at home, I found myself analyzing the actions of the eliminated Survivors and drawing conclusions about what single alliance, decision, or challenge was their ultimate demise that snuffed their torch of life.
Reem “Dude” Daly was not Survivor’s most annoying contestant (Phil or Abi still hold that title in my opinion), but she was like the mosquito that wouldn’t leave me alone. She didn’t bring anything to the table for her tribe to keep her around. She was an “old” woman, weak, and not socially apt enough for the game. Do not, under any circumstances, touch or move stranger’s belongings on the first day at camp. You will be targeted, and you will be a social threat to people. Reem is quoted off of the CBS website as saying “My social game is amazing and although I am honest to a fault, I know when to chill. I’ve been watching since 2000—I trust no one. Words mean zero to me. Actions speak louder!”. Reem “Dude” Daly’s ultimate demise was trying too hard to make her tribe happy and be indisposable at camp. Stop trying so hard, Reem, you’re annoying people by moving their stuff.
Keith Sowell was doomed from the start. A guy who can’t swim isn’t going to last long on an island competing in challenges where at least 2 always involve swimming of some sort! Keith’s ultimate demise was his physical abilities and lack of strength. He was an easy target to pick off because he was dead weight in challenges. Probably better to vote him out first before he drowned and died during the season. Keith, it was for your own safety!
Chris Underwood has the ultimate Survivor story. Voted out third because he put too much pressure on himself to play a perfect game, Chris won his way back onto the island to ultimately win a million dollars. After betraying Keith and eliminating him, Chris had to face him on Extinction Island and all of his shortcomings. This allowed Chris to reflect and motivated him to ‘earn’ his way back in – thus offering himself as a tribute to beat Rick in a fire making competition.
Rick Devens should have won the million dollars – don’t even fight me. He earned it! He fought and fought through so many tribals where he was “public enemy #1”. Rick Devens did nothing wrong except he didn’t make a fire fast enough to beat Chris. Period.
Aubry Bracco played a very emotional game this season. She was here for redemption and out for blood from the start. Initially a target due to her strategic history, Aubry got voted out as a threat. When she didn’t play the perfect game, Aubry fell apart and ruined her chances at getting back in the game when Extinction gave her a second chance. Aubry is one of my personal favorite Survivor contestants (as well as Davie Rickenbacker, Zeke Smith, & Russell). I related to her story, and she seemed like a normal person with a cutthroat competitive streak. This is a similar mindset that I would play the game if given the opportunity.
Wendy Diaz‘s elimination was the most cut and dry elimination of them all. “Don’t save the chickens. Don’t do it” I screamed at the TV as she secretly released the only source of protein the contestants had. Sigh. Some people really know how to put a target on their back. Wendy was likable, quirky, and different, but didn’t have the strategic foresight to see that releasing the chickens would be her ultimate demise. Wendy had a second chance on the Edge of Extinction, but she lacked the mental fortitude to survive the lonely conditions it brought.
Joe Anglim lost because he didn’t chop his God damn hair off. On a more serious note, Joe was too much of a physical threat to last long with the multiple strategic players in the game. He didn’t win the first immunity challenge, and the freshly merged tribe took advantage of the opportunity to pounce & eliminate while they still had the chance. Joe wanted to play a chill, low-key game. That’s what is tough with players like Joe, Malcolm, or Ozzy. People see the strength and are intimidated by it. Once you have two strong seasons, everyone is going to gun for you. Joe’s ultimate demise was not forming a secret alliance with the other returning players: Wentworth, Aubry, and David.
Eric Hafemann’s ultimate demise was his inability to please people and lie. When Julie came up to him with a plan, he needed to go along with it instead of outright refusing. Survivors need to appease people even when it’s not natural. I feel bad about this elimination because Eric didn’t do anything wrong, but paranoia got the best of the other Survivors and he was eliminated because they thought he somehow had an ulterior alliance with David and Rick.
Julia Carter is one of those players I will forget about because she had no stand out moments. She blended into the pack, and I respect her for that because it got her quite far. The drama started at Tribal Council when she got a little too cocky and said “You’re such a passenger, Rick.” This prompted one of the craziest Tribal Council’s I’ve ever witnessed! Rick proposed turning on Kama as a last-ditch effort to save his own skin, and Julia freaked out. Whispers started floating in between Julia and Rick’s debate about who would potentially work with who. Julie, a bottom member of Kama who knew her time in the majority alliance was limited, started stirring the pot to try and swing the power into her favor. Julia, at this time, should have kept her mouth shut. By talking so defensively and rudely, she gave everyone a reason to write her name down.
David Wright is another Survivor contestant who won me over on a previous season. I love how David surprises the audience at everything: social gameplay, athleticism, intelligence, strategy, and mental fortitude. I loved watching David evolve into a confident man from a demure, self-conscious temperament. David’s ultimate demise was not playing with Rick when he had the opportunity. Rick trusted him with half the immunity idol after he was awarded it on his return to the island. The two had a falling out about who to vote for, and they parted ways. Unfortunately, David elected to vote with Kelley’s alliance (the old Lesu tribe) which Rick was opposed to since they had been responsible for voting him out the first time. This didn’t immediately ruin him, but eventually, Kelley’s tribe voted him out in a later tribal council.
Kelley Wentworth‘s demise was not having a back-up alliance other than Wardog and Lauren. Lauren is manipulatable enough to just listen to whatever Wentworth has to say, but Wardog is a snake in the weeds. Kelley’s ultimate demise was not creating many bonds with other tribe members other than Lauren and Wardog. She stuck to her clique and did not waiver. Wardog betrayed Kelley’s trust and teamed up with a motley crew of underdogs to eliminate her.
Dan “Wardog” DaSilva was a very strange contestant. He boasts of being military and a lawyer, but he didn’t play like it. I was expecting a much bigger physical threat, but instead, Wardog was like a puppy learning how to swim when it came to challenges. Wardog’s ultimate demise was not including Gavin in on the plans to eliminate Wentworth. Gavin was out for blood and convinced everyone to blindside Wardog come next tribal. Karma is a bitch, sometimes.
Ron Clark’s energy was captivating. I can totally see him standing up in front of 32 high school kids and demanding their full attention and not takin’ no shit! Unfortunately, Ron’s demise was his ego. He forgot that Survivor is a game where anything can happen. When you feel too comfortable, you are more than likely getting blindsided or stabbed in the back by your alliance. Ron Clark boasted about being a “double agent” and that he was “in charge of this game” to his husband during the family visit he won. Bold statements from someone who would be shortly disposed of! Ron got caught “[manipulating]” people. Does TV truly capture the character of a person, or do the producers depict character archetypes however they want by hand selecting the clips they use? Ron could potentially be one they wrongfully characterized.
Aurora McCreary should have operated under the mindset of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” If Aurora could have put aside her personal vendetta against Rick Devens and worked together, they could have both been in the final three, hands down. They were both challenge beasts, both outsiders for the entire game. Aurora’s ultimate demise was not forming an alliance with Rick Devens when she needed it the most. She hyper-focused on working against Devens so hard she lost sight of what really mattered: the final 3.
Victoria “Beanie” Baamonde was a quiet player compared to what I initially thought about her from the first episode. She played a pretty passive game compared to her bold statement she provided to CBS stating “I am and always have been a hustler.” I wanted to see Vic manipulate Gavin and Julie in her favor. She is a strategic player. Calculated. Vic’s ultimate demise was being too passive in situations where she needed to be controlling, manipulate, and daring. She has the balls for it but wasn’t able to fabricate a perfect scenario to execute a plan. And also, whatever casting director that made her wear a wool beanie in Fiji needs to be fired immediately.
Lauren O’Connell’s ultimate demise was playing her idol for Chris. Here’s my problem with Lauren: for a girl who boasts of being an athlete, other females kicked her butt in challenges. Lauren needed to win more immunity necklaces and establish herself as more than a goat along for the ride. Lauren kid in Kelly’s shadows until she was gone! Nobody was intimidated by her because she was easily dispensible once her posse (Wentworth and Wardog) were eliminated. Lauren needed to play her idol at the perfect time, and unfortunately, she felt too comfortable playing it for someone who wasn’t a true alliance.