Andrea’s so dumb. I mean, why would she push to get rid of Zeke when she knows two things: First, her alliance would then only have a 5-4 advantage and, second, Sarah’s been known to jump alliances.
That opening paragraph pretty much sums up the argument of folks who believe Andrea made the wrong move. The opposite argument? Andrea is the absolute best. I mean, she knows Zeke’s a coming for her soon, so beat him to the punch at all costs.
When you really think about it, both sides make a whole lot of sense even though, in this case, neither side offers a perfect argument. Simply put, I don’t think Andrea could have made a great move either way.
But why did she choose to go the eliminate Zeke route? Some might argue it was simply the best decision she could make. When we make that case, though, it implies that rest of Andrea’s alliance – Michaela, Sarah, Cirie and Aubry – couldn’t simply tell Andrea they weren’t going along with the plan. We know that both Sarah, especially with her vote steal, and Cirie could have done something about the decision if they wanted. So why not?
This is where we should talk about the theory (or concept) of social stability. When sociologists study organizations (or even groups), they tend to do so with an eye toward social stability. What do I mean? Well, I’ll use my favorite example: In 1979, Columbia University sociologist Herbert Gans published Deciding What’s News. One of the most groundbreaking books of the then-nascent boon in media sociology research, the tome chronicles Gans’ participant observations of various newsrooms. Gans remained most interested in how journalists pick and choose news. Fundamentally, he wanted to understand news production processes. He implicitly argued that a lot of decisions made came from a need for stability and to avoid, essentially, unpredictability. Journalists value predictability in their routines.
And, as we all know, so do Survivor players. It’s easy to say that the core alliance in the game should have at least stayed together for one more vote and eliminated a member of the other four. Zeke obviously felt this made the most sense. But the rest of the five knew that Zeke couldn’t be trusted in the sense that at some moment, he was going to try and take over the game.
Castaways desire predictability. They want to trust the rest of the alliance or, at least, understand motivations. That way, when the time comes for a player to flip, the rest of the alliance understands why. Think about this from Andrea and Cirie’s perspective. They thought Zeke was with them, and he flipped and tried to take out Andrea.
For us at home, Zeke explained his reasoning: He basically wanted to be the center of the game and knew that his move against Andrea might not have been the brightest. If you’re Andrea and Cirie, this makes no sense intuitively, someone making a dubious move just because others seem to calling the shots. They knew he would do it again. To them, Michaela, Aubry and Sarah are just votes of sorts. Andrea and Cirie are running the game in their minds and to continue this level of stability, Zeke needed to go.
So while I feel like a lot of the attention surrounding last week’s vote rightly focuses on Andrea, too little examines why her alliance came together to do it. They craved social stability. They might not get it since Sarah’s doing a lot more talking with the other side than anyone understands, but, at the moment, I would say it was the right call.
And now, let’s talk about the remaining players individually:
With that, I’m done for the week. Let’s talk next week … hopefully after another good episode.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.