Well, in theory... Pat Ferrucci's S33 recaps

Ep.7: Michaela gets dysfunctional, and get dys-boot


Let’s start by saying something really obvious: There is no perfect way to lead.


But, oh gosh, did make Michaela make a bad move when she tried to become a vocal leader over at Ikabula. For the most part, the Millennials at that tribe hadn’t really experienced tribal council. And when they did, Jay and Michelle really ran the show. Now all of a sudden, Michaela tried to draw up the rest of the season in the sand.


Bad move.


In some organizations, a real strong, opinionated leader is needed. Call it the Steve Jobs approach. But, you know, in other settings, a more reasoned and team-oriented approach is necessary. The best leaders recognize what the group needs and reacts.


Think about football, for example. In week where the Patriots have a bye, indulge me while say amazingly wonderful things about Bill Belichick.


Now, in football, of course, coaches basically have to act as dictators, so we’re not necessarily talking about different types of leadership. But, I would argue, consistently good coaches adapt to the team around them and put players in the best position to succeed.


Time and time again in the NFL, we see the crappiest of crappy coaches say they have a “system” and the players need to fit into that, regardless of whether the personnel grouping warrants it. That never happens in New England. The team constantly changes to reflect the talent on the roster. And it’s why regardless of the makeup of the team and whether it’s Tom Brady or Matt Cassel or some dude named Jimmy G. quarterbacking, the Patriots win.


Other coaches? Well, sometimes personnel lines up and a successful season happens. But other times, coaches force square pegs into round holes and the team suffers. That’s the way it goes.


So what does all this football talk have to do with Survivor? I’m glad you asked.


Xs and Os, like in football


I would argue that if we were to classify Bill Belichick as a leader, we’d say he’s functionalist. You see, while there are dozens upon dozens of theories of leadership, my favorite happens to be functional theory.


Popularized by the scholar John Adair, at its core, functional theory argues that the best leaders take a look at their group, ascertain the group’s needs and fulfills those. Once the needs are satiated, the group can then act with the most cohesion and in the most effective manner possible. The key here is that leadership is subtle. It’s not a showy, do this, do that kind of thing. A good leader looks at the group individually, makes judgements about each member and what they particularly need to succeed and provides that.


Michaela, well, she did a piss poor job of that. First, she should have known that Jay, especially, still holds some allegiance with Taylor and Michelle. She should also have realized, by now, that Jay also fancies himself a bit of a leader. So while sitting Jay, Will and Hannah down and dictating a plan may have the best approach to take with, say, Hannah, it was definitely a bad idea with Jay.


The editors made it seem like the decision by Jay and Will to boot Michaela came from a fear of her intelligence. Now, I’m sure that’s part of it. But, I guarantee, a major part of the decision was made once Michaela tried to take over as a vocal leader. That’s not what Jay or Will needed. They needed to feel like they lived in a democracy. Michaela didn’t get that and, for that reason, she got the boot.


OK, well now let’s take one last look at the remaining castaways as members of distinct tribes. A 13-person merge is a bit much for my liking, but it sure looks like we’ll be seeing a merge episode next week.





  • 1. Chris — Let’s just say that Chris put on a hell of a show at both challenges this week. And I think he’s going to do the same post merge. And, of course, this is going to be make him a huge target, sadly.


  • 2. David — I think it might have been a good move for David to show Zeke the idol, but, overall, I just don’t buy David as a good player because he constantly needs to be doing something. He’ll probably end up in a dominant alliance post merge, but he’ll be one of the first people booted from said alliance because everyone will see him as a schemer. I mean, they already do.


  • 3. Michelle — Well, I thought Michelle would go home this episode. Didn’t happen. And now with the merge coming, Michelle might have a long run in her. She’s super smart strategically (most of the time), great at puzzles and could very easily fly under the radar post merge. We shall see.


  • 4. Zeke — After the way he roared of the gate with good strategy and awesome confessionals, Zeke kind of moved into the background this season. This week, though, we got the old Zeke back and I’m really feeling a long run for him.





  • 1. Bret — Why can’t Bret be both a cop and a funeral director? It’s expensive to live in Massachusetts, you know.


  • 2. Sunday — You know that scene where Ikabula sat on a log and didn’t speak? Well, that’s the entire season for Sunday


  • 3. Hannah — I don’t want to step on Dalton Ross’ shoes here, but a season featuring Eliza and Hannah would make for, quite possibly, the most exciting season of facial expressions ever.


  • 4. Will — There was this point on the show, last week, where some character named “Will” said something about trust. I couldn’t quite understand what he meant because I didn’t realize someone named “Will” was on the show.


  • 5. Jay — As I’ve said, I’m not a fan of the Big Move™ from Jay, but each episode, I become more of a fan of Jay in general. The way he owned the booting of Michaela and at least understood how much of a threat she could be shows he’s far and away better than most of his Millennial counterparts.





  • 1. Ken — Well, Ken kind of went and messed up that layup drill at the end of the reward challenge, but once again, overall, a really strong episode for my fellow Coloradoan. Let’s hope he doesn’t get too cocky because editing makes me feel like that’s going to be his downfall (at the hands of David).


  • 2. Jessica — You know, for the most part, we’ve seen Jessica on the fringes for most of the season. She had the great opening episode, finding the Legacy Advantage, and was a strong voice in the booting of Paul. Other than that, she’s been kind of just there … which isn’t a bad spot. However, these last two weeks, I’ve been totally impressed by her under-the-radar moves and clear understanding of the competition. She’s a dark horse for me right now.


  • 3. Adam — I don’t know how to judge that episode for Adam. We didn’t really get to see much of Takali besides his horrible speech to Taylor. And, on the other hand, Ken and Jessica seemed to understand Adam’s potential for winning and may have sided with Taylor at the next vote. Overall, not a great episode for my winner pick.


  • 4. Taylor — Give Taylor a little credit: He seemed to handle backstabbing pretty well. More importantly, he seemed to handle Adam’s laughably awful apology of sorts even better. Maybe Taylor does have a Fabio-like run in him. Doubt it, but maybe.


This sure doesn’t seem to make sense from week to week. And this is when we had a theme and clear tribes. I imagine we’re in for a quite a surprising merge next week. Let’s see what happens.  


Pat Ferrucci Survivor 31 recapsPat 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.