Survivor recap: No Love Lost

A decision at the loved ones challenge puts a plan in motion to send the winner packing — complete with plenty of emotional baggage. Plus: Where does this season rank when compared to all the others?
Ep. 13 | Aired May 8, 2013

HUGGING IT OUT Brenda’s fatal flaw was winning the loved ones challenge in the first place

CBS

“Four days from now we’re going to have big smiles on our faces. I guarantee you that.” — Brenda Lowe

Whoops! This once again proves that unless your name is Joe Willie Namath, you have no business guaranteeing anything in life. Unfortunately for her, Brenda’s guarantee blew up in her face. I know what some of you out there are saying:

“It’s so unfair what they did to poor Brenda! Voting her out after she sacrificed her own visit with her dad so that other people in the tribe could hang out with their loved ones.”

“I can’t believe what a backstabber that two-faced Dawn is! Getting rid of Brenda after she picked her to join in the loved ones visit AND found her missing teeth!”

“These people are monsters! Brenda was the only likable one left and I am so done!”

“OMG, Malcolm is soooooo hot!” (Since that’s what half of the Survivor audience seems to be saying at all times no matter what is going on.)

To those people, I say this: Brenda has no one to blame for getting voted out but herself. I have said it before and I will say it again. NEVER WIN THE LOVED ONES CHALLENGE! All it does is lead to problems. You either piss people off that you do not select to join you on the reward — who will then vote you off or not give you their vote at the final Tribal — or you sacrifice your own loved ones visit so that others can enjoy theirs, which makes you too likable to bring to the end. This is the very definition of a paradoxical no-win scenario.

So Brenda can cry all she wants, but there’s a reason I’ve hammered this point home over the years. And yet they never listen. The second Jeff Probst offered her that lose-lose choice to either screw her tribemates over or do them an incredible favor, her game was effectively over. But she would not have put herself in that position if she had just let someone else win instead.

Now the question becomes, was it a good move to get rid of Brenda? For Cochran and Sherri, the answer is an indisputable yes. Brenda is well liked by pretty much everyone on the jury and dominates in endurance challenges, so she needed to go if they want any chance of winning the million dollars. So strategically speaking, you cannot fault them for the move. Dawn, on the other hand, is a different story. I have no problems with Dawn backstabbing Brenda on any sort of moral grounds, most likely because I have no morals. But strategically, I think it was a bad move. In fact, I think Dawn just effectively killed her chances of winning. (Although her chances were pretty damn small even before she kicked her friend to the curb.)

Dawn did a brilliant job this game of concealing her allegiances in the game and making every single person think they could trust her. That list includes Julia, Corinne, Malcolm, Andrea, and now Brenda, who suggested getting rid of Cochran sooner rather than later, not realizing Cochran was Dawn’s closest ally in the game. But now she has the Coach problem. Everyone in South Pacific felt close to Coach and then blamed him when he discarded them along they way. They blasted him on a personal level for their demise and as a result, Sophie walked away with the million dollars.

NEXT: Erik attempts to escape from Survivor jail

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