I’m telling you guys, I just don’t understand what’s going on. Is Jeff Probst trying to con us or something? Think about it, remember back before Worlds Apart when our favorite host talked so glowingly about the season, then we were left with a hard-to-watch dud? This season, he tempered expectations oh so much and, I’ve got to say, especially after last episode, we’re watching a hell of a season.
I have no idea why Probst did this. Maybe it’s going to be an all-women finale? Maybe after Dan and Will’s behavior during Worlds Apart Probst understood not to hype a season full of bullying? I’m not sure. And, frankly, I don’t care anymore. I’m going to enjoy the ride and this week marked the apex of the season so far.
Let me start by saying I think Cydney and Aubry made a huge mistake this week. This was not good strategy. This was being locked into on one decision (booting Julia) and not be able to course correct after that avenue became blocked. I don’t think we’re talking in a few weeks about how this decision catalyzed Cydney or Aubry’s run to a victory. Nope. Not at all.
But let’s talk about all that happened while discussing theory, shall we? Today we’re going to apply self-regulation theory, another theory coming from the world of social psychology, a world we surprisingly visit often even though I myself am more of a sociologist. Anyway, last season we talked about social learning theory, which was first discovered by Albert Bandura, one of the absolute rock stars of social psychology (I know, I know, that’s an oxymoron).
Bandura’s made a huge impact on understanding how human’s make decisions, how they learn and, for people like me, how media plays a role in all this. For self-regulation theory, Bandura introduced it, but numerous other researchers modified it over the years.
OK, so the basic idea behind self-regulation theory? The theory essentially talks about willpower without ever mentioning that word. It says that we want things that aren’t necessarily good for us. For example, some afternoon, I might want to spend the entire day on the couch, eating McDonald’s and watching Netflix. But when this want appears in my subconscious, I know I have work to do, and that McDonald’s is generally unhealthy, so I don’t do it. I’ve self-regulated.
According to some applications of theory, not only do people vary in their ability to self-regulate, but it’s also more difficult for people to do so once they’ve made up their mind in a certain way. And this brings us to Aubry and Cydney.
From my perspective, Aubry and Cyndey were in control this episode. They came together and ditched Nick last week and now had the opportunity to really put their stamp on the game, to make the season their own. They saw Kyle/Jason, Scot and Tai acting like moronic and just plain mean 5-year-old babies, but they also saw Julia transparently playing both sides. They decided Julia needs to go and, oh maybe with that vote some idols would be flushed along the way.
Great plan. We know that Aubry and Cydney both correctly saw straight through Julia.
But then the immunity challenge ends and, well, our duo with the power needs to change course. Unfortunately for them, in my mind, the course they chose was simply bad strategy.
I think that Aubry and Cydney had made up their minds that getting rid of one of three infantile dudes was a bad move. In the context of voting out Julia, maybe it was. But in the absence of Julia as a target, this is not a good move at all. And if they thought about it, they probably would have been right. But they couldn’t self-regulate. They wanted someone from their alliance gone and simply couldn’t pivot strategically.
Let’s break it down, conceding Aubry and Cydney in the decision-making seat. They knew, according to Deb’s exit interviews, that Scot didn’t have an idol. Why not split the vote between Scot and, say, Joe? I know you’re trusting Julia, but she’d have no problem ditching Joe, who seems like a far larger strategic liability than Debbie. You tell Debbie and Joe to vote Scot, along with Aubry, and then you have Cydney, Julia and Michele vote Joe. By doing this you keep Debbie, who’s clearly a better strategist than Joe and incredibly loyal, or you actually get rid of Scot because nobody wants to use an idol to save a millionaire.
I really believe that Aubry and Cydney just had it in their minds that one of the three guys should not go home, and so they just couldn’t regulate that opinion. And they went and, potentially, completely screwed up their own game. The guys (and maybe Julia) have tons of power now, and Aubry and Cydney have gone and screwed over Joe for the second time. We’ll see how this ends for Aubry and Cydney, but I can’t imagine well ….
This season just keeps getting better in my mind. But the one thing sits in the back of my head: Aren’t we waiting on one more person pulled from the game? Let’s hope not since we’re too close to an end to see that. But, again, I’m just going to enjoy the ride since I came into this season pessimistically and now I’m thinking this is a top-15 season with room to move on up.
For this next part, where we talk about the players, let me explain what I would do in their shoes right now:
And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll check back next Friday. Have a great week everyone and let’s do some talking in the comments section.
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.