In more modern times, Survivor remembers Spencer, Tasha, and Kass as three popular underdogs, who all succeeded in Survivor: Cagayan despite a terrible star. Their impact on Cagayan was enough that all three were shoo-ins for the fan-voted cast of Survivor: Cambodia, meaning that literally ½ of a single tribe (Luzon) would return. The only tribes, other than Luzon, to hit or exceed the halfway point for returners are Tagi (4 at 50%), Kucha and Ogakor (4 at 50%), and Raro (3 at 60%). The Luzon Three have never failed to make the jury, but have definitely had to work to shake off of a very, very rough start.
In Survivor, timing is everything. We’ve seen over and over how the difference an hour, a day, or a span of three days can critically impact how certain events play out. The timing of events, however, is significantly affected by the availability of knowledge. In Cagayan, Luzon struggled to effectively manage both timing and the flow of information, particularly when it came to the other three members of the tribe: David, Garrett, and J’Tia.
David came out of the gates swinging (see what I did there?). Directly after being appointed the tribe leader, David elected to choose Garrett as the weakest in Luzon, strictly noting an “endgame” strategy. David’s inability to play according to the moment drew enough attention, eventually making him the casualty of the first vote. Following the David vote, Luzon lost again, eventually pitting two pairs against each other with Kass as the swing vote. Garrett’s decision to actively avoid strategizing would eventually ostracize the target at the time, J’Tia. With the writing on the wall, J’Tia took out her anger on the tribe’s rice storage, dumping it out onto the fire. If the majority had chosen not to air their dirty laundry, J’Tia would have been voted out second without any major camp-based blowup. For the first week of the game, Luzon struggled to keep secrets and win challenges, only surviving thanks to a fortuitous swap.
While on a far, far less dramatic scale, Gen X’s actions during the summit in Episode 3 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X also showed how an obvious flow and timing of information can impact the game. After the Rachel vote, there was a clear division between the majority and minority, which included Ken, David, and CeCe. Despite Ken and David’s usefulness in the Rachel vote, the majority seemingly saw no point in retaining them through blurring the hierarchy.
When the summit hit, both David and CeCe were left in a position to make a move. Without any assurances of safety in their tribe, they took advantage of the opportunity to converse with the Millennials. David and CeCe, two people who have seen their share of Survivor, obviously recognized the fact that a swap is imminent and relationships with the opposing tribe would be incredibly valuable. A 30-second conversation between Taylor and David could easily prove to be the thing that changes the tide of the entire game.
After Gen X lost the immunity challenge, CeCe was the obvious target. Sensing their situation, the minority alliance decided to make a move because “what else do they have to lose.” This statement, the reason J’Tia dumped the rice on the fire, is incredibly advantageous if used in the right ways. Playing with a particular sense of reckless abandon gave the Gen X minority the chance to avoid one more vote and fracture the majority. As the game progresses, the ability to not only know information, but recognizing the time to use it will prove increasingly important and can easily be the difference between pre-jury, post-merge, and final three.