During the pre-season, each contestant is asked several questions in their CBS bio to gather more information for the public to get to know them. The castaways are all primarily asked about their hobbies, pet peeves, accomplishments, why they think they will win Survivor, and which past Survivor players they’re most like. It’s that last question that is the focus of this new weekly feature.
Generally, the most mentioned players are Parvati Shallow, Boston Rob, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Tony Vlachos, and Kim Spradlin. Most players want to emulate each of their games after Survivor winners. Other past players frequently mentioned are Cirie Fields, Malcolm Freberg, and Kelley Wentworth. Even if they didn’t win, their gameplays are highly respectable due to their strategic prowess, charms, and wits.
During this season, after each player is voted out, I will compare their gameplay to the past Survivor player they mentioned they were most likely to play like. Then, based on that, see if they played like that particular past player, or if they didn’t, could that have helped them improve their overall placement in the game.
This week’s boot, Morriah Young, said the Survivor she would play the game most like is James Clement.
Morriah started in the Baka tribe alongside Elie Scott, Jeanine Zheng, Mike Gabler, Owen Knight, and Sami Layadi. The tribe, unfortunately, lost their first reward challenge, starting them at a disadvantage as they now had to earn their meager supplies. The tribe then decided to go for “savvy” for their next challenge, and thanks to Sami, were able to complete their task in time and collect their supplies in turn.
As the group started to build their shelter, Morriah, Elie, and Jeanine were shown to be forming a bond which later turned into an all-girls alliance, which, had they stuck to it, could’ve propelled their chances within the game. As for Morriah, she was mainly seen as an outgoing, bubbly, and happy-as-a-clam player who quickly formed bonds with her tribemates and helped out at camp.
Here’s the first significant similarity and difference between Morriah and James. Both were equally shown to be hard workers and willing to form the necessary bonds to advance in the game. However, Morriah played a much more notorious social game, as she not only had the girls’ alliance but was also having conversations with Sami. James operated in a much lower frequency, so to speak, as he was shown to be more of an observer and listener than an outright strategist, giving his alliance members such as Amanda Kimmel or Parvati Shallow the upper strategic hand.
At the first immunity challenge, the Baka tribe lost again, earning a one-way ticket to the first tribal council of the season. At this point, strategy conversations were finally held between Baka members, as there had been hesitancy from all but Owen to talk about alliances. Morriah and Owen then became the two main targets, the former for apparently being considered the “weakest” tribe member. Morriah felt some comfort with her allies, though unbeknown to her, Jeanine and Elie were strongly considering voting her out as well.
On the contrary, James was never deemed to be the weakest, and in his first two seasons, during the post-merge, he has considered one of the strongest players left despite never winning individual immunity.
Once at tribal, Morriah’s game started to crumble around her. After Jeff asked the players how they felt after losing, Morriah proudly pronounced that they were winners regardless. These comments, plus the notion of “keeping the tribe strong,” might have been the last nail in the coffin (pun intended for James’ occupation).
In comparison, at tribal, James tended to deadpan his evasive answers or blurt out about banana etiquette. It is rare to see a player so forthcoming at tribal like Morriah and live to tell the tale another day. However, considering that her allies were now against her and she was voted out unanimously, her chances were already slim to none.
Seeing Morriah in just one episode is hard to predict what she could’ve done differently to stay, especially if she wanted to play like James. She tried to remain loyal to the girls, which backfired. She did help out at camp and didn’t perform poorly at the challenge and was still deemed “weak.” And her answers at tribal weren’t sneaky enough to rattle the others to flip the vote. It sucks that Morriah was voted out first, and unanimously at that, but at least she can say that she wasn’t medevaced or was eliminated with two idols in her pocket.
A fun fact to add here is the interview between Rob Cesternino and Survivor 42 winner Maryanne Oketch, where they talked about Survivor’s Curse of the Letter M. As Maryanne explained, a woman with a name that starts with the letter M gets voted out at the first tribal they attend each time. Examples include Mari Takahashi from Millennials vs. Gen X, Morgan Ricke from Ghost Island, Molly Byman from Island of the Idols, and coincidentally, Maryanne was spared of this curse because of Marya Sherron in Survivor 42. Whether this curse is like the car curse (only recently beat by Dino Paulo in Survivor SA – Return of the Outcasts) or not, for this article’s sake, Morriah meets the criteria of this newfound curse.
- Survivor 43
- Original tribe(s): Baka tribe
- Placement: 18/18
- Survivor: China, Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
- Original tribe(s): Fei Long, Favorites, Heroes.
- Placement: 7/16, 7/20, 14/20
Similarities: Both formed social and strategic bonds with other players in their tribes, both wanted to stay loyal to their original alliances, both had some sort of advantage/safety option that could have helped advance in the game (James had two idols in China and Morriah had the “Shot in the Dark” twist), both were considered as likable by their tribes, both lost a first immunity challenge (Morriah in Survivor 43, and James in Fans vs. Favorites and Heroes vs. Villains).
Differences: Morriah was more proactive when it came to forming her alliances, whereas James established them and then was shown to take a “laid back” approach; neither played their advantages when it came to their eliminations; James was eliminated for being deemed “too strong” and Morriah for being “the weakest;” Morriah was the first voted out of her season, James’ lowest placement throughout his three seasons was 14/20 in Heroes vs. Villains.