Survivor 43

I Wanna Play Like You – Episode 8 – Jeanine

How did the latest boot compare to their favorite(s)?

Photo: CBS

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.

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, Jeanine Zheng, said the Survivor(s) she would play the game most like is Kim Spradlin-Wolfe and Andrea Boehlke.

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Kim Spradlin. She had the ability to control the game based on her interpersonal relationships, convincing everyone on the tribe that they could trust her. She straddled the perfect balance of executing huge game moves without being pegged as the mastermind — and is feminism at its finest. Also, Andrea Boehlke because she is outdoorsy, carried her weight and manipulated people while staying likable.

I’ll have to agree with this episode’s title and say that it was “preposterous” to vote out a player without allies, advantages, or a majority of votes over a physical player who, according to the edit, is barely even contributing to the “final seven” alliance. Yes, numbers are significant on Survivor, and every vote counts, especially when there were still eleven players left, though it does seem like a missed opportunity.

However, several markers showed that Jeanine’s game was on a downward spiral, including losing two allies in back-to-back blindsides, she was kept in the dark about crucial game decisions, and, to top it all off, her idol was “flushed out” (though it was later revealed that it was passed between players at the last second without her knowledge). All in all, Jeanine’s torch getting snuffed was almost a guarantee, which led to her becoming the first member of the jury.

Jeanine started the game on Baka, where she instantly bonded with the women, particularly with Elie. Baka lost its first two challenges, including immunity, and though Gabler seemed like the obvious first boot, he had an immunity idol that protected him for his next two tribals. Elie spearheaded the rest of Baka to unite under the “keeping the tribe strong” banner, and Morriah turned out to be the first casualty.

Photo: CBS

Over the next couple of days, Elie and Jeanine kept bonding while, unbeknownst to them, Sami allied with Gabler and Owen to have the majority of the votes. Jeanine and Elie were convinced that Gabler wasn’t sure of his idol’s instructions and searched his bag to determine when it would expire. The men’s alliance strengthened when Sami revealed to Gabler that the women’s duo had searched his bag, further alienating Gabler from them.

Luckily for Jeanine, Baka continued to win challenges, and she later found the “beware advantage,” which led her to collect everyone’s beads on their bags to form an immunity bracelet. Jeanine and Elie were adamant about keeping this info to themselves, but they were caught red-handed by Owen and were forced to share with him the fact that Jeanine now possessed an idol. To cover their tracks, Elie shared this information with Sami as well, and Sami didn’t hesitate to, in turn, tell Gabler, as the latter was visibly upset as Jeanine had duped him.

After the next challenge, Jeanine was part of the next journey alongside Geo from Coco and Jesse from Vesi, where they all risked their votes for an advantage which later went to Geo, making Jeanine lose her vote in the process.

When the merge came, and the remaining players had to earn it and their merge buffs, Jeanine was part of the blue team, which later won immunity. The players without immunity initially targeted Cody. Still, Gabler threw a wrench into Baka’s plan to stick together by throwing Elie under the bus. Jeanine looked stunned and tried to do damage control, though by Elie also overplaying, Elie became the next target. Though both women discussed the possibility of Jeanine giving her idol to Elie, at tribal, no advantages were played, and Elie was voted out, leaving a blindsided Jeanine behind. In her exit interview, Elie explained that she was the one who told Jeanine not to give her the idol.

Photo: CBS

Jeanine didn’t give up hope despite losing her closest ally and instead chose to see the situation as an opportunity for her to step up her game. As several targets were considered at the next tribal, Jeanine placed her trust in Noelle and Dwight. After James Jones found an advantage at the shelter and mostly correctly assumed it was “Knowledge is Power,” Jeanine and her allies swapped advantages just in case. Much to Jeanine’s dismay, Dwight was later voted out with her idol (apparently) in his crotch.

With no allies, no advantages, and her window of opportunity getting smaller by the second, Jeanine’s game was at risk. To make matters worse, Dwight had given her idol to Jesse just before the last triba. The only options left for Jeanine were winning immunity or someone from the new majority deciding to switch. Meanwhile, Sami continuously debated between sticking with the seven and being on the bottom or making a power move.

After Owen won immunity, Jeanine and Cassidy targeted Ryan, one of the strongest physical competitors left, though Ryan wanted Jeanine out. Though several people, including James and Karla, considered turning on their former Coco tribe member Ryan, they decided it was too soon. Almost unanimously, Jeanine’s torch was finally snuffed. She became the first member of the jury.

It seems fitting that Jeanine chose Kim Spradlin and Andrea Boehlke as the past Survivor players she would like to play the game most like, as she had every tool in her arsenal to dominate as well as they did in their respective seasons. Kim will always be remembered as one of the most dominant players to ever be on Survivor, as she had a solid majority alliance, voted correctly on every tribal, and had people from both sides bring her information which she used to eliminate threats. She also dominated physically by winning four immunities and found advantages along the way.

Photo: CBS

For her part, Andrea cemented her legacy throughout her three seasons as she had a stellar social game that allowed her to advance almost to the end each time. She won immunities when she needed them and made moves that would’ve helped her win had she been able to reach the final tribal council.

Jeanine started the game strong by forming alliances and was on good terms with the rest of the tribe. Had she and Ellie kept Morriah over the guys on Baka, that could’ve made the difference between having a solid three instead of being on their own after the first vote. Much like the women’s alliance in One World, despite their differences and different game plans, they could have stuck together until they had eliminated all of the men and could dominate the whole game.

Another component that Jeanine could’ve reinforced was to downplay her threat level like Kim and Andrea did at different stages. Perhaps by deceiving her fellow tribemates, the majority would’ve shifted their votes towards Ryan, and Jeanine could’ve gone further in the game like the underdog she seemed to be. Hopefully, Jeanine gets to play again, and this time take it to the end.

Quick Facts

Jeanine Zheng

  • Survivor 43
  • Original tribe(s): Baka, Gaia
  • Placement: 11/18

Kim Spradlin

  • One World, Winners at War
  • Original tribe(s): One World (Salani, Tikiano); Winners at War (Dakal, Koru)
  • Placement(s): Winner, 9/20

Similarities and Differences: Both made the merge on their seasons and formed a close bond with other female players on their original tribes (Jeanine on Survivor 43, Kim on One World). Both were seen as social and strategic threats; both found idols and both were part of blindsides. Though both were part of all-women’s alliances, Kim’s alliance kept working together until the end of the game, whereas Jeanine’s crumbled on the first Baka vote. Both won immunities during the merge; Kim won four individual immunities and Jeanine won a group one.

Andrea Boehlke

  • Redemption Island, Caramoan, Game Changers
  • Original tribe(s): Redemption Island (Ometepe, Murlonio); Caramoan (Bikal, Gota, Enil Edam); Game Changers (Nuku, Tavua, Nuku, Maku Maku)
  • Placement(s): 5/18; 7/20; 8/20

Similarities and Differences: Both made the merge and the jury on their seasons; both found idols and both were social and strategic players. Both were part of blindsides and were blindsided during their eliminations (Jeanine in Survivor 43 and Andrea in Caramoan and Game Changers). Neither played their idols when they needed them the most. Andrea won several individual immunities throughout her seasons, whereas Jeanine’s immunity was always alongside her tribe or a team.

Written by

Mariana Loizaga

Mariana is a lawyer and a writer from Mexico City, Mexico. She has a masters degree in International Relations from the University of Surrey. Her hobbies include reading, blogging, and of course watching Survivor. The first season of Survivor she ever saw was Survivor: Philippines and she became so fascinated with the game and its many layers that she went back through the archives and watched every single previous season.

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