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Boy does it pain me to write those words.  If you remember a post I did early in the season talking about my past and present Survivor Fantasy League Winner Picks, you will note that I had chosen Mikayla as my pick for winner this season.

I was so sure that she would be able to pull off a win against Christine, and she would have won if she’d either been a little quicker getting her boards off the initial box, or had noticed her two inverted boards in the puzzle portion sooner.  But alas, Christine’s coolness under pressure prevailed and sent my girl packing.  Thankfully, those of us who lost our picks get to make a switch to another (worth less points than the original of course) at the merge.

Who will my second choice be?  At this point, I may go with Sophie.  She’s very intelligent, seems to be a central focus of a good alliance, non-threatening but holds weight in decisions made by the core.  A great position to be in.

So now, what lesson can we learn from Mikayla’s journey?  I’ve already discussed Brandon’s obsession with her that was integral in the way that the tribe saw her.  So instead I’m going to focus on the bidding war that happened concerning her importance and the question, Strength or Loyalty.

The war over Mikayla happened between the two most in-control members of the Upolo tribe, Coach and Albert.   Albert, featured in the picture at the top, and Sophie was all about keeping the tribe strong to the merge and ousting the significantly weaker Edna who adds nothing to the challenges. Albert’s whole view was coming from a baseball coach’s standpoint.  You keep your team at it’s strongest possible in order to reach the merge/goal with the controlling numbers.  Fewer tribal councils equals controlling interest in the merged tribe.

Coach (along with Brandon) was coming from the view of loyalty (as he always seems to cling to the ideal, but never REALLY follows through), and that even though Edna adds nothing physically, he can keep her reigned in and controlled when the merge happens.  Her loyalty isn’t shaky like Mikayla’s might be.  Considering Mikayla was not in the core alliance and constantly left out of the loop.  He saw her as a loose cannon coming into the merge, a possible mutiny to the other side in the making.

So where do you stand?  Is it loyalty or strength that should be given priority?  I’ve heard many times in dealing with business, the person you send to do the talking for your company should not necessarily be your strongest salesman.  It should be the person you trust to represent your business the most.

During her tribal council, I found myself at first siding with Albert and strength.  Yes, I agreed, you have to make it to the finish line first as strong as possible before you start worrying about loyalty.  He was quoted as saying, “Loyalty can be faked, strength can’t.”   Which is so very true.  And that’s the chance you take when you have to make that decision.  She could be playing everyone, and even Brandon said he felt like Edna was faking everyone out.

With her definitely knowing she’s number six in the alliance, she could very well be a quick flipper to the other side.  She’s smart like that, and we know that she’s been amping up her social game since Brandon gave her that info.

I loved the quote Mikayla gave at one point saying something like, “They’re keeping a woman twice my age and half my size over me! Crazy!”

In the grand scheme of it all (and trying to be unbiased), Coach’s move was probably the smarter move for the rest of the tribe as individuals.  Yes, Mikayla was a strong presence in challenges, but would she have had anyone’s back going into the merge?  Not sure.  I know through interviews that she was particularly close with Albert and Sophie but we definitely saw that they were closer to Coach (as they kept the idol a secret from her).  And taking Edna into the merge pretty much secures one person that can be beat in the individual challenges.

The Survivor game isn’t all about athletic ability, it depends more on social ability.  I totally believe that if Mikayla had been sitting on the beach when the alliance of five/six had been formed instead of Sophie, her story would have been totally different.  By not being in the alliance, she had already secured her spot as an outsider and disposable.  Just like Christine and Stacey, strong women were all voted out of the tribe for lying outside of the alliance despite having a weaker member in Edna.

Half the journey to being successful in anything is having a strength or talent, the other half comes in with the people you know who help you get there.  Relationship with others is what held her back.

I wish her social game had been a bit better, but it was a pleasure to watch her.   She got a lot of great air time and storyline.

The other big thing that happened this episode, Ozzy intentionally having himself voted out and giving his idol to Cochrane “to hold onto until he gets back.”  Hasn’t he seen how vile Christine is towards her former tribe and how likely a candidate she is to join forces with them?  He wants to take a possible strong ally out of the game instead of sending Cochrane and securing her possible vote and re-entry into the game?  Ozzy called himself a free agent at the beginning, but it is really Christine who’s the free agent… really Ozzy, wtf?

Catch up on the other Survivor Lessons Posts!

Elyse Edition / Stacey Edition / Papa Bear Edition / Semhar Edition