What An Idiot / Survivor

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     In General 
  • Revealing that you have a secret advantage or hidden immunity idol and assuming people will not use it against you.
  • Not playing a hidden immunity idol when there might be the slightest chance of you going home. Often times, people have been voted out of the game without an idol in their pocket. Even worst if you do not even bring it to tribal council.
  • Sean has decided that he wants no part of the lying, scheming and backstabbing. Instead, he has come across a new strategy: he will cast his vote in alphabetical order, and make it clear to everyone that this is all he will do, so everyone knows that if he votes for them, it's nothing personal.
    You'd Expect: That at some point he realizes what a moronic idea this is.
    Instead: The other Tagi realize what a stroke of luck this is and all cast their votes alphabetically. Because the Pagongs have names in the first half of the alphabet, they get taken out one by one and by the time Sean realizes he's basically just acted as a free vote, everyone else hates him and the other Tagis hold a majority of all votes. And then, with no further use needed of him, Sean gets booted off Ratanna.
  • Africa: Lex, who has just received an unknown vote during what he believed what was going to be a unanimous vote-off against Clarence at the merge, is hell-bent on finding out who made that throwaway vote against him. He eventually comes to the decision that his former tribemate Kelly that cast the vote, when in fact it was Teresa (who was a former member of the opposite tribe).
    You'd Expect: In an era of Survivor where voting along tribal lines was the norm - even with the low justification that it was Kelly that cast the vote - that Lex would at least wait until he had significantly Pagonged the former Samburus to get rid of Kelly.
    Instead: He press-gangs his allies into voting for Kelly based on his "gut decision." Kelly, obviously pissed for being on the wrong end of a Witch Hunt, flips to the Samburus to get rid of Lex, and would have succeeded in doing so had Brandon not held an even bigger Idiot Ball than Lex's.
  • John, Rob, Tammy, Zoe, Paschal, and Neleh are part of a majority alliance against the minority trio of Kathy, Sean, and Vecepia. At a challenge, each player has to vote for whomever they least want to win the game.
    You'd Expect: The majority alliance puts no particular order into their voting for the challenge.
    Instead: The majority alliance (specifically: John, Rob, Tammy, and Zoe) make it abundantly clear that Paschal and Neleh are on the bottom of the group and would be the first to go after the minority alliance is pagonged. Paschal and Neleh team up with the minority alliance and blindside John that night.
  • In episode 9 reward challenge, Jeff announces the prize will be a full-cut of their loved ones. Brain, who had his alliance seeing him as a "honest working guy", know that his wife, C.C can be quite spontaneous and might damage his persona.
    You'd Expect: He'd just throw the challenge and nobody will notice.
    Instead:He decided to win the challenge, and it ended up with C.C showing their mansion, a grand piano and 2 brand new cars. The biggest one of all is that she wanted Brian to win the show so that they can go to Fiji. If Brian wasn't such a Manipulative Bastard, he might be easily voted off due to a love letter from home.
  • At the final fourteen, Jenna from Jaburu gets sent to spend an overnight paradise with Dave from Tambaqui.
    You'd Expect: Based on previous seasons having a tribe swap sometime around the final fourteen, and the irregularity of being sent to a reward without any seemingly ill consequences, Jenna would suspect a swap or some kind of twist to happen, and for her to keep her mouth shut.
    Instead: Jenna gossips to Dave about every single dynamic of the Jaburu tribe, including her closest allies, alliances, previous Tribal Councils, the social dyanmics, and even admits herself it isn't the best idea to tell Dave all this information. The next morning Jeff arrives and informs Jenna and Dave a swap is about to happen with them alternating picking between tribes members. Dave, with all the information he's gained, takes advantage of Jenna's blabbermouth and picks tribe members with intentions to weaken Jenna and her allies.
  • At the final seven, a majority alliance of Alex, Heidi, Jenna, and Rob has control over the minority alliance of Christy, Matt, and Butch. Alex starts thinking about his long-term strategy and considers betraying Rob at Final Four to take Heidi and Jenna to Final Three.
    You'd Expect: Alex would keep all of his long-term plans to himself so Rob would trust him.
    Instead: Alex tells Rob that he would betray him at Final Four. Paranoid, Rob teams up with the minority alliance to vote out Alex first.
    Later On: At final six, Christy is deliberating whether to team up with Heidi and Jenna to eliminate Rob, or to team up with Butch, Matt, and Rob to eliminate Jenna.
    You'd Expect: Christy to tell both groups she is on their side, and then vote out her intended target at tribal council.
    Instead: She openly tells Rob, a player known for paranoia and betrayal (see Alex above) that she hasn't decided who she'll vote for. Rob decides instead to guarantee his safety by getting Heidi and Jenna to vote out Christy 4-2.
  • Lex pulls a boneheaded move just before the tribal merge. At the tribe change-up, Amber ends up separated from her Chapera tribemates, and is put with the Mogo Mogo tribe (who are now in the Chapera camp). Lex (and the rest of his tribe members) have seen that Rob is highly protective of Amber, and has already proven himself to be a superior force in challenges. At the immunity challenge, Rob goes to Lex immediately after and tells him he will be protected, provided that Lex protects Amber in turn.
    You'd Expect: That after already eliminating two good competitors (Richard and Ethan) with backroom deals, he would look out for himself and eliminate Amber at the next Tribal Council, which would (a) put his tribe ahead of Rob's team, (b) demoralize Rob and (c) give Lex an opportunity to eliminate an opposing force before he makes any more moves. After all, Lex has already seen Rob carry most of his original team through half the game.
    Instead: Lex takes Rob at his word, and spares Amber by voting out another loyal team member (Jerri). In the following episode (where the teams merge as Chaboga Mogo), Rob tells him point-blank that he's not going to help him, and Lex is swiftly eliminated that night at Council. Following this, Mogo Mogo gets Pagonged by the tight-knit Chapera. For his part, Lex does admit he seriously screwed up when he did what Rob asked.
    Later On: When they're down to five people, Chaboga Mogo heads into Tribal Council with Rob wearing the Immunity necklace. At this point, Rob has planted a lot of discord between Tom, Rupert and Jenna (with the latter two realizing that Rob is playing them).
    You'd Expect: The three players, who all know that Rob has been tight with Amber since the beginning of the game (an alliance which he has told them multiple times he wouldn't break), would eliminate Amber immediately and take out Rob at the next Council, leaving the three of them left.
    Instead: Rob convinces Rupert (who knows Rob was tricking him into fighting with Tom) and Jenna (who knows she's a liability) to vote out Tom, which allows Rob and Amber to coast through unchallenged to the final Tribal Council.
  • The woman have a 6-1 majority and the lone remaining male, Chris, has lost the immunity challenge. When Chris accepts his fate, Ami & LeAnn (who holds the most power) take pity on him and decided to vote off Eliza (who irritated most of the tribemates) instead. When Twila hears about this news, she advises them to vote off Chris first, since Chris would automatically get the guys' votes when he made it to the end.
    You'd Expect: Ami and LeAnn would take her advice and just vote off Chris.
    Instead: They remain adamant into voting off Eliza, which leads to Twila realizing that she doesn't have a high position in the totem pole. She, along with Scout, Eliza and Chris turn the tides and vote off LeAnn. Ami was soon voted off when Chris win immunity later.
  • It is the final 4, and Rafe has just won immunity. There is one person left standing that is not on the Nakum alliance, which is Danni. However, Rafe isn't sure about voting her out, concerned that Lydia, an older woman could sneak by and win final immunity like many women have done in the past.
    You'd Expect: Rafe to vote out Danni, who is much more of a physical threat than Lydia.
    Instead: He votes out Lydia. The final immunity challenge is an endurance challenge, which Danni easily wins thanks to her height. She wins the final immunity, votes out Rafe, and goes on to win the game.
     Cook Islands 
  • After the merge, Raro still has a numbers advantage over Aitu (5 to 4), despite voting out two people in their last Tribal Council. Yul goes to Jonathan (a player who previously flipped on Aitu and went over to Raro during the Mutiny) and reveals to him that he has an immunity idol. He then asks Jonathan to come back to Aitu "for both our sakes" and get rid of Raro once and for all.
    You'd Expect: That since nobody else on Aitu has demonstrated any trust or interest in Jonathan, and given that he's already betrayed their trust by flipping on them before, he would stay with Raro and start picking off Aitu (who won the last several team immunity challenges, and have shown no signs of breaking their bond with each other). Even if he's a periphery player, he'd still last longer with his core alliance than the smaller group who has no loyalty to him.
    Instead: Jonathan gloats about how he's betrayed everyone's trust in the game to the cameras, and flips on Raro, voting out a loyal team member (Nate) with Aitu's help. And Jonathan likely would have been voted out next, but...
    And Then: Candice, who is treated as a Butt-Monkey by Aitu (getting sent to Exile Island several times because she betrayed them, and then losing all her money in the Auction to Becky) is on the outs with everyone except Parvati and Adam (who has just won immunity).
    You'd Expect: That she'd fight for her game, talk to Yul or the other Aitu members privately as soon as possible to make amends with them and blindside the remaining Raro members, or virtually anything else.
    Instead: She and Adam accuse Yul of being the "ringleader" of the Aitu 4 while simultaneously begging him to vote Jonathan out. When Yul contends that he's not any such ringleader, she accuses him again.
    As a Result: She's swiftly voted out that night.
  • It is the final 6 tribal council, and Stacy wants to blindside Yau-Man for being a threat. The only obstacle facing her is that Yau-Man has a hidden immunity idol. She ropes in everyone else (except Earl) into her plan.
    You'd Expect: That Stacy keep quiet about her plans and blindside Yau-Man.
    Instead: At Tribal Council, she says that there will be a split in votes between Yau-Man and herself. Yau-Man, who has been uneasy up to this point, decides to play his idol, and sends Stacy home.
  • It's the final 7, and James has two immunity idols. At this point in the game, idols were usable until the final 5. Meanwhile, Todd and Amanda are planning on blindsiding him.
    You'd Expect: James to play his idol at Final 7 to guarantee his safety, and he can guarantee his safety at final 6 with his other idol, guaranteeing him a spot in the final 5.
    Instead: He doesn't play either of his idols, and at Tribal Council, he is blindsided with two idols in his pocket. This moment became one of the all-time WAI moments in Survivor history, alongside a following moment from Micronesia.
  • Micronesia had a particularly stunning example of this. Near the endgame with 5, 4 people were in an alliance. When the outsider, Erik won the Immunity Challenge, the four women plotted to get him to willingly surrender his immunity. They sent one of their group to convince him that he needed to give it up to "redeem" himself. Natalie herself lampshades the absurdity of the scheme possibly succeeding, stating "who would fall for that?"
    You'd Expect: Erik to tell Natalie exactly where to stick her request, knowing that this game is based upon the concept of "Looking out for #1."
    Instead: He gives her the immunity necklace just before the elimination vote. No points if you guess what happened next. Natalie ripped him a new one while casting her vote, jesting, "You will go down as the dumbest person in Survivor history''."
    • His move was so epically stupid that James, the guy known for getting eliminated while sitting on two hidden immunity idols, stated that Erik had beaten him for the title of "dumbest Survivor ever." Ironically, 4 years earlier on the second season of The Apprentice, another Mark Burnett show, Bradford Cohen gave up HIS immunity to being eliminated for the wrong reasons (he also was terminated from his chance to win that program; the only major difference is Brad did it on his own, without the persuasion of his teammates.)
  • Earlier in the same season, after finding the Hidden Immunity Idol, Ozzy created a fake one and put it where he found the real deal, hoping to trip up whoever found it. He's not really an expert craftsman, though, and the best he can make is a poorly carved stick with a misshapen smiley face on it. A couple episodes later, Jason finds said fake idol.
    You'd Expect: That Jason would be suspicious of how it looks cheaply made, and subsequently realize it's a blatant fake and someone else got the real one.
    Instead: He buys it, hook, line, and sinker. So much so that when his ally Eliza comes under fire, he plays the "Idol" to protect her, and is genuinely shocked when Jeff announces it's not the real thing (the shock is even more laughable when Eliza had confronted him about the idol earlier, expressed disbelief that Jason thought it was legitimate, and outright told him it was a fake and that Ozzy had the real one; he kept insisting that his "Idol" was real). Eliza was voted out here, but not before revealing who had the real immunity idol.
  • After the next immunity challenge, Cirie approached Alexis, Jason, Natalie, and Parvati about tricking Ozzy into thinking that Jason, his latest target, would be going out, so he wouldn't play the idol and they could blindside him.
    You'd Expect: No matter what was happening in tribe, Ozzy brings the idol with him to Tribal Council as a rule of thumb.
    Instead: When they get to council, Ozzy realizes that he had FORGOTTEN to bring the idol with him that night. He gets blindsided as a result.
    Then: Next episode, Jason is sent to Exile Island, and informed that a new immunity idol had been hidden there. He succeeds at finding the idol before returning for the next immunity challenge, which he loses.
    You'd Expect: For him to hide his idol somewhere where it can't be found by another tribemate.
    Instead: He leaves it in his bag. The girls rummage through his bag after Erik won immunity, and find the idol inside. Natalie, having already convinced Jason that James was the new target, reassures him of the plan, and he doesn't play the idol, resulting in HIM getting blindsided.
  • Marcus had one of the swiftest and dumbest downfalls ever. A tribal swap at the Final 10 happens, giving his tribe, the Kotas, a 3-2 advantage on both tribes. All he has to do is secure Susie after she got 3 votes last Tribal Council and take out the Final 2 Fang alliance of Crystal and Ken.
    You'd Expect: When Susie asks Marcus if she can trust him, he would say, "Yes you can, Susie. Which of the two do you want to go home?"
    Instead: He either ignores or doesn't answer her or give her any trust, and instead goes to Crystal based solely over the fact that he was best friends with her cousin. He makes her an offer to replace Susie in her alliance as #6 if she votes off her closest ally, Ken.
    As A Result: Not being a complete idiot, Crystal rats him out to Susie and they handily vote Marcus out 3-2.
     Heroes Vs. Villains 
  • During the double tribal council, the Villains are scrambling to vote someone out. Rob's alliance of himself, Tyson, Sandra, Jerri, Coach, and Courtney have the majority against Russell's minority alliance of himself, Parvati, and Danielle, but Russell has an idol. Rob plans on splitting the vote so they can flush out the idol. During this, Russell approaches Tyson about the vote.
    You'd Expect: Tyson would stick with his alliance's plan and stick with voting Russell. This would've led to a tie where the person vulnerable would be voted out on a revote.
    Instead: He switches his vote to Parvati. Russell plays his idol for Parvati instead of himself, sending Tyson out in a 3-2-0 vote.
  • Midway through the season, J.T. discovers a Hidden Immunity Idol, and the group agrees to share it in case they go to another Tribal Council or merge with the Villains. Concurrently, they've also assumed that Russell is on the wrong end of an Amazon Brigade, and is constantly fighting for his game life against five other female players. J.T. subsequently decides to set a precedent and give the group's Hidden Immunity Idol to Russell so he can vote out Parvati.
    You'd Expect: That given how Russell is a member of the Villains, and they have no way of knowing his true intentions, they would just keep it to themselves and not give any member of the opposing team an advantage.
    Instead: J.T. enacts Good Is Dumb, and smuggles the Idol to Russell during the next Immunity Challenge. Russell, who has been leading the women's alliance, takes out Courtney (a periphery player) and, after the teams merge, J.T. was voted off at the next Tribal Council due to Parvati's machinations. For bonus points, Candice helps the Villains, despite Sandra telling her not to.
  • Later, the Villains outnumber the Heroes. Sandra (a Villain) goes to Colby and Rupert (the two Heroes left) and tells them that Russell can't be trusted. She explains that he played the Heroes team for fools when they gave him their hidden immunity idol, and that he's the one who's been leading the rest of the female Villains (as well as being the one that destroyed Sandra's alliance with Courtney). She tells them this no less than three times in the span of two episodes.
    You'd Expect: That, given that J.T. was knocked out post-merge by Russell (after telling the Heroes that he had previously played it to save himself, something that never happened), and already showed that he broke his word multiple times, they would at least try Sandra's advice and knock out Russell before he becomes a bigger threat.
    Instead: Nobody besides Rupert believes her. The Heroes try and vote her out instead, and they get systematically eliminated by Russell's alliance, leaving only the Villains left in the final three. Sandra proceeds to call Colby and Rupert out on this during the final Tribal Council meeting.
    Even Worse: A Secret Scene revealed that Russell and Parvati were walking around camp reading J.T's letter out loud (and laughing about it) to the rest of the Heroes, and they still didn't do anything.
  • Meanwhile, Russell goes through this hard at the Heroes vs. Villains final seven: at the time, the only contestants left are his alliance with Parvati, Danielle, and Jerri, Sandra, who's aligned with nobody, and Rupert and Colby on the outs. But Russell is beginning to become suspicious of Parvati and Danielle, on account of the two of them keeping a Hidden Immunity Idol secret from him (which wasn't all that wise, either).
    You'd Expect: That Russell would keep his core alliance with Parvati and Danielle strong, given that they've been working together from the get-go (not to mention that the two are at this point the only ones left that will talk to him), just to be sure that the three of them will go to the end.
    Instead: He decides to pit the two of them against one another in hopes of separating them. When Danielle calls him out on it at Tribal Council, he proceeds to talk to Danielle like she's crap in front of the entire jury.
    As a Result: If Courtney's reaction is any indication, this destroys whatever slim chance was left of him winning. Or, for that matter, avoiding a Humiliation Conga.
  • Russell's entire strategy: convinced that he is the best player ever, he proceeds to lie, backstab and generally screw around with just about everybody. By the time that the show is down to the final three, Russell has blindsided and backstabbed his alliance, people he made temporary alliances with, and just about everyone else on the jury. The other two members of the final three are Parvati, his former ally who is regarded as a skilled and dangerous player, and Sandra, who basically hates his guts, spent most of the season trying to get him voted off and who may not be a strong player, but has the advantage of not being Russell.
    You'd Expect: At some point during the season, Russell realizes that pissing off the jury isn't going to end well. You'd really expect that by the time of the Final Tribal Council, he might be just a little bit worried that he's up against his much more likeable former ally and his extremely entertaining enemy, and the jury has no reason to like him whatsoever.
    Instead: He remains convinced of his own superiority (even going so far as to tell off Danielle, an ex-finalist, and call Rupert a dumbass with all ears present), and naturally loses in a landslide: Sandra gets six votes, Parvati gets three votes, and Russell gets no votes. Even better, at the reunion, Jeff tries to explain that backstabbing the jury will make them loathe you. Russell refuses to acknowledge that.
  • At the live reunion, Boston Rob – who had just given his own take on how a Rob-Russell alliance would go – lays down the gauntlet to Russell. He challenges him to a Survivor rematch.
    You’d Expect: Because he is no longer and will never again be an unknown quantity, Russell would decline the offer, or at least wait a few seasons, when he’s not quite so fresh in people’s minds (hint: Sandra hasn’t competed for 13 seasons).
    Instead: He effectively says, bring it on. Production knows exactly what’s just landed into their laps and proceeds to build a cast make-up tailored precisely to all of Rob’s strong suits and all of Russell’s weak suits. The season following Nicaragua…
  • Holly makes a plan to blindside Brenda, and rallies Brenda's alliance members (minus Purple Kelly) in. Chase, who has been loyal to Brenda since the beginning, warns her about it.
    You’d Expect: Brenda to take the warning with some concern, and maybe try to convince her alliance members to get rid of Holly or Naonka for trying to usurp her.
    Instead: She doesn't take it seriously enough, preferring to lay her trust with her alliance. No guess on how that turns out.
  • It's the final six, Jane feels a bit on the outs in her four-person alliance with Chase, Sash, and Holly. The alliance's immediate target Fabio wins Immunity, and he tries to protect his ally Dan by convincing Chase that Jane's the bigger threat. Chase immediately takes the idea to Sash and Holly, and the three soon resolve to vote Jane off (forgetting, incidentally, that Fabio made the suggestion in the first place).
    You'd Expect: That they would blindside Jane. Dan and Fabio want her gone, and Chase and Sash are the ones with hidden Immunity Idols, so there wouldn't be any real way that she could protect herself if votes were cast her way.
    Instead: The three of them tell Jane to her face that she's the next to go. Not only does Jane reveal the alliance at Tribal that night, but now Chase and Sash have to take Holly with them to the Final Three, lest they have a vicious attempt on Jane's part to turn the jury towards Dan or Fabio (the latter of whom ruined that plan with an immunity win).
     Redemption Island 
  • Redemption Island sees Russell, and by extension all of the Zapatera, getting hit hard with this trope. To elaborate, this is the first season that he's playing alongside people that had the chance to see him in action; they know exactly what he's all about. One of the first things he does is promise his tribe that he'll be playing a different game this time.
    You'd Expect: That Russell actually would play a different game this time, or at least pretend to do so until the merge, when he would likely have the better numbers. In the very least, they wouldn't have been so likely to have their own What an Idiot! entries.
    Instead: He runs the exact same play in the exact same way, from swiping clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol to forming his usual harem (while dismissing anyone who isn't built like a Laker Girl), to pigging out on the tribe's provisions while they fish.
    As A Result: Not surprisingly, he's marked as a threat, his tribe throws a challenge to off him, and the vote is split three ways on the off-chance he did find the idol. (Oh, forgot: he didn't even bother making sure no one was watching.) On the re-vote, they have five available votes and two options while Russell's side has only one available vote and one option. (Stephanie doesn't exactly help their cause with her irritation at David's spiel or her scorching tirade at Tribal Council, which loses them a potential swing vote.) One guess as to who goes. That's when the Disaster Dominoes begin for the entire tribe:
    • Extra points however also go to his Zapatera tribe who wanted him gone, FAST.
      You'd Expect: The group just wait until a normal immunity challenge loss to vote him out (Or just vote off his allies, so Russell will be forced to work for them). They know Russell's game and know he's not to be trusted and the same would likely (or should have been) with the other tribe should a tribal mix occur and, while as sneaky as Russell can be, he's pretty decent in challenges, something which could help them avoid tribal councils to come and then come out on top at the merge. Plus, they saw Rob already survived 2 tribal councils in a row.
      Instead: They throw the THIRD immunity challenge to boot him out, which managed to snowball their tribe into repeated losses, having their tribe decimated before the merge and then mostly kicked out one by one after the merge leaving an all Ometepe final six.
    • Next episode, with their sugar daddy gone, Russell's concubines are alone against the Zapatera Six.
      You'd Expect: Knowing they're basically begging for their game lives, Stephanie and Krista would try to make a little peace with the enraged Zapatera. They might even be able to replace the fifth or sixth wheel and have a legitimate crack at overtaking the Ometepe (who already dropped one fringe player through the trapdoor). Or, if they can last until the merge, swing over to the Ometepe, and use them to get back at their former tribe and go deep into the game. Any way you slice it, a powerful bloc whose votes decide the power center for the rest of the season.
      Instead: Krista confronts the Zapatera Six about the folly of their decision, albeit in a manner far from Up to Eleven. Stephanie, of course, does Stephanie things. Two up, two down, game, set, match. (The only thing that saved them earlier was their challenge win, which the Ometepe used to sink another player on the periphery. The Zapatera Six did themselves no favors, either, letting the pair of them attend the duel at which Kristina was eliminated.)
  • And speaking of the Ometepe tribe, they managed to pull this and held an Idiot Ball for the entire season, . One tribe gets Russell, and they get Boston Rob. Now they've all seen Russell play, and they have also seen Rob play and even knew who he was.
    You'd Expect: That they'd realize that he's smart and should get him out ASAP because he's got a huge target on his back, has more experience, has the producers on his side and there is nothing saying you can't immediately vote him out (as Russell found out pretty fast).
    Instead: Only Kristina realizes this while everyone else except Francesca seems to be staring at Rob like he's a savior and then looking at Phillip asking, "Is this guy serious?". Kristina then goes on to find the hidden immunity idol within the first three days and immediately intends to use it to get Rob out of the game (which failed). They then vote out Kristina and Francesca and let Rob do all the work for them, letting it progress into the solo game when the producers throw one puzzle after another at Rob (the only challenges he gets to compete in, mind you) and are then surprised that Rob seems to be taking someone hated by everyone else (Phillip and Natalie) over them. Unsurprisingly, Rob wins in a landslide (losing only Ralph's vote).
  • Matt gets struck with this HARD at the merge. After going on an impressive duel run, he manages to win his way back into the game. The Ometepes, the tribe that voted him out, are up 6-5.
    You'd Expect: That since the Ometepes voted him out previously, he wouldn't trust them, and he would try to get in with the minority tribe and get back at his old tribe.
    Instead: He goes straight to Rob and tells him that he considered blindsiding him, but instead decided to stick with him.
    As A Result: Rob, not being a total moron, decides to blindside Matt, sending him back to Redemption Island as soon as he returns.
     South Pacific 
  • Ozzy, due to his choices regarding Redemption Island. At the final twelve, with one person on Redemption Island, Savaii go to Tribal Council and are expected to vote someone out to join Christine on RI. Ozzy confides in the tribe that he had a dream that he would get voted out, go to Redemption Island, battle and defeat Christine, and rejoin their tribe making sure that they go into the supposed merge 6-6. This plan is insanely risky in that the merge is merely assumed to be coming up, and Christine is still there, with no telling if the challenge will be one Ozzy will excel at (given how she's even beaten Mikayla, a highly physical player). Furthermore, Christine has been seen giving the finger to her old tribe and leaves no doubt she'd jump to Savaii in a heartbeat if she ever came back. Of important note is that this plan also involves putting trust in and keeping Cochran, whom most of the tribe has been treating as a Butt-Monkey/verbal punching bag for the last 21 days.
    You'd Expect: The rest of the tribe to ignore Ozzy's insane plan and instead vote out Cochran, not taking the risk that he'd swap to Upolu after 21 days of verbal jibing. Then they could swing Christine to their side and use her challenge prowess displayed on Redemption Island to their advantage for the upcoming 6-6 voting tie the entire tribe was anticipating.
    Instead: They go through with it, keep Cochran, vote out Ozzy, Ozzy beats Christine in the duel and gets rid of her.
    As A Result: After a tie at the Tribal Council vote, Cochran flips on his high-school-esque tribe and votes out one of their members with Upolu, who have been treating him well since the tribes have been merged (exactly how Christine indicated she would have aided the Savaii). And while he's with his new peeps, the other Savaii are left fighting for their game lives.
  • Midway through the game, Christine is making no effort at all to be friendly with Coach, going as far as to call him a "temporary player."
    You'd Expect: That since she's in a minority alliance with Stacey and needs all the help she can get, she would stop insulting everyone and try to make nice with as many people as possible.
    Instead: She makes it blatantly clear to the rest of her tribe that she is hunting for idols, and yet made no effort at all to ally herself with anyone besides Stacey. note  She's surprised that Coach and his alliance voted her out!
    • In the same season, Brandon Hantz (nephew of Russell Hantz, also on this list) wins immunity right before the final Redemption duel.
      You'd Expect: That he would hold onto it. It's a critical juncture in the game, and he needs every opportunity he can get.
      Instead: He gives it to an ally and is immediately voted off, similar to Erik's entry earlier on this list (though no one appeared to have planted any seeds in Brandon's head as the Brigade did Erik's).
     One World 
  • It is the fourth episode and the men have won the fourth immunity. They are currently one member up and the women are facing tribal council, however there is some conflict between Colton and Bill, another member of his tribe. Colton is so fed up with him that he decides to do something unprecedented- give up immunity and go to tribal council willingly.
    You'd Expect: That Colton just keep immunity and keep the numbers advantage his tribe currently has.
    Instead: His tribe ends up going to tribal council that night and votes out Bill.
    What's Worse: In order for a tribe to go to tribal council willingly, it has to be a unanimous group decision, and Bill agreed despite knowing he was targeted.
  • Episode 1 of Philippines sees Zane Knight making an alliance with both the women and the men secretly. He intends to vote out Russell due to him being a threat to his power. The rest of the tribe agrees and prepares to vote out Russell.
    You'd Expect: Zane to not reveal to Malcolm and Russell that he already forged an alliance with the women, and to accept the offer to vote out the latter with the rest of his tribe.
    Instead: He reveals to Malcolm and Russell that he already formed an alliance with the women, and asks his tribe to vote him out, stating it's part of a strategy. He gets voted out unanimously because he's untrustworthy.
  • Later in that season, Jeff Kent tells Carter that they are voting out returning member Johnathan Penner.
    You'd Expect: Carter wouldn't accidentally tell Penner they are voting him out.
    Instead: Carter accidentally tells Penner they are voting him out.
  • At the final five, Lisa and Skupin were left in a position to either vote out Abi-Maria or Denise.
    You'd Expect: Since Abi-Maria would have been a very good goat to go to end with as her Jerkass tendencies made a lot of jurors mad at her and Denise has intended every single tribal council up to that point giving her a good case for why she should win, Lisa and Skupin will vote out Denise.
    Instead: They voted out Abi-Maria at the final five. When they go to the end with Denise at the final tribal council, the jury ended up voting Denise to win the game by a 6-1-1 vote.
  • In the first half of Episode 1, David (the president of the Florida Marlins, who's dressed formally) is elected as leader by his tribe. Jeff asks him to select whom he thinks is the weakest link on the tribe by first impressions alone.
    You'd Expect: He'd pick Kass, the older female and most likely the physically weakest.
    Instead: He chooses Garrett, the only one on the tribe who could take any of the Brawns tribe, while also stating his game strategy blatantly to everyone.
    As A Result: Garrett gets pissed off, and when the Brains lose the challenge, Garrett seizes the chance to get David eliminated. David is the first person voted out, 4-2.
  • Garrett himself gets struck with this soon after. The tribe loses the next challenge and have to vote again, and since J'Tia lost it for them (and she dumped the team's rice into the fire because she believed she was next to go), it's obvious who's currently in his sights. Tasha and Kass are hesitant to do so, since they want to use her for a goat.
    You'd Expect: That Garrett just lets things run their course and makes the argument at Tribal Council to boot her. Or, at the very least, bring the hidden immunity idol with him to tribal council in the event anything unexpected happens.
    Instead: He hosts an impromptu tribe discussion where he blatantly says J'Tia is the one to go and bans strategy talk for the remainder of the afternoon. At tribal council, he openly states that Tasha would be the next to go if they lose a third challenge, and then picks a fight with Kass. Despite having blatantly pissed off 3 out of his 4 tribemates, he still doesn't think to bring his hidden immunity idol.
    Inevitably: Garrett winds up being the next to go.
    Later On: In the next episode, Tasha and Kass admit they probably would have voted for J'Tia if Garrett wasn't being such a colossal moron. Meaning if he just kept his mouth shut, he would have stayed in the game.
    • In Episode 6 (the merge episode), Sarah sees that she's the swing vote between the two alliances, and is torn between them.
      You'd Expect: She'd think long and hard about her decision, and at least try to downplay her importance so she isn't seen as a threat.
      Instead: She pretty much flaunts this status, and causes Tony's alliance (and Kass) to turn on her. Sarah is blindsided, 6-5.
  • Woo has won the immunity and gets to vote out the last castaway between Tony and Kass. He promises Kass that he'll vote out Tony.
    You'd Expect: That Woo would keep his promise and vote out Tony, not only taking out the biggest threat left but also bringing himself to the final 2 with someone who has absolutely no friends on the jury.
    Instead: Woo decides to stay loyal to Tony, his ally from the beginning, and votes out Kass. Tony wins in a landslide 8-1 vote, and Woo is dubbed as a "lapdog" by the jurors and the host even deems his mistake "one of the worst in Survivor history".
     San Juan Del Sur 
  • Drew Christy in his boot episode decides to throw a challenge in order to get snakes off of his tribe.
    You'd Expect: That Drew consult the tribe or an alliance about this before doing anything rash, and then go with group consensus.
    Instead: He does the following: Refuse to form an alliance, deciding to do this on his own, telling Jaclyn from Coyopa about it, throwing the challenge incredibly obviously, then railroading over everyone he talks to and their suggestions to vote out in order to push the vote against Kelley, who has not at all been portrayed as a threat yet, and openly lets Kelley know she is the target.
    The Result: Even though Jeremy wants to vote out Keith for a valid reason, and Jon his best friend wants to vote out Julie for a very valid reason, Drew persists so heavily with Kelley that all the guys get mixed up except for Jeremy, and all the girls vote Drew out. There might be absolutely no aspect of Survivor that wasn't screwed up by Drew Christy in a single episode.
     Worlds Apart 
  • It's the Final 11 Immunity Challenge, and Dan is trying to solve the slide puzzle to win immunity. He jumps the gun too early, and Jeff calls him wrong. This is what his puzzle looked like.
    You'd Expect: Dan would notice that the tiles need to be reversed, and would solve that problem easily.
    Instead: He makes the same mistake twice, and Jeff calls him wrong again. Needless to say, he does not win immunity.
  • It's the fifth Tribal Council, and the new Bayon tribe, consisting of 4 original Bayon members (Monica, Stephen, Kimmi, and Jeremy) and 2 former Ta Keo members (Spencer and Kelly), is going to Tribal Council for the first time. The 4 Bayon members are all part of an alliance, and have agreed that either Spencer or Kelly will be the first to go, settling on Kelly.
    You'd Expect: That Monica agree with the group. After all, they have a clear majority and a strong alliance, while Kelly has 2 former Ta Keo members in other tribes, and Spencer has warned them that Kelly was in quite well with both of them.
    Instead: Monica approaches Kimmi, suggesting they vote out Spencer to give the girls a majority, mentioning the possibility of an all-girls alliance. Ignoring the fact that her current alliance is half male. Kimmi reports Monica's idea to Jeremy and Stephen, and the three blindside Monica at Tribal Council, sending her home.
    • In the very next episode, a tribe swap occurs, sending Savage, Spencer, Kass, Ciera, Wiglesworth, Woo, and Abi-Maria to the new Ta Keo tribe. They lose the immunity challenge, and Savage wants to blindside Spencer. He tells his alliance that he wants to stay Bayon strong, and puts up a decoy boot just in case Spencer asks what is going on.
      You'd Expect: Savage puts up an original Ta Keo, like Wiglesworth or Woo as the decoy.
      Instead: He puts up Ciera (an original Bayon member) as a decoy boot, which pisses her off, since it makes her believe she is on the bottom. She rallies Kass and Abi-Maria to turn on him, Kass tells Spencer of his plan, and the four of them blindside Woo, Savage's greatest ally.
  • Later on it's the Eighth Tribal Council, the Orkun group is divided, with a 9-person alliance of Jeremy, Tasha, Savage, Keith, Joe, Stephen, Kimmi, Kelly Wiglesworth, and Spencer, while Abi-Maria, Kelley Wentworth and Ciera are in a minority alliance. Discussions of someone having the immunity idol take place, and then tribal council happens.
    You'd Expect: In fear that one of the girls may have the immunity idol, the bigger alliance divides their votes in half, giving five votes to one of the girls, and four votes for the other. Wentworth would play her idol and be safe, but one of the girls would go home.
    Instead: All of them vote for Wentworth, who plays her immunity idol. Savage is then voted by the minority alliances and gets sent home.
    • Later on it's the Eleventh Tribal Council, and Stephen (a member of the majority alliance) is determined to vote out Joe. Even though three of his allies (Spencer, Tasha, and Keith) flipped and tried to vote him out during the tenth tribal council, his alliance still has 6 out of 9 votes left, more than enough to eliminate him. There is talk of a hidden immunity idol, although nothing confirmed.
      You'd Expect: With no concrete evidence that Joe has a hidden immunity idol, and knowing that three of his allies tried to vote him off just the previous tribal council, Stephen would have all of his alliance members vote for Joe and eliminate him that way.
      Instead: Stephen's alliance splits the votes between Joe and Abi-Maria in case Joe had the idol. Spencer flips again, and thus despite having a numbers advantage, Stephen is voted out with only 4 out of 9 votes.
     Kaoh Rong 
  • Jennifer is the swing vote between sticking with her original alliance of Jason and Scot to vote out Alecia or to team up with Alecia and Cydney to blindside Jason.
    You'd Expect: Jennifer to keep her position of power to herself so nobody suspects her to flip.
    Instead: She openly announces at Tribal Council that she is the swing vote, which angers Jason and Scot. To backtrack, she denies it and picks a fight with Alecia, pissing her off as well. Jennifer, the original swing vote, ends up being eliminated 3-2.
  • Later on after Nick has been blindsided, Tai, Jason, and Scot all found themselves at the bottom..
    You'd Expect: For them to convince everybody to keep them around and not piss anybody off.
    Instead: All of three went out of their way to sabotage the camp in revenge for what they did.
    The Result: While Tai gets away with it due to him being a Nice Guy, it makes everybody else so much against Scot and Jason that it lowers their chances at winning.
  • At the final six of that same season, Jason was at the bottom with him being the next one to go.
    You'd Expect: For him to convince people to vote somebody else off.
    Instead: He decides to just wait until somebody else comes up to him for a plan.
    Later: Tai wants to vote off Michelle that same episode.
    You'd Expect: For Jason to vote for Michelle as well. With Tai having the double vote, there would have been at least three votes for Michelle to go if Jason voted for her and he just needs one more Michelle vote to not be voted out
    Instead: He voted for Joe out of all people.
     Millennials Vs Gen X 
  • In the premiere episode of that season, Jeff warns both tribes that a cyclone was coming and they need to build a shelter as soon as possible.
    You'd Expect: For both tribes to be very focused on building the shelter and not be slacking off on building the shelter.
    Instead: The Millenials decides to take some time off from building the shelter to goofed off thus they are not able to build the shelter in time. Needless to say, they ended up having a very bad first night which could of been slightly better if they actually built the shelter in time and not be goofing off.
  • In episode 3, the Gen X tribe has to go to tribal council, and Jessica asks Paul if there's a possibility of a guys alliance in their six majority.
    You'd Expect: Paul to tell Jessica that there isn't one and there will never will be.
    Instead: Paul flatly tells her that if there was a male alliance, the women would be on their own.
    As A Result: The three women of his alliance flip over to the minority alliance, and Paul is voted out 6-3.
  • In the episode afterwords, Lucy ended up trying to convince Ken and David to vote out Jessica.
    You'd Expect: For Lucy to just tell Ken and David to vote for Jessica and nothing else.
    Instead: She told them to not talk to anybody else making both of them feel they are at the bottom now.
    Later On: After Ken told Jessica the plan in which Jessica try to confront Lucy about it, Lucy try to confront Ken about what Ken told Jessica.
    You'd Expect: Ken to try to deny that and state that Jessica was lying about that.
    Instead: He publicly told Lucy that what Jessica said is true and he is coming after her.
  • Speaking of the Millenials, Figgy and Taylor went on to form a showmance of sorts.
    You'd Expect: To keep that showmance a secret at any costs. After all, having people know you are a power couple together can give you a huge target on your back.
    Instead: They make no attempt to hide it from the Millenials. Granted, after the tribal swap, they did try to hide it from Ken and Jessica but since both Figgy and Taylor did a really bad job at hiding it, neither of them were actually surprised that they were in a showmance together.
    As A Result: Figgy becomes targeted and Adam flips to get rid of her, leaving Taylor on the outs of Takali.
    • After Adam blindsided Figgy, Taylor was left without his girlfriend and should be pretty upset towards Adam.
      You'd Expect: For Adam to realize that Taylor may never want to work with him again. He also should not tell people any advantages he may have or convince people to not vote out his allies.
      Instead: He attempted to work with Taylor by wanting to vote Will (who is one of Taylor's allies) and told him of his advantage. This lead to Taylor to tell his allies about the former to easily convince them of voting out Adam. And after the attempt to vote out Adam failed, Taylor told people about Adam's advantage.
  • Taylor went out of his way to steal three mason jars of food.
    You'd Expect: For Taylor to keep that a secret from the rest of the tribemates. The last thing he wants to do is let everybody know he stole the mason jars.
    Instead: He admitted to stealing three mason jars full of food in front of starving people. This results in his elimination.
  • In episode 11, David promises Hannah that he would give her his idol for an impending tie. At Tribal Council, Sunday tells Adam and Hannah that they're voting for Ken, and Adam relays this to David once he shows his idol.
    You'd Expect: David ignore Adam and do as originally planned.
    Instead: His fears overpower him, and he gives his idol to Ken, making him immune.
    The Result: A 5-5 tie between Hannah and Zeke occurred in both the original votes and revote. Since no one would switch, it went to the infamous rock tiebreaker, resulting in David's ally Jessica being eliminated.
  • In episode 12, Will who was part of Zeke's alliance but was considering to going with the alliance of David, Adam, Hannah, and Ken to vote out Zeke told Ken that Zeke's alliance was planning to vote out Ken.
    You'd Expect: Ken to keep his mouth shut and not let anybody know about it.
    Instead: Ken told members of Zeke's alliance about what Will told him which causes Will to nearly stay put in Zeke's alliance.
  • In the last episode, David creates a fake idol, which Jay finds.
    You'd Expect: Jay to tell this idol is fake.
    Instead: He buys it, hook, line, and sinker. He plays it at tribal council, and is shocked when he finds out it is fake. He is unanimously eliminated that night.
  • Also, Jay had a strong lead in the immunity challenge that episode.
    You'd Expect: Jay to keep his answer covered as he finishes the challenge.
    Instead: He leaves his answer uncovered, allowing all five of his tribemates to see what his answer is, and David ends up overtaking him for immunity. Jay is voted out that round.
     Game Changers 
  • In episode four, the Nuku tribe is going to vote for Sierra at the Nuku/Mana tribal council, since Mana is down a person numbers wise and Nuku doesn't want to run into an idol. However, J.T. is the only Nuku on the New Nuku tribe, and wants to make in-roads. While his plan was for he and his buddy Malcolm to vote Sandra had Nuku gone as one tribe, he instead has the entire Nuku tribe at his disposal. Meanwhile, on Mana Tai finds an idol, and if played right it frees them to vote out anyone on Nuku, including Sandra, or a physical threat.
    You'd Expect: For somebody not to tell Brad that they are voting for Sierra, letting them bypass an idol. Or, if you are J.T., simply flip to vote Sandra or make it known Sandra is the target, or at least not to vote for his friend.
    Instead: J.T. tells Brad that they are voting for Sierra, which is strike one. However, J.T. never specifies to Brad that Malcolm is the only hope he has of staying in the game, simply saying for them to vote Sandra. Brad then tells Tai to play his idol on Sierra, causing J.T.'s only ally Malcolm to be eliminated instead.
  • In the following episode, J.T. ended up having the hidden immunity idol.
    You'd Expect: For him to play it considering that he was at the bottom of his tribe.
    Instead: He didn't even bring it with him to tribal council. It ended just as you expect it would.
  • Jeff Varner's now infamous blunder at tribal council in his boot episode. To recap, he immediately begins by revealing in front of the Tribal Council his suspicion that Zeke and Ozzy have a secret alliance that the other player's don't know about.
    You'd Expect: For him to shut up and let the other players discuss what he just said and put Zeke and Ozzy on the defensive.
    Instead: He goes even further by outing Zeke as transgender not just in front of the tribe, but on national television, turning every single player there, and even Jeff himself, against him, resulting in him becoming the third player to ever be verbally voted out.
  • Zeke's betrayal of Andrea and Cirie. To recap, Zeke stated the reason why he lost Millennials vs. Gen X is because he was willing to make a big move and he wanted to be in control.
    You'd Expect: Zeke to not do any of those things and not betray anything.
    Instead: Zeke ended up betraying Andrea and Cirie for those exact reasons.
    The Result: Zeke was found at the bottom of the merged tribe and nobody really trusts him after that.
  • Early on, Sierra found the Legacy Advantage, which acts like a Hidden Immunity Idol at the Final 13 or Final 6 and must be willed to another castaway if she is voted off.
    You'd Expect: Sierra to keep her advantage a secret so she wouldn't be targeted.
    Instead: She not only tells Sarah about the advantage, but tells her that if she gets voted off, that she will give it to Sarah.
    The Result: Sarah orchestrates the vote to be on Sierra tonight, and convinces Michaela and Tai to flip by telling them about the advantage. Sierra is voted off that night, and living up to her word; she wills the Legacy Advantage to Sarah.
  • In order to prove her loyalty, Sarah gives Cirie her vote steal.
    You'd Expect: Cirie not to do anything in order to keep Sarah loyal.
    Instead: Cirie plans to play it without looking over it.
    The Result: Cirie learns that she can't use it, Sarah votes out her close friend, and Michaela and Cirie loses Sarah's trust.
    • Tai has managed to get to the final six without letting on that he's carrying around two hidden immunity idols.
      You'd Expect: Tai to keep them a secret and reveal them no earlier than the Final 5.
      Instead: He tells Brad all about them, and Brad has become very irritable this late into the game. Brad then starts demanding that Tai give him an idol as a token of loyalty, and it descends into bullying. Tai finally decides it's better to just dump his idols at the next Tribal Council, which instigates a mass idol/advantage flush when Sarah's Legacy Advantage is due to be used, and Troyzan decides he might as well throw his Idol into the mix, too. Because Tai gives his spare idol to Aubry and Brad has individual immunity, Cirie, the only person without any form of protection, is automatically eliminated.
      The Result: ALL forms of immunity get played at the exact same time, so late into the game that there is definitely no chance of any forms of hidden immunity resurfacing, and Tai is left defenseless at the endgame. While this means that the game is now cleared of any twists and now plays like the original format (pure competition and strategy note ), Tai only gets as far as fourth place without his idols as his safety nets.
  • Brad wins immunity, ensuring his spot in the Final 3, and he has the choice of either bringing Sarah or Tai to the Final 3.
    You'd Expect: He keeps Tai around and get Tai and Troyzan to vote off Sarah, ensuring he has a bit of a chance of winning.
    Instead: Brad's anger over Tai clouds his judgment, and he keeps Sarah over Tai.
    The Result: Sarah wins 7-3-0.
    Later: After everyone is onstage for the reunion show, Jeff has everyone run through a hypothetical situation in which Brad voted out Sarah instead of Tai, leaving himself, Tai and Troyzan as the Final Three, and sending Sarah to the jury along with the other nine. A show of hands reveals that the votes would have been 5 for Tai and five for Brad. Jeff then reveals what would happen if that situation ever played out for the actual vote. The person who is NOT involved in the tie, in this case Troyzan, would join the jury and become the tie-breaker vote. Which means that had the real thing played out how the hypothetical did, Brad would have won.
     Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers 
  • Everything regarding Ryan's situation with Ali after the tribal swap in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. To recap, at Episode 5, Ryan wants to vote out Roark.
    You'd Expect: For him to tell his ally Ali about that plan as she will be very betrayed if she was not part of that plan.
    Instead: He left her out of the plan.
    Later On: As it turns out, she was very pissed when they got back to camp as she ended up venting to Ryan about that situation.
    You'd Expect: For Ryan to allow Ali to vent, and then calm her down afterwards.
    Instead: He argues with Ali insisting that he never betrayed her. This pretty much causes Ali to lose almost all trust in Ryan.
    You'd Also Expect: For Ryan to realize that keeping Ali around until the merge will be very dangerous as she would be gunning for him.
    Instead: He nearly voted out J.P. (aka somebody who was on his side unlike Ali) the following tribal council. While he didn't do that, the fact that he was considering keeping Ali around would have been very idiotic for his plan.
  • This one is inexcusable. Another Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers flunk. A move which she herself realized was unbelievably stupid: Lauren's Tragic Mistake to give Mike half of an Immunity Idol as a move of trust. Mike himself completely eviscerates her for it by calling it one of the dumbest moves anybody can make in the game, and wonders if the Survivor gods will see fit to punish her for it. She found a clue to a new idol while she and Ben were on the hunt for one to avoid any unwelcome surprises. However, it contained only the leather strap to the idol and Lauren needed to snag the other piece, a seashell, for the idol to become in play. It is placed beside her platform at the next immunity challenge and she drops out inconspicuously, knowing she can use it as a back up plan.
    You'd Expect: Lauren to assemble the idol and keep it for herself, but you already know what she's going to do with it and there's no point in trying to pussyfoot away from it when Mike himself pointed out how foolish she was to give it to him.
    Instead: Lauren was too public with her formerly secret advantages, which causes a huge inquisition at the tribal as she looks incredibly untrustworthy.
    There's More: Apparently there was too much transparency and trust between the seven people at camp, because just about all the secret advantages and current alliances were made public knowledge, resulting in cross-talk out between the castaways just like the Malcolm blindside in Game Changers in the season prior. Ben remarks "this is very much a live Tribal Council", coining us a name for the phenomenon that happens when such is the case.
    Worse: During that same tribal, it comes out into the open that Lauren had acquired an extra vote, and people ask where it is. Lauren does an awful job of skirting around the question. First, she lied that she tore it up, which no one believes, then in an effort to do damage control, came clean and said that she left it back at camp. A potentially massive advantage and she just left it behind- which is now fair game considering she was eliminated. This is then followed by Mike pulling the plug on her idol and sees fit to be the hand of the gods himself.
    Result: Mike THROWS IT INTO THE FIRE at Tribal Council, taking advantage of Lauren's blind trust of him, a tribe who no longer trusts her, and his experience in watching the game, saying idols can be a curse as well as a blessing and knowing he's not in danger of going home and already played on before in the past. Later that night, Ben plays an idol of his own (having crafted a fake to make people think he only had a fake on him). He outright says in front of everyone he is writing Lauren's name down on his vote. The catcher? Everyone else voted for Ben that night, so you know immediately that the only vote left in play will be a sole vote for Lauren. Had she kept her idol for herself in private, Lauren could have caused a null vote and made every vote in play worthless and forced a re-vote. But Ben has absolute control over the vote because Lauren's idol is destroyed. He casts the sole vote for who to eliminate that night, and Lauren is screwed.
    Realization of the Mistake: Mike and Jeff lampshade that these secret advantages are only useful when kept secret, and Jeff takes it a step further by mentioning in his closing remark that night that the item with the most power (Ben's necklace idol) was the only thing nobody knew about (which saved him and let him doom Lauren single-handedly) Lauren says in her exit speech that she's where she is right now thanks to "my dum-dum self." Ironically, in that very same episode, we learned Lauren's sister Sunny tried out for the show with her in open casting calls and only Lauren made it on the show. Maybe now we need to see Sunny go on for real to redeem the name of the Rimmer siblings.
    Adding insult to Injury: Jeff recovers the seashell from the fire pit, now scorched but still intact, and then shows it to Lauren at the live reunion show... next to one of James's infamous unused idols from the China season, using it as a framing device for a whole season themed after stupid gameplay moves, putting it right up there with one of the all-time blunders. Oh, and he doesn't give her the seashell as a souvenir, either. Also, the extra vote twist went completely unused and was essentially wasted on her.
  • Probably a third idiotic moment for Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers is the whole Ben vs the 5-alliance. The five really want Ben gone and realize that he could be looking for idols.
    You'd Expect: At least one of the five takes a little more initiative in trying to find an idol before Ben. That way it would at least seal his fate.
    Instead: They don't. They figure him finding an idol was impossible, but in the next few Tribal Councils, Ben blows up the alliances plans constantly with idols, and each member of the alliance is sent home. Even jury member Desi had to ask Chrissy how the five could possibly fuck that up during the Final Tribal Council. Chrissy blames it as a flaw in the game, but Ben was waking up very early and pulling "the early bird gets the worm" every time and the others were just snoozing and losing. He won, naturally.
  • Devon gets a HUGE moment of his own at the final four. He knows about the final twist in the game caused by Chrissy's final Secret Advantage won in the final immunity challenge. It will allow her to choose who she takes to the final three with her, while the other two duke it out in a fire-making challenge. Chrissy is smart enough to know Ryan has probably no clue how to do that as the resident Non-Action Guy, so she entrusts the task to Devon to get rid of Ben. She doesn't tell Ben about the twist because then he would practice his skills at fire-making, giving only Ryan and Devon knowledge about it and Devon a leg up on Ben with the foreknowledge she will choose him to compete instead of having to jump in on the spot.
    You'd Expect: Devon to diligently practice as long as possible to hone his skills for the task.
    Instead: The flint back at camp finally breaks after 38 days... and Devon decides it's an omen that he doesn't need to practice anymore and is better off spending that time calming his mind so he can focus better in the challenge, assuming he's built enough fires in the game to know what he's doing.
    Result: Ben thoroughly kicks his ass at the challenge, winning before Devon even manages to ignite his kindling. Devon is eliminated and Ben practically straight-shots it to the title of Sole Survivor.
     Ghost Island 
  • Jacob Derwin spent his first and only episode showing exactly how a nerdy superfan should not play Survivor, and made a series of boneheaded moves that he really should have known not to attempt.
    • To start with, he tried to find the Hidden Immunity Idol on the first day.
      You'd Expect: That Jacob keep his head down and get to know his tribe, only going to search for the idol during down time or after he has some allies.
      Instead: He waits all of about an hour before going off on his own with no excuse while people are still introducing themselves.
      The Result: He's on the outs and widely seen as being shady.
    • After losing Immunity, Jacob decided to save himself from the vote and try to get an advantage by baiting the opposing team into sending him to Ghost Island.
      You'd Expect: That Jacob not reveal his plan after it works.
      Instead: He immediately brags that he deliberately got himself sent there.
      The Result: When his tribe loses Immunity again, Jacob tries to get himself sent a second time. The other tribe doesn't fall for it.
    • Then he arrives on Ghost Island and finds a Legacy Advantage, but is forced to will it to the other tribe. HE chooses Morgan, but decides to make a fake idol for himself before he leaves.
      You'd Expect: That Jacob get the rumor mill going by telling one or two people, letting word spread on its own so people are wary of him.
      Instead: He shows everybody the fake idol immediately after getting back.
      The Result: Everyone figures out immediately that he's lying.
    • Then, his head is on the chopping block. He is one of the tribe's weak links. However, Stephanie approaches him and obviously flirts with him and proposes an alliance.
      You'd Expect: That Jacob, knowing Survivor is a game of subterfuge, either see through the lie or be cautious about what he tells her before he can verify her trustworthiness.
      Instead: He falls for the old I Have Boobs, You Must Obey! trick, immediately believes her, and spills the beans about the Legacy advantage, declares that his idol is fake, and conspires to turn other players on the dominant alliance, even telling her which players he plans to approach.
      The Result: Jacob gets blindsided with his plan utterly falling apart when it turns out Stephanie cannot be trusted.
      A Final Insult: Morgan herself is the very next person to be blindsided, with the Legacy Advantage in hand and never made public (ironically very similar to how Andrea and James went home by being too overconfident), and she is forced to will it away, and chooses Domenick. With that, every move Jacob made in the game backfired, and now Domenick gets to be the real power player on the opposing tribe, after Jacob called his tribe, Malolo, the greatest tribe ever.
  • In Episode Four, Michael has revealed that he has the idol to his tribe and lied about it protecting not one but two people.
    You'd Expect: For him to not reveal who he along with his alliance (who is in the minority of his new tribe) will vote for. If people know who they are voting, they would have not flipped out of the concern that they might be targeted.
    Instead: Michael tells everybody that his alliance is voting for Bradley. Because of that, nobody ended up flipping and Michael lost his biggest ally in the game.
  • At the merge episode, the big selling point was that the war between Chris and Domenick would finally reach a conclusion, and the number of wrong moves that Chris made on his way out the door was staggering, to say the least.
    • To start with, he is first approached by Wendell and Domenick to try and put their animosity aside temporarily to pick off the remaining Malolos.
      You'd Expect: Chris would at least put up the appearance of listening and try to mend fences with his biggest rival to further his life in the game.
      Instead: He refuses to entertain working with Dom and burns any chance of reconciliation.
      The Result: Wendell, who to this point had been willing to consider working with Chris, throws his lot in with Dom.
    • Then, in a stroke of luck, he picks a certain buff at the merge feast which grants him the opportunity to go to Ghost Island overnight and find an idol. He does find the idol, but there's a catch: it's only good for one Tribal Council. However, he does have the option to play a game to increase its strength by one Tribal Council at a time if he puts his vote at stake.
      You'd Expect: He'd cut his losses after winning the 50/50 on his first go and go back with the idol and vote in hand.
      Instead: He gets greedy and tries it again.
      The Result: He loses his vote at what could be a critical Tribal, and, by winning the first game, gives himself just enough rope to hang himself. But more on that a bit later.
    • So, after the immunity challenge, Chris decides he needs to try and rally people onto his side.
      You'd Expect: He'd talk to two or three people, maybe Kellyn and Sebastian, and try to get them to convince others to work with him
      Instead: He brings everyone except Dom and Wendell with him to the well to talk about his strategy.
      The Result: Donathan immediately sells him out to Dom, further fueling Domenick's paranoia.
    • But here's the real masterstroke of stupidity. At Tribal Council, it's made abundantly clear that it's either going to be Chris or it's going to be Domenick. During the vote, Dom even pulls a Penner from Philippines and says, loud enough for everyone to hear, that he's voting for Chris. And then, just before the votes are read, Dom decides to play his Legacy Advantage, just to be safe.
      You'd Expect: That Chris, having just seen his biggest rival play an advantage, and having just heard that he's for sure receiving at least one vote, would play his immunity idol. You know, the one he can only play at that Tribal or the next one.
      Instead: He doesn't.
      The Result: Chris goes home in a 10-2 vote with an idol in his pocket.
      The Aftermath: Chris thoroughly kicks himself in his exit statement for "having a damn idol in my pocket", and then has a very self-deprecating time at the Ponderosa... followed by a rap video that would definitely be against Wendell's advice.
  • Jenna Bowman arguably makes the list for her folly in Episode Ten. She has always been on the bottom of whatever tribe she ended up on and remains that way all the way into the merge and a twist that splits the tribes up temporarily and causes a double elimination. She lost out on Individual Immunity, as did Donathan. Both are considered goats and not of value to keep around- but Donathan at the very least has ties to decent alliances and has found the Super Idol from Kaoh Rong (both halves, when brought together, now serve as a functional normal Hidden Immunity Idol). All of Donathan's major allies are in one place. Jenna's are on the other tribe.
    You'd Expect: Jenna, with no real allies on this temporary tribe to back her up, to suspect that she is an easy target and the group might very well be lying to her with lip service that Donathan will go next.
    You'd Also Expect: Jenna to realize Donathan is there to play just as much as anyone else and has not sat back doing nothing all this time and has been forging alliances and might have an idol.
    Instead: She considers Donathan to be an idiot and assumes he'll go home. He proves her wrong by playing an idol as a precaution and she immediately joins the Jury- and the idol wouldn't have mattered in the grand scheme because voting for Jenna was decided right away as the majority consensus when the tribes got back to camp (except for a rogue vote for Sebastian).
  • Within that same episode, Michael ended up lying to Kellyn about him having a hidden immunity idol.
    You'd Expect: For Kellyn to not believe that lie since Michael's back is against the wall, Domenick believes that Michael is lying, and Michael did not even show her the idol.
    Instead: She believes that lie hook, line, and sinker causing her to misplay her extra vote to cast unnecessary votes against Laurel and have Domenick and Wendell to consider voting her out for nearly voting out an ally of theirs.
  • This one gets a forgiving entry, but deserves to be noted: On Day 35, the castaways were competing in a gauntlet of obstacles that ended with solving a slide puzzle. Wendell solved it first... but due to the exhaustion factor this late in the game, Wendell couldn't think straight and never realized he was supposed to call Jeff over to verify he solved the puzzle. In that window of opportunity, Laurel solved her puzzle and alerted Jeff to come to her station, and he declared her the winner, causing Wendell to cry foul. In this case, Jeff Probst was at fault for not clearing that unspoken rule up with the contestants, because up until now, it was second nature for players to think to do that, and it was assumed there was no need to restate what everyone already knew from instinct and didn't need to hear. Jeff himself didn't even know how to react and found himself baffled, because this had never happened before in the history of the game: thus, he had no way of resolving it from experience. Wendell was allowed to contest the finish and claim the win, but in the interest of fairness, chose to let Laurel have it because he felt responsible for not properly claiming the victory in the first place.