Survivor: Tonga Summary
Episode 13 - Finale
This is a summary of the finale of the doomed Survivor: Tonga project. And it is indeed a thrilling story, made
up of twists and villains and nastiness galore. If you missed the past episodes, please go back and read them first.
Trust me, this story is worth reading.
(Note: This was an online Survivor game played between the months of March and May, 2003. It was later written up as a fan fiction story. I am kind of assuming you followed the story when it originally came out, but if you are unfamiliar with the project, or the players, you can catch up on the backstory and all the player bios at the Official Tonga Website.)
Episode 13 - Tumu Pride
Pulotu Tribe: Anna, Isabella, Mario, Ronan
Anna: "A former survivor once said that the game essentially starts over at the final four, and then starts again at the final two. I was about to find that out."
Kathy had been voted out, and now the final four had been revealed. It was the three original Tumus (Anna, Isabella and Mario) and one lone surviving Ana (Ronan). And normally, the reaching of the final four in Survivor is a milestone, a chance to relax and reflect upon the game.
But not in Tonga.
There was no time to relax as, within hours of Kathy's exit, things started to get ugly. VERY ugly. And it all started with Isabella.
Mario (confessional from day 37): "Last night's vote was very clear cut, and there was no drama involved. No... We have saved the drama for the NEXT vote. Because Isabella will be going next. That has always been the plan, and I intend to make sure it goes through. Number one, she has a lot of willpower stored up. Number two, she is potentially close to Anna. And number three, she wants me out. Let me explain. Yesterday, I had a conversation with Bella, to feel out her strategy, and see where she stood. I wanted to know if she could possibly sway Anna, so I asked her point blank, would you vote for Anna? She said she would consider it, and we talked about possible endgame voting strategies. I was just messing with her, of course. But THEN, she went RIGHT to Anna and squealed, and tried to get Anna to turn on me. Now, I was just trying to play Bella, and throw her off the scent, but she decided to take the initiative to go behind my back and try to get me out. Tsk, tsk. Shouldn't have done that, little lady. Now you're in trouble. You just made my hit list."
Sure enough, Isabella HAD gone to Anna with Mario's plan. She had taken it all in, had gone right to Anna, and had reported it back to her. And now, things were going to get very tense indeed. Because Anna didn't know who to believe. She was about to panic.
Isabella (confessional from day 37): "I made an excellent strategical move last night. After returning from Tribal Council, we all went to sleep. But after everyone was asleep, I woke Anna up and took her off and told her everything about Roach's plan, and then some. I told her basically the complete truth, except *laughs* the part about Roachy not really actually making the deal. She thinks he has made a deal with me. I mean, who knows? I did what was best for me. I am giving it my best. She seemed really genuinely worried, so I think she really is genuinely worried."
And with both her friends trying to pull her in opposite directions, Anna was stuck. All of a sudden, she didn't know WHO to believe. Who was telling her the truth? Was it Bella, the meek, sometimes clueless girl she thought she knew so well? Or was it Mario, her friend and alliance partner, who was known to lie at the drop of a hat? She and Mario still INTENDED to go to the final two together... or so she thought. But which one of the two did she think she could trust?
Anna: "As soon as silence period ended, Isabella came to me and accused Nick of telling her that he and I had a final two pact, and that he had said bad things about me, and had claimed that he no longer wanted to go to the end with her, but with me. I didn't believe her at first. Or even at second. But after listening to her, I got paranoid. It's not that I believed her per se, because there were parts of her story that, well, just weren't like Mario. But I was paranoid. So, I ran to him, and said, 'So, is there anything you'd like to tell me?'"
Mario: "We had an easy day voting off Kathy, and I knew it was now all but wrapped up. Anna would vote with me, and Ronan wouldn't vote AGAINST me, so I could go on cruise control until the final 2. I knew it. But all of a sudden Anna turned all paranoid on me, and I didn't know why. She asked me if I had anything I wanted to confess, and right away, I knew she had heard something. But I didn't put two and two together right away. I didn't realize that Bella had squealed on me. Because in my mind it would be SUCH A STUPID THING TO DO! I mean geez, I had just told Bella I wanted Anna out, and in my mind that meant I wanted Bella IN. And if someone tells you you're in, you don't go telling everyone else. I just didn't understand it. Why would Bella do something so stupid??"
Isabella just sat back and watched. She expected this to tear Mario and Anna apart, still not realizing that the two of them had a pact to the end. She was just trying to get them to split their vote, and not vote together. Because Anna had to go next. That had ALWAYS been Isabella's plan. Anna could not make it past the final four.
Anna: "So I talked to Mario. And I was waiting, HOPING, he would say, "Yeah, I had this conversation with Bella and told her about our F2 just to see how she would react, and then offered her an F2 because..." etc. But all he said was, "Like what?" I thought there was a chance that Isabella had made up the whole conversation, but since I figured it had to have been based off of some actual conversation, his answer made me go nutty. This is the closest I ever came to really going off the handle. All I wanted was a "confession". But he acted like he had no idea what on earth I was talking about. I was on the verge of, I dunno, something. But somehow, he FINALLY calmed me down and explained everything, once I had prompted him."
Mario: "And really, there comes a certain point in the game where you just kind of lose it. I think ALL of us lost it at some point in the final episode, but this was the point for me. Because I told Anna right there and then: Bella has to go down, and she has to FEEL it. I'm gonna go to her right now and I'm going to make her cry. I swear to God I'm gonna come down on her so hard, just because I want to see her cry. That's all I want to see. Tears. But... Anna is more rational than me and she told me to wait. She said, just make sure she doesn't win immunity first, and then you can go for it. So I waited. I knew I'd have time."
~~ The Battle for Ronan ~~
Isabella: "Up until this point... Mario, Anna and myself had had a final three alliance. We had one, but we really hadn't TALKED about it since the days of New Tumutumu. But we all still assumed it was there. And the funny, yet ironic, thing was that NONE of us were ever planning on voting Ronan out at the Final four. He probably wouldn't have gone in most scenarios. But unbeknownst to me, Mario and Anna wanted me gone, and unbeknownst to well, everyone, I wanted Anna gone. We just hadn't put all the pieces together yet."
Ronan had not been a part of the game for nearly a week. He had not shown up, had not posted any daily activities, and had done basically nothing around camp. But all that was about to change. He was about to become the most popular man in Tonga.
Ronan: "I was now in the Final Four. It was the place I had HOPED to be, but had never really expected to. And during the time that I was away, I made it a goal that from that point on, I wouldn’t be doing any work around camp. What that would do is it would restore my energy and hopefully win me an immunity. I figured the energy boost couldn't hurt. And if it wassn’t enough, well at least I would made it to the final four."
Ronan was back in town but was only sporadically online. Nobody could ever catch him online, so suddenly an email battle began for his loyalties. Mario assumed he had Ronan in on this one. But so did Isabella. Both of them were quite certain that Ronan would be around when it counted, and would vote along with them down the stretch. Both of them expected him to come through when it counted, because they were both sure they had his loyalty.
Isabella: "I e-mailed ronan right before the Kathy vote, saying there was something "very important" I had to discuss with him after Tribal Council. I was planning ahead in case I had to use him, though I still thought I wouldn't have to. I was planning on making a deal with him because I wanted to prove that I'd vote with him no matter what so he'd trust me. I didn't want Mario to get his vote."
Mario (email to Ronan on day 36): "Hi Ronan, great news! You were spared again at the vote. I tried REALLY hard to get Kathy out before you. I have never liked Kathy much, nor her me, although I never understood why. And luckily... I was able to get you to the final four. And here's my question: Now that we are here, I think I have a good shot at getting you and me into the final two. But it is going to be tough at the next vote. I think I can get Bella or Anna out instead of you, but I will need your word that you will vote with me on this. We can't have a tie, and I need to split Anna and Bella's votes. It would work best if you win immunity, do you think you can pull it off? If not, if I win maybe I will give it to you. That would REALLY throw a wrench into the works. But I am positive I can get you to final three. So if you trust me on this, just let me know how you intend to play it all."
Isabella (email to Ronan on day 37): "Hi, Ro! Looks like we've missed each other on IM. I'm wearing a jacket to make sure I don't get cold; thanks! It's actually much colder than normal today too; don't know what's going on here. Did you watch the Lion King again yet? I do promise I'm going to watch the second one; in fact I think I'm going to watch it sometime this week or weekend. I hope we can catch each other soon so we can talk, there's something really important we should talk about, and good luck on the Immunity Challenge! Isabella :)"
Ronan was about to be forced to make a very crucial choice. But first, there was something that had to be taken care of. First, it was time for the immunity challenge.
~~ Final Four Immunity ~~
Mario (confessional from day 37): "As long as Isabella doesn't win, it's done. She's toast."
Anna: "I don't remember or recall exactly how long this "one day" actually lasted in real time. But I do know that between one tribal council and the next, I went through a mental and emotional wringer. I don't think I was able to do ANYTHING else for these few days. Looking back at my sent mail file, it appears that Day 37 lasted exactly three days... Sunday through Wednesday. I know that during that time, I attended no classes, didn't leave the apartment, and, most probably, didn't eat or sleep very much. I know I lost seven pounds during the game, and most of it was probably because of this week."
Isabella: "My plan had worked, like a charm. Anna had basically freaked out. And when Anna freaks out, she REALLY freaks out. She had already spent more time online and playing the game than anyone except me, was already extremely stressed out by the game, and this I think was about to push her over the edge. She tried to stay calm in our chats, but even just through words on IM, I could tell she'd gotten really jittery. And she had PROMISED me she wouldn't tell Mario a thing I said, but she was lying through her teeth, and I knew she was. I knew the first chance she got she'd run to him since obviously she wasn't trusting me enough to come clean with her secrets. And she did. Then all hell broke loose between the three of us, with, of course, Ronan nowhere to be seen for days. Anna and Mario were starting to pee in their pants (I still didn't know exactly why yet) and I was loving every moment of it."
Mario: "For the immunity challenge, we were required to send in our challenge stats. Basically, how much effort we would put in, how much willpower, etc. And then Rafe would combine this with our current strength level, and that's how he would figure out the winner. Sounds simple enough, right? Well... normally it was. But this challenge was a little different... On this one, Rafe decided to change the rules. And it ended up making ALL of us mad."
Isabella: "The challenge was all about strength and swimming, my absolute two worst skills. And against the others, I was toast. It didn't look good - I hadn't made a deal with Ronan yet, something very fishy was going on with Anna and Mario, and there was no way in hell I was going to win this Immunity. However, the winner of this Immunity suprised us all. Ronan won, and even though for me that was a good thing, it reeked of unfairness. Ronan was gone. He had been gone. And somehow he had won."
Anna: "I must have been near raving over Isabella, so I had told Mario I wanted Ronan to go next instead. Just remove that variable from the equation altogether. So to pacify me, he had said, "I have no problem with that." I calmed down, and things looked happy and rosy again. I left my computer chair to go get a Coke in celebration... Then Ronan won immunity...."
Mario: "We were all stunned, STUNNED, that Ronan won immunity. How was that possible? He wasn't even here! He probably didn't even know we had a challenge today! The rule was that if you weren't around for a challenge, you ended up putting zero will and zero effort. That was the rule. So now I was stunned. And I know in my email I said that I wanted Ronan to win immunity, but that was just BS. I didn't want him safe. I wanted him scared. You couldn't control a guy unless he was scared. This was going to change everything."
Anna: "Ronan's immunity made me more angry than any other event in the game. I was seething. You see, Ronan had not sent in any stats. He was completely absent. No one had seen or heard from him in, um, who had been paying attention enough to notice his departure? Yet he had won."
Isabella: "Rafe had decided to change the rules, for this challenge only. He thought this challenge was too important for Ronan to give zero effort, it just wasn't realistic for the story. So for whatever reason that Ronan was gone, Rafe thought he deserved to have effort in this challenge. So Rafe gave him medium effort, and Ronan was so strong and good at swimming, even with no will left, that it only took medium effort for him to win. Otherwise, Mario would've won."
Mario: "I'm not really one to complain about rules, but seriously come on. Ronan was strong because he did no work in camp. He did no work in camp because he didn't log on. This wasn't strategy. This was apathy. And he was rewarded with a trip to the final three."
Isabella: "Ronan winning helped me, of course, but I hate unfairness. Ronan didn't even know he had won, or that we'd even had a challenge. I understand if you're "busy" or playing a "strategy", but it seems like if he was playing a strategy, he'd still be checking in to see how the challenges and such were going, even if he didn't tell us, and still send in his effort to the host. He might've been busy at the time, but that is beside the point. We were ALL busy. He was just lazy."
Anna: "Our host had specifically told me beforehand that I had a chance of winning this challenge, so I had put in maximum effort. Our host, however, had not had Ronan do any work around camp, and so Nick had to go gather firewood AND cook. So, what with my mild obsession with fairness, I was just livid."
Isabella: "You know, you can't make a mountain out of a molehill. I believe there IS strategy in trying to save energy, and if Ronan wasn't doing camp chores on purpose for that reason, I'd say more power to him; that's smart. However, there is no strategy in forgetting or not checking regularly to send in stats for a challenge, and if someone talks about being strategic and being smart enough to save up lots of energy, I would find it ironic if they didn't even bother to send in stats for challenges to put all that energy to good use. When you're trying to save all your goods for a big sell, if you're not there for the crucial moment, what does it matter how much you've saved up? Actually, I'm all ears; I'd love to hear how Rafe changing the rules at the last minute was a great strategical move on Ronan's part."
But rules or no rules, it didn't matter. Ronan was immune, and he all of a sudden held all the cards. Even if he didn't yet know it.
Ronan: "As soon as I arrived home from my trip, I logged in, and guess what? I was immune. I had won immunity. My gamble to save energy had paid off. So I was spared at the last vote (when Kathy went) and now I had won immunity. Now all of a sudden, I had a chance to win the game. And really, I just had to wait for one thing... who would make me the best offer."
~~ The Best Offer ~~
Anna (email to Ronan after the immunity challenge): "Hey there. I would have e-mailed sooner, but I was hoping I'd see you in IM. What a last few days! Congratulations on immunity. You really deserve it!"
Isabella (confessional from day 37): "I have a feeling Anna thinks she has this game all wrapped up, and she'd love if I finished second place beside her. As humble as she may be in her confessionals, I know deep down inside she's getting ready to dance with joy if she can reach the final three. She's got so much will left she'd be a lock to win. Well, I'm not here to be second place. I'm here to win."
Mario: "While I was upset that Ronan won, I didn't consider it a deal breaker. So long as Isabella WASN'T safe, I was free to start tormenting the girl. Believe me, it had been a LONG time coming. It had gradually just been annoyance at the way she rode our coattails. Then the fact that she never seemed to take any heat. Then little subtle signs that she was trying to get me out. And finally... trying to turn Anna against me. I had vowed to make day 37 the worst day of her life. Culminating in her being voted out. It was going to be a good day."
Isabella: "What was really funny is that Anna and Mario thought I was so stupid, while they were the stupid ones. They are both very smart people in very many ways, but in regards to me, I had them both bowled over. They thought no one knew they were so close. I did. They thought no one could stop them. I could. They thought nothing was left in their way. I was. They were going to be the F2 over my dead, and voted out, body."
And with tension in the air, people started to come to Ronan. He was back online now, as sporadically as ever. But one by one, the other three players came to him, trying to get him on board for tonight's vote.
Ronan: "Mario came to me first. And I insinuated to him that I wanted to take him to the final two with me, if I got that far. But during our talks, he never gave me an offer, at least not one that I’d take. Coach Mario wanted to vote for Bella and he said he had Anna, so he talked to me about it. "Vote for Bella. And if you won’t vote for Bella, at least don’t vote for me." Well, I just had to smile when I heard him ask, because at that time I did not have any plans of voting him off. I had two people to choose from. Isabella and Anna."
Mario: "It was basically the same mistake I made with Bella the day before. I promised my loyalty, laid on the nice guy act, but just didn't promise him a solid final two pact. And it is the same ethical wall I hit the day before... I just couldn't do it to him when I knew I would backstab him the next day. Ronan was just so sensitive and purehearted that I couldn't make myself do it. So I said, well he won't vote for ME, so at least I'm safe. And really, I consider this to be the only real mistake I made all game. This was the kicker. I just handled it wrong."
Ronan: "Anna then approached me next. She said "Mario is voting for Isabella, and Isabella is voting for Mario. I’ll vote for whoever you want to vote for, I just don’t want to have a tie." As long as we could avoid the red coral, she said she'd vote for whoever I wanted. And I kept it in mind, but it wasn’t good enough. I knew I’d still be third place. Now, if she had told me that we’d be the final TWO, I would have taken her offer in a heartbeat. You see, I knew that Anna could be trusted and once she gave her word she’d stick to it. Alas she thought about it, but her integrity wouldn’t let her."
Isabella: "Anna and Mario got to Ronan first and tried everything to convince him to vote me out. But as soon as I could, I went straight to him as well. Anna and Mario were no match for me."
Ronan: "Here comes Isabella, who told me what I wanted to hear. Vote with me, and we’d be the final two. Now, THAT was an offer. I knew that I couldn’t trust Bella, but her offer was the best one on the table. I said yes. I’d vote with her, but there was a catch, I’d only take her offer if we could vote off Anna. One, because she was the biggest threat, she had a lot of will points stored up. And two, she was well liked, and played visibly hard. I said visibly, because as everyone would attest I was invisible 85 percent of the time."
Isabella: "I spilled everything to him, and I think he was ready to vote for Anna anyway since he'd never trusted her. I told Ronan that Mario had lied about voting for Jay at the merge (though I still lied and maintained that I had voted for Jay), that Mario bragged about it all the time and also bragged about using Ronan like a puppet, that Mario made fun of him, that Anna and Mario had a secret F2 deal, that Anna would surely win the F3 IC, and that they want him there only to ensure Anna wins the Final IC."
Mario: "Had I KNOWN that Isabella and Ronan were even friends, I probably would have played it differently. It just never crossed my mind that anyone spoke to Ronan but me. But they were very stealthy about it, I didn't find out until much later what she had told him about me."
Isabella (excerpts from chat with Ronan on day 37): "Well, I'll start by saying I know you're close with Mario, or at least he thinks you two are, and that's cool. Basically I want to tell you that Coach, Anna and I have had a Final 3 pact for awhile... Well, anyway, the episode where Mario gave you his immunity, he told you you were the one that was going beforehand, right? That's what he told me at least, that he wanted you to think you were going so that you'd be indebted to him once he gave you the immunity. But it was never going to be you... I started realizing Mario and Anna were really close around the Marcy vote. And basically, neither of them want to be with you in the final 2; they are terrified because there are so many Anas on the jury."
Mario: "Basically, she blew my entire cover story out of the water. It wasn't hard to do, since I freaking told her EVERYTHING I ever did along the way. But still, I almost cringe now at the thought of Ronan hearing this stuff, after he seemed to worship me all game."
Isabella (more excerpts from the Ronan chat): "Mario said he was just using you as protection to ensure he got to the final 2 someway. He said if you somehow won the final immunity and took him to the end, he thinks you'd win but he'd try his best; He said he thinks you don't write well and that he would tear you up and rip you to shreds on the jury questions. He said he would make fun of you. And he told me that I'm nice but the jury doesn't respect me so he thinks he can beat me. I couldn't believe he was telling me like that... He also told me later that you were always so freakin' nice to him and you always ask him about his children, he said it like condescendingly. And I think you're a real nice guy, but he was kind of making fun of it."
Mario: "Bella accused Anna of being a "willpower hog," and that was really all it took. That was the equivalent of accusing someone in Salem of witchcraft. If you were hoarding will, it meant you were saving it up for the final three immunity challenge. So once Ronan saw Anna as a willpower hog, it was an easy choice for him. That was the worst accusation you could make about somebody in the game."
Isabella: "Ronan told me he wouldn't vote for Mario... so Anna was the only option. And I thought, "If he only knew..."
And with that, Ronan and Isabella now had a final two pact. They were going to vote for Anna, and Anna and Mario would be voting for Isabella. It was going to be a showdown. The only question was... Which side was going to blink first?
~~ The Death of Tumutumu ~~
Mario (email to Rafe on day 37): "Mostly we're just making Small talk with Bella lately. I REALLY want to lay the hammer down on her for trying to screw me, but I can't until I am sure that she doesn't have immunity. But once she is vulnerable, all bets are off. Stay tuned."
Isabella: "Leading up to the Tribal Council, the three of us were lying to each other all over the place. But now, the animosity Anna and Mario had built up towards me started to show."
Mario: "Once Ronan had won immunity, I decided I just couldn't hold back any longer. I was just ACHING to go off on Bella. And I don't think I can fully describe why I was so fed up with her, but I just was. I think mainly it was because I was sick of her following us around and trying to swoop up all of our sloppy seconds. I was tired of her just pretending to be clueless and not do a thing to win this game. And once I found out she was starting to scheme against me, I just had it. Look at that, the little girl is dressing up in mommy's clothing. How cute. Well I guess if you want to play dirty, I can give it to you just fine."
Isabella: "The two of them had spent weeks joking with each other about how stupid and clueless I was, and now that lil' ol' me was causing so much trouble, they were mad as hell. I suppose they were expecting me to lie down and let them vote me out (and thank them for it). I really don't know what their ingenius plan was supposed to be, but I imagine it went something like, "Let's be real sneaky and vote Bella out! Hehe." Genius plans like that don't come along every day. But the tensions were finally so high that they erupted during a chat between the three of us."
Anna: "At this stage, I was all over the place. I was exhausted, paranoid, angry, hungry... and in other words: Group chat time! Now, you have to remember that group chats on the internet don't work as they do in real life. Yes, you are having a conversation with two other people, but you are also having individual chats in different chat windows with each of the people in the room. You are commenting on the action in the room with both people as you chat as a group. You have to remember who is saying what to whom."
The three Tumus were now vulnerable, and it was clear that one of them would be leaving tonight. And it was time for the gloves to come off, in a series of increasingly tense group chats.
Mario: "The first one happened almost IMMEDIATELY after the immunity challenge. Basically, we went to Bella and the three of us aired all our dirty laundry. What we had done, who we had played, etc. I did my best to tell her two things. Number one, Anna and I were a team. And number two, Ronan was in with me as well. It was my bluntest chat with her yet, but there WAS some strategic subtext behind it. I was basically trying to demoralize her and make her give up. I didn't want her thinking she even had a chance to survive."
Isabella (confessional from day 37): "Roach tried to lay it out to me today. He told me I've always been pegged as first off at Final 4, and that he and Anna have been the best of friends. I don't know if he's telling the truth, but I can tell you I won't be the one to go tonight. Does he think I haven't always thought out every possibility?"
Mario (confessional from day 37): "We just had the big Tumu blowout. Bella finally figured out that I was onto her, and that I wasn't going to put up with her act anymore. It was ugly, it was a little mean spirited, but she had really been asking for it. She had been going behind my back for a long time, all the while playing the naive, innocent sweet girl. And this was payback. She realizes now that she is going. I told her this and I am going to tell her WHY today. She was chosen to go at final four because we felt she didn't deserve to win. She has been floating along for the whole game, hiding behind us, making friends with all. And as I said to Anna, you can't just cherry pick under the basket all game and expect to win. Sure, you may make some cheap baskets, but no one will respect you for it in the end. And the ironic thing is that she probably WAS playing hard, and just didn't tell me. And if she had told me earlier in the game, I might have respected her more. No, I WOULD have respected her more, and she may very well have replaced Anna in my final two plans. But it is just too little, too late now. And let this be a lesson to future players. Hiding under the radar is great, it is a fine long term strategy. But sometimes it backfires. If you are TOO far under the radar, people may begin to think you don't belong."
Isabella (confessional from day 37): "Basically, there are two options here. One, he's telling the truth and the other, he's lying. If he's lying then he's very worried about tonight and is trying to cause confusion everywhere; if he's telling the truth then he thinks he's got it locked up and is trying to buy a jury vote. I have used he and Anna to get this far, and I will use whoever to get to the Final 2."
Mario: "We had a few more chats leading up to Tribal Council, and they got nastier and nastier. By now, I was just completely talking down to her, and brushing off basically everything she said. I was so sure that Ronan was on my side, that I felt I could just treat her like crap and no harm would befall me. Because Ronan had promised he would vote for Bella. He had already promised me, and that was as good as gold. Ronan never lied. But the only strange thing was... Bella wasn't backing down. She seemed to be very confident about her position, and it started to make us wonder."
Isabella: "By now, basically they called me a stupid idiot to my face, and I called their bluff. The last chat ended with Anna a nervous wreck, Mario vowing to vote me out and promising it will go as planned, and me telling them to do what they like and I'll do what I like. But I knew by now I had my back-up plan. It was time to finally use my trump card."
Mario: "Just before the vote, everything happened very fast. Ronan was just not around, he never logged in. I was keeping an eye on my buddy list all day. I did NOT want Ronan to show up and talk to Bella. But then, I was at work, and I had to log off. And just before I left, Ronan showed up. All of a sudden, I thought... If Bella manages to strike some sort of deal with him, I am toast. But I had to log off... real-life issues... and then when it was time to come back, I crossed my fingers. I logged back on and... SHIT! Ronan was still here. He had been online, alone with Bella, for nearly an hour. My heart sank. I knew it was over, and Anna knew it too later in the day, when Ronan starting waffling on her."
Anna (excerpts from chat with Mario on day 37): "What's up with Ronan? He suddenly went all "I'm not sure how I'm voting" on me. And I think it's my fault.... Ronan asked me to be honest with him, so I was. I told him everything that happened with Bella. Well, most everything. Then all of a sudden he decided that you and I had an F2, and if we went to the F3 together, and he didn't win immunity, he was toast. I tried to reassure him while still sounding "honest", but somehow I don't think it worked. He really started grilling me."
Mario: "I knew Ronan was now with Bella. I just KNEW it. I didn't know how she did it, but she had him onboard. And trying to get information out of Ronan was nearly impossible. He had this passive-aggressive way of avoiding conflict. If you asked him a question, he would claim that he had to go. Then he would log off and... without fail... would send you an email two minutes later with his answer. He did it EVERY time and it always pissed me off. So sure enough, Ronan leaves and here comes my email."
Ronan (email to Mario just before Tribal Council): "Coach Mario, I am writing to you before I leave for school, and as I've said I won't be writing your name down on the parchment. Tonight my vote is going to be for either Bella and Anna, and after talking to both of them and having thought about it I realize that Anna is the biggest threat, so I'll be voting for her. I hope you understand."
Mario: "I sent him an email protesting this, saying he lied to me and said he would vote for Bella. I said now it would be a tie and this was no better! Sure enough, he responded in email... again... and all he said was "Well at least there's a revote." Oh good Lord, I thought, first Bella decides to wake up and start playing and now RONAN does too! What are the odds??"
Anna (chat with Mario just before Tribal Council): "Shoot. I'm toast. Ronan just e-mailed me. He said it was a fun game and... um... that I'm toast. It was something along the lines of he talked to Bella and told her that he would be voting for me, and has decided that I am too much of a threat with my will points, and he promised to be honest, and so he was. He's voting for me."
Isabella (confessional from day 37): "The shit has officially hit the fan, and it isn't anywhere near over yet. Oh, no, the fun is just beginning."
~~ Make Bella Cry ~~
Mario (confessional just before Tribal Council): "Well, all hell has broken loose. Bella has gone to Ronan and convinced him to vote for Anna. I don't know how, but it happened. So now they think they have a tie. Ronan did it in his usual passive-aggressive manner too, leaving and then sending an email so I can't reply. What an ass. But Anna is trying a last ditch effort here, to get Bella to vote for ME. She is starting a smear campaign, for the two girls to get me off. If it works (doubtful) then Bella will be gone, because Anna will have tricked her."
Isabella: "I had already told Anna I was voting for her and she told me she was voting for me. Although, Mario and Anna made one last-ditch attempt to confuse me. Poor souls. It was actually pretty hilarious. They were like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, or any of those cartoon villian duos who try so hard to take over the world or something similar and it never works."
Mario: "Our last effort to avoid the tie was a shot in the dark. I didn't think it would work, but I didn't want a tie, so I was up for it. Basically, it was to piss off Bella so badly that she would be emotional and vote for me instead. Anna tried to get the two of them to vote ME off instead, so I did my part."
Isabella: "Mario got really mean and started saying whatever he could think of to try and anger me and make me think Anna was mad at him. Anna IMed me separately while the three of us were chatting. In the chat Mario would go "I want Ronan with me in the F2, not either of you" and then Anna would say to me privately "Oh my! He doesn't want to take me to the F2! Bella, let's vote together to get him out!". Or Mario would say something really mean and Anna would say, "Oh, Bella, look how mean he is! We must try to vote him out this time; I don't want him in the F3 the more I think about it."
Mario: "It was this point that I basically called her every name in the book. I told her not only what I thought of her, but why she didn't deserve to be here, how she was an embarrassment to the game, and how I thought she was a worthless piece of shit. You have to realize that I NEVER saw Bella as a good player, or even as a person. She never sent a picture of herself, she never gave out private details, and no one knew a thing about her. So the anonymity made it easier. I just laid into her as badly as I could. I even sent her a cocky email, telling her it didn't have to be like this, but I wish things had turned out differently for her. I tried everything I could, just to push the right button in her and make her cry. That's all I wanted. With emotion comes mistakes, and I just wanted her to make a mistake."
Anna (excerpts from last chat with Isabella, trying to fool Isabella into voting for Mario): "Mario told me a long time back that he didn't think he'd win. That he thought he took it too far with the whole Nick/Mormon thing. But... he said that if he was going to lose, he wanted to lose to someone he respected, so that he wouldn't have to get yelled at by his readers, and stuff. He told me, direct quote, "There is no F***ing way I'm going to lose to Bella."... Listen. I'd deadly serious. Let's get rid of Mario. You and I take him out. I think he has a lot more will points than he admitted to me. He told me he only had about 38 left, that arrogant son of a b***h. He thinks he has F2 sewn up no matter who the F3 is."
Mario: "Anna tried, she tried her best, but it wasn't going to work. Bella was just too smart to fall for it. What worked on CJ and Kathy once wasn't going to work a second time. But she gave it quite a show."
Anna (more excerpts from last chat with Isabella): "The less sleep I get, the more edgy I am getting. I can't believe I'm getting this worked up over a computer game... Look at it like this: Ronan will vote for me, Mario will vote for you, I'm voting for Mario... so you are the deciding vote... Look, I told you things about my life I NEVER would have told to Mario.... Is there anything I can do to save myself?... Are you even there?... Silence period starts in three minutes. Just say something... C'mon... just a goodbye... Bella!"
Isabella: "As you can imagine, I was REALLY enjoying all of this. If nothing else, the two of them trying to outsmart me was good for a laugh."
Last moments of Anna-Isabella chat, just before Tribal Council:
Anna: I'm begging you to vote against Mario.
Anna: I'm on my freakin' knees!
Isabella: Anna, please don't do this, it's hard enough as it is
Isabella: I realize that and it'd be great to have him gone, but c'est la vie
Anna: OK. Thanks for being honest.
Anna: I guess my lack of sleep is making me care about this more than a rational person should.
Anna: I get more emotional when I'm tired.
Isabella: Either way the vote goes, I'll just be glad this game is over soon
Anna: Goodnight. Silence period is starting momentarily.
Anna: I do love you, Bella.
Isabella: Anna good luck, girl, I have to do this but I wish you the best.
~~ Anna ~~
It was time for Tribal Council, and everybody knew it was going to be a tie. And for the most part, everybody knew what was going to happen, too. Because Mario had made it NO secret that he would never face a random tiebreaker. Isabella knew this, Anna knew this, and Ronan knew this. It was only a matter of whether Mario would vote for Anna in the first place, or in the revote. Because he was not known to leave things up to chance.
Anna (answers to confessional questions, just before the vote:):
1. Who do you think Isabella will vote for? Me.
2. Who do you think Ronan will vote for? Me.
3. Do you feel in danger tonight? Intense danger. I’m toast, and I know it.
4. Does Isabella deserve to win this game? Not as much as me… but if she wins, so be it.
5. Does Nick deserve to win this game? Yes, but once again… I think he went too far. But I’d vote for him over the other two.
6. Does Ronan deserve to win this game? No. Not at all. Under no circumstances whatsoever will I vote for Ronan.
7. Do you deserve to win this game? Yes. I really do.
8. Do you feel betrayed by Nick? Not yet. I probably will eventually.
9. What are your thoughts on Isabella right now? Whatever.
10. Who do you trust at camp Pulotu? No one.
11. How close are you and Ronan? Not.
12. How confident do you feel that you will win this game? I’m gone tonight. That, uh, counts as a loss, not a win.
Mario (confessional from just before the vote): "Ronan's a dick. At the very least, he DID promise not to vote against me, so I am safe. But we will probably have a 2-2 tie. Bella vs Anna. And if that happens, I'm sorry Anna, but I will switch my vote. I have to look out for my own butt, and then do damage control later. So unless something miraculous has happened, we will have a tie tonight, and then it will be goodbye Anna. I'm sorry, Anna, but I have to do it. Hope you understand."
Isabella: "I went into Tribal Council excited. I knew my plan was going to work and couldn't wait to see it come to fruition. Mario had just sent me an e-mail before the silence period saying it was nice to know me and he wishes me all the best once I'm voted out. By this point, I figured Mario might actually vote for me the first time, since there's always the re-vote. But I had no doubt that he'd change it in a heartbeat if needed to keep himself out of danger. I was ready to draw a purple rock, but knew it wouldn't be necessary."
One by one, the players voted. And coming as a surprise to nobody, it was a tie.
Isabella: "The vote came back, as expected, as a tie between Anna and me, Mario's vote looked exactly like this: "~Isabella- Canoe Buddy~", which I found amusing. And then Anna and I were given a chance to speak before the re-vote, to try and save our butts. I got to speak first. I had already made up a tie speech, and I was to the point. I told Mario that Ronan wouldn't switch his vote because he wasn't in danger at all, and Anna and I couldn't re-vote, so the only way to prevent a purple rock is if he switched his vote. And I emphasized how silly it'd be to leave the three of our destinies to chance, and how silly it'd be for him to get voted out when he wasn't even targeted and lose to chance. Well, I'm sure I could've remained speechless if I'd wanted to. My work had already been done. Mario was not going to lose to chance."
Anna (speech to Ronan before the re-vote): "I really haven't had a chance to prepare anything, so this might not be as organized as I'd wish. I suppose I should begin with a plea to Ronan, as that seems to be the most effective way to begin, and I will get to that, I promise. But first... I would like to say that since the last time we met at this place, I have spent much time pondering who I should trust, and why. Especially after Ronan so deservedly won immunity, I had to consider which of my old tribemates would be most likely to remain loyal to me. I may not be the most acute or aware person in the universe, but I chose to believe that Mario would stick to his word, based off of past record, as amazing as that may sound to some. So, Ronan... I just want you to know, that if Bella approached you, said she was sick of the lying and deceit, and that she would rather go to the F2 with someone she trusted than someone she could beat... I'm not sure I would believe it myself. That's all."
Ronan: "With Mario, I knew that if ever we’d have a 2-2 tie, he’d switch his vote. I even told him as much. I think my exact words were, you can change at the revote. Which I knew I could count on. Well, it came to pass, and Anna was voted out in the revote."
Mario: "Everybody knew I was going to switch. That was just my policy. Never lose by random chance. So I got up and asked Anna if she wanted my decision. She did, so I said I was switching. I said she would do the same thing in my place. I doubt she was surprised. She took it well, but she STILL got in a dig at Ronan before the re-vote. She was mad that she had lost to him, and was even more mad that he hadn't said a damn word during the entire Tribal Council. So she decided to get one last shot in at him."
Anna (comments before the re-vote): "My only comment is to Ronan... I just wish you had participated in the discussion. That's all. Loss by silence."
And then, in a very tense vote, Mario turned his back on his best friend and voted her out.
Mario (voting comments for Anna): "Anna, you were the best player here and it was an honor to be your partner. We were Jeff and Alicia. We were John and Tammy. We were the lovable rogue badboys of Tonga, and the story will be lessened without your presence. I'm sorry to be the one to vote you out, but you know I will never lose this way. You know as well as I do that you shouldn't be losing to these nobodies. It is a shameful end to the story, because you should have won the game. Take care."
And with that, Anna was voted out, 3-1.
~~ Day 38 - Speeding up the Pace ~~
Isabella: "I've always loved Anna's quirkiness and personality, and what happened after she was voted out made me laugh. I was really stressed out by this point, with life, but also with this game, as were all of us, so we were acting pretty seriously, especially this close to the end. And to top it off, we all were frustrated many times by our host Rafe and his inconsistencies and procrastination (although overall I have to say he was a great host). Well, our Tribal Council was held live in a chat, and afterwards the final three would have to perform some "ritual", so whoever was voted out (Anna) was supposed to leave the chat immediately. And Anna just wouldn't leave! Rafe said, "The tribe has spoken, you have to leave now" and after a short pause Anna said "No". You can imagine the rest of us all sitting there, stressed out, looking at our computer screens, laughing. After all the tension, it was definitely a moment for me to just laugh at it all. Anna was just sad she was leaving, and wanted to stay. And it annoyed our host, Rafe, which made it all the more fun. He kept repeating "The tribe has spoken, you must leave now" and she just kept saying "No". She finally left the chat, but non-strategically speaking, that was one of my favorite moments of the game."
Mario: "Long live Anna. She managed to piss off Rafe and make us all laugh at the same time. On the real show, they would have had to get Burnett's goons to come pull her off the set. It was pretty funny."
But with Anna gone, the game was down to the final three. And a quiet group it was going to be. They just didn't have a whole lot to say to one another at this point.
Isabella: "Anna was out and it was official. I must admit it was just odd. She had been the only person I had been with every single day since the game had started. We had talked every day for hours at a time, every switch we had ended up on the same team, and hardly a day went by for about three months that we didn't hear what had happened in each other's lives that day. I had planned for her demise at this point for awhile now, but it was still odd knowing someone I had gotten so close to, and who I now realized thought she had had the game wrapped up for herself, had been voted out and all her hopes and dreams of winning Tonga had come to a screeching halt. I guess in a perfect world she would've been the winner; the ethical one, the one who learned the most along the way, the one who overcame the evil Mario and the dastardly Isabella, the one who had played the game so well without even realizing it. But the world's not perfect, especially Tonga, and she had to go."
Mario: "At this point the game started to veer wildly out of control. And I'm not talking the strategy or the ethics of it all. No, most of those went out the window a long time ago. At this point, the problem was Rafe's schedule. You see, he had delayed and slowed down the game so much that all of a sudden, he realized we were running out of time. We had gone for three months (a month over schedule) and now he realized he had summer plans coming up, and had to end the game. So he decided to jump from Anna's boot right to the next day. We were still online, talking about the Anna vote, and he said "Okay, now we're jumping ahead to the next day. It is time for your torch walk." Little did I know we would ALSO be doing the final immunity challenge. All this happened the same day, while I was at work. We were online for like four hours, time I didn't really expect to be spending on Tonga!"
Isabella: "We were all expecting to do a Tribal Council and then a "ritual" that day, and no more. In fact, I had asked Rafe in particular if the Immunity Challenge would be held that day. He had assured me it wouldn't, but he lied. So we started our torch walk, took care of that, and then we expected to find out the time of the Final Challenge. But Rafe surprised us when he announced it was right then and there. We were all pretty surprised."
Mario: "See, this "jump ahead in time" thing really kind of annoyed me, because there was a strategy I had wanted to use. It was something I planned long ago, and it was really going to ensure my place as the greatest villain of all time. My plan was to taint the food. Since I was the cook, I planned to undercook the fish on the night before the final challenge. I would feed it to my opponents, and then they would be sick for the final (hopefully will-based) challenge. That was my plan, but all of a sudden Rafe said "Okay, now it's tomorrow." And I was like "Gee, thanks Rafe. Love you too."
But first, before the challenge, there was the matter of the torch walk. It was time to pay tribute to those who were no longer in the game.
Isabella: "We were supposed to perform some sort of a ritual. I think the three of us knew it would be some kind of remembrance of players past, and that it was. We had to dress ourselves up and paint ourselves in the native tradition like Tongan warriors. I chose to wear red because to me red is the color of energy, and I painted a sun on my forehead in gold (I love sun imagery); Ronan wore black and made himself look ninja-like; and Mario wore mainly royal blue, painting his hair as well and painting stripes across his chest like a tiger."
Mario: "The Amazon finale had been held a week before and I remember I liked the way Matthew looked when he painted himself up. So I told Rafe I was painting myself to look like Matteo."
Isabella: "We then were supposed to find rocks symbolizing each former castaway from Tonga, and paint each rock to symbolize a player, which is an ancient Tongan tradition. Once finished we had to leave them off one by one as we walked along a path."
Mario: "I don't remember a whole lot about that day, honestly. It was just one long blur of Tonga stuff happening. I remember sitting at work trying to keep my AIM window minimized, all while trying my best to keep the torch walk entertaining. I knew Bella and Ronan were going to be boring as hell, so I did my best to keep the story moving. I knew Rafe was probably dreading a Ronan-Bella final two, so as a writer, I was doing my best to at least give him some fun material to work with."
Isabella: "Mario was pretty devastated about Anna being gone, but he sucked it up and tried to make the best of the situation. Like his usual self, he decided to make fun of most of the castaways and the ceremony itself."
Mario: "I vaguely remember suggesting we use a piece of horse crap for Taylor's rock. And then I suggested we make the CJ rock bright yellow, so that it demanded a lot of attention. Then we should put the Taylor rock on top of the CJ rock. Oh, and I suggested that the Kathy rock be rammed directly into my skull, since that's what she would want. Well, at least I was having a good time with it. Oll."
Isabella: "Ronan tried with the ceremony, but for him it was late at night and he kept getting his former teammates confused, mixing up who was who and painting people's rocks the wrong way, then realizing it later. For instance, midway through he realized he'd painted Pete's rock based on something distinct about Jamie and had to go back and re-paint it. And as for me, I was just going through the motions and trying to have fun. In my confessionals, I had disrepected and betrayed so many of the people in the game, so I decided to talk about what I liked best about each person during the ceremony. I wanted them to see that, no matter what I said about them or did to them during the game, I wished them all the best in life and hoped they went on to find success and happiness."
~~ Final Challenge ~~
And with the end of the torch walk came the final immunity challenge. The players were not expecting it, but it was here, and this would be the final showdown.
Isabella: "Things were going really really well for me. Throughout the game every single thing I had wanted had eventually happened; I had been in control of almost every situation. I had voted for the person leaving every single time except for the merge tie. I wanted Jenne out; she was voted out. I wanted Taylor out; he was voted out. I wanted CJ voted out; she was voted out. By the Final 8, I had made myself a boot list that had panned out exactly as I had planned it except for Marcy quitting. Now there was only one thing left to do: Lose the Final Challenge and let Mario take me to my victory. The final pieces of the puzzle were about to be put into place."
Mario: "I had no idea what the final challenge would be, but I thought I had a pretty good chance of winning. If it was mental, I was going to win without question. If it was based on stats, it was going to be me or Ronan. If it was "Fallen Comrades," it would be me or Bella. And if it was willpower based, it would be me or Bella. Ronan was simply out of willpower. So I knew that I would have a chance, no matter what the event."
And the final challenge, as most people had predicted, ended up being willpower based. It would be based on who wanted it the most. Or, more importantly, who had the most will points saved up.
Isabella: "As expected, it was all about willpower. Being put right on the spot, Rafe told us we would all stand on small platforms atop extremely tall columns, with a net underneath to catch us if we fall. Of course, the last person left standing would win."
Mario: "And as usual, Rafe threw in a final twist. He asked us (privately) how much we thought we needed this immunity. On a scale of 1-10, how badly did we need to win? But what we didn't realize is he was going to factor this into how well we did. This was part of the formula to determine the winner."
Isabella: "Once we had all gotten ready, Rafe announced the challenge was based on three things: Our remaining willpower, our energy, and ever-so sneakily, how "desperate" we were as measured by the number rating we had just given him in our confessionals. I thought that if I wanted to try, I would win this Immunity based on will alone. But with "desperation" factoring in, I thought Mario might actually have a chance to win without me throwing it if he had said he was desperate enough."
So the challenge started. It was now to see if Isabella's master plan would come off without a hitch.
Isabella: "We were to remain in the chatroom as if on the high platforms, and every five or so real-time minutes would equal one hour Tongan time, and Rafe would announce when someone couldn't take it anymore and would fall off. I took the middle platform, Ronan I believe was on my right and Mario on my left."
Mario: "We took our places and it started. We were basically in the chatroom waiting there, as every so often Rafe would give us an update. Every five minutes he would tell us how people looked. It was pretty tense, although it was clear Ronan wouldn't last very long. He was simply out of gas after the last challenge."
Isabella: "My plan had been all along to lose this challenge, but look like I was trying to win. Once I knew exactly how we would do it, I figured after Ronan fell off (everyone knew he had absolutely no will) Mario might try and make me a deal. No matter what, I was planning on turning his deals down, but then falling at the last minute right before he did. All I had to do was wait for the right moment."
Mario: "And sure enough, about five hours into the challenge (about twenty-five minutes our time), Ronan fell. He toppled right off into his net, and now the fun was REALLY going to start."
Ronan: "I really wanted to win the final immunity, but I just wasn’t able to. I barely had any willpower. I even considered tanking the challenge, but it was out of my hands. Five hours into it, I lost. It was Bella against Coach Mario for immunity."
Isabella: "Sure enough, once things started, they were going exactly as planned. Ronan fell off almost immediately and two original canoe buddies were left to fight it out in one last battle. It was almost perfect. And I suppose one could call this part of the story, "Roach's Last Stand".
Mario: "Rafe was probably having a wet dream right now, knowing this was the money shot of the entire story. The two canoe buddies facing off, after WEEKS of heated and pointed confessionals about one another. And really, I didn't care which one of us won. All I wanted was to get ME to the final two. So I started offering her deals. It was time to bring this game to its natural conclusion. Isabella and Mario in the finals. Just like it was supposed to be. But the problem was... she wouldn't take any of my offers."
Isabella: "As expected, Mario started offering me deals. If I jumped off, he promised to take me to the Final 2. I said no. He asked if he jumped off would I promise to take him into the Final 2. I said no."
Mario: "I'm not sure if I intended for her to take a deal. I mean, I had basically told her how little respect I had for her yesterday, and that's tough to make up. I was still under the impression my outburst had made her turn to Ronan. I have since found out she already had Ronan's vote, but at this point in the game I blamed myself and thought I had made this meek, emotional girl so mad she was forced to turn against me. So when I saw she wasn't taking my deal, I decided to take a different tactic. I started slamming Ronan instead."
Ronan: "I had a final two pact with Bella, but I did not expect her to keep it, I also knew that Coach would make a play and he did. He basically told Bella what a worthless player I was, how I wasn’t there half the time anyway, and that I did not deserve to be here. I laughed and cringed at the same time."
Mario: "First I just went for the fairness angle. "Ronan is never here, he doesn't do shit, and it just isn't right for him to be in the final two. He hasn't earned it." Well, that didn't work, so I went for the Tumu pride angle. "We need to win it for Tumutumu. What do you say, let's make it an all Tumu final two, like it should be." Well, that didn't work either. So then I just went for common sense. "Look, you aren't going to beat Ronan in a final vote. There are four Anas on that jury who have no respect for you OR me, and you know it. Take me to the final two, they all hate me. You will win easily." But alas, that didn't work either. So I just shut up and tried to win.
Isabella: "Once he realized I wouldn't wheel and deal up there, he gave up trying to make deals but announced that if indeed he did end up winning against me, he would still take me to the Final 2 no matter what. And I was all for letting him make that decision."
Ronan: "Isabella kept her promise to me and our final two pact. She didn’t take the offer."
And now, with Isabella and Mario facing off, it was time for one them to fall. Although it wasn't the person Rafe was expecting it to be. Rafe was stunned by what transpired at the end of the contest, it just wasn't what he was expecting AT ALL.
Isabella: "The two of us stayed up there, Tongan time, for over 11 hours I think, and it was really close. Rafe was in private IM's with both of us all this time, telling us each what we could see. He finally told me privately that Mario was starting to look shaky. He said I was shaky too, and that it would be close, but that Mario indeed looked very shaky and if I wanted to throw the challenge or make a deal I would have to do it in the next few moments."
Mario: "I was told that I was shaky but so was she. I knew it was going to be close, so I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best. I knew if I didn't win, I was toast. If she hadn't taken my deal, I knew she wouldn't take me to the finals. This was my last shot."
Isabella: "You see, being host, Rafe had known of my plans and how well they had all gone (at the time, he was the only one), and he knew I was planning on throwing the challenge. He was probably wondering why I hadn't already thrown it, but must have assumed I was waiting til the last moment. But he was in for a big surprise."
Actual chat transcript from the last moments of the challenge:
Mario: Ok this is it for both of us.
Mario: I wish you luck.
Isabella: Thank you
Isabella: I wish you luck too
Host: As Nick speaks, they both close their eyes and focus absolutely.
Host: Isabella engages in yoga breathing to calm herself, while Nick thinks of his children at home.
Host: But after 11 hours and 37 minutes...
Host: There is a gasp.
Host: And Isabella opens her eyes
Host: To see Nick lying in the net below.
Host: With a sigh, she collapses herself and falls down.
Host: Jeff walks over and puts the lei around her neck.
Host: "Immunity to Isabella!"
Isabella: "What happened? I changed my mind. Simple as that. No more, no less. I had faith in myself that I could still win the whole game even if I won that Immunity, and I made a split second decision that I hadn't even expected to consider when he told me Mario was about to fall off. I didn't bat an eyelash when I said to Rafe, "Let him fall off. I'm not going anywhere." And that's exactly what happened. I had won my first ever Immunity Challenge."
Mario: "The moment I saw him mention her yoga breathing, I knew it was over. You see, that had been a running theme throughout the whole series. As a tribe, Bella led us in yoga every morning. It was her trademark. So the minute I saw the yoga breathing, I knew it was over. And when I fell, that was the first thing I said to Rafe. I instant messaged him just one line: "I fucking hate yoga."
~~ Fundamental Differences ~~
Mario (confessional on day 38): "I am done. Bella will vote for me tonight, there is no question in my mind. And yes she is a player NOW, but she hasn't always been. I feel like she has at least crossed the line out of being a nobody, however. So that's a start. And I think I played a great game. If not for my mistake with Ronan at the end, I think I was the best player here. But at the moment, I am as dead as dead can be. The fork has already been stuck in me. I'm done. And if nothing else, I hope I was fun to watch."
Isabella: "It wasn't until afterwards that I thought about the end-game choices Mario had made. They had surprised me, even though I was prepared to handle anything. Knowing him, I didn't think he played with emotion; I didn't think he played for only the "good" people to win. I thought, like me, he was out to win, plain and simple, and be the star of the show along the way. You can bet he was still planning on being the star of the show, thinking his status would be challenged by no one, but his thoughts on winning weren't as competitive as some might think."
Mario: "To this day, there is something that Isabella and I disagree on, and I suppose I should clear it up. She will claim that I got soft at the end, that my friendship with Anna got in the way of me winning. But my viewpoint of it has always been different. In my mind, the problem was that I started to think like a writer at the end. I started thinking of how the story should end, and what would be the biggest payoff."
Isabella: "I found out that the great Mario Lanza, famous for his Kaufman strategy (that he didn't pull off anyway), the man who at the beginning tried not to remember anyone's personal info on purpose so he could continue to view them as objects, the man who claimed he would play cutthroat and to the death, that man had become a softie. The game didn't matter to him by the end as much as the "right" person winning, even if it wasn't him. I've always hated watching people on the show who weren't playing to win; I hate their lack of hope and faith in themselves and/or their "sacrifice" of giving themselves up so someone they feel close to, or someone who they feel deserves it, can win. For me Survivor is a one-person game because only one person wins, and if it's not gonna be me, then as far as the winner goes, frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
Mario: "My viewpoint down the stretch was that Isabella or Ronan could not win. They were simply too boring. It had nothing to do with me being friends with Anna, it was simply a storyline thing. The best possible ending to this story was either Anna or me winning. If I win, it will be this unbelievable, unpopular ending where the bad guy manages to charm his way into four jury votes. And if Anna wins, she manages to come back from nothing, make a deal with the devil (me), and then pull the whole thing off. A great ending either way. But Ronan or Bella winning? In my mind, unacceptable. Nobody wants to see Amber or Nick win Australia. I was trying to help Rafe out with the story. From one writer to another, here's your great ending."
Isabella: "Mario, along with everyone else, still bought the meek, stupid Isabella facade and didn't want me, nor Ronan, to win. Though I'm sure his thoughts on Ronan remain pretty much the same, his thoughts on me might've been different had he known the truth about me. But that's beside the point. And adding to the fact that he was worried about making sure one of us DIDN'T win, he didn't think he had much chance of winning himself. His goal was just to make the Final Two and have fun answering jury questions. And, like Kim Johnson, if he didn't think he could win, he wanted who he thought was the most deserving beside him, and that was Anna, who would've driven over him like a big rig truck in the Final Vote. I suppose someone could call that noble, but I call it stupid. He did have a chance of winning against me (especially if I really were the meek, stupid Isabella that he thought I was), but he thought going into Final 2 against me, or Ronan, just wouldn't be right, it wouldn't feel like a real win to him; he didn't want Ronan or meek little me to have any chance of winning, even if it meant himself not winning as well."
Mario: "All throughout the second half of the game, that was all I kept saying to Rafe. Bella can't win. Bella can't win. It wasn't even so much Ronan as it was her. I don't like Amber Brkich, I have never liked Amber Brkich, and the thought of Amber winning MY game was just abhorrent to me. It made me ill."
Isabella: "Since he is a writer and under the assumption that Ronan and I were boring (I can't speak for Ronan, *coughhereallywasboringcough*; but I can speak for myself and I think I definitely was anything but boring). Even if we were so boring that a box of corn flakes would have been more entertaining to watch, I still think it's idiotic to give up a chance to win the game because you think someone is boring. If you're a player in the game, entertaining the audience comes second to trying to win the game. Otherwise you're defeating the whole purpose of playing. I say, if that's the way someone feels, let them work on the production team or write about it, but let someone who's trying to win play the game. Mario puts up a very good defense on his behalf, but this is something I don't agree with him on to this very day."
~~ Isabella and Mario ~~
Isabella: "With immunity, that left me with the task of voting out either Mario or Ronan. Would I take Mario, who I had always planned to let win the Final Immunity so he could take me to the Finals, or would I take Ronan, who had done hardly anything to get this far but I had a F2 pact with? Here I was making a decision I thought I had already made weeks ago, but in light of recent events I wanted to reconsider."
Mario: "Isabella and I had two VERY strange chats after that immunity challenge. And it is kind of hard to remember the actual tone, but I remember it as just being tense. There was a LOT that we wanted to say to one another, but it just wasn't said. It kind of hid under the surface, this weird like/hate/loathe/respect/contempt combination that both of us could sense."
Isabella: "Mario talked to me after the Immunity Challenge, and even though I hadn't decided then who I was taking into the Final 2, he had assumed I would be taking Ronan. It was a very odd and tense conversation, and our last during the game. He asked me who I really was, who was this Isabella who suddenly became Richard Hatch? I showed him my real self, there was nothing left to hide."
Mario: "Basically I told her I was impressed by her gameplay, and she had fooled me. I was kind of half begging her to take me, and half kissing up, but I wanted us to be friends afterwards. But unfortunately she happened to hit the ONE tone in her replies that didn't work real well with me. She started to get cocky."
Isabella: "In the short conversation we had, I think he was impressed but also rather turned off by my sudden confident, truthful and boastful behavior."
Mario: "You have to understand my mindset at the time. You have to realize that I viewed Bella one way and one way only. She was Amber. In my mind, Bella had done nothing all game but ride Anna's and my coattails. She had latched onto us, smiling and giggling all the way, and then at the last minute, she had managed to break us up. Now looking back at it NOW, I can see she totally played us. But at the time, her sudden cockiness didn't ring true to me. I didn't see it as "The real Bella coming out." No, I saw it was "The meek girl suddenly copping an attitude because she knows she has beaten me." And really, this was not something I was going to take. You can beat me, you can play me, but don't start pushing yourself off as a badass when you aren't. I remember thinking, you ungrateful little bitch, you came this far on MY back, and now you start telling me I am an awful player? Because she did, she flat out told me I was no good at this game. So right there and then, ALL my goodwill towards her winning disappeared. I vowed I was going to get to that jury and just poison them all against Isabella. That was my new mission, make sure she loses."
Isabella: "He ended the conversation by telling me he was resigned with being voted off, that he didn't respect Ronan at all and that I was the best player in Tonga. Well, I wasn't going to disagree."
Mario: "I ended by saying "Well I'll vote for you in the final jury. Good job." But I was lying. I just wanted to show once and for all that I could beat her. I wanted to set her up to take a massive fall in front of the jury. Because the rule is... I always win."
Isabella: "Who to pick? Well, I had thought of Mario as a roach for awhile now. But by now, I found another animal to best suit Ronan and his strategy: A small, weak, lame and crippled dog. Extremely under the radar, following the leader, hiding from predators. Similar to a rat, except nicer."
Mario: "Bella never knew this, neither did Rafe, but I already assumed I was gone. I had, in essence, removed myself from the game. I didn't care. Besides, Rafe had decided to take a 3 day break at this point, so I had 3 days to sweat out my fate. Thanks, Rafe."
Isabella: "I thought about my choice in the time alotted to me, and the answer became clear. I had two choices of who to take: the Roach, who scurried all over the game, disgusting everyone, causing all sorts of chaos, and who everyone wanted to kill, who might be respected but not liked or sympathized for, or the weak and crippled Dog, who mozied through the game by following the strong and hiding most of the time, whom no one respected as a player but who was sympathized for and liked. I thought either one would be tough, but I had faith I could beat either of them in the Final 2, so it was really who I wanted to take with me to beat."
But Isabella had made her choice. It surprised even her at the time, but Mario was right. He would be the final jury member.
Isabella: "To cut the crap and get straight to the point- I spared the dog and squashed the bug."
Mario: "I had made two final comments to Bella before she voted me out. Number one, I asked her to vote me out with my real name and with a smiley face. And number two, I told her again that she wouldn't beat Ronan. I was trying to lay down some foreshadowing for Rafe to use later. Again, just trying to help the story out! I'm nice like that."
Isabella: "For the vote, Mario had made one final request. He wanted me to vote him out as Mario, not Nick. You see, I had never stopped calling him Nick. It was strategic; by constantly calling him Nick, people kept being subtley reminded of the big lie he'd told everyone. He just thought I was too used to calling him Nick. He said if I voted him out as Mario, he'd vote for me to win. Honestly, I already thought I had his vote no matter what I did, especially once he heard me in the Final TC. I saw his request as one last attempt at some kind of power."
Mario: "But there was one thing I DIDN'T know about Bella. There was one thing that, had I known, it would have changed the ENTIRE course of the game."
Isabella: "He didn't know I had already planned to vote him out that way for another reason all my own. He didn't know that not only was it easy not to call him Nick, it was hard NOT to call him Mario after I found out who he was. He didn't know that when I found out who he was, I was completely and utterly shocked at the news for an altogether different reason than he suspected. He didn't know that we were put in that canoe together for a reason which I came to understand when I knew who he really was, and it wasn't just because we were both devious. In short, he didn't know that he already knew me before the game ever began."
Mario: "You see, I didn't realize that I KNEW ISABELLA BEFORE THE GAME STARTED! She happened to be a good friend of mine! I just didn't know her real name (Isabella). I didn't find this out until months later."
Isabella: "I had told everyone that I never posted on Survivorsucks, when in fact I was a regular and well-known poster known as Energia Del Sol. I had told everyone that this was my first online game, when in fact it was my second. As Energia, I had won the first. And, as Energia, I had been a fan of the first two All-Star series Mario had written and had given him constant and thoughtful feedback, and we had communicated many times through e-mail. Rafe had put us in that canoe together because he knew that we both knew each other, but he also knew that I wasn't telling anyone who I was and Mario wasn't telling anyone who he was. I think it was ingenius on Rafe's part. I still laugh thinking about our "first" meeting, both of us thinking we had never met before, and both of us lying our asses off."
Mario: "It never occurred to me that I might know her. And if I knew she was Energia, I just couldn't have bashed her so badly. You see, Energia del Sol was probably the biggest fan of my All-Star series, and probably the person I respected more than anyone else online. But at the moment... I didn't know this. So I was still on my quest to make her lose. And it didn't surprise me at all when she voted me out. Love ya, Bella, see you in the jury *heh heh*."
Isabella (voting for Mario): "Nick, Mick, Mario, Luigi, Coach, Roach, whatever your name is.....*steps on the ground as if squashing a bug*.....I gotcha. 38 days ago I took off my blindfold to find you sitting beside me in a canoe. I didn't know then that I was sitting beside an insect. Your strategy of creating an entire identity is nauseating and ingenius at the same time, but even though you are one of the oldest people here, you were too immature to pull it off. I can't respect how you've played, but I did see how I could use you. I've had the power to get rid of you whenever I wanted, and now I'm ready. Roachy, your time is up. The exterminator is here, and her name is Isabella. Goodbye."
~~ The Final Two ~~
Ronan: "Isabella said that she took me to the finals because she liked to take chances. That she picked me because it would be a challenge for her to beat me in front of an Ana jury. But I’d like to think that it was because she wanted to keep her word that she would take me to the final two."
The two finalists, Ronan and Isabella, prepared themselves to face the final jury. They knew that it was not going to be a pleasant experience, but it was an experience they were going to have to take. To win this game, they would have to convince at least four people that THEY were the best player in Tonga.
Isabella: "Here was Energia again, in the Final Two. I thought to myself, "Damn, I'm good." Even if I didn't win this time, I had made the Final 2 both times I had played an online Survivor game, and chances were I would soon be a double winner. Only a lame dog and a jury vote stood in my way. Ronan was nervous, of course, but I was confident."
Ronan: "I started to think about the Jury. Mario, Kathy and Anna always said that if I was to be there at the end, I’d win the vote in a landslide. I never echoed that sentiment, but they always said that's why they didn't want to face me at the end."
Isabella (confessional on day 39): "This entire game I have been like a queen, sitting on my throne and giving orders without ever having to get up and do the dirty work. I have always been willing to, of course, but never needed to. Why get your own hands dirty when you have subjects to do it for you? And what's funny is that from the beginning I would've had more fun doing the dirty work myself, but realized it was better for me just to stay on my throne."
Ronan: "Here’s where I thought I stood on the votes. CJ, Jamie and Lindsay would probably vote for me. Anna, Marcy and Kathy would vote for Isabella. The one who’d win, I figured, was the person who’d take Mario’s vote.
Isabella: "For our last day, we took one last short stroll to the outlook. We sat down on our "hammocks" and ate our "sundaes" and watched our favorite movies on the huge "projection screen" on the horizon. We acted as if we were a king and a queen out there, though our emaciated bodies might tell otherwise."
Ronan: "I knew Mario's vote was the key, but this is where it gets sticky. I told Coach Mario that I hated how Vecepia won the game, and how she flew under the radar all throughout the Marquesas. The reason I said that is that I knew that I was flying under the radar too, even below Vecepia. And since I knew he was a fan of Vecepia, I knew I had a chance of getting his vote. And when you get a vote from Mario, it would be worth the actual million dollars. But I still knew that it was anybody’s vote."
Isabella: "To use silly percentages, I was 99% sure I had Marcy's vote, about 95% sure I had Mario's vote and about 90% sure I had Anna's vote. I was 99% sure Ronan would have CJ's vote and about 80% sure he would have Lindsay's vote. I knew Jamie liked both of us but probably felt betrayed by both of us, and that Kathy probably just didn't like either of us, so in my mind those two were the swing votes, and all I had to do was convince one."
But they were ready. Isabella and Ronan were ready to go in and bring this game home. It was time for them to show the world what they were made of.
Isabella (final confessional on day 39): "Tonight I will go there with my head held high, I'm ready for anything. One of the hallmarks of my strategy has been to never underestimate anyone, and that applies tonight. I will not going in there assuming I will trample Ro in the questioning and that a jury member will not surprise me. Instead, I will go in there expecting that Ro might have a trick up his sleeve, that he will answer everything wonderfully. I expect to have to deal with a very intelligent and inquiring jury and a forceful opponent. I haven't danced in a ballet performance in years, but I feel like I am preparing for a performance. I will look straight ahead, focused, answer honestly yet strategically, be myself and show no fear; I will show my strength and my strengths. I am prepared for anything, and I will win."
~~ Jury Thoughts ~~
The jury was set, and the final showdown was ready to begin. And Isabella and Ronan KNEW it was going to be tough. They knew that the jurors were going to come down on them hard. But they would be in for a shock, because there was one thing they didn't yet know. They didn't realize the contempt and the anger the jurors held towards this pair in the finale. Isabella and Ronan would be stunned to hear how they were viewed by the seven members of the jury.
Mario: "I went to the jury expecting to poison Isabella. I was going to do everything I could to make sure they all hated her, and had no respect for her. But I was in for a shock when I showed up. Because they already couldn't stand her! I didn't have to say a word, because Anna had already said it for me. She had been trying to convince the jury to vote for me, in anticipation of a Mario-Isabella final two. But NOBODY thought Bella was dumb enough to take Ronan over me. They were just stunned. I talked to each of them and, down the line, the opinion was unanimous. Ronan and Isabella was a shitty final two. Nobody was happy. Everybody had wanted to tear ME apart in the finals, they were all waiting for that. And now it was all a big letdown to everybody. NO ONE was pleased that they would be losing to Isabella or Ronan."
Jamie (confessional before final vote): "I like both Bella and Ronan... they were both nice to me for most of the game. Ronan was a friend throughout, and Bella was nice to my face at least. But I don't think that EITHER deserve to be here on gameplaying alone, to tell the truth. They both deserve all the best in real life, but here on Survivor Tonga, for these two to be here instead of a real player is ridiculous. They were both the 5th wheel of their respective alliance and did very little that I ever saw to advance themselves... they merely reacted and never took the initiative. Some would say this was the best strategy to take.... but is it really strategy? Ronan was on very infrequently and Bella just coasted with Nick and Anna doing the dirty work. I think this is almost the weakest possible final 2 with the ten people who made the merge. Only Marcy did less then either of these two. Overall, I hope that the jury reams the both of them... it's hard because of how nice they both are, but the rest of us are robbed by having the two of them at the end."
CJ: "I honestly had no clue who I was going to vote for. At the time I didn't think either of them deserved to be there and simply got by on default. Ronan was an original Ana and that gave him an edge, but I felt Isabella did more strategically.
Kathy: "After I was voted out, I didn't really care what happened, so long as Mario didn't win. Ronan and Bella? Fine. Both nice enough people, I had nothing against either of them. But as I started to think about it, and talked to the other jury members, I realized why I had nothing against them. I simply didn't KNOW them. Between my schedule, and his not showing up, I'd probably talked to Ronan the least out of anybody, except maybe Bobby. And I just couldn't get through to Bella.. She was nice enough, but she wasn't very responsive. Conversations with her felt more like she was trying to get in good with me, rather than actually trying to get to know me. Neither of them had ever talked strategy with me, and the couple of times I tried to bring anything up with them, I got, "Well, we'll see. I'll think about it." So I went into the final TC, wondering what either of them had done to deserve being there, and more importantly, what they had done to deserve to win."
Lindsay: "I had no idea who would win the final tribal council. No one really liked seeing Bella or Ronan in the finals. Isabella seemed to be a follower and not very strategic and Ronan was just never around."
Anna (confessional before final vote): "Neither Bella nor Ronan deserve their spot in the final 2. Ronan especially has ignored the game and the people in the game. He does the bare minimum required, and often less than that. If he hadn't lucked out on the immunity rules, there is NO way he would have won it, and if we had any idea he could have won immunity, he would have finished in 5th place. It was that simple. He coasted in our good graces. If it were not for Mario and me reversing the Pagonging, Bella would have finished 6th. She very well may have been the last of the Tumus to go, but we would have been gone 1,2,3,4. And even if she was the last of us remaining.... that's still 6th place. Bella is barely capable of holding a conversation without asking advice. "Oh Anna, Kathy asked me if I had a good day. What should I say?" But the reason I am so mad at Bella is because I underestimated her. Let's be honest. I hate being wrong, and I was wrong about her. I think. I want her to prove that to me in tribal council. If she proves that I underestimated her... she will get my vote. If she sounds clueless... I'll be tempted to vote for Ronan. Let's see how it goes."
Mario (confessional before final vote): "This is going to be a difficult vote. Because both of them played a great game. They both kicked butt, took names, and showed a great strategic mind at all times. *pause* No wait, I'm sorry, I thought you asked about someone else. Bella and Ronan? Um.... not to be forgetful but who were they again? *listens to explanation* Oh... um... yeah she was okay, I guess. She was a fine player. I remember that Anna and I had to tell her everything to do along the way. I believe at one point Anna had to remind her to eat food or she would die. So yeah, she would be a great champion *rolls eyes* I liked Bella, but she coasted by. With no strategy, no strategic sense, and no apparent rhyme or reason or character, she was clearly a superstar in my book. Ronan on the other hand was.... *long pause* Well, I don't think he ever voted against me, so he's got that going for him. It's going to be tough casting a vote tomorrow. Frankly, I don't think either of them should win. I'd rather vote for Taylor. Besides, neither of them can type worth a damn, so it will suck. It will be the first final TC ever where neither of the finalists speak English."
~~ Ronan vs. Isabella ~~
On a night in late May, Ronan and Isabella took their seats in front of an angry and contemptible jury, in a night that none who participated will ever forget. This was going to be the culmination of three months' hard work. This would be the end of the epic Survivor: Tonga project. And this was where the ultimate winner was going to be determined.
Ronan went in with a simple plan in mind. All he had to do was explain his strategy, and why he did what he did. He knew he was going to take heat for being invisible so much, and so he vowed to show that it was a STRATEGY, not just apathy. He knew he was going to be hit hard by some angry people, and he still felt he was probably going to lose, but he was going to do the best he could.
Isabella, on the other hand, had a much different strategy. Although it was not the one she had originally intended to use.
Isabella: "For even longer than I had been planning on being in the Final 2 with Mario, I had had a plan on what I was going to say in the final Tribal Council. I was going to shock the hell out of everyone. I would tell them that I studied psychology and that I was NOT a secretary. I would say I lied all throughout the game, acted meek and stupid, got them all to trust me, played them all... and I deserve to win. But I didn't do that. In a sudden and surprising change of plans, I decided to keep the meek act through the Final TC and all the way to the end. In my mind, the players wouldn't know until afterwards, the audience would know all along and I'd still win the game."
Isabella and Ronan were seated as the seven jurors entered the room. They finalists started by each giving opening statements. Isabella contested that she played a great game, and deserved to be here on merit. Ronan said pretty much the same thing, although he was not as eloquent as his female counterpart.
And then, the jurors were on the stage. It was time for them to start taking potshots at the final two. And they showed little mercy.
Mario: "Right before I left the game, I promised Bella three things. I promised if she voted me out with a smiley face, I would give her my vote. I promised her I would go easy on her in my question. And I promised her I would go last, and if any of the jurors were out of line, I would stick up for her in my final comments. Well, guess what, I lied. On all of them. I asked Rafe to speak first, specifically to throw off her game. I wanted her to squirm right off the bat, even though I DID intend to vote for her. So I lobbed her a softball question, disguised as a personal attack. It was intended to make her look like a better player."
Mario started his question with a blistering analogy of Isabella and Ronan, comparing Tonga to a game of basketball. Isabella, he claimed, was a cherry picker who sat under the basket, hoping to get an easy pass from a better player. And Ronan, he said, didn't show up for the game at all. Ronan simply didn't know there was a game today.
Mario (excerpts from jury question): "So there you have it. A cherry picker and a nobody. The bland and the blonde. A TRUE clash of the Titans. Bella, you played the game for ONE vote, at the end, and Ronan, you didn't bother to play it at all. You weren't even HERE half the time. And for that, I apologize to the people at home. *turns to the camera* Look, we didn't want this either. None of us is happy to be here today, none of us will be proud after the game, and yes we DO know this ending sucks. So I apologize. For all of us. We're Survivor fans too, we know how it looks. And it sucks."
Isabella: "I thought Mario's question was funny. I knew I wasn't a cherry-picker, but the line about Ronan forgetting to even show up for the game was classic."
Mario (excerpts from jury question): "I know I have a duty here, and that is to vote for Bella, or... what was your name again? Sorry... I WANT to vote for someone to win today. I WANT to lose to someone that I respect. And frankly Bella, I'd like that to be you. I've been your friend, I've been your canoe buddy, and I want to see you win over what's-his-name. But you haven't shown me anything yet. And quite frankly, I expect you to ask Anna what to say right now, since that is what you have done all game. But now, it is your turn. Anna can't cover for you anymore. Both of you, it is your duty to show us WHY we should vote for you. This is your stage. So right now, please step up and brag a little. I want you to step up and tell us HOW you beat us, and WHAT sort of strings you pulled. What was your master plan? How did you snow us all? If it made you smile, we want to hear it. So start talking, and you better sound like a champion, or no one here will treat you as such."
Ronan got to speak first, and tried his best to respond. But Ronan completely missed the part about bragging, and instead tried to defend the accusation that he had done nothing but sit around the whole game.
Ronan (excerpts from his answer): "Here is where I think you're wrong. Just because I have been on the bench does not mean I didn't play in the game. As with all bench warmers, I should know because I spent a lot of time on that bench. But you have to wait until most of the power players are injured or off, before then you get to show what you have. It's not something that I like, but it's the fact of life... Sure, I might not have been there when you were all fighting for the rebounds, but when the time permits, I'll always be there on the other side of the court when I needed to... Rebounds don't win the game. It is how many points you're ahead against your opponent after time expires.. that's basketball. Sure, rebounds go on your stats but points win you the game, whether you're a cherry picker or not... All I can say is here I am, there you are, do the math. I knew where I stood and I played accordingly as I saw fit."
And Isabella's answer was part of her plan, the meek plan. She neither went up nor down with her answer, she tried to answer it as honestly as possible, without ruffling any feathers. She tried her best to stay in character.
isabella (excerpts from her answer): "I agree that in basketball, a cherry-picker is not respected. However, this is not basketball and I am not a "cherry-picker." If I were playing basketball, and I have, I would be there at the basket trying to catch the rebound. That's where I usually am, as far as the analogy goes... And to answer you question, to brag, I will say I wanted Jenne gone from day 1. No one knew this and I was looking for a way to make it happen. I didn't trust her. I was instrumental in voting her out. I always play for the best position, and that is different in basketball and in Survivor. In Survivor, you don't have to be jumping around running for rebounds like a madman to be in the best position. That is only for those who aren't secure in their position here. I was always willing to do what it takes, and if I needed to I would have."
Mario: "Isabella started off strong, but then she just fizzled out. She talked about breaking Anna and me up, and claimed that she knew of our alliance all along. Well I didn't believe her, so I just rolled my eyes, and I think I pissed her off. She just stopped talking, she wouldn't brag about anything else. And I looked at her like, "I'm tossing you the easiest question ever! Make yourself sound smart!" But she didn't. She just said she was done. She somehow managed to screw up the easiest question she was going to get. I couldn't believe it."
Excerpt from Tribal Council:
Isabella: Any other questions?
Mario: Um, none really. I would ask, but there aren't any more answers. But thanks, both of you. I'm a big fan.
After Mario, it was Marcy's turn to speak. And, as with tradition, Marcy didn't take the game entirely seriously. He started off strong...
Marcy (excerpts from jury question): "Okay, I'll try and keep this short and sweet. And by "short and sweet", I mean "long and needlessly complicated." I'm sure many of the jury members, most of them quite probably, are planning something long and rambling. Something manufactured in their heads to make them sound intelligent, or that they were better game players. I mean, think about how long it much have taken lovely Mario to come up with his jury speech... Anywhoo, when they take that long, it just makes them sound self absorbed or full of themselves. So you're not getting any of that here, no long winding speech, no question probing into how great of a player you are, just so I can glorify my own game in my head (like so many intend on doing.) Rather, I'm going to ask you something absolutely retarded. And keep in mind, I *am* going to vote for you based on your response. Because when I look at either of you, the term "Ultimate Survivor" does not pop into my head, as it would with some, like Mario or Anna perhaps. So naturally, I'm basing my vote on something that makes no sense because, in reality, I wouldn't be able to choose. No offense, you're both great people, but in the context of the game you leave something to be desired."
But Marcy's unexpected question shocked even the normally unshockable Isabella.
Marcy (excerpts from jury question): "Here's what I want to know. Which one of you is better in bed? Seriously. If either of you were to make mad passionate love to me, exactly how good would you be? How many damn cigarettes would I lodge in my face post-happy time? Let's have some fun here."
Isabella: "Ah, Marcy's question. It was fun. I gave it my all. I figured, if I'm going to stay meek little me through the TC, at least shock them for a second. And shock them I did."
Isabella's ENTIRE response is not suitable for family reading, so it will be best left to the imagination. But needless to say, it involved whips, chains, pubic hair... and it blew Ronan's answer away. Ronan spoke of eating cookies and milk on Marcy's bed, and then the two of them cleaning the mess up together. But both finalists DID answer the question, and Marcy thanked them. And with Marcy done, it was time for the third juror. It was Lindsay's turn to speak, and picked right up where Mario left off, again slamming the playing styles of Ronan and Isabella.
Lindsay (excerpts from jury question): "Ronan and Isabella.. congratulations on making the final 2. But I must say that I'm disappointed about how the game's ending. This is a crap final two, but I'm sure you both think you've been through so much and deserve the honor. Well, you're dead wrong. Don't even begin to think that you're the final two because you're smarter than any person sitting on this jury. You've made it where you are because of luck and that's nothing to be proud of... Ronan, you were a good friend of mine throughout the game. But when I really needed you, you were never there for me. You would just seem to disappear for days at a time, making yourself fall further under the radar while I became an even bigger target. And after I was gone, I'm sure you didn't even care. What am I but a definite jury vote for you.. nothing, right? Wrong... You have done NOTHING to earn my vote."
The rest of the jury sat in silence, as Lindsay finished up her attack. It was not the sort of speech that Lindsay normally made, and it had caught most everybody off guard with its pent up hostility.
Lindsay (excerpts from jury speech): "And Isabella, it really makes me sick that you're here. I want nothing more than to just throw you onto the jury bench and put Anna in your spot. The only true strategy you seemed to have was following whatever Anna did. That's what I've heard, and I actually believe it. Why do any work yourself when you have one of the most intelligent players in the game doing it for you. So I've thought this over so many times and I can't decide which of you I like more. I can't even vote for who's been the better player because I haven't the least bit of respect for either of your playing styles. So it's definitely going to come down to how you answer the questions tonight. Now.. what I'd like you both to do is name something good and something bad about each of us wonderful jury members. And please be honest."
Isabella was set to go first and she did her best to try and answer the question. But in the jury's eyes, some of her responses were not only unwise, they were just downright insulting. She seemed to go out of her way to slam a few of the jurors.
Isabella (answers to jury question): "CJ is a free spirit... but she is conniving. Jamie is hard working... but flip-floppy in his allegiances. It seemed like he was only interested in me when I had something to offer. Lindsay is energetic... but non-strategic. Marcy is intelligent... but has roller-coaster emotions. Kathy has a desire to help children in life... but didn't seem to try very hard. Anna is great at personal relationships... but tried to keep too many options open. And Mario is very strategic... but executed it immaturely. I think that's all."
Mario: "The jurors were all instant messaging one another through this speech, and a few of them were just PISSED at the answers. Kathy for one seemed upset, and I KNOW Lindsay couldn't have liked to be called non-strategic. But really... Bella had to take one more slam at me. Again I just thought in my mind... do you really have the balls to start talking down to the jury like this? And this was the point I started to think... damn she's gonna find some way to lose any votes she might have had. What does she think she is doing?"
Ronan (answers to jury question): "CJ: Entertaining, but let her emotions get the better of her. Jamie: Loyal, but we did not talk about strategy until we were outnumbered. Lindsay: A great gal in every way, but she got grounded, so we didn't talk about strategy until it was too late. Marcy: I liked his rants, but he quit the game. Kathy: Helpful and understanding, but did not even talk to me until after CJ got voted off. Anna: A player who played with integrity, but never opened up to me. Coach....rather Mario: A player and a great strategist, but he did not take being played very well."
Once Lindsay's question was finished up, it was Jamie's turn to speak. And he took right over for Lindsay, delivering a blistering diatribe of his own.
Jamie (excerpts from jury question): "Congratulations to you both on making it to the final 2. It's been a long game and you both have shown a lot of determination to have gotten this far. I came into this game like most of the rest of you... I wanted to win, and show everyone in the spoiling community that I had what it took to be the "sole survivor". Along the way I made some friends, and had a few laughs, but at the same time I played my ass off. I think that with the exception of maybe one, everyone in the jury worked to get where they did. They made deals on top of deals on top of deals. The only problem was that all of this wheeling and dealing knocked every REAL player out of the game. And through the smoking rumble stepped you two... First of all, I want to say thanks to Ronan for being a good friend to me throughout the game. But on the other hand, as far as I know, you skated through this game without having to make one move of your own. You are probably the nicest person in Tonga, but it takes more then just being nice to win this game. For you to earn my vote I want to know of one strategic move that you made, by yourself, that got you this far? I just want one move... a single event."
Ronan (answer to Jamie's question): "I have to tell you I strategized and played my ass off at the start. From day one, I was here always talking and planning. But then I got that lone vote from Bobby at the very first tribal council, and I decided right there and then to not stick out and call attention to myself. With that one vote, I had to replan and re-strategize, and get myself aligned with people who had far more alpha attitude than me. So if you call that flying under the radar, then that's what I did. Because it was the best option for myself. In my opinion, people might frown upon it... but it was a move that I deemed necessary for my survival."
Jamie (jury question for Isabella): "And finally Bella, the sheep of Tonga. Like a sheep, you played this game meek and by many people's accounts, you were easily led. I do have to commend you on pulling the "wool" over my eyes earlier in the game. But as I've come to realize, Anna and Mario were the masterminds behind you pretending to go along with my plans. You said at an earlier tribal council that you were neither a leader nor a follower in your alliance, and that you worked with the group to decide what happened. Well, I think that this statement says a LOT about where you stood in this game... They made the decisions and you went along, glad it was someone other then you... I'm just curious what would have happened if things hadn't fallen into place for you? If I remember correctly, the Ana tribe was in control at the final 9, and through the actions of 2 of our own we lost the majority. So I just want to know what you would have done if Anna had been voted out instead of CJ? What would your move have been? Who would you have targeted next, and who would have voted with you?"
Isabella (answer to Jamie's question): "First, I'd like to say that I suppose I did pull the wool over your eyes, but while you think I was a sheep with a pack of wolves, I think I was a wolf in sheep's clothing, and I guess it worked. And at THAT point, I would have voted with the Anas and tried to turn them against each other... I knew I wouldn't be the first Tumu to go, and in the time I had I would've done my best to cause a division and get one or two of you to trust me enough to take me to the finals... I would have tried to cause mistrust, and I'd make myself appear less dangerous, and less physically threatening in challenges so you'd keep me longer. I'd especially try to cause mistrust of Kathy..."
Jamie (response to Isabella): "In a game where the winner flew under the radar all season, I would expect nothing less..."
Mario: "Right about this time, I instant messaged Anna. And I asked her one question: "My God, she doesn't think you and I broke apart the Anas. She doesn't think we did anything special! Anna was just incredulous, of course, and I said something like: If she goes this whole night without EVER admitting she rode our coattails, I swear I'm gonna vote for Ronan. I swear to God I will."
After Jamie's question, Kathy rose to speak. And of all the speeches, hers was one of the most biting. After all, she had pretty much been shit on by everybody all game. It was time for her to let off a little steam of her own, especially after some of Isabella's annoyingly vague and rambling answers thus far.
Kathy (excerpts from jury speech): "Hey guys. I've never been a big fan of speeches, and I promised myself tonight I wouldn't be speaking long. I just want to say one thing to both of you. I've been sitting here, listening to your answers, hoping one of you would provide me with a reason to vote for you. And so far, all I've seen is that neither of you have any clue what you're doing here. Your answers have ranged from babbling to confusing, from unenlightening to downright insulting. *glares at Bella as she says the last part* But I DO have a question. And maybe one of you will answer it in a way that will let me feel like I can give you my vote. Otherwise, random choice. That's all I have to say. So here's what I want to know. Tell me, what is the best move and the worst move you have made in the game so far? Bella, we'll start with you, and try to keep it under ten pages, okay, hon? Okay? Good girl."
Isabella (answering Kathy's question): "The worst move I made was right after the merge. I told CJ and Jamie that I had switched my vote and voted for Jay... before realizing Mario had told them the same thing about himself. And the best move I made was convincing Mario to switch his vote at the Final 4, and vote out Anna."
Ronan (answering Kathy's question): "I would say the best move on my part was to let the big power hitters slug it out. Some might frown on that but it got me this far. And my worst move, Kathy, is when you approached me to vote off Mario at the final eight. I should have asked that we vote for Anna instead since you were so close to each other. And then I would have made sure that you would have stuck with Anas until the end. That was my worst fumble."
With five jurors down and two to go, Isabella's friend Anna stepped up to the podium. And Anna had already told herself she WOULDN'T vote for Ronan. She just COULDN'T handle losing to him. But Isabella's answers had annoyed her to no end, and the choice was going to be MUCH harder than she had once imagined.
Anna (excerpts from jury question): "I have had a few days to come up with an angry juror speech. But I was so frustrated, that I just gave up. I decided to just wing it, and in doing that, I calmed down. I'm not angry. I really do like both of you, as people, and as players. So I'm just going to ask one question of either of you. Ronan... your question is toughest. And that is... how do you FEEL about winning this game? The jury is stacked with your friends, and you will win the game. That's a given. Does that make you proud, or ashamed?"
Isabella: "When Anna made her statement about Ronan winning, I just wanted her to stop talking. Her saying all the Anas were going to vote for Ronan anyway was just going to make them THAT much more likely to actually do it. Because she was going to piss them off and help make the tribal lines even more divisive. But I had to have at least ONE Ana vote to win!"
Mario: "I laughed out loud when I heard Anna's question because it accomplished two things. Number one, it was a great big "F**k You" to Bella, for being so stupid to bring Ronan to mostly-Ana jury. But number two, she just wanted to get Ronan to squirm. She didn't think he was capable of showing human emotion, so she tried to catch him off guard. I think she just wanted him to look bad in front of his friends."
Ronan struggled to answer the question but, as Anna expected, he didn't fare particularly well with it.
Ronan (answer to Anna's question): "It doesn't make me feel proud nor does it make me feel ashamed, I don't see how you can assume that I'll win. I respect everyone here, and I know that they'll vote for whoever they want to vote for, not because I was their friend. They will vote for who they feel like voting for. I'm not assuming anything and neither should the eight persons here."
Anna (response to Ronan): "Alright. And I want to apologize to the jury if I offended them. I was merely trying to evoke an emotional reaction. And failed... just like the rest of you. Okay Bella. You and I have been great friends since the beginning of this game. But... according to you, you have been scheming and plotting in ways that not even I knew about! But... you have been extremely hesitant to give specifics. So, that's all I'm going to ask from you. All I want is a list of every alliance you have had in this game, be it a final 2, a final 3, a final 4 or a final 5, and a brief comment on each. And did you mean to keep it?"
Isabella reeled off a list of about fifteen alliances she had made... and broken... throughout the course of the game, but one comment she made really raised the ire of Anna and Mario in the jury.
Isabella (responding to Anna): "...I stuck with the Tumus and we had a final 5 alliance. All the way up to the merge, where we lost Jay. And after that, none of the Anas would make an alliance with me. They only said they'd see what they could do. I tried... but then we got them to turn on each other..."
Mario: "I instant messaged Anna SO FAST because of that line, and she knew it was coming. Because Bella was now not only downplaying the role of Anna and me in breaking apart the Anas... now Bella was claiming that SHE HELPED! And that was completely total B.S. It was ALL Anna and me, and that was our moment of glory. And so now I was just ranting to Anna... "I'm gonna vote for Ronan. I swear it. She's too cocky now and I just want to wipe that smile off her face..."
With six jurors down, it was up to CJ to finish off the jury. So she stood up (in a skimpy outfit, of course) and did her part to cut Ronan and Isabella down to size yet again. It was becoming the running theme of the evening.
CJ (excerpts from jury speech): "First of all, congratulations to you both for making it this far. But please know this... neither of you would be there if it wasn't for me and the other six people over here carrying your asses through the game. Ronan - first I must say you were always true to Ana and you stuck with the alliance all the way. However, had Tenzil, Jamie or I decided at any point that you had to go, you would have been gone. You made NO strategic decisions to my recollection and didn't even have to start playing the game until the rest of us weren't there to speak for you. And Isabella... you lied to me and then you lied about lying. I tried to forge a relationship with you as a friend and yet I was so easily discarded. You hid behind Mario and Anna until the opportunity was presented to you to get cocky and take over. Well I'm sorry honey, but it's not wise to be cocky around such intelligent people who obviously played a better game than you. One immunity win does not make you God."
Mario: "CJ told me later that she had a big angry jury speech made up for me, and was disappointed when she couldn't use it. So she needed to make up a speech at the last minute for Bella and didn't know what to say. Well, I was kind enough to tell her HOW cocky Bella had been in my last speech with her, and how Bella now had a big head and now considered herself a mastermind. CJ pretty much repeated my comments word for word in her jury speech. I loved her for that."
CJ went on to ask Ronan about his loyalty to the Ana tribe, and then dropped in with the hard hitting question that a few people had hoped would come up.
CJ (excerpts from jury question): "Ronan, you once told me all that mattered was that you wanted to make the jury. But I've heard that recently you said you weren't "going to settle for third place like Jan." So what made you all of a sudden decide you wanted to play the game?
Ronan (response to CJ): "I've always wanted to play the game. Just because I go about it differently does not mean I did not want to play the game. I've been playing the game since day one."
CJ (jury question to Isabella): "Bella - Your safehouse *ahem* alliance was with Mario and Anna and somewhat Marcy. So tell me now... why is it that you voted each of them out... just to put yourself up against Ronan. After all, he is an ORIGINAL Ana, and you're facing a jury of 4 Anas who were his friends. Not to mention three people up here who WERE in your alliance, and then you royally screwed them. So why did you think that was a good idea?"
Isabella (response to CJ): "I decided to go against Ronan in the Final 2 because I had a Final 2 pact with him and I honored it. I also had faith that the jury would judge us by our actions, and who we are, rather than the tribe we came from."
Anna: "I just had to roll my eyes at that response. That was typical Bella. Straight down the middle of the road answer, no emotion, not really taking a stance. She did that ALL the time. Mario and I used to make fun of her Tribal Council answers because they were ALWAYS like that. No opinion, no emotion. I'm just happy to be here, Jeff."
But with that, the seven jurors had spoken. And now, Isabella and Ronan had one last chance to plead their case. It was time for their final arguments.
Ronan (excerpts from final arguments): "Here's the thing, this remark is my response to Anna and Mario... If I HAD played hard, and would have been here nonstop since the merge, after the the original Tumus got the majority, would you both have kept me until the final four? Mario, would you have kept me if I didn't make you think that you could control my vote? And Anna, would you have kept me around after Lindsay and Jamie, even with me being such a physical threat? If you can answer that question honestly, then you'll know why I needed to do what I did."
Mario: "Right then and there, I knew I was going to vote for Ronan. He had done EXACTLY what I wanted Bella to do. He had acknowledged that Anna and I ran the second half of the game, and he flat out told me that he had played me. He did it, Ronan had my vote. Bella had never even come close to telling me what I wanted to hear. Ronan did."
Ronan (more final arguments): "Kathy, I apologized to you when Jamie got voted off. It was my fault. You never did answer. I won't say that I was justified, but you never came running to US either. You never ran to either Jamie, Lindsay or myself after the merge. Instead you went and voted for CJ, without telling us no less. To the Anas, I've always been true to what I've said, I never said anything that I did not intend to keep. And just because I knew where I stood and didn't want to settle doesn't mean that I played the game any less hard. Maybe I just played the game differently than most of you, but that doesn't mean I skated here. You guys might not agree with it, but it's how I got here. Thank you all for listening."
Ronan was finished and he sat down, smiling. And now, it was Isabella's turn. This was her big moment, her last chance to shine. Could she somehow convince the jury that she had been the mastermind all along? That she had been the one pulling the strings from behind the curtain? Was it possible for her to reverse her image among the jury members?
And once again, Isabella decided NOT to come out as a strategic mastermind. Instead, she chose to remain humble yet again, and stay meek. She wanted to win this game in character, and she was determined to sway their votes the same way she had all game... with a smile and a little bit of faith.
Isabella (final arguments): "In closing, this game is about outwitting, outplaying and outlasting, and I have done all of those things to get this far. If you don't like it, you are entitled to your opinion, but I have played a good and hard game and have done what I needed to do to get here. I have been in many different types of situations, and in each one I handled myself to the best of my ability, staying positive, determined, persevering and never giving up. I tried my hardest and gave it 100%, I made a point of communicating with people, and I took risks when needed. All of us have taken our different paths in this game, and I ask you to look at mine. NONE of our paths were easy; they all had bumps and tangles. But through all the adversity, I kept hope and faith and a determination to do my best. So I would like to say to you, the jury, that I feel I have played a damned good game, and I am happy to be sitting here before you today. It was not an easy road. I have made some great friends and I have absolutely no regrets. I have answered all of your questions truthfully and to the best of my knowledge, and now I sit before you awaiting your judgement. Thank you."
And now... it was time to vote.
~~ The Final Vote ~~
One by one, the seven members of the jury walked up to cast a vote for Isabella... or for Ronan. And one by one, they wrote down a name, spoke their piece, and came back to sit down. And with that... it was time to reveal the winner of Survivor: Tonga.
Isabella and Ronan sat nervously as Jeff went to go tally the votes.
Isabella: "When the Tribal Council was over I thought I had won. I figured I had all the Tumu votes, and Jamie's as well, at the least. Going in I had thought Kathy was a swing vote, but by her pissy attitude toward me and in general at the TC, I thought she probably voted for Ronan. In fact, I was even hoping I only had 4 votes and no more so the vote-reading would be more dramatic."
But Jeff came back now, and smiled at the two finalists. Then he pulled the first name out of the box. He looked at it, smiled, and turned it around.
"Ronan," it said. That was Kathy's vote.
Ronan smiled, and Isabella squeezed his hand. Ronan didn't appear to think he could win, but he looked visible relieved now. At least he wasn't going to be shut out.
Jeff picked up the second vote. He turned it around.
"Isabella." That was Anna's vote. She had vowed she wouldn't vote for Ronan, and didn't. And now, it was one to one.
Jeff pulled out the third ballot. He paused for a second before revealing it.
"Izzy," it read. And Marcy had drawn a stick figure cat just underneath the letters. Isabella looked over at him and smiled.
"That's two votes Isabella," said Jeff, "One vote Ronan."
And with that, he pulled out the fourth vote.
"Ronan," it read. That one was from Jamie. It was now 2-2.
The air was thick with tension as Jeff pulled out the fifth vote. Both Isabella and Ronan held their breath as he flipped it around, revealing the name.
"Ronan," it read. That was CJ's vote. Vote number three. Ronan was just one vote away from winning.
Isabella closed her eyes and said a little prayer as Jeff pulled the sixth ballot out of the box. But luck was not with her tonight, as Jeff said aloud the words that she did NOT want to hear.
"And the winner... of Survivor: Tonga..."
Jeff turned around the ballot, revealing Lindsay's large block letters.
The vote had been 5-2. Only Mario had broken tribal lines, to vote for Ronan. And with that, Ronan Javier was the champion of Survivor: Tonga.
~~ AFTERMATH ~~
Why did Ronan win, and why did Isabella lose?
Kathy: "By the time I got around to my question, I'd pretty much heard enough. Bella, in answering Lindsay's question, had said that I "didn't try very hard". So I guess somehow, despite the fact that I never had a majority alliance, no one had ever really trusted me, and at least three people had had targets on me at various times, I ended up in fith place without really trying. Silly me for considering my job more important than Tonga, and not being online 14 hours a day! That pretty much clinched my vote, since I'd already been leaning towards Ronan for Ana loyalty. I think that's probably why Ronan won--a combination of Ana loyalty, and Bella not doing too good a job answering questions. That's just my opinion though. I really have no idea."
Kathy's voting comments for Ronan: "I don't think either of you deserve to win, so what can I say? For the Ana victory."
Lindsay: "In the end I voted for Ronan because of...ANA pride! But really, if I could go back, I would have voted for Isabella instead. After reading everything (4 months later) it's clear that she deserved it more. She played an awesome game and fooled us all.
Lindsay's voting comments for Ronan: "Ronan, you are truly a good guy and a wonderful friend. Best of luck to you tonight."
Jamie: "First of all, it surprised the hell out of me that Bella took Ronan to the finals. In hindsight, with the information that she had (but the jury didn't) it should have been an almost clean sweep for her. I was completely prepared for a Bella/Mario matchup where I could finally get back at Mario. Instead, she made my job easy, I was voting for an Ana no matter what. So the easy answer to why Ronan won is that there were 4 Ana's on the jury, and all of us voted for him... Of all the Tumus, the only two that I thought (at the time) did anything were Anna and Mario. I was always under the assumption that they had pulled the strings, and that Marcy and Bella followed. After the game I was extremely surprised that "innocent" old Bella played a mean game herself. But I never saw any of this before the final TC... Looking back, the vote should have gone differently if it had been based on merit, but I was voting for my team more than for the person who probably deserved it. Ronan swears that he played his strategy to perfection (and it might be true) but I have yet to be convinced by him. I just know that I still see him like I did on the night of the final TC, a friendly guy that had the right turn of events happen at just the right times. Whether he was the cause of any of it or not is up for debate. But if I could impartially go back and vote again I would give my nod to Bella, even if it meant more bragging rights for the sometimes egotistical Tumus..."
Jamie's voting comments for Ronan: "Ronan, you are the lesser of two evils. You have been a good friend throughout the game and that is what wins my vote. Neither of you played worth a damn in my book, no matter what Bella tries to say. So our friendship is the one thing that tips this vote in your favor. Oh and one thing... with the money can you please buy a speed-typing program?"
CJ: "I honestly had no clue who I was going to vote for at the time. At the time I didn't think EITHER of them deserved to be there and simply got by on default. Ronan was an original Ana and that gave him an edge, but I felt Isabella did more strategically. And in the end, Ronan won because I think many of us felt that he had been honest and true with everyone at all times and I know at least that everyone in Ana had hoped for a member of our tribe to win. Not many of us really got to know Bella personally and I think that had a lot to do with it."
CJ's voting comments for Ronan: "I promised I would stay true to Ana to the end. You didn't play the game, but neither did Bella. The difference is your honesty and your friendship. Good luck Ro baby."
Mario: "I swear to this day that I went into that last vote expecting to vote for Isabella. But seriously, she just threw it all away. She pissed me off, she pissed Anna off, she pissed them all off. She was lucky to get two votes as it was. But it really started the day before that, when she voted me off instead of Ronan. At the time I was fine with it, but by the time I had to cast my vote, it just started to irk me. So wait... you take RONAN to the finals?? A guy who can't be beaten?? She was either the cockiest person or the most clueless person alive, to think she could win against an ANA jury. I mean, the two tribes HATED one another! So when I walked up to cast my vote, a few things were going through my head. Number one, Bella made a HORRIBLE move taking Ronan to the final two. I was an easy win and, even though I would have talked circles around her, she would have beaten me. If she TRULY wanted to win, she should have taken me. So then I thought of all her terrible Tribal Council answers, and how meek and scared she seemed. She didn't belong, that was clear to all of us. And finally, I just thought of some good old fashioned storyline drama. I told her before I left that she couldn't beat Ronan, and now I wanted to be the deciding vote that clinched it. I knew that would be good on TV. So I voted Ronan, and laughed about it. I loved the storyline we were now sticking Rafe with. Tumutumu kicks butt, Mario and Anna kick butt, Isabella kicks BOTH of their butts, and then she pisses it all away on day 38. Nice job, Isabella. I'm glad Ronan beat you. Dumbass."
Mario's voting comments for Ronan: "Ronan... I don't respect the way you played the game, but you DID have a strategy. You laid low, knew when to hide, and planned this to the end. You and Bella both played me, which I admit, and I don't even care. Nice job. But Ronan, I am convined YOU planned it ahead of time, and Bella just fell into place when it counted. So Ronan, congratulations buddy. You are the new winner of Tonga. *places ballot in the box* And Bella, I TOLD you Ronan would win. You should have listened to me. A true player would have faced me in the finals, not an Ana. Bad, bad move."
Anna: "She should have taken Mario to the finals. She would have CREAMED him in the jury. And she told me later... she said "I knew that if I took Mario, the TC would be fun and I'd probably win. BUT... the jury MIGHT give it to him and I'd look like a second place loser." So she figured that if she took Ronan, she was ensuring that she would come out looking the best. She thought she could beat Ronan and, if she somehow lost, the audience would HATE the jury. She considered it to be win-win, either way. Either she wins, or the audience will hate the Ana jury. So in my mind, she chose glory over victory. I think she really just cared about looking good... and was scared that Mario may have stolen her thunder in front of a jury."
Anna's voting comments for Isabella: "I'm not a poor-sport."
Marcy's voting comments for Isabella: "Izzy, your game was far from perfect. But so was mine, and so was Anna's, and so was Mario's. The difference between all of us, and you, is that you won and we didn't. Congrats."
Tenzil: "Isabella lost because of the Ana jury. Pure and simple. She handed them the chance to screw over the Tumutumus and they grabbed it. I really think they would have voted for ANY Ana against ANY Tumutumu. And I have told her this, too. I told Isabella that when a person gives a monkey a gun, and the monkey shoots that person, you don't blame the monkey. Well she handed a gun to the monkey and she got shot. No one to blame but herself."
~~ FINAL THOUGHTS ON TONGA ~~
Anna: "When I got wrapped up in Tonga, I laughed at myself at first. I realized I was starting to treat the opponents in my computer game like real people. I play computer games sometimes, and frequently find myself empathizing with my little soldiers who get killed on the battlefield, or my villagers who starve to death. For a moment, I thought this was the same thing. And then I realized... these WERE real people. And they had real feelings, and real hopes and real disappointments. At that stage, the game really took on a whole new dimension. You can knock people who play the game ethically or morally all you want, but anyone other than a sociopath is going to at some point realize that there is a lot more at stake in a game like this than winning and losing. There are real people involved. Vote 'em off. Sure, no problem. But you start looking for ways to do it without really hurting anyone. Especially when you are playing with a lot of younger people. And we ALL got hooked on the game. I lost a couple of friends because I simply stopped answering the phone or writing e-mails. My family thought I was weird. My schooling suffered, SEVERELY. But you know what the worst part was? Ronan won. I lost to someone who didn't do ANY of this. Who simply skated along, never coming online, and escaping the axe by the merest of margins at least 4 times. He just got lucky. He can blabber all he wants about his follower not a leader strategy... but it wasn't much more than a coin flip over who went at each of the Pagongings of the Anas. If Kathy hadn't won the final reward challenge (the kiss of death final 5 reward), he probably would have gone then. His strategy was humbug. He got lucky. THAT pisses me off."
Isabella: "So why didn't I come out as myself? Well, if the story had been written in its entirety, it probably would've been the big mystery of Tonga. Why did Isabella not come clean and tell them about her real self during the Final TC? You might as well have asked where planes go in the Bermuda Triangle; why Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids were built; where the Holy Grail is at, because you're not going to get an answer. There are reasons why I did what I did, but some things are better left unsaid. The fact remains that I still thought I would win the game. I was just really shocked when Ronan won. Ronan made it to the final two because everyone viewed him as so disposable that they kept him around to use at their convenience. People have compared me to the snake of Tonga, but if I slithered through the game, he hobbled through it. His saying he got to where he did solely because of strategy is bullshit. You can pass anything off as strategy if it works. But Survivor, like life, is flawed, and it doesn't take only strategy to win. The jurors mostly voted for Ronan because they started out on the same team with him or because he was a good friend. I feel those aren't the best reasons to vote for someone to win Survivor; my main criteria would be who outwitted and outplayed the best. And the jury itself was bitter and deluded, one that took satisfaction in thinking any of them were more deserving of a F2 spot than Ronan or me. They listened to and took pleasure in each other making fun of and demeaning us more than they even cared to actually listen to us. They didn't care. It's funny how when you lose, it's easy to band together and find flaws in the ones still standing. Envy is not attractive. I had ALWAYS played this game with the attitude that if somehow someone was smart enough to vote me off, I would congratulate them for it. I'm a damn good player, and if they can outsmart me, they've gotta be good. Even if I were a terrible player I'd think the same way. So, even though I expected to have a tough jury, I was very surprised by the lack of good sportsmanship the most of the jurors displayed. The way most of the jurors acted seemed somewhat vile to me."
Ronan: "Before I began, my strategy was to fly under the radar, be a Ronald Weasley to a Harry Potter. To hide behind people. Now if I was stuck with 15 other players who weren't alphas, I would have been doomed. You see I was part of the Survivor Sucks Speculations board, and there was one theory that was passed around, about leaders and followers, that in a tribe of followers a leader was going to come up on top, and in a tribe of leaders a follower would win. So I did just that. At the beginning and during every switch, I was there to know the status of my tribe members, who do I need to be? Fortunately for me, there were a lot of alpha players on the island. At the beginning, I hid behind Tenzil, and at the switch I hid behind CJ. At the merge, I hid behind Mario, with the facade of honesty and integrity. Now, I don’t know if I could have played dirty like some of the players, or as hard as they say that I should have. But the thing is, I never needed to. And if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it. That's why I won."
Isabella: "Ronan used the strengths he had, and I commend him for winning a tough game and congratulate him on it. He might've played the lame dog strategy and he might've been the Invisible Man, but it worked, and that's the important thing. Oh well, he owes me an ice cream sundae."
~~ ONE FINAL NOTE ~~
Isabella: "When Mario first told me who he'd voted for, I thought he was just teasing me, since by that time I'd started telling him how much I'd really played the game during Tonga. I love Mario and think he's really intelligent and a great writer, and would probably make a great real Survivor player, but I would mark his endgame in Tonga, including the vote for Ronan, as some seriously senseless playing. I think it's completely moronic to vote for someone to win the game of Survivor just to surprise the audience. This was one time I definitely didn't read Mario right. His vote was partly about who he felt deserved it and partly about revenge on me, but really those were just fronts to try and make sense of the vote. I believe he just wanted to be the star in any way possible, and he was hoping the vote would be 4/3, that he would be the deciding vote, and not only would he be the deciding vote, but that his vote would shock everyone. I said it once and I'll say it again: Dumbass. But the vote was his choice, and he had full right to vote for that reason... And I feel there IS one more thing I should say about Mario because of the way I consistently talked about him during the game and re-cap. Mario and I had a strange relationship all throughout Tonga, from the moment we met until the moment the final votes were cast, and our destinies in this game were unmistakeably intertwined. We were complete opposites yet we had so much in common. We were always so close, yet so far apart. The dynamic we had was fascinating for me, and I think he is a fascinating person. He is one person who can and does continually surprise me, and he is a great person and great friend. (although I will always beat him at Survivor *wink*)"
Mario: "Most of this recap was built up to sound like we really hate one another. It's better for the story that way. And maybe we DID at times during the game, but since the game has ended I have really gotten to know her and realize she just tore this game apart. It's nothing against Ronan, he played as best as he could have under the circumstances, but Isabella was really the best player in Tonga. About ten minutes AFTER the game ended, she FINALLY came out and told us how smart she was and how she played us and so and so. And I was struck by the fact that I voted for the wrong person. Now if only *bonks Isabella on the head* she would have COME OUT DURING THE JURY, she would have won. Easily. That is all we wanted her to do, to SHOW us who she was. But alas, she didn't, and the game didn't end like it should have. But don't think I'm a poor sport, I always make penance. And I did in this case too. I told Isabella that when I wrote All-Star Greece, I would write Tanya as Isabella. I said, pay attention to Tanya, she is YOU. And guess what, Tanya won All-Star Greece. I figured I owed Isabella at least that much. And yes, we are close friends now. After Tonga, we had to be locked in a room for 48 hours and could beat on each other with rocks and sticks and crowbars, but we emerged from it as friends. Bloody and battered friends, but friends nonetheless. Oh and for the record, I won that fight too. As I said before... I always win.
Back to Main Menu