He may have been America’s sweetheart for most of this season, but Survivor‘s Tai Trang continues to prove why he is his own biggest enemy. Sure, his strategies have evolved to show smart intuition, but his execution is simply awful.
I’m probably going to get some heat for derailing the Tai Trang fanbase, but here are the five reasons Tai can’t win.
1. Wasted advantage
Earlier this season, Tai was given a secret advantage, which allowed him to cast two votes at an upcoming Tribal Council. He held that advantage until he deemed it was time for Michele to go, casting both his ballots against her. It was a failed attempt, however, because the tribe opted to oust Jason instead. That basically flushed his double-vote advantage while showing he was alone within his own alliance. Had he truly wanted Michele gone, there was something else he could’ve, and probably should’ve, done. That brings us to point No. 2.
2. Wasted Idol opportunity
If Tai wanted to make sure Michele was sent packing, the only way to do that would have been to secure her elimination by handing his Idol over to Jason. It was obvious Jason was the other potential target, so it could have changed up the entire game if Tai would’ve made the move. Plus, it wouldn’t have wasted his second-vote advantage. He could’ve saved that altogether and simply played the Idol. Of course, it would have shown his current allies he’s swapping sides again, but he’s done it enough already that would it really make a difference? It may have been the best move to benefit his game because Michele, a true threat to win, would be gone for good. My guess is that Tai was simply overconfident that Aubry was sticking to the plan against Michele.
3. Talking too much
From spilling plans about the so-called “super Idol” several weeks ago at Tribal Council to openly explaining why Michele is beneath him in the alliance, Tai has made a lot of foot-in-mouth errors. Truly, less is more when it comes to Survivor. If Tai could learn to keep his chatter dialed down, he would be much better off. Honesty is the best policy in life, but it’s mostly a death notice in this game. His performance at Tribal Council when trying to get Michele booted was painful to watch. He kept digging a deeper hole for himself with every uttered syllable, and it’s going to be harder and harder to climb out of it. Michele has shown she doesn’t like being messed with, as she fought back with Tai as he kept reiterating how she wasn’t an important number in their voting block. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. He would have been better off to keep making her feel comfortable within their alliance. Sure, that may have been difficult to do since Cydney told Michele about Tai’s plan, but he could have played that much smarter by saying less. Plus, it’s clear some members of the tribe feel Tai is pushing his dictatorship-like ways on them, which is never a good thing. Nobody wants to be forced into anything.
4. He’s a flip-flopper
Michele made a great point when her back was against the wall with Tai threatening to vote her out. She made sure to mention at Tribal Council that Tai has flipped on every alliance he’s been a part of. She’s right. While I do think swapping sides can be a great move in specific circumstances, Tai just seems to scrape along without much thought. Most frustrating? He found himself siding with Scot and Jason, this season’s most hated villains. He even joined their scheme to sabotage camp by secretly extinguishing the tribe’s fire while everybody was sleeping. He disappointingly drank their Kool-Aid. But even that bond didn’t last, as he made a huge move and broke his word with Scot by not sacrificing his hidden Idol a few days later. This ties in with the point of poor strategic decisions, because now he’s backstabbed people on the jury who will ultimately decide who wins the game’s $1 million prize.
5. Strategic stupidity
All of these points converge into this. Tai isn’t a smart, strategic player. Sorry, Tai fans. It’s true and you know it. Although we’re only seeing snippets of what actually happened during filming in Cambodia, Tai’s thought process doesn’t seem to consider how it will impact his chances at winning the $1 million. To be a Survivor winner takes the confidence of a cocky poker player, but one who isn’t dumb enough to reveal their hand. He’s just not that level of a player. His current main ally, Aubry, even turned against him despite knowing his plan was actually the smartest. If you can’t get your own pals to stick to the clear-cut smart plan, then something is definitely wrong. I’m not saying Tai hasn’t made big moves. He has. He’s just gone about many of them the wrong way.
With only five castaways left, there isn’t much room to hide. Although lots of viewers are gushing about their hopes and expectations for Michele to win it all, I’m still hopeful Aubry walks away this season’s Survivor champ. I think she deserves it. Finale night is just two weeks away!