Fake Survivor: Marquesas
Flip-Flopping to Victory
What if the Survivor franchise lived in alternate reality? A reality where different players were cast on different seasons? The purpled players might rise to dominance and Survivor icons might be a simple blip in the history of a long-running show. This is the purpose of our Fake Survivor series, a reimagining of the franchise’s season in chronological order.
Last week, we followed along as Vecepia Towery became the first real winner to take home the Fake Survivor corwn. This week, 16 new castaways come in with the hopes and dreams of following in her footsteps, but only one can become the victor of Fake Survivor: Marquesas.
First, the established rules of this series:
•To decide any season’s roster, I will load up the season I am simming (in this case Marquesas), go over to the simulate tab, and choose random. This ensures that no bias will have gone into choosing my cast of players for the season.
•While the cast of players is random, I will follow a season’s theme to the limits of their possibility (IE: All-Stars will be all returning players from the first 7 simulations, Micronesia will have half returning players, Cambodia will be all second-time players).
•Speaking of which, returning player seasons is where there will be some bias because I will not be able to complete a roster by randomizing. I will hand pick players from past seasons to compete in those seasons and do my best to avoid preconceived notions from reality, simply abiding by their performance in Fake Survivor history. I will try to mirror the number of returning players from each season based on what happened in reality.
•I have not altered any player’s profile to make them better or worse than anyone else on the season. I have not adjusted any player’s relationship to other players in any way to impact a season’s results.
•For simplicity’s sake, we will assume all players are the age they were the first time they played real Survivor. Otherwise it would be weird to imagine an infant Will Wahl on like Survivor: Africa or something like that.
•No restarts if a player I like in real life ends up being a really early boot, that’s just the reality and likely kills his chances to return in the future. That’s life man.
So with all of that well-established, let’s get into… Fake Survivor: Marquesas!
To follow along, here is the link to the simulation: http://brantsteele.net/survivor/marquesas/r.php?c=u7c95Lbl
Looking at both tribes, this seems like an athletic cast. You figure that in challenges, Devon and Joe will be the anchors for Maraamu. Having Joe’s soon to be real-life wife on his tribe seems unfair, but hey, I am not in control of the casting on Fake Survivor, the gods of Brant Steele are. The Rotu tribe should be lead in challenges by Captain of Sports Danielle, professional athlete Alan and people like Hayden and Mookie who are strong competitors.
Both tribes also have a little bit of an X-factor at their camps. In our universe, Brandon has been cast well before his infamous uncle but his personality is still the same. He’s unhinged and uncontrollable. It will be fun to see how Maraamu deals with having lil’ Hantz on their side and if he can be weaponized like Coach did in South Pacific or if he will be cast aside for being a liability. Likewise at Rotu, you have Alan whose paranoia might run rampant early on and we might be privy to some strip searches. They also have to consider that Twila might be consumed by the game and she will be one to keep an eye on.
Onto the game.
It seems like early on, Brandon’s potential instability doesn’t bother his tribe. On day one, he found a spot in the majority alliance of four, along with Joe and Sierra (shocker) and Devon. Figgy, Julie and Mick form the opposing alliance. Kim seems to be hanging out on the outskirts for the time being… a position that has not been opportunistic so far in Fake Survivor lore.
The Rotu dynamics are a little more complicated. Alan, Lindsey and Nick form a three-person alliance. That is countered by another trio of Danielle, Gabby and Twila. Hayden and Mookie are not associated in any alliances and it’s unclear whether they are working together. With the purple rock in play this season, Rotu will be interesting to follow because if I know one thing about the Brant Steele gods, they like to go to rocks and do so early on.
Doing right by his title as a real-life challenge beast, Joe and the Maraamu tribe win the first immunity challenge of Fake Survivor: Marquesas. Rotu will be the first tribe to have a date by the fire with our fake Jeff Probst, who needs less cosmetic surgery than the real Jeff Probst to keep looking like he never ages.
Before going to tribal council, it was noted that Alan was starting to rub his tribe the wrong way. Maybe Hayden doesn’t like being asked to drop his pants in front of the cameras, especially in an era where the hidden immunity idol doesn’t even exist yet. Either way, I don’t like this as a sign for Alan’s long-term chances in this game.
The two three-person alliances came into tribal council ready to go at war with each other. Alan’s side chose to target Gabby. In response, Gabby’s side took aim at Alan. Hayden and Mookie’s two votes would determine the outcome of this standoff. Mookie proved to be no help by throwing a vote on Nick. Hayden used his brains and helped decide the outcome by voting for Alan. In a 4–3–1 first vote, Alan becomes the first casualty of Fake Survivor: Marquesas. Some people are just destined to be pre-mergers.
Rotu got off the schneid by winning a reward challenge but that’s because Joe doesn’t care about rewards. He cares about immunity and when it was time to compete for it, Joe and crew once again delivered the goods and sent Rotu back to the drawing board.
Because of how the previous vote turned out, it seems like Nick might be in the most trouble. Mookie has already placed a vote on him and the other alliance might just go with it to play it safe. It’s also worth noting before going to Rotu’s tribal council that Maraamu’s majority alliance, while still holding on, has weakened its bonds. Likely due to Brandon’s mania starting to act up on the beach.
When it came time to vote, Nick was unable to avoid the guillotine. Gabby, Danielle and Twila conspired with Mookie to go after him. Hayden threw a random vote on Lindsey, mirroring what Mookie did in the first tribal council. Lindsey and Nick futilely took a shot at Gabby. Nick becomes a far less successful real-life winner than Vecepia and Bob Crowley were last season.
In a déjà vu, Rotu won the reward challenge and started feeling themselves. They then proceeded to get crushed by Maraamu in the challenge that actually matters and for a 3rd consecutive episode, would be the tribe going to tribal council. Bad news for Lindsay.
Feeling certain she would be the next to go, I was shocked when the votes were counted and with 4 votes, Mookie’s torch was snuffed. Somehow, Lindsey was able to appeal to the majority alliance’s needs and convinced them go target Mookie instead. Maybe the fact that Lindsey chose a side felt honorable to the alliance and they deemed her worthier than the two floaters. Regardless, Lindsey finds a way to stave off her execution and fight another day.
Then came time for the swap. It wasn’t a great swap for Rotu, who might have lucked into a majority in one of the tribes. Instead, they ended up in two minority tribes. Here are the new rosters:
Danielle (originally Rotu)
Hayden (originally Rotu)
Lindsey (originally Rotu)
Brandon (originally Maraamu)
Devon (originally Maraamu)
Figgy (originally Maraamu)
The Rotu at Maraamu dynamic could be fascinating. All three of them come from different sides of the tribe. They are in the clear minority, there is not a lot of common ground for them to find. That said, they are on a tribe with 5 Maraamus of whom 2 are on one side, 2 are on the other and Kim is undecided. Somehow, if Rotu can find a way to come together, they might have an outside chance of survival if they have to visit tribal council.
For the new Rotu tribe, Devon has to be feeling a little uneasy. He swapped with Figgy, a person he was opposed to at Maraamu, and Brandon, who is technically his ally but has been impossible to control. He’s joining Twila and Gabby, whose bond has been forged over many tribal sacrifices and so, one simple betrayal and Devon is in a precarious position on a tribe that has lost every immunity challenge thus far.
Unsurprisingly Maraamu does it again and wins immunity. Joe Anglim really doesn’t like attending tribal council in the pre-merge. If Rotu tribe members want to have a fighting chance at the merge, this feels like a key tribal council. If they can’t convince one of the Maraamu players, who have never faced the pressure of tribal council, to turn on their own, it’s hard to see a world in which a Rotu member ultimately wins the game.
Despite Twila and Gabby’s push, they come up short when all three Maraamus decide to stick together. Whatever happened at their own beach was not enough to break the feeling of “Maraamu Strong” and in a 3–2 vote, Twila is sent packing.
At this point, I feel like a broken record. Maraamu wins yet another immunity challenge and Rotu has to be crushed. I can’t imagine being in Gabby’s shoes, having attended every tribal council and now feeling like the light has gone out of her game.
And yet despite the feeling of despair, Gabby doesn’t give up the fight. Remember how I mentioned Devon had to be feeling uneasy about being on a tribe with these two specific Maraamu players? Well, Gabby was able to appeal to that sense of discomfort. With the merge fast approaching, Devon must have felt like the other Maraamu alliance could still pose a threat. Without telling anyone, he switched his vote from Gabby to Figgy and forced a 2–2 tie. On the re-vote, he shockingly didn’t budge despite knowing that Gabby and Figgy would become immune, leaving a 50% chance that he could be the one to draw the purple rock.
It was a tense scene as Devon made a ballsy (and, in my opinion, stupid) move. Brandon and Devon drew their rocks and when Probst asked them to open their palms, there was the purple rock in Brandon’s hands.
I can’t imagine the tantrum Brandon must have thrown to be kicked out of the game in this manner but just like that, a Hantz becomes Fake Survivor’s first victim of the rock draw. Somehow Devon’s crazy move did not cost him his life in the game.
It doesn’t even feel right to allow Maraamu to continue pounding on Rotu’s corpse like this but it’s the reality. They swept the episode 6 reward and immunity challenges. This guaranteed their march into the merge without ever losing a single immunity challenge. Eat your heart out Koror, we’ve got a new (fake) dominant tribe in town.
After trying to vote her out to the point where he ended up forcing a tie, Devon decides to form a very strong alliance with Figgy before heading to tribal council. At this point, I don’t know what this boy is doing but none of it makes sense. It makes even less sense for Figgy to agree with Devon’s plans, she should be joining with Gabby to vote him out in order to weaken the majority Maraamu alliance she will need to deal with at the merge.
Instead, Figgy and Devon make good on their newly minted alliance and vote out Gabby. The amount of strife and despair Gabby had to deal with during her time in Fake Marquesas undoubtedly makes her a Fake Survivor icon. She has a pretty good fast track to become one of our coveted Fake All-Stars once we get around to that season.
The first vote at the merge is always telling for how the rest of it might unfold. During this merge, Rotu was in a lot of trouble. They were outnumbered 7–3 and the 3 remaining had no real bonds to each other. To make matters worse, the obvious first target, Hayden, won immunity, shining an even bigger target on Danielle and Lindsey.
Almost unbothered by the thinned out Rotu tribe, Maraamu decided to deal with their own dynamics instead. For never choosing a side, both Maraamu alliances joined together in targeting Kim. The only player to side with her was Hayden, who in his time at Maraamu ended up forging a bond with Kim. In an 8–2 decision, Kim became the merge boot and Rotu stayed intact but fractured.
In an important note, the following immunity challenge was the famed coconut chop challenge. Brant Steele sadly doesn’t give us the order in which players were eliminated but I can report that Devon ended up claiming immunity. It will be interesting to note if this ends up predicting the endgame of this fake season so let’s keep that in the back of our minds.
By this point, the alliances of the merged tribe have become a jumbled mess and the vote helps confirm this fact. The original Maraamu alliances are no more. The alliance that Devon struck with Figgy while at Rotu beach seems unbreakable despite his previous attempt to vote her out. This has forced Mick and Julie over to Joe and Sierra to form an alliance of 4 with two pairs. Devon and Figgy decided to vote against their fellow Maraamu tribe members and with Hayden and Danielle. The meant 4 votes against Hayden and 4 votes against Sierra. If Lindsey had stuck with the Rotu 3, they could have taken out two consecutive Maraamus at the merge. Instead she sided with Joe’s alliance and voted out Hayden.
It sucks when we get to potential turning points in the game but players make dumb choices. Just like in real Survivor, Brant Steele has a way of setting up potentially intriguing scenarios and then making them disappear. C’est la vie.
Seeing this power pairing of Devon and Figgy (maybe a potential showmance alliance?) scared the Maraamu block of power. With Rotu down to only 2 members, they seem inconsequential so when neither Devon nor Figgy won immunity, the power brokers decided it was time to split them up. 6 votes went Figgy’s way, Devon stuck by his partner to the dying end but he was the only one to do so. In a 6–2 vote, Figgy was snuffed out of the game but not out of Devon’s heart.
Without any partnerships left in the game, Devon did what he does best: he flipped. Probably appealing to the bro side of Joe, he was able to get in Joe and Sierra’s good graces. Lindsey patched things up with Danielle and they decided they needed to stick together. Oddly enough, Maraamu continued to focus on themselves and it came down to choosing between Mick and Julie, a pair we had assumed were close from the beginning. The threesome of Joe, Sierra and Devon sided with Julie and that was enough to send Mick to the jury in a 4–3 vote.
Having been in the minority since the first vote of the season, Lindsey won her second consecutive immunity challenge at a key time in the game. Now that Maraamu seemed to have settled on their foursome, it was time for them to target the remaining Rotus. With Lindsey immune, that left only one option and in a 4–2 vote Danielle was voted off in an uncomplicated manner. Lindsey remains the sole hope for rebellion after having the chance to swing the game wide open at the final 9. Now her only option looks like an immunity run.
And that run ended prematurely when Julie won the episode 12 immunity necklace. Staring down the barrel of a 4-person alliance, Lindsey had no more tricks left in her bag. 4–1, she was sent home as the last remaining Rotu, a tribe now extinct due to the lack of competency in challenges and inability to seize the moment at the right time in the social gameplay.
At the final four, Joe won his first individual immunity. Credit must be given to the man for finally concealing his individual skills until he actually needed them. The final four vote would come down to the strength of Devon and Julie’s pairing. They had started out working on opposite sides of the tribe. Then Devon swapped away from Julie for three votes until the merge. Then Devon struck out on his against Julie and the rest of the alliance, only to come back after Figgy had been voted out. Would these two stand by each other in the face of an unbreakable pairing in Joe and Sierra?
As it turns out, yes, they would. Both Julie and Devon recognize that Joe and Sierra were kingpins in the views of everyone else. They never strayed from each other and their vote was always the correct vote. They are the clear contenders at this point in the game. If Joe is safe, you have to target Sierra and force her to make fire.
In turn, Joe and Sierra correctly surmise that they need to give Sierra the best chance to win the fire-making challenge. That means voting for Julie and sending her into the duel with Sierra, as opposed to Devon who from what we know in real-Survivor was good at making fire (though not as good as Ben, still a little bitter).
The results? An intense fire-making challenge that hopefully takes less time than Becky and Sundra’s epic showdown in Survivor: Cook Islands. When it’s all said and done, Julie’s fire rises quicker and burns down her rope, throwing up her flag and putting her through to the final 3. It’s now Joe against two people in a situation where he should thrive. Win immunity and he’s probably the winner of Fake Marquesas. Come up short and he’s likely our final juror.
Real-life Joe would kill to be in this situation. He would bet on himself 100% of the time to win a challenge in which his odds are 33%. In our fake universe, Joe comes up a little short. Devon outlasts him in an endurance challenge and seizes destiny of his own game. He makes the obvious choice to send Joe to the jury and now has a seat at final tribal council with Julie. Both have earned their way there in a sense. Julie made fire to stay alive, Devon won immunity to avoid being voted out by Joe. Who will the jury find more appealing as a winner?
In a landslide, the jury felt like Devon deserved the victory. He took home all 7 votes. He was one vote against shy of playing Fake Survivor’s first perfect game. Devon’s journey to this victory felt unconventional at a lot of points in the game. He willingly split off from a majority alliance. At one point, he gambled on a 50% chance of going home by drawing rocks. He followed that up by forming a ride or die alliance with the person he had just risked going to rocks to vote out. He was able to convince his original alliance to take him back when that ride or die partner was voted out. Devon had to be amazing on a social level because he made so missteps on the way but every time, he was welcomed back into the fold and that speaks to amazing interpersonal skills.
It’s also very interesting to note that the winner of the coconut chop challenge did end up winning the season. Maybe the rest of Devon’s competitors should have taken a little more notice to how much love and respect everybody was showing him.
On top of Devon’s win, Figgy would end up being named America’s Favourite player. The ride and die dominated both the game and the audience’s hearts. We have a lot of strong contenders from this season to make all-star bids in the future. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Despite a dominant performance by one tribe, this season didn’t feel like a blowout in a way other seasons have (especially Australia). That has a lot to do with how Devon got to his win and Maraamu’s willingness to cannibalize themselves while simultaneously picking off Rotu members as they chose. Maraamu was a very interesting dominant tribe in how they held their lead but was still unafraid to vote each other out. I hope more tribes will follow in their footsteps.