Nathan Gonzalez the twelfth castaway voted off 'Survivor: Cook Islands'
By Reality TV World staff, 11/25/2006
Done in by both his own arrogance and an inability to envision the possibility that a castaway who had already betrayed his former tribe could betray his new alliance and rejoin with his former allies, Nathan Gonzalez, a 26-year-old retail salesperson from Los Angeles, CA, became the twelfth castaway voted out of Survivor: Cook Islands during Thursday night's broadcast of the CBS reality show.
Survivor: Cook Islands' tenth episode began with the Rarotonga tribe having returned from the Night 24 Tribal Council in which, surprised by a special dual booting twist that required the tribe that lost the Immunity Challenge to vote off not one but two members of its tribe, Rarotonga had voted Rebecca Borman and Jenny Guzon-Bae out of the game.
The next morning, Jonathan Penner -- who had followed Candice Woodcock's lead and "mutinied" back over to the Rarotonga tribe that he and Candice had both originally started the game on -- was suddenly feeling more confident about his status in the now five-person tribe. "Whether or not that mutiny was a good idea or not I can't even really worry about it," Jonathan explained to cameras. "It worked out my way at least at this point...three people from this tribe have been eliminated before Candice and I and now I'm in the powerful position in a smaller tribe."
But despite having managed to at least partially earn his new tribemates' trust, one thing continued to gnaw at Jonathan -- the Rarotonga tribe's poor work ethic. "I'm a little disappointed this morning," Jonathan explained about an early Day 25 incident in which he returned back to camp from fishing only to discover that the rest of his late sleeping tribemates had not yet started a fire or boiled any drinking water. "I really got so close to just bawling them out...I'm not going to lose because you kids can't get your asses out of bed," Jonathan vented to the cameras.
Later that day, the tribes assembled for what they believed would be the Reward Challenge. However after informing the Aitutaki tribe that the previous Immunity Challenge's "message in a bottle" twist had been that Rarotonga had been required to vote off two tribe members at the previous evening's Tribal Council session, Survivor host Jeff Probst informed the tribes that it was time to merge.
After deciding that they would live at Rarotonga's camp, the newly merged tribe -- dubbed Aitutonga -- enjoyed a celebratory feast. However, while the four former Aitutaki members attempted to use the feast as an opportunity to feel out their former Rarotonga foes, Rarotonga's four younger members -- confident that Jonathan and Candice's previous defection meant there was no way they would be able to realign with their betrayed former Aitutaki tribemates -- spent their time getting drunk. Rarotonga's behavior upset Jonathan. "The Raro kids, all they wanted to do is get 'faded'... these kids are vomiting they are eating and drinking so much -- is that how you compete in a competition?," a frustrated Jonathan later vented to the cameras. "They're psychos, I mean I don't understand it!"
Once the newly merged tribe returned back to camp, Yul Kwon, desperate to find a way to keep his formerly Aitutaki foursome from being pagonged by the five former Rarotonga members, decided to approach Jonathan about the possibility of rejoining with the four former Aitutaki. "Jonathan deserted us, we had an alliance going and he turned his back on the alliance and basically left us for dead but at the same time, I don't really have an option here -- I gotta figure out something that's going to work and this might work," Yul explained to the cameras.
Speaking "hypothetically," Jonathan and Yul agreed that the only way a second defection would make sense for Jonathan was if it turned out that Yul had been the Exile Island exile who had managed to find the island's hidden Immunity Idol. Under that "scenario" -- the true scenario given Yul was secretly the castaway who found the idol -- Yul's possession of the idol would mean that whether the former Rarotonga folks made Yul the target of their first or second post-merge Tribal Council vote, Jonathan -- the target of the former Aitutaki members' Tribal Council votes -- would instead become the person eliminated from the game. "If I flip again, the Raro people are going to go mental -- mental," Jonathan later explained to the cameras. "Right now they trust that there's no way that the Aitu people will trust me or that I would ever go back to them... [but] if Yul has the idol I have to consider flipping."
Meanwhile, the former Rarotonga began debating whether Yul or Ozzy should be the first former Aitutaki member to go home. Deciding that Yul's intelligence was a bigger threat than Ozzy's physical strength, Candice, Nate, and Parvati Shallow decided that Yul should be the first one voted out of the game. Their decision didn't please Jonathan. "That's just stupid... if we vote for Yul and he has [the idol] we're going to find ourselves going home for no good reason," Jonathan warned Candice.
Later that day, the castaways gathered for the game's first individual Immunity Challenge. An endurance competition that appeared to favor those with smaller feet, the challenge required the castaways to cling onto the side of a large telephone pole-size pole for as long as they could, with only a few bands of rope available to perch themselves upon. Adam Gentry was the first castaway to quit the challenge, lasting only nine minutes. Jonathan (12 minutes), Nate (23 minutes), Sundra (34 minutes), and Yul (51 minutes) were next, leaving Ozzy as the only male left in the challenge. Once it started to rain, Parvati (1 hour, 29 minutes) and Becky (1 hour, 30 minutes) dropped out, leaving Ozzy and Candice as the challenge's last two competitors. Finally, with the rain showers having grown into a full downpour, Candice gave out after 2 hours and 15 minutes, making Ozzy -- who never even slipped halfway down the length of his pole -- Survivor: Cook Islands' first individual Immunity Challenge winner.
Once the castaways returned to camp, Yul (knowing that, with Ozzy now immune, he would clearly be the former Rarotonga members' Tribal Council target) quickly approached Jonathan and showed him that he did indeed have the hidden Immunity Idol. "The hypothetical is reality, this is the idol, and I'm asking you for both of our sakes to become my ally again," Yul told Jonathan as he showed him the antique compass that served as the game's hidden Immunity Idol. "I've thought about it... I'd want to go to the Final 2 with you because honestly I think my chances against you better than either Becky or Sundra because they haven't made enemies [and] you've made enemies."
But despite being offered a Final 2 alliance with the holder of the hidden Immunity Idol, Jonathan didn't immediately accept Yul's offer. "I have a lot to think about and a huge decision to make because basically Yul said 'Vote with us or you're going home tonight,'" Jonathan later explained to the cameras.
Instead -- while technically keeping his word to keep the fact that Yul had found the hidden Immunity Idol a secret -- Jonathan approached the rest of his former Rarotonga allies and attempted to point out the fact that since none of the Rarotonga members claimed to have found the hidden idol and Yul was the only other remaining castaway to have visited Exile Island, then logic would dictate that Yul might have found the idol during his own stay on the island.
"I floated this idea to them, I said 'What if Yul has the idol?,'" a frustrated Jonathan later explained to the cameras. "They were like 'He doesn't have it... He's gotta go' -- these people aren't thinking, I don't believe they are smart enough, they don't want to put the mental energy into even running the scenario of 'What if Yul actually has it?' and if I can't convince them [then] Yul will play the idol, [the vote] will bounce back, and I'll be going home very early."
Later that afternoon, Adam approached Nate with a suggestion that they "let Jonathan have his way this one out and next time he'll go" however Nate angrily dismissed the idea. "Hell no, he's coming into our game... you and I [are] calling the shots, dog... he's lucky he's still alive right now," Nate fired back at Adam.
Realizing that his former Rarotonga tribemates' refusal to vote for someone other than Yul was giving him little choice but to join with Yul and the rest of the former Aitutaki tribe members, Jonathan asked the group to least do him the favor of targeting Nate rather than Adam, a request to which Yul readily agreed. "Adam and Candice welcomed me to this tribe, really helped me out, [and] kept me alive here," Jonathan later explained in a confessional. "I would hate to betray them because if I do that it makes me the guy who betrayed every single person in the game at one time or another. Basically Yul said pick whoever you want to go and since I feel some loyalty to Adam I said Nate, who I trust the least because I know him the least."
As the merged tribe prepared to leave for Tribal Council, Candice appeared to be completely unfazed by Jonathan's sudden willingness to go along with Nate's "gung-ho" insistence that the five former Rarotonga members cast their votes for Yul.
After the Tribal Council votes were counted and Nate was eliminated from the game via a 5-4 vote, Candice, Adam and Parvati were all left speechless. Nate however, was anything but. "Jonathan, you can kiss my ass -- you're a dirty, stanky, whacked fruitcake who sold me out and sold out our tribe when we brought you in, you trading bastard... so kiss my ass Jonathan. Other than that, everyone I love."