Ousted castaway Mookie Lee discusses 'Survivor: Fiji's shady nature
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/01/2007
With Survivor: Fiji's "Four Horsemen" all-male alliance down to only two loyal members, Mookie Lee knew his goose was about to be cooked unless he and fellow ally Alex Angarita came up with a plan. Unfortunately for Lee, Cassandra Franklin and Stacy Kimball overheard the pair's plan to regain control of the game, and the 25-year-old loan manager from Wheeling, IL who was born in Seoul, Korea became the twelfth castaway eliminated from Fiji.
"You know, it's surprise, surprise. It definitely caught me by surprise. Shock," said Lee on Friday morning's broadcast of CBS' The Early Show. "I thought Alex and I came-up with a good scheme -- something that could save us -- and eventually, we hear a branch up in the woods..."
The rustling of brush Lee heard was Franklin and Kimball, who thwarted the Horsemen's scheme to reveal that fellow castaway Yau-Man Chan had possession of one of Fiji's two hidden Immunity Idols.
"We thought we could surprise everyone at Tribal Council. [Then], to our demise, there's the two shadiest people in the game [hiding in the brush]," said Lee, referring to Franklin and Kimball.
Thursday night's Fiji broadcast marked the official end to Lee's Survivor troubles, which began with the sixth episode twist in which the Ravu and Moto tribes were shuffled and Mookie and five other male castaways ended up stuck on the less-than-plush Ravu island. When the tribes merged after several more Immunity Challenge losses by Ravu, the tribe's four surviving members -- Lee, Angarita, Edgardo Rivera and Andria "Dreamz" Herd -- formed the "Four Horsemen" alliance.
Despite their alliance, the foursome entered the merge at 6-4 disadvantage, and once Kimball spurred their attempts to sway her to join them, the group was left with little choice but to attempt to use the game's other hidden Immunity Idol -- which had been in Lee's possession -- to try and save Angarita, who was going to be the target of Fiji's dominant alliance. But unbeknownst to the rest of his alliance, Herd had actually decided to serve as informant for the members of the game's larger alliance, resulting Rivera in being booted and Lee following him out of the game at Fiji's next two Tribal Council sessions.
However, somewhat ironically, Lee could be considered the person most responsible for the ultimate disintegration of the Horsemen. After all, he was the one who decided -- against the wishes of Angarita and Rivera -- to tell Herd that he had the idol in his possession, leading to Herd's realization that the rest of his allies didn't fully trust him and his ultimate decision to turn on his alliance. But Lee -- to little surprise -- doesn't see it that way.
"If there's a word to describe [Herd]... traitor. That's one. You know, you had to trust someone in the game, and unfortunately I trusted the wrong person," explained Lee.
"It was a guy that backstabbed us and, I mean lying straight to our face," Lee added about Herd's subsequent decision to continue to try and pretend that he was still allied with two Horsemen that survived Rivera's Tribal Council ouster. "If he had come to us and said, 'Listen, I'm sorry. It's part of the game.' It would have felt a little better on our end. You know, it just shows he's just a traitor."
However in the end, even Angarita turned on Lee, voting with Kimball, Franklin, Chan and the other members of their alliance to get rid of Lee.
"Alex is a good guy," said Lee. "I mean, I didn't know he voted for me until after I got voted off. That kind of came as a surprise too. I thought I had the game under control and then all of a sudden everything just comes loose. There's a lot of betrayal... people are ruthless."
During Lee's appearance on The Early Show, CBS aired a "secret scene" in which Lee approached Chan to discover how the 54-year-old Hong Kong-native really felt about him. At the end of the scene, Chan cryptically stated, "We're not going to rest until Mookie's really, really out of the picture." Lee described Chan as a "smart guy" and explained his rational for approaching him once the situation became dire for the Horsemen.
"I think at a certain point you just have to open yourself up and just take the game to the side and just be a person. But at the same time always have the game in mind," said Lee. "At that time, I thought maybe I could get Yau-Man to open... maybe some secrets come out and I could use that to my advantage knowing my position."
Back in the real world, Lee said he recently founded the Act of Chicago Foundation, the goal of which is to help underprivileged children. Despite its abrupt ending, Lee said he enjoyed his time as a Fiji castaway.
"It was great. I couldn't ask for a better experience," said Lee. "I think I really played the game of Survivor. Although it didn't turn-out the way I wanted to, it definitely was a great experience."