Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor': Guilty by Association

Josh and Reed Survivor - P 2014
Courtesy of CBS

Parvati Shallow is a Survivor champ and three-time competitor on the show. The OG Miss Survivor and Survivor Hall of Famer now covers health and wellness for CBS News in New York City. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

I blame what happened tonight on Julie. If QuitsMcGee had stayed in the game last week, Jeremy would have been sent packing and Josh would still be the official mastermind. What Probst said was true. Julie’s quit was a million-dollar decision for someone else.

I wonder if she gets that.

Survivor is an amazing microcosm of life. The game, played out over 39 days, spotlights what happens over the course of a human lifetime. Timing, luck, strategy, and skill are all interwoven like a beautiful palm frond roof to build a person’s destiny. Whether we realize it or not, we are all affected by and constantly affecting one another. Things can change at a moment’s notice. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re not. The Buddhists say the trick to thriving in such uncertain times is through the practice of non-attachment.

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That philosophy sounds really good, until you’re post merge, pouring your heart and soul into each moment of the experience and then your torch gets snuffed. It cuts your heart out to get voted off when you’re working that hard and want it so badly. I’m sure Josh is feeling the sting.

Josh is one of the few people we’ve seen this season who gets the game. His rivalry with Jeremy has been compared to that of Boston Rob versus Russell in Heroes vs. Villains. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say Josh and Jeremy are Survivor alpha dogs, they are clearly the two leaders of the pack. And, we all know the island is only big enough for one cult leader.

Ain’t that right, Rob Mariano?

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Back to the present day. It’s not completely clear why Jaclyn flips and votes Josh out. In my professional Survivor opinion, she was tight with Baylor and didn’t like being disrespected by the rude boys. Men should really understand that women tend to live, play, and vote emotionally. We also love to be understood. When the rude boys treat Jaclyn badly while Jon's off prancing around finding his idol on Exile Island, she gets angry. And, rightfully so. Since the boys also treat Baylor badly, Jaclyn has a girlfriend to commiserate with. This shared misery brings them closer. The ladies have all formed a pretty tight bond by this point, and that’s why I think Josh’s plan to vote Baylor was flawed.

Though they are members of the same alliance, had Josh suggested voting Keith, Wes or Alex, Josh would certainly still be in the game.

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This would be a risky play, however. If Josh sacrificed one of his boys, he would have saved himself in the short term, but would have had to work hard to get the numbers over Jeremy.

In the end, Josh got mixed up with the wrong crowd, and he paid the ultimate price.

Here's another life lesson from Survivor. Your friends can ruin you, so be careful who you choose to align yourself with.

I know this from my own heartbreaking experience at the end of Heroes vs Villains: guilty by association.

Lean toward people who have manners, social awareness, intelligence, and consideration for others. Or, just say screw the alliances and do it yourself. Sometimes getting unruly is the best way to win.