[Update after Episode 8: I wildly misread Angelina’s motives in Episode 7. Angelina just wanted Elizabeth to like her so that Elizabeth would be a friendly jury member. I’d like to chalk up my mistake to being a relatively new Survivor fan, but maybe that’s just rationalizing. However, I’m keeping this Episode 7 blog entry despite my mistake, because I still like how the ideas developed.]
In the lead-up to tribal council, Angelina wanted the Goliaths to vote out Christian because she saw him as the biggest threat in the Davids. (And she’s probably right.) After agreeing with her at first, the other Goliaths later decided to vote for Elizabeth. They informed Angelina of their decision and she was angry about being overruled without being consulted. She then got some alone time with Elizabeth and told her what the other Goliaths were doing.
Why would Angelina do this? Although she claimed to want to help Elizabeth, it seemed to me that she actually wanted to sabotage the plan of the other Goliaths. I think she did this for one or both of the following reasons: 1) If Elizabeth made it known that she knew the Goliath plan, maybe Angelina’s plan to vote out Christian would be chosen as an alternative; or 2) Angelina wanted to assert her power after feeling pushed aside by the other Goliaths.
What is the morality of sabotage like this on Survivor? In Episode 4, for example, Alec also told Elizabeth of a Goliath plan to vote her out. However, Alec was doing that in the hope of creating a team with Elizabeth and Davie. So I wouldn’t call that “sabotage”. For me, sabotage is the wrecking of plans to create general chaos that might lead to your overall goal. Alec was using the information about Natalia’s plan as the specific foundation of a new coalition. As an analogy, if an army takes pieces of an enemy building and uses them for its own buildings, that’s not sabotage. Sabotage would be blowing up the enemy building in the hope that the general trouble it causes for the enemy will help win the war. Of course, for the enemy, this difference probably doesn’t matter much, since chaos is created regardless. However, some people see a moral difference, even if it’s slight.
Then there are other questions: What is the morality of the overall goal? Who will be harmed by the sabotage? What are the risks of performing the sabotage? Destroying a bridge to slow down an invading army might be well-justified sabotage. Fire-bombing a civilian city would probably be much harder to morally justify. In Angelina’s case, if she were being directly threatened by Christian, then sabotaging the Goliath plan as a way of voting him out might be very justifiable. However, since Christian hasn’t shown any desire to vote out Angelina, her willingness to undermine the other Goliaths to get rid of him would seem to be almost entirely ego-driven. In that case, I think the other Goliaths were justified in being angry at her when her sabotage was revealed at tribal council.
However, if Angelina simply wanted to destroy the Goliath plan out of anger at being overruled, then her actions became much more like vandalism than sabotage. The only goal in that case would have been improving her self-esteem. I think vandalism is usually more immoral than theft, because theft at least respects the value of the items being stolen. In fact, it tries to capitalize on that value. A thief respects the concepts of work and creativity – the moral issue comes from who he believes should have the fruits of that work and creativity. For me, “needless intentional destruction” is one of the best definitions for evil that I’ve found. (The worst forms of needless intentional destruction would involve the potential and dignity of human life – wanton murder, rape, torture for pleasure, slavery, etc.)
Obviously, this is getting pretty heavy for a discussion about something as small-stakes as Angelina telling Elizabeth about the Goliath plan. Angelina didn’t do anything evil. However, she is clearly emerging as a Survivor “villain”, especially after the jacket incident in Episode 5.
Also, just as a final note, players should never drink alcohol on Survivor. Never. Especially Carl. (Even though I never watched this TV show, I like this scene a lot.)