judge rudy

The party enters one of the Portals of Torsh.  (Jennell Jaquays cover for AD&D module by Rudy Kraft, Judges Guild, 1980.)  The three Portals modules each introduced strange new worlds accessible by magic that could be used as a diversion from a campaign’s usual world, as a stand-alone campaign setting, or linked in a campaign spanning all of the worlds.

Why Crowley may (or should) end up as the final survivor.

I don’t know why I’m thinking about this, but I think Crowley is the Richard Hatch of Supernatural.  Did any of you watch the first season of Survivor?  That’s the only season I watched and I only saw the last few episodes, but I was really struck with what happened.

They were down to three contestants.  Richard, Rudy, and Kelly.  Apparently everyone really liked Rudy because he always stood by his alliances and didn’t overtly betray anyone and was a generally good guy.  But, Rudy was also quite a bit older than the other two.  Kelly apparently had made some strong enemies….I think because she’d betrayed her friends, particularly Susan, who we will hear from in a moment.  Richard was not at all well liked, but he had been friends with Rudy all along and they had something of an alliance going.

They were faced with a challenge to see who would be eliminated.  They all had to stand on poles with one hand stretched and touching a center pole.  The last one still touching the center pole won immunity and got to choose which of the other two got the boot.  And after that, all the people who had already been voted off chose who the grand prize winner would be.

So, they all stood there for a long time.  Hours.  And then, Richard took his hand from the center pole and laid down on the sand.  The host questioned him because he obviously could have held out longer.  But Richard said he couldn’t.

And this is what impressed me.  Richard obviously bowed out on purpose.  But why?

Let’s look at the options:

If Rudy wins this challenge, it is almost certain he will vote off Kelly because he has always been friends with Richard and he is an honorable guy.  Then, the larger group will vote Rudy to win since they all like him and Richard will come in second.

If Kelly wins, she will certainly vote off Rudy because everyone dislikes her and likes Rudy so she won’t stand a chance against him.  Her odds against Richard aren’t great, but they’re far better than the odds against Rudy when judged by the already banished group.  This is Richard’s best chance at winning the grand prize.

If Richard wins, he’s got a conundrum.  If he votes off Rudy, everyone will hate him for turning on his friend and he’ll come in second.  If he votes off Kelly, there’s virtually no chance the group will vote for him to win over Rudy because they all like Rudy and he’ll come in second.

So, Richard’s best bet is to not win this challenge.  Kelly is much younger than Rudy and this is a test of stamina.  Kelly will almost certainly outlast Rudy.  And indeed she does.  She votes as expected.  She votes off Rudy.

So, it comes down to Kelly and Richard.  As far as I can gather, they were fairly evenly disliked.  But, Kelly just voted off a very well-liked guy and she betrayed a friend.

Here’s a famous speech given by the person who was betrayed by Kelly right before the vote, Susan Hawk (x):

I plead to the jury tonight to think a little bit of the island we have been on. This island is full of, pretty much, only two things: snakes and rats. And in the end of Mother Nature, we have Richard the snake, who knowingly went after prey; and Kelly, who turned into the rat that ran around like rats do on this island, trying to run from the snake. I believe we owe it to the island spirits we have come to know to let it end in the way that Mother Nature intended: For the snake to eat the rat.

So, Richard just barely wins the vote.

Why?  Because he was the strongest?  Absolutely not.  Because he was the most-liked?  Absolutely not.  Because he had better leadership skills?  Nope.

It was because he understood the game.  He was really kind of a jerk.  And, indeed, he got in trouble later with the IRS over the winnings, so perhaps he wasn’t so clever outside the game.

But, Richard the snake preyed on Kelly the rat as well as on everyone else on the island.

I think Crowley is very much like Richard because he seems to be the only one on Supernatural who really understands the game.  That’s why he has survived so very long.  He’s not the strongest, or the most powerful or the most liked.

But, he’s not a slave to his emotions or feelings of revenge.  He’s not greedy and impatient enough to try to take his winnings too early.  He’s not dumb enough to get in between Cas and Raphael or Lucifer and Michael.  He’s always observing from the sidelines or the bunker dungeon.  He’s willing to wait for his prize.  He’s willing to take his hand off the pole and let the others fight it out because he knows that if he plays it cool, he won’t be the one voted off.

And guess what?  He’s right.  Dean said that he was going after Abaddon first and then he’d come back for Crowley because “the devil you know”.  Dean thinks he knows Crowley.  And he’s not the only one.  They all underestimate him.  But he doesn’t underestimate them.

Crowley is the real snake in all this.  Some people are worried he’s going to get a redemption arc.  But, I don’t think that’s what he wants or needs.  They almost, almost had him in that church at the end of season 8.  He won’t make that mistake again.  If this were a book or a movie and not a TV series, my money would be on Crowley.

Mother Nature, if not television’s desire to please the audience, is on his side.  I think the snake has what it takes to eat the big rats and all the little mice, too.