His part-time model features were among the eye-candy candidates and his repeated reluctance to sell his fellow contenders down the river positioned him as the good guy tormented by his tribemates’ ruthless rulings.
And yet, Stephen Walker was only too willing to play along if it suited his position to do so. Which it invariably did. Until those same merciless scorpions turned their stinging tails on him – as anyone could have warned him, such creatures are wont to do.
And so it is that his ousting has since become touted as the show’s most “epic blindside” to date. So stunned was a visibly livid Steph, his Utara tribe weren’t even afforded a backward glance, much less a farewell as he made his way out of the tribal council area.
But the obvious question to ask is, having already cottoned on to the Poisonous Pair’s duplicitous ways, why on God’s good earth did ol’ Stephie boy still see fit to place his stock in them?
“You know, once you’ve left you rethink and replay things in your head over and over again,” he said. “And yes, I had started distrusting Marian and Shane at that point. But looking back, I didn’t really have many other options. I was bitter at the time, but now that the open wound has healed, I have to say they played the game incredibly well.”
Still, the constant double-dealing from his Utara team never did sit well with him and he concedes that he probably would have faired better within Selatan’s “more trustworthy” environs.
“Just looking at Selatan and seeing the way they’re all playing the game, my strategy would have definitely been more aligned to their way of being – just more open, more honest.”
All of which leads us to our dear friend Dave, who was almost giddy at his own abrupt turn of face, after pleading immediate allegiance to Utara when he was first shunted from Selatan. And who had a clear hand in bringing about Stephen’s downfall.
Which is why you may be surprised to learn that Steph describes him as “a great, great person; someone who’s always willing to help and never complains”.
But if it is in fact the case that Dave isn’t quite the slippery snake a lot of clever editing has made him out to be, he’d do well to remember what Stephen was forced to learn the hard way: namely, that good guys finish last.
Ah, Steph, we will miss staring into those ocean blue eyes of yours. Even if only via a billion optic fibres and a TV screen…
• Survivor SA: Champions, Sunday on M-Net at 5.30pm.