Rewatching classic Survivor episodes. And I just can't. I'm rewatching episode 6 of Panama, and La Mina is at tribal council. There are eleven players left. Every merge that has occurred to date has been 10, or occasionally 9 (once eight because CBS wanted to screw with them). And they're voting off Dan for one reason: He's the weakest. I realize that they may have had other reasons, but this is a trend.

Why is the trend that towards the end of the tribal stage, tribes feel the need to vote out the weakest members of their tribe. Not even along alliance lines. Later in Survivor history, after the tribe switch became almost a given, people are still voting people like Laura Alexander off mid-merge for being weak. Does no one realize that strength (physical) isn't actually that important in challenges. Or, if it is, that they will later have to compete against them come the merge? I refuse to believe that no one is thinking these thoughts?

Am I not getting something?

I realize that the Fat Five happened, but it seems that, especially in seasons where all the people aren't under 30, that all the weaker castaways would want to form a union (per se) to save themselves from elimination. It should be happening more often. What am I missing?