Is it me, or is this one of the oddest Survivor seasons in recent memory? Not a bad Survivor season, in fact, far from it. It’s been rather entertaining so far. I mean, just weird. I had so many wacky things and statements to talk about this week rather than actually discussing strategy, challenges, etc. We had aphasia, we had idols in crotches, we had more stupidity by the minute, etc. We had Probst smelling a but(t). It really had it all, except any drama in the vote outcome.
I have given the Evil Queen crap for being an awful person, and for having a strategy that made no sense. However, I must give him some props for adjusting on the fly this week, and accurately reading the room. He’s also lucked into the fact that no one has seemingly wanted to, or is capable yet, of challenging him. It leads to the strange realization that Colton, the Evil Queen, is the second coming of Russell.
The two men could not be more different in appearance, persona, background, etc. Except that both are wealthy – Russell earned his, and the Evil Queen will be inheriting his. Perhaps it is that kind of financial security that propels both of them into assuming they know more than the “peasants,” “idiots” and “dumb girl alliances.” Both men assumed strategic control over their tribes (I am using Samoa Russell, not HvV Russell), without much resistance. Those who fell in line behind him seem utterly incapable of doing anything about it (Jonas, Leif, Tarzan and Natalie, Jaison, Mick).
Russell’s alliance dominated a tribe that dwindled down to four before the merge. The Evil Queen’s tribe sure appeared to be on their way to a similar fate this week after the random shuffle. Russell took some stellar manipulation (Natalie’s best contribution to the plan), some unprecedented idol play, and a pair of turncoats to a reversal of fortune which was as impressive as any on the show before or since.
The Evil Queen’s power became threatened this week with the tribal shift, but he has pivoted seemingly well. The 4-3 breakdown on his tribe put the men in the power position, but instead of throwing in totally with the guys, he did what Russell did with Shambo and found another ally. Shambo was shunned by her tribe and was easily manipulated by Russell. The Evil Queen found Alicia as more of a kindred spirit rather than a patsy, but I would not be surprised to see her play the same role. He went to the three men and the three women and claimed allegiance. However, when he saw that Alicia was willing to sell out her gender (Monica and Cha were not her original allies), he jumped at a new arrangement – guys and Alicia. With that, he gets two free votes before another tough decision is needed – and he may be at the merge by then and presented with new options.
Why Alicia, Jonas, Tarzan, Leif all simply defer to him, well, I just don’t get it. But they are. I give Alicia one bit of a pass – if this is her plan. Her five-woman alliance stayed intact – minus her – on the other side. She may view this portion of the game as doing what she can to stay alive, enabling her to rejoin the other ladies at the merge, taking out the Evil Queen and his trio, and then working on the other tribe’s guys. It’s the Ami plan from Vanuatu that was undone from within. Except, unlike Ami, I don’t think she is thinking that far ahead. He may be – as he just needs to add a pathetic player (and plenty to choose from) to forming the Final Tribal of the Only Possible Trio He Can Win. He needs someone else unlikable (Alicia) and someone totally undeserving (Jonas, Leif, etc) and he could pull this off.
So, kudos to the Evil Queen this week – also, he didn’t say anything racist. So that’s a victory.
The episode was primarily about the tribal shuffle – done with paint-filled eggs. I still want to know what crazy chickens they have that lay paint eggs. And no, Troyzan, you can’t eat them. They smashed on their clothes – or in the women’s case, their bodies. Because they really weren’t wearing any clothes. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It was a nice scene to watch – even though somehow Kitten (my new name for Kat) managed to get a blue paint mustache. How did it get all over her face? The new tribes – and now I have to use the damn tribe names, or something close to it.
Salami – Mike, Sabrina, Kitten, Jay, Kim, Chelsea and Troyzan – Holy athleticism, Batman!
Manamana – Tarzan, Evil Queen, Cha, Alicia, Monica, Leif, Jonas – Now, THIS would be the ultimate misfit alliance! Of course, they are going to be doomed to get their ass kicked each week…but it sure is an eccentric bunch!
Seriously, could this shuffle have worked out worse? The Elimination Challenge was a joke – it was the basketball in water challenge from Tocantins and HvV. Two pairs start at one end. The basket and a guard at the other. Probst tosses the ball in the center – and then it’s a scrum until someone tosses it in the basket. This was like the Bulls playing a 3rd grade class. I mean, Manamana has a little person on the tribe, and Salami has two guys who are about 6’5” Kudos to the Evil Queen for actually doing something physical – he clutched that ball tightly and actually made a play for the basket. Granted, it was the worst air ball I have ever seen, but still. It was ugly – Jay tossed the Queen. Mike tossed Cha. There was actual dwarf tossing (I know – not a dwarf. But seriously, a little person was getting literally tossed. How can I not make that joke? All due respect, Leif. I hope you understand).