I have been trying to motivate myself to write this week’s column – and have been failing miserably. I was so uninspired to write about it that I decided to read The Hunger Games on Wednesday evening, finishing it about 24 hours later. (Surprisingly better than I ever expected) It was one of the worst episodes of Survivor, probably since the underwhelming season of Nicaragua.
I worry about this season now. It was dominated in the first six episodes by Hurricane Colton. The vast majority of screen time has been filled with his madness, and the insanity of Alicia and Tarzan – neither of whom has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this season. The power players have been getting a snore-worthy edit so far. Other than being hot, the only things I can tell you about Kim and Chelsea this season is that Kim put an Idol in her crotch and Chelsea caught a chicken with her bare hands. They had better start showing us more from them, because based on this week; they are likely going to be with us for a while. Unless that shot of Kim lying on the water casually making decisions is the beginning of her overconfidence setting in.
With the merge, we had a couple of ways for the season to progress. It could have stayed as mixed Salami vs. Manamana, or it could have reverted back to the original gender divide. The mixed tribe makeup gave Salami a 7-5 advantage, while gender tribes would be split at 6-6. For the Kim/Chelsea/Sabrina/Kitten foursome – they were in the power seat because of this dynamic. Their choices – bring back Alicia and Cha and try to flip a guy, or stick with Jay, Mike and Troyzan. The choice was one of the few interesting things of the episode.
They chose both. And it was smart.
The minute Jay proposed going after Jonas was the very second we may look back on as the turning point of the season. Jay essentially ceded power to the women. He was so confident that the Salami Seven would stick together and Pagong the others that he voluntarily gave up his backup plan, and hand delivered one to them. With the men down to five, should they want to, the women could re-link and send the boys home one at a time. Jay and Mike are now completely powerless. Troyzan has an idol, so he is really the last hope for the men to acquire any semblance of power, barring some egregious mistakes by the ladies.
The likely scenario this week will be for the Core Four to target Leif or Tarzan for elimination. The other men would be wise to avoid that and try to convince them to go after Alicia or Cha. If they get serious push back, they’ll know that the ousting of Jonas has led them to a dead end. Their best play is to link the men back up and bring Cha with them. Jay, Mike and Troyzan could promise her Final Four – or even Final Three. That’s a better deal than what the other six women would give her. Leif and Tarzan would be wise to take that deal – except Leif has shown no game skills at all and Tarzan is a friggin’ lunatic.
Needless to say – I don’t see that plan coming to fruition. That would lead to Leif likely going first. Then the smart move for the Core Four would be to take out Cha. Makes it appear to be a Pagonging of Manamana, plus they owe her nothing. Then either Tarzan, or begin the inevitable blindside of Jay, Mike and Troyzan.
I wonder if the season will take on a replay of Vanuatu at that point. In Season 9, the gender wars got shaken up with the tribal shift, and the Ami-driven elimination of Rory at the merge led to the women reforming and decimating the men. It was only after one man remained that the women turned on each other, opening the door for him. Who knows, perhaps Kim and Chelsea have learned from Ami’s mistakes and have perfected the plan. If so, they will go down with the Season 16 Black Widow Alliance as the strongest female alliance in the show’s run.
But that’s pretty much all that was there this week. There were a few moments, but other than that…meh.
The Dirtiest Look The Show Has Ever Seen – Not Related To A Blindside – Just freeze frame on it. It is the look shot by Chelsea at Tarzan when he tossed his underwear in her laundry pot. It is classic and priceless. And it makes me love Chelsea, even if she hasn’t really done much else interesting this season. That and the lingering shots of her behind as she did her laundry….
And let’s talk about the underpants. But not for long, because I already feel ridiculous. And I don’t care what Tarzan knows about microbiology. Did Tarzan poop his pants and then expect someone else to wash them? Boy. I hope not. No one should be cleaning up poop out of your pants unless you’re in pre-school, suffered some sort of devastating disease or accident, or if you’re in a nursing home. They certainly shouldn’t do it on a nationally televised game show. And certainly, certainly, should not be expected to do it along with their clean laundry as it boils.
I feel like this kind of thing should not have to be explained, and yet…here we are.
Good For Troyzan – I am happy for him that he found the new Hidden Immunity Idol. Of course, the lack of urgency of anyone to find it was surprising. All it took was for him to wake up early. And, listen up producers, you keep promising to make it harder to find, and yet, people keep finding it quicker than ever. Although if you keep putting dead fish in the way, or whatever that weird cutaway was, that is somewhat acceptable.
Troyzan has an idol and, as I explained, he’s going to have to play it very wisely if he’s to advance far in the game. The question is…will he?
The Puzzle Called Sushi – Doesn’t it seem that he should have been better at this game? He seems smart, skilled, and very likable. Then why was he so bad at it? The scrambling he did was pretty pathetic. I can only assume that he could not muster up any argument to sway the remnants of the Gym Rat Alliance or Cha to come over. All three of them think they are golden with the Core Four. However, the way it was presented made him look incompetent. Especially at Tribal where he just randomly shouted out that he was voting for Mike and that the plan to get Kitten failed. Why do that? If it was to stir the pot, it was not stirred very well. All it did was stir up Tarzan and make him look crazier. That wasn’t too hard to do. While he is correct, the ladies need to sever ties with the very, very fit Jay and Mike, this is not the time for them to do it. Once their numbers are stronger, they can turn on their guys.
I just don’t get it folks – maybe it’s the fact that I read the Hunger Games (First two books now – I took a little break while writing this) and you can see the world of Reality TV used in this story. How the show can change people – make them do things they never would. On Survivor, it’s because of hunger and dehydration and raging ego and greed. In the Hunger Games, you have that too – but you also have the weapons and the monsters. You also have the inherent tragedy of the loss of innocence. There is nothing tragic about Survivor. And certainly nothing innocent.
But at least Troyzan got to have Probst touch him. So, may the odds be ever in your favor.
Treemail Top 10
• Nothing like night vision drinking – and good of Sushi for giving his share to Alicia – this helps her get drunk and loosens her inhibitions to talk smack against Cha. Oh, who am I kidding. She talks smack as her first language.
• The men of Manamana should have seen it coming when Jay withheld the coffee from Tarzan. All the more reason to work harder to get the men back together. And I wonder how often in the previous merges that rewards were withheld from tribe members.
• Perhaps we can gain a bit of insight as to why the guys were unable to do the right thing this week from Mike’s comments. He said that Tarzan tried to get the guys to align with Alicia, “But I don’t trust any of these guys…I don’t like those guys.” The Misfits vs. Gym Rats battles early on, and the Evil Queen’s machinations cost them a lot – some of these wounds just won’t heal.
• Reward Challenge – the Final 12 are divided into two teams. They must dug under a barrier, retrieve four bags of puzzle pieces, and then the other two must solve it. Clearly, this was to be the previous immunity challenge that never was thanks to Colton’s illness. The randomly selected tribes are Alicia/Jay/Sabrina/Chelsea/Cha/Troyzan vs. Leif/Kitten/Mike/Kim/Sushi/Tarzan. Sushi and Tarzan will do the puzzle against Cha and Troyzan. The key to the challenge is who should go first. The smart move is to send your biggest competitor – the hole they dig to get through will be more than enough room for the others. Jay and Leif go first – and boy, was that a mistake. There are some hilarious shots of poor Leif’s tiny legs flailing as he gets stuck in his tiny hole. They wind up far behind – only Sabrina’s fatigue allows Kitten to catch up. Tarzan and Sushi can’t work together and they lose – “feel free to start working, Tarzan,” said Sushi. He didn’t, and they didn’t.
• Some great Probstisms at this challenge – “Leif is like a turtle emerging out of the sand,” and “Kim is stuck…her hole is not big enough.”
• Troyzan is channeling Rupert with his “This is MY island!” outbursts. I doubt he will grow to be as popular, and I hope he doesn’t become as insufferable.
• Could the show not get any corporate sponsors for the pizza and beer? Or perhaps because this reward challenge was supposed to be an immunity challenge the pizza and beer had to be improvised. Sabrina lived in New York, so she knows good pizza. And Jay channels Kitten and unleashed a giant belch.
• Summing up the Tarzan/Sushi War – Tarzan included Sushi in an all-Male alliance with Mike, and Sushi was mad because he didn’t trust Mike. Tarzan yelled at him. Sushi yelled at him. Tarzan backed out of any alliance. Sushi found out he was doomed and apologized. Tarzan forgave him. Sushi went after Mike at Tribal, Tarzan turned on him. Sushi goes bye bye. I yawn a little.
• Immunity Challenge – A replay of the balance several balls on a disk, while standing on a beam, challenge from Redemption Island. Or, an excuse for Probst to make ball jokes. Tarzan is out immediately. Troyzan is wearing some of those freaky monkey shoes. Cha drops out. Probst says, “Mike’s balls are hanging on both sides of his disc.” I had to make sure he said “disc” and not…well. Chelsea has “both of her balls drop” which I imagine was a great surprise to her. Kim goes next. Alicia falls, Sabrina makes a nice save, and Jay falls. Troyzan’s “balls haven’t moved in a long time.” He should see a specialist. Not The Specialist, of course. Sushi falls; Sabrina and Leif follow leaving Troyzan and Kitten. She has not moved at all, but suddenly slips and Troyzan caps his very good day with the necklace.
• Tribal Council – Sabrina has giant hair. It’s all about Tarzan and Sushi. However, we start to get a little bit from the power pair. Kim makes it clear that Tarzan is an asset in the merge – because he is crazy, is what she means. Chelsea thinks he is dead weight. All in all it was a strange Tribal Council where no one really wanted to vote for Sushi, but they did. As he leaves, he goes to Tarzan and says he had no hard feelings. Tarzan responds that there are “hard feelings to” Sushi. Dick. Not Disc. Sushi leaves by telling them “good luck with that food situation.” HA! He says in his parting that he wanted to go big or go home, so he is satisfied. My question is when did he go big? Anyway, he’s the first member of the jury – so Top 3; 9-person jury seems to be the plan.
Votes – Sushi 10 (Kim, Chelsea, Kitten, Sabrina, Alicia, Cha, Troyzan, Tarzan, Mike, Jay), Mike 2 (Sushi, Leif).
Next week – Troyzan starts to notice there are too many girls on the island. Really?