When you have a season such as this one where the boot order is fairly certain, where one alliance or one player is so utterly dominating, you desperately cling to whatever you can find to entertain before show drama can develop. For me, this episode provided a bunch of elements of entertainment. They can be summed up rather easily.
Chelsea spreading oil all over her body, and multiple people making really, really dumb decisions.
As soon as Troyzan lost the immunity challenge – done in by Tarzan, of all people – you knew what was going to happen. Even though he amazingly came closer to weaseling out than I thought possible. But more on the dumb mistakes later. With the drama basically gone, we were lucky to have Survivor recycle two of its classic and always-entertaining challenges.
First, we got the old standby – the quiz about your fellow Survivors, and then guessing what the group said. It’s a brilliant challenge that reveals alliance pecking order and fosters lots of ill will among the Survivor. I still think my favorite one was during Exile Island when Courtney was just piled upon by her tribe.
This time around the tribe was presented with Kim and Chelsea going to the end of the challenge, and revealed as clearly the power duo. Cha finished third, something of an exception, as she has no power. I think it was a bit of a microcosm of her season – I think the others just forgot to cut her rope and she just sort of stuck around. But it was the questions that probably struck a nerve with many of them, and perhaps could lay the groundwork for some dissention in the ranks.
1 – Who doesn’t deserve to be here? The group thought it was Cha. And I can see that, but she clearly didn’t.
2 – Who would you trust with your life? Kim. Really? The wedding dress lady? Instead of the ACTUAL DOCTOR LIVING WITH YOU? Of course, it’s Tarzan. And he’s only the second most unlikely doctor on network TV right now.
3 – Who needs a wakeup call in life? Kitten. Really, we’re giving life lessons on Survivor? Granted, Kitten is the right answer, but who are these people to tell her how to live her life OUTSIDE of the game?
4 – Who is the biggest poser? Troyzan. Meh. I would say Alicia, who sure seems like a caricature and not a real person, but Troy is a good answer too. His name is friggin’ Troyzan.
5 – Who does the least for the tribe? Sabrina. Interesting answer. Somehow she does nothing in camp and is in a position of power.
6 – Who would you most like to be stranded on an island with? Kim. This question more than any proved her power position, because, well, they ARE stranded on an island!
7 – Who do you hope to never see again? Troyzan. Awww, I don’t think they meant that. This answer was totally an in-the-game moment. He was just the current enemy. In a truthful moment, I’m sure the answer would be Alicia.
So the order out was Troy, Tarzan, Chelsea (interesting), Kitten, Sabrina, Cha and then Alicia lost to Kim. So, the woman in power won the divisive challenge. A compelling argument could be made that it would behoove her to lose this challenge. As you knew Probst was going to let her take people along on the chopper ride to the picnic. And he did.
Before the challenge, we got a scene with Kitten and Kim where Kitten made a request to be taken on the reward. Kim interviewed that she did not want a scenario that put Troyzan, Cha and Alicia in camp together without her. Any fan of the show knew with this scene that Kim was clearly going to be the challenge winner. So, her first choice on the reward was Alicia. Makes sense. It keeps her away from Troy and she did finish second in the challenge. Now, the second choice resulted in Kim making her first error of the season. She did NOT take Kitten, she took Chelsea.
This was wrong because she knew Kitten is not in control of her emotions and would take this very badly. Also, because Chelsea really didn’t need to be on that reward – she was a shored up ally. It added an unnecessary random element to the game for Kim – a pissed off Kitten , in the same camp with Troyzan, Cha and Tarzan could lead to a 4-4 split, and a sticky situation. It took a level-headed Sabrina to keep an eye on Kitten and talk her off the ledge a bit to diffuse it. That, and Troyzan doing a terrible sell job on her – he should know by now that browbeating Kitten is not the way to get her on your side.
If only Sabrina had continued the smart game play. Because she instantly supplanted Kim’s mistake with her own dumb one to briefly take over the lead of dumb mistakes on the show. Once Troyzan lost the immunity challenge, his head was the next to be chopped. However, the ladies were unsure if he had found another idol. We knew he was bluffing, but they didn’t. So, Kim chose another split vote. Give four votes to Troy, and two to Cha. If Troyzan got another vote on his side and played an idol, it would tie Cha, and all of the Troy votes would then redirect to Cha.
But then Sabrina TOLD CHA THE PLAN!!! She told her that she was getting votes in the split – but assured her she was not going home. How could she assure that? Cha should raised hell – the proper response would be for her to say, why me? Why not two votes at Tarzan? I thought we were a six-person female alliance? But either she didn’t see that she was in danger, or she chose to ignore it. I love how Cha went to Kim to talk about it and Kim deadpanned, “She told you?” No kidding! And incredibly, Cha not doing the math WASN’T EVEN HER WORST ERROR!!!
Cha wins the award for dumb mistakes for the week by responding to the news she was on the chopping block by…telling Troyzan!! At this point, she could not flip the vote – she didn’t have the votes to form a new alliance. Not in the short notice before TC – Cha didn’t have that kind of influence. Her only play was to go to her alliance and ask for the votes to be sent to Tarzan, and if it failed, to plot for a future move. If she kept it quiet, Troyzan would throw his vote out at someone in the hopes that his futile attempts to flip the game would work. Instead, by telling him, he throws a vote at Cha as well and hopes that they mess up their split, and that Kitten rebels.
Granted, the chances of Troyzan working it here were slim, but why would Cha give him the life preserver? Stranger things have happened with votes –remember Tyson voting himself out? Just keep him in the dark and get rid of him and try to flip it in the F7.
However, while the dumb moves were amusing, they were not the highlight of the episode. That is squarely on the shoulders of the slip n’ slide. The show has done this challenge before, and should do it every year. At least for as long as they keep casting gorgeous women in bikinis. Speaking for all straight men, and gay women, across the country, I thank the producers of Survivor for Chelsea rubbing oil all over her body, and for Cha giving her cleavage a once over. I truly, truly thank you.
The challenge is to lube up and launch yourself down a slip n’ slide to gather up a ring (2 or 3 of them in subsequent rounds) and then toss it onto a peg. Four head-to-head matchups, then two, then one. In Round 1, Chelsea comes up with a great method of flipping the ring rather than throwing it as a Frisbee and beats Alicia. Kitten beats Sabrina despite Sabrina’s good first slide. The Battle of the Zans, Tarzan was bad on the slide, but good on the ring toss. Boom, Troyzan is gone in more ways than one. Kim destroys Cha, who belly flops and is never in the competition. We do get a butt blur for Cha though, so there’s that.
In Round 2, they have to hit two rings. Chelsea’s method works again as she beats Kitten 2-1. But the shot of Kitten shuffling her way down the course…awesome. And Probst telling us about Kim doing wonderful things on her knees…also awesome. She destroys Tarzan who seems to be competing in a different race altogether. So, Kim and Chelsea clash in the final round and have to hit three rings. And despite Chelsea’s ring skills, she still gets beaten by Kim.
Oh yeah, a pig wanders into camp. The women squeal as if they were several stereotypes. We get goofy hillbilly music, and if anyone thought this group had any Michael Skupin in them, well, you’ve been watching a different season. So now they have a pet pig. Maybe they can teach him to herd sheep.