Now THAT, is how you blindside someone. Instantly, this goes into the Top 5 of most incredible blindsides in the history of the show. Joining Eduardo, Ozzy, James, and a handful of others as some seriously awesome blindsides. What made this one so perfect is not only that she didn’t see it coming, but she was openly giddy about the imminent blindsiding of someone else. It makes it ever so sweeter to see someone get some comeuppance when they are taking too much pleasure in the misfortune of others.
So, if for some reason, you have not yet watched the episode, you may want to turn away. In fact, I’ll distract you with this thought…
Ok, that Ron Swanson interlude over…I thought Kitten’s departure was an incredible twist this week. And, to be honest, it could go either way for Kim once she (most likely) faces the jury. Kitten was not happy about this move. And having watched some of the Ponderosa videos, it is shaping up to be a rather bitter jury. And there are a couple of jury members who are going to be seriously betrayed in these last few Tribals. Let’s assume Cha and Tarzan are not going to be all that surprised if their name pops up, but one of the other ladies will.
However, I agree with the belief that Kitten in the finals would bring in votes. The guys liked her – and her immaturity would not have played into their decision. Granted, she would not even come close to an argument at Final Tribal that could have made any sense whatsoever, but there were votes among the guys for her. And Kim knew that. Kitten would have to go at some point, and with Sabrina and, later, Alicia on the warpath, Kitten’s time was now.
And rarely has there been a more clueless Survivor as Kitten was during these three days on the island. It started with the reaction to Troyzan’s “do it” instructions to her just a few moments before – and it seems Troy really meant it for her as a pep talk, but the result was planting the seed in the others that Kitten was going to get votes from the boys.
The bulk of the first half of the episode was the family visit. To sum up my family visit thoughts – I used to mock them, and then I had a child. Well, my wife had the child. You know what I mean. Now I get it. Put stress, with filth, with dehydration, with hunger, into the mix, well, you get weepy reunions. But more on the challenge in a bit, for now, we met Kitten’s cousin Robby. Upon greeting, Kitten actually became a kitten. She got down on all fours and made animal sounds. They spoke gibberish to each other and she lept into his arms and wrapped her legs around him. I refuse to comment about this the way others have – all families are different. They are close and it was odd, but it was smile-inducing.
She wins the challenge. And now, Kitten, one of the least self-aware Survivors in recent memory, has to make what is arguably the trickiest decision year in and year out on this show – who do you let see their family, and who do you send back to camp.
Kitten managed to make the worst possible decision and compounded it with the worst possible explanation. Just a few days after Kim chose not to take Kitten on reward – much to her chagrin – she chooses Kim and her sister to join her. Choosing the power player is never the best decision – unless you are either kissing up, or are unaware of who is in a position of power. And it became clear this episode – and in post-show interviews – that Kitten had no idea that Kim was pulling the strings. However, she was given a chance to do a partial good job after Probst let her take a second guest. Amazingly, she took Alicia – two of the three women who went on the last reward. Why did she take them? She wanted to get drunk with them. Really. That’s what she said. She would have been better off picking randomly, or alphabetically.
First, for the last month they must have known that Tarzan had a storybook romance with his wife. They all must have known that Cha’s father was a very sick man. If Kitten were truly playing the game she would have realized that taking these two was the correct play. None of the women (save maybe Alicia) would have had any issue with that choice, and the jury would have loved it. The circumstances notwithstanding, what she managed to accomplish was to leave a pair of people who desperately missed their loved ones alone with two other people who sympathized with them. And the last time I checked, four was greater than three.
In one fell swoop, Kitten almost ruined Kim’s game. But Kim is good at this – she saw the writing on the wall and Kitten’s behavior only ruined one scenario for Kim. After the four returned to camp, Sabrina railed against Kitten’s decision. She initiated a discussion with Tarzan and Cha about turning on Kitten, with Chelsea seemingly on board. Ironic, because Sabrina appeared to be unaware of the fact that she was being plotted against thanks to her good decision making and oratory skills. However, Chelsea would not commit until she spoke with Kim.
Kim was still holding out hope that she could maintain her ideal Final Three against the immature Kitten and the unlikable Alicia. However, the Immunity Challenge further put dirt on Kitten’s grave. In a new twist on the classic Survivor endurance challenge, they had to stand on a platform holding a rope behind their backs. Probst released tension on a winch slowly putting them more and more horizontal and making holding onto the rope harder and harder. After a grueling hour, Kim and Kitten were the last two standing. Kitten begged Kim to let her win, and when Kim didn’t and won, Kitten whined and pouted and made a spectacle of herself. That soured Kim on her just enough.
But of course, her bad behavior isn’t what did it for Alicia. She was scared of Kitten’s unexpected challenge prowess. When Alicia came to Kim with the Kitten plan, that was enough. It is the mark of a great tribe leader to know which way the wind is blowing. Even without Kitten, she is in control, just go along with the tribe on this one and worry about the bitter jury speech later.
And Kitten went into the Tribal Council certain Sabrina was getting blindsided. She took much glee in the prospect that this was happening. She and Alicia even shared a knowing glance when Sabrina fell off the perch at the challenge – Kitten doing a little dance – in what turned out to be their final moments of alliance. Even when all of the talk turned to criticisms of her, she still had no idea it was coming. As the votes were read, her face was a classic dumbfounded mask of shock. She slowly turned to face her friends and shuffled off to Probst. Part of me felt very badly for her as she wept on the way out of the game, but the other part of me remembered that she was looking forward to seeing someone else suffer the same fate and embarrassment that she was experiencing. Life lessons for the young woman unfolding before our eyes.
And now we have six left and unless something unexpected happens, we have Kim’s march to victory. The only things that stand in her way are 1) the others suddenly see the light and turn on her at the F6 or F4 (remember, she has an idol), or 2) the jury is incredibly bitter and refuses to reward her win. Her best matchups are to be up against Cha and Tarzan in the finals – even the bitterest of the bitter would have a hard time giving their vote to either one. She could take Alicia if she wanted to instead of Tarzan for fear of a guy vote coalescing unexpectedly around him. Her biggest fear should be facing Chelsea or Sabrina at the end. The two of them, in my opinion, are the only two with a shot of derailing the Kim train.