Are you joining us for another week or joining us for the first time? I find it fascinating that the interest surrounding Survivor recaps tends to be low at the beginning of seasons but rises as the season progresses. If you haven’t been keeping up with the season, we’ve had men versus women, the odd villainy of a player hated by both genders, the removal of both the gender barrier and said villain (by injury/illness, no less), and now that we’re merged we’re back to a specific gender line, which was finally revealed to all players last week. The most threatening of the men, Troy (aka Troyzan), was slated for removal by the women last week but wound up evading them by playing a secret immunity idol. Can his luck hold out for another week? Based on the trailers, and the show’s intro, it doesn’t look like Troy is doing much plotting, but is going a bit sociopathic and announcing that he’s cutting ties with all players. So this week, it’s Troy versus everyone. With that attitude, he better hope he wins all of the challenges from hereon out (which isn’t exactly unheard of).
Troy not only goes a bit crazy, but he shows a ridiculously misogynistic side as well (then again, what guy hasn’t this season), declaring the way his opponents are playing is typical of women: they get everything they want and then decide they don’t need the man anymore. Dude: damaged much? (Yes, I know – I’m sounding like an ‘80s valley girl there, but it’s how my brain works today apparently).
Reward Challenge: The reward this week is the annual Survivor auction, where the players get cash and are allowed to bid on items – sometimes food, sometimes amenities like a shower. Before heading out, Troyzan announces that he’s not bidding on any food, saving his cash for any chance at a clue that might take him farther in the game. It doesn’t take long for his competitors to blow their cash on chips, sandwiches, chocolate and peanut butter, and the like. Alicia spends all of her money on a letter from home, announcing through tears that her dad had never written her anything before. Tarzan, who (possibly) joked that he was saving his cash to fix his breaks at home, breaks down and buys a letter as well and Troy is clearly shaken as well, announcing his feeling of isolation. He holds out, however, much to his benefit, since the next item is “an advantage for the next challenge.” Troy bids and Christina, who also hasn’t bid on anything, starts outbidding him at the behest of the other players. Troy claims victory, but it’s clear the process isolates him farther from his teammates.
By the time we get to the halfway mark of the episode I’m wondering if Troy hasn’t gone around the bend. The lone loon starts digging around for another immunity idol, just in case there’s another one out there. Other tribemates start looking as well, figuring with eight of them and one of him they have a greater chance of finding what may not even be there. Troy tries to play as if he found one (a Survivor classic) and the women start announcing their fear that he might dominate the challenges, keeping immunity in his hands and remaining a thorn in their sides.
Immunity Challenge: This week’s challenge is a tiered contest. The first challenge is untying a cluster of knots to free up a ring. The top four then move on to a challenge bouncing coconuts off a trampoline to break targets (which was a previous challenge). From there, the last two move to a slingshot range, firing coconuts at a game board in hopes of breaking 3 tiles in a row. Troyzan’s purchase at the auction pays off rather well: he skips the first segment entirely. Christina, Kim, and Tarzan are the three to beat the others, moving to the trampoline challenge. Troyzan is the first to break all of his targets and Tarzan follows suite, making the duel for immunity between two of the guys. Troyzan shows better aim by quickly taking an advantage in the way he knocks out tiles, but Tarzan isn’t too shabby either with. By the end either competitor has several ways to possibly win. Tarzan knocks his coconut into the wall between tiles while Troyzan’s barely hits his center tile, giving him three in a row. The women’s nightmare is coming true: Troyzan has immunity.
After a quick speech about “being noble” from Tarzan (trying to cut down on Troyzan’s celebrations, which he perceives as unsportsmanlike), the scheming begins. The girls need a new target, which means Leif or Tarzan (I figured Leif was next to go, although the women don’t seem to see him as much of a threat – possibly a positive side-effect from last week’s challenge?) while Troy attempts to convince some of the other players to ally with him and get rid of Kim. Unfortunately, Alicia is the person he’s going to and she’s a bit sketchy – the most likely to turn against the women but also the most likely to turn on him as well.
Tribal Council: Probst begins the conversation by sparking the contest between Troy and the rest of the players – something they all bite into eagerly, particularly Sabrina. The two contestants dig into each other quite deeply, with Sabrina laying down a “truth” of the show (that Troy has to remain likeable or won’t get votes to win) while Troy calls her out on being deceptive toward him and Jay. Troy kinda blows his entire strategy, however, revealing who he approached about allying with him. Probst asks what a flip-flop in an existing alliance might mean and winds up with an answer coy enough to make me wonder who is voting what way (wow – finally a possible surprise in this season of Survivor!). The votes are cast and…
The Tribe Has Spoken
I’d say it’s a shame to see Survivor’s first “little person” sent packing, but the truth is he didn’t make much of an impact on this game. His departure also means Troy’s attempt at an alliance didn’t go very far. As Probst points out, Troy and Tarzan either have to win immunity or “find a way in” with the other players. I don’t think the latter is even an option for Troy at this point, yet despite his arrogance and rather crazed demeanor, he’s the player I hope to see go the farthest at this point.
What’s really interesting is watching the votes play at the end credits. Why did Leif go home? Because Tarzan voted for him, making the final vote 4 for Leif and 3 for Tarzan. Leif, on the other hand, voted for Kim, trying to change the game. Frankly, I’d be happy to see Troyzan win immunity next week, because it’s clear Tarzan is still trying to build an alliance with the women. Because he’s crazy and untrustworthy and hasn’t made many friends, the plastic surgeon is also a good candidate to take to the final game – so if it gets down to the women and Tarzan, who goes home next? Let’s hope we find out next week!