Last week the women finally got rid of Troyzan, leaving only one guy and one contender for a “Tarzan” themed nickname in the game. Will the domineering women get rid of the last guy this week? Don’t expect it – as annoying as he is (has anyone really forgotten the poop-pants incident?), Tarzan is the kind of player you take with you as far as you can, preferably right up to the jury, because he’s the kind of player who will never get any votes for the final prize.
Sure enough, we aren’t even to the opening credits when the women reveal the plan isn’t to get rid of Tarzan next, but Sabrina. This idea comes from the previous night’s tribal council (where Troy went home) because Christina sounded like a blithering idiot in front of the jury but there is concern over Sabrina’s ability to speak eloquently and possibly win people over.
The episode kicks into high gear after the credits with the arrival of tree mail, which brings a Sprint smartphone that contains messages from the current players’ family members. Clearly our reward challenge this week will permit the winner to spend time with their family. As usual, it’s rather touching to see the messages from the family and see how the contestants who had been so hardened only minutes before soften.
Reward Challenge: Probst starts off the challenge by bringing out the family members one by one, reuniting contestants with their loved ones. This is particularly touching for Christina, whose father recently had a kidney transplant, and Tarzan, who (as Sabrina points out) is in a thirty-year marriage with no kids. Not that it’s not touching to see the other contestants bawl – I’m sure I would act the same if I had spent a month separated from my family living in a contest like Survivor.
As expected, the reward is a wonderful barbecue with the loved ones. To win the contestants are attached to a rope that’s woven through a rail – they have to unweave the rope and make their way to the other end of the rail. We’ve seen the challenge before, but I don’t know if we’ve seen it like this, because the family members are also attached to the survivors. It’s hard not to root for several of the contenders, but the ones I wanted to see win the most wound up falling out of the race the quickest. Instead, Kat wins the contest, and she’s not incredibly humble about it (although more so than Troyzan was).
Probst has Kat choose someone to share the challenge with and she picks Kim – an interesting choice considering Kim didn’t pick her last week. Probst offers her one more person and she takes Alicia. It’s almost heartbreaking to see Christina and Tarzan have to give up their loved ones, but that’s how the game works. Quite a few people aren’t happy with Kat’s decision, which she admits is because she wants to hang with Alicia and Kim alone, especially with alcohol around (yes, Kim wins the rare opportunity to spend time with loved ones and plans to celebrate by getting drunk). Strategy… it’s not a word Kat understands.
While the girls enjoy their reward they do talk some strategy (in fact, we see more of the strategy than the contestants time with their family). The consensus is that Sabrina will be next to go, with Kim feeling like that trio of girls is probably her best chance to win. Meanwhile, back at the camp, the consensus becomes Kat should be the one to go after her selfish move. Chelsea thinks Kim will go for the plan, figuring nobody would want to take Kat to the end – ironic given the previous discussion at the reward barbecue.
Immunity Challenge: This week’s challenge is a hell of an endurance contest. Players stand on a bar holding a rope behind their back. Every so often Probst turns a crank that extends the rope, lowering the players closer to the water. The players must stay standing on the bar and must hold the rope above their waist. It’s a heck of a contest. The people who need this the most, Sabrina especially, are the first ones to go. The most ridiculous moment is watching Christina give up because her fingers are killing her (she probably needs the safety even if her name hasn’t been tossed out this week). After an hour it becomes a contest between Kim and Kat, with neither girl willing to give. Eventually Kat falls and Kim wins her second immunity in a row.
As ungracious a winner as Kat was earlier, she’s an even worse loser, and she refuses to even high-five Kim, letting her selfishness shine through. Considering it’s that trait that has people thinking about sending her home, showing more selfishness isn’t exactly the best move. The target on Kat’s back gets even bigger when Alicia realizes Sabrina’s not much of a threat when it comes to challenges (Sabrina was first out) where Kat could be. Alicia joins the ranks of people who want to see Kat go, which isn’t good news for Kim. As we head into tribal council, it looks like Kat or Sabrina is going home, but it’s not clear which one it will be. My guess is Sabrina because it’s uncommon this season for anyone to stray from the previously ordained path.
Tribal Council: The conversation immediately goes to Kat’s decision to take Alicia and Kim to share in the reward. It basically comes down to Kat being 22 and naive. Probst asks an interesting question: is that a viable reason or is that a strategy? I don’t buy for a second that it’s strategy. In fact, Kat starts getting upset that the focus of the tribal council is on her. When the discussion moves to Sabrina, Kat opens her mouth foolishly and praises the concept of the blindside – essentially she broadcasts that Sabrina might be blindsided tonight, which makes me want to see Kat as the one going home this week even more – let the immature 22-year-old be the one blindsided – wouldn’t that be “fun and exciting”? As Probst reads the votes, Kat’s demeanor changes drastically from her excitement over blindsiding Sabrina to the realization that…
The Tribe Has Spoken
I’m not going to lie – I cheered a bit when Probst announced the verdict and got a good laugh out of Kat’s sobs as she walked away. The girl who praised blindsides for being “fun and exciting” didn’t see so much fun in it when she was the one blindsided. I would say her revenge as a member of the jury will be interesting, but the truth is it will probably be a sad, sorry attempt – kind of like her departing testimonial, where she cried about leaving before Christina and Tarzan. I don’t expect Kat’s part of the final vote will be all that interesting, but I guess we’ll see in a few weeks.