Pre-credit sequence. Jay is gone and Troyzan returns to Tikiano camp aware that he’s almost certainly next in line. “It is what it is. Nothing personal,” Sabrina tells Troyzan. “Take it as a compliment,” Christina tells him. Troyzan tries stirring up aggravation around the fire and ends up in a shouting match with Alicia. “I don’t see why he’s upset with me. I didn’t vote for him,” Alicia says truthfully, albeit with a caveat. “I’m totally pissed off,” Troyzan says, vowing that when he gets pissed off, he gets fired up and he vows to win every Immunity from now on. “This is just Troyzan versus everybody else,” he announces.
Let me protest my masculinity with a barbaric, “It’s not FAAAAAAIR.” Troyzan launches his hostility campaign the next morning. He walks up to Chelsea and makes a “It’s just not fair!” protest. Chelsea tries explaining that it’s just a game, but Troyzan says that he has the right to be angry. Twisting the knife, Chelsea tells Troyzan to be like Jonas and take it like a man, even adding that Jonas deserves to be there more than he does. “I don’t know about that,” an incredulous Troyzan says. Apparently somebody’s got some emotional scars and he grumbles, “These girls are kinda acting like what a lot of women act like in real life. They get their house. They get their food. They get all their stuff. And then as soon as they feel satisfied, they go, “Oh, guess what, we don’t need you anymore.'” Wow. That’s… not appealing. Tree-mail suggests that they have an auction coming up. They’re playing with real cash. The women all want food (because that’s what women want after their get their houses). Troyzan is hoping for an Immunity clue or something.
Let them eat cake. It’s “Survivor” Auction time. Everybody has $500. And, as always, the auction will stop without warning. The first item is three donuts and an iced coffee. Chelsea buys it for $160. Up next is a plate with chips and guacamole, plus a margarita. Sabrina wants it and she spends $400. A protein shake with two bananas gets a $100 bid from Leif. Poor Kat’s worried she won’t be able to spend her money. Up next is a “Survivor” shower and a toothbrush. Kim buys a $40 shower. “Have fun,” Jeff Probst tells her. Everybody hoots and whistles as Kim strips down. BLT, chips and a cold iced tea? Kat finally finds a taker for her money and spends $180. She’s shocked and pleased to discover bacon on her BLT. Peanut butter and chocolate prompts a bidding war won by Kim for $200+. Alicia is bitter, but how do you let yourself be outbid in an auction where you can’t take the money with you and the food could stop coming at any moment? Alicia is not smart. Or do you get to take the money with you? It looks like “Yes,” because Poopy Pants has set his $500 aside to fix the shocks on his Jeep. Letters from home go up next. Alicia bids $500 immediately for a letter and cries as she reads her letter from her dad. Soon, everybody is crying with Alicia. Suddenly, Poopy Pants’s shocks don’t seem so important. Probst makes it clear that anybody else can get a letter for $500 and Poopy Pants gives up his shocks. “I feel completely alone,” Troyzan cries. Finally, what Troyzan wants comes up for bid. Troyzan spends $420 for an advantage at Immunity after Christina drops out of the bidding. Troyzan wants congratulations for his bid, but nobody’s very gracious. A covered item and a note goes to a giddy Kat for $160. It’s an entire cake. The note says that she bought the cake for the entire tribe. They have 60 seconds to devour the cake. They chow down on cake by the handful. It doesn’t get nearly as gross as I might have hoped for. I was hoping for roasted-pig-challenge-level disgustingness. Boo.
Scaredy Kat. Back at camp, Troyzan opens his $420 Immunity Advantage. It moves him directly into the second round of the upcoming challenge. That helps, sure. “You think that you have me outsmarted. They don’t. They’re very scared,” Troyzan says, embarking on a journey into the jungle in the hopes of finding a new Hidden Immunity Idol. He looks in the used tree-knots and under the usual rocks. With Kim leading the way, the other eight players also go out in search of their own Idols. Chelsea’s bitter about Christina dropping out of the bidding for the Immunity clue. “Right now, Troy is going to put more heart into this game than most of the people here,” Chelsea acknowledges. Troy decides to fake everybody out, putting a piece of cloth in his pocket with people watching. Kim is worried. Kat tries to calm everybody down. That’s a scary thought. Kat, The Voice of Reason.
Nine versus One: You’re doing it wrong. As we know, Immunity is back up for grabs and it’s actually a three-tiered challenge regurgitated from previous challenges. Lazy. First, they have to race to untangle knotted ropes. The first four to finish go do that trampoline target shoot. The first two to finish that go to a slingshot challenge where you have to knock out three targets in a row. Joining Troyzan in the second round are Poopy Pants, Kim and Christina. Troyzan is the first to advance out of the second round. “This is my island! You can’t beat me,” he roars. Wow. In a stunning upset, Poopy Pants advances to the finals against Troyzan. Who would have predicted that? Both Troyzan and Poopy Pants move within one target of winning. Troyzan wins! “Don’t [bleep] with me,” says Troyzan, who swears that he’s only been going 50 percent to this point. The women try telling him that he only bought an extra week.
Plan B. Back to Tikiano. Troyzan wears his necklace proudly. Poopy Pants calls the tribe together and urges Troyzan to be noble if he wins. Troyzan protests that he can’t change his personality and that he’s just competitive. Troyzan gushes that this is everybody’s worst-case-scenario. Indeed, Chelsea and Kim have to realign their strategy and they’re scrambling. They worry that taking a girl out would create chaos or paranoia, so it has to be either Poopy Pants or Leif out. Coincidentally, Poopy Pants is washing Leif’s face and they agree that they’re both in trouble. Troyzan decides to mobilize the relative outcasts, propositioning Leif, Poopy Pants, Alicia and Christina. He makes what is a logical plea and everybody nods politely. “Troy is on to something,” admits Alicia. Kim is going to get Troyzan’s vote, but will anybody join him?
Tribal Council. Troyzan again blames his competitive juices for his hostility. Sabrina says that Troyzan has morphed into a creature she doesn’t recognize and she tries reminding him that if he’s nasty to everybody, he won’t be likable. “You’re not my mother,” Troyzan says. “I’m just speaking with truth. If you can’t handle truth…” Sabrina says. Troyzan starts yelling at Sabrina and calling her “Mrs. Truth.” This is unpleasant. Chelsea says everybody is getting paranoid and Troyzan stokes said paranoia by reminding Poopy Pants, Christina, Alicia and Leif what they can gain by voting Kim out. “What you’re promising them is only going to work if you win every single Immunity challenge,” Chelsea says. Kim tries claiming that Troyzan’s plan only makes sense if you know Alicia and Christina are at the bottom and Kat and Sabrina QUICKLY jump in to agree that that may not be the case. Boy, that doesn’t look at all sketchy. Alicia says that if any of the women go to Troy, the other women would be screwed and Troyzan wisely interjects, “It’s not going to me. It’s for yourselves.”
The vote. Troyzan calls Kim a fantastic player and writes her name down. Chelsea writes Leif’s name down, blaming his wishy-washy approach for making everybody uneasy. Let’s tally, shall we? Leif. Leif. Leif. Kim. Kim. Poopy Pants. Poopy Pants. Poopy Pants. Leif. That’s it for Leif. Oh well. Leif says he has no regrets.
Bottom Line: What a weird edit for Troyzan, who was simultaneously depicted as a hyper-adrenalized misogynist and The Last Sane Man in Samoa. If this were a movie, [Troyzan would very clearly be played by Mel Gibson.] That makes it hard to root for him, but you can’t dispute that his voting plan was possibly smartest available plan for anybody hoping to flip the script of the game. One thing we haven’t seen nearly enough of is how Kim and Chelsea handled Christina and Alicia upon their return after the Merge. Promises were obviously made and confidences exchanged. It’s not that Troyzan’s plan was flawless and I think there was more security in Alicia and Christina sticking with the status quo, especially with Kim and Chelsea making such a quick and correct read of the situation, but you couldn’t blame them for being tempted and they only barely seemed to be. Troyzan, whether you liked his scorched earth approach or hated it, at least made this episode interesting, though it would have been even more interesting if he could have gotten Kim out. In fact, there’s really no way Troyzan could be playing this better. Everybody wants him out and they want him out for good reason. His only play is to keep winning Immunities and to psych everybody out, throw the main alliance into disarray and hope that somehow he’s still standing after a few wacky things happen. And this is such a boring group that I’ll welcome a sexist lunatic shaking things up if he gets me through the season.
Bottom Line, II: It was very easy to admire Leif for what he was doing out there and the effort he was putting into everything, but it wasn’t easy to root for a guy who didn’t appear to be putting any strategic effort into the game at all. He coasted with a couple different alliances and he’ll probably be best remember for inadvertently opening the door for Colton’s ridiculous Immunity forfeit. And for sleeping in a box. If you’re Chelsea and Kim, Poopy Pants’s weirdly strong Immunity performance probably was a reason for pause, but Poopy Pants seems destined for the Crazy Person We Could Beat in the Finale role, while Leif might have proven likable to a jury. TV-wise, we lose nothing by losing Leif.
Any thoughts on Wednesday’s episode?