Pre-credit sequence. The Tribe returns. “Now we’re in a hopeless situation unless the boys win Immunity,” says Muscular Mark Twain, who’s prepared to go with the women, rather than being seen to be on Troyzan’s side. Kim’s a bit surprised that her name has been discussed in a leadership role, sooner than she might have hoped. Troyzan, for his part, feels alone and he repeats, once again, that it’s one man against all of the women (and Muscular Mark Twain) and he has to keep winning Immunity. Isn’t that exactly where we left the pre-credit sequence last week?
The doors of perception. It’s Day 28 for Tikiano. Tree-Mail indicates that powers of perception will lead to reward. Kat and Kim agree that if either of them wins Reward, they’ll take the other along. They also agree (or Kim does) that Troyzan, Alicia and Christina can’t be allowed to go back to camp alone together. That smells like foreshadowing to me.
Child’s Play. Reward Challenge time and there are freaky dolls that vaguely resemble the contestants. It’s that old “Big Brother” challenge where they’re asked questions about each other and have to guess what the group might say. For each one they get right, they get to cut one of the three ropes in front of each of their names. After three chops, the freaky dolls will fall into the fire, leaving only their eerie-ass skeletons. Want to know what they’re playing for? A helicopter ride and a full picnic. Everybody agrees it’s worth playing for. The group says that Christina does not deserve to be there. Duh. “I don’t know why,” Christina says. Double-duh. The group would trust Kim with their life. Troyzan’s doll is the first in the fire. “Awww… my ass!” Troyzan says. “This is my island!” Alicia responds. Everybody agrees that Kat “most needs a wake-up call in life.” Kat takes no offense and bows. Muscular Mark Twain is second out of the challenge, followed by Chelsea. The group says Troyzan is the biggest poseur and that Sabrina does the least for the tribe. Kat’s doll burns. Sabrina’s doll burns. The group wants to be stranded with Kim. Alicia’s doll burns. The group doesn’t want to see Troyzan after the game. Kim wins! She gets to choose one person to join her. She picks Alicia. She gets another choice. Surely it’s Kat, right? NO. It’s Chelsea. Kat’s eyes go wide and sad. “It shows exactly where everybody stands,” Troyzan says helpfully. Kat is so sad. Kim tries apologizing and Kat’s all, “Whatever.”
Winner’s remorse. The ghetto bird transports the three winners to their picnic. Naturally, they’re all really thrilled to be on a helicopter, which Chelsea compares to a roller-coaster. “The reward was awesome, but I can’t decide if I’m enjoying it or not,” Kim says, while admitting that they’re going to have damage control when they go back and that Troyzan is probably back at camp pouring poison in everybody’s ears.
Kat-astrophe. Kat is still unhappy. And hungry. Troyzan is giddy at the chance to pow-wow and poke at Kat’s insecure scabs. “Kat, you’ve gotta grasp what’s going on. You think that you’re in the know when you’re actually not,” Troyzan says, urging Kat to wake up and smell the coffee. “I’m pissed because Kim didn’t take me,” says a sad, puffy-eyed Kat. Sabrina tries to coach her crying chum, while Kat is saying that if she has to vote Kim out to prove her value, she will. Uh-oh. “Kat needs to be soothed. She’s a hot mess right now,” Sabrina says, before urging Troyzan to explain his master plan. Sabrina hears Troyzan and suggests that they just need one girl to turn, easily smoking out Christina’s swaying tendency. The three women return from their picnic. Kat’s insecure and she doesn’t know if it’s her own insecurity, or the insecurity that Troyzan planted. “I was devastated and I didn’t have anything to say to her,” Kat says, before Kim takes her aside to let her vent. Kat, having blurry side-boob issues, shares her sadness. Kim apologizes and says this is her worst day out there, that it’s better to be picked than to pick. Kim confesses that not taking Kat was her first non-strategic decision in the game and she’s paying for it.
That’ll do, pig. The rain is coming down. And… PIG! No. Stop huddling, castaways. PIG! Nobody has a clue how to catch the pig, but they’re all very enthusiastic about the idea. It’s not a small pig. And they have nothing other than a rope and, somewhere, an axe. I love Sabrina’s excited, jumping confessional as everybody is scurrying around excitedly. “I join in for fun’s sake just to give myself a laugh,” Troyzan says, aware that nobody would know what to do with the pig if they catch it. They run around the beach, chasing poor Babe with ropes, sticks and an axe. PETA’s not going to be pleased with this segment. Kim’s overjoyed that the tension has been broken and she decides that the pig is too cute to eat, but might make a good pet. The segment resolves with no captured pig.
Grease is the word. Immunity is back up for grabs. The challenge involves sliding across a mat — lots of lubing — and tossing rings at a post. There’s a lot of jiggling and greasiness. Chelsea eliminates Alicia and they hug. Kat eliminates Sabrina and does a happy, glistening dance. Muscular Mark Twain eliminates Troyzan and the women go crazy. From there, the pressure is pretty much entirely off. Kim beats Christina, as Troyzan stares out at the Ocean, mentally packing his bags. Chelsea beats Kat, but not before Kat does a funny comedy walk on the slick surface. Kim beats Muscular Mark Twain to set up a showdown against pal Chelsea. Kim wins an entirely anti-climactic Immunity.
If I had words to make a day for you/I’d sing you a morning golden and new. The pig is just sitting on the ground as Tikiano returns. Troyzan is bummed out, but he refuses to believe that it’s over. “You know what the odds are,” Sabrina says. Kim tells the alliance to split the vote and send two votes Christina’s way. “Nobody thinks that I’m the one running the show,” says a frustrated Kat, who is sick of being told what to do. Sabrina tells Christina that the stray votes are going against her, which may not have been a great idea, except that Christina is totally docile and doesn’t even seem to realize that if Troyzan plays an Idol, she’d be done. “I’m a special ed teach, so I handle Christina as one of my students,” Alicia says. Ick, Alicia. Ick. Troyzan approaches Christina and lets her ramble and talk herself into paranoia. “If you vote Chelsea, I’ll vote Chelsea,” Christina tells Troyzan, who hasn’t figured out who’s getting the stray votes. In her uncertainty, Christina let’s her identity slip as the spill-over option. Troyzan sees a ray of life, wooing Muscular Mark Twain and also Kat. But we don’t see enough indications of receptiveness to suspect this could work for him.
Tribal Council. The all-male Jury enters. Troyzan tells Jeff that he’s in trouble. Sabrina says that among the six women there hasn’t been a full reckoning of the whole pecking order. Christina says nobody knows who the top people are, but Chelsea disagrees. “Christina. Why are you here?” Probst asks, point-blank. “Because I’m one lucky girl,” Christina says. We have to sit around while Jeff Probst explains “Survivor” game strategy to Christina. It’s painful. She swears she’s been strategizing, insisting she just doesn’t talk about it. “Everyone knows Christina’s on the bottom,” Troyzan laughs. Kat’s still sad about missing out on the picnic and Troyzan’s comment that she’s not in the Top 3. “I thought, ‘Am I weak player? Am I a follower? Am I so far up Chelsea and Kim’s ass I can’t even see if I’m making the right decision for myself?’ I don’t want to go down as a weak player in ‘Survivor’ or a follower,” Chelsea vents. Troyzan’s feeling “pretty good” that he’s wormed his way in.
The vote. Troyzan writes Christina’s name. Christina writes Chelsea’s name. Kim writes Troyzan’s name. Probst goes to tally. Troyzan doesn’t play the Idol he doesn’t have. The votes: Chelsea. Troy. Troy. Troy. Christina. Christina. Christina. TROY. Oh well. Troy’s voted out. Before leaving, he says, “Do it” to Kat. He does the Nixon peace-signs as he departs. “Mission accomplished… now what?” Probst asks. In his exit, Troyzan talks about how this was an 11-year dream of his. “I played exactly who I am,” Troyzan says, certain that the fans will love his game.
Bottom Line. So basically we’re watching now just waiting for the women to start turning on each other, right? This episode was pretty much filler, lots of Kat’s insecurities, but very little chance that her insecurities were ever going to be strong enough to cause her to make A Big Move. And she didn’t. She blubbered a little, pouted a little, fell out of her bikini top a little, but mostly stayed the course in predictable fashion. Yawn, says I. If Kat eventually turns around and screws up Kim’s run for the million, Kim’ll have only herself to blame. There’s absolutely no excusing Kim taking Chelsea rather than Kat on that Reward. If you know a key part of your alliance is a petulant child, you have to solidify things with that petulant child, not bring your best bud along for no reason, no matter how much Chelsea enjoyed the helicopter ride. Christina’s vacant. Alicia’s icky. And I’m still waiting to see if Sabrina has a play in her back pocket and when she’s going to make it. Wait. And whatever happened with the pig? We spent so much time on that darned pig.
Bottom Line, II. I took Troyzan to task last week for one sexist comment, but overall he kept things semi-entertaining for a couple weeks, which was appreciated. The first thing I want to ask him tomorrow — other than if “Do it” had a specific meaning — is why he was so laid-back in the pre-shuffle portion of the game. The Troyzan we saw the past few episodes doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would have allowed Colton to run roughshod and send his camp to Tribal despite Immunity. He also doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would have made it that easy for Kim to manipulate him into voting Mike out. Troyzan has nobody but himself to blame for those two key moves which crippled any chance the men had of surviving this season. There are going to be some people who think Troyzan is a candidate for future All-Star seasons, but I’m not buying it.
What’d you think of Wednesday’s episode?