Survivor: “Go Out With A Bang”
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Survivor: “Go Out With A Bang”

Nothing to complain about this week: That was some good old-fashioned Survivor game play. Kim—who last week began to reveal herself as this season’s chief strategist and power player—was at it again tonight, calmly continuing to lead her female alliance on a path of all-male destruction, all the while mostly convincing them nothing untoward was going on. Although things in her plan didn’t work out perfectly, it was still a darn fine strategic performance and one she’s going to have to spend the rest of the season living down once everyone figures out she’s by far the biggest threat out there.

Kim’s plan was genius in its simplicity: stick to the original female alliance, but let Jay and Troyzan believe the Salani alliance was actually the one still in play, and that they were going to vote out Alicia. It’s an easy plan, but only if everyone in his alliance is adept at subterfuge, because as soon as either Jay or Troyzan gets any sense the plan might be a lie, everything falls apart. Kim’s self-professed low-key attitude is essential in making her place in all of this work, but others in her alliance are less enthused by all of the lying necessary to pull it off. The primary objector is Chelsea, who is struggling with the lying portion of this game show she agreed to participate in that basically hinges on lying.

In the end, though, it’s Kim herself (with an assist from Troyzan’s smarts and paranoia) who almost unravels the entire plan. She allays Jay’s fears well enough but, when talking to Troyzan, lays on the “you’re perfectly safe” a little too hard for his taste, immediately getting his guard up and putting him into scramble mode. He attempts to get Jay to work with him to vote out Kim, in the process revealing his plans to use an immunity idol. Jay, still believing in Kim, then runs right to her with Troyzan’s plans and effectively seals his own fate. It’s a bit of a drag to watch Jay, who has been a very pleasant player amidst a lot of madness, torpedo himself so mightily, but it’s downright amazing to watch Kim play him so thoroughly.

Going into Tribal council, it’s pretty unclear who is going home, but from the editing, it didn’t seem like enough time for Troyzan to garner enough support to pull people away from Kim’s influence. The interesting part about Tribal is how everyone seems to be pretty aware of what is going on now, even Jay. Jeff nudges along this talk by blatantly pointing out the two men in the jury and how this might be a pattern more than a mere coincidence. Although Jay seems to be pretty clued in that something might be awry, he still seems shocked when Troy plays his immunity idol and the rest of the votes swing his way, eliminating him from the game. 

This was just a strong, strong week for both Kim and the female alliance as a whole. Troyzan literally did not realize anything was amiss until the last minute, not giving him enough time to try to swing the votes in Kim’s favor. Jay was so dumbfounded he honestly didn’t seem to think the female alliance still existed until he was out of the game completely, that’s how well Kim played him. And on top of it all, the ladies managed to flush Troyzan’s idol. Sure, Kim will be enemy number one on Troyzan’s list next week, but whether or not he will be able to shore up the needed votes to stay in the game and get Kim out is yet to be seen.  There’s something to be said about Kim rising to power a bit too soon, but even if she ultimately can’t maintain her status for the rest of the game it’s been an impressive season for her. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what she tries to do next.

Stray observations:

  • Interesting thing the vote revealed: Leif voting for Alicia must mean he is really out of the loop, or at least none of the women trust him enough to tell him about the Troy/Jay plan.
  • Kat played her strategy conversation with Jay very well. For someone who seems baffled by things like appendicitis, she does seem to have an affinity for the social game.
  • Both the reward and immunity challenges were unmemorable and ultimately inconsequential. I bet Jay is wishing he could give back those chicken wings right about now, though.

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