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Survivor: “Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back”

Chaos Kass strikes again

Tony! Toni! Toné!
Tony! Toni! Toné!


“Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back”

Season 28 , Episode 13

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Chaos Kass is back, and you know what? She’s kind of great. Not as an actual human person, mind you—as an actual human person she’s fairly dismal—but as a delivery system for a fantastic episode of Survivor, it doesn’t get much better than what Kass does here. She pretty much singlehandedly takes what could have been a fairly straightforward episode and turns it on its head, just because she wants to mess up Tony’s game. The beauty of it all? She completely messes her own up in the process. Way to go, Chaos Kass!

We’re at the point of the season where Tony is so obviously running the show no one is bothering to pretend otherwise. If everyone falls into their expected rank and file the episode should be deadly boring, but luckily that doesn’t happen. The episode hints at going that way when Tony decides he needs Trish and Kass sitting next to him at the end, for fear Woo will get too many jury votes. This is when things start to go sideways, because Tony’s plan hinges on getting Kass on his side, and Kass has other plans. Instead of gladly taking Tony up on his offer of a final three deal—thus getting her exactly what she wants, a spot in the final three—Kass decides she would rather tank Tony’s game by poisoning everyone against him and therefore poisoning people’s jury votes against him. It’s an interesting, if insane, long-term strategy, especially when she’s attempting to pull it off against someone who is holding two idols and is basically guaranteed a spot in the final four (a thing she is definitely not).

It’s classic “I’m smarter than you” stuff from Kass, doled out with her usual unpleasantness. The craziest thing about it is that it kind of works. Kass’ plan is to “inadvertently” out Tony’s intention to blindside Woo and therefore get Woo to align with her and Spencer, and in that regards, she is wildly successful. For the first time all game, Woo seems to really absorb what is happening around him and realize that if he stays blindly loyal to Tony, there is no way Tony will return that loyalty by taking him to the final three. Once Spencer wins immunity and the only two options for him to vote out are Kass and Trish, Woo makes the decision that makes the most sense to his game: To get rid of Trish and remove one of Tony’s surefire picks to go to the final three. It still seems as if Woo has no chance of winning this game—if he even makes it to the final three at this point, I’ll be surprised—but at least it was a move, even if it came too late to really make much of a difference.

Where Woo’s move and Kass’ scheming does make a difference, though, is in both Kass and Spencer’s game. Kass seems fairly convinced she can get votes if she goes to the jury, but after her performance at this (fabulously entertaining) Tribal Council, it is impossible to understand how she still feels this way. When Jeff brings up the fight Trish and Kass got into at camp, the reaction on his face and the jury’s faces to the story is one for the Tribal record books, as everyone seems hilariously entertained by the retelling of the saga. It’s like the most jovial pre-execution counseling session ever.

And then there’s Spencer, who gets to pretty much sit with the Immunity Idol around his neck and watch everyone else fall apart. It’s a position he’s found himself in often in this game, against the ropes until someone else makes an especially stupid move, putting him in the clear to relax until the next time he’s on the ropes again. Spencer is by far in the best position in this game right now, although he doesn’t appear to realize it. He’s sitting especially pretty now that Woo flipped to his side and voted out Trish, presuming he stays that way and doesn’t go back to working with Tony. Spencer is on the short track to make final three, and if he makes final three, he appears to have the votes. Now it’s going to be all about seeing exactly when he realizes this for himself, and what he does to make sure Tony doesn’t stop him in his tracks. At the beginning of the season I didn’t predict this whole thing would likely come down to Spencer and Tony, but it certainly is going to be an interesting fight.

Stray observations:

  • The best thing about next week’s finale won’t be seeing who wins, it will be seeing Kass go to the final three and get zero votes. Why would she flip off Trish while Trish was leaving, in front of the jury? Kass is horrible.
  • Sorry, but that reward pizza looked disgusting. Helicopter delivery or no.
  • Kass is obnoxious, but Trish got really mean really fast after they returned from the immunity challenge. Lindsey probably knows how that feels.
  • Spy Tony returns! It didn’t help him figure out a way for Woo to not flip on him, though.
  • Woo: “I feel like Encino Man.