Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Survivor: “It’s Human Nature”

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This was pretty much the only way things could go down, right? Despite all of Kim’s worrying and all of Tarzan’s sudden scheming, it’s been clear for several weeks now that the women were going to declare victory in this season-long battle of the sexes. The happy surprise was how Tarzan put up a bit of a fight at the end—or was at least edited to appear that way—making the inevitable feel so much less so.

Seriously, though, when this season started, who would have figured Tarzan would be the last man standing? Between his tendency to annoy his fellow tribemates and his questionable hygiene habits, he was either going to be the first to go or the last. Lucky for him, he was just enough of a non-threat to the women (and there was just enough precedent for his staying from also-abrasive Phillip) that he made it as far as he did, the last male straggler before the ladies have to really get down and dirty and turn on each other.

Although his ouster wasn’t shocking, at least the way he went out was fairly entertaining. In fact, for much of the hour, I truly didn’t know which way the votes would go, as Alicia was all but begging for a way to shake things up and feel more important. She’s even dubbed herself the “most powerful player” in the game. When you’re a legend in your own mind, I suppose you have to do something to back it up. When Chelsea wins reward and takes Kim and Sabrina, Tarzan gets the perfect opportunity to exploit everyone’s hurt feelings for his own benefit. So while Kim is off assuring Sabrina and Chelsea they are final three together—after earlier assuring Tarzan and Alicia they are final four with her and Christina—Tarzan starts goading sentiment to get rid of Chelsea next. Alicia and Christina end up getting so riled up they all but assure they will vote Chelsea out next, even if they have to go down to a tiebreaker at Tribal.

The funny thing is, if editing is to be believed, Tarzan’s biggest downfall might have been doing too good of a job selling himself in the last few days. At one point, Alicia, Kim, and Christina all share increasingly incredulous notes about the circular lies he told each of them about whom he was aligned with and how he was voting. It’s a credit to Kim that she could act so amazed, since he was basically doing the very thing she’s been doing for weeks, just less successfully. So while I don’t think Tarzan was some kind of hidden genius biding his time and waiting for his moment to strike, it is somewhat interesting how well he managed to get in people’s ears right at the end. It’s hard to tell with the editing exactly how everything went down—all of his scheming attempts could have taken place over the span of 30 minutes, for all we know—but it edited together nicely for a fun little episode.

Once we got to tribal, though, it was pretty obvious Tarzan was going home. The entire thing was focused on Tarzan, with only a few fun asides for Sabrina’s confidence, a little Chelsea/Christina tension, and a glorious moment where a bitter Kat calls them all “bitches” from the jury box. No matter who ends up in the final three on Sunday, the final questioning is going to be tense.

The least surprising thing to happen tonight was how Kim’s dominance in the game was totally cemented. Although everyone acknowledges she is running the game, they are all so eager to be aligned with her that no one is taking the time to think about voting her out before she can take them out first. She’s great at immunity challenges, so her loss tonight would have been the perfect opportunity for a few people to recognize her strength and dominance of the game and band together to get her gone for good. It’s like everyone is just sleepwalking, waiting for Kim to win the final immunity challenge and take them with her along for the ride as she marches her way toward a million dollars. Maybe on Sunday, someone will finally wake up.


Stray observations:

  • That crab is a star.
  • If Tarzan had any sort of awareness of social cues this would have been his opportunity to learn that you can’t jokingly (?) call a woman a bitch when you’re the only man in a crowd full of women. But, he’s Tarzan, so I doubt that registered at all.
  • Tarzan: “I prepared to be defeated in some kind of contest later today. Defeated by the feminine gender. Failure among men.”
  • Kim, about Tarzan’s choice of headgear: “I love to have dirty panties touching the skin on my forehead.”
  • Tarzan: “I’m not afraid of those panties at all!”