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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Survivor: “Rule In Chaos”

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What a difference a week makes.

I admit I was quite skeptical about the potential for this season after seeing the premiere episode, but the relative sanity “Rule In Chaos” despite the presence of a potentially certifiably insane person gives me hope. Truly, all of Galang deserves some sort of medal-like object for not only putting up with Colton, but essentially stopping all of his attempts to stir up trouble before they even start. This is what a tribe of veterans who have seen you play before gets you, Colton: A nice, big wake-up call to the fact that your game isn’t quite as sharp as you think it is.

The wonderful thing about it is how thoroughly Colton tried to convince his tribe and the viewing audience that he’s a changed man, and how quickly that was all revealed to be a carefully constructed illusion. After only four days of enduring his “zen” tribe, who would rather participate in massage trains and talk about their lives outside of the game than sit and strategize all day, Colton is practically jumping out of his skin with seething hatred and anger. This is the Colton we remember from One World, which proves Colton might have addressed his horrible racism but he still remains an angry, hateful, fully unpleasant human being.

The good thing for us—but not so good for Colton—is that his tribe wants no part of it. As soon as Colton starts blatantly lying and double-talking his tribemates, they immediately try to shut him down, first to his face, and then when that doesn’t work, behind his back. There was nothing more joyful for me tonight than Aras, Tyson, Gervase, Tina, and Monica getting together and promising that they will tell each other everything Colton says in an attempt to shut down his drama before it starts. By the end of the episode, even Colton starts to feel his tribe turning against him, enough so that going into the Immunity Challenge it seems like Galang might lose and we might send him off to Redemption Island to lick his wounded pride.

Alas, that doesn’t happen, because although Tadhana again puts up a great fight at the challenge Galang pulls it out. But that almost doesn’t matter at this point: Galang is on to Colton, and for him to make it far into this game a seismic shift is going to have to occur.

Also in the “plus” column for this episode is Redemption Island doing its duty and getting rid of the other player that drives me insane, Rupert. Redemption Island remains a frustrating part of the game but at least this time it has increased stakes for the people still playing the game, when the twist is revealed that whoever gets voted to Redemption, their loved one will be offered the opportunity to substitute themselves and send the voted out player back into the game. Gervase doesn’t take the bait (and did anyone expect him to?) but that doesn’t much matter, as Marissa takes care of business herself and she and Candice send Rupert packing. Goodbye, Rupert. You are not very good at this game.


But the stakes introduced at Redemption Island turn out to have interesting implications for Tadhana. The all-guy alliance there is already starting to show some cracks, and the fissures start with John. John’s playing the long game, forming a relationship with Rachel to give him a foothold outside of the guys, and it comes back to bite him a bit here. It doesn’t help that Candice wins the Redemption challenge and gives him a clue to the immunity idol, immediately setting off everyone’s paranoia. But when Vytas devises the strategy to send Rachel to Redemption Island on the off chance Tyson will take her place and weaken the other tribe, John just can’t help objecting, which immediately puts a bit of a target on his back.

John’s position makes total sense: His ultimate goal is to get Candice back into the game, and pitting her against Tyson is exactly the thing that could send her home. But having an obvious self-interest in a game like this so early on is the last thing you want. Although the editing makes a strong case for John to be potentially blindsided, at Tribal Council things pretty much go as planned, with Rachel headed off to fight for her place in the game as Tadhana sits and hopes Tyson can't help but volunteer to take her place once she gets there.


So I admit it—I was overly concerned, and this season looks like it has some life in it after all. Most of this optimism is due to the loved ones tribe, which is turning out to be a really interesting mix of people who actually know how to play the game. With the all-male alliance showing cracks already, there could be potential for a lot of interesting maneuvering there in the future.

Stray observations:

  • Shout out to the weird insect with wavy feathery antennae. You are cool and weird, bug.
  • Marissa is very outspoken and although it probably won’t help her in the game, it’s certainly fun to watch. I certainly wouldn’t mind her coming back at this point. (Candice pointing out that Marissa was likely voted out because of her speech against Brad on the first day was a very perceptive observation, as well.)
  • Both Aras and Vytas have impressed me so far with their ability to read people and situations. I would like to see them play together.
  • I was also impressed with Ciera and Katie actually doing something for their own well-being in the game and voting John just in case he plays the idol and Ciera’s one vote by Rachel sends her packing. If they can survive this steamroller of a male alliance they might have a shot.
  • Colton says his tribe needs to go to Tribal Council so they can realize they’re playing a game and not on vacation. Um, honey, almost all of these people have played more Survivor than you have.
  • Nice to see Gervase redeem himself at the challenge after his horrible showing last week.