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BY ROB CESTERNINO (Survivor Amazon & All-Stars)
I really loved this week's episode since by far it was the episode that featured the most strategy. After this week's show, I'm just about ready to start printing Kim's name on that million dollar check. Here's the 5 Things That Jumped Out From This Week's show...
5. Kimsanity - At this point in the game there is one player controlling everybody's fate and it's 100% her game to lose. I love getting to watch a Survivor play the game the way Kim is playing right now. As Michael and Leif stuffed their faces like they were Betty Draper at the reward challenge, Kim came up with the perfect plan and acted on it. Watching the way Kim manipulated Troyzan into doing exactly what she wanted makes me believe that she may be the real surgeon in the group (Sorry, Tarzan). She didn't have to bully, she didn't have to coerce, she just put out the perfect little lie to get Troyzan all worked up to vote out Michael. Kim was absolutely pitch perfect in her execution all around this week.
Furthermore, Kim got Tarzan and Jay to vote with her to cast 7 votes against Michael. We already discussed how Kim turned Troyzan against Michael, but it's even more impressive to highlight what she did to Jay. Jay was already nervous about what the women were up to and was seconds away from puting it all together like Chazz Palminteri at the end of "The Usual Suspects". Kim never lost her cool and somehow distracted Jay for long enough to save the plan from falling apart.
As the odds-on front runner to win Survivor One World, lets asks the question "Did Kim Strike too Soon"? I wonder could she have voted out Leif instead to keep the illusion of a united Salani while still eliminating a man? I believe that she had to make this bold move now because she knew that only Troyzan's hate of Michael could blind him to what she was really doing. Every great magician uses distraction to keep you from noticing what's really going on and this week Troyzan got a front row seat for "The Amazing Kimberly".
4. Michael Boltin' - I don't really feel like we ever got to know what Michael was really up to in this game, but after the third or fourth time we saw him say how safe he was, I knew it wasn't going to matter. Michael started this game as part of the young "rooster" alliance but somehow avoided the same fate as Matt and Bill. Being on the right tribe after the swap bought him some time in the game but ultimately Michael did not show the social skills to get himself into the Salani inner circle.
It was a fitting end this week for Michael to be done in Kim's deception of Troyzan. Michael was the one who stole the women's gear at the start of the game, then threw Leif under the bus to Colton and started the fight between Jonas and Tarzan on last week's show. As a lover of mischief, I just hope he can appreciate that the reason he got voted out was because Kim made up a lie about him and Tarzan believed it.
3. Not So Wise Guys - I've been rooting for Troyzan this season so this was a hard episode to watch. As a viewer the answer was simple for Jay and Troyzan. All they had to do was rally the five men together and pull in Christina to have the numerical advantage over the remaining women in the game. While Jay's slow pace eventually helped him solve the immunity challenge puzzle, he never put all the pieces together about what was really going on with the women.
For Troyzan and Jay moving forward, it's not looking too good. With only four men left in the game vs. six women, they would need to sway two of the women to defect. That is just not going to happen. The best case scenario for them is that ONE of them can be the last man standing in the game and wreak some havoc as the women alliance turns against itself. A similar scenario played out in Survivor Vanuatu for Chris Daugherty as the only man left with six women before ultimately winning the game. While the odds are certainly not looking good for either of these men, I'll paraphrase the words of Lloyd Christmas by saying, "So, I'm telling you there's a chance".
2. Getting Tarzan'd - The only man in the game who appears to be in a relatively safe situation is the one guy who is getting on everybody's nerves. The more Tarzan is ruffling feathers around the camp with his "rantics", the more people are realizing that this guy might be the greatest finals goat of all time. Just in this episode alone, Tarzan started using parts of the shelter for firewood, told Jeff Probst that he was being played and accused Chelsea of subliminally harassing him because she's unhappy with plastic surgeries. Even if Tarzan does nothing else the rest of the game, at least he has raised awareness about a problem no one else was brave enough to take a stand against: Plastic Surgeon Discrimination. Through the work of Tarzan, I'm hoping all those sad plastic surgeons will have their faces lifted.
1. My Own Worst Frenemy - So somehow Christina and Alicia voted for Tarzan. While they're probably in a better position than Troyzan, Jay or Leif - this isn't a good sign. This means that in all likelihood, Kim and the women lied to Alicia and Christina about voting Michael out. While Alicia and Christina appear safe for the time being this does not bode well for them in the long term.
It's just unfortunate that Alicia and Christina are mortal enemies in this game because they are basically in the same boat and could be a powerful combination if they could only work together. If they could just be friends, their two votes they could swing the balance of power in the game back to the men and then swing back to the women to keep moving ahead as the numbers dwindle down. Players at the bottom of the pecking order need to work together instead of trying to get the other one voted out or they'll have plenty of time to fight with each other at Ponderosa.
Do you think another player besides Kim has a realistic shot to win this game? I want to hear from you! Let me know what you think on twitter, I'm @RobCesternino