Survivor Review: Playing the Game Cool

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The core tenants of Survivor are outwit, outlast, outplay. The first two are easy. Outwit talks to the strategy of the game; creating alliances, making moves and currying jury votes. Outplay is also simple. Win immunity and you can’t go home. Stay in the game long enough and you’ll have a chance to win.

But what about outplay? What does that refer to?

Kim's Wed & Wild Challenge

Outplaying in Survivor is an aspect of the game that some of the best players have been unable to master. It’s why Russell, master of outwit and outlast, never won but Boston Rob did. Outplaying is the social aspect of Survivor and the part many struggle with.

This week on Survivor the two best players remaining in the game both struggled with the social aspect of Survivor. For Troyzan it meant his torch being snuffed. For Kim it could have meant the same.

Ever since Kim blew the lid off of her old alliance with the boys, Troyzan has been an erupting volcano. He has let his emotions of being double-crossed get the best of him and has taken every opportunity he gets to spout off.

Troyzan understood what he needed to do to get back in the game. Winning immunity challenges to start was obvious. Beyond that Troyzan needed to find a crack in the women’s alliance and then be the person that the fraction came to when they needed that swing vote.

What is disappointing is how Troyzan executed this plan.  He nailed the first part last week when he won the immunity challenge. Where he went wrong happened immediately afterward.  The instant he won the immunity challenge he needed to shut up.

Instead Troyzan used the idol to be as loud and mouthy as possible. He talked to anyone who would listen or even if they wouldn’t. He gabbed in groups and he chatted in private.  Troyzan wasn’t trying to find the crack, he was trying to bust the dam wide open.

The problem with the way he executed it is that he grated on people with his incessant chatter. Instead of being suggestive he became pestering. Whether he was right or wrong, the girls simply did not want to hear him talk anymore. Who could blame them?

This week was more of the same. After the reward challenge he correctly pointed out for all to see and hear how the women’s alliance was breaking down with Kim and Chelsea at the top and Kat and Christina at the bottom. He made a great point and the impression on Kat was unmistakable.

Instead of letting the idea sink in, letting the girls discuss it amongst themselves and having Kat come back to him looking for a vote he continued the conversation back at camp. He kept talking and badgering Kat.  So much so that she was now mad at him as much as she was mad at Kim. 

Troyzan’s inability to master the social aspect of working the crack in the women’s alliance prevented Kat from even truly considering working with him.  Ironically she agreed with his points – the she needed to make her own moves – but never thought to use him to do so because he was so annoying.

Of course, Troyzan could have easily gone home whether he played it perfectly or not. That’s the nature of the beast in Survivor sometimes. When your best chance for survival relies on the not so sharp minds of Kat and Christina (more on her later) – you’re in a tough position. 

Kim, on the other hand, nearly did herself in by picking incorrectly at the immunity challenge. She knew she made a reflective promise with Kat where one would take the other if they won. Not only did she not pick Kat, she didn’t pick her twice! 

By now everyone knows that Kat is crazy. She’s also not the sharpest knife in the drawer. That’s not a combination that will take rejection like Kim doled out well or recognize and spin job Kim puts on it, true or not. Kim needed to recognize that Kat was far more unstable than Chelsea and needed to be on the reward, regardless of how close she is with her right hand woman.

By leaving Kat at camp Kim left herself vulnerable to Kat’s emotions.  Emotions are incredibly powerful and defy reason and logic.  Chelsea is far less emotion and would have handled any perceived rejection much better.  Heck, I’m surprised the duo didn’t talk about how neither would take the other if they won the reward.

Fortunately for Kim, Troyzan did not take advantage of the blunder and is now out of the game.  Right now this is Kim’s game to lose. Who’s a threat to her?  The only person who seems to “get it” enough to get rid of Kim is Alicia. However, Alicia also seems so excited to be part of the “cool girl” click that she’d rather ride it out than make a move with someone like Christina.

Sabrina is the other challenger, but she has her own roadblocks to deal with. Where is she going to get the votes to get rid of Kim? Alicia’s not going to turn on Kim for Sabrina. That’s trading one queen for another. 

Chelsea’s not switching. She struggled turning on Jay; no way she turns on Kim. Kat is a possibility but she demonstrated what a loose cannon she is today.  Christina and Tarzan? Please, there is nothing there to work with. 

Christina’s naivety is astounding, particularly because she seems put-together and well spoken.  Your first reaction is that she’s intelligent. Maybe she is when it comes to things like standardized tests and education. Common sense? Street savvy? Ability to read people? She doesn’t have any of these things.

There have been a lot of dense players in Survivor history and Christina has to be joining that group. She seems incapable of recognizing anything that’s going on.  Sabrina essentially informs her that she’s lowest on the totem pole (lower than Tarzan, somehow) and she’s okay with it. Not only that, she tells Tarzan?  What?!?

With her only threat, Troyzan, gone and no challengers left, Kim is in a phenomenal position to win Survivor. Oh yeah, she’s got a hidden immunity idol, too. 

More from this episode:

  • Two phenomenal challenges this week. I love the “three lives” challenge as I call it and the survey challenge is even better. Any challenge that both crowns a winner and stirs the social pot is phenomenal.
  • What’s was the deal with the pig?  How did they not catch it? Also, did they really make the pig a pet?
  • Sabrina, girl, we like you. Your quotes are hilarious. Just keep them to the confessional and stop blabbing so much to other players.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

This Survivor is a microcosm of what has happened across the US, in every bureaucracy and corporation. The more masculine women lead the other women to gang-up against men and run them off.


dear jigga, OMG!! i am not threatened by those girls on TV. i live in the real world and feel in no way that i am competeing with those girls on a TV show. ridiculus!!! i was simply writing my opinion of what i believe is is a very predictable season. not for one minute did i believe any of the votes would have ever gone the other way, even if u were duped by some of the on screen conversations and clever editing. sorry, if you dont agree, but i feel the show is awful this season. survivor stinks this year--will stop watching. but your comment was funny--got some laughs from it.HAHA


So many haters!! Lucy, are you so threatened by attractive women making sound strategic moves??? Are you so daft, that you can't appreciate the skill it takes to build "immunity idol" insurance into every vote, and still come out on top? Can you honestly say that a season that saw Boston Rob easily walk to the crown surrounded by a harem of half witted chicks more entertaining? This season is more unpredictable than the last several have been - each of the last three tribal councils has had the chance that the vote would swing a different way. Just because they didn't, doesn't make it any less entertaining.


i've been a long time fan of survivor and must say i beleive i will stop watching this show after this horrible season. this has been the most predictable, boring season ever. every challenge favors the dim-witted women on the team. there is no skill to the challenges. i think i will go back to watching american idol that somehow, even with all the commercials is more entetaining. i fninally think your time has run out. you try to put greased up girls on display for ratings. you try to make the audience think that each tribal conucil will not end exactly like the audience--even the most dimwitted of us --can predict. in previous years atleast survivor was a good wgt loss strategy, but now all they do is eat, i think some even gain weight. its too bad, but horrble, horrible. actually makes me angry that i have wasted precious time watching the series up to now. shame on you jeff probst. horrible.


Very disappointed Troyzan went home!! I seriously hope that anyone from the crew of b#tc$es doesn't win! Tarzan and Christina don't deserve the million - so...go Kat, you're the last one I'm rooting for, as I can't stand the rest of the contestants! The pick of the bunch are sadly, on the jury!!

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Survivor Season 24 Episode 11 Quotes

Kat needs to be soothed. She's a hot mess right now.


We're going to have to do some damage control with our alliance.