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.

Never Say Die Review

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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.