Okay, we'll admit it: with Colton gone, there's not an obvious (intentional) Troll left on the show. But this is not a bad thing, by any stretch. In fact, we would argue that the show in fact becomes stronger when the social interactions are allowed to play out and explode, without time needing to be set aside for the smug, trite, overly rehearsed braggadocio of the resident confessional whore. Still, there are the duties of this weekly award to attend to, and at least we have Alicia and Tarzan.
Or, for this week at least, Tarzan, in full bellow. Why should Colton (well, and Alicia) be the only person to mean-spiritedly yell at his fellow contestants this season? Why should Colton have a monopoly on anti-Asian borderline racist antics, when Tarzan also is not particularly fond of them? Why should Jane Bright of Nicaragua be the only older person to hold bitter grudges against her castmates for no apparent reason? And even if this isn't dirt, my extensive knowledge of microbiology informs me that your objections are moot! Moot, I say!
Oh well, at least he didn't say: "The stain is afoot." Tarzan mysteriously ditched the feathers in his hair and odd leg wraps this week, but his mouth remained well decorated. Is he doing this just to guarantee a spot in the final three? Hard to say. But he does seem to be guaranteeing himself a healthy portion of the screen time (if not the coffee). So whether by design or by serendipity, the Trolly is his. But please feel free to clean it before next week. Thanks.
What with all the time taken up by a feast, two challenges, another feast, an intro, a not-very-hidden immunity idol being found without divine intervention, and Probst talking at length about balls, perhaps it was inevitable that one or two (or five) contestants got lost in the editing shuffle. But you wouldn't think that one of the two people being considered for the boot by the dominant alliance would be completely invisible, would you?
Well, when Leif's only apparent roles on the show are (1) sleeping in crates and (2) getting stuck under barriers, maybe you would. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that he was unheard from (as usual). Also absent were alleged Salani leader Sabrina (missing, apart from her reward challenge inaction), and the combatants from the previous episode, Alicia and Christina. Perhaps they spent so much time drinking merge wine and reward beer, they slept off the rest of the episode, and forgot to bicker?
We realize we're grading on a curve here (this was, after all, the same challenge Natalie Tenerelli won the first time around), but Survivor's production team finally found a challenge in which Kat did well! No puzzles, no memorization, no vocab or spelling: just standing in one place and not moving. Also... balls. Clearly, Jeff Probst is delighted that this was a feature.
To be fair, Troyzan actually won (barely). And considering that these two got the hillbilly clown soundtrack the last time they faced off (repeatedly, like Sideshow Bob ad infinite series of rakes, in the "Shut Your Trap" memory challenge a few episodes back), that matchup is, in itself, something of an achievement. Still, can it be coincidence that Kat nearly wins immunity, then Tarzan comes up with a brilliant plan to vote her off? We think not. Clearly, Tarzan's one piece of Survivor knowledge is that this award exists, and he's taken its principles (challenge threats are post-merge targets) to heart. Well played, sir. And Kat, of course.
With 12 people and overlapping old-tribe/new-tribe alliances, you might expect this episode to be chock full of strategic maneuvering. But this is Survivor: One World we're talking about. So instead of multiple layers of competing strategic masterminds jockeying for position (as we would in King's Landing), instead we have Tarzan offering to spill all the beans to Michael, a guy he's never had an alliance with. Then planning to go solo, then convincing himself that Kat is the gravest threat to his future success.
And yet, there was something of a debate among the people with actual power: Kim and Chelsea (and to a lesser extent, Troyzan and Jay). Do you keep around a well-liked, easy-going provider from an opposing alliance, or do you take him out first? And here is where Kim earned her Slitty Award this week: whereas Chelsea would vote out the irritating, abrasive Tarzan for crimes against sterility, Kim correctly saw Jonas for the threat he was. Had Jonas made it to the end while being nice to everyone, feeding them, and clawing his way up from a tribe that was down in numbers at the merge, why wouldn't people* vote for him?
(*Excluding Tarzan, of course.)
But we also should tip our hats a notch to Troyzan: He didn't really have much say over who got booted, even when it was fairly clear it was his backup alliancemate, Jonas. So he did the next best thing: he gave Jonas the heads up, and sent him off scrambling. From what was shown on the show, nobody else was aware Troyzan had done this, so he essentially stirred the pot, with no immediate repercussions. It didn't work, Jonas still got the boot. But not a bad attempt by Troyzan to keep his options open.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Jonas Otsuji