Survivor: One World Recap
The Beauty in a Merge
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 2, 2012

I can't believe these people are beating me.

Previously on Survivor, Colton discovered that Karma gravitates straight toward a bitchy temptress. After displaying some of the vilest behavior on the show this side of Russell Hantz, Colton came down with a case of appendicitis and had to be evacuated for surgery, thus removing him from the game. In interviews and on Twitter, Colton has said people just don’t get his sense of humor, and we have to say that if the unaired footage of him pulling down on his eyes to make fun of Christina’s Asian ethnicity is a sampling of this sort of “humor,” we’re guessing few people “get it.”

With Colton gone, the show can finally move forward with fewer obnoxious characters (yes, Alicia and Tarzan are still on the island, unfortunately). We did get a bit of a surprise at Tribal Council as both tribes attended, no one was voted off due to the Colton evacuation, and Jeff Probst informed the Survivors that they are now merged. This creates a very interesting dynamic, as the split is equal both in terms of men vs. women as well as New Manono vs. New Salani. Smart players have some options here, and it’s just a question of which direction they go.

The new merged tribe returns to camp to find the traditional feast, which is of course designed to get them happy and drunk. Alicia ponders how she’ll move forward in the game, and basically proves to us that she has no plan at all. Basically, she looks poised to follow in Colton’s footsteps of just targeting whomever she hates (and she and Colton both hated Christina). The difference between Alicia and Colton, however, is that she has no inexplicable ability to make people do things that are specifically counterintuitive to their best interest. Thus, we’re guessing that Alicia’s opinion matters very little to anyone still playing the game at this point.

When the tribe discusses its new name, Troyzan makes a unilateral decision that it will be Tikiano. He tells his tribemates that “tiki” means God (we suspect he is a God of Running Backs) and that “ano” means year. Everyone seems to be down with this choice, mainly because they all prefer to do as little thinking as possible.

Jonas makes breakfast for the group, and they’re all pretty excited that he seems to be able to infuse the food with unexpected flavor. Hey, if he doesn’t make it on Survivor, maybe he can go on Top Chef.

Some of the former Salani are having the remaining coffee that came from winning a previous Reward Challenge, and Tarzan approaches them and says he’ll just take one scoop. Jay patiently tells him that the coffee is for the people who won it in the Reward Challenge, to which Tarzan replies, “I won it.” Or maybe he says, “I want it.” Anyway, he eventually figures out what Jay is talking about (maybe) and backs off.

Jay is one of the more likable people on the show this season, and he is certainly not thrilled to be living with Tarzan again. He had just gotten away from some of the idiots he had to throw in with on the men’s tribe, and here they are back in his life. He is in a bit of a tough spot, as his position with his “new” group is precarious since the majority of them are women. We know already that Kim and Chelsea are keeping their options open as to whether they stick with the New Salani alliance or go back to the women. Jay should play this very carefully.

Meanwhile, Tarzan had been hoping that the guys would be strong against the women, but quickly realizes that strategy is out the window. Mike and Jay, who were never really thrilled about being part of an alliance with Colton, Tarzan, Jonas and Leif in the first place, are obviously solid with the more beautiful people, including Troyzan, Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina and Kat.

Tarzan tries to get Mike to join forces with him again, and Mike tells him, “Sure, I’ll do that, no problem.” This is a smart approach, because it gets Tarzan to shut up.

Probst sighting!

Today’s reward challenge splits the Survivors into two groups. Winners will get pizza and beer, along with a special note. The first group includes Jay, Alicia, Chelsea, Sabrina, Christina and Troyzan. Group Two is made up of Tarzan, Leif, Kim, Mike, Jonas and Kat.

The challenge requires them to dig under a barrier, and once they get under it, they will crawl under another obstacle and then run to dig up a bag of puzzle pieces. One tribe sends its biggest and strongest member (Jay) while the other tribe sends out their smallest member (Leif). Jay is through the barrier in a flash, and has cleared the way easily for his other tribe members. This allows them to get out to a pretty heavy-duty lead, but then Sabrina gets stuck and then has trouble finding her puzzle bag, allowing the other group to make up time. Mike gets his group even and both “tribes” start working on solving the puzzle at the same time.

On one side, we have Jonas and… Tarzan? What the hell? The other tribe uses Troyzan and Christina for the puzzle portion of the task. And it’s true that Jonas is effectively trying to solve this thing on his own. At one point, he says to Tarzan, “Feel free to start working.”

Even though he’s more or less on his own, Jonas gets his tribe a bit of a lead, but it soon evaporates since Jonas is not only having to try to solve the puzzle, he’s also having to listen to Tarzan justifying his existence. Troyzan and Christina are able to focus and it is this focus that gets them and their temporary tribe the victory.

Troyzan pounds the table and says, “This is my island.” Hmm.

The pizza and beer are consumed, and the group shares the secret note amongst themselves. It reveals that one more Immunity Idol is hidden back at camp. Chelsea immediately notes that they need to keep this secret between just them. She’s worried that someone from the New Manono tribe might find the idol, which she says would be her “biggest nightmare.” Interestingly enough, this might be revealing precisely how she and Kim are planning to play the game.

Back with the losers, Jonas approaches Mike and suggests that they start planning for whom to eject next, and Mike says that he’s surprised that Tarzan didn’t tell him that the guys were six strong plus Alicia (Tarzan is funny, but not funny ha ha). Jonas becomes concerned at this turn of events, particularly because he and Tarzan had supposedly been in an alliance up to this point. Mike says, “You might want to ask him about that later on.”

Jonas goes to Tarzan and asks him what the hell he was thinking, telling the least reliable guy on the tribe about their plans. Tarzan says, “No, we need six guys, so I had to go to him.” Jonas (correctly) points out that it’s probable that Mike is playing both sides, so this was a boneheaded thing to do.

This conversation quickly devolves into a war of words, involving mostly a lot of cussing and anger. Tarzan is irrational as hell, but by the same token, Jonas is finally feeling the fallout from having aligned with such unreliable, erratic people as Colton, Tarzan and Alica. Tarzan tells Jonas that he is quitting their alliance and going out on his own.

Mike relishes in the chaos he has just created.

In a confessional aside, Tarzan tells us how much he hates Jonas. Disturbingly, we have to look at him in his filthy banana hammock bathing suit. Seriously, people. You can’t vote this guy out fast enough for our liking. (Though Alicia would be nice, too.)

Troyzan is up very early in the morning – way earlier than everyone else. It seems they all sleep in, but he’s up at the crack of dawn. He decides this is a good opportunity to look for the Immunity Idol. And despite the fact that we’ve been promised these things will be harder to find, it takes him all of five minutes to find it. Like so many others who find these idols, he immediately lets the power go to his head, but we think that was happening anyway. The thing is, he’s not really wrong. Troyzan is in a pretty good position, as the tribal change-up that moved him to Salani helped to extricate him from the Misfits Alliance. He also seems to be generally well liked. On the other hand, people may start perceiving his strengths to be a good reason to vote him out.

Probst Sighting: The Revenge!

With today’s Immunity Challenge, tribal immunity is out the window. Only one person will be immune from the vote this weekend. Survivors must perch on a small log while holding a round disc. They’ll try to balance balls on the disc for specified amounts of time. The last person to remain standing, holding all of their balls, wins the challenge. It’s a windy day, which will add a certain level of difficulty.

Tarzan lasts about 20 seconds. He is really awful at every facet of this game.

When they add a second ball, Christina is knocked out, followed almost immediately by Michael. Chelsea and Kim are the next to be eliminated.

Now, the competitors add a third ball to the mix. Alicia falls right away. Then, Jay loses his balance. We go down to four contestants as Jonas sees his balls fall off (huh huh). Sabrina and Leif are next to go. That leaves us with two people – Troyzan and Kat. Both of them seem pretty steady until Troyzan gets a bit shaky. He regains his composure, though, even if he remains slightly wobbly on his log. All of a sudden, Cat loses her balance, and steps off her log. Troyzan is the now the proud owner of two Immunity necklaces (though one of them is secret).

Troyzan is obviously super excited about this turn of events, and comments that he wants to stick with his old Salani tribe. Why? We have no idea.

Chelsea reinforces the notion that she plans to stay allied with the New Salani group by discussing strategy with Jay. She’s very focused on picking off the members of Manono one by one rather than considering a girls’ alliance. Honestly, they can even get rid of Christina and the most obnoxious girl in Alicia by taking this course, and at that point, they can shift to a girls’ alliance if they want to. The “New Salani” tribe seems to be a pretty tight bunch, if you exclude Troyzan, who may be playing both sides anyway.

Jay wants to get rid of Jonas, a strong member of the Manono group, and Chelsea is on board. They actually all hate even considering him, because he’s a great cook, a great worker, and he’s actually fun to be around. Getting rid of him obviously comes with some opportunity cost, but the honest evaluation is that he may be the only strong member of Manono. Once he’s gone, they can just kind of evaluate their targets based on who doesn’t win immunity.

After this conversation, Alicia slithers her way over to Kim, who tells her former ally of the plan to eliminate Jonas. Troyzan, on the other hand, doesn’t really think Jonas is the best choice, so he goes to Jonas and tells him his head is on the block. Naturally, this makes Jonas totally freak out. He apologizes to Tarzan, which makes the plastic surgeon cry. Really. Jonas and Tarzan are back together again, and their small group (including Troyzan?) agrees to vote for Kat.

Now it’s time for the nasty, gross portion of the show. Chelsea and some of the other women are boiling some laundry in some water, and Tarzan wants to slip his banana hammock in the mix. Now, not only has this piece of “clothing” been hanging out near his nether region, but it’s also got a dark stain on the back. He swears that the discoloring is not caused by poop, but…just…ew. We don’t want to talk about it anymore. When we say that Tarzan is way weirder than Federal Agent Philip, you’ll understand the intensity of his strangeness.

“Trust me, I know all about microbiology,” Tarzan says. Chelsea replies “I’m going to go puke. I’ll be right back.”

Now, Tarzan’s crazy has helped to put a target on his back. Chelsea argues to take out dead weight rather than eliminate Jonas, who is useful. Jay argues that once you’ve set a plan in place, you should stick with it. If you deviate, all hell can break loose and you may regret your decision. Both of them have a point, really.

At Tribal Council, and Jonas quickly takes his opportunity to point out that people may be thinking too far ahead with regard to their strategy. Sure, you need to think about who you want to be going up against in the final, but right now you have to be more practical. He points out that no one should want to face Mike in Immunity Challenges, and Mike (correctly) points out that he didn’t do that well in the challenge today. Jonas addresses the group and says that he will be voting for Mike tonight.

This pisses Tarzan off, who says he really disrespects what Jonas just did (i.e. try to stay in the game). He says that Jonas isn’t in any danger of going home, so he shouldn’t be throwing Mike under the bus. Jonas replies that “despite [Tarzan’s] brilliant plan, “ they don’t have the numbers to vote out Kat. (Tarzan is not good at math. It is known.)

Tarzan claims Jonas is lying about Kat. Jonas has been undermining him since day one, Tarzan says, and for this reason he is going to go write Jonas’s name down.

Chelsea notes that in Jonas’s defense, a lot more people have had problems with Jonas than Tarzan. Everyone nods in agreement.

Tarzan says it’s true that he may not be as likable as Jonas, but that’s just because he is awkward outside his environment. (Suuuuuure.) Probst asks him what his environment is, and Tarzan answers that he’s only comfortable in a hospital operating room, where he does great. (Suuuuuuure.) He admits that when people don’t agree with his ideas, he gets irritated.

We go to the vote. Based on discussions up to now, it does look like Jonas is gone, but under protest from some. Jonas stays true to his word and votes for Mike. One person joins him. The rest of the tribe writes down Jonas’s name.

Jonas tries to shake Tarzan’s hand and say no hard feelings. “Hard feelings to you,” replies Tarzan. He’s so weird. The chef also parts with some sour grapes toward the rest of the group as he says, “Good luck with that food situation.” Since most everyone liked him, this was kind of petty.

Next week’s preview makes it appear as though we’re going straight back to guys vs. girls, but you know how that goes. People get twitchy after the merge, and this season is no exception. They held strong to their plan today, but people like Troyzan and Jay can make themselves the target if they try to control the game too much.