Survivor: One World Recap
Just Annihilate Them
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 15, 2012

I'm totally secure here!

Previously on Survivor, Kat said something stupid, Alicia said something vile, Tarzan acted weird and Jonas was voted out. Okay, we are generalizing about everything except for the Jonas vote. The rest of it is a summary of the entire season to date, not counting whatshisname, the bigot who suffered appendix karma.

Survivor isn't having a bad season, per se. This has become the standard for the show. The stronger players are voted out for having the audacity to lack crippling personality flaws. By the end, the remaining players are oftentimes the bottom of the barrel with one standing out for being slightly less offensive than the rest. This is not new behavior for the show, going all the way back to Survivor: Marquesas, the fourth season.

After a tactician (Richard "What are taxes?" Hatch) emerged victorious in season one, a willful maternal figure (Tina Wesson) outlasted an athletic marvel (Colby Donaldson) in season two and a renaissance player (Ethan Zohn) dominated season three, the best players in season four - including Boston Rob - were all eliminated. Vecepia neither outwitted nor outplayed anyone else yet she did outlast the other participants, making her the first of several subpar winners. Jud Birza (you know him as Fabio), Todd Herzog, Chris Daugherty and Brian Heidik are clearly the five worst winners in the show's history.

Survivor: One World is heading in the direction of having a winner equal to these frauds. Then again, we felt the same way last season, yet eventual winner Sophie Clarke is someone we would group in the top half of Survivor champions. If that is to happen this season, Kim and Sabrina are the best bets. Jay is the best of the men. Unfortunately, that is like being the most competent of the Three Stooges. Like Monica before him, Jay has the fates against him as he has been on the outside looking in with every power alliance thus far. He was last one out on the alpha males, the final player to join the misfits and then picked a feud with Mr. Irrational, Tarzan. Jay isn't long for this game and when he goes, that leaves Troyzan or maybe Michael as the best remaining male player. In other words, a woman is going to win Survivor this season.

As an aside, here is an interesting question. If you were trapped on a desert island and could only choose Tarzan, Kat or Alicia as your sole companion, who would you select? You're mentally thinking Wilson the volleyball, right?

The episode begins with Troyzan and Jay discussing the way that they “got stuck” with Mike, which does not bode well for one of the two remaining alpha males. In fact, the table is set for Michael and Jay to be the next two people voted out, with Troyzan interchangeable in the trio. Remember that competence is not an asset in Survivor this season – at least not for the men. Troyzan says that he hopes they didn’t make a mistake in aligning themselves with the women of the new Salani tribe. Spoilers: You did. It was stupid. What the hell were you thinking?

Now is the time for the 7Up-sponsored portion of the episode, sponsored by 7Up. The Survivors read a letter that details a 7Up challenge with a 7Up reward. The Survivors are mainly happy because they don’t have to sit through Jack & Jill or Gulliver’s Travels. Jay receives the honor of describing the drink as the un-cola, totally of his own will, we’re certain. 7Up is mentioned more in the five minutes of this episode than we’ve heard about it in our entire lives up to this minute.

Probst is here to tell us more about the awesomeness of 7Up, and also the challenge that goes with it. He even lets them have a little taste before the Reward Challenge begins. Yes, some poor sucker gets Tarzan’s backwash.

They are divided into two tribes, with Jay, Alicia, Troyzan, Kat and Chelsea going up against Michael, Kim, Leif, Sabrina and Christina. Tarzan is not selected for a team, so he gets to sit out. Each contestant must slide down a water slide onto the sand, where they will then run out into the ocean to retrieve some giant cubes. As more members come down the slide, there are more people to carry the cubes. Once they are all retrieved, they will need to solve a puzzle (of course).

The challenge is neck and neck the whole time, though the Jay team gets out to a quick lead. It gets a little worse at the end when Christina leaves her group behind as they try to get the final box out of the water and to the platform. This allows the other team to have a bit of an advantage going into the puzzle portion of the game. Her teammates are clearly annoyed with her over this behavior.

Even so, Christina is the main reason that they are able to solve the puzzle ahead of the other team. For Leif, this is a big moment. It’s the first time he’s won a reward, and he can’t stop going on about how excited he is. This causes Chelsea and some other members of the losing team to mumble horrible things about him under their breath. There may have been some curse words involved.

The winners go to their 7Up Oasis, and they cook up some delicious-looking burgers, hot dogs and steak on the grill. They also have stuff like potato chips, potato salad, pretzels and key lime pie. It really is an amazing looking feast.

The group pauses a moment to pray before their meal, and we have to say that this feels so starkly in contrast to all those false moments of praise from Coach last season that it stands out unmistakably. This blessing is genuine, and every single person sitting around the table seems to be taking it seriously.

After they eat, Sabrina and Kim take a moment to talk strategy. They decide that the two of them plus Chelsea should be the final three, with Sabrina adding that she’ll be pissed if Michael reaches the end. We could stop right now without watching the rest of the episode and be pretty certain that unless he wins immunity, Michael is going to be voted out. He’s competent and he’s strong, and although he’s not the most personable guy in the world, he’s a big threat. His winning immunity would actually be pretty bad news for Jay – or Troyzan, if they find out he has the hidden Immunity Idol.

There is a consensus among the women that girls vs. boys should definitely be in play. To further their cause, Kim says that she will approach Troyzan and tell him that Michael has started suggesting that Troyzan should be the next person voted out. There’s no truth to this statement, but it might play into some of Troyzan’s insecurities.

Back at camp, the losers are discussing who should be next to go, and although Troyzan and Jay think Christina is the best option, they are quickly shot down by Kat, who points out that Christina is no threat, and that Michael should be the next target. Needless to say, this alarms Jay some, as he’s realized that the women’s numbers advantage has become a problem. He totally recognizes that the situation is precarious for both him and his penis-y friends, and he even tries to point out to Troyzan that they should be concerned.

Jay’s problem throughout this season of Survivor has been the fact that he can totally see what’s coming, but he can’t rally anyone around him to do anything about it. He’s always aligned with the worst possible set of teammates because he just doesn’t have any better options.

You’ll never guess what the winning group brings the losing group. Mountain Dew! No, wait. It’s a lesser beverage. And we’re tired of talking about it.

And now it’s that time in Survivor when Tarzan annoys the crap out of everyone. In order to guarantee he makes the final vote, he has developed the Philip tactic of alienating everyone. This time, he strips a support piece of their shelter to use as firewood. When challenged, he denies having done so, which irks Chelsea to no end. There seems to be a rift between the power alliance. Kim, Sabrina and Kat feel like he’s useful and almost surely believe he’s beatable at a final tribal council. Chelsea, on the other hand, wants him gone yesterday. Unfortunately, her voice just isn’t being heard within that core group of women.

“It seems that Chelsea has been sort of, uh, subliminally harassing me.” – Tarzan

Some medical school is denying they gave him a degree. He’s too weird for Nip/Tuck.

Tarzan approaches Chelsea, and says, “I sense an aggravation with me. And I don’t know if it’s because you’ve had surgery, and I’m a plastic surgeon, and you don’t like your plastic surgeon, or something. But you’ve been negative towards me since I’ve come into contact with you.”

“I can’t believe he’s talking about my boob job.” --Chelsea

Unfortunately, despite the fact that she can’t stand him for non-boob related reasons, she sees him as no threat and everybody else wants him as a patsy at the final vote.

Kim goes and works some voodoo on Troyzan, telling him that Michael has suggested that Troy should be next to go. She’s feeding his long-standing insecurities that have existed from the first day in the game, and she does so masterfully. Troyzan gets very upset and talks about how much he hates Mike and thinks he’s a lazy idiot. Thus, the seeds have been planted, and even though the story is fabricated, Kim has done a remarkable job of finding Troyzan’s weak spot and subtly attacked it.

It’s time for another Probst sighting, and today’s Immunity Challenge will have the Survivors manipulate a ladder bridge while unwinding a rope. If anyone falls off, they will have to go back to the beginning. The first four to reach the end will move on to the puzzle portion.

Jay is first to finish, followed by Kim, Troyzan and Alicia (what!?). The puzzle is very complex and challenging, with 60 pieces. There are a lot of angles and it’s easy to put the wrong piece in a spot. Jay is struggling, while Kim and Troyzan seem to be figuring things out. Alicia even gets close. Still, even the typically meticulous Kim winds up with a piece sticking out. In the meantime, Jay has been methodical in his process, and is likewise down to his final piece. At first, it looks like he’s got the wrong one, but then he realizes all he needs to do is shove harder, and he’s won immunity. Let this be an important lesson, men. Always shove harder.

We don’t think Jay was in any danger for the next Tribal Council, but we do think it’s a good idea for him to win Immunity as much as possible moving forward.

And now it’s time to play “It’s Anyone But Michael.” Kind of. Mike isn’t popular and he hasn’t been a factor for a while. The editing attempts to make it seem like Christina could be going home; however, anyone who is familiar with the concept of “math” knows that this game is going to the women now. Michael is gone and the producers don't make much of an effort to conceal his inevitable fate.

When Jay approaches Chelsea to ask what the plan is for the evening, and he quickly ascertains that Michael is the target. He also figures out that with Michael gone, he’s the next target. Chelsea’s reply is the worst one possible. “That’s not necessarily true.” Needless to say, this gives Jay no comfort, because it’s not a denial. Jay asks the other girls if they have anything else to say, and they all just sit there in silence. This is probably the first time in handsome Jay's life that women don't want to talk to him.

When Kim finds out about the other women's miscue, she realizes she needs to do some damage control. She approaches Michael and Jay, who have gone off together, and tells them that Christina is the obvious choice for tonight’s vote. Jay reiterates that the vibe he’s getting is not good. His instincts are getting him in trouble, because Kim is seeing that he can see through her machinations/deceitfulness. Unlike Troyzan, he instinctively knows not to work against his best interest. This once again paints a target on Jay's back. He is the only man providing resistance.

Note that if Mike, Jay and Troyzan were talking here, they could get something going that would help their cause. Because of the interpersonal dynamic that has been allowed to fester amongst the men, there is no chance of this happening. They’ve destroyed themselves from the inside out.

At Tribal Council, Probst queries the group to discover which of them is worried about being eliminated that night. We expect Mike and Christina to raise their hands, along with several others, since you’re never really safe on Survivor. To our complete shock, no one raises their hand. The worst mistake in the game of Survivor is to be too trusting. Michael and Christine are definitely guilty of this, and arguably even Troyzan and Jay.

Moments after Mike states with confidence that his alliance is strong, he is voted out with seven out of eleven possible votes. Christina and Tarzan are the other two players who receive a pair of votes each. Michael’s worst mistake was ignoring the sorts of players who’ve been voted off thus far this season. He should have been desperate to survive, but was instead passive.