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Survivor: One World, Ep. 24.04, “Bum-Puzzled”: Let’s all get stupid!

Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 4, “Bum Puzzled”
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS

During every Survivor season, there are a few moves that defy logic, but the latest episode presents a new low point of epic futility. By voluntarily choosing to head to Tribal Council after winning immunity, the men’s tribe stretches the boundaries of stupidity. This baffling act could make sense in the right situation, but here it only serves the whims of an arrogant bully. The stunning Tribal Council reveals the depths of Colton’s hatred for Bill and why he ranks among the most despicable players in Survivor history. While the conflict makes for great television, it also reveals horrible game play from the entire tribe. The beneficiaries are the women, who struggle in the immunity challenge but come out unscathed.

The men’s decision functions similar to throwing an immunity challenge. Giving up immunity is never a good idea, even if a player deserves to go home. By waiting until they’re forced to vote out Bill, each guy would buy himself a free pass further into the game. In previous cases, the evicted player was either considered physically weak (Billy Garcia) or too dangerous by reputation (Russell Hantz). Those were also flawed moves, but there was some reasoning behind them. This time, one player pushed six guys into voting for Bill. Colton has an immunity idol, but that makes him a perfect target, not a serious threat. He feels comfortable, so the guys can easily take him out. It’s obvious from Colton’s behavior that he doesn’t care about tribal loyalty and is just settling a personal score. This was the perfect opportunity to blindside him, but instead they’re treating him like Boston Rob and acting like doormats. Another factor is their stated reason for going to Tribal Council, which is to vote out Leif for giving away their plans to Bill. That was apparently a smokescreen, but the deception seems unnecessary with such a unified vote.

It’s clear from the start that Bill doesn’t realize the depths of Colton’s hatred. How could he suspect it? Following the immunity challenge, Bill tries to have an adult conversation with Colton that goes nowhere. What’s stunning is how the other players react to this conflict. Instead of realizing that Colton is the problem, they go in the opposite direction and target Bill. At Tribal Council, Bill takes the high road and never attacks Colton personally, despite abhorrent comments in return. When pressed by Jeff to explain his past contact with African-Americans, Colton’s lone example is his housekeeper. Although race definitely plays a role, his issues with Bill relate more to the fact that he’s poor and a struggling stand-up comic. It’s rare to witness such blatant contempt, even on a show like Survivor. Colton is a young guy with extremely limited life experiences, but it doesn’t excuse his terrible behavior. Bill’s “Are you out of your mind?” response is perfect, and he comes off like a champ despite the early exit. Adding to the excitement is a goofball rant from Tarzan complaining that people shouldn’t talk about racism because we have a black president. It’s wise to just move on and not dig too deep into this ridiculous notion.

“Bum-Puzzled” begins in standard fashion with more bickering between the men and women over the use of the net. When the inevitable tribal swap happens, it’s going to be interesting to see how the new groups work together. The reward challenge involves shooting a coconut sling shot at targets on a massive bingo-like board. The first tribe to knock out five targets in a row wins, and the women take the win fairly easily. The prize is the choice between blankets, a tarp, or donuts and coffee. While the food is tempting, they make the right choice and pick the tarp. Given the nasty rains of Samoa, that’s a necessity for anyone looking to retain their sanity.

The tree mail for the immunity challenge mentions puzzles and pairs, which inspires Kat to remind everyone that she’s dumb and should pair up with a smart player. The craziness starts when Alicia assumes that she belongs in this category. When Kat disagrees, the show’s least pleasant player not named Colton throws a fit and acts ridiculous. Predictably, this arrogance comes back to haunt Alicia when she fails miserably at a puzzle during the immunity challenge. The editors know what they’re doing and perfectly telegraph her problems. After the women lose, the likely bootee is Alicia or Christina, but that’s before all hell breaks loose. Their puzzled reactions to the guys’ move are priceless. When even Kat knows that it’s a mistake, it might signify that it’s not the right choice.

Survivor: One World is definitely taking the prize for both stupidity and nasty behavior. Jeff even gets in on the act with a condescending lecture to the women after their immunity challenge loss. Predictably, the men did not receive a similar address after losing earlier. Colton seems destined to stick around for a while, but he’s playing a short-term game and placing a major target on his back. The interesting part is that he seems to believe people will love his villainous ways and treat him like Russell Hantz. Colton’s behavior is actually worse, and he’s way too smug to be an enjoyable character. It seems unlikely that anyone will put up a “Colton got screwed” website like Russell’s after his inevitable loss. Next week’s previews seem to promise a tribal swap, which will throw his game in even more disarray. Despite the terrible game play, this season has been very enjoyable and continues to surprise. The cast is not the sharpest group, but their lack of Survivor knowledge is creating plenty of memorable moments. It might be hard to top this week, but it’s always possible from this band of novices.

Dan Heaton


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