Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 6, “Thanks for the Souvenir”
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
This season might not rank as one of Survivor’s best, but it’s definitely been one of its most unpredictable contests. Colton has dominated the screen time and game play during the first six weeks, and now he’s gone. While his vitriolic personality didn’t inspire many fans, seeing Colton leave for a medical emergency doesn’t provide a very fitting exit. Doctors suspect appendicitis during the episode, but it’s actually a bacterial infection that accomplishes what the other players were unwilling to do. Colton spends his final hours in Samoa writhing on the ground in pain while his teammates watch with mixed feelings. His exit does more than simply remove a hated player; it completely changes the entire season.
“Thanks for the Souvenir” closes with a predictable twist — it’s merge time! This move makes sense because there’s an equal number of men and women remaining. Will the groups return to their original tribes and create a deadlock? This seems unlikely, especially after seeing a possible alliance between Troyzan, Jay, and Kim form last week. After Colton’s departure, the mysterious tree mail sends both groups to Tribal Council for the surprise merge. Jeff drags out the announcement, but it’s pretty obvious that no one else is going home. Considering the 12 remaining players, it’s not clear where the season is going. Kim and Chelsea have the best position, but nothing would be shocking at this point. Followers like Jonas and Leif now must prove their mettle or risk getting wiped out by the Salani members. Tarzan continues to provide great entertainment and makes another gaffe by referring to Christina as “Katrina”. That’s closer than Jason and Jonas at least. The plastic surgeon has the potential to enjoy a Phillip Sheppard-like run to the finals. However, this group seems more likely to stick with strong alliances and vote out the outsiders, even if they’re good companions for the finals.
The first half includes painful bullying from Colton and Alicia towards Christina that makes little sense. He may claim to be a master strategist, but this behavior just alienates the rest of the tribe. Alicia refuses to give Christina enough space to sleep, and Colton enjoys taunting her for no reason. Their nastiness continues at the reward challenge, with Colton screaming at Christina to run faster. Strangely, only Tarzan has much luck hitting the targets for Manono, who lose once again. The tree mail promises a familiar backyard game, which inspires thoughts of wiffle ball or tag. Instead, the challenge involves throwing a coconut off a trampoline and hitting a target. Who played that? Salani wins a trip to a “Survivor-style” ice cream parlor, where the players eat a lot of ice cream. It’s really fascinating. Episodes without an immunity challenge include a lot of filler; the reward challenge presents a lot of misses, particularly from Alicia. She might be the worst athlete left in the game by a good margin.
Following more hatred for Christina, things get scary for Colton. Apparently the sixth episode is cursed for Survivor evacuations from the game. Mike Skupin (Australia), Jonathan Penner (Fans vs. Favorites), and Russell Swan (Samoa) all were removed during the sixth episode of their seasons. Skupin’s exit had the biggest effect and played a role in the Kucha tribe’s downfall in Australia. Because of the tribal switch, it’s not clear exactly how different this game will be without Colton. Alicia is the most likely candidate to go next, especially since Colton doesn’t give her the idol. Jeff arrives with the medical team and immediately stirs the pot by asking about the idol. Colton’s writhing in pain, but the clever host realizes he can instigate more drama. This trend continues at Tribal Council, when Jeff hints that Colton may have given the idol to a Manono member. He’s been even more active than usual this season and appears determined to play a larger role in the game. Jeff can get too involved in affecting the outcome, but he also has a keen eye for creating drama, which has led to some memorable Tribal Councils in recent years.
CBS has been touting Colton as the big villain of the season, so it’s unclear where the season will go. His behavior was abhorrent, but he’s inspired plenty of chatter among Survivor fans during the past few weeks. As a viewer, the negatives far outweigh the benefits of having Colton on the series. Without her partner in crime, Alicia won’t be able to pull the same stunts on the merged tribe. Now’s the time for apparently intelligent players like Jonas, Kim, and Troyzan to shine and keep the game interesting. Colton will certainly be back for an All-Star season in the near future, which is disappointing but understandable. In his post-game interviews, he claims to have a clear plan for 39 days, but that seems suspect. Colton focused on getting to the end but forgot that he needs friends to reach that goal. It’s going to be difficult for him to succeed in an upcoming season. That said, returning players like Boston Rob and Coach have proven that you can thrive even when you’re well-known. Colton’s ugly behavior won’t be missed, but he definitely left an indelible mark on the series for better or for worse.