Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 9,
“Go Out with a Bang”
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
Despite the predictable outcome, this week’s episode provides a clinic on how to keep a doomed player in the dark. Jay is eerily close to figuring out his time is up, but he can’t draw the connections. It seems like Michael’s exit would have made him nervous. However, Kim and Kat sell the blind side convincingly by keeping things simple. The post-merge episodes have resembled a romantic comedy where the characters could solve their problems with some basic communication. Instead, the men appear determined to avoid the obvious truth. There’s no benefit for the top four women to keep Jay or Troyzan around. These guys are challenge threats and actually trying to win the game, so it’s logical to vote them out quickly.
Although there’s plenty of intrigue in “Go Out with a Bang”, it also includes another painful DIY reward challenge. Troyzan makes the situation even worse by hosting the action and doing a terrible Jeff Probst impression. Once again, the producers offer a reminder on Jeff’s underrated importance. Teams are randomly split into tribes and must throw bolas around numbered pegs to win that amount of points. The basic chalkboard tallying the scores only enhances the amateurish feeling of the challenge. The team of Troyzan, Jay, Alicia, Kat, and Tarzan wins easily and earns a barbecue feast away from camp. This is the second DIY challenge of the season, and both have been abysmal failures. In theory, there are possible tasks at camp that could be exciting, but throwing bolas at a stick doesn’t fit that description.
Heading into the immunity challenge, it seems clear that Jay and Troyzan are on the hot seat, but they’re still oblivious to the danger. They push for Alicia and Christina and have the mistaken impression their alliance is strong. It’s strange that they never consider allying with the bottom two girls against the power players. Christina has to know she’ll finish sixth at best, so her complacency about the situation is frustrating. Tarzan and Leif also seem content to go out seventh and eighth, barring some unseen alliances hidden by the editing. Jeff may say winning the immunity challenge gives everyone a “one in nine” shot to win a million dollars, but that’s not really true. Right now, Sabrina and Kim have much better odds than everyone else to claim the top prize. A good majority of the cast have zero chance to win, which is saying a lot with so much time remaining in the game.
The immunity challenge is familiar and has the players stand on a wooden perch with a bucket tethered to their arm. Before Jeff even finishes his spiel, Tarzan is out of the challenge. His ineptitude is awesome. The trick of this challenge is the food Jeff offers to entice the competitors to quit. Although it can provide interesting details on who feels safe, it also leads to a fairly dull challenge. Jay finally drops out for chicken wings and beer, which is not a wise move. Most players quit for the food, and Leif and Chelsea are the only two remaining. She tells him that stepping off will actually improve his chances going forward, which makes little sense. When her offer is combined with burgers, chips, and beers, it’s too much for Leif to resist. He seems like a nice guy who’s liked by everyone and even gives a burger to Chelsea. Once Troyzan is gone, Leif’s genuine nature will paint a big target on his back. An interesting part of Chelsea’s win is Kim’s confessional afterwards, where she reveals a clever strategy to let her ally seem like a bigger threat. Working behind the scenes is paying major dividends and could pave the way for her victory.
Prior to Tribal Council, Troyzan finally realizes his position might be in jeopardy. The girls’ excitement at his loss raises red flags, and their behavior only exacerbates the situation. He finally reveals the immunity idol to Jay, which is a mistake since his buddy gives Kim this information. This poor tactic from Jay accomplishes two things: it dooms Jay’s chances and renders Troyzan’s idol useless. If he would have slyly contacted Leif and Tarzan, he might have been able to blindside Kim. Instead, it neutralizes the idol and sends Jay packing. The strange part is the actual votes, which reveal some key points about the current status of a few players. Tarzan votes for Jay, which indicates that he’s firmly in the women’s camp. On the other hand, Leif writes down Alicia’s name and appears outside of the alliance. Regardless, the vote reveals that Troyzan is likely the next to go unless he wins immunity.
This season has many similarities with the ninth season Survivor Vanuatu, which also began with men versus women. In that case, the physically strong guys were booted early, and a dominant female alliance took control in the middle when the tribes merged. Chris Daugherty eventually won that game after being the last man standing with six women remaining. The comparisons are interesting because the women at the bottom of that alliance (Twila, Scout and Eliza) flipped on the leaders and took control. If Christina and Alicia are smart, they will attempt a similar move in the near future. With nine players remaining and Troyzan facing a desperate battle, next week may be their last chance. If they can convince Leif and Tarzan to join, that group of five could take over the game. This prospect seems unlikely for two reasons, however. Alicia seems content to ride with her original alliance into the final five, and Tarzan isn’t playing the game. Without this type of bold move, the next few episodes could be very predictable. Jay’s exit has opened up Troyzan’s eyes, but the others seem comfortable with calmly exiting the stage.