Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 13, “It’s Human Nature”
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
In game theory, there’s a plan of attack known as a secure strategy where the player chooses the least-worst option. The approach focuses on avoiding risks and protecting against the worst-case scenario. Extending this concept to Survivor, contestants frequently go into the game with the sole purpose of staying on the island. They aren’t working to gain control or garner jury votes and just want to keep playing for as long as possible. While it’s often effective for sticking around, this plan usually doesn’t lead to the ultimate success. This season’s definitive example is Christina, who’s been on the edges of her tribe since the first episode. When the other players exit, they consistently deride the fact that she remains while they’ve been kicked off the island. Opportunities have appeared for her to change the game, but Christina feels comfortable heading towards the end with no chance of winning the million.
Tarzan has also employed a secure strategy, but he’s added an extra layer to stay out of the firing line. He’s been willing to join the dominant alliance and vote out whomever they choose, and he’s combined it with outlandish behavior. On the Redemption Island season, Phillip Shepard showed that acting crazy is a solid route to get to the end. Tarzan has found success this way, and he’s truly pushing the limits this week. He wears Kat’s tank top to Tribal Council and even puts her underwear on his head. He also randomly yells “bitch” at Alicia after she wins the immunity challenge. It’s obvious that acting ridiculous isn’t much of a stretch for Tarzan. He seems like the perfect goat to bring to the final Tribal Council, and Kim is ready to consider this option. The problem is his connection to the guys on a bitter jury, who might award him the million to spite the girls running the show. This concern becomes Tarzan’s undoing and sends the oddball character out of the game.
This week’s reward challenge has players spinning in circles to collect disks that decode a series of numbers. The outcome is pretty random and involves throwing the numbers together until the right combination appears. Chelsea wins and gets the dreadful chance to pick two others to join her for an overnight stay on a yacht. She wisely picks Sabrina because she hasn’t earned many rewards and then takes Kim because it’s the law. It’s surprising that Kim isn’t gaining weight after eating all the giant meals. Back at camp, the unlikely trio of Alicia, Tarzan, and Christina decide they’re ready to make a move and go after Chelsea if she loses immunity. If they can sway Kim to their side, this plan may be secure. On the yacht, however, the leading trio re-affirms their alliance and prepares to make the final push towards the end.
After a pretty dull reward challenge, the producers decide they want to aim even lower with the immunity challenge. With an arm tied behind their back, players must hook three bags and untie them to access pieces of a fish skeleton. Everyone has a chance this time (even Tarzan), and Alicia pulls out the victory over Kim. The only importance of this contest is the fact that Chelsea doesn’t win, and that result doesn’t play a big role in the end. This challenge seems random and designed specifically to benefit the players that aren’t as physically strong. That approach is fine if the task is interesting, but putting together a fish skeleton doesn’t qualify.
Tribal Council focuses almost on Tarzan, which hints that he might headed for the exits. Watching him try to explain microbes and his reasons for wearing Kat’s underwear is too ridiculous to describe. Several moments reveal that this jury might be extremely bitter. Kat mutters “bitches” at one point and seems really proud when Chelsea gets the first vote. Always looking to be the character, Tarzan gives one last speech, which earns him a middle finger from Michael. Jonas seems like the only person who’s actually enjoying Tribal Council. Everyone else has stone faces of pure hatred. This may explain why getting rid of Tarzan is the best move. An angry jury is more likely to reward the crazy guy than the people who actually outwitted them. Kim still is the favorite heading into Sunday’s finale, with Sabrina and Chelsea being the most likely candidates to pull the upset. Alicia should at least bring drama before leaving, while Christina remains on the outskirts. Her secure strategy may have gotten her to the finale, but any chances of victory drifted away a long time ago.