7:03pm PT by Daniel Fienberg
'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' Offers Idol Panic and Deflated Egos in 'The Circle of Life'
[This article contains spoilers for the Wednesday, March 2 episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, titled "The Circle of Life."]
It's a mark of a promising Survivor installment when the season's third episode is easily the least entertaining to date, but it still includes two discovered idols and a satisfying and fairly well-earned tribal council blindside.
Titled "the Circle of Life," Wednesday's episode lacked the high drama of Jenny's earworm or then Jenny's subsequent tribal council self-immolation, but if you're a fan of mindless hubris and punctured egos, especially from a tribe priding itself on intellect...
Actually, if you're a fan of those things, you probably wanted Peter going home in this episode.
Although Aubry was wildly over-criticizing Peter in calling him a "bully" -- let's save that pejorative for actually abusive people, not just a doctor with a God Complex -- there's no doubt that the blindside that would have left viewers roaring in approval would have been the Barak Obama semi-lookalike. Like when he was pretending everybody was moving in lock-step behind his and Liz's lead, that was one thing, but when he started talking about how he and Liz were both brilliant and beautiful? That was setting him up for a fall. And then his utterly contemptuous behavior toward Neil -- "Well, it's not your plan" -- theoretically should have sealed his fate, except that no matter how put upon Aubry was feeling by Peter's pressure, Debbie's proving herself to be a smart cookie.
Even if you suspect a tribal shuffle could happen at any time -- if not 5-5-5 next week, maybe 7-7 the following week, depending on evacuations, apparently? -- in a pre-merge game with a tribe like Brains, you can't sacrifice your physically strongest player just because he has a Trumpian sense of self-worth. Even if Aubry didn't understand that, Debbie did and I also like Debbie orchestrating a 2-2-2 tie for added drama and added insult-to-injury for debunked power couple Liz and Peter. I feel like Debbie is going to need a better alliance to make a long run in the game, but this week's episode saw me go from finding her annoying to respecting her approach, especially her approach as tailored to her specific tribe.
Let's get to this week's Bottom Lines...
Bottom Line, I. Liz wasn't contributing much and the obviousness of her scheming with Peter made it really unimpressive. I'm still not sure I can tell Liz apart from Anna, so now there's only Anna and that makes life easier. Sorry, Liz. At least she won't need to worry about the parasites and pathogens in the water anymore.
Bottom Line, II. Lots of idol business this week. Tai successfully completed his three-week idol journey, which had included blood, sweat and distrust from his fellow Beauty castaways. He also discovered the season's Super Idol twist, that if anybody gets two hidden immunity idols, they form like Voltron into an idol that can be played after the votes are read which is, of course, a mighty powerful idol. Players don't often end up with multiple idols on Survivor, but it happens frequently enough to be plausible. It should probably just be called the James Idol since he is, if memory serves, the only player ever voted out with two idols in his pocket. Beauty also had the nice moment with the killing of the chicken and Tai's contagious existential sadness, which was linked to the discovery that Nick is a robot, causing Anna to recruit Caleb to join the girls to potentially vote Nick out next opportunity.
Bottom Line, III. And over at Brawn, they had an amusing bit of group idol chaos. Alecia found the first clue, completely by accident and told Cydney. Cydney then found the idol lockbox and told Scot and Jason. Jason found the clue to the key and Scot, with his height, was able to retrieve the key. Jason ended up with the idol. I'd feel sorry for Alecia if Alecia had found the clue as part of a lengthy search process. She did not. Brawn didn't do much else other than the girl who confuses "ember" and "embryo" saying that Scot's claim that he wrote her name down to avoid going against his word to Jenny was "The stupidest thing I ever heard."
Bottom Line, IV. It was another very involved challenge and another challenge that felt weighted, pun intended, toward Brawn and Beauty, since it was puzzle-free and required a lot of heavy lifting. At least Brawn avoided a continued decimation by edging out Brains by mere seconds. Beauty keeps rolling and they chose comfort over "emotional items" as their prize. It was strange to even bother with that as a reward choice. Seven days into a season, who's going to take a teddy bear or a letter over things of immediate and tangible value?
Bottom Line, V. The line of the episode was absolutely Jason's claim to being "one of the best bounty hunters in Southeast Michigan." And I think he added a "possibly" in front of it. I hope Jason's resume is a tiny bit more assertive. Peter would never tell you he was "possibly one of the better ER docs in the Twin Cities area." No. Peter would tell you he invented emergency medicine!
Bottom Line, VI. Next week's episode looks nuts.