6:49pm PT by Daniel Fienberg
'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' Delivers a Tribal Meltdown and a Bromance in 'Kindergarten Camp'
[The following article contains spoilers for the Wednesday, February 24 episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong.]
Let's pause to think of some of the most epic tribal council flameouts in Survivor history.
With an asterisk, you could include Colby basically giving Tina the million bucks or Amanda essentially arguing herself out of possibly two Survivor wins by refusing to simply own her gameplay. No, let's think of some more recent flameouts.
Survivor: San Juan del Sur probably had two of my favorites.
Keith's "Stick to the plan" alliance tip-off was pretty bad, but he got son Wes voted out rather than getting himself sent home. He still theoretically could have won that season, so that can't be the worst.
When it comes to self-elimination, then, I've gotta salute Drew from that same season. Due to his paranoia about gameplay from Kelley Wentworth that we hadn't even seen and she hadn't started, he invented a conspiracy against himself that she was leading and tried to convince others to join him in voting her out. Kelley, who proved her ample mettle last season, overheard and formed the conspiracy Drew previously fantasized and sent him packing. That was great, but I guess much of his self-blindside occurred before tribal council.
So congratulations to Jennifer Lanzetti of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, who may only have been in the game for two weeks, but managed to deliver the most memorable part of both weeks.
Last week, it was the horrifying bug-in-ear incident, as primally terrifying and disturbing a moment as Survivor has ever had, a moment so unpleasant and freakish that merely reshowing the little worm inching out of her ear at the start of this week's episode left me a bit queasy.
Maybe during her exit interviews tomorrow Jenny will just blame the bug eggs in her head for her elimination, because blaming brain worms is much better than taking responsibility for a single-handed, multi-tiered self-eviction.
Back at camp, after an immunity challenge that Brawn had no excuse to lose, Jenny got tired of Jason picking his nose, peeling his skin off his sunburnt shoulders, burping and mocking Alecia. Jenny approached Alecia, who should have been an easy 4-1 eviction vote assuming she could could out anybody to vote for, and proposed an all-female alliance and Cydney was OK with that. But then Scot's confidence in her made Jenny feel guilty about going against her alliance and she told Cydney she wasn't sure what to do.
Either way, Jenny was safe at tribal, right up until she announced to Jeff that things had been "up in the air" at camp. Jason and Scot were immediately confused, since they'd been confident nobody wanted Alecia around, as was Cydney, unsure on why Jenny exposed herself. Jenny continued to dig by swearing that Alecia had come to her proposing an all-girl alliance, which Alecia protested, with no particular reason to lie. Jenny then dug deeper by saying she told Alecia there would be an all-girl alliance to make her last day at camp better, which made no sense to Alecia, though many things make no sense to Alecia. Finally, desperate and crazed, Jenny rose, arm outstretched, and made an "I'm not a crook" statement of loyalty to Scot and Jason.
She was voted out. Brilliantly dumb, but we're beginning to sense this may be a thing for the Brawn tribe.
Let's get to my Bottom Lines.
Bottom Line, I. It was still an odd vote. Alecia was able to figure out to vote against Jenny, as did Jason and Cydney. But Scot still voted against Alecia. This is the second straight week that in the initial vote, Scot and Jason separated. I wonder if they're aware of that.
Bottom Line, II. The Brawn tribe is awful. They're epically awful. Tonight's immunity challenge was basically a Brawn gift, since so much of it required carrying a 300-pound log as a group. There was no puzzle and the slingshot finale also seemed to require strength. This was a task set up entirely for a Brawn advantage. Instead, Beauty won, followed by Brains. Last week, Scot was determined to vote out the person who was responsible for not performing in the immunity challenge, which was why Darnell went home. This week, Scot was the person at the end who failed to hit the slingshot target fast enough. He did not send himself home. Alecia, despite spending five hours building fire while everybody else slumped in the shelter, got only momentary "thanks" before the fairly disgusting Jason went back to calling her "Blondie" and went back to calling her stupid. And don't get me wrong, Alecia obviously isn't clever. She thinks "embers" and "embryos" are the same thing. But the girl made fire when nobody else was doing it and she wasn't to blame for her elimination at all. And she was right to be confused by Jenny's "What is best in life?"-style question about the things that are most important in Survivor, because whether you think "honesty" and "winning challenges" are the truly most important, getting rid of strong people when your tribe is already hopeless is rarely a no-brainer strategy.
Bottom Line, III. When he was Beastmode Cowboy on Big Brother, I really disliked Caleb. But Caleb's good-natured not-really-flirtation with Tai made him seem at least somewhat charming. Tai was trying to kiss Caleb and calling him "cuddlicious," which probably isn't true since he came in overly ripped and he's going to be skin-and-bones very soon, but Caleb's response -- "There is no such thing as homophobe in this guy right here" -- was very nice. I want those two to form an alliance and run the table.
Bottom Line, IV. After getting caught looking for the idol last week, Tai wasn't smart to leave everybody else behind to search again, but it turns out that he was actually looking in the right place last time and he found a clue to a key and a box to unlock or a key and a clue to the box? Either way, it's up a tree and Tai tore himself to shreds trying to get up that tree. Nothing will compare to last week's earworm, but Tai's bloody feet on the tree was pretty bad. He also got attacked by ants. That was bad. But nobody got medically evacuated this week.
Bottom Line, V. So many monkeys this week! Tree monkeys. Land monkeys. No baby monkeys.
Bottom Line, VI. The Brains tribe isn't in bad shape, but Debbie is such a huge problem. The number of sentences she begins with "Just because I can..." is much too high. She was probably in the right on the water-boiling thing, since Survivor goes out of its way to provide those buckets and keep them covered, but boiling water never HURTS. And Liz's obsession with the parasites and pathogens was getting a little scary. But again, if you wanna boil water, who am I to say no? And who is Debbie to mock? Debbie likes to mock. And ramble. And do creepy cheers. And it's also odd that on a tribe of Brains, nobody even wants to tolerate Liz's various book-learning gizmos.
That's that for another very fine week of Survivor.