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Stephen Fishbach: Kim Spradlin Is Playing an 'Almost-Perfect Game' of Survivor

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Monty Brinton/CBS (2)

“Girl Power – I don’t like that. They will gang up on us, don’t believe they won’t.”
– Russell Hantz, Survivor: Samoa

In the battle of the sexes, the women just won a decisive victory.

Wednesday on Survivor, Kim led Troyzan around by the nose, and convinced him to vote out Michael – putting the women at a 6-4 advantage.

After starting the season in complete disarray, the women have schooled the boys in old-fashioned Girl Power. In the words of the Spice Girls – “zigazig-ahhhh!”

But then, look at these guys! Leif can hardly form a sentence, and Tarzan is so busy psychoanalyzing Chelsea, he can’t tell dirt from doody. All the lunatics and halfwits this season have a Y chromosome. The worst that the girls have had to deal with is Klueless Kat. Alicia may be a sociopath, but at least she’s a strategic sociopath.

Meanwhile, the best male strategist of the season, Colton, was a pettish bigot. Male model Jay is somehow the lone voice of reason among the guys.

The boys never had a chance.

Kim: The Un-Colton
Kim is playing an almost-perfect game of Survivor. She’s at the center of multiple alliances, and with every decision she makes, she keeps her options open for the future, ready to pivot if necessary.

Kim wins the Fishy this episode for betraying Troyzan – without him even realizing it. Kim knows that by voting out Mike, she can get rid of an immunity threat and cement the girls’ numbers lead. But how to do that without alienating her allies?

She approaches Troy and tells him that Mike was gunning for him. This sends Troy into a fury, and he leads the charge to take out Mike. It’s exactly like the famous “Russell Seed” or “Sandra Bug” – make someone feel threatened, and they’ll do the rest. This could have been Troy’s breakout moment. Had he given Michael the idol, he could even-up the numbers again, and who cares if he and Mike will be BFF after the show. Instead, he becomes the unknowing architect of his own demise.

The move by itself puts Kim in the top rank of Survivor players. But she adds finesse when Jay runs off to talk to Mike about what’s going on. Kim immediately runs after them, and preemptively shuts down the conversation by suggesting they vote out Christina. One of the great unacknowledged strategies of Survivor is that you can effectively stop people from talking just by never letting them out of your sight.

The only question left is – can Kim win? When Boston Rob played the definitive “perfect Survivor game” in season 22, he brought two goats to the end with him, lunatic Phillip and cipher Natalie. As bitter as people might have been, they had no choice but to vote for him.

One World has got a full herd of goats for Kim to pick – Alicia, Tarzan, Leif. But she chooses instead to ally with Chelsea and Sabrina. Either of them could be a strong competitor at the finals.

And to paraphrase the Spice Girls – if you wanna win Survivor, you gotta cut loose your friends.

Michael – a Valediction
I’m going to miss Mike. Captain Obvious was a source of brilliant unintentional comedy, as he blundered his oblivious way through the season. During the rainstorm, what was Mike’s cutting analysis? “This is miserable.” Or when they’re at the barbecue, and the girls are conspiring to vote him out, what does he have to say? “This is like the best meal.”

Well, Mike, to put it as you might – you just got voted out. Now you are going to be on the jury.

At least we still have Tarzan and his rantics.