Monty Brinton/CBS (2)
Stephen Fishbach
May 03, 2012 09:15 AM

“The blindside actually for most people comes when they’re the most confident.” – Tyson Apostol, Survivor: Tocantins

They were the best of Survivor players, they were the worst of Survivor players. They were players with wisdom and players with foolishness. Players who would believe anything, and players who would lie to your face.

They were Kim and Kat – a tale of two Tikianos.

The entire difference between good play and bad play was epitomized last Wednesday by Kat and Kim’s different reactions to the reward.

Kat knows how meaningful it is to be chosen for a reward. A mere three days prior, she’d been burned when Kim jilted her. And yet she chooses Kim and Alicia, and passes over the far more deserving Tarzan and Christina.

But wait! “I have an explanation,” she exclaims, as the tribe weepily bids their loved-ones adieu. Ah, an explanation – now we’ll see the brilliant strategy behind this choice! Now these fresh wounds will be healed!

“I have been wanting to hang out with these two girls for a very long time,” she philosophizes. “Just us … and alcohol! Margaritas! I’m about to get drunk.”

So you see! It’s not “personal.” It’s just that Kat likes Kim and Alicia and margaritas more than she likes you! So don’t worry about it back at camp, while you’re sipping on your delicious island beverage made from ashes and Tarzan’s soiled undies. Rest comfortable in the knowledge that the three best friends are gettin’ cruuuunk!

Could Kat give a worse rationale that could alienate people more?

Now look at Kim. Kim’s been chosen to reap the sweet bounty of reward goodness with no hard social choices. Even so, she worries: “I’m going to have to do major damage control back at camp.” Kim’s head is so in the game that she can’t stop thinking about her tribe’s politics.

Maybe it’s not fair to compare Kim and Kat. After all, Kat is only 22. (Actually a year older than Sophie was when she dominated South Pacific). Kim is an ancient 28! If she were living in the Game of Thrones world, she’d be a grandmother by now.

Best female player ever?
Kim is a superb player by any standard. Survivor just seems effortless for her.

Most contestants come off the island feeling that they’ve been pushed to the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Veteran soldiers (looking at you, Jerry Sims!) have said Survivor is tougher than Afghanistan.

So why is it so simple for this bridal shop owner from Texas? What is it exactly that goes on in bridal shops? Kim is playing one of the most perfect games the show has ever seen – rivaling Brian Heidik in Thailand, Boston Rob in Redemption Island, JT in Tocantins, and Tom Westman in Palau.

Some claim that Kim is dominating less because she’s good than because everyone else is bad. When you’re up against Tarzan and Kat, how good do you have to be?

You see those statements every time one player dominates the field. According to the haters, the only reason Rob won was because his tribe mates were zombies. JT was Sole Survivor only because Timbira tore itself apart.

The real reason the Tikianos seem so particularly clueless is that Kim is doing the hard work to keep them clueless. It’s a fact of human nature – if someone is leading, people will follow.

Of course, that dominance only pays off if you can get a jury to vote for you. As we saw from Kat’s aggrieved reaction last night, that’s going to get harder as Kim has to vote off her allies.

Oh – and Fishy for Alicia. It was her plan to vote out Kat. And Kim can’t win everything.

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