“You just need to keep me, and I’ll provide you with all the fish you need.”
– Richard Hatch, Survivor: Borneo
Does anybody else miss Colton?
Oh, I’m not talking about missing his scenery chewing, his thiny-veiled racism, or his mean girl bullying antics. I don’t miss Colton the TV Villain one bit.
But I do miss Colton the strategist. I miss the guy who could coddle the high-strung, eccentric, borderline schizophrenic personalities that make up a Survivor cast and somehow forge a precious consensus, like Sauron forged the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. I miss the young kid from rural Alabama who could keep the bristly old surgeon in line. Just look what happens the day after he’s gone. Tarzan and Jonas are at each other’s throats. Alicia has fully defected back to the women. Now who’s going to challenge the Salani Three of Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina?
Not Troyzan, that’s for sure. Wednesday night’s episode was The Troyzan Show (at least when Tarzan wasn’t flinging his poop, both literally and metaphorically). Troyzan found the idol and won the immunity challenge. He did on TV what we all do at home – chuckled at Jeff Probst’s innuendos about balls and disks. And he even had a full-on Erik Reichenbach geek-out when Probst placed the necklace around him.
Lord knows, I love me some Troyzan. When this season started I thought he was going to be a cartoon character from the Coach school of method delusion. But Troyzan has been a savvy game player and a good social strategist. He’s easy to root for, too, with his enthusiastic confessionals. “It’s me against 11 people,” he says at the merge. “That’s what I wanted. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.” That could be dialogue straight out of a Brett Ratner movie.
But when it came time to guide tribe strategy, Troyzan was less Rush Hour, more Rushmore. “Whatever they decide to do, that’s what I’m going to do,” he says of his new Salani friends. Wow, did Troyzan really balance all his balls on the disk? Because he seems to have lost them.
Salani is a tribe of four women and three men. Where’s the endgame for Troyzan there? When his old ally Jonas is put up for elimination, Troyzan isn’t able to get the girls to change course.
That should have been a giant red flag. But at that point, what could Troyzan realistically do? Give the idol to Jonas? Then he’d just have to pray that Tarzan and Michael fell in line. Ultimately, Troyzan didn’t do anything. And that’s as much a testament to his having given over the reins as it is to circumstance. In Survivor, you have to seize control. Nobody is going to give it to you.
The great missed opportunity of this season is seeing Colton face off against Kim. Colton had such an indomitable will to succeed, and was so expert at applying social pressure, that I really believe he could have completely erased the tribal lines that divide the contestants.
But we can’t mourn Colton forever. The Fishy this week goes to Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina, for somehow magically wishing themselves into the perfect position – the top dogs in two overlapping alliances. As Colton proved – and his absence proved even more – keeping the ship running smoothly is a lot harder than it looks.
And we have to bid a sad farewell to Jonas. It’s a testament to how far the game has evolved from season one. Being a provider somehow now makes you a target – even with half the game left to go.