“Fear motivated self-preservation is the worst game I could imagine.”
– Greg Buis, Survivor: Borneo
Every season there are a few players who just refuse to think for themselves. They vote the party line, listen to the bosses, and then act shocked and betrayed when they’re voted out in sixth or seventh place, because they wanted a victory handed to them by God without having to lift a finger for themselves.
On Wednesday, we saw Tarzan, Christina and Alicia enter this ignominious hall of shame as they voted out Leif and isolated Troyzan – their only hope to take control. Something has gone seriously wrong when you’re being outplayed by Leif.
What made last night so face-palmingly painful is that Troyzan laid it all out so crystal clear. “Kim Chelsea, Sabrina and Kat are together and they’re strong together,” he says. “They’re not going to tell you guys that they are, they’re just going to act like, ‘Okay, you’re with us.’ If you four would get together and really get together, you can move yourself ahead.”
Wow. How much more precise can you get? And yet Christina and Alicia shut their eyes and shout into the void to drown out the noise. “I don’t want to make a rash decision right now,” Alicia says, as she steps onto the conveyor belt leading into Kim’s abattoir.
Most seasons, players at the bottom of one alliance don’t have such a clear choice. The best they can usually do is jump to the bottom of another alliance – so why bother? But Troyzan wants to create a new alliance. And what’s more, he doesn’t even include himself in it! Note how Troyzan always refers to “you four” rather than “we five.”
You almost can forgive Tarzan, who (a) is clearly insane, and (b) has progressed so far in his path towards femininity that he’s now wearing makeup. Tarzan’s journey towards embracing his inner woman is a separate story from the Survivor game that the other contestants are playing.
Troyzan wins this week’s Fishy not for his challenge win, nor for his failed attempt at alliance-building. But rather, for the foresight and discipline he showed in the auction, saving his money for the moment when Jeff brought out a special envelope. Though you do have to wonder – why did Troy not immediately bid $500, as he planned? By hesitating, he gave Christina an opening to outbid him.
Maybe he realized she’d never take it? Christina wins a special anti-Fishy for unreasonably bad gameplay. She’s been on the outs with the girls from the beginning, yet like that outcast in high school who so desperately wants to fit in, she’ll never betray them. And she squanders her opportunity to actually do something useful and get the challenge advantage for herself.
Chelsea and Sabrina deserve blame too; they’ve contracted a severe case of smug. My favorite moment came at Tribal Council, when Chelsea literally could not comprehend the possibility that an alliance might form that could take her out.
But then, maybe it never was possible. You gotta assume Kim is more in control of this game than we even know. If she’d had a flicker of doubt that the votes might come her way, she would have played her idol.
And let me give Kat credit too. I’ve snarked a lot at her ditziness, but she’s actually a decent gamer. She always knows the right move, and whenever conflict erupts, she and Kim are the ones who calm everybody down.
“Everybody gets crazy when they know the whole tribe’s after them,” Kat says. “But at the end of the day that one person never wins.”
Sorry, Troyzan. She’s probably right.