"He has this insane Svengali-like control over Manono," Stephen Fishbach blogs

By Stephen Fishbach
March 08, 2012 08:00 AM
Monty Brinton/CBS (2)

“I am not a fool. I’m not giving up immunity.”
– Chris Daugherty, winner, Survivor: Vanuatu

Wow. Was that the single most idiotic move in Survivor history? It’s gotta be close. Giving up individual immunity is really stupid. But that’s just one person being stupid.

Wednesday on Survivor, eight men boldly stepped into a new frontier of idiocy and volunteered themselves for elimination. At least two of them (Leif and Bill) knew there was a chance they’d be going home. Two of the others (Mike and Jay) knew it was a horrible idea. That right there is half the tribe. And even Jonas had his doubts.

But then, the Manono tribe has never been particularly good at counting. The Bro-liance thought they had a majority when there were four of them on a nine-person tribe. Now, with Leif, they do have the numbers to split the decision-making. They just don’t have the will to do it.

Give credit to loathsome scumbag Colton. He is a petulant, whiny, racist dirt squirrel. But he also has this insane Svengali-like control over Manono. He achieved status in his tribe by leveraging his immunity idol. But he’s been able to keep it through some crazy exercise of will that’s turned the rest of the group into his zombies. He lounges in his chair and spews out offensive confessionals while the men of Manono feed him grapes and fan him with palm fronds.

Even alleged “man” Mike rats out Leif to get one step further ahead in Colton’s little parlor game. And when Colton confronts him, Leif sobs out a confession and agrees to take whatever punishment Colton sees fit. This is some serious Godfather omertà stuff. It’s like Louis XIV’s court at Versailles, where the French nobles competed to attend to his toilet.

But it’s not like Colton’s playing a good game, or anything close. Just look at the bratty way he brushes off Bill, when Bill tries to talk it out. Is anybody really going to vote for that guy to win a million dollars?

Method to The Madness?
Convincing the tribe to give up immunity and vote out Bill, of course, is the ultimate act of willfulness. My bet is that Colton’s real motivation wasn’t even his hatred of Bill. He did it simply because he could.

I’ve been in the power position on Survivor, and I know how thrilling it can be to make big moves merely because you can. When Colton says, “I’ve always been able to get people to do what I want,” it’s almost secondary what the actual thing is.

But is there any way to strategically justify Colton’s big move? It’s true what he says, that going into a merge or even a tribe swap, it’s dangerous to have an enemy. Aren’t there some cases when it’s worth throwing a challenge to vote out a tribe cancer?

After all, Colton is BFFs with the girls. For him, losing a female ally is much more problematic than voting off his nemesis Bill. Colton’s been building cross-tribal alliances. Now he’s taking out intra-tribal enemies.

But as Jeff says at Tribal, “Why not just say – next time we have to vote somebody out, Leif, it’s you.” I can’t give Colton a Fishy this episode, because his play was too questionable – and most of all, he was too loathsome doing it.

Bill, however, gets a special anti-Fishy. Even if Bill truly believed Leif was the target, he volunteered to eliminate the only buffer he had. By letting the tribe give up immunity, Bill essentially voted himself out of Survivor.