"Being medically evacuated has to be the worst way to leave," blogs Stephen Fishbach

By Stephen Fishbach
Updated March 22, 2012 09:20 AM
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS (2)

“This game is cool, but it’s not THAT cool. I don’t want to die, I’d rather walk home.”
– Joe Dowdle, Survivor: Tocantins

Being medically evacuated has to be the worst way to leave Survivor. All your great plans, all the myriad possibilities that the game presents – torn away from you before you can see them to completion. At least if you get blindsided, you were properly beat. Medical evacuation leaves you wondering what if.

For a lot of people watching, that’s what made Colton’s appendicitis so satisfying. Colton’s cruelty to Christina and to Bill went beyond the bounds of the game. Colton didn’t just call Christina a cockroach or tell her to jump in the fire. Somehow, he made her believe it – so that halfway through the episode, she was calling herself a cockroach. That’s the most invidious fallout from bullying. The victim actually starts to lose her self-esteem.

I was co-hosting a Survivor chat on EW.com yesterday, and people were wishing that Colton would get struck down. When he actually was smitten by the angry island gods, they cheered.

That seemed to be the case on the island, too. Nobody was sad to see Colton go. It was like in a movie when the villain dies, or an episode of Transformers when Megatron is temporarily defeated. Starscream immediately starts jockeying for command. All the former henchman, who were kept in tow by the Big Bad’s will for evil, rush to fill the void. Jonas, Colton’s lackadaisical lackey, positions himself to be boss. “I’m ready to take the bull by the horns and make myself the ring leader,” he says. Alicia frets that Colton didn’t give her the idol – the final betrayal from a betrayer.

The Fishy this week was a tough call. On the one hand, I wanted to give Karma the credit it’s due. But then Survivor: Guatemala contestant Brian Corridan wrote to me, “Colton’s appendix for the Fishy this week. It had the guts to do what no other player would: get Colton out of the game. (Guts pun intended, naturally.)” So Colton’s Appendix – it’s your lucky day. Let’s see what you have in store for us next week!

Parliament of Fools
I really love this season’s cast. You have a few players you can genuinely root for. Kim, Sabrina and Troyzan are all smart gamers who play aggressively but without hostility. You have your villains, the self-aggrandizing jerks who inevitably get their comeuppance – Alicia, Matt, and Colton.

And then you have your clowns.

This season is particularly high on unintentional comic relief. Of course Tarzan stands out – in his blue bikini briefs, he’d stand out anywhere. He’s both the smartest and the dumbest person on the island, and speaks only in Sherlock Holmes clichés. Kat is probably still wringing her hands in fear about the “appendix thing.”

Leif may be the least verbal Survivor contestant ever. As Colton is writhing on the ground in agony in front of him, Leif asks, “Does it really hurt … really bad?” And Jonas has his mind blown by literally everything.

My personal favorite may actually be Michael. He has emerged as a caricature of Boring Alpha Male. Just watch him as he stands on the fringes of groups, shuffling from one foot to the other, contributing absolutely nothing. “I’m going to eat every single ice cream flavor,” he says at the reward. Way to go!

As the tribes merge, and Kim and Troyzan begin to make moves while Tarzan stumbles across the horizon, I’m hoping for a fantastic season.