Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 11, “Never Say Die”
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
A consistent source of frustration for Survivor fans is players accepting their spot and refusing to make big moves. It’s true that a good percentage of the time, it doesn’t make sense to change up the game. Unexpected twists provide great television, but they don’t always benefit the contestants themselves. Following the merge, however, there comes a time when anyone who actually wants to win has to pick their spot. Will they go meekly into the sunset and become a forgettable fifth place finisher? Or will they take a chance and try to gain an edge? If the plans fail, they can lead to a quick exit, but is it really that much worse to finish eighth? When John Cochran flipped on his tribe last season, he didn’t improve his ultimate standing. However, he took a shot and will be remembered for trying to change his fate. Even players from recent seasons like Redemption Island are fading into memory because they played too safe.
One World has provided entertaining characters and a fun season, but it seems headed for a predictable outcome. No one seems to have the guts to go after Kim, who will win if she reaches the final Tribal Council. Standing alone this week is Troyzan, who’s come back to Earth after going off the reservation. He tries to play every angle to survive, but he can’t find enough allies to swing the momentum. While Troyzan is no genius, he’s at least playing the game. When Christina makes a gaffe and tells him they’re throwing a few votes to her, he pounces on the situation. He ends up failing in the end, but his strategy is the right one. There’s no way to get enough votes to take out a leader, but all it takes is one switch to save his skin. He sets his sights on Kat, who wants to show that she isn’t a follower. Unfortunately, she proves exactly that and sticks with the dominant alliance. It’s possible this is the right choice, but the most likely result is her demise in the upcoming weeks.
The reward challenge gives everyone a chance to reveal how much they hate their fellow players. After taking a poll, they try to guess who the group would choose. Questions like “Who does not deserve to still be here?” and “Who is the biggest poseur?” bring the expected answers (Christina and Troyzan for these). The group doesn’t respect either of them, and that’s only solidified by these responses. A close look at individual answers reveals some great delusions, including Tarzan picking himself for the question “Who would you trust with your life?” Kim takes this prize and wins several positive categories. Players who get the right answer can chop the ropes of their competitors. Kim wins and picks Chelsea and Alicia to join her for a helicopter ride and island picnic. The highlights of this challenge are the dolls resembling the cast that are burned into eerie skeletons when the player exits. Whoever designed the dolls had way too much fun putting this together.
Kim’s choice of Chelsea over Kat for the reward generates serious anger from the young timeshare sales person. Troyzan senses an opportunity and immediately jumps into the fray to stir the pot. Although she’s angry, Kat doesn’t seem ready to make the leap. There’s an angry confrontation with Kim, but it feels like the editors are trying to make it more than it is. After all this drama, the strange arrival of a large pig into camp leads to a fun interlude. The best moment occurs during Sabrina’s jubilant interview, which is interrupted when Christina grabs an axe and heads into the forest. This type of random moment doesn’t happen enough on this show, which focuses so much on nonexistent strategy. Watching Troyzan try to take down a pig with a rope is a moment of comic genius. The scene cuts away to the challenge without a clear resolution, but it seems likely the pig got the last laugh.
Troyzan’s best hope is still the immunity challenge, which is basically an excuse for the women to cover their bodies with coconut oil. The task involves sliding down a course and grabbing rings to throw onto pegs. Two players compete at a time, and the winner moves on to the next round. Troyzan goes down to Tarzan in his first contest, which inspires a lot of celebrating. He spends the rest of the challenge sulking in the corner. Kim and Chelsea are the last two players, which probably inspires high-fives in the editing room. The ultimate winner is Kim, which secures her spot even further. The downside is that it puts an even larger target on her back. Playing with a sharper group, her status would be a lot more uncertain.
Tribal Council spends a lot of time focusing on why Christina sucks. Alicia returns to her negative ways throughout this episode and gets in a few jabs at her mortal enemy. Neither comes off very well, especially since Christina’s only defense is that she’s a lucky player. It’s sad to see Alicia going strong this late in the game, and she appears to have a shot at the final three. This is really disappointing. Christina throws in a pointless vote for Chelsea, which appears to give Troyzan a better chance. Jeff reveals three votes for each of them, but the last one is for Troyzan. Heading into next week, Tarzan is the only guy left, and his chances to win are nonexistent. Barring a dramatic turnaround, there appears to be little chance that anyone but Kim will finish in the top spot.