Another episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong is in the books, and the show is continuing to surprise me. Not only was there some really great material surrounding two of the tribes’ idol hunts, but the eventual vote out shocked me for a third straight week. This game is not unraveling in a typical fashion, and it’s really making the show interesting despite the lack of truly over-the-top dominant characters. Here are some of my thoughts on episode 3:
- The idol hunt dominated the action of the episode this week, and I really love that it did. At this point in the game things have settled down and haven’t been shaken up by the show just yet, so this is a really great point for some extraneous action, and the craziness around the idols let that be a thing. At the Beauty camp, we already saw Tai get the clue to the idol, but he quickly found out that getting his hands on the idol would be a multi-step process involving the procurement of a key to unlock a box. He valiantly tried to climb a tree to get it last episode, but had to give up and go back. This episode, Tai was back at it again, in his never ending pursuit of that idol protection, and finally victory was his. It was a really great moment to see his perseverance pay off in a big way, and having the unassuming Tai in possession of the idol is going to guarantee some drama and intrigue down the road. It’s a big ‘win’ for the season as a whole. At the Brawn tribe’s camp, where nothing comes easy and everything has to be dramatic, the idol search was difficult and tumultuous. By some miracle, all of Alecia’s milling around camp paid off in a big way when she stumbled upon an idol clue. Being the keen player she is, she decided to share the information with Cydney, despite the fact that Cydney really wasn’t intending to play with her. Jason caught on to them looking for the idol, and Cydney went straight to him to share the clues with him. Jason, being the best bounty hunter in south-east Michigan, quickly followed the clues to a tree where the key was placed. He found a way to get the key out of it holder high up on the tree, and aggressively boxed out Alecia for the key and was on his way to get the idol. Personally, I think it was all fair play by Jason, since that idol could be your key to the title of Sole Survivor in the game. Jason has been playing hard, and now he’s got a little extra protection going forward. Another interesting point touched on in the episode was the fact that each idol can be combined with a second idol to form a super idol that can be played to save someone after the votes are read, similar to the powers of the idols previously owned by winners Yul and Tony. I really love this idea that two idols can be combined to form a more powerful one because it’s going to lead to a lot of sharing of hints and secrets after the merger, which is going to make room for some really interesting decisions towards the end of the game, concerning the sharing of idols. I think it’s far-fetched to believe that this super idol thing will actually happen, but if it does, it will be such an epic moment. I’m rooting for this idol business to come through in a big way.
- Something else crazy happened this week on Survivor; the Brawn tribe didn’t lose. Sure, they didn’t win the grand reward in the combo challenge, which went to the beauty tribe after Caleb put his team on his back again, but this is cause for celebration nonetheless. I really thought Brawn was doomed to be completely eradicated, but they live to fight another week I guess. It was the Brains tribe who didn’t have the extra effort this week, and they would be forced to go to Tribal Council for the first time. Brains tribe has started to seem like a tribe divided the last two episodes, so it was only fitting that their lack of unity would cost them a challenge and a player eventually. What transpired at their camp can best be described as a comedy of errors, with Peter being the classic egotistical Survivor who has no idea they’re not in charge. For two episodes now we’ve been getting confessionals from Peter and Liz about their dominance in the game, and I should’ve seen that as a bad sign, but I just didn’t see it playing out badly for them. They seemed to get the game, they seemed bright, and most importantly, they seemed perceptive going into the game. The perceptive part proved to be untrue as Aubry managed to bridge the divide between Debbie and Joe and herself and Neal to target the bossy, smug competitors on their tribe who perhaps overplayed their cards early on. It was clear that Liz and Peter were done for, but the show kept piling on their edit with all of these smug confessionals, propping them up for a glorious downfall. The first thing that came to mind when I watched some of the things Peter had to say this week, I thought “No, buddy, you never go full Savage,” even though season 31 hadn’t even happened yet. Overconfidence kills you in the game, and it seems like he never learned that one until just after the votes were read. The four decided to split the votes in case of an idol play, and on the re-vote the shocker came down when it was Liz who they decided to vote out instead of Peter. Yes, Liz, my winner pick for the season, was voted out in 16th place, showing how much I know about Survivor! I’m very sad to see her go, not only was she great to watch, but I think she had the kind of game that would be interesting down the stretch. Still, if there’s anything good to say about her early boot is that it’s keeping up a trend of complete unpredictability in this game, making every week a bit more intriguing than the last. And if the previews are correct, next episode will probably be even more intriguing than this, but in a bad way.
This week’s episode was wonderful in a lot of ways. We got some of the best idol hunting action we’ve had in a few seasons, had a classic ego-trip gone wrong edit, and had one of the pre-season favorites get blindsided super early. I think all of that makes for a solid early season episode. Next episode should be brutal, and regardless of who gets injured or who gets evacuated, I’m sure it’s going to be one of the most memorable episodes of the series, in the worst way of course. I’m not spoiled so I’ll have to check it out on Wednesday to see what goes down. Before I wrap up for this week’s show, I’ll leave you all with my final thoughts after the episode:
- The player of the week honors are gonna go to Tai. That guy has such a great spirit for the game, and his pursuit of the idol was fairly inspirational, especially given how far he came from being outed trying to find the idol so early on in the game. He gets props from me this week…My favorite moment of the episode is probably the moment at Tribal Council where Peter was talking about is plan going forward, to which Neal responded “which plan?” It was a small back and forth, but it was so comical to see Peter start getting cocky when it was clear he was outnumbered and about to get stunned. There are very few players who have ever been as falsely self-assured as Peter and Liz were this week, it was almost comical…I was watching some secret scenes and I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of Caleb’s extra emotional scenes didn’t make air. In fact, what we did see on air this week was him getting roped into an alliance, not building one or joining one on his own prerogative. I don’t think this is a good omen for his future in the game, and even though I like him as a Survivor contestant, I have a feeling he’s gonna fall victim to whatever tribe swap comes along (if the elements don’t get him next week)…Liz going home really throws me for a loop since I picked her to win the game. I was fooled again! Even though I’ll have to admit defeat in picking the winner from day 1 again, my dark horse Anna is still very much in the running, and I have a good feeling about her going forward. I think she’s got the game savvy, and she’s getting a pretty decent edit so far, not spectacular, but positive nonetheless. I think she’s got winner potential!