After six straight weeks of schemes and slurs, the frequently vulgar and politically incorrect Colton finally met his "Survivor" end on Wednesday night. But rather than leaving via glorious blindside, Colton was medically evacuated over suspected appendicitis, marking the second emergency exit of the season. Before leaving, Colton was given the opportunity to surrender his hidden immunity idol to a fellow tribemate — but in classic Colton fashion, the 21-year-old Alabama native held on to the potentially game-saving artifact to bring it home as a personal souvenir, very likely screwing over disenfranchised ally Alicia in the process.
But just when all hope seemed lost for Colton's former partner in crime, Alicia found new life in the form of an early merge. Only one vote cycle and two evictees after the game's recent tribal shuffle, "Survivor" switched things up once again by combining the two tribes into one at an earlier date than expected. Now that the game has moved into the individual stage, what happens next is anybody's guess: Will the recently formed Salani alliance stay strong against the ex-Manono in the new merge, or will contestants revert back to their original men-versus-women allegiances?
Covering all this and more, MTV News is once again joined by two-time "Survivor" contestant and longtime commentator Rob Cesternino to talk about the ramifications of the early merge and Colton's untimely demise.
MTV: Two huge developments this week. One week after the tribes were shaken up, they've now unexpectedly merged into one tribe, back on one beach. What did you think of the game delivering its second twist in two weeks?
Rob Cesternino: For production's sake, this was probably what had to be done. The new Salani tribe had been so dominant. I think it would have been boring to see them pick off the Colton-less Manono tribe over the next few weeks. This should be much more interesting to see: Is it going to go back to men versus women? Were these new tribes together long enough that new loyalties are going to stick? It's going to be a very interesting couple of weeks for "Survivor" coming up.
MTV: We both agreed last week that Kim, Chelsea and their allies at Salani were looking best in this game. What does your gut tell you now: Are those people still in good shape after the early merge?
Cesternino: I can see there being one sort of super-alliance right now, where the group of Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina are at the head, with Kat along as well. They also sort of absorbed Troyzan and Jay, and to a lesser degree, Mike. They'll also probably reabsorb Alicia next week. They possibly go ahead and pick off some of the other guys on the outside: Tarzan, Leif, Christina are on the outs. Then they might wonder who are the biggest physical threats that aren't with them — Tarzan, Leif and Christina don't exactly fit that description. It should be interesting to see what happens next. Who holds all the cards? I think somebody like Jonas could be in trouble; people who have the power, like Chelsea and Kim, will probably want to target people they haven't played with, like the guys [who stayed at] Manono.
MTV: So, backing up for a second: You think Alicia's in better standing now in the merged tribe?
Cesternino: This is a great day for Alicia. She may have been voted out by Jonas, Leif and Christina [without the merge]. Now she gets to go and be back with her original alliance, the women, and she's almost no worse for wear. Maybe the women will be upset that she turned on Monica and Christina, but I see her totally getting back in their good graces. I can see her fighting with Troyzan and Jay to see who is the fifth wheel on this alliance.
MTV: I'm just hung up on how much of a piece of work Alicia was in this episode, her and Colton, ripping Christina to bits for pretty much no reason.
Cesternino: I don't know why Alicia and Colton felt the need. What is Christina even doing to anybody? How has she gotten this far under their skin? She doesn't seem annoying; she seems like a perfectly normal person! I can't put my finger on what she's doing to upset them so much. It was horrible. And then Alicia caught Christina trying to get Alicia voted out — and she says in her confessional, "Oh, Christina's just paranoid right now." Well, for good reason! You told her that the only way she was leaving that island was by getting voted out, quitting or falling into the fire! What do you want her to do?
MTV: We've spent a lot of our energy this season focusing on Colton. I guess now we know why — he left a whole lot earlier than we were expecting, certainly under unexpected circumstances at the very least. Pour one out for Colton, Rob. Did we love to hate him? Hate to hate him? What's your take?
Cesternino: I'm completely stunned right now. First the Jets' trade for Tim Tebow, and now this? [Laughs] I really can't believe that Colton's off the show, because 80 percent or 90 percent of this show was all Colton. It's almost going to be like a new season starting in the next episode, one where there's no Colton. This really has been "Survivor: Colton's World" through six episodes. Now I feel like I barely even know these other characters who are going to be dominating airtime. We're heading off into uncharted waters next week.
MTV: There will be plenty of people arguing that Colton suffered some karmic retribution. I don't know that anyone was wishing actual physical harm on the guy...
Cesternino: No, I think some people were.
MTV: OK, maybe a few people. [Laughs] He was definitely the villain of the season, and sometimes it does feel like there's karma on "Survivor." In a weird-twist-of-fate way, do you feel at all like Colton's behavior brought on an early exit?
Cesternino: No, I don't really buy into that. It makes for a good narrative watching the show, but there have been plenty of other people who were real a-holes to people and didn't get appendicitis. You know, I feel bad for Colton. Yes, he was definitely saying a bunch of things that had no business being in the game. But you really wanted to see it play out. Especially for us as viewers; we really got robbed here. Yeah, it probably wasn't going to end well, but there was a chance that he might have been able to play the best game ever played, make it to the end, and win. That wasn't impossible. We'll never find out. The big disappointment for us is that, win or lose, we didn't get to see Colton's game play out.
MTV: That all said, we know that "Survivor" likes their all-star seasons. Even with him leaving this early, do you think Colton's bought himself a ticket onto a future season of the show?
Cesternino: I might bet my appendix that we'll see Colton on "Survivor" again. [Laughs] I would bet that.
Cesternino: Hmm. [Pauses] The first thing I would ask is, I have to know how much of what he said during the game he stands behind. How much would he take back? He played such an aggressive game, which is almost overshadowed by all of the garbage he spewed out about class and race. All the nasty things he said. I think that's a tragedy. He could have been a very good player in the game, and I wish we could have spent more time focused on that.
MTV: Wrapping up, instead of looking at any one player, let's look at the current "One World" landscape. We began with men versus women, all on one beach. Then the tribes got switched up. One week later, the tribes are now merged, and back on the same beach again. That's a lot of change in a short period of time. Do you think we've seen the last twist on this season of "Survivor," or do you smell something else coming down the line?
Cesternino: I've been thinking that they might re-divide the tribe again, but at some point, the viewers will start getting dizzy. Let's see how it plays out over the next couple of weeks. I would guess that no, we won't see another twist in that way, shape or form.
What did you think of this week's episode? Are you glad Colton's gone? Are you shocked by the early merge? Sound off in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!