Two weeks ago, if you had told me that 50-year-old photographer Troy “Troyzan” Robertson would be my least favorite person on “Survivor: One World,” I would have pushed you in the mud and shouted in your face, “This is my island!” OK, perhaps something a little less aggressive, but I still wouldn’t have believed you.
Then Wednesday night happened.
Troy, with his back against the wall and few to no allies to turn to, did the only things he could to survive against the newly strengthened women’s alliance: He pretended to find another hidden immunity idol (after playing his the week before), he won the next immunity challenge, and then he … rubbed it in everyone’s faces with an F-bomb for good measure? Bad, Troyzan! Bad!
Unlike Tyrion Lannister of “Game of Thrones” fame, you clearly do not understand how the game is played. On “Survivor,” it’s not enough just to win: People have to like you too, in order to secure their votes in the end. Troy’s frustration over having no allies turned into an all-out verbal assault on anyone and everyone still living on that beach, effectively ruining every chance he had at securing partners in the game despite having a lot to offer a potential new alliance. For someone who appeared to be so good at this game just a few weeks ago, the immediate crash and burn of Troyzan — still crashing, still burning into next week, mind you — was absolutely dumbfounding to behold.
MTV News’ weekly “Survivor” chat with two-time player and regular commentator Rob Cesternino continues this week, focusing on Troy’s collapse, Leif’s ousting, Tarzan’s surprising rise as a serious competitor and the continued Kimsanity at the “Survivor” auction.
MTV: My opinion of Troyzan sunk very low very quickly this week. I appreciate a guy doing what he has to do to survive, but not only is there no need to be an a–hole about winning, not only is there no strategic upside, he’s actually actively damaging his chances to win, in the unlikely event that he makes it to the end.
Rob Cesternino: You know, it’s hard to find a situation where you’re rooting against the back-against-the-wall underdog. Somehow, Troyzan is now having people root against him because of the way he’s carrying on. There’s a lot of whining that he’s doing. None of it is advantageous to his survival.
MTV: Sabrina said it well: Even if you’re winning challenges, even if you’re surviving, you have to be likable to win in the end.
Cesternino: It’s totally true. But in some weird way — and I don’t think that this is what’s going on — it could work to Troyzan’s advantage a little bit in that he becomes so unlikable that he’s no longer a threat to win the game. At some point, people might think, “I need to go to the end with Troyzan, because everybody hates him.” He’s certainly committing game suicide one way or the other. He might be able to make it to the end by being such a pain to everybody left in the game, but I don’t think that’s what he’s doing strategically.
MTV: Right. He’s quickly becoming the Phillip [from "Survivor: Redemption Island"] of the season. That was supposed to be Tarzan’s job!
Cesternino: Not even Phillip. Phillip wasn’t hated enough, I don’t think. Troyzan’s becoming more of a Russell Hantz, someone who everyone has all these hard feelings towards. Whereas Phillip got on people’s nerves, I don’t think anybody hated him. It’s just the way Troyzan keeps carrying on. It’s undercutting what he’s trying to do strategically. He can’t build alliances while pissing everybody off in the game. How are Alicia and Christina going to go and be in an alliance with him when he’s telling them “don’t f— with me, this is my island!” It’s tough.
MTV: On paper, the deal he’s proposing makes sense: the three remaining men plus the two women who are clearly at the bottom of the totem pole. You gain a five-to-four majority over the other women. The numbers add up. But Troyzan couldn’t sell it. He’s become such an unlikable guy that no one agreed to what was really a pretty good deal.
Cesternino: That’s the frustrating thing! He has the right plan and he made a compelling argument. For Alicia, I think she threw the game away tonight. If I’m Alicia, why not go in a five-person alliance with Troyzan, Tarzan, Leif and Christina? Who’s beating her out of that crew? Those are the four easiest people to beat in the jury right now, and she’s the only one who could possibly win out of that group. Why wouldn’t she jump ship to that group? But there are ways in this game. People are afraid to make moves. They just think everything’s going to work out for them in the end — but it’s not!
MTV: There was never a moment where I was worried about Kim’s safety. I wasn’t even worried for Tarzan. I feel like the episode would have made a bigger effort to stress that danger if he was really on the chopping block. It had to be Leif, who had his fun moments, but overall didn’t have much of an impact on the season. Were you surprised at all to see Leif go? Was there anything he could have done differently in order to stay?
Cesternino: I don’t know. If you would have told me pre-season that there would be a little person on “Survivor” and he was going to last 10 episodes on the show and he’s going to be completely unmemorable, I would have called you a crazy person. That being said, Leif really seems like a nice guy. But it also seems like he never really had any idea of what was going on in the game at any point. Even for an episode where he’s voted off, he was barely on the show. He was the Purple Kelly of this season! Though Leif did have one great moment for the road: when he was in the ocean with Tarzan washing him. That was pretty great.
MTV: More and more, Tarzan’s just breaking out as the star of this show. He was great in this episode again. And it wasn’t just him patting Leif on the head, he actually did well in the game this week. He was second place in the challenge, he gave that public pep talk to Troyzan in a very classy and well-articulated way, and when push came to shove, he made the smart vote: It was either going to be Tarzan or Leif going home, so Tarzan voting for Leif definitely made sense over voting Kim, like Leif did.
Cesternino: You know, I think he knows what’s going on a little bit. I don’t think it was just a shot in the dark, him throwing a vote at Leif. I think he’s with the women. We’re not really being shown who he’s with right now, but I get the sense that he’s with the women. Because he even says to Troyzan, “Look, I’m trying to beat you.” I get the sense that he’s not on the same page as Troyzan. He hasn’t gone along with any of Troyzan’s plans to vote out Kim — they didn’t vote together. I would be very surprised if Tarzan gets voted out before another woman leaves the game. They don’t look at him as a threat. They look at him as a guy who can’t win. When they’re down to seven maybe, that’s when the girls might start going after one another, and Tarzan’s still in the game. Kim didn’t feel like she was in any danger, no matter what Troyzan was doing. She didn’t even talk about playing the idol. If Troyzan was really getting close to making something happen, I think she might have played it.
MTV: The game is certainly afoot!
Cesternino: It is! We don’t know who Tarzan’s letter [won at the auction] was from, either. And what’s going to happen to his car?
MTV: That’s a great question. [Laughs] I love the “Survivor” auction; it’s always my favorite challenge on the show. This season’s take was great. Our girl Kim was the clear victory there.
Cesternino: Kim was definitely the winner — and so were we! Usually on “Survivor,” you have to get naked to get the chocolate and peanut butter. But Kim got naked and then paid for chocolate and peanut butter. She could have just killed two birds with one stone by going in the shower to get the chocolate and peanut butter! That wasn’t great “Survivor” thinking.
MTV: But a $40 shower and a $240 bowl of chocolate and peanut butter isn’t such a bad deal out there, either.
Cesternino: Yeah, that was a good deal. [Laughs]
MTV: Another great moment from the auction: Troyzan and Christina’s bidding war over the immunity challenge advantage. It played out as you’d expect: Troyzan goes (almost) all in, with Christina unwilling to really seal the deal. That’s been her MO all season long. What can she do to make herself noticed in the game?
Cesternino: I don’t know what Christina is doing in the game. She didn’t bid on anything. It’s just symptomatic of her game in general. She’s at the auction, the money is in her hands, and she’s just not buying stuff. I don’t know what’s going on. She’s in the game, she has a vote, and they’re just not counting. There’s no chance that she’s getting past the final five or six in the game, because she’s so stuck on the sidelines.
MTV: Looking ahead, what are Troyzan’s chances of survival? Is there anything he can do strategically and socially to get to the end, or does he need an immunity run to win?
Cesternino: He does have his work cut out for him. I always watch “Survivor” after the merge, and really, I’m watching for the weeks where there’s an odd number of people left in the game. Those are the weeks where you tend to just need one person to switch things up — like at seven, to make the split four to three. When there are eight people left, like there’s going to be next week, it’s going to be hard, because you need to get two people to switch. Now with Leif out of the game, he’ll really need a number of people to switch. I just don’t see that happening at this point in the game unless something really drastic happens.