Few people would have predicted Greg “Tarzan” Smith to be the last man standing on “Survivor: One World,” but that’s exactly what’s happened now that his similarly named competitor Troyzan is no longer in the game.
After an astonishing drop in likability paired with an equally stunning win last week, Troyzan redeemed himself (to a degree) on a personal level in the latest episode, at the expense of his life in the game. Now, six women remain: wishy-washy Christina, foul-mouthed Alicia, dim-witted Kat, savvy Sabrina, the seemingly unbeatable Kim and her partner-in-crime Chelsea — with only Tarzan representing the men of “One World,” poop pants and all.
As the season moves toward the end game, it’s bridal shop owner Kim who remains the player to beat. Not only the dominant strategist in her alliance, Kim also proved herself a serious challenge threat this week by winning both reward and immunity with little to no competition. Still, not even Kim is infallible: She made a controversial choice to share her reward with her clear-cut ally Chelsea, leaving another member of her alliance, Kat, feeling insecure about her place in the grand scheme of things. Will Kim’s biggest blunder to date come back to bite her down the line, or is it much ado about nothing?
MTV News once again paired up with two-time “Survivor” contestant Rob Cesternino to cover the latest episode of “One World,” including the fall of Troyzan and Kim’s continued warpath.
MTV: We were hard on Troyzan last week, understandably so. This week, even though he was voted off, I feel a lot better about the guy. He did what he could to survive without being overly obnoxious. What was your take on Troy this week?
Rob Cesternino: He sort of went through the five stages of grief over the last two weeks. Last week was anger and denial. This week, he moved onto bargaining and acceptance. He had a really good week this week. I really wanted to believe — and maybe I’m like Kat, and I just want to believe — but I hoped that Troyzan would pull it off this week. But I kept doing the math in my head: He still needs one more vote. Who’s going to vote with him? The math just didn’t work out that way.
MTV: Part of me thought that maybe, finally, Christina’s time was up. Somehow, she gets to survive another day.
Cesternino: I don’t understand why people keep trying to take her out, though. Even for Troyzan, if he could have swung the vote against Christina, it wouldn’t have been a power move. It wouldn’t have changed anything.
MTV: Well, in fairness, it would’ve changed a lot for Troyzan.
Cesternino: Sure, for Troyzan, it’s important. But it’s basically just cutting the tail off the snake [for anybody else]. Nothing really fundamentally changes if she’s voted off. She’s not a part of anybody’s alliance, so getting rid of her wouldn’t have been a power move for anybody else in this game. I think she’s next though, and that’s good for Kim — it keeps up the status quo, and gives her another week before she has to start making hard decisions. It’s not looking good for Christina at all.
MTV: Why Christina over Tarzan? He’s the last man on the beach, which makes him an easy vote.
Cesternino: I don’t think they have a very strong preference either way between those two. They’re both pretty expendable to the overall plan. I actually think Tarzan has now become someone who could win the game, if you have a bitter jury of men saying, “Well, at least he has a penis!”
MTV: Fair point! [Laughs] Sticking with Christina for a minute, I can’t believe Sabrina just flat-out told Christina that she was getting votes that night.
Cesternino: It was so bizarre, Sabrina telling her, “We’re putting votes on Troyzan, and we’re also putting votes on you. Hope you’re on board with this plan!” And Christina was pretty much on board. And then she goes, “You know, I don’t know if I can trust the girls 100 percent.” Well, they just said they’re putting two votes on you! I don’t know what kind of wakeup call she really needs in this game, because, come on!
MTV: You and I have been on the Kimsanity train for a while now, but she screwed up this week, picking Chelsea over Kat to come with her at the reward challenge.
Cesternino: She really did make a big blunder. It reminded me of “Survivor: Nicaragua,” when Sash did the same thing with Fabio; he didn’t let Fabio see his mom. He got a very similar reaction. Also, for future reference, anytime they show you two people [striking a deal] before a reward challenge, you know that one of those two people is going to win, and they’re not going to do what they just said they’d do. It’s “Survivor” foreshadowing.
MTV: How bad was Kim’s blunder? What kind of damage is that going to do down the line?
Cesternino: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no big deal and 10 being Erik Reichenbach giving his immunity necklace away on “Fans vs. Favorites,” I’d give it about a 3. It’s not a big deal. Kat’s a little upset, but what’s Kat going to do?
MTV: Kat was clearly very upset, though. Now she has those Russell seeds in there; she wants to be a power player.
Cesternino: I think this whole episode was about perception and reality. For Kat, when she was confronted with what reality is and how different it is from what her perception of the game is — how people really see her — she really did need to wake up and smell the coffee. I don’t know which show Kat thinks she’s on, where she’s been the dominant player all season long, but I would like to watch that show.
MTV: That show exists in the same universe where Kat has never failed at anything in her life.
Cesternino: Right! [Laughs] This is so hard for her. She’s never failed at anything. It’s unfathomable!
MTV: Troyzan tried to make it look like Kim, Chelsea and Alicia were the top dogs based on the results of the reward challenge. Do you think that’s the actual final three?
Cesternino: With final threes instead of final twos now in place on “Survivor,” I think that everybody left really thinks that they’re in the final three with Kim. It’s like what Boston Rob was able to do a couple of seasons ago on “Redemption Island.” Alicia thinks she’s in the finals with Kim and Chelsea, Sabrina thinks she’s in the finals with Kim and Chelsea, and Kat thinks she’s in there too. We may not see how things really shake out until the final five, because you have all these people who think they’ll be in that third spot. Plus, somebody’s still working with Tarzan. Somebody’s telling him what he wants to hear to keep him from voting with Troyzan. And nobody tells Christina anything; she’ll vote however they want her to.
But what’s going to happen is, these people on the bottom are going to scratch and claw their way for the top three. No one’s going to get together and take out Kim, saying, “We can be the new top three. Forget Kim and Chelsea.” If Alicia and Christina could just stop bickering with each other, they could do something. Troyzan laid it out so obviously: With seven people left in the game, it could very easily be Kat, Christina, Alicia and Tarzan as the final four of the game — but that’s not going to happen.
MTV: Certainly not with Troyzan gone. Will you miss having him on the show?
Cesternino: It’s sad to see him go, because it felt like he was the only one left who could give Kim a run for her money. It’s really just Kim and a bunch of also-rans now. We’ll see if a bitter jury just doesn’t give Kim her money.
MTV: I would like to believe you’re right, because I want to see Kim win the game. But there’s an argument to be made for Chelsea, too. She’s playing a solid game: She’s vocal, she’s strong in challenges. I think Chelsea could beat Kim.
Cesternino: Absolutely. Just like last season, where Coach dominated the game, brought his alliance to the finals, told everybody what they wanted to hear to get to that point, and the jury gave the money to Coach’s loyal sidekick who was more blunt, honest and won challenges. It could easily go down the same way. I think Kim is savvier about the game than Coach is, but you have a voting block on the jury of five guys who want to blame somebody for what happened to them. Will they blame Kim and not give her the win because they look at her as the person who engineered the idea to get the men out of the game? We’ll see.
MTV: Kim said that winning the reward challenge was the worst thing to happen to her in the game so far. I have a feeling she’ll have worse days coming up.
Cesternino: Wah, wah, wah. [Laughs] If your worst day on “Survivor,” you win a reward challenge and an immunity challenge, then you’re doing pretty damn good out there. Let’s start a new hashtag: #winnerproblems.
Get more of Rob’s thoughts on “Survivor” by following him on Twitter.
Previously on MTV’s “Survivor” coverage …
» Leif blows away; Troyzan goes crazy
» Kimsanity is heating up
» Tarzan denies “poop pants” allegations
» Colton’s appendix ruptured by evil
» The “One World” beach breaks in half
What did you think of this week’s “Survivor”? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter at @roundhoward!