I’ve bored on ad nauseam about what I consider to be the narrative imbalance this season, but I think this episode’s opening made me point for me pretty clearly. “Previously on Survivor: SPENCER TONY TONY TONY TONY SPENCER TONY SPENCER SPENCER TONY TONY TONY.” Nobody else got any sort of look in, apart from the grudging mention of Jefra being the one who got voted out. Spencer even ended up getting full credit for the “make Tony paranoid by thinking there’s a woman’s alliance” strategy which, at the very least, was part Tasha’s idea and required a heck of a lot on her part to make it work. I’m sure if you like Spencer and Tony, or even if you just like one of them, then this is all fine, but I find them both rather disappointing as Survivor personalities because they’re both so one-note and cartoonish (and, in Spencer’s case, inarticulate).
Fortunately, this episode broke away from the pack by giving Kass an absurd amount of screentime – so much so that I wondered for a while if this might be her swansong, since Kass has been MIA for a while, but perhaps that’s just because Kass only really operates at Full Kass if she feels like she’s been wronged, and she DEFINITELY feels like she’s been wronged this week. First of all, she wasn’t privy to Tony’s blindsiding tactics again, and she’s feeling kind of butthurt about it. Then the next morning the men are all awake and shooting the breeze and Tony innocently makes a comment about how it’s not like Kass to still be asleep at this hour. Kass, who is in fact not asleep, hears her own name and somehow interprets that as Tony calling her a bitch. I mean, I’m not saying she’s projecting, but I’m also not not saying that either. Anyway, that erupts into a major event, and it’s kind of funny how Tony has got away with all of the shit that he’s pulled this season and ends up facing a mutiny for something he didn’t actually do. (Unless he did actually say it and the editors just hate Kass so much that they decided not to show it to make her look really bad, which I also wouldn’t entirely rule out because lolKass.) Anyway, Kass has now officially decided that Tony is not to be trusted, and snarls that he hasn’t learned from the last time she flipped that she will, well, flip if she thinks she isn’t valued. And after all that, Kass doesn’t feel valued. She tells Tony he’s being childish, and he replies that he SO IS NOT, and this prompts Tony to tell everyone that he’s got the super-duper idol and he’s going to use it to save himself at the next Tribal, so Kass is going home. Nobody really knows whether to believe Tony or not, understandably.
From there we move to the Reward Challenge, where the remaining contestants are split into two teams of three (Tasha, Tony and Trish vs Spencer, Kass and Woo) and charged with throwing bags at a big wall o’blocks. The twist is that the wall you’re trying to demolish actually belongs to the other team, and once you’ve completely knocked it down, you have to swap places and put it back together, so the team that doesn’t manage to completely demolish it gives the others a head start on the second part of the task. To be honest, it’s kind of dumb, and the first part of it makes very little difference anyway, because when Team Spencer knocks all the blocks down the others have only got about two left anyway. Spencer and Tasha take the rebuilding, and while Tasha gets off to a strong start, she falters later while Spencer is slow and steady and also has Kass behind him doing some excellent back-seat building. They win, and their reward is to go and distribute school supplies to some children, and then eat some meat.
They head off for the reward, where it turns out that Spencer hates children because of course he does. Woo, on the other hand, LOVES children and basically ends up being the unexpected highlight of an extremely bloated segment as he entertains the kids by spinning a basketball on his finger and doing a martial arts show for them. It’s easily the most animated he’s been all season, and it’s very cute. Of course, taking time away from camp necessitates a strategy discussion, so Kass suggests they target Tony. Obviously he claims to have the Tyler Perry Idol Of Absurd Power, but she theorises that they could vote split between him and Trish, and then whatever he and Trish do, they’ll either get one of them out right away or get them on the revote. Of course, this doesn’t factor in the part where Tony could (and indeed does) have two idols that he could use to save both himself and Trish, but Kass probably isn’t the great reader of people she pretends to be. Woo isn’t sure at first, but on the walk home, he decides that he’s in.
Of course, Tony and Trish were absolutely expecting the events of the above paragraph, and we see them discussing that if Woo comes back and says that Spencer and Kass didn’t try to turn him, they’ll know he’s lying and it definitely happened. Woo isn’t quite that stupid, but he does the next worst thing: he tells them that Spencer tried to get him to vote Tasha out, which makes literally no sense from any sort of strategic standpoint. Oh, Woo. You’re hot, and you’re great with kids, but you really have no business being on Survivor because you cannot bluff in the slightest. So naturally Woo’s oddball answer leaves Tony and Trish more convinced than ever that they need to watch their backs.
The Immunity Challenge is essentially a reversion of the iconic “somebody call the waahmbulance, Terry’s crying on the course!” challenge from Survivor: Panama, as it requries the contestants to go and count items at six separate stations, then put those numbers into a big tombola wheel-type thing, and if you’ve calculated them all correctly, it’ll let you pull your rod out (fnar) and smash a thing to win immunity. The thing is, the Panama version of this also had the contestants all having to run along a series of wires and getting tired in knots, which provided an extra level of fun and tension. Here, they’re just running between things on a free course which actually makes for quite boring television. It wasn’t really a vintage week for challenges. Anyway, Spencer wins, bringing Tasha’s reign as Immunity Queen to an end and thereby sealing her fate.
Tasha does her best to work with the idea of her, Spencer, Kass and Woo all pooling their efforts to pull an upset on the other two, but Tony (who, for all his faults, is impressively astute this week) notices that Tasha isn’t scrambling in the way he’d expect her to, so he knows that something’s up and confirms that he’ll be voting for Tasha. At this point, Kass has convinced herself that Tony is so universally loathed that she could sit next to him at Final Tribal Council and win, so she’s lost her enthusiasm for shanking him. And since Tasha is a bigger threat, both as an immunity rival and from a social perspective with the jury, so she goes to Woo to tell him the plan has changed.
At Tribal Council, Jeff advises the survivors to try to flush those idols out, and there’s more tedious crap about Tony’s bag of tricks. The only real noteworthy point is that Jefra looks genuinely angry on the jury, which might prove fruitful in the final. The vote, sadly, plays out predictably: Spencer votes for Tony, Tasha votes for Trish, and everyone else votes for Tasha, so she’s gone. Tasha leaves, and considers making final six an achievement given the tribe that she started out on.
NEXT WEEK: Kass pisses Trish off. Oh, that's going to be good. I mean, they barely even showed Spencer or Tony in the preview, so it must be good.