There's nothing editing loves more than a perpetual commotion machine. Ideally, this is someone who has little to no impact on the actual outcome of the game, but comes up with enough colorful confessional fodder that their ranting about other players can be used at any time to distract from the actual boot (think Tocantins Coach). Ideally, that person also raises a ruckus in camp, to provide non-challenge, non-tribal footage, perhaps even so much that the full intro/title sequence has to be cut. This season, that person is Colton.
Colton would probably like us all to think he's more of a Samoa Russell Hantz, since he has a hidden immunity idol, and all. And we would agree to the extent that they've both positioned themselves well for getting to the end while having absolutely no chance of winning. But Russell actually used his idols and his influence around camp to control who went home. Colton... has failed to get Bill booted. True, Colton did make an impressive show during tribal of having an idol, and we suppose should be congratulated for holding onto it for another round. Then again, he also knew he had little risk of his being voted out, what with five solid and at least one more bonus vote (Jay) going the way his alliance intended. So to summarize: Colton was allowed to make vaguely racist comments from the safety of the confessional booth, he then went on to flaunt his idol during tribal, and then he's able to lather, rinse and repeat again next episode! Perpetual commotion.
And that's exactly the kind of behavior this award is intended to recognize. Getting attention purely for attention's sake. It's like crack to Survivor's production team, and it will always be rewarded with screen time on the show. To be honest, we're not really sure why it needs to be further rewarded here. Curse our lack of long-term strategic planning!
With the increased focus on Colton this episode, there could almost have been a complete tribe of otherwise invisible contestants this week. Seen but not heard from on Manono were Leif and Michael (although Michael at least got to speak at tribal council). Jonas had a barely memorable confessional, and did not figure into any of the major camp or tribal council discussions. And fully half the women's tribe was confession-less, heads down and shivering politely to the side, as Chelsea essentially gave the narrative for all of Salani. So there are a lot of people to choose from here.
But we have to go with Leif this time. As you no doubt know, Winter is Coming (hence all the shivering), so we were expecting Leif to be a witty, calculating, cutthroat gamer, cast to cash in America's ceaseless (but completely understandable) Tyrionsanity. Instead, Leif has largely been overlooked, except when blocking the ladies from the fire. We'd like to like him (maybe we just like liking things?), but we've barely seen him. Hopefully there'll be more to go on in future weeks.
While we didn't hear much from Sabrina this week, we saw a lot of her, as she drove Salani to wins not only in the reward challenge (An actual reward challenge! Not a crappy, half-assed, camp-restricted one!), but also in the immunity challenge. And while the IC win may have been aided by the collective efforts of her snooping tribemates, who took note of and transmitted the locations of Bill's progress on the men's side, Sabrina's performance in the RC was pretty spectacular, nailing the speed-memory test nearly as fast and decidedly more accurately than a guy who should have a good memory (the lawyer, Matt).
And yet, in doing so, Sabrina fully embodied the Beasty spirit this week: performing well, while standing out just enough to create a target upon herself. Or at least she should have, if these contestants were aware the kinds of challenges she's rocking now are also the kind that are common post-merge (we suspect a lot of these contestants are quite unaware of that).
Whereas Troyzan managed to lose (seven times!) his RC matchup to none other than Kat (!), and was rewarded with a banjo-laden hillbilly music-soundtracked montage for his efforts, Sabrina scored, and scored quickly. Where Troyzan appears to be the low-key leader of the Manono Misfits, Sabrina is out front as the leader of Salani. We like what we've seen of Sabrina so far, but we still worry that we've seen too much.
Another week, another lack of obvious strategy. So where to look? Back in episode 1, several people flagged Troyzan's "This is my island!" quip as a possible "winner's quote." It seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, given that the context was the battle of the Tarzan vs. Troyzan nicknames. But as Troyzan has slowly grown in screen time, we're starting to think maybe there's something to that: a couple of scenes this week showed that not only does Troyzan actually understand the game (beyond giving himself a nickname, obviously), he's may actually be running it, and setting himself up for a win.
The first scene was Troyzan (with a shocked "of course" kind of attitude) allowing the soaked women to come warm themselves by the Manono fire. While this rankled some of his tribe (Jay, Matt, Colton), their anger was directed at the interlopers, not at Troyzan. So he gained all the cross-tribal benefits, while suffering none of the blowback. If it's Jay or Colton vs. Troyzan in the final three, it's not hard to guess which guy now has an inside track on votes from the female jurors.
Secondly, when the misfit five alliance on Manono was discussing their boot options (later joined by Jay), even though it was Tarzan who talked down Colton's wild anti-Bill fantasies, the following scene's discussion between Matt and Troyzan showed who was really in charge: Troyzan. Or at least as far as Matt was concerned. He didn't seek out Tarzan or Colton (or Leif or Jonas, but do we even need to mention that?), he wanted to pull in Troyzan, as the head of the snake/ fellow rooster/ other random animal analogy that oddly did not involve monkeys. Yeah, it's just two small scenes... but when you're getting clobbered over the head with allegedly entertaining misdirection for an entire episode, sometimes subtle has a certain appeal.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Matt Quinlan