I’m not sure anything has ever made less sense than this entire episode of Survivor. And make no mistake — I loved every second of it. But it made no sense. None whatsoever. Because let’s look at the major plot point of the episode: Kass, Spencer, and Woo use their reward feast to hatch a new plan to join Tasha in voting for Tony and Trish, in the hopes of forcing Tony to use one of his idols. But here’s the thing: not to go all Meatballs on you, but say it with me — “It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter.” (Incidentally, that is my favorite solitary-line-to-group-chant-moment in film history, alongside a previously passive Astrodome crowd imploring umpires to “Let them play!” in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. (William Devane alert!)
It just doesn’t matter, and I’ll tell you why. Tony has two idols and there are only two Tribal Councils left in which he can use them. (All idols must be used by the vote down from five-to-four.) Not only that, but they have known he has had two idols for some time. Remember when Tony pulled out that idol he claimed was fake when Jeremiah got voted out? Well, Jefra Bland told me on Entertainment Weekly Radio last week that Tony later admitted to everyone that it was indeed a real idol (although he did not reveal it was a super idol). Then you will recall that he purchased the advantage at the food auction last week, leading him to another idol which he then proudly displayed to everyone at camp. So they knew he had two idols. It may not necessarily be presented that way on screen, but according to her, he told them and showed them and they all knew.
Two Tribal Councils and two idols until the final four. So why bother flushing the idol? There’s no reason. And yet everyone kept talking about flushing that idol. Even Jeff Probst got into the act at Tribal talking about it was an “obvious” vote to get rid of the idols, and he got prompt agreements from Kass and Woo, BUT WHY?!? THE GUY HAS ALREADY BEEN FAST PASSED TO THE FINAL FOUR! Forget about flushing idols at this juncture. It’s pointless. Now, Spencer said it was a no lose situation because if Tony uses one of his idols — and again, why wouldn’t he if he needs to? — then Trish goes home instead of Tasha. But why the hell would you want that? Tasha could win this game. Trish can’t. Why keep around the person who can possibly beat you over the person who can’t? And before anyone says that the other four still need to flush one of the idols so Tony can’t give it to Trish at the next vote to protect her — why would you want to vote Trish out? Again, that is someone you can beat. Those are the people you want to keep around at this point. So again, why bother? But the point really isn’t that they should not have done this; it’s that they should have done this…about three Tribal Councils ago. Survivor is all about timing, and their timing here was way off.
This drove me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs the entire back half of the episode — although Jeff Probst has a different take on this and I encourage you to read our Q&A to see why. But there was plenty of nonsensical stuff to keep me confused for the front half as well, so let’s get to it from the tippy top. The episode begins with Kass informing us that “I’m pissed off” because Tony flipped on his alliance. (Pot. Kettle. Black.) They go at it and Kass tells Tony he’s being a jerk, which has been a favorite word of mine ever since Ryan Shoulders wrote “Die Jerks” on his Outcast Buff back in Survivor: Pearl Islands.
But this is just the appetizer, as the main course awaits us the next morning as Tony is telling Spencer and Woo by the fire all about life as a New Jersey cop — continuing his long, proud tradition of schizophrenic career talk. He tells everyone he’s a construction worker, then admits he’s a cop, then randomly reverts back to construction worker at Tribal Council, now has settled back on cop. Tony’s nonsensical back and forth at this point has become even odder than a dude in saggy pink undies claiming to be a former federal agent.
NEXT: Spencer longs for immunity from children