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Survivor: Kaoh Rong recap: Now's the Time to Start Scheming

The majority alliance starts to crumble, and an extra vote goes to waste

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Screen Grab/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

Immuniyt? Wait, no…that’s not right. Immuntiy? Nope, that’s not it either. Imnumity? Is that closer? DAMN IT, WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICLUT?!? I MEAN, DIFFICULT!

Oh, spelling, you merciless slayer of egos and intellectual pseudo-prowess. You have owned me many a time over. You even manage to still elude the traps I have carefully set out for you in the form of such modern day devices like “spellcheck” and “editors.” Regular readers of this here recap know a few slips are likely to emerge each and every week — perhaps a “form” instead of “from” or “relay” instead of “really” — things that eyes both human and electronic may miss. And then you occasionally decide to simply toy with me in the form of cast members with oddly spelled variations on otherwise completely normal names — you know, folks like Alecia and Michele. DAMN YOU, SPELLING!!!

But while spelling will surely strike me down many times throughout this recap, it set its destructive sights this week squarely on Joe. Make no mistake, Joe being unable to bring back the proper letters for “immunity” was far less embarrassing than some of the slip-ups we’ve seen in Big Brother’s annual find-a-bunch-of-letters-and-spell-out-the-longest-word-you-can challenge (the absurd technotronics — or “tectronics,” as Jeff Schroeder spelled it, anyone?), but it was still not a great look. However, I cringe to think of what my spelling skills would be like after 32 days with little food or sleep, so I’m gonna give Joe a free pas on this one… I mean, pass.

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Okay, let’s break down the rest of this bad boy from the very top. We begin after Julia’s elimination at Tribal Council, and there is a lot of chatter around the camp. Jason tells Cydney and Michele that Tai and Aubry are the biggest threats and how he is much better to bring to the end. Of course, he also tells us how now everyone knows he can preach and that “I make mothers rat their sons out.” If everyone knows he can preach, why would they want to bring him to the end? Also, why would a mother rat out her son? That’s terrible parenting! Even in tough love scenarios I’m not sure I can endorse that. The reconciliation process would simply be too much.

Meanwhile, Tai informs Aubry and Joe that if they stick together they are good to go to the end. He says he’ll use his advantage at the next Tribal and his immunity idol after that. Whether telling them this is a good idea is open to debate. It demonstrates loyalty, but offering up a road map to your game play is always a shaky proposition, especially in a game as fluid as this one, where alliances seem to form and disintegrate as often as Jason gets a tattoo, which, judging by all available evidence, appears to be approximately every day.

Michelle — damn it! I mean, Michele — tells us that she voted out Julia to show loyalty to the majority by getting rid of her biggest ally in the game, but Tai remains unmoved, explaining that Michele is a more well-rounded player than Jason, so she should go next, WHOOPS!

The next morning, Tai puts Mark the chicken through his own disgusting food reward challenge, with the secret dish being…grubs! Mark pulls a Cochran and dominates, downing the grub in one swallow and then running a victory lap for good measure. (Is that a red wattle on Mark’s neck, or is it actually a sweater vest? Hmmm…) Jason laments that “I gave up eating that chicken days ago,” so apparently his sabotage only goes so far.

And then, all of a sudden, Jason morphs into Ciera and complains to Joe that “no one is playing the game anymore!” Ever notice this is only ever said by people that are outside of the main alliance? You never see people in control of the game lamenting that nobody is making moves. I certainly don’t remember Jason complaining about a lack of moves being made when he was in power. My favorite thing about the Second Chance season was watching Ciera bellyache that nobody was actually playing the game, while at the exact same time you had Stephen Fishbach breathlessly going on and on about how it was the most strategic season in the history of seasons of any reality show to ever air in any country! So which was it?

This isn’t to say that Ciera and Jason shouldn’t be doing this, however. When you are in that position, you need to try to convince people to make a move, even if what you are saying is total B.S. Jason’s other strategy is to play “the lazy card” — basically refusing to do any work in the hopes that you become even more disliked and therefore brought to the end. I believe in Survivor parlance this is known as “Shepparding.”

NEXT: Initiate super cool reward challenge