Survivor: Kaoh Rong recap: The Circle of Life
One player gets a little too cocky going into Tribal Council
Live from the remote Cambodian island of Kaoh Rong, it’s the 2016 Douchey Awards! Featuring performances by…John Mayer! Adam Levine! Chris Brown! A lifetime achievement award for Kanye West! And the hysterical comedy stylings of Dane Cook! Plus, a celebration of our very first Douchey Awards 20 years ago including an interview with original Douchemaster, Val Kilmer! And now, put your hands together for your host and 2010 Douchemaster of the Year…Eddie Cibrian!!
Thank you! Thank you so much! And welcome to the Doucheys, everyone! I’m Eddie Cibrian, and we have a spectacular show for you this evening. I’d like to thank Playboy magazine for sponsoring tonight’s event and remind all our attendees that whoever hits on the most cocktail waitresses this evening will be winning a lifetime supply of Full Throttle energy drinks, so have at it, gentlemen!
Okay, fellas. We all know why we’re here: to crown this year’s Douchiest Survivor! Let’s get right to it with all three finalists. And the nominees are…
He has brass knuckles tattooed on his body along with all other manner of unfortunate permanent markings, and insists on dismissively comparing one of his fellow tribemates to an ostrich while repeatedly referring to her as Blondie… It’s Jason!!!
Next up, he is a personal trainer, because of course he is, and is known for saying things like, “My life has definitely been easier because I am better looking than most people”… Put your hands together for Nick!
Finally, he started the season off by explaining how “Being an ER doctor, it’s going to be difficult for me to not show how smart I am,” has been known to needlessly antagonize people he deems as inferior at Tribal Council, and has no problem whatsoever starting off sentences with “Although Liz and I are good-looking people and have great smiles”… Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Peter!
Just a reminder that tonight’s winner will automatically enter our Douchemaster Hall of Fame and win the ultimate prize: a full-length mirror so they can endlessly gaze upon all of their own beauty and awesomeness for as long as they like. The envelope, please.
I would also like to add, before opening, that this envelope, as always, has been coated with Enrique Iglesias’ Adrenaline cologne for maximum douchiness. Enrique Iglesias’ Adrenaline — the smell that made a million ladies swoon. Okay, here we go, And the winner is… PETER!
Congratulations, Peter! Your unwavering love and support for yourself was simply impossible to ignore. John Mayer will be up next performing his brand new song, “Hit That and Quit That.” But for those of you leaving us to return to your regularly scheduled Survivor recap, we hope you enjoyed this live look at the 2016 Doucheys and remember our motto: Even the hottest babe you ever bag is never as hot as yourself. Good night, everyone!
Thanks, Eddie! Okay, well, at least Peter won something because he was a big loser at everything else in this past Survivor. Not as big a loser as Liz, I suppose, who is now out of the game. But nonetheless, after telling us over and over how incredible he is and how he’s controlling everyone and everything, this has to be a slap to the beautiful, picture-perfect face of the egotistical ER doctor. But here’s what I don’t get: Even if you believed all those things about how incredible you are in every facet of life and how to live it, why would you say it?
Have you no concept about how terrible this makes you look? How unlikable it makes you seem? Now, I will give Peter the benefit of the doubt in one regard. I’ve covered this show since day one, and I’ve spoken to hundreds upon hundreds of contestants. And they have told me in no uncertain terms about how producers egg them on for juicy sound bites.
I don’t think this is breaking news to anyone. Of course a producer wants a lively contestant making bold proclamations. And of course a contestant knows the only way to get airtime when competing against 17 other players for the camera is to have some flashy quotes ready. For example, let’s say a producer asks a contestant in their interview session how they feel it’s going and the player says, “Oh, you know, it’s fine. Hopefully I have the votes on my side, but you never know. Could go either way. And gee, everyone else is pretty smart, so maybe they’re pulling one over on me. Fingers crossed everything turns out okay!”
A quote like that is not doing the producer, the contestant, or the viewer any good. So, naturally, the contestant feels an inherent pressure to put a little mustard on it. They know what’s expected of them. They know why they were cast. And they know we’ll have to file a missing persons report for them like Cowboy Rick if they don’t produce a personality. So they start bragging. But that’s just dumb. There are other ways to showcase a personality without doing that. Be funny! Be self-deprecating! Be energetic! But don’t be a jackass.
NEXT: Probst’s words of wisdom
I mean, let’s go back to that one quote of Peter’s: “Although Liz and I are good looking people and have great smiles…” WHY IN A MILLION YEARS WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!?!? You know what? You are both good looking. You both do have great smiles. But saying it makes you a thousand times less attractive. And this is what Jeff Probst was talking about when he said, “For all the talk tonight about how smart this tribe is, the vote illustrates that Survivor is always about emotional intelligence, your ability to pick up on social cues. That’s what gets you to the end.”
Sometimes these little weekly post-Tribal bon mots Probst delivers are rather generic and random, but hot damn if he didn’t hit the nail directly on the head with that one. Not to go all Apprentice with the Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts battle, but how smart are you really if you cannot pick up on basic social cues like the fact that you are annoying everyone around you? This was a big-time lesson in humility for Peter, and I am fascinated to see how he responds to it. He said a plan was in place at Tribal Council and then flat-out told Neal “It’s not your plan.” Soooooo dismissive. And soooooo condescending. And soooooo unnecessary. But what happens next? If Peter is as smart as he claims to be, he will rebound and move on to plan B. And dude, in case none of this is quite hitting home for you yet, you just got played…by Debbie.
Okay, let’s move on to what else went down at the three tribe camps this week.
One again, the episode begins with Alecia back at camp after having almost been voted out. Scot explains to the self-proclaimed “mental giant” that he voted for her only because he promised Jenny he wouldn’t write her name down while Alecia responds that she doesn’t understand why he wrote her name down if he knew Jenny was going home anyway. I will refer Alecia back to the first part of the previous sentence as explanation. This is why Alecia is so frustrating sometimes. Because I hate the way Jason talks about her, but then she talks herself and…ugh.
But the big battle comes the next day as the entire tribe gets engaged in a crazy idol hunt. See if you can follow this: Alecia finds the first clue, but Cydney sees her. Then Cydney finds the idol box and second clue, but Alecia doesn’t see her. However, Jason did see the digging, so Cydney tells Jason and Scot it is buried at the foot of the tree. Then Jason goes off to find it because “I am possibly one of the best bounty hunters in southeast Michigan.”
That sounds like a lot of qualifications on his competency as a bounty hunter. I mean, don’t get me wrong — I’m glad he’s not being over-the-top boastful like Peter, but saying you are “possibly one” of the best in “southeast Michigan” is really not saying much at all. I feel like you need to commit a little more in one area. Like, either say you are the “best bounty hunter in southeast Michigan” or go with “possibly one of the best bounty hunters in America.” I’m sorry, but I’m honestly not that impressed with “possibly one of the best bounty hunters in southeast Michigan.” Perhaps I am seriously underestimating the bounty hunter market in this very specific quadrant of the Wolverine State, but it just sounds kind of sad.
In any event — I got off-track a bit there — Jason finds the clue with the map, which eventually leads to him basically run over poor Alecia to get the key after Scott pokes it out from the tree onto the ground. Now, if I were Alecia at this point and my options were battling Jason and Scott for the key, I would have probably cut my losses and done something else. I would have gone back and taken the locked box with the idol and hidden it somewhere else. Could I open it? No. Would I have the idol? No. But neither would they. And that could prove important when the inevitable merge shake-up comes.
NEXT: This week in Tai
As for Scot, he’s thrilled they have the idol and even more thrilled when he learns they can combine two idols for a post-vote-reading super idol. “Wonder Twin powers, activate!” he bellows in an awesome shout-out to the Super Friends. (But which one is Zan and which one is Jayna? And can I call dibs on being Gleek?) “It’s in the right hands,” says Scot of the idol. “I would prefer it was in mine, but I’m pretty confident Jason is going to take care of me.”
NO, SCOT! No! No! No! Yes, it is possible Jason will take care of you if it is obvious you need it and he already has immunity from a challenge. But it is also ten times more likely he will not. For one thing, you just said he would take care of you, so of course that sound bite is now going to come back to bite you in the ass. Also, what happens if there’s a tribe shake-up and you end up on separate beaches? You think Jason’s going to say, “Here, you take this” before you separate? Hell to the no! You think if you are both at Tribal Council and only have one idol to use and it could be either of you voted out, he’s gonna be all, “Please, be my guest” and hand it over? Hell to the no! Shared idols are only so shared.
Speaking of idols, Tai is back at it trying to retrieve his. But like the Brawn tribe, he lost the tool (and by that, I do not mean Nick) so has to make a new tool himself, and this time he gets it. Tai’s in a pretty good spot in the tribe at this point. Everyone seems to like him, and yet no one is threatened by him. Of course, Tai is the guy you would never want to bring to the end because how in the world do you beat someone like that? But he could be good to make a deep run (if he doesn’t end up medically evacuated, that is).
Tai rules. Honestly, all I really want to do is write about Tai. Like, I could do 4,000 words on his eyebrows alone, another 4,000 on his glasses, and a full novel on his attempted kiss of Caleb. I already have 12 volumes of Tai fan fiction ready to go (Volume VII: Beast Mode Taiboy). And watching him here dealing with the chicken only makes me love the guy more. We know how much Tai adores every living creature (including plants and trees and Caleb). We also know he wants to fit in with his tribe and not impose his beliefs and values on everyone else. If he is going to kill to eat, he wants to make sure there is “no waste,” which is why you saw him last week convincing Caleb to eat the fish eyeball.
Knowing Tai’s beliefs, it was heartbreaking to watch him react to feeling the life draining out of the chicken’s body as he held it. How could you not empathize with that? Why, you would have to be a monster! Or you’d have to be Nick. “My friends would compare me to a robot or cold-blooded,” says Nick upon seeing a despondent Tai out in the water, “but you don’t need emotions out here.”
I actually agree with that, but only when it comes to yourself. Keep your emotions in check, or they will interfere with your game play. But don’t act put out by someone else’s emotions. That’s not an annoyance. THAT’S AN OPPORTUNITY!!! Look how Terry put that to his advantage last season when Abi-Maria was having issues. Don’t roll your eyes. Bond with the guy!
And sure enough, next thing you know Anna is telling us how she doesn’t like Nick’s attitude and inviting Caleb to join the women in getting rid of him. (Check out my episode 1 pick to win making some moves! Nice!) No wonder the Beauty tribe is kicking butt. Because they also have maybe the strongest guy in the competition in Caleb and a seemingly savvy/brainy gal in Anna. And with Tai in the mix, it’s pretty hard not to like this group as a whole.
NEXT: Debbie shows she’s more than just a goofball
You would figure that the Brains tribe would be the first ones to find their idol; however, they are the one group yet to locate the labyrinth of clues leading to their Tribal Council protection. For his part, Peter is too busy admiring himself to look for idols. He talks all about how in control he and Liz are while noting, “We’re playing like bosses right now.”
But little do the bosses know that “court jester” Debbie may be more attuned to what is going on than they realize. This is going to absolutely destroy them when they see this play back on TV because the woman they — and, let’s be honest, we — had dismissed as a complete joke is ready to shrewdly undermine the bosses and get them fired. Debbie explains to us she has been gathering intel and “flying under the radar.” I’m not sure Debbie has even flown under the radar in her entire life. In fact, didn’t she create the radar in one of her past jobs? Regardless, Peter and Liz never see it coming as Debbie snaps into action and recruits Aubry and Neal. “The bomb doors are open,” says Debbie. “Prepare to fire.” In fairness, that could just mean Debbie needs to go to the bathroom. With her, you can never quite be 100 percent sure.
Let’s head to the challenge where Probst has unfortunately eschewed his orange baseball cap for the first time. The contest is a pretty cool one, though, as the teams must jump off a platform, swim out to a boat, and collect three bags of rice. And here’s where things get interesting as the tribes must now carry the heavy bags (which only get heavier as they get wet) and then stuff them through a small hole, requiring lots of pushing, pulling, and redistributing of the rice. After that, they must carry the bags on a balance beam and then up on the beach, where they get to cut the bags open with a giant Crocodile Dundee knife and locate three balls that must be maneuvered through a maze of holes while the person maneuvering is standing on another balance beam.
First team to finish also gets to choose between comfort items or something called “emotional items,” which consist of notes, pictures, and teddy bears from home. Second place gets whichever the winners don’t select. Third place gets two things: jack and s—. Because Brawn has been so terrible, Beauty and Brains must sit two players each and select Anna & Michele and Aubry & Joe, respectively.
The smokin’ hot Beauty tribe once again smokes the competition, leading from wire to wire, so it comes down to a battle between Brains and Brawn, with Cyndey (who had faltered her first time up) coming back and narrowly besting Debbie to eek out the first ever non-last place effort for Brawn. Beauty does the smart thing and selects the comfort items to go along with their immunity, leaving Brawn with their emotional items, and leaving Pete to tell us how Neal is going down.
But Liz takes it even one step further, saying back at camp that, “Losing was a blessing in disguise.” Wow, season 32, and people still don’t get it. YOU NEVER WANT TO GO TO TRIBAL COUNCIL! Sure, you could paint a scenario where after a tribe swap you may want to go to Tribal to vote out someone that will otherwise join up with their previous alliance partners at the merge and give them a numbers majority, but even that is foolish because anything can happen at Tribal Council. The people you were so sure were on your side may not be. The person you were so sure could not have an immunity idol may have one, or two! The only way to make 100 percent sure you are safe and stay in the game is to not go to the place where people get eliminated.
How many overconfident folks have we seen simply delighted to go to Tribal Council only to get voted out right then and there? And yet people still fall for this. It is so basic. It is so simple. You do not want to go to Tribal Council. Ever. Any potential reward of getting rid of someone is nullified by the risk of your game being ended permanently. You would expect the Brains tribe, of all people, to realize this. As Debbie so astutely points out when it comes to Liz, “The fact is, she is absolutely oblivious to the reality of what is going on here.”
NEXT: A Tribal Council shocker (for some)
Debbie wants Liz to go because she thinks they still need Peter for challenges while Aubry says Peter is untrustworthy and does not have “emotional intelligence” and wants him to go instead. Will it be Peter or Liz? Off to Tribal we go to find out where Peter informs us that, “As an ER doctor, social interaction is what I’m a professional in.” Wow, that just inadvertently turned into the worst advertisement for your practice, like, ever.
Peter then talks about how he was fine after the challenge loss knowing a plan was in place, a plan he takes great pains to point out is his and not Neal’s. Congratulations, Peter, you are more than welcome to take full credit for your terrible plan, which is about to blow up directly in front of your perfect face. Peter continues to lay out his exact plan in excruciating detail and how they are going to split the vote to get out Neal or Aubry. Probst attempts to draw out Debbie with her reaction to this, but she — unlike Jenny last week — plays it perfectly. “Good for him for throwing it all out there,” she says, refusing to show her real cards. Anna the poker player would be impressed.
But the ultimate clueless cringeworthy comments only continue. “The person going home tonight will not be completely shocked, ” says a soon-to-be-shocked Liz. “I just want to take pen to parchment and put some names down,” says a soon-to-be-considerably-less-cocky Peter, who also manages to smirk as Aubry votes and actually brushes off his shoulders while going up to cast his.
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It ends up being a three-way tie (to protect against idols) between Peter, Liz, and Aubry, and Liz is unanimously sent packing on the re-vote. Ouch. The blessing in disguise turns out to be a nightmare instead. I actually feel kinda bad for Liz. Although she foolishly thought going to Tribal would be hunky-dory, she doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad egg. Liz was merely the sidekick to the true villain on the Tribe and ended up a casualty of war. Sucks for her.
And it is going to suck for someone next week in what looks to be a medical evacuation. The footage points to Tai, but that could (hopefully) be a misdirect. Either way, I’m nervous. At least there will be an ER doctor on hand! The handsomest, smartest ER doctor ever, from what I understand.
But we’re not done with this week yet. Check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode of Jason explaining the significance of his green teddy bear in the video player below. And make sure to mosey on over to my weekly Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst. Also, I’ll be chatting with the eliminated Liz on EW Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) at 9:40 a.m. EST and will also have that interview up on EW.com Thursday afternoon, so check back for that. And for all the Survivor insanity (including live commercial break Q&As on Periscope) follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
But now it’s your turn. Would you have voted out Peter or Liz? Are you Team Jason or Team Alecia? And whom do you least want to be medically evacuated next week. Hit the message boards to weigh in, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy.