‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Episode 11 Results: Who Went Home In ‘It’s a Me Game, Not a We Game’?
Recap and review of Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Episode 11 – It’s a Me Game, Not a We Game:
Trust is a difficult thing to earn, and virtually impossible to win back once it’s been lost. This is why Tai found himself in such trouble this week. “It’s a Me Game, Not a We Game” is a turning point for Survivor: Kaoh Rong, as the balance of power has now shifted, with no real guarantee that alliances are going to remain in place for any real length of time. Sure, Tai survived this week at the expense of Julia, who was voted out by a margin of five votes to two, but can he really trust his new allies for much longer?
Interestingly, despite having an idol and a secret advantage, Tai wasn’t even the crucial force in this vote. Rather, it was Cydney and Michele, who suddenly found themselves in a swing vote position. It all came as a result of the reward challenge, which had the final seven (sans Jason, who sat out the challenge) competing in a race in teams of two, tossing rings onto a hook at the end of the course. Cydney and Michele were paired against the teams of Julia and Aubry, and Tai and Joe, resulting in a fairly tense challenge, although Cydney and Michele manage to secure an expected victory. Sure, Tai and Joe came close to winning, but this was a challenge designed for Michele and Cydney to win. In fact, their strong performance here is an indicator of how surprisingly strong their connection is, as they spend most of the episode discussing strategy with one another as full-fledged confidantes. I like this pairing, because they’re two of the most effective under-the-radar competitors of the season, and this pairing could make them one of the most formidable forces in the final stages of the game, provided they can keep their alliance together. But uncertainty has a way of making things difficult.
Case in point, as a result of their reward challenge win, Cydney and Michele get to choose one extra person to come on the feast reward with them. Smartly, they select Aubry as a way of exploring their options for the final leg of the game. More pointedly, they explore the possibility of blindsiding Tai to get his idol out of the game, an idea that illustrates the transitional nature of the alliance these women have with Tai, while also showing how easily this alliance might end up being divided. While Tai seems like a great option, Aubry is still intent on voting either Jason or Julia, viewing them as ticking time bombs that need to be neutralized. And she’s not exactly wrong. After tribal council, Julia doesn’t even want to hear Tai’s reasons for flipping. Jason, meanwhile, actually hears Tai out, concealing his rage underneath a thin veneer of “Well, It’s Just a Game” carelessness. It leaves Tai somewhat clueless as to how perilous his situation in the game is, even with an ally like Aubry fighting to keep him around. It’s a shame for a guy like Tai, who made his move against Jason and Scot last week because he felt like he was being marginalized, and used as a means to an end. However, in eliminating Scot and breaking his ties with Jason, Tai has thrown in with a group who views Tai in a similar fashion. Sure, they appear to respect him as a person far more than Jason and Scot ever did, but they view him as more of a threat than Jason and Scot did as well, since they spend the episode discussing his blindside. Say what you will about Jason and Scot, but they planned on keeping Tai around until at least final five, from every indication. Yet it’s hard to say for sure if Tai is going to go any farther than sixth place with this alliance, since these are people who are keenly aware of the threat he presents at final tribal council. With the Scot blindside, and his overall likability, Tai is a real jury threat, to say nothing of his challenge prowess (which hasn’t been as pronounced as of late, although it’s definitely still there). The question of whether or not Tai will be blindsided is the basis of this episode’s drama, which makes it a really tense nail-biter. Whether you’re a Tai fan or not, having him out of the game would fundamentally change the dynamics out on that island, especially with no idol or advantage left in the game.
Of course, Michele and Cydney aren’t the only ones considering their options. Julia and Jason formulate plans to rope in two of their rivals to make the Tai blindside happen. And Cydney is actually open to working with Jason again to make that happen! Although he’s suddenly lost his position of power, Jason had a great episode this week, illustrating his underrated game savvy by pinpointing and exploiting Cydney’s desire to make big moves. He essentially tells her exactly what she wants to hear, about how this could be a big move for her game that allows her to really take control by getting Tai’s idol out of the equation. Even though Cydney and Michelle don’t go along with the plan, it was still a very strong attempt on Jason’s part to try and shift the dynamic of the game. He can tell this is a fragile alliance, and although he’s on the bottom right now, I still think he’s a likely member of the Final Three simply for the fact that there are bigger threats on the island right now, to say nothing of his value as a “goat” for someone to take to the end. Hell, his polarizing quality is Aubry’s main argument for keeping him in the game over Julia, since Jason has burned a lot of bridges, whereas Julia is a well-rounded player with no blood on her hands. It’s sound reasoning, and yet, if Jason is viewed as an underdog from here on out, would a win really be all that shocking, especially if Tai and his allies are the ones burning all the bridges this time?
At tribal council, Michele is safe after winning an intense immunity challenge that involved memorizing numbers to unlock a word puzzle for solving. She just barely outlasted Julia, who came very close to winning. This challenge ended up dictating what happened at tribal, in many ways, since the Tai vote might have become more viable had Julia been safe. And yet, the person most paranoid is the person who, as it turns out, had no reason to worry. Tai debates playing his idol after Jason calls him out for flipping on multiple occasions, noting that Tai’s alliance has no way of knowing he won’t just flip on them again at the earliest opportunity. He’s not exactly wrong, although I feel this position downplays his own culpability in what happened to his alliance last week, since Tai might not have flipped had Jason and Scot not gone so far out of their way to marginalize him. That said, Jason’s ranting at tribal does get Tai nervous enough to seriously consider playing the idol, even going as far as to ask Aubry if he should go through with it. Ultimately, Tai trusts his instincts (and his alliance) and keeps the idol to himself, which proves to be the right move, as Julia is voted out. But I really can’t imagine Tai won’t become a target now that there are fewer big targets in the game. I could understand getting Julia out first, but if they don’t blindside Tai next week, or they fail to get him to flush out his idol, he’s guaranteed final four, since he can just play it at final five. Now is the time to make a move, but it’s hard to tell if those moves are actually going to get made. We’re down to two Brains, two Brawn and two Beauties, so at least there’s an interesting amount of symmetry here. “It’s a Me Game, Not a We Game” is entertaining as hell, adding to the case for Survivor: Kaoh Rong being one of the better seasons in recent memory.
But what did you think of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Episode 11, “It’s a Me Game, Not a We Game”? Sound off in the comments!
And Survivor: Kaoh Rong, watch the deleted scenes from last week’s show, including behind-the-scenes videos with the jury!