‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Episode 12 Results: Can Tai Hold His Alliance Together?

Recap and review of Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Episode 12 – Now’s the Time to Start Scheming:

“Now’s the Time to Start Scheming” is an apt title for this week’s episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, considering how unstable the vote was prior to tribal council. Tai’s game is all over the map right now, and while it makes for exciting television, it also means the game is in a constant state of flux, where no result is ever truly set in stone until Jeff Probst is snuffing a torch. In this case, we saw the end of someone who, in just about any other season, might have been dragged to the end for his “goat” potential at Final Tribal Council.

Yes, it was the end of the road for Jason this week, although Tai tried like hell to save his former ally. Okay, that’s probably a bit of a stretch. It wasn’t so much that Tai wanted to save Jason, but rather that he wanted to get rid of Michele. And you know what? I was actually Team Tai this week. Sure, his game is sloppy as hell, since he ends up saying all of the wrong things at tribal council every week (such as basically telling Michele she’s not just at the bottom of the alliance, she isn’t even really wanted in the alliance at all). But he has a point when he notes that Michele hasn’t made any enemies on the jury. She’s played a smart, loyal game, has made a lot of friends across the various different tribes in this game, and has that underdog potential that few other remaining castaways have. The jury would probably love rooting for her, if only because a jury has a tendency to respect someone fighting their way to the win from the bottom of an alliance. People like Chris Daugherty in Survivor: Vanuatu or Natalie White in Survivor: Samoa are perfect examples of this idea in action. Why none of Tai’s allies views Michele as a threat this close to the end baffles me. Hell, even ignoring that Michele is a major threat, why get rid of Jason? You take him to the end, and he gets Scot’s vote. And that’s about it, barring some sort of crazed turn around where everyone hates the person he’s sitting next to. Jason was a perfect “goat” with no real shot at winning the game, whereas the same can’t really be said about Michele, in my opinion.

Survivor Kaoh Rong - Episode 12 - Recap and Results - Now's the Time to Start Scheming

Credit: CBS

Of course, Tai’s allies — like Aubry and Joe — weren’t against Tai’s suggestions so much as the aggressive nature of his approach. It’s kind of funny how he’s adopted the techniques that prompted him to cut ties with Jason and Scot in the first place. He goes around dictating to his alliance mates, not necessarily asking for input. The hidden immunity idol and the extra vote advantage leave Tai feeling invincible, when tonight’s vote illustrated that this really isn’t the case at all. He could have just as easily been blindsided himself tonight, since he never played his idol, and his bonus vote advantage amounted to basically nothing. When Jeff Probst read the votes, the only votes Michele got were the two votes cast by Tai. It’s yet a third season in a row where the bonus vote accomplished nothing, with the only difference this time being that the person playing it didn’t end up going home himself, for once. At this rate, it’s kind of miraculous that Tai is even still in this game, since he’s been rubbing people the wrong way, left and right, for almost three weeks now. It really makes me wonder how smart he was to have jettisoned the Jason/Scot alliance in the first place. Hindsight being what it is, Tai essentially ditched an alliance with two perfect “goats” for Final Tribal Council in favor of an alliance as unstable and changeable as his own temperament. Granted, Tai needed to make a big move in order to argue the merits of his game in front of the jury, otherwise he’d have just been viewed as Jason and Scot’s coattail-riding lapdog. But if he’d remained his usual, likable self throughout, he might have gotten the votes to win just based on likability alone. Now? I’m not sure how many votes Tai would get, since he’s put himself in a position to be the least likable of the final five. He’s been very inconsistent with his alliances, and hasn’t exactly been a loyal, trustworthy asset to his mates so far. I’m not saying he can’t correct it, but it’ll take a lot of work. And it’ll also take Tai admitting that he’s not the boss of this game. Humility will go a long way towards making him more palatable to his allies (and to the jury) once again.

'Survivor Kaoh Rong' Episode 12 Results Can Tai Hold His Alliance Together

Credit: CBS

But enough about Tai’s game, as several other castaways saw their stocks rise this week. Cydney won individual immunity in an exciting challenge that saw each castaway stack a series of letter blocks to spell out the word “IMMUNITY” — all while balancing the block tower on a table suspended by ropes. What made the challenge exciting was how often positions changed. One moment, Jason was in the lead. The next moment, Cydney. And so on and so forth, with each person building and collapsing their towers again and again. I did find it kind of hilarious that Probst was verbally berating Cydney for spending half the challenge in last place, only for her to go on and win it anyway. It was a triumphant moment for her, especially since she was neck-and-neck with Jason. Just moments from winning the challenge, Jason’s tower fell, leaving Cydney with the opening to reclaim the lead and win the challenge. While I’m stoked for Cydney, I worry this might put a target on her back. On the one hand, she really hasn’t been much of a challenge threat at all this season, so she shouldn’t necessarily be a priority for elimination. On the other hand, if her challenge ability is coming alive at this late stage of the game, it could spell danger for anyone getting antsy about Cydney potentially going on a challenge run and winning her way to Final Tribal Council. I think if she gets there, she has an argument for earning the million dollars, even though her game hasn’t been flashy or dominant. She’s kind of in the same boat as Michele, actually (although I suppose Cydney has Jason and Scot on the jury, which is two more enemies than Michele has). I still feel Aubry is the frontrunner right now, but it could easily swing out of her control if Michele or Cydney are able to pull in Tai to organize a blindside. After all, Tai is guaranteed final four at this point, since next tribal council is the last he can use his hidden immunity idol. So it wouldn’t make sense to go after Tai anyway. If that was a move anyone was planning on making, this was the week to make it happen. Thus, we’re left with a game that is very much up in the air. Joe is really the only person I don’t see as being vulnerable next week (lone vote cast against him by Jason tonight, notwithstanding), if only because he’s neither a strategic, physical, nor even a jury threat, honestly. But everyone else? All bets are off. And that ought to make for some killer Survivor.

But what did you think of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Episode 12, “Now’s the Time to Start Scheming”? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, watch last week’s deleted scenes featuring exclusive deliberations with the jury!

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