‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Episode 13 Results: Who Was Eliminated In ‘With Me or Not With Me’?
Recap and review of Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Episode 13 – With Me or Not With Me:
No one likes to see a medical evacuation, especially in a season as strategically engaging as Survivor: Kaoh Rong. But the potency of the story “With Me or Not With Me” tells is diluted by its heartbreaking ending, as strategy is taken out of the equation completely due to a medical issue that, ironically, was caused by a reward.
While I never bought Joe had any chance of getting enough votes to win had he made it to the end, I definitely feel like Joe would have been at that Final Tribal Council, had he not been medically evacuated tonight. Joe played a perfect under-the-radar game, rarely viewed as a threat, either physically or strategically. Sure, he was largely seen as Aubry’s second, and if he’d gone to the end with her, he might have ended up being antagonized by the jury for riding coattails, if that’s the way the jury chose to perceive him. But, by and large, I think Joe played the kind of game that would have earned at least a respect vote for two, which could have been enough for a second place finish. I suppose we’ll never know now, however, since Joe ended up making the critical mistake of eating too much meat while on a reward — despite admittedly not being much of a meat-eater. What’s sad about this is that it came after Joe’s most triumphant moment in the game, a parable of The Tortoise and the Hare. The reward challenge involved racing out into the woods to retrieve sandbags, and then racing back to toss those sandbags into one of four separate squares. Everyone else rushed to get all their bags as quickly as possible, in order to get back to their mat to shoot. As a result, everyone ran out of bags before filling all four squares. The rules stipulated that the castaways could only replenish their bags once everyone had the opportunity to shoot. In essence, Joe had to use up all his sandbags before anyone else could shoot again. This gave Joe an opportunity to shoot without having to rush. And, with just two bags left, Joe managed to secure the win. It was a wonderful, storybook moment for Joe, and one of the best moments of the season, in my opinion. But it was accompanied by an unfortunate outcome.
In hindsight, Cyndey probably should have voiced her concerns to Joe about how much meat he was eating at the reward. But by the time she noticed, it was probably too late to prevent the prostate issues all that meat ended up giving him later on. But before all the medical unpleasantness, we got some interesting strategic insight. After winning the reward challenge, Joe chose to bring along Aubry, who was then given the choice to bring along one more person. Aubry chose Cydney as a strategic ploy against Tai, who felt betrayed following last week’s tribal council vote. In fact, Aubry was kind of shocked by how betrayed Tai felt, although I’m not sure why she didn’t see this coming. Aubry is a critical thinker, and Tai has elements of prudent strategic thinking himself. But, for the most part, Tai is an emotional sort of player. He naturally gravitated towards Caleb, not out of any strategic interest, but mostly because he liked the guy. Later, Tai left the alliance with Jason and Scot because he felt they didn’t respect him, joining up with Aubry, who made him feel important and powerful. Being left out of the vote last week resulted in Tai wasting his vote advantage, while also making him feel that Aubry saw him as a means to an end, in much the same way Jason and Scot did. So it stood to reason he’d start exploring other options, particularly after Aubry chose not to take Tai on the reward. This left him back at camp with Michele, where the two bonded over a Tai message (in both senses). Granted, it didn’t initially seem as though Aubry even wanted Tai back on her side. If anything, she planned on targeting him, telling Cydney and Joe that they needed to form a coalition to eliminate him from the game once his idol no longer protected him. Of course, this approach makes it even more puzzling why they didn’t just blindside him last week when he would have been least expecting it, rather than waiting until the round where he was guaranteed safe due to the hidden immunity idol. But I suppose that’s neither here nor there, as Aubry ends up pulling a 180 on her plan to oust Tai when Cydney’s incisive, strategic mind causes Aubry to see red flags left and right. Until now, she never viewed Cydney as this massive threat to win the game, and yet she comes to the realization that Cydney is a generally more palatable option for jurors at Final Tribal Council. So Aubry decides Cydney should probably be the target. But without Tai, she doesn’t really have the numbers to make it work. And, to make matters worse, she ends up losing her most dependable ally when Joe gets medically evacuated, in a cruel mirror of Neal’s evacuation, which left Aubry similarly rudderless.
Ultimately, Joe’s evacuation was caused by an enlarged prostate that prevent him from emptying his bladder. By the evening, Joe is in so much pain that he’s actually ready to be pulled out of the game. Aubry is gutted that she’s losing her closest ally and friend, while everyone else is crestfallen to lose the de facto grandpa of the group. Needless to say, many tears were shed, mostly by Cydney and Tai, who had a similar breakdown midway through the episode when Aubry assured him she still wanted to work with him (oh, how little he knew about what she’d been planning). Joe’s ouster is heartbreaking, but I’d argue he went out on a high note, for the most part. I really don’t think he was ever going to win, so getting to leave after an inspiring challenge victory rather than being blindsided, or being viewed as a goat by the jury is on the “sweet” side of “bittersweet”. I hate seeing any competitor medically evacuated, but Joe seemed at peace with his time in the game, and appeared to be more than ready to leave, especially considering the alternative of damaged kidneys. I’ll miss Joe, and yet I can’t say that his elimination doesn’t open the game up in interesting ways. Aubry has no concrete ally, Michele has opened up channels of communication with Tai, Cydney is a total wildcard, and Tai is completely vulnerable for the first time in ages. Most intriguing of all, the fact that we’re going into the finale with four contestants rather than five means we’re more than likely getting a final two rather than a final three. Having just two competitors going for the million changes the dynamic of Final Tribal Council, and it could lead to an explosive finale. I’m excited, to say the least.
But what did you think of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Episode 13, “With Me or Not With Me”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Survivor, read the rumored spoilers on location and cast lists for Season 34!