‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Episode 8 Review: Overconfidence Dooms Men In ‘The Jocks vs. The Pretty People’

Recap and review of Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Episode 8 – The Jocks vs. The Pretty People:

Overconfidence has been the doom of many games, and so it was on “The Jocks vs. The Pretty People,” one of the best episodes of Survivor: Kaoh Rong yet. In a game like this, nothing is ever set in stone, so it’s kind of foolish to be so confident in your game that you openly brag about the inevitability of your rivals’ ouster at an immunity challenge. But that’s pretty much what Nick did. And he paid handsomely (no pun intended, really) for that blunder.

What’s so strange about this is that Nick was starting to turn his game around, showing initiative and finding himself in a position where he had all the information at his disposal. Most of his allies seemed to trust him, at least enough to tell him who trusts whom, and who has which idols. There was no reason for Nick’s game to implode this week. But he somehow made it happen simply by being an obnoxious, overconfident jerk about his position in the game. At the endurance-based immunity challenge, in which each Survivor had to balance on the edge of a pedestal while holding grips overhead, Nick told Jeff that he couldn’t allow any of the Brains to win immunity, since they were each being targeted. After all the Brains were eliminated, Nick dropped out of the challenge and joined his fellow Beauty and Brawn allies, commiserating about the inevitable doom of the Brains, and assuring one another that the next tribal council won’t be a bittersweet experience. Had this been the only blunder Nick made, he might have been able to salvage his game. But, early in the episode, after Julia goes out rowing with Debbie, Cydney and Tai, Nick takes Julia aside to ask if the girls are planning a female alliance. He’s paranoid, and he’s not at all subtle about it. In fact, Cydney ends up picking up on the vibe, and confronts Jason about it.

Nick voted out of Survivor Kaoh Rong

Credit: CBS

This is the first real confrontation in the Scot/Jason/Cydney alliance, and although Cydney seems willing to go along with the anti-Brains plan after she and Jason talk through their problems, Nick’s boasting at the immunity challenge gives Cydney reason to spring into action. And she doesn’t have to look very far to find allies. In yet another in a long list of blunders, Nick sees an opportunity in talking to Aubry: the plan is to split the votes between Aubry and Debbie to flush out any idols that might be on the Brains tribe. However, the plan is ultimately to vote out Debbie. It’s a solid, straightforward plan that probably would have worked better if Nick had just sat back and let the game take its course. But he rationalizes that, since Aubry is sticking around, he might as well have her in his back pocket. On its face, it’s not a bad idea. Yet he goes about courting her in the most arrogant fashion imaginable. He essentially feels Aubry has no choice but to work with him, so he tells her to vote against Debbie, leaving Aubry seriously annoyed, even if she does respect that he’s honest about his arrogance. Still, by this point, the girls have just about had it with Nick’s condescension. Although Michele is a bit uncertain about the plan, noting that she can probably work with Nick a little while longer, she ultimately jumps on the all-girl bandwagon in order to take ownership of her game. And hey, seeing Nick knocked off his high-and-mighty pedestal is just a bonus.

The tribal council tonight ended up being pretty stunning, from a strategic standpoint. Nick doubles down on his hubris by declaring that they’re going to split the vote to oust one of the Brains. As if that isn’t shocking enough, Tai (who won immunity this week in one of the most impressive challenge performances this season) then inadvertently spills that someone in his alliance has an idol by talking about how putting two idols together forms a super idol that can be played after the vote — a fact he couldn’t know unless either an ally had an idol, or he had one himself. The Tai reveal is what confused me the most, honestly. It made no sense for him to bring that up, and when he comes to realize that not everyone in camp knew about the super idol, he openly wonders if he’s been misled by his supposed allies. It’s perhaps why he ends up voting for Jason in the end, although I’m not sure if Tai voting against Jason due to mistrust makes any more sense than just voting with the all-girls alliance (well, all-girls plus Joe). Perhaps the all-girls alliance told him they were voting Jason, as a way to test his loyalty. This way, if Tai does share the plan with Jason, then they’re not ruining the plan, since Jason isn’t the target anyway. But if they do see that lone Jason vote, then they know Tai can be trusted. It’d be an interesting play, if nothing else, although the edit doesn’t give any indication that this is the case. I mean, I’m not even sure why Tai answered any of Jeff’s questions about idols other than to say that no one has mentioned them, and leaving it at that. But I digress, as Nick is voted out after getting votes from Cydney, Julia, Michele, Debbie, Aubry and Joe. The look on his face is really a thing of beauty, and not for the reasons Nick would probably like us to think. He essentially goes from glib amusement (Haha, someone voted for me. How rich.) to abject horror (OKAY GUYS, THIS S*** ISN’T FUNNY ANYMORE!). It’s everything a blindside should be, taking an overconfident, overplaying schemer down a notch. Nick showed he had aptitude for this game, but he just couldn’t rein in his arrogance. I think he could be far more effective on a second playthrough, especially if he’s more humble the second time around. But here, Nick was pretty much playing for third place.

'Survivor Kaoh Rong' Episode 8 Review Overconfidence Dooms Men In 'The Jocks vs. The Pretty People'

Credit: CBS

In fact, I’d argue the same for Jason and Scot right now, who are just as arrogant, and just as likely to lose if they make the final tribal council. Although we get backstories on both castaways (Jason’s daughter suffers from autism, and Scot’s Mormon family has fallen on hard times), their respective attitudes almost instantly erase whatever positive edit they may have gotten from those stories. Then again, I don’t think either man was being calculated in telling their respective stories. Jason makes it clear that he has no intention of using his daughters to get further in this game. He was simply answering a question he was asked. Of course, I wonder if Jason and Scot sharing their family stories might end up swinging in the opposite direction for them. Had any of the castaways known that Jeremy Collins’s wife, Val, was pregnant at the time of Survivor: Second Chance, he might not have won that season. Someone might have voted him out because it makes too sympathetic a story in front of the jury. Hell, even Cydney admits she wants to give Jason money after learning that his family puts much of their earnings into autism research. It would be strangely ironic if Jason ended up being voted out not because of his off-putting attitude, but because his charitable deeds make him too big a jury threat. I suppose we’ll see. If nothing else, I’m intrigued to see how Jason and Scot react to having the tables turned on them by the women. Survivor doesn’t have many all-girl alliances that actually work out. Survivor: Micronesia is one, and One World is another, but I’m struggling to think of others. There are many more stories of female alliances imploding, such as in Survivor: The Amazon and Survivor: Vanuatu. More than Nick’s blindside, the most compelling development from tonight is the formation of this all-girls alliance, and the possibility that they could be running the table in the weeks to come — unless idols get involved. Either way, it should be an exciting couple of weeks.

Survivor: Kaoh Rong continues its impressive run, as “The Jocks vs. The Pretty People” manages to make for one of the most satisfying blindsides in the history of the show.

But what did you think of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Episode 8, “The Jocks vs. The Pretty People”? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, watch the deleted scenes from last week’s episode, including jury member Neal’s first night at the Ponderosa!

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