Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Episode 9 Review – Sabotage

Acts of sabotage lead to a split camp and a chaotic tribal council in an intense episode of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.

In the game of Survivor, using psychological tactics in an attempt to gain an advantage can be a valid strategy. During his stint on the show, Russell Hantz infamously hid camp tools and burnt his tribemate’s socks. His reasoning was to weaken the other players to make them more susceptible to his manipulation. Russell had plenty of flaws in his game, but this idea, in theory, was sound, plus he did it in secret. Kyle Jason and Scot Pollard’s blatant sabotage in this week’s episode was more the act of sore losers than master strategists.

There is a thin line between self-preservation and self-sabotage. Jason and Scot were embarrassed and angered by the results of the previous tribal council, and their immediate reaction was to cause misery for their fellow tribe members. Scot made no secret of his intentions when he poured water all over the camp fire in clear view of everybody; this wasn’t psychological warfare, it was a hissy-fit. Scot even said himself “I’m going to do something stupid” and stupid it was indeed. All that it caused was a loss of potential jury votes. They sabotaged themselves.

Even Tai “I Love All Living Creatures” Trang moved over to the dark-side. Despite his conflicted attitude towards Jason and Scot’s actions, he ultimately joined the trio and even took part in the fire-dousing. It was like if Luke Skywalker joined forces with Darth Vader and wedgied Yoda. What next? Is Mark the Chicken going to start pecking Aubry’s eyes out?

Kyle Jason and Scot Pollard on Episode 9 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong.

Kyle Jason and Scot Pollard on Episode 9 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong.

The fact that the trio survived the vote was purely accidental and had little to do with them. It was more to do with the women and paranoia and perhaps a little bit of self-sabotage of their own. It started with Julia Sokolowski joining the terrible trio at the reward challenge; this set alarm bells ringing with Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillion who have quickly taken the reigns as the co-leaders of the women + Joe alliance. When Julia revealed the plans to Jason, Scot, and Tai their concerns about her double-dealing were verified. Julia was trying to keep her options open but in doing so put a target firmly on her own back.

When Julia won a brilliantly tense immunity challenge and secured her safety for the night, she avoided that target. With Julia no longer an option, it was Miss Debbie Wanner that found herself on the chopping block. Debbie is an enigma and has been one of the highlights of the season. She is a rare combination of cartoonish hilarity and underrated strategist. However, her unwillingness to bend from her strategy this week caused her downfall. Aubry and Cydney decided that Debbie was more hindrance than helpful and decided to cut her loose. The result meant disposing of one of their allies, using the girl they didn’t fully trust, Julia, to pull off the move, and keeping the terrible trio in the game.

On paper, it might not seem like the smartest move in the world for Aubry and Cydney. It could indeed turn out to be self-sabotage. But there was a logic behind the move. At this point, even before tribal council, it was evident there were idols in the game and that the trio was in possession of at least one of them. That meant voting for any of the three could have resulted in Aubry or Cydney being idoled out of the game. Voting for Debbie wasn’t self-sabotage, it was self-preservation. It was the safe option. At best it meant Aubry and Cydney would survive, and the trio would waste their idols. At worst it allowed Aubry and Cydney to survive.

Unfortunately, the myth of the Super Idol turned out to be real, which meant the trio didn’t have to waste their idols. So while Aubry and Cydney live to fight another day, the men effectively have a shield to protect themselves no matter which of them receives votes. How Aubry and Cydney attempt to counter this next week will define whether the Debbie vote was smart or not. Perhaps it will require some sabotage of their own?

Survivor: Kaôh Rōng continues to surprise and delight as it heads toward the home stretch.

Martin is a 28-year-old writer from Hull, England represented by Berlin Associates. He graduated from the University of Hull in English and Creative Writing. But if you have found yourself on this website you probably know him better as “Redmond” – the Survivor spoiler.

  • Steven

    IMO, Julia would be smart to stick like glue to the boys now. I feel like it’d be an instant ticket to the F3, and likely a win. If they force a 4-4 tie, Tai could play the super idol then and eliminate whoever, and they could be the F4, barring whoever’s left of Cydney/Michele/Aubry/Joe winning the F5 immunity. Then I feel like unless he won immunity, Tai would be out, and Julia would more than likely beat Scot and Jason in a jury vote. I don’t see any way those two scrounge up enough jury votes to win after their temper tantrum this week.

    • taya

      There is no incentive whatsoever for Tai Jason and Scot to take Julia to a final 3. And its looking to be more of a final 2… and there is even less incentive for that. She is on the bottom of that 4

  • steve

    Martin, I appreciate your perspective on this… it is different than any of the other blogger I have heard on this. I still don’t quite agree Debbie was a good move, but it is a better look.

    Something I am REALLY curious about, and I haven’t heard anyone talk about is how Tai voted Jason, and then immediately was shown to be totally aligned with them. There seems to be an important jump that wasn’t shown. And when sabotage and all that nonsense was going down, why did no one try to burn Tai by bringing up he was the one that voted against Jason? If Nick knew he voted that way, surely someone else out there had to know Jason was targeted, and that Tai voted that way. Seems like that would have been the type of discord they needed.

    • Martin Holmes

      Yes, very confusing about the stray Jason vote. That wasn’t covered well in the edit at all.

      As for the Debbie move, it’s hard to say what the after effects will be. But yes, in the moment I did the logic behind it because voting one of the guys would basically put Aubry and Cydney at risk of getting idoled out.

  • taya

    I agree with you on this post- this was the smartest move for Aubry and Cydney since they remained in control. The other alternative, since they did not understand the effect of the super idol… was to get voted out themselves

  • Mark

    I completly agree with this sentence (well written!!): Kyle Jason and Scot Pollard’s blatant sabotage in this week’s episode was more the act of sore losers than master strategists. 🙂 🙂

  • Chad

    It looks like the only possible way to get rid of the super idol is to put the votes on one of the three guys forcing them to play it. That would mean they the women would have to sacrifice one of their own to make that happen.

    The best scenario in that case would be to try to plant some seeds with the guys to convince them to vote for Joe.

    Anyone else see any other options for flushing the super idol?

    While this idol has made for some great TV, it really does have too much power in the game. I can see why they decided not to use the idol in Cambodia.

    • Martin Holmes

      The only other option is to drag Tai away from Jason/Scot, which seems to be Aubry’s tactic this next episode judging by the preview.