The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 48)

“It’s Gonna Be Chaos”

One World, Episode 12 (Air Date: May 2 2012)
by Martin Holmes and Ian Walker

Yes, the best episode of Survivor: One World is only the 48th best episode of the entire series. That should tell you how much of a relative snoozefest this season was.

So why was this episode chosen instead of the arguably more memorable and catchier-titled “Bum-Puzzled”, where the Manono men voluntarily go to Tribal? Because stupidity like that shouldn’t be rewarded.

This episode makes the cut instead for two main reasons. One, it has one of the sweetest family visit moments in all of Survivor history when Greg “Tarzan” Smith, he of nominal aphasia and known bug collector, declares his quantum entanglement with his wife, Terri. For all of the goofiness, and suspect authenticity of said goofiness, that can be said about Tarzan, there’s no question that this moment is genuine. Here, he’s just a man who really loves his wife a lot and is not afraid of getting down on one knee and yelling it to the heavens.

Speaking of the family visit, there is a funny moment where Alicia Rosa and Sabrina Thompson return from Tree Mail carrying a box branded with the Sprint logo (cheap plug). They attempt to psych their fellow tribemates out by pretending it’s just a regular challenge Tree Mail until they excitedly reveal the box, expecting a big reaction, except nobody knows what it is because Alicia is shaking the box so damn hard and everyone just stands there looking confused.


The second reason this episode stands out is that it’s the point in the season where the sheer brilliance of Kim Spradlin’s game really begins to shine. With Troyzan Robertson finally gone, Kim looks poised to take control of the game and ride it out to an easy win. But a new threat has started to emerge, and her name is Alicia.

Except that, Alicia doesn’t realize that she’s a threat. All that time spent talking down to Christina Cha and indulging in Tarzan’s neologisms has bared serious fruit, as she has cultivated better relationships with those two than Kim has. Along with her gal pal Kat Edorsson, the four of them could take over the game. But instead, Alicia wants to take out Kat. Why would Alicia vote out an entirely agreeable ally? For the delicious irony that Kat has now been deemed too annoying and immature for her own good.

Kat is an odd specimen, and this episode is her at her oddest. The moment where she crawls on all fours towards her cousin at the reward challenge is simultaneously hilarious and creepy. In perhaps her coldest comment of the season, Kim describes Kat as “…the person that would have a show like ‘how the million dollars ruined my life’ in a year and she doesn’t know where she spent the money.” Cold, Kim, cold.


Kat makes bad decisions, but she owns those bad decisions. Like choosing to take Alicia and Kim on reward rather than others perhaps more deserving. “I’m just gonna eat my cake and get drunk!” Despite her delusions and lack of self-awareness, it’s hard to hate Kat. She has the naïvety and high-energy of Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad. There is a well-meaning person in there somewhere; immaturity just hides it. “To lose to someone who is 28 years old! How embarrassing is that?!”

The thing is, Kat had friends on the jury and could have possibly Fabio’d her way into a win. So when Alicia brings up the idea of eliminating her, Kim says “Sure, why not?”. By letting Alicia dig her own grave by getting rid of one of the only true allies she has, Kim not only removes a potential jury threat but she strengthens her lock on the game and begins her inevitable march to the end. But hey, blindsides are always fun and exciting, right? Touché.


[Credit to @charlesamado07 for the gifs]

Ian, from Chicago, Illinois, graduated with a Communications major and an English minor and is now navigating adult life the best he can. He has been a fan of Survivor since Pearl Islands aired when he was 11 years old, back when liking Rupert was actually cool.

  • Conor

    Love seeing One World here!

  • Zachary Chong

    Excellent choice.

  • Mohammed Dakhil

    OKAY, THIS SEASON WAS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT A SNUZEFEST. Survivor Fiji was a snoozefest, like I could barely watch the 2nd episode without falling asleep or getting extremely bored. I LOVE SURVIVOR ONE WORLD. AND TBH THIS EPISODE SHOULD BE RANKED HIGHER. Honestly the top ten is probably gonna be all HvV. That season is So OVERRATED in my opinion…and so is Cambodia

    • José Zepeda

      Oh God, please say you’re joking, ’cause if you’re not, then you really need to go and re-check yourself.
      One World was just, painful to watch. WORST CAST EVER. THe stupidity of one person is just beaten by the next person in the cast!

      HORRIBLE SEASON. If it wasn’t for Kimmi winning it, the season should not’ve been even aired.
      Waste of cast.

  • Dutch

    I actually really liked this season. Sopa, Redemption Island, WA, and Fiji were far worse. I loved this episode though. Kat for sure thought she was safe and when all the votes came up she was looking at all the girls in shock. Her crying for hours uncontrollably was sad but also just funny as well

  • Tom

    I agree with Dutch, I liked One World too, & ersonally quite a lot. It’s by no means the best or my favourite, but I don’t think it’s boring or one of the worst series. Predictable, yes; Anyone who hasn’t seen Survivor before could probably see Kim’s win coming from the early episodes. There were good characters & it’s not like she wasn’t contended: Sabrina & Chelsea were both strong ass women. Kat’s blindside is probably one of the harshest & one of my personal favourites! I know she was unbearable but I’d also love to see Alicia brought back, potentially in a Heroes vs Villains scenario!

    • Martin Luck

      Please no.
      Didn’t you see how annoyinh she was on the season? It’s like asking Rodney or Dan to come back.
      Just, pray to God she never comes back.

  • José Zepeda

    Predictable seasons like this one should not been aired:/
    Still, is better than the other ones.

    31st Redemption Island
    30th South Pacific

    I’m not putting Fiji just because of the great post merge episodes. Not because of how good players were, but because the amount of blinsides and evil people out there.

  • Hugh310

    ‘All that time spent talking down to Christina Cha’ leads to Alicia ‘cultivating a better relationship’ with Cha Cha than Kim ? Huh ??

    Kim’s ‘control of the game’ started long before Troy left. That incredibly fortuitous tribe swap basically cemented her win early in the season.

    One World gets a lot of shit thrown on it and a lot of it is deserved. But Kim and her alliance gets too much blame. Most of the blame should be placed with the incredibly incompetent group of dumbass males they had this season, which allowed a strong women’s alliance to cakewalk to the end.

    • [email protected]

      I read that comment about Alicia and Christina Cha and was “huh” as well.

  • Donnie

    I don’t DISLIKE One World, but def not a top ten season for me. Kat Going on about how she Loves blindsides and THEN gets blindsided was FANTASTIC. And Alicia ruining her own game was great as well. The only thing that keep me from thinking that Kim is this Unbelievable winner is the fact that she Never seemed to be in any real danger. Everyone else around her was dumb. If she was playing with people like Yul, Chris, Sophie or Denise had to deal with and still win…different story

    • [email protected]

      What I always thought funny about Kim was that many of the pregame prediction bloggers, podcasters, etc., had picked her to go early if not first based on her video introductions. She had said something about how she related people to animals – which people thought was strange.