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?
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.