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.
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.