‘Survivor: One World’ review: Is Tarzan now a likable underdog?

Tarzan fans ... unite?

We witnessed a bit of a bizarre phenomenon on Wednesday night’s new episode of “Survivor: One World” — about ten minutes into the episode, we actually found ourselves genuinely pulling for Tarzan for really the first time all season. After coming across early on as brash and even at times condescending, he has since become an aloof and rather fascinating guy worth cheering for. He may not be necessarily the token “crazy guy” who makes it deep into the game as a goat that we thought he was — he clearly knows what he is up to, is passionate about giving him and his wife a great future, and his biggest flaw may simply be not knowing how to react around other people.

It was ultimately Tarzan’s wife that really started to paint him in such a likable light this week, as we saw the two embrace during the oft-sappy (but in this case genuinely emotional) family visit. They seemed so happy to see each other, and then Kat viciously stomped on the couple’s dreams of spending time together by stomping around and speaking in some sort of squeal / babble language while proclaiming her cousin Robbie to be the most important person to her in her entire life.

It’s interesting in a way, but this family visit sets up perfectly our analysis for pretty much the entire episode.

Kat – As likable as Tarzan’s reaction was to seeing his wife, Kat before and after the reward challenge with longer family visits at play made her the most unlikable person on the show by far. Was she excited to spend time with her cousin? Sure, but she made two big mistakes here in how she handled her victory:

1. She celebrated and boasted in front of people who were all genuinely heartbroken, as if any of them cared that she won herself a challenge.

2. Rather than bring Tarzan or Christina (whose father Sung only has 5-10 years left following a kidney transplant), she took with her on her special reward two people in Kim and Alicia who had literally just been on a reward. Why? She wanted to party with them.

Kat’s decision largely set up her own demise, mostly because the remaining four people did not want someone around who was so self-centered. Ultimately, watching her blindside was mostly interesting because she claimed two minutes beforehand that she thought these sort of things were “funny” — but it really didn’t look like she was too happy to see it happen to her.

Kim – For really the first time all season, Kim did not get her way completely when it came to the vote. Why? Smartly, she wanted to get rid of someone in Sabrina who can be a physical threat in the right situation, and Kat is someone who would continue to anger potential jury members.

Granted, we don’t really think this is going to hurt Kim’s chances much at all. She has an immunity idol to go along with multiple immunity wins, and she seems like such an obvious (and deserved) winner at this point that no one is likely to stop her.

Sabrina – Even though she stayed, there was a vote cast in her direction — and somebody likely told Kat to vote that way. Sabrina better feel pretty suspicious at the moment, and she’s going to have to bring it way more than she did this past week.

On a personal note, we really like Sabrina and want to see her do well — and she still can, so long as she is willing to put together an alliance with Alicia, Tarzan, and Christina. It’s really her only chance to make it to the end.

Chelsea – Chelsea getting her way on the Kat vote was a big step in the right direction for her — but little does she know that Kim would probably prefer not to go with her to the end.

Christina and Alicia – Neither one of these ladies are particularly well-liked, and at this point this probably helps them. Pretty much any person left in the game could win against these two at the final three, and you have to believe that just about every part left knows that. All they need to do is lay low and let the others all pick each other off — if nothing else, they can get some sweet prize money for 2nd and 3rd place.

Tarzan – Since we started with him, it only seems fair to end with him. Tarzan has a pretty unique plan coming up — pretend to be insane to make it to the end, then flip the script and reveal his plan. Could it work? Phillip was too stubborn in “Redemption Island” to play this the right way in front of the jury, but Tarzan could do it — and we do think it is a legitimate argument to win.

Granted, Tarzan would still need to bring the right people with him — and Kim can’t be one of them since she’s played too great of a game.

How annoyed were you at Kat this week when it comes to some of her actions — whether it be not taking Tarzan, getting angry over Kim not throwing immunity for her, or even her acting smug right before her elimination? Hopefully, we’ll get to see a new side of her during our exit interview Thursday.

Photo: CBS

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