Last week’s episode of “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” was extremely compelling from the standpoint of drama, as we saw the most harrowing medical crisis in the history of the show. This week, it’s only fair that we follow that with an extremely compelling episode strategically.
Let’s boil this down to the important stuff: The entirety of tonight’s decision really depended on whether or not Tai decided to use his hidden immunity idol. If he used it, he could take out Peter, who continued to hurt his case with his arrogance. Meanwhile, if he kept it, it appeared as though Anna would be going … but that was a big risk. It takes a lot of confidence to think that people are not going to vote against you, since you don’t want to be embarrassed.
Therefore, we give a lot of credit to Tai for the guts it took to hold on to that idol, and for him to allow Anna to be voted out. This was a huge swing in the game. We thought she had everything it took to be a huge force to be reckoned with this season, and hats off to the editors for tricking us through most of the episode. We legitimately thought that Peter was going to go home with Tai playing the idol. We hope that Anna does get considered a la Kelley Wentworth for a second chance down the road; she’s not a huge character, but we got the sense that she could be a really good player. She got screwed somewhat by the tribe swap, and then she just ran up against someone in Tai who is super-useful around camp and doesn’t come across as a strategic threat.
We also want to give some credit here to Scot, who legitimately impressed us strategically one week after he really infuriated us with his treatment of Alecia. He realized the value of putting the two idols together, and if he can make it to the merge with Tai and Jason (who is on the new Chan Loh tribe, who won tonight), they could use that to go really deep in the game.
Other than the strategy stuff going on at the new Goldol tribe, the other interesting twist was the “Survivor: Fiji”-like twist of forcing Julia to live on her own after drawing a red buff until after Anna was voted out. She’ll now join that tribe, but without her biggest ally.
Overall, the lack of a dramatic blindside hurts the episode, but we’re not going to deny that this was thoroughly entertaining throughout. Grade: A-.
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