"It's important for me to have people on my team who are gonna do what I tell them to do, and not know that I'm telling them to do it."
– Boston Rob, Survivor: Marquesas
In the classic comedy Twins
, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play the mixed-up result of a genetic experiment gone haywire. Arnold was created to be the perfect man. Danny was the "genetic trash" left over.
The new Manono tribe must know how he feels. In the most lopsided swap in Survivor
history, all the smart, fit, competitive people go to Salani. Meanwhile Manono looks like a picked-over Survivor
bargain bin – the confused grampa, the elitist jerk, the girl who can't solve puzzles. The whole tribe looks ready for a factory recall.
"I get on a tribe of people who suck," says Colton
Is it any wonder that Salani steamrolls them in the challenges? Kim alone has more abs than the entire Manono tribe. Manono takes scoring one point in "basket brawl" as some kind of personal victory. This isn't Cool Runnings
here, people – nobody cares if you lose with dignity.
The difference between the two tribes is perfectly encapsulated by the players who emerge as their dominant figures – Kim and Colton.
On Salani, Kim makes a secret side alliance with Jay and Troyzan. "I have to keep my options open," she says.
By putting herself at the center of numerous alliances, Kim sets herself up to succeed. Survivor
changes day by day, so the best possible strategy is to lay a lot of groundwork.
Kim's helped in general by her demeanor. She just seems
nice – upbeat and friendly. It would be easy to ally with her.
But notice the way she subtly negs Chelsea even while pulling her into the alliance. "She hasn't been really playing strategy – I trust her," Kim tells the guys. She slyly undermines her partner and positions herself as the dominant link in the alliance. She's crafting a narrative that could pay off down the line, in front of a jury.
Oh yeah, and she also finds the hidden immunity idol Kim is clearly a very wisdom kind of gal.
Just like Kim builds alliances with the boys, Colton butters up the girls – making pinky swears with Christina and elaborate deals with Alicia. "I know how to charm people," he says. "I know how to tell them what they want to hear."
But while Kim is laying the foundation for later moves, Colton's playing too hard, too fast. I actually liked his move to vote off Monica – she's a threat after the merge, and Manono is pretty much screwed in the challenges anyway. But why lie to Christina about it?
He's also, once again, raising eyebrows by spending more time building alliances than he is building shelter. Sure, Survivor
's ultimately a strategic game, but girl-talking will only go so far if the tribe starts to view you as a parasite. "He's just sitting on his ass," Jonas says. (Then, in his typical excitable manner, exclaims, "It's brilliant!")
People have compared Colton to Russell, and there's no question that Colton has a talent for getting his way. But what happens after a merge – when he's playing against competitors like Kim and Sabrina, not doofuses like Jonas and Tarzan.
Colton and Kim both win Fishies for this episode for taking charge. At the end of the episode, they stand in parallel positions. They're both part of the dominant alliance. They both have side deals. And they both have an idol in their pocket. I hope we get the chance to see them go head to head.