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Survivor: “Mad Treasure Hunt”

Illustration for article titled iSurvivor/i: “Mad Treasure Hunt”
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Last week, Kass wasn’t necessarily choosing a side in the game. She was more getting rid of a personal enemy, game be damned. She isn’t really forced to choose a side until this week’s vote, and she spends the entire episode obviously relishing in her newfound power, which brings up a fun bit of retroactive motivation for ousting Sarah. Maybe she didn’t really hate Sarah after all. Maybe she just wanted to be Sarah—or at least be in Sarah’s power position.

That idea is mostly just speculation in good fun—Kass is a smug know-it-all, but I’m not sure she has the Machiavellian chops to pull off something so devious—but there is at least a little grain of truth there. Kass spends most of this episode insisting by switching her vote last week she wasn’t necessarily declaring her allegiance for a new alliance, a point that she makes fairly clear to everyone else in the game. She pointedly states in all of her confessionals just how much her vote will count this week, and just how unsure she is which way she will decide to go. This whole strategy she’s devised seems like a pretty risky proposition, especially when you’ve already declared yourself less than loyal.


But Kass has decided “playing the game” is her Survivor persona, and gosh darn it, she is going to stick to that. Many times throughout the episode, I thought someone was going to get so fed up with her that they decided to vote her out instead of bending to her whim, but the rest of the players seem acutely aware of their need for her vote at this point, despite their suspicions she really can’t be trusted. Even Spencer, who throughout most of the episode is fairly over Kass’ bullshit, knows she is his alliance’s only chance to regain control of the game. After he wins immunity, he goes to Kass to attempt to strike a deal, arguing that Tony is the smart person to vote out at this point because of what a threat he will be as the game goes on. It’s a great argument (especially when Kass’ alternative is Morgan) but ultimately, it doesn’t work. Kass sticks with her new alliance from last week to vote out Morgan, giving them a definite majority. But Spencer’s willingness to choose strategy over all other concerns makes it certain there will be more interesting scheming to come.

After last week’s incredible Tribal Council, the vote to eliminate Morgan ultimately turns out to be one of the least interesting things about this episode. The true fun was the ridiculous “search for the idol” sequence that dominated the entire middle of the episode, rollicking along like some sort of tropical island caper. It’s the perfect storm of events, starting and ending with some pretty stealthy maneuvers but devolving into absolute madness in the space between. Spencer finding the clue in his napkin at the reward and hiding it was smart. Spencer sneaking away and actually managing to look for the idol for a while without anyone noticing was smarter. Woo realizing what might be happening and going into “ninja stealth mode” to find him, hilariously hiding in the bushes and successfully convincing Spencer he wasn’t following him, was genius. Spencer panicking and leaving his pants with the clue in them for Woo to find was idiotic. Then Woo running away to tell everyone what was going on and the full-camp scramble to be the first one to find the idol ratcheted the drama to a frenzied clip. The craziest thing about the entire sequence was that, somehow, Spencer was able to actually find the immunity idol right under Kass’ nose as she was standing right next to him, and keep it hidden the whole time so she didn’t realize what was happening. Just absolute greatness all around, from the actual events to the camerawork involved to capture them to the editing team for putting it all together. Bravo, Survivor.

Yes, once again, this was a fully engaging, entertaining episode, and even more impressive because it was those things without some big crazy vote or twist to buoy the proceedings. I’ve praised the casting throughout the season, but episodes like this are where you see great casting really shine. And those previews from next week only promise more greatness to come.

Stray observations:

  • I’m confused: Spencer found a normal idol, so does that mean there’s still a super special idol floating out there somewhere?
  • This was basically an entire episode about Woo being the best (aside from that whole puzzle debacle), capped off with that hilarious drawing of the sleeping stick figure on his vote for Morgan.
  • Morgan deserved every bit of mud flung at her this week. She is insufferable.
  • Suddenly craving a Bloomin’ Onion. Huh, weird.
  • “She’ll go basically wherever her estrogen takes her. Not where her brain takes her.” Gross, Spencer.

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