Troyzan’s competitive juices drench Survivor

After Troy “Troyzan” Robertson got burned at Tribal Council last week, he protected himself by releasing his “competitive juices,” as he told Jeff Probst. What that meant was that he spent the entire episode of Survivor One World being an antagonistic asshole, alienating the people he might have convinced to align with him.

He also won immunity, which increased his cockiness by at least an inch. During the challenge, he screamed at the women (who outsmarted him last week) things such as, “It’s my island. You can’t beat me” and “don’t fuck with me.”

This is how you win a social game? This is how you convince people you think are targeting you to not target you, but instead be your strategic partner? Troy actually made a relatively compelling argument about aligning with him to the women who are at the bottom of their alliance’s pack. But who the hell wants to align with that asshole?

Also, he’s playing an absurdly desperate game. At Tribal Council, he made his plea again, in open court, as if he could shame the other women into jumping ship and voting out Kim. With immunity, he has a guaranteed three more days, so why lay out his plan instead of continuing to work it? It sounded too desperate–because he is desperate–but he’s playing against people who play pretty rationally. They split their vote again because they weren’t sure if there was a hidden immunity idol in play; that’s not the work of an alliance that is reactive and prone to falling for emotional appeals from a crazy person.

Troy’s immunity challenge win meant that Leif finally dried up and fell out of the tree. The show mostly used him for comic relief–sleeping in a box, doing dances, painting his face to look like a skeleton and then being bathed by Tarzan–but really, he was bad casting. That was evident in his exit interview, when he talked about wanting to be on Survivor so he could sleep under the stars. Uh, do that in your back yard. Come to the show to play.

Speaking of that, I share the general frustration with the way the game often progresses: people stick with their big alliance even though they’re on the bottom. But honestly, that seems smart to me: Why tip over your canoe when you’re far out from shore, especially when the person you need to help you will probably cause you to drown?

By the end of the episode, I was really, really tired of Troy, and want him off of my television. I usually root for the underdog on Survivor, but not when the underdog is berating his tribemates for no reason and saying that being outplayed is “really not fair.” Please! Go away.

Of course, without him, we would have had little action this episode, including at the auction, which made its triumphant return. This time, it featured a $400 margarita (Sabrina) and $100 protein shake (Leif), and there wasn’t a single zonk among the items for bid, unless you count Kat’s surprise discovery that her $180 BLT included bacon.

There was gluttony, like Kim exiting the shower she’d previously bought to pay for peanut butter and chocolate, which she ate while naked in the shower, an obvious homage to Jenna and Heidi during Survivor Amazon. Kat bought a cake that she was able to share with the whole tribe, but which they had to eat with their hands in 60 seconds. Unnecessary, but amusing.

The auction was really interesting, from Troy breaking down and crying (“I feel completely alone”) to Tarzan deciding to not bid on anything but instead keep the $500 cash to fix the shocks on his car–at least until Probst offered letters from home, and Tarzan gave up his $500 for his letter. If only that had come with a new pair of underwear.

Troyzan wanted his letter (HE FEELS SO ALONE) but didn’t bid, correctly predicting that there’d be a game-related item, which he got: an advantage in the next immunity challenge. The women wanted Christina, who was withholding her money because she doesn’t know where she is, to outbid Troyzan, but she stared blankly and he won it. Troy punched the table and scared Jeff Probst, but an unmoved Sabrina said, “We’re still gonna vote you off.”

Alas, that has to wait until next week, or the week after. It will happen. I hope.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.