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Survivors find idols, lose tact as mouth diarrhea infection spreads

Survivors find idols, lose tact as mouth diarrhea infection spreads
Survivor Kaoh Rong's Brain tribe's braintrust, Liz Markham and Peter Baggenstos, and an agent of their undoing, Aubry Bracco. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

A lot of “The Circle of Life,” the third episode of Survivor Kaoh Rong, focused on two things: the hunt for idols, and how terribly so many people continue to play this game. Drinking the well water has apparently caused a bout of mouth diarreah that has now undone people two Tribal Councils in a row. But oh, how entertaining it is.

There was also a sea urchin-ish creature walking on land that will haunt me in my sleep.

Over on the only functional tribe, Beauty, Nick advocated for playing the game like a sociopath (“you don’t need to have emotions out here, you just need to seem like you have emotions”) after Tai cried when the chicken died. Tai did volunteer to hold it down as Caleb cut its head off, though, and provided the episode its Lion King title by saying the chicken’s death was part of “the circle of life.”

Bonus points to Survivor’s editors, who really have that head-chop edit down now.

In addition, Tai, still with shredded skin, finally retrieved the hidden immunity idol. It wasn’t without struggle, though, as he first lost the tool he needed to pop it out of its tube high in the tree. (“Nothing in my life come easy, including this,” Tai said, as he and then the editing tried to link this to immigrating from Vietnam.) He succeeded, and learned of the new Tyler Perry idol twist.

Over on the brawn tribe, there was also an idol search. Here’s how it went down:

  1. Alecia found the clue.
  2. She enlisted Cydney’s help and they dug around the base of the tree, as instructed
  3. Cydney sent Alecia away, having secretly found the box containing the idol. But she totally missed the clue on the box that explained the whole lock and key thing, and left it on the ground where
  4. Jason found it, and took off running to give the camera operator some cardio.
  5. He teamed up with Scot to actually retrieve the key and thus the idol, which Jason—who exclaimed, “I am possibly one of the best bounty hunters in Southeast Michigan,” and I am curious just how deep a pool of candidates that is—put around his neck.

So yes, it took the entire tribe to give its most repulsive member immunity. Brilliant, friends, brilliant.

Speaking of brilliance, on the Brains tribe, so-named perhaps because they’re on a Wizard of Oz-ish quest to re-find their brains, Debbie told us she was going to “shut up and gather intel,” but of course she did no such thing as shut up.

But incredibly, she suffered the least from mouth diarrhea this episode.

Why does everyone keep blabbing at Tribal Council?

The Brains tribe made their way to Tribal Council after their first challenge loss, though it was so very, very close that it seemed like Brawn might be headed back to Tribal Council yet again.

The challenge—an obstacle course that started in the water—presented a whole lot of opportunities for Probst to talk about getting things into holes: shoving bags of rice into a small hole, dropping balls into even smaller holes. He also gave really helpful advice, like saying, “The key is to avoid the holes.” Yes, Probst’s mouth diarrhea has, alas, spread beyond the point of treatment.

The rewards were either comfort items for camp or the Survivors’ “emotional items,” which is either a new word for “luxury item” or a new thing I don’t think we’ve seen before, especially as luxury items have basically just disappeared from the on-screen game. I’m curious if previous casts have brought “emotional items”—which seemed to include letters and trinkets, like stuffed animals—and/or been given those items.

Liz was thrilled by her tribe’s loss, just as I’m sure the editors were thrilled to include footage of her saying “losing today was a blessing in disguise” minutes before she was voted out. The Liz and Peter plan was to split the vote between Neal and Aubry, but not before spilling that they thought they were superior.

Yes, brilliantly, Peter used Tribal Council to have the mouth runs, announcing how awesome he and Liz were as the tribe’s master strategists. First he pointed out that there were three pairs, which he called “voting units” (Tinier voting blocs! Next season, micro-alliances of one!), and made it clear he and Liz were BFFs. Later, he actually said both of these things:

  • “As an ER doctor, social interaction is what I’m a professional in.”
  • “Liz and I are both smart people, and we’ve thought of everything.”

Except for how your plan could backfire, result in a three-way tie, and prevent either of you from voting during the next round of voting, because you completely underestimated your opponents and dismissed them as moldable clay. At camp, Debbie, to her credit, actually did just shut up and agree to Liz’s inexplicable plan to drop Neal—and then secretly teamed up with Aubry, Neal, and Joe to vote for Liz and Peter, since they knew both Liz and Peter planned to vote for Aubry.

The only thing I did not understand was why did the Brain tribe braintrust used the second vote to oust Liz instead of Peter? His behavior was so transparently dumb. Maybe they think he’s more predictable because of his tendency to announce his arrogance? Earlier, at camp, he told the camera, “I’m being that paternal person … providing them direction in the way I want them to vote.”

Daddy, they’ve got some issues. Maybe Peter can resolve them back at camp, after he locates his self-awareness.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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