Episode 5 – The Rope to Hang Themselves

The theme of this episode is “The Rope to Hang Themselves”. This phrase in the context of Survivor refers to when a player puts themselves in a vulnerable position because of their own actions or reactions put a target on their back – or a larger target than was there previously. In this regard, the player is often putting their food in their mouths and causing their tribe to want to get rid of them quicker than they had before they shot themselves in the foot.

The first instance of a Survivor using the rope to hang themselves in this episode is Debbie. During the episode, the edit showed us the huddle before the challenge where each tribe discussed who was going to do what. During this huddle, Debbie was adamant that she be assigned the part of the challenge involving the balance beam, gloating about how she used a gymnast. During the challenge, Debbie’s performance was not one that would be indicative of superior gymnastic skills and her tribe, the Mana tribe, lost the reward challenge. After returning to camp after losing, Debbie was furious at Brad because, as she claims, Brad wants to be a dictator and give out assignments during challenges by himself rather than having a group discussion. Debbie had a minor blow up around all of the others at their shelter and angrily went down to the beach alone. Soon after, Hali and Sierra joined Debbie to try to cool her down and to find out what had caused Debbie to become so outraged. In this conversation, Debbie attacked Hali about her inability in challenges and about how Brad does whatever “princess Hali” wants but disrespects Debbie. A little later on, Tai tried to calm Debbie down and, during conversation, Debbie started yelling in her vent session to Tai, causing Tai to become scared and call Debbie “a crazy person” in challenges. Despite Brad trying to apologize to smooth things over, Debbie was still heated at Brad. Even during the challenge, Debbie would give her all to be the first one to complete a task and then arrogantly boast about it to Brad whenever she got the opportunity. In the Mana camp, Debbie’s outburst and her reaction to losing the challenge was the rope that Debbie used to metaphorically hang herself; she annoyed Hali, scared Tai and aimed her attack at Brad – three of the other four members of the Mana tribe.

The second instance of a castaway using the rope to hang themselves comes later the episode at the Nuku tribe. In the first scene, we are shown Michaela asking Aubry to have JT pour her some coffee and some sugar – more than he believed she should based on their limited supply of sugar. This annoyed JT to the point that the whole tribe knew about it. Sandra, realizing the potential for a blow up at camp, decided to eat the rest of the sugar herself. Since JT and Michaela were the only two eating the sugar, Sandra knew that JT would blame Michaela for the sugar being gone and get mad about it; she was right. JT blamed Michaela which made Michaela mad at JT. After Nuku lost the challenge, JT pushed hard that Michaela should be the one to go home. He was so blinded by his hatred and annoyance of Michaela that he barely considered any alternate options. He had an idol, though he was so convinced that Michaela was the one that needed to go that he didn’t think he needed to play it. Meanwhile, Sandra decided to use this opportunity to get vengeance for Malcolm after JT’s “dirty deed” caused Malcolm to be sent home in the prior round. Sandra, Michaela and Jeff played their roles in pretending that Michaela was going home, causing JT to feel incredibly comfortable – comfortable enough not only for JT to not use his idol but comfortable enough for JT to not even bring his idol to tribal council. Sandra gave JT the rope and encouraged him to metaphorically hang himself. He did, and it sent him home with an idol in his pocket.

Check out other ‘Theme’ pieces written by our friend Scoofy here!