Q's Chaos and a Mermaid Dragon

Confusion and dragons ahead of Survivor's finale

How did Q make it so far? The reason: Q-ontrolled chaos.

From the moment he threatened to quit at tribal council, he had his fellow castaways bamboozled. Creating confusion can actually be a good strategy to use in Survivor and here’s why.

Q had become such a target by the merge phase that player after player went home with an idol in their pocket thinking how could you not vote this guy out?

Q in a challenge

Q in one of his final challenges (CBS)

In psychology, there is this idea of cognitive dissonance, the discomfort we feel when things are confusing. And what’s as Q-onfusing as Q?

This is the reason I don’t blame Hunter, Tiffany, and Venus for holding their idols. When we’re faced with confusion or cognitive dissonance, we actually come up with stories to explain the inexplicable. Q was unpredictable and in that unpredictability, he forced other players to create their own stories about his behavior.


When you’re wondering whether to play an idol or not, you’re probably doing everything to make sense out of the non-sensical; thinking that your fellow castaways would vote Q out makes a lot of sense.

In Survivor, the person creating the chaos has the advantage. While everyone was trying to decipher the Q puzzle, he was onto his next trick.

Some of this was on purpose and some was just his incredible personality and happenstance. Q wasn’t afraid to keep people guessing, to throw curveballs, or to create live tribal councils. He forced people to create their own narratives about what was going on and that put them in uncomfortable positions.

Q giving a confessonial

He’d keep you guessing too (CBS)

If you tried to understand the Q-omplexities of this dude, well your story probably ended before his. When the stakes were highest, he didn’t use his idol, and while you all might find that confusing and might try to come with a story to explain it… that’s just Q.

Part of what has made Survivor 46 compelling is that the stakes are that high and we can feel that. For most of the season, someone has been angry, crying, or feeling strongly about something. And as we’ve gone from episode to episode, we keep seeing the mermaid dragon, Kenzie, poking her head out to be nice in a sea of mean.

She had moments with Bhanu, she has been Ben’s saving grace, and she has told us more than once that being human comes first. In a game that seemed to lack humanity at times, wouldn’t the person who had it the whole way be an interesting winner?

Kenzie is having fun out there while the tension ramps up. All season we’ve seen Charlie and Maria leading the strategy and in this episode it crescendoed into a faceoff. It was two players feeling the pressure of overwhelming stakes and this painful idea that they needed to take each other out to win.

Charlie’s reward choice weighed heavy on him. Maria cried over being left out. Charlie couldn’t stop nervously fidgeting. Maria couldn’t look him in the eyes. It was intense.

And Kenzie was cracking jokes about being a dysfunctional family at tribal council.

The contrast was palpable. Threat management is a major skill and Kenzie’s ability to hide in plain sight as a mermaid might be the reason why Charlie and Maria don’t recognize the happy dragon who wins the whole thing.

On that note, we’ve been led to believe that only Maria, Charlie, and Kenzie have a shot, but just for fun let’s make an argument for why Ben and Liz are still in it.

One of these three is probably winning Survivor 46 (CBS)

Ben: Everyone loves him (other than Q). He can make the case he was in with Charlie and Maria controlling the votes and that behind the music he was strategizing the whole game while allowing those two to take the spotlight. He lost his number one, Tim, and adapted.

He bared his whole soul, showed emotion, and kept things light in a pretty tense season. He voted for Kenzie and maintained her loyalty going into the next round. That rocks.

Liz: She overcame adversity with the lack of food and her argumentative tribe. She misted Maria last round into thinking Charlie was going, creating drama between the power couple of the season. Liz could be on a trajectory where she shows up when it matters in these final rounds. Like Ben, and like much of this cast, she wore her heart on her sleeve. Despite the lack of food until the endgame, she stuck it out and she is still there.


Let’s not forget the Tevin move! Come on! Plus, she voted out Tiff and Venus before her nemesis Q, even though her hunger to get him out might have been stronger than her real hunger.

It’s a fun thought experiment, although Ben or Liz pulling through as the Master of Puppets as the season Fades to Black would be quite a twist.

Sad But True.

Who do you think is most deserving to win the season? Feel free to reply or sound off in the comments of the web version

See you soon,

Kevin @ The Confessional

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