I started down this road on my wrapup of episode 6 but decided to devote a whole post to it in light of what we have seen so far from former ace contestant Colby Donaldson. Specifically speaking, I am seriously starting to think that the Colbster is a shell of his former self as a top notch player. The evidence this season has been very clear and his performances in challenges have been downright embaressing. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of the post, let's venture down memory lane shall we????
10 years ago Colby Donaldson was a 26 year old, fresh faced Texan with a killer physique and model looks. He quickly established himself as the leader of the Ogakor tribe, highlighted by his performance in the strength challenge when he carried over 400 pounds of water on his shoulders. Once the merge hit, Colby took it up another notch when he absolutely tore it up in the individual immunity challenges as he collected five in all and thrust himself into the finale where he lost a close vote to Tina Wesson. With that backdrop in performance to his credit, Colby enlisted in Survivor All Stars where he was voted out too early to really notice any kind of drop in skill. At 31 years old during that series, he was still in his prime and most likely would have done well once again.
Now here we are a full ten years from Australia and through six episodes, Colby has been an unmitigated disaster. The heroes tribe have gotten their asses handed to them in just about every challenge and things went from bad to worse in last week's episode when the crippled James and the rotund Rupert easily outpaced him in the immunity challenge. Afterward, Colby was ripped a new one by James in a joking/serious manner by proclaiming Colby was once a bad ass but now is the lazy/sleepy Colby. Surely these words had to sting the Texan but he didn't help himself by seemingly waving the white flag to the tribe in his "I know I am going home....it was nice playing with you all" gambit. Could you ever imagine Colby saying something like this back in Australia???? No way in hell. So the question must be asked: Is Colby in fact washed up as a dominant Survivor contestant????
In formulating an answer to this, I went deep into his history in the game to come up with an answer. For starters, I went back to Australia and examined his performance. There is no doubt that Colby was in great shape and served his tribe well in the challenge that I mentioned before. However if you look past that one challenge, you will see that the Ogakor tribe was beset with poor overall performances in the majority of the other challenges and suffered a string of defeats similar to what the heroes are going through right now. And if Michael Skupin doesnt fall into the fire, there was a very good chance that the Kucha tribe would have gone into the merge with the numbers and voted him and the others out one by one. Also if we move on to the merge portion of the season, the competition Colby had to go against for individual immunity was shaky to say the least. Out of the final 9 survivors in Australia, only Nick could be seen as better than average athletic competition. Continually knocking off Keith, Roger, Tina, Elisabeth and the others is nothing to be impresed about. Again I am not saying Colby wasn't deserving of the immunity he earned but in retrospect, it wasn't as impressive as it was made out to be.
AS far as All Stars was concerned, there wasnt much to go on as he was voted out very early and there were two non-challenges when Jennna and Sue left on their own. So let's immediately turn to the present heroes vs. villains series. From the very first day, it was clear this wasn't vintage Colby when Coach literally carried him halfway down the beach in being part of a losing heat for the heroes in the first reward challenge. The fact the heroes won in spite of him made him look worse. From that point on, Colby proved to be a non-factor in the high number of hero defeats and failed to do something to stop the slide. The one "good" moment he did have was during the episode 3 immunity challenge when the heroes destroyed the villains in the gladiator contest. Colby went up against Boston Rob in a rematch from All Stars when Rob literally picked Colby up and body slammed him into the water in the face off challenge. Colby won the duel this time as he pushed Rob into the mud. The caveat here is that their match took place almost at the end of the heats and the circle was full of mud from the previous matches. Boston Rob tried to dodge Colby right off the bat and than dump him from behind but wound up slipping and literally doing a flip onto the ground. At this point he was at Colby's mercy and still it took a tough struggle to get himself pushed off the "ring." If you watch the match, Rob is doing the pushing after being at the early disadvantage and tossing Colby around. So it was no domination by any means and maybe even a bit lucky.
Than the topper was this past week when I mentioned before where Rupert and a crippled James beat Colby in the immunity challenge. And it was downright telling when Colby was exposed by James at camp and than again at the immunity challenge. It was thrown out there for everyone and the most shocking thing of all was the tepid response. And when you take into account the acceptance he showed about possibly being voted out and you get a clear picture of a man whose heart and body are not into it like they were in the past.
Now let me say this: I was a decent sized Colby fan in Australia and soured on him in All Stars when he tried to act all badass and mean to Shi-Ann. That was fake and easy to see through. This season I once again was rooting for him but now have found myself profoundly dissapointed. At this point it is clear to me that Colby has seen his best days in the game and he really to me is not much of a threat to win. It is always hard to see a formerly great player fall to the wayside (Tom Westman). In Colby's case, I don't think that he was ever great however.
What do you all think? Is Colby washed up? Or am I reading too much into this????