"My question is: you suck."
After being one of the friendliest seasons in memory, Palau took an odd turn right at the end. Most notorious is Tom and Ian's rift, in which Tom brutally browbeat Ian into quitting the game and handing Tom the money, a jaw-dropping shift in tone from the genial season we'd all been watching. But just as surprising and disappointing was the jury performance put on by Gregg, who had earlier accepted his own booting with as much class and good humor as anyone ever has, in a terrifically tense and satisfying episode. It looked like a season in which being a gratuitous jerk was going to take a back seat to an appreciation of strategy and of friendships formed in unusual circumstances.
Obviously, when we reached the jury, Tom had already caused the era of good feelings to be called on account of bullshit. But when Gregg got up to make his speech, it still was joltingly nasty for a guy who had never seemed particularly vicious, even when he himself was voted out. It was evident that during everyone's stint at Loser Lodge, groupthink had set in, and Gregg's performance was evidently the product of a lot of griping and whining and way too much free time. Rather than really asking Katie a question, Gregg simply berated her for being "worthless" and "embarrassing" in challenges. He coasted along, finishing her off by declaring her "pathetic" and sarcastically asking her to explain how being so very pathetic was her plan to win.
Now, Katie was annoying. She was often very annoying. She wasn't blameless in the Ian drama -- she benefited from it, and she even joined in. She was not a sympathetic character. And yet, when Gregg -- conventionally handsome and smooth, easy with people, seemingly a guy with everything going for him -- made it so clear that he had really set himself to the task of hurting Katie's feelings, it seemed wildly out of proportion to her sins. It wasn't as if it his mockery was really about challenges; "worthless in challenges" was code, clearly intended to make her feel unathletic and ungainly and picked-last-for-kickball. Sure, she was bitchy and irritating, but by the time the jury questioning came around, what did it matter? Gregg was going to vote for Tom; he knew it and everyone knew it.