The first half of the double episode begins with Jay telling us he cringed at Taylor’s grandstanding in the prior tribal council: “Tayles, stop talking dude, you’re burying me with you.” To mitigate this, he digs up the buried food for the rest of the tribe. On the bright side, given the fact he didn’t play an immunity idol last time, the other players are surely convinced he doesn’t have one.
Chris is thinking ahead, and tells Bret they need to get rid of Jessica. He tells us 90% of the reason is that she’s strategic, and 10% is because “I owe her one.” Believe it or not he is talking about the ouster of greybearded Paul back in one of the earliest episodes. But Jessica mustn’t suspect it’s coming, so it will have to be “a small tactical squad” that takes her out.
After a brief interlude showing us that Hannah has a crush on Ken, we see Will tell Zeke that he will ally with him even though he’s been working with Jay. The deep-voiced youngster goes on to reveal to Zeke that Jay has an idol, but if that news gets back to Jay Will says he’s “screwed.” Will sees Zeke and Hannah as his alliance.
Well, in no time everyone knows that Jay has an idol. Chris hasn’t changed his Jessica plan, but tells Zeke to keep it between 6-7 people. The dream scenario would be to vote Jessica out while tricking Jay into playing his idol at the same time.
For the reward challenge, Jeff Probst announces that since there is an odd number of players, one person determined by random draw will sit out and not get to go on the reward. David volunteers to sit out — he’s such a bad swimmer nobody will want him on their team. But the other Gen-Xers say he should just draw a rock like everyone else. Jeff Probst calls both aspects of this a first in Survivor history. Jay ends up drawing the rock.
As it turns out, there’s little swimming involved in the challenge anyway, and it’s decided by Zeke and Adam beating Chris and David on the puzzle portion.
David says Chris, Bret, and Sunday are too strong a team, and he, Ken, and Jessica need to break it up. Specifically, Chris is his target. And David thinks it’s in Zeke’s best interest to get rid of Chris.
The immunity challenge involves using a 10-foot bamboo pole to hold a small statue in place while standing on a balance beam. David beats Zeke to win.
Zeke is the swing vote here. He trusts both Chris and David. What will he decide?
No idol is played, and Chris is voted out. The only people who voted against Jessica were Chris, Sunday, Bret, and Jay. Chris new he was being gunned for but his Oklahoman buddy Zeke didn’t stick with him.
To start the second half, Jessica says the next vote should be Jay.
Bret tells Zeke that he loved Chris, but Chris would have won the whole game if he’d stuck around (if you’ve been following my rankings, you know I agree). Zeke wastes no time making a pitch to Bret and Sunday, as he needs them for his coalition to target … David. The next morning David makes the opposite pitch to Bret and Sunday. However, we soon learn that Bret thinks David can’t be trusted (with good reason, as we’ve seen). Zeke tells Bret that David has an idol, and Bret says he figured as much.
Then we have a great little sequence: David tells the camera that he and Zeke are really very similar, but surely everyone will see Zeke is a bigger threat in the game. Then we see Zeke tell the camera … almost the same thing word for word, but with David as the main threat!
As for Hannah, she hasn’t decided between David and Zeke.
The reward challenge involves having to slither through the sand with arms and legs bound, then solving a snake-themed puzzle. The three-person team of Bret, Sunday, and Zeke wins, and David as the odd man out was allowed to join the food-and-drink reward. Bret and Zeke have some alone time and Bret tells the millennial that … he’s not the only gay guy in the game! An unexpected twist … but is it true? After all, Bret has been lying about his profession all along, why not this?
Back at camp, we find out Hannah has decided to side with David against Zeke. She and David confer, and she says “Don’t get neurotic on me,” which is funny coming from her.
The immunity challenge appears quite interesting: players have to reach through a sort of barred window to move a stick through a maze on the other side of the door. They can feel the maze with their hands but can’t see it. And for the only time I can think of, Probst can’t say who’s ahead or behind! This looked like a recipe for drama, but Jay solves his much earlier than everyone else, and also completes the sliding puzzle in the next step before anyone can join him. After that blowout win, we probably won’t see this challenge again. Perhaps there’s too much luck involved.
So, who will triumph, David or Zeke? Jessica feels she has to side with David since he played an idol for her earlier in the game. Ken is in as well.
Zeke gets some alone time with Hannah to basically get confirmation from her that David is a threat and needs to be taken out. Now, any Survivor knows that in this situation, the only correct response is to agree, even if you really think Zeke needs to be taken out post-haste. Hannah’s response is so incredibly wishy-washy that it doesn’t take the intelligence of Zeke to smell a rat. An incredulous Zeke asks: you’re not telling David I’m coming after him are you? She can’t muster any reassurance whatsoever. So predictably, right after that Zeke resolves that Hannah needs to go! Zeke can trust Bret, Sunday, Jay, and Will to vote with him, so that would be five votes out of the ten. Hannah talks to Adam about voting out Zeke, but Adam is nervous. Hannah asks David if he’ll use his idol on her, but he’s noncommittal.
During tribal council, Hannah and Adam exchange whispers. As there’s much talk about how everything is up in the air, Hannah asks Sunday what the plan is, and if you believe the subtitle, Sunday whispers “Ken.”
Finally it’s time to vote, and that idiot Taylor, who laughs at just about everything, laughs as the vote begins. Then shortly thereafter an absolutely HUGE bug lands on Taylor, and Tayles has a problem getting it off.
Time for Probst to ask if anyone wants to play an idol. David says “Sorry, Jeff …: and hands his over. Right then Adam shouts to David that the others were whispering that they are voting out Ken. So David says the idol is for Ken!
The votes are revealed … and it’s a tie. 5 votes for Hannah, 5 for Zeke (none for Ken). Adam has a what-have-I-done look on his face. So it’s time for a re-vote between Hannah and Zeke, and they themselves cannot vote. Zeke asks Jessica if she really wants to go to the drawing-rocks tiebreaker. So now there has to be a unanimous decision for one of the two, otherwise it is time to draw rocks. Despite some grandstanding by Will, it’s soon obvious there will be no unanimous decision. But four people do not have to draw a rock: Hannah and Zeke, Jay (who won the immunity challenge), and Ken (thanks to David’s idol). Probst has Will, Bret, David, Sunday, Adam, and Jessica each draw a rock. Whoever has the black rock is out of the game. They open their hands, and it’s Jessica, who is in tears as she leaves. Adam’s on the verge of tears too. Jessica tells the camera than she is willing her legacy advantage to Ken.
So a recap is in order of how this affects everyone:
Zeke: On the right side of the numbers, but he knows he’s considered the biggest threat.
Jay: He has lots of options and he still has his immunity idol.
Will, Bret, and Sunday: Also on the right side of the numbers.
Hannah: Has to cast her lot with David permanently now.
David: No longer has an idol and considered one of the top threats.
Ken: Might be working his way back onto the list of contenders to win.
Adam: Oh, Adam. He had managed to finally go a stretch when he was under the radar, but getting David to switch his idol to Ken basically changed the whole game, since if he hadn’t said that Zeke would be out!
contenders: 1. Zeke, 2. Jay, 3. Will, 4. Bret
no chance: Hannah, David, Ken, Sunday, Adam
jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Michelle (Jay), Taylor (Jay), Chris (Bret), Jessica (Ken)