“We don’t want idols, we don’t want advantages.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers December 6, 2017 recap

6 Dec

Ryan now knows Ben is not really with him and Chrissy, by virtue of how the votes turned out. Chrissy tells her former ally Ben he’s “extremely dishonorable … you’re such a jerk, Ben.”

The players’ loved ones are introduced, including Lauren’s sister who — before running over to hug Lauren — runs over to hug Jeff Probst! The loved ones’ introductions go on for so long I figured this must be a slow episode. Boy, was I wrong about that!

Determining who gets to spend time with their loved ones is done by drawing rocks, not particularly exciting. I wonder if they had a whole challenge set up that fell through for some reason?

Since Ryan played an idol last Tribal Council, Ben figures a new one must have been placed in the game. He makes a fake idol to plant somewhere, figuring Chrissy or Ryan will find it and stop looking for the real one. But not long thereafter, Lauren finds an idol clue and alerts Ben. The clue actually has a strap that’s half of an idol, with a note that the shell making up the other half of that idol is going to be at the next immunity challenge!

The challenge is one we’ve seen before, involving pressing two discs at arm’s length against some blocks. Each player has a custom-made station to fit his or her maximum wingspan. “This will hurt,” Probst announces more than once. The shell that’s half of an immunity idol is half-buried in the sand in front of Lauren’s station.

A couple of players’ discs fall to the ground, knocking them out, then Lauren gingerly places her discs on the ground, withdrawing from the competition. “My shoulders are done,” she lies, unable to suppress a smile that nobody seems to see. Then she just picks up the shell. The producers missed an opportunity here, that was way too easy!

It comes down to Devon and Ashley, and Devon negotiates a neck massage in return for dropping out of the challenge.

Ashley has immunity, but she continues to worry about not having big moves to her credit, so she revives the plan to oust Ben that was discussed but not implemented last time. Devon isn’t totally against it but says Chrissy should go before Ben. The two of them and Lauren carelessly discuss it by the well, not noticing that Ben is coming. I have decided I need to tally the dumb moves in this episode so I will call this Ashley, Lauren, and Devon Dumb Move #1. They also compound it by falling completely silent when Ben comes around the corner. Sloppy!

Ben is very suspicious. Soon, he asks Mike if he’d like to make a big move, and he tells Mike about Lauren’s idol. The problem is, to get enough votes against Lauren they need Chrissy, who hates Ben right now. Ben tells Chrissy about both Lauren’s idol and Lauren’s extra vote advantage, saying Lauren has too much power. “We’re back in this together,” he tells Chrissy.

However, Chrissy tells Mike she is still leaning toward voting for Ben. So Mike says he needs a Plan B. So Mike tells Ashley that Ben told Chrissy everything.

Ashley: “What did he tell her?”

Mike: “Things you haven’t told me! Idols, advantages …”

Mike goes on to tell Ashley and Devon that Lauren is the target. Then Lauren gives Mike half of her idol as a sign of trust. Yes, you read that right. I am going to call this Lauren Dumb Move #2. Mike immediately tells us it’s the stupidest move in Survivor history.

At Tribal Council, Devon lists his allies without mentioning Ben, and Ashley and Lauren waste no time attacking Ben. Wow, this went sour quick!

And then, for whatever reason, Lauren reveals that she needs to have the extra vote advantage with her to use it, and she intentionally left it back at camp (Lauren Dumb Move #3)! “Do whatever y’all feel the need to do,” she says. And she tells about Ben’s fake idol plan. Ben takes the fake idol out of his pocket and hangs it around his neck.

The Mike says, “I’ve wanted to do this for, like, 15 years,” and throws the half-idol shell Lauren gave him into the fire (Mike Dumb Move #1, at least). He has a dopey grin on his face afterwards. Mike isn’t reluctant to make splashy moves but all of them are horrible splashy moves!

Probst observes, “It’s interesting that you guys have decided ‘I don’t want idols, I don’t want advantages.'”

Regarding the extra vote advantage, Lauren tells Chrissy “Do you want it? You can have it.” Oo-kay. Looks like everyone except Chrissy and Ryan is flat-out self-destructing today.

The conversation comes around to Ben who has revealed everyone else’s secrets consistently. “Who trusts you? No one.” Devon says. Meanwhile Ryan whispers to Mike “We have to keep the vote Lauren.”

More conversations ensue. Some of them are: Devon tells Mike they should get rid of Ben and don’t need the votes of Ryan or Chrissy to do it. And Mike tells Chrissy she should vote Ben, and she says no.

After the votes, Probst says this would be the time to play an idol. Ben says that in addition to his fake one he has a real one, and he plays it.

As it turns out, every vote was for Ben, except of course for Ben’s vote, and he votes Lauren. So none of the Ben votes count, and Lauren is out of the game on the strength of just one vote. Lauren giggles and wears an insipid smile.

I’ve had Lauren on my “no chance to win” list since very early on since I figured she was just too unsophisticated to win. There were times in between when she looked like a mastermind, but ultimately I seem to have been proven right. This episode is one of the worst cases of Survivor self-destruction ever.

And not only did she torpedo her own chances, she could have torpedoed those of Ashley and Devon too. There seems to be a pretty good chance that the other four will now turn against the two of them.

Contenders: 1. Ashley, 2. Devon, 3. Chrissy, 4. Ryan, 5. Ben, 6. Mike

No chance: none

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Desi (Mike), Cole (Devon), J.P. (Ashley), Joe (Mike), Lauren (Ashley)


“I see the power blinding them.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers November 29 2017 recap

6 Dec

This episode had as much gameplay as the rest of the season combined, so we have a lot to get to!

After Tribal Council, Joe tells Mike “that was a stupid reason to play your idol,” and I couldn’t agree more. Mike tells us he did all this to ensure Joe stuck around, because Cole wouldn’t ever form a duo with Mike but Joe would. I’m not sure how Mike using an idol on himself was supposed to help Joe, though. And Joe points out it might have been advisable to talk through such a big move with one’s “teammate” first.

The reward challenge is one we’ve seen before, involving stacking blocks using only one’s feet. Lauren, who is emerging as quite the challenge threat, wins it. Her choice of person to bring along is surprisingly not Ben, but Devon. Her second and third choices are Ben and Ashley, and Lauren tells us she had strategic reasons for choosing them.

Mike and Joe aren’t on the reward, but Mike says they might as well “bust a few jokes … like Siskel and Ebert.” They dub themselves the Coconuts and start up a nonstop comedy routine. Their jokes are less like Siskel and Ebert and more like a 1920s vaudeville act.

Chrissy and Ryan, also not on the reward, discuss whom to get rid of after Joe and Mike. Ryan says Ben first and then Lauren, and Chrissy agrees. They let us know that they are thinking a step ahead of anyone else in the game.

Well, they’re wrong about that. On the reward, information is shared. Devon tells everyone that Ryan has an idol, and Lauren tells everyone about her advantage. They (Devon, Lauren, Ashley, and Ben) make a final four pact and resolve to use the next vote to eliminate Chrissy, Ryan, or J.P.. Then they all get letters from their loved ones, which is something I always fast-forward through on my trusty Tivo.

Then we cut to … Jeff Probst on his couch at home? He reminds us that this us a two-hour episode. Weird! After the commercial, Ben finds an idol that he vows not to tell anyone about.

The immunity challenge is the “balance on top of a floating doghouse” game that’s been done a couple of times before, memorably in Fans vs. Favorites II. Probst says if anyone feels safe they can forgo the challenge and eat chocolate and peanut butter. Devon, Ben, and Lauren take the offer. Ben even offers Probst some of the food, which I don’t believe has ever happened before. Ashley outlasts Dr. Mike to win the challenge.

The group of seven gets together and decides to target Mike since he would be a less expected vote than Joe. But then we hear Devon’s thoughts.

Devon tells us viewers, “I look at Chrissy and Ryan and I see the power blinding them. I see the cluelessness in how confident they’re acting. It’s mind-blowing. That needs to be changed, and myself [sic] along with the alliance is going to be the one to change that.”

Devon then has an additional idea. Not only does he want to vote for Chrissy, Ryan, or J.P. but he suggests that Ben vote for Mike to make Chrissy and co. think that Ben is still with them! Of course, without Ben’s vote they only have three votes, so to make this work they need Joe and Mike to vote with them. The Coconuts are easily recruited. Mike exults, “All of a sudden the court jester has become Merlin, and I’m going to make them disappear one by one.”

To explain the prior reference: in the last episode Joe mockingly dubbed the group of seven the Knights of the Round Table, with Ben as King Arthur. I think this might be only the fourth alliance name ever on Survivor, after the Black Widow Brigade (Parvati, Amanda, Cirie, Alexis, and Natalie from Fans vs. Favorites), the Four Horsemen (Alex, Mookie, Edgardo, and Dreamz from Survivor: Fiji), and the Three Amigos (Malcolm, Eddie, and Reynold from Fans vs. Favorites II). And if I’m wrong, I will say those are the only memorable prior alliance names. And who knows if The Knights of the Round Table and/or the Coconuts will have staying power. Probably not.

At Tribal Council, we see votes for Joe and Mike, then two votes for J.P., then a third for J.P…. and that’s when we see the reaction shots. Ryan is agape, Devon smiles, and Ben has to suppress a smile. As the tribe walks out, the Coconuts proudly raise up their torches.

The question is: why J.P? Seems like he was by far the least threatening of the three, why not vote Ryan and also get his idol out?

As the second half of the double episode begins, Ben plays his role well by bashing Joe, which doesn’t take too much acting since he hates Joe! Meanwhile catty Chrissy is outraged that others are being a bit catty for a change. And Devon declines to answer a few questions on the grounds of the answers being confidential information.

Later, Devon tells Ryan that his annoyance about not being the only one to know about Ryan’s idol was what caused him to distrust Ryan. Ryan says he saw the two of them and Lauren as the final three.

Then we see a confessional from Devon telling us that he’s in full control, calling the shots, etc. This is not 15 minutes of show time after we saw him bash Ryan and Chrissy for being too overconfident!

The reward challenge is a generic affair, won by the team of Joe, Devon, Ben, and Ashley. On the reward Ben continues his playacting, for Joe’s benefit alone.

Back at camp, Ryan decides to try and bring Dr. Mike over to his side so he will have the numbers once again (since he thinks Ben is still with him). Ryan tells Mike he still wants to work with him. But Mike counters by pointing out he made proposals to Ryan every day for a week and they were all turned down. Plus, he says Ryan told him right before Tribal Council that he wasn’t voting for him, and yet he still did.

More or less simultaneously, Chrissy puts on a fake smile and tells Lauren that she (Chrissy) and Ryan had Lauren in their final three plans all along. Lauren isn’t buying it. Chrissy moans to us that unlike here, “in the real world I’m always in control of everything.”

The immunity challenge involves driving a one-wheeled wheelbarrow with a pot balanced on it, then solving an anagram puzzle. And it’s won by …. Chrissy, which is terrible for Devon’s alliance because she’s immune now and Ryan has an idol. So that alliance decides to target Joe, and spins the Coconuts a fake story that they fall for.

And meanwhile Chrissy and Ryan tell their “ally” Ben that they want to target Ashley and Devon.

Lauren isn’t done scheming. She tells Ashley that it would be crazy to take Ben to the final four. Ashley agrees. They put it to Devon who says “Wow!” (which is his reaction to everything.

At Tribal Council, Mike and Joe talk about how safe they feel now that they finally have an alliance. Ashley looks so stressed that I figure the Ben plan must have been greenlit. The votes are cast, and Ryan plays his idol. There are two votes for Ryan (by Joe and Mike), two for Ashley (Ryan and Chrissy) and the rest are for … Joe.

Contenders: 1. Devon, 2. Ashley, 3. Ben, 4. Chrissy, 5. Ryan, 6. Mike

No chance: Lauren

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Desi (Mike), Cole (Devon), J.P. (Ashley), Joe (Mike)

“Squatting is never fun.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers November 22 2017 recap

26 Nov

Ten people are left in the game.

Mike tells us his strategy will now be to protect himself by bringing up the names of the other Healers (Joe and Cole) as candidates to be voted out. Ben says he hasn’t told anyone about Lauren’s advantage. Incredibly, as far as we viewers know, not one player noticed that there was one vote too few cast at the last Tribal Council.

Also, Ryan reveals to Devon that he has an idol. Their conversation includes this dialogue which will be important later:

Devon: “No one knows.”

Ryan: “Yeah.”

Devon: “No one, that’s never leaking.”

Ryan: “I know.”

The reward challenge is a water challenge at which we are reminded that Ashley is a lifeguard and a great swimmer. But the most impressive swimming is actually by J.P.

The reward-winning team has the three healers Mike, Joe, and Cole, as well as Chrissy and J.P. enjoying a feast on the deck of a yacht. Cole chows down on the reward feast, pointing out to us viewers that he has only lost one challenge so far this entire season, so if he’s well-fed, watch out. Part of the feast is a big chocolate cake that Joe slices every which way in case there’s an idol clue in there. He’s clearly on the chopping block so it doesn’t matter if everyone sees him. The yacht then sails past the other tribe’s beach. The other players race out to the beach to moon them as they sail by.

Back at camp, Ryan takes Ben aside and … tells him about the idol! Ben says he won’t mention it to anyone.

Later, Ben says he and Lauren are going to need a third person to align with, which I find fascinating because he doesn’t count Chrissy, who he’s supposedly in a tight alliance with! The person Ben wants to talk to is Devon. He tells Devon that Ryan has an idol. “Really? Wow,” Devon says.

Devon is blown away, because Ryan told Devon that he was he only person who knew. Though that’s not exactly what happened in the part of the conversation we saw: see the quotation above. And in any case Chrissy definitely knows about Ryan’s idol as well, as we saw last week. But the facts aside, Devon takes this development, or perceived development, to mean he can’t trust Ryan now. He tells us, “I’m going to move on [from Ryan]. I’m going to play this game with Ben, and I’m gonna have to make some big moves comin’ up.”

The challenge is a new one in which the players have to maintain a squatting position with bars on their shoulders (this is like something a physical therapist would come up with). The key is that they can’t raise up too high or squat down too low. “Squatting is never fun,” Probst observes. The challenge comes down to Cole and Lauren, but Lauren wins.

So now Cole’s only hope is that everyone is so mad at Joe they’ll vote him out instead. I’m not buying the suggestion that this has any chance of happening.

Ben quickly gets word out to his alliance that they have to split votes between Cole and Mike. Huh? It seems odd that they would worry about an immunity idol after none was played last week. Ashley asks why not Cole and Joe, since Joe has been doing his best to provoke her and others for days. Ben won’t hear of it. And it turns out Devon and Chrissy would both rather vote out Joe as well. All agree that Ben is being too domineering here.

Ben tells Mike that the vote will be for Cole. Mike tells us, “Every person that I’ve trusted has betrayed my trust. So I’m not playing their game. I gotta do something to send one of these threats home. I’m gonna make the world implode by playing my idol.”

At the start of Tribal Council, Mike tells Joe to follow his lead, but Mike’s lead is to grandstand and say that it’s unethical for the others to think Joe shouldn’t be there and then not vote out Joe.

The vote takes place, Probst asks about idols, and Mike stands up to play his … on himself.  All of the votes are for Cole except one vote for Ben, so Cole becomes the second jury member.

Yes, I said there was one vote for Ben, meaning Mike and Joe both voted Cole. So why in the world did Mike just play his idol on himself? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Contenders: 1. Devon, 2. Ashley, 3. Ryan, 4. Chrissy, 5. Ben 6. Mike

No chance: Lauren, Joe, J.P.

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Desi (Joe), Cole (Joe)

Spaghetti Alla Probst: Survivor Heroes vs. Healer vs. Hustlers November 15, 2017 recap

17 Nov

Lauren finds the advantage that’s hidden among the construction nails, which Cole had his fingers inches away from last episode but didn’t notice. The advantage is the opportunity to save a vote for a later tribal council rather than using it immediately. To have it take effect, you don’t write down a name at Tribal Council and instead take the parchment with you. Lauren immediately starts worrying about whether she could pull this off without the others noticing that something is amiss.

It’s Day 20. Jeff Probst announces that the reward challenge is a spaghetti meal. There’s an odd number of players, so one person won’t be chosen for a team (by random draw) and that person will join the winners for the meal.

After the reward has been won by a team of Ryan, Chrissy, Devon, J.P., and Cole, Probst announces a twist: only one person will eat at a time, in private, with Joe deciding the order.

Joe puts himself last in line and Devon first. Devon eats his share of the big plate (or perhaps more) and as he leaves we see that the letter B has been exposed, printed on the plate with the rest still hidden under the spaghetti. J.P. eats next and doesn’t notice the writing. But Cole does, and he exposes the rest of the message to find out that there’s an immunity idol hidden under the tribe flag back at camp.

Obviously as more spaghetti gets eaten it’s impossible to hide the clue. So Cole takes the cheesecloth that’s under the plate and puts it on top of the plate with the spaghetti on top of that. Amusingly, Chrissy seems to think nothing of the spaghetti being served on cloth! She does suspect a clue must be there somewhere, though, and quickly finds it, figuring she is the first to do so. Ryan comes next and finds the clue also. And just to leave nothing to chance, he buries the plate in the forest.

While Joe finishes off the food unaware of any of this, Chrissy whispers to Ryan about the clue, and it’s not very subtle since Cole is lying right next to her.

Once they’re back at camp, Ryan sees Cole head off to use the bathroom and he sees his chance (Couldn’t Cole have held it in until taking care of more important things?). Ryan digs under the flag, quickly finds the idol, and sticks it in his pants and walks away. Chrissy goes to cover up the sand and Cole plunges in and starts to dig as Chrissy yells for reinforcements. Ben tells everyone Cole stuck the idol in his pants and Cole doesn’t deny it, figuring a bluff is better than nothing.

The immunity challenge involves holding up a statuette by bracing the end of a long pole against it. There’s an odd sight as Probst says you can see Ryan’s heart beating, and by golly he is so skinny that you actually can! It comes down to Desi, Cole, and JP, then just the two men. Cole, who is clearly the one on the chopping block, does manage to win and gets a round of applause.

With Cole immune, that means Desi, Joe, and Mike are possible targets. There is a plan to split votes 4-4 between Desi and Joe since Joe might have an idol. But how would Lauren avoid using her vote in a split? That would leave just 3 votes on one side, and the four healers could either force a tie, or worse, pull in another person.

Joe tells Devon and Ryan that they are foolish to let Ben run the show, because they can’t beat him. Both have terrified looks on their faces because they know Ben is nearby eavesdropping. Ryan tells us Joe is right, but now isn’t the time to make a move.

Joe tells Ben he heard he swore on the Marines to three different people. His aim is to get under Ben’s skin, and he succeeds.

Lauren tells Ben about her advantage and says there’s no way they can split the votes now. Ben wants to split them anyway and recruit one of the Healers to make up the missing vote, that person being Mike, who listens because he figures this might be his way to get up from the bottom.

Jeff Probst thinks this Tribal Council is fascinating and wonderful, I found it quite boring with just the obvious being belabored. However, we do have the drama of what Lauren will do, and her face is the picture of stress every time we see it. As she goes to vote, I have to applaud the producers for taking two straightforward and pretty dull parts of the game (a reward feast and the voting process) and adding interesting twists to both this episode. Sure enough, she rolls up a blank parchment and sticks it in her shirt, and pops the “advantage rules “parchment into the voting urn instead.

The vote is: 4 for Joe, 4 for Desi, and one each for Ben and Lauren. Nobody seems to notice in the moment that that only totals 10. Time for a revote, in which only Joe and Desi can be voted for. Presumably this situation was covered in Lauren’s advantage rules – she knocks her parchment off the opposite edge of the table and pantomimes putting a vote in the urn.

Desi is voted out, and Probst tells us she becomes the first member of the jury. Presumably she was voted for over Joe because she did so well in the last couple of challenges.

An odd note: not only did Dr. Mike vote for Joe, Cole did as well for whatever reason, and Joe and Desi voted Ben and Lauren respectively.

Contenders: 1. Devon, 2. Ashley, 3. Ben, 4. Ryan, 5. Chrissy, 6. Mike

No chance: Lauren, Joe, J.P., Cole

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Desi (Joe)

“8,000 calories.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers November 8 2017 recap

9 Nov

On the yellow tribe, Chrissy thinks she’s in the power position. Usually talk like that means someone’s downfall is imminent, but we’ve been hearing Chrissy brag all season. On the red tribe, Cole is confident. But on the blue tribe, everyone is just really hungry. Devon tells us how weak he is and finally just lies down. The camera shot which is trained on him pulls straight up into the air, like in a movie when a character has suddenly been shot and the camera pulls back to show others rushing up to the body.

The tribes go to what they think is a reward challenge, but Jeff Probst announces that the tribes have now merged. After toying with them a bit, he announces that their feast is catered by Outback Steakhouse. You can only be so nostalgic about a sponsor, but this is a bit of a throwback since Outback had been involved in some earlier Survivor seasons, years ago.

As the players feast, we find out that Cole usually eats 8,000 calories a day (does even an Olympic swimmer eat that much?), and in case anyone missed this in an earlier episode, we are reminded that Jessica is a virgin. Chrissy wants to do a murmured strategy talk with Ben, but he doesn’t want anyone to overhear and suspect their tight alliance.

At the merged tribe’s camp there are extra tools and supplies, and Cole scans them for a possible advantage. Unbeknownst to him there’s one inches from his fingertips.

There are 12 people in the merged tribe. Jessica thinks she has all five Healers together (herself, Cole, Mike, Desi, and Joe) plus Lauren and Ben, making a majority.

Ryan, meanwhile, sees himself and the other two remaining Hustlers (Lauren and Devon) aligning with the Heroes to oust one of the Healers. However, Lauren tells us she wants no part of knocking out one of the Healers. And she tells Mike (who she’s apparently quite tight with) that the Healers are being targeted. We hear a lot of strategy talk from Mike in this episode, a welcome change from the past episodes that had Ryan more or less doing the play-by-play.

Ben tells us he’s undecided, and says the key question is whether he can trust Cole. He is definitely annoyed by Cole.

The immunity challenge is a brand-new one: while standing on an angled balance beam, hold onto a wooden ring with a groove on the inside that holds a ball. You have to keep moving the ring in a circle to keep the ball going around and around. And Probst mentions about every two minutes that the sound of the ball can lull you to sleep, although it doesn’t seem like that’s actually happening to anyone. By the way, we see plenty of shots of Cole during the challenge and throughout the episode, clear indications that he may be going home. The challenge is won by Desi.

Afterward, Cole tells Joe that the Healers have a pact with Lauren and Ben, but Joe says they shouldn’t trust Ben at all. Meanwhile Mike suggests Chrissy as a target.

It certainly looks like Ben will be the one making the key decision. He tells Lauren that a Healer has to go, but she strongly disagrees. And Chrissy is telling her group that the vote should be for Cole, with Joe as a backup and Jessica the third option.

Tribal Council has everyone saying all the expected things, then the talk turns to immunity idols. Suddenly for reasons I can’t fathom, Joe says “Did I say I found a [sic] idol? No, I found idols.” The Tony wannabe’s quote is reminiscent of Tony’s famous “there’s [sic] idols. Cause I got one.”  Joe says he’ll hang it around his neck for now and relax.

The vote ends up being for …. Jessica, by a vote of 7-5. Lauren and Ben both voted for Jessica.

The vote makes sense for Chrissy and her alliance: Joe has found an idol and it was fair to assume he could have found a second, and Cole also seems like the type to have an idol, but Jessica not so much.

As for Joe, he completely wasted his idol. I could’ve understood using the same strategy as he used just a couple of episodes ago, and getting everyone annoyed at him so they’ll vote for him, only to surprise everyone with an idol. But this was it was easy for the other tribe to just change direction.

Contenders: 1. Devon, 2. Ben, 3. Ashley, 4. Chrissy, 5. Desi, 6. Mike, 7. Ryan, 8. Cole

No chance: Lauren, Joe, J.P.

“He’s not going to leave the van.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers November 1 2017 recap

1 Nov

Ali tells us she can’t trust Ryan again after what happened at Tribal Council, and Ryan tells us he might want to try to get rid of Ali since he doesn’t like having an enemy in the game.

There’s a change of scene, and we see someone swimming underwater and catching a fish with a spear gun. Surprise, it’s Dr. Mike! But he accidentally drops the small fish into the fire.  On that same tribe, we get complaints about Cole hogging food for the second week in a row. Jessica is still fond of Cole of course. But Lauren says of Jessica and Cole: “I can’t imagine her going to live in a van with him. Because he’s not going to leave the van.”

The reward challenge, or at least the final phase of it, involves shooting a slingshot from one floating platform at a target on another. The problem is, major swells are coming in from the ocean. J.P.’s strategy of doing nothing until the swells subside works, and his yellow team wins the reward. By the way, at both reward and immunity challenges all season, the producers have felt the need to show Chrissy’s reaction to every single thing Probst says, perhaps because she smiles at everything Probst says.

J.P. was great in the challenge but we soon hear Ryan tell us about what a threat that makes J.P. I think I am getting Ryan fatigue on this season because he is doing such a high percentage of the narration.

Over on the blue tribe, we see an absolutely enormous spider as Ashley inquires if Desi would consider getting rid of Joe. Desi says that’s a definite yes. Joe and Devon go looking for an idol. For whatever reason we get a closeup of Devon shaking his bag as if he’s carrying something important in there, but the shot is never explained. Joe sees a clue on a tree that’s nearly identical to the clue he found on his original tribe. But he doesn’t let on to Devon who’s a few yards away. In the middle of the night, Joe heads to the well and finds the idol.

Back to the red tribe. Cole is lying down in the shelter and his hand is trembling. Then he stands up and promptly collapses. But he collapses onto a pretty soft-looking spot. Is he acting? Mike and Jessica get him water and food. It’s certainly a fact that “ripped” guys with minimal body fat don’t tend to do well on Survivor (for further reading, see: Garrett from Survivor Cagayan). Ben says that if their tribe loses the immunity challenge, he, Mike and Lauren are voting Cole out.

The immunity challenge is, I believe, a brand new one: each tribe has a disc that is held up by four ropes, one for each member. They have to move to the center of the circle to stack blocks to spell out IMMUNITY and also make it back to their original positions at the edge of the circle to win. The slightest mistake knocks over the stack.

This is by far the most exciting challenge of the season to date. The red team has made their whole word, but the stack tips over at the last second. Then on re-tries, all three tribes place the I in IMMUNITY at the same time. Whose stack will stay up? The red team’s does. Blue is second, so Yellow has to go to Tribal Council. Ali,  as the clear favorite to be voted out, has a facial expression that says “oh crap.”

Back at camp, Ryan wants to move on his plan to oust JP, so he’ll have to apologize to Ali. His apology is not convincing at all, but Ali will agree to anything, as she figures there’s just one more vote she needs to get through before the merge.  The two discuss voting out JP, and Ali goes to “sell” Chrissy on the idea, but Chrissy seems to have made up her mind already that it’s JP. Ryan tells us “I don’t know why everybody wants to work with me, I think I’m a friggin’ weasel.”

At Tribal Council, JP observes that strong, athletic guys tend to get voted out right around this part of the game. And it’s obvious he’ll be next … but the show faked me out, it’s actually Ali who goes home. And she’s devastated.

Ali seemed like she was going to be a good player. I think she perhaps could have been a contender in another situation. But she ended up going to four of the first six tribal councils, and the odds are against you when that happens (compare to Cole, Jessica, and Mike, who haven’t been to a single Tribal Council yet).

And once again, I can’t really fault Ryan’s decision. Chrissy had lost her trust in him and might have gone elsewhere at the merge, while J.P. will likely stick with him and Chrissy.

Contenders: 1. Devon, 2. Ben, 3. Ashley, 4. Chrissy, 5. Desi, 6. Ryan, 7. Mike, 8. Jessica, 9. Cole

No chance: Lauren, Joe, J.P.


“I just want to have a thoughtful conversation.” Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers October 25 2017 recap

26 Oct

Ben is standing near the fire when the bamboo starts popping in the flames, almost sounding like a series of explosions. He is freaked out, and we learn that he is still traumatized by his experiences as a Marine in combat.

The reward challenge is a “slither” challenge similar to the memorable one from the Millennials vs. Gen-X season. Ryan is trying his best but keeps losing the ball (that he’s supposed to be pushing with his head while slithering along) off to the side. It’s no huge deal, as the reward is just coffee and some pastries.

On the blue tribe, Ashley and Devon confirm that they are sticking together at the next vote no matter what, which would make for a 2 vs. 2 situation. They hope they could get Desi to side with them rather than go to a rock-draw tiebreaker.

On the yellow tribe, Ali and Roark take a walk. They are both eager to align with one another. This would give Ali the long-term protection of the Healers tribe which has yet to lose a member, and help Roark in the short term.

This development makes Ryan nervous. He’s tight with Ali but also tight with Chrissy, and those two won’t work with one another (according to him, we’re not shown any proof).

On the red tribe, Dr. Mike and Jessica head for the well and start digging around looking for an idol. And no, they don’t have Cole with them, since he would tell everyone in earshot about any idol within 30 seconds. The idea to look for one in that spot is a solid one, since they know Joe found an idol in the corresponding spot on a different beach. And sure enough, Mike finds it.

Time for the immunity challenge, which ends in the puzzle that’s similar to  the old arcade game “Ice Cold Beer” which we’ve seen before in Survivor: Kaoh Rong and Survivor: Worlds Apart. My main takeaway from the challenge is noticing that beauty queen Desi appears to be very athletic; she did well in the immunity challenge as well.

Chrissy can’t seem to handle the puzzle. Early on she asks to sub out until she takes off her shoes, but later she refuses to sub out when asked. And her tribe does indeed lose.

Back at camp, Chrissy takes Roark aside and says “I just want to have a thoughtful conversation.” They agree to work together, but Roark just told us moments ago that she thinks Chrissy needs to go home. And Chrissy tells us afterwards that she doesn’t believe a word Roark says.

Chrissy floats the idea of voting out Roark to J.P., who points out that Roark is good in challenges. But then Chrissy tells the fib that Roark wants to do an all-girl alliance, and J.P. instantly says Roark has to go. Chrissy tells us “J.P., Ryan, and myself will blindside Roark and send her home.” OK, timeout here. Much like Lauren in a prior episode, Chrissy is guilty of misusing the term blindside. A person who goes to tribal council worried that he will be voted out but hopeful he can avoid it, and is then voted out, has not just been blindsided. That term is reserved for someone who has no idea he is the target.

Ali tells Ryan that she and Roark want to vote out Chrissy, and Ryan says he’s on board. So Ryan is the critical vote here. Does he move forward in the game with Chrissy, or Ali?

At tribal council Ali and Roark are quick to criticize Chrissy and vice versa and things get surprisingly heated. Roark, who we’ll find out shortly is a superfan, is not very impressive in this setting. Surely any superfan knows that the best way to get through Tribal Council is to avoid really answering any tough questions? Also, surely J.P. doesn’t still think there’s an all-girl alliance in the offing after watching this?

When the votes are read, we find that Ryan decided in favor of Chrissy, and Roark is voted out. I won’t question his decision, though I want to because Chrissy is so annoying. She definitely wins my “player I would not want to have the cubicle next to at work” award.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another tribe swap soon, as things are already getting a bit boring again. I really hope Devon and Joe stick around a while, as they’re the only characters who really do much for me at this point.

Contenders: Devon, Ben, Ashley, Ryan, Chrissy, Jessica, Desi, Ali

Not sure: Cole, Mike

No chance: Lauren, Joe, J.P.