Recapping Survivor San Juan Del Sur November 19 + 26 and December 3 + 10

13 Dec

As we begin the November 19 show, Jon said that what tipped the scales to make him vote against Josh was Jaclyn’s complaints that the guys were acting like boors.

The reward challenge is a balance-beam duel over mud. Natalie and Jeremy are among the winners, and they give up their spots to Jon and Jaclyn. Also, Jeremy is sent to Exile Island (his alliance-mates want to send one of their own, to prevent anyone from the other alliance from finding an idol). Reed tells the camera “It makes you want to hurl.” Also, at this point the season is getting pretty boring, and the cast is not likable.

The “exiled” Jeremy uses the clue, but finds no idol. Therefore he comes to the conclusion that Jon found it on his prior trip, though Jon mentioned no such thing to Jeremy. Meanwhile back at camp, it suddenly dawns on Jon that Jeremy will figure this out and Jon’s cover will be blown.

The immunity challenge involves stacking blocks, but the twist is that all of the stacking has to be done with the feet. So many challenges on this show favor people with small feet, do we finally have an exception here? By the way, we see that Missy’s feet are hideous, for some reason this causes much schadenfreude in me. Baylor wins the challenge.

At camp, Reed decides to search Keith’s bag, and while he doesn’t find the idol, he finds the clue which Keith kept for some reason. Meanwhile, Jeremy tells Natalie that Jon must have an idol. He decides to ask Jon about it and try and catch him in a lie. And when that happens, Jon does indeed lie. However Jon goes and tells Missy that he has an idol, and that he wants to vote Jeremy out. That would really be rocking the boat.

At tribal council Josh files in, confirming he’s the first jury member. Probst points out that incredibly, no idol has been played so far this season (and we’re on episode 9). It’s pretty clear that Reed or Keith will be voted out. And the second member of our jury is … Jeremy? What a blindside! And Natalie is aghast. Wow, a really boring episode for 59 minutes, but lots of excitement for one!

The votes went as follows:

voted for Reed: Keith, Wes, Alec

voted for Keith: Jeremy, Natalie

voted for Jeremy: Reed, Missy, Baylor, Jon, Jaclyn

I bet Jeremy regrets giving up his reward spot now!

Also, two weeks ago this season was shaping up as a Josh vs. Jeremy showdown, now both of them are on the jury.

As the November 26 show begins, Jon admits to Natalie that he has an idol. But soon Natalie goes hunting for an idol of her own, she had seen a clue when she was on Exile Island after all.

Reed is one of the winners of the reward challenge and says he’ll give up his spot on the reward (bringing local Nicaraguan kids some baseball equipment) to Missy. This is the same Reed who pointed out at the last tribal council how transparent it was that other players had given up their reward spots. Gag! Meanwhile Wes is sent to Exile, and not one second of his time there is shown on TV.

Reed tells the viewers that with the reward participants gone, he can start on his plan to take out Jon, and he starts by approaching Keith. His idea is to have four people vote for Jon (Reed, Keith, Wes, and Alec) on the assumption that the others will split their votes between Wes and Keith.

Natalie and Baylor are idol-hunting, and Natalie finds it. The show has become pretty predictable on this score, now almost every time they show someone searching for an idol the person finds it. Also, we find out that Natalie also wants to take out Jon.

The immunity challenge involves standing on a perch while holding handles overhead. Probst makes a big deal of the fact that each setup is a different height to make it fair … but he doesn’t say if the ledges are different widths. And soon, our congenial host starts whipping out food items to try and tempt people into quitting. Jon quits to take candy, and of course he’s pretty secure. But who else quits to have some chicken wings? Wes! And he’s anything but secure! What is this guy thinking?

To Tribal we go … will Reed’s audacious plan work? Well, for one thing everyone has to play their roles perfectly, and Reed gamely plays the part of a man who’s going to vote Wes or Keith out. But Keith, in an incredibly misguided attempt at being subtle, makes a reply containing the words “stick to the plan.” This is quite possibly one of the dumbest things that have ever been done on Survivor. It’s news to everyone else that Keith is part of any sort of plan, and everyone starts whispering to each other, including Reed who tries to do damage control. When it’s time to vote, Natalie whispers to Jon, “Dude, play your idol.” He does. And Keith takes his out too, not to give to Wes who actually might have some slight chance to win, but to use on himself. Most of the votes do indeed go to Jon, but of course do not count. This means Wes is out of the game, and we’re down to eight players.

The December 3 episode begins with Alec and Reed telling Keith they’re mad at him. Understandably so, considering he just ruined both of their games with one sentence! Alec had done a pretty good acting job of convincing Jon he was with him, but of course now Jon no longer trusts him. And Alec tells the camera that he doesn’t trust Reed as an ally either.

Time for a time-honored Survivor challenge. The players have to answer trivia questions about one another, and each time a person gets a correct answer they get to hack at a rope with the names of one of the other players. When the rope is hacked through enough times it crushes the fake skull with the person’s name on it, knocking them out of the challenge. Of course the point of this challenge on the part of the producers is to shake things up by getting players mad at each other based on who hacks which rope. Then the winner of the challenge gets to pick others to go on a reward, there’s another opportunity to make people mad.

Being in the minority, Alec, Reed, and Keith are quickly knocked out. Then after the next question the remaining players all exchange glances to try and arrange who will be cutting whose rope. Probst has no patience for this and says something to the effect of, “If this is just a charade and you guys are throwing the rest of the challenge to hand the victory to one person, just get it over with and tell me who it’s going to be.” Thank you Probst!

So Missy is handed the victory and gets to choose two people to join her on the reward (Jon goes to Exile Island). Missy chooses Baylor as the first and picks Natalie over Jaclyn as the second. Reed and Keith immediately point out that maybe Missy isn’t Jaclyn’s friend after all, and Jaclyn is clearly miffed. At Exile Island, Jon finds a new immunity idol to replace the one he played.

At camp, Jaclyn is alone with Reed, Keith, and Alec, and the latter talks to her most of the time, or flirts with her as the case may be. There is an immunity challenge, won by Keith.

When Jon is reunited with Jaclyn she starts to explain her strategic insights but Jon says none of this is new. That infuriates Jaclyn. Reed intrudes on their tiff to make a case for why the couple should vote with him. Jon is considering it, but just then Natalie walks up, so Jon tells Reed he can’t trust him, but while winking hard with the eye that’s out of Natalie’s sight.

Jon then spends half an hour talking to Missy, which makes Jaclyn gets even more furious, and now she doesn’t want to speak to Jon at all (much time is devoted to this lovers’ quarrel). Reed is quite alarmed at this silent treatment and frankly tells Jaclyn “this may be a fatal fight for my game.” And at Tribal Council the argument gets discussed even further … yawn! And Reed is voted out.

Time for the second part of the two-hour December 3 episode. Have I mentioned that I find Missy really annoying? Especially her habit of biting her lower lip which I’m sure she thinks is adorable.

Natalie wins the reward challenge, which involves keeping a ball pressed against a post using something that looks like a bowling pin. She picks Alec to go to Exile Island … apparently they assume there is no immunity idol there, but I don’t know how they can assume that. Two idols were played recently and only one found since then, so wouldn’t that usually mean there is another idol in the game? This is not explained.

The reward is a feast plus the opportunity to spend the night in a comfy bed … but all of this will be at camp in full view of the other players. Natalie chooses Jaclyn and Jon to join her, but soon tells the camera and her allies that this is just to lull the two into a false sense of security, as she wants to try and vote Jon out in the very next Tribal. As they enjoy the reward, Jon tells Natalie that he found another idol at Exile Island.

Natalie goes to Baylor and suggests voting Jon out, but without telling Baylor’s mother Missy. They think Missy has a soft spot for Jon and wouldn’t go along with it, and think they wouldn’t need her vote since Keith and Alec would be game to join in. Jon tells Jaclyn he’s suddenly picking up a weird vibe around camp.

The immunity challenge involves collecting blocks and standing them on end on a wobbly table while holding a rope attached to that table. Jon wins immunity, so the obvious choices to be voted out are Alec or Keith. Since Keith has been a strong competitor in challenges, so they focus on him. The plan is to split the vote between the two (just in case there’s been a new idol in the meantime), but with the most votes going to Keith. However, Natalie thinks that Keith would be more likely to win immunity in the next round than Alec would, and prevent Jon from winning that immunity. So she unbalances the split and casts her vote for Alec instead of Keith. Alec is out of the game, and Jon and Jaclyn are shocked.

The December 10 episode begins with just six people left in the game. Based on how she read everyone at tribal council, Natalie decided that her best chance was to claim that she thought she was supposed to vote Alec as part of her alliance’s arrangement. She says it was only discussed very briefly and she obviously misunderstood the plan. This claim is fairly preposterous, but by golly everyone else seems to buy it! That doesn’t count Baylor who knows very well what just happened.

The reward challenge is won by Keith, Jon, and Missy, though Missy injures her ankle early on. Jon says he’ll give up his spot on the “spa day” reward to Baylor (though see above for how well giving up reward spots worked out for Jeremy and Reed … they were both voted out the next day!). Natalie and Jon both volunteer to go to Exile island, and Natalie is chosen.

When the group files in for the immunity challenge, Missy is walking with a crutch. Probst brings in the doctor (or to use Survivor parlance, he brings in “medical”). The doc says that the ankle is sprained at least, and it’s possible something is broken. But somehow this doctor is way less cautious than any other one we’ve seen to date. He says that since there are only a few days left in the game, they could just immobilize the ankle for now. Missy says she doesn’t want to quit, so they work on her ankle while the others participate in the immunity challenge, which is won by Natalie.

Natalie is back on her “vote out Jon” plan, but Missy says she isn’t on board, as she has given her word to go to the end with Jon and she would get no jury votes if she turned on him.

A couple of times during the episode Jon remarks that Natalie’s error could be a significant one. Jaclyn wonders if it was intentional, but Jon says his gut tells him it wasn’t, and they’re just being paranoid.

Still, the vote is 2 each for Keith, Jon, and Jaclyn. Meaning on the re-vote the only ones who can participate are Missy, Baylor, and Natalie. That means Jon is voted out.


Frankly it looks like Natalie has this one in the bag if she makes it from the final five to the final three.

The jury members as of now are Josh, Jeremy, Wes, Reed, Alec, and Jon. The players left are Missy, Baylor, Jaclyn, Keith, and Natalie.

None of the jurors have any strong bond to Missy and Baylor, nor did those two do much in terms of making noteworthy moves. Jaclyn has Jon’s vote sewn up but probably no others. Keith has Wes’s vote sewn up, but I doubt anyone else will respect his gameplay, certainly not Reed (and Josh) or Alec after the “stick to the plan” fiasco.

So I think this is a lock, but what if Natalie gets voted out before the final three? Here’s what the others should do to try to win, in order of how I rank their chances:

#2 Baylor: The combination she wants is to go to the finals with Jaclyn and Keith. If her mother Missy and Natalie are both on the jury, she’d likely get the votes of both, and I could see Alec voting for her as well. Then she’d have to bank on someone else considering her the lesser of three evils.

#3 Missy: First and foremost, get out Natalie. She can’t win against her, and could possibly get a vote from her. Also, she’s better off getting a vote from her daughter Baylor instead of taking her to the final three! I could see Jeremy throwing a vote her way too.

#4 Jaclyn: No way she takes any votes away from Natalie. If Natalie’s gone, I could actually see Josh and Reed respecting her gameplay enough to vote for her — they don’t care for Missy and Baylor, and Keith has no gameplay. And Alec has already said he’d party with her, so maybe he’ll vote for her too. Counting Jon, that’s four votes.

#5 Keith: It’s been said that he has “friends on the jury,” but is that really the case? Yes, he’ll get the vote of his son Wes. But Keith torpedoed Reed’s game with his “stick to the plan” blunder, and Reed and his boyfriend Josh won’t forget that. Keith was in Josh’s alliance, not Jeremy’s, so Jeremy owes him nothing. And Jon has pointed out on-camera that Keith seems kind of clueless about the game. I suppose Alec could vote for Keith, but somehow I think he would vote for one of the cute girls instead. I just don’t see a jury combination that leads to a Keith victory.



One Response to “Recapping Survivor San Juan Del Sur November 19 + 26 and December 3 + 10”


  1. “Things are shakin’ up.” Survivor: Ghost Island May 9, 2018 recap | Barry's Reality Blog - May 11, 2018

    […] Tribal Council begins with Donathan announcing “Things are shakin’ up at Naviti now!” and Wendell is suddenly on high alert. Surely the women’s hearts sank when they heard this, as the idea was to lull Wendell into a false sense of security. Instead we get the Ghost Island equivalent to the infamous “stick to the plan.” […]

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