Archive | November, 2017

“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)

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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. Ali 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.