Every week I sit down and try to write recaps of two shows: Westworld and Survivor. What an odd couple. But more and more, —and I never imagined this would be the case— I look forward to writing the Survivor one. Nuts, I know. Part of it is the fact that there’s actual resolution in a challenge-based reality show, and part of it is that with the political climate as it is, sometimes you just want simple, uncomplicated entertainment. Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited for the Westworld finale, but it’s tough to live with uncertainty.
Anyway, let’s jump back in.
I failed to register a recap two weeks ago. That was the week Tay Tay got punted. That was the week where we started out with Jay referring to the Gen-X’ers as a “cesspool.”
That made me laugh out loud. I was a little surprised that Jay used that term because it feels like a dated thing. Like an old man word. Here in my blue state of Massachusetts, I actually have a cesspool attached to my house, but the line to it is shut off and we use a septic tank instead. It’s a grandfathered thing because now you have to have leach fields and lined tanks and all kinds of title 5 stuff. And everyone I know up here has town sewer or city sewer services anyway. I wonder if the world of cesspools are still alive and well in other parts of the country.
Anyway, it made me laugh. And I started to warm up to Jay a little because once the second half of Figtales was squashed, Jay was in trouuuuuuble.
And he’s got a great chip on his shoulder and sees the field very clearly, which I like. He’s no Hannah.
But TayTay had to go. God what a dumbass he was. As I watch this season, I know who in Gen-X I’m kind of wincing about. I mean, I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the selected contestants are absolutely NOT indicative of our A-Team. But that being said, I know who I’m a little bit ashamed of.
I won’t say it. I’d rather hear from you guys in the comments who you think it might be.
But if I was a Millennial? Man, it’s Taylor and Hannah. They suuuuuuuuuck so hard and in wildly different ways, but strangely for the same basic reason: because they’re lost. They’re just out there. Not tied to reality. And even saying that, Hannah is WAY more connected to reality than TayTay. And she’s CHUM for the players who are left. CHUM.
So let’s fast forward to this week’s episode. Which kicked all the ass there is to kick.
We started out with a look back at the previous episode where Taylor outed Adam for having the reward-stealing advantage at Tribal. I really enjoyed the shit out of that hail mary from Tays. He’s like “fuck it! I have nothing to lose!” And Adam’s stress is so funny to watch. They start talking about the food stealing and Taylor says “yeah me and Jay ate it all today!” And I’m laughing out loud at Jay’s face because he’s like: shut up dude! Don’t drag my ass down with you!
In the end, Tay is voted out, the tribe has spoken, which the auto-transcription service gets wrong. But in a way it’s apt, because I got a fevah! And the only prescription is more…
ay ay oh ee oh ee oh ee ah ah ay ay oh ee oh ee
ah ah ay ah oh ah ay ah oh ay ah —
Oh no? Not yet? Huh. Seemed like a good place for it. Okay.
So we’re back in camp after Tribal and Adam is like:
Guys I’m super duper sorry I didn’t tell you all about my very clear advantage. I wanted to, but I knew about Taylor’s food, so.
And there isn’t a single soul on that dark christmas night who believes even a single vowel sound that escapes the mouth of Adam. He is full of absolute horsepucky and everyone knows it.
OH YEAH, I WANTED TO TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT MY SECRET IMMUNITY IDOL BUT FIGTALES, YO!
He’s magically saved by the fact that everyone is probably dog tired and Bret is still pissed about someone stealing FROM RIGHT UNDER HIS NOSE.
I mean, he has a sworn duty to uphold the law, as a…y’know…FUNERAL DIRECTOR and shit.
With that, we’re in a new morn. Adam is having his talking head and he’s pissed that the cool kids dragged his name through the mud.
“I want Jay out of this game so badly I can taste his blood in my mouth.”
HO! Step away from the Anne Rice section of the library there, Lestat. This is a family show!
So Jay talks a little about how his back is against the wall but because he has a secret immunity idol tucked away, that he hasn’t used, he has a little insurance…and the rest of the gang probably think he doesn’t have one.
Meanwhile, Chris and Bret are walking it off and Chris is basically like, whatever, I don’t give a shit about the food, it’s just a convenient excuse to get rid of Taylor. And then three slides of truth:
Nope, we all pretty much got that. FIGTALES!
We’re gonna just vote out anyone who doesn’t like our power couple, bitches!
Okay so I started playing the theme song up top, but bizarrely: no opening jingle for this episode. I was pretty surprised by that, but then I thought:
The only reason you eighty-six that puppy is if you have too much footage and you can’t possibly waste the time on the opening song.
And then I got excited.
There was reason to be. We’re now post merge. There’s eleven players left, which pretty much means you have five and five and a swing vote.
Or, in this case, as it’s played out, you have a huge voting block intent on trimming Michelle (complete), Tay (complete), Jay (To Do) and Man Voice Will (To Do).
That’s a block of 9 on 2. Jay and Man Voice Will are foooooooocked! Right?
Well, not so fast, because we open with Chris planning to take out Jess. He says he ows her for blindsiding him and voting out Paulie.
Chris, there’s only one Paulie, okay?
Thaaaat’s the one.
But Chris is hell bent on blindsiding Jess. So at this point the alliances are:
Chris + Bret + Sunday
Jess + Ken + David
Zeke + Adam + Hannah
Jay + Man Voice Will
The huge, key ingredient to all of this is the gameplay of Zeke. He has his two dipshits in Adam and Hannah who vote the way he tells them to vote. They go along with him because he has EVERYONE’S EAR. Everyone.
He has information they DON’T HAVE AND CAN’T GET.
Even more important is that Zeke has gotten cozy with Chris. Chris thinks they have a Sooner football connection. Zeke is also close with David because game rekonize.
So, right now it’s anyone’s game. How those four radically independent voting blocks end up aligning will determine the outcome of the game, and the picking off order of the remaining players, most likely.
I have to say, at this point, it’s like a drug to watch. I think one of the reasons I quit Survivor in the past was that there was one power block of players — like say, six people — and they stayed allied and just picked everyone else off in order and the entire producorial undertaking was to try to make you think it wasn’t going to be this boring-ass color by numbers elimination death march, when it was.
But this? Having these disparate small entities? These little Luxembourgs? It’s EXCITING.
So the next segment opens up with Hannah sitting next to hot Ken. A few weeks back I made up a game with the Missus called “Re-Kenning” because Ken talks funny and so we’d just repeat everything he said in his voice and laugh our assholes off of our bodies.
And then, in the comments, I was alerted to the fact that Ken had admitted to having a speech impediment. Which means I was a dick. So we stopped doing that. Because we’re not monsters. Jesus. But now, every time Ken talks, Lady Castleton and I share this super-guilty glance. It’s full of misery at not being able to go back to the glory days before we knew that I was a dick. It’s a look that says…should we? Is there a world where we could still Re-Ken just a little? And then we sigh, because no. The salad days of ignorance and Re-Kenning have passed, and the rest of our lives we’ll just politely straighten our pleats and pretend that Ken doesn’t sound kind of like he’s a creole spy. It’s fine. No big loss. Sigh.
So Hot Ken and Hannah are sitting next to each other on the beach and a funny thing happens on Survivor. The outdoor living often slims people, or tightens them up. Or the tan improves their general appearance. Look at Ken. He’s like in an eternal Benetton ad.
But for others, they look like they got hit by a Mack truck. That’s the team, Hannah is on. I can’t remember seeing someone who looked so banged the fuck up. The outdoors haven’t just challenged her, they’ve overtly attacked her.
And she’s like “I don’t know? Could Ken and I be a couple? I mean, yeah. I could see it!”
And all I can see is the fucking WELTS on her legs. I mean, look at this poor bastard:
That looks like she’s had to endure like a thousand chigger bites and what is that up by her knee? A burn? And what’s with the goddamn darned socks? They look like she stole them from a revolutionary war re-enactment. And is she wearing soccer shin guards under them? Why all the rips? Why have insects made her legs their home? Oh this poor girl. I want to itch myself like crazy just looking at her.
When I see someone clearly suffering like that, I tend to ease off the gas pedal of contempt for them a bit. You have to admire the resiliency of a city person being flogged like a rented donkey by Mother Nature.
Now Zeke and will are walking and Will knows he’s either next or on deck. So he’s like, I NEED TO CHANGE MY GAME. To do that, he betrays Jay, and reveals to Zeke that Jay has an idol.
“Don’t tell anyone.” He says.
“Oh, totally.” Zeke says.
Then we get this amazing montage of Zeke telling everyone that Jay has an idol and everyone telling everyone else. It was said so many times I half expected the outcome was that someone would tell Jay that Jay had an idol.
Zeke is narrating the scene:
We want to get Jay to think he’s the next one to go so he plays the hidden immunity idol, but in actuality, Chris wants to vote out Jess. Y’know, we’ve had these two nice votes with a lot of people voting together, but now the time has come to turn on each other. The opening shots have been fired and the war is about to get bloody.
AWWWWWW YEAH! CUE MUSIC AND!
ay ay oh ee oh ee oh ee ah ah…
No? Not after that structurally perfect opening salvo line? Hokay then. I just feel incomplete until I hear it. It’s like being in an eternal cold open.
And anyway, what’s with all the blood references in this episode? Jeez. Settle the F down, people. Christ.
Instead of the jingle…whooooooooosh we’re into beauty shots of the reward challenge. It’s about to get all Probsty up in this biiiiiitch!
The challenge, keys and shit and colored boxes. No big.
But the reward? You can feel Probst get a half-chub as he dangles this shit out in front of starving people.
Wanna know whatchurplayingfor?
Because your desperation is better than jacking off for the Probster.
We’re gonna anchor a fucking FLOATING PIZZA RESTAURANT OFFSHORE AT THE EXACT DISTANCE WHICH WILL MAKE SOME OF YOU CONSIDER MURDER, AND SOME OF YOU ARE GONNA EAT THAT PIZZA WHILE THE REST OF YOU JUST SMELL AND HEAR IT.
Ohhhhhhhh! Groans Sunday. And everyone else, but I only hear fucking Sunday for some reason.
And as if this wasn’t fun enough already, Probst says the teams will be divided and one person will sit out and immediately David is like, I’ll sit out you guys, right? Because I suck at swimming.
He does. He sucks at swimming. I can confirm that. When I first saw him swim, I was like “you’re kidding me, right?” But then again, CeCe was even worse than he was. I don’t know if either of them could be considered ‘swimmers’ by any accredited organization. They’re more like if you threw a puppy in a kiddy pool and watched them flail. So anyway, David is like, I should be out, okay guys?
And everyone is like, no dude! You can do it!
And Jeff Probst, who has seen more Survivor than I have, is like “Never in 33 seasons have I seen someone say I want to quit so I don’t hold you guys back and have people say no dude, you can do it! How does that make you feel?”
And David starts crying and everyone is bucking him up and cynical me is like:
He was trying to get out of this because he knows he sucks at it and he didn’t want to put an easy target on himself. He’s smart. He knows they’re in the shit, even if the others don’t yet. And Bret was the first one to say “you’re good, you can do it” because Bret is like “fuck you, I know what you’re doing.”
And then somehow it got turned into this crocodile tears thing where Jeff Probst got fooled.
Am I saying I’m more keen about Survivor than Jeff Probst? Of course not. How could you EVER consider taking on a man with three fucking consonants in a row in their name? You don’t. That’s just crazypants. But I am saying that David was being self-serving, not selfless and I won’t hear talk of any other scenario.
Okay so after we experience another Survivor first in season 33, here are the teams: Team one, Ken, Jess, Chris, David and Man Voice Will.
Aaaand team two. Bret, Zeke, Sunday, Hannah and Adam. Jay sits out.
Some of you will have pizza and beer and wings and some of you will feel like you’re in a Philip K. Dick dystopian nightmare.
So it’s all going to plan, more or less, when Sunday goes to the fireman pole and just doesn’t hook a leg at all. So she fucking DROPS like a stone. 9.8 feet per second per second.
That water is like twenty five inches deep at the base of the pole and Sunday vanished into it and then came up gasping and dragging ass all the way to shore.
This may have been the first time I’ve ever QUACK LAUGHED in my life. I watched her shit drop like eleven times until Lady Castleton forced me to move on. Oh my god. The picture doesn’t do it justice. She just dropped. I felt like Chili Palmer in Get Shorty.
What are you doin? Use your head!
So Orange jumps out to a commanding lead, they’re in the final puzzle stage of the challenge, but they just can’t seem to get it to work.
Purple starts to catch up…
Adam and Zeke finish the puzzle…
Probst checks it….and…this is good…that side’s good….REWARD!
Jeff says the Purple team will feast while the Orange team suffers. Head back to camp.
“Thanks Jeff.” says someone. A woman’s voice. I hate when people talk to Jeff when they’re leaving. Just clam up and go be miserable for our sadistic enjoyment, you fucking mook. Don’t try to get all buddy buddy with Probst. He’s been ignoring personal greetings since before you were in utero. You’re not the teacher’s fucking pet, m’kay? Go bout ya business.
We come back from commercial to find out that Jeff wasn’t kidding. There’s an honest-to-goodness Pizza joint anchored offshore. You have to love the kick ass production value of Survivor. That’s a purty picture rat thar.
So purple team, that’s Bret, Zeke, Adam, Hannah and Sunday are cramming shit into their mugs and Bret is like “I wanted to bond with Zeke because he’s been closer to Chris and I wanted that connection.”
They seem to actually get along. More potential alliances start to simmer.
Then as they’re eating, this handsome dude in a malachite colored shirt but who has Balki’s voice from Perfect Strangers comes out and he’s like “Hola you guys! I have letters from home.”
They’ve been out there for 27 days. Adam starts to lose his shit as if it’s been forty years. Why? Because his mom has cancer and he’s worried about getting bad news. I can’t even imagine how tough that would be, mostly because I’d never leave my sick mother to play a game, but also because from time to time I’ll experience an emotion which doesn’t involve me laughing and pointing.
Not often, but sometimes.
This is him before he even opens the letter. To be honest, I’m laughing at him at this point because I forgot about the cancer thing, which he mentioned in the pilot. Right now I’m thinking: jesus christ, dude! Hold it together! My god!
And Bret is going “okay, take it easy! Take’her easy!” Because he’s a cop and whenever he sees wild, borderline insane mood fluctuations, he’s trained to automatically settle everything down and reel the perp back to center. I enjoyed seeing that.
So you get the usual Survivor talking head stuff about how much this meant. Okay. I love my family too, but I wouldn’t be shitting blood to get a letter from them after three weeks.
Great, now I’m talking about blood, too. Thanks, Obama.
The main point of the letters is to show very clearly where everyone’s level of emotional stability is. Hannah, Sunday and Adam all cried while reading their letters. Zeke and Bret took the mail like a bauce.
Back at camp, Ken is cutting up coconut and David is bitching that he was craving pizza and beer and they both agree that it’s ballpark Guy de Gisbourne of Jeff Probst to park that shit right offshore. We get a little more fluff about David’s personal struggles, which maybe people like but played to me like a shitty Bob Costas Olympics backstory interstitial.
But the real action that happens is David decides to plant a flag and he’s like “we need to breakup the threesome of Chris + Bret + Sunday. They’re too strong.”
And he outlines his plan, which involves Zeke.
Which is when Ken, who is a pimp on roids, says “are you sure we can trust Zeke? I mean, he’s pulling Chris aside to go on walks.”
Ken, who by the way is NEVER NOT WORKING, gets it. He sees how this is shaping up and that Zeke cannot be trusted.
Okay WHOOOOOOSH! Aerial shots of the Immunity Challenge. We’re at day 28. The challenge is to stand on a balance beam and hold a long-ass stick and use it to keep a little tiki statue from falling down.
This one looks like it sucks balls.
It comes down to Zeke and David. There’s some wind….a few wobbles….aaaaand…
David wins immunity! David can’t be voted out tonight!
David WILL be part of the final ten.
So now we’re off to tribal. I love this pre-tribal strategy/fucksession. Every week it’s so much fun. Interestingly, this is when Lady Castleton goes to the bathroom or gets coffee of whatever. I’m like WHAT THE? YOU’RE GONNA MISS THE-
And she’s like “I only like the challenges. I don’t need to see this human desperation and misery. This part of the show is depressing.”
And I’m like HUH? THIS IS THE BEST PART! THE STRATEGY! THE HUMAN FACTOR!
You can have it. She says. She’ll have coffee.
FINE! WELL GET ME A COFFEE TOO, HEATHEN!
…please? Love you, honey!
Now we’re back at camp. Jay is like “no one wants to talk to me.” When that happens, you know you have to play your idol because it’s you. It’s you.
That’s exactly what nine other people want Jay to believe. Jay is a threat. BELIE DAT.
So now the real fucking starts.
Zeke dubs it the Gen-X civil war. Chris wants to go after Jess. Jess wants to go after Chris.
Zeke has to pick a side.
So now we’re at tribal. It’s interesting because with eleven people left, I seriously don’t know who’s going to win Survivor. That’s a good thing. That keeps it fun. Smart money is probably on Zeke though.
Important to point out that there’s not much of a Gen-X vs Millennials vibe left. People are aligning with who they need to to win. For themselves.
So in walks the Jury. Michelle and Taylor.
Tay has a fresh new haircut that makes him look even DUMBER than he used to. Michelle looks great now that she decided to wear something that wasn’t a dress for a seven year old made of her grandma’s drapes.
So now…we Probst.
Jeff starts pushing buttons. Let’s talk about foodgate. Let’s talk about trust.
David talks about how there are different “voting blocks.” The vote tonight will decide if everyone is going to unite to vote out Jay or if other targets will emerge.
This is the first Jay is hearing of any of this. He thinks he’s dead in the water.
Zeke then says there’s some grey area between voting blocks and alliances. But they’re both premised upon trust.
“Hannah, what’s your take?” Asks Jeff. No angle, just happy to be here. Totally innocent. Like always.
“It is something between an alliance and a voting block. I call it a trust cluster.” Says Hannah.
“That’s a great term.” Says Jeff. “Bret, where do you weigh in on the trust cluster?”
And Hannah starts this cackling, giddy, half-drunk laugh.
Jeff looks pissed.
WHY IS THAT FUNNY? He asks. But that’s only because we’re on network TV. What he’s really saying is WHAT THE FUCK IS SO FUNNY?
And Hannah is like “It’s just amazing to hear you say a term I just created!”
BECAUSE YOU ARE A GOLDEN GOD, JEFF PROBST. YOU ARE THE LIZARD KING. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.
Listen, I can see how people would think Hannah was sweet and how it’s kind of charming that she retains some level of fandom while being on the show, but she’s like a fork on a chalkboard for me.
Probst is like “Hannah, you’re fantastic” but he says it like Southern Folk say “Bless Your Heart.” Meaning: Run. Run away. Run very far away.
Okay, so it is TIME TO VOTE.
Does anyone want to play an immunity idol?
All eyes on Jay aaaaaaaaaand….
HE DOESN’T PLAY IT. WOW. BALLSY.
The votes are read…WHO IS ZEKE GOING TO THROW IN WITH?
We’re tied. Two votes Chris, two votes Jessica.
Jessica. We’re tied again.
Four votes each.
Chris. Five votes Chris…
Tenth person votes out of Survivor and third member of the jury: CHRIS.
Chris the tribe has spoken. SNUFF.
GODDAMNIT CHRIS. DON’T ACTUALLY WATCH THE DYING OF THE LIGHT!
Then Chris turns and is like “Boomer.” And Zeke yells back “Sooner!” Which is how people have sex in Oklahoma. I’m like DUMBASS CHRIS! YOU GOT VOTED OUT BECAUSE OF THAT PARTICULAR SOONER WHO LIVES IN NYC BY THE WAY YOU FUCKING SHITHEEL. UH!
Okay well I liked Chris, but he was so casual about being voted out that I’m okay with it.
A great episode. Made me wish it was next week already…
AND THEN IT WAS! A DOUBLE EPISODE! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!
ay ay oh ee oh ee oh ee ah ah ay-
No? Still no? Okay.
Jeff is like “this game is being played at a very high level.”
Yeah, no shit, Jeff! Please don’t say trustcluster again, though. It’s so fucking stupid.
Interestingly: Jay doesn’t get a single vote! NOT ONE.
He was smart not to play his idol.
Now: we’re back in camp. And I’m like “how are Bret and Sunday going to deal with Zeke’s 100% grade A, wholesale industrial FUCKING of them?”
Very politely, evidently.
Within the first minute. ONE MINUTE. Bret and Zeke are chatting and Bret’s like I get it, Chris had to go, and Zeke is like you and Sunday aren’t on the bottom and Bret’s like okay.
And I’m like HOLY SHIT ZEKE IS DUMBLEDORE.
He just chose a side and FUCKED two people and they’re immediately running TO HIM and joining his fucking voting block. Yiiiiiiikes. That’s amazing. Zeke is a fucking beast.
But also: Bret is super smart. He’s not letting his emotions get the best of him. He knows where his bread is buttered. He says to Zeke “I’d like to move forward, if..”
YOU’LL ALLOW IT. IF YOU’LL LET ME.
Zeke is like I need to break up David’s alliance and so I need six to do that. So Bret and Sunday are an integral part of that six, and I’M THRILLED I GOT TO THEM BEFORE DAVID DID.
Now we’re over to David and he’s like NO ONE IS PLAYING BETTER THAN ZEKE. I NEED TO REMOVE HIM IN THREE VOTES.
These two guys are goddamn SEEKERS. Everyone else has their eyes on bludgers and these two are hunting for the snitch. They’re like Michaela, but without the in-your-face audacity to show everyone the long-term plan on a chart with shells and rocks.
A very big line is being drawn in this episode. I still can’t believe I get back to back episodes. It’s like Christmas. Is this a regular Survivor thing? I don’t remember.
Anyway, Bret tells Zeke that David is gunning for him, and Zeke is like
Wouldn’t you know…I wake up this morning and David has already started to come for me. I mean it’s understandable, right? Because I’ve already started to come for David.
CATFIGHT! BRING IT!
I’ll be honest: we’re at the most important point in the game. This is already the most high-stakes episode of the season because Zeke vs David is the two top players going mano y mano. The numbers are locked up. Ten players. Five and five. The numbers WILL tip one way or another.
And whoever gets that tip to go their way will immediately be in the driver’s seat to a million dollars. Wooooooooooweeeeeeeee!
David thinks that both players are similar, but that Zeke will be seen as “playing the game harder than him.”
Zeke thinks that both players are similar but that David is “more of a threat to win than he is.”
Zeke says “This is the war that everyone’s been alluding to, no…
….it’s just a matter of….who has the troops.”
ay ay oh ee oh ee oh ee ah ah ay-
NO? REALLY? BECAUSE THAT’S LIKE PERFECT. YOU CAN’T GET A BETTER LEAD IN LINE! BUT NO. OKAY. JESUS CHRIST THIS IS THE LONGEST COLD OPEN IN HISTORY. FUCKING HELL.
There’s a brief moment of taking head with Hannah where she’s not sure if she should align with Zeke or David and I’m just sitting here wondering if the chum is going to actually be important in this vote. She likes David because they both have anxiety. She likes Zeke because she’s been in lockstep with him for a month. But now the stakes are higher….
AND THEN WHOOOSH
We’re at the reward challenge.
And will you knock it the hell off with these amazing locations and production value? I mean holy hell! Look at this! This is where the next reward challenge is! On a tiny little sandbar thingy in the middle of an azure blue sea. Christ almighty that’s beautiful.
We zoom in to see the actual challenge.
Come on in yells Probst! The water’s fine, y’all!
The groups will be split into teams of three, with one person sitting out. The teams will be decided by drawing rocks and the person who draws the white rock and sits out AUTOMATICALLY wins the challenge. The rest will be bound, have to crawl and writhe through the sand like snakes and then will have to solve a snake puzzle.
Why’s it always gotta be a fucking white rock, yo? Why does the cue ball hit the other balls and the fuckin 8 ball’s like diseased and shit? DON’T TOUCH THE 8 BALL MOTHERFUCKER! IT’S GOT CHLAMYDIA! Why, for once, can’t anyone say:
“Draw the black rock and win reward.” IT’S SO MOTHERFUCKING EASY. BE BETTER THAN THAT PROBST. MAKE THE POWER OF CONSONANTS WORK FOR EVERYONE.
Stupid network TV. Just hire me for twenty minutes. I’ll get those dickweasels to come correct.
Well, the winning team will be picked up by helicopter, flown around so you can see the area from on high, and then you’ll touch down and enjoy a Survivor picnic.
Probst is like at full mast when he’s listing this shit. He does it slowly, like an executioner. He’s Sand Dan Glokta and this is his personal torture chamber. He LIVES for this shit.
Fried chicken. A gasp from the contestants
MAC AND CHEESE A small wail from the group. La petite mort.
“MAC AND CHEESE?” Snorts Hannah.
Soft drinks. (Because of Man Voice Will) Christ, LEAD WITH THE SOFT DRINKS AND FINISH WITH THE BEER PROBST. IS THIS YOUR FIRST DAY TORTURING PEOPLE?
Apparently not, because when the challenge starts, and the first three survivors are crawling through the sand, Probst yells:
Hannah, like AN ELEPHANT SEAL, TRYING TO BEACH HERSELF!
I SPIT OUT MY COFFEE on that one. Damn, Probst! You cold, son!
So everyone is wriggling through the sand. The team of Jay, Ken and Will looks to have the physical edge over everyone, and they get to the snake puzzle first, but they can’t figure out how to get the pieces to drop.
Zeke, Bret and Sunday come from behind and win because Zeke kicks ass at the puzzle. Interesting, because David drew the white rock, so it’s David with those three for reward.
Their chariot arrives and takes them to reward while poor Ken and the rest of the losers can only stand and watch. I mean, Adam has a reward stealing advantage, but he doesn’t choose to use it. He’s wisely in head down mode. We’ve barely had him on the radar in the last two episodes, and a minute ago it was like Zeke was dying to pick him off. Smart move for Adam.
The helicopter takes off. Ken shakes his head. He’s been in the lead on these several times only to lose. Must be tough.
Probst is only too happy to rub it in.
Alright the rest of you: I got nothin’ for ya. Grab your stuff and head back to camp.
Meanwhile, in the chopper:
LOOK HOW HAPPY THESE GUYS ARE! It’s pretty awesome to see raw joy like this. And Sunday the youth pastor says that it was one of the best days of her whole life. The views were predictable fucking unreal, as Survivor is wont to do, and then when they land, we’re treated to a scene that I wrote an entire OTHER PIECE ABOUT, which was my favorite thing to watch on TV this year. Go read that and come back.
Or just finish this and go there. Whatevs.
So now we have Bret and Zeke really more tightly aligned. I was amazed that David left them alone to bond like that. That was a HUGE error.
Once they get back, we see the fly in the ointment as Hannah has decided to vote Zeke out because he’s condescending to her.
I get that. I do. If Hannah was in my alliance I would have a hard time not talking to her like she was a five year old and as subtle and controlled as Zeke has been, that tone has given him away.
So Hannah tells David that Zeke has told everyone else that he (David) has an immunity idol. David falls back in the sand and groans.
Hannah tries to cheer him up by saying that Zeke trusts her and so she’ll know if Zeke is gunning for David, but David is smart. He sees what’s happening. He’s miscalculated, thinking he could count on Bret and Sunday but that ship has clearly sailed. Then Bret sees him talking to Hannah. Then Jay sees him talking to Hannah. And he’s beside himself. He’s like I BLEW UP MY GAME. I BLEW UP MY GAME.
WHOOOOOOOOSH now we’re at the immunity challenge. It’s very simple, this is what it looks like:
You basically guide a peg through a maze to open your jail cell, then run through and do a puzzle.
I’m not going to drag this one out. JAY WINS.
Jay wins so fast that he’s done with the puzzle before anyone else even gets out of jail. It’s one of the biggest immunity blowouts I’ve ever seen and Jeff Probst agrees with me so I must be right.
Jay wins immunity.
Now comes the strategy and gamesmanship session. Lady Castleton gets more java. I inch closer to the screen, hoping to magically climb inside of it so I, too, may be Probsted.
David comes clean to Jess that he overplayed his hand a little. She’s irritated at him, but what can she do? Ken also decides to stay with David.
Zeke approaches Hannah and tries to gauge her situation and Zeke immediately registers that Hannah is not WID HIM.
Hannah cannot hide her game. RED FLAAAAAAGGGG.
But Zeke is on that like stink on shit and he immediately decides she’s his enemy.
So here’s the lineup, going into Tribal:
Zeke + Bret + Sunday + Will + Jay
David + Jess + Ken + Adam + Hannah
Five on five. BLOODSPORT.
Now David and Hannah are trying to figure out if he should play his idol for her.
GODDAMN THIS IS A GOOD SEASON.
In come the members of the Jury. Michelle, TayTay & Chris.
Jeff does his usual schtick about “who feels certain about the vote?” and unlike every other vote, people are full of uncertainty.
Probst comments that the gameplay is sooooo good. While he’s saying this people are whispering and David is like “This is what’s known as a trustclustermuck.”
Clusterfuck, is what he’s trying to say. Trustclusterfuck, but y’know. Network.
Bret has had enough “ENOUGH WITH THIS TRUST CLUSTER SHIT.” He basically says and I’m with him. We of the Boston ilk spend like ten and a half months a year walking through the snow. We get about seven days of nice weather and the rest is oppressive humidity until it snows again. WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS BULLSHIT.
I really like Bret.
David is like “well, would members of Zeke’s alliance like to raise their hands?”
And Zeke is like “PFFFF WOULD MEMBER’S OF DAVID’S ALLIANCE LIKE TO RAISE THEIR HANDS?”
And Bret barks:
OH I’M GONNA CRY NOW BECAUSE I’VE GOT ANXIETY!
Which is amazingly insensitive and ad hominem, but harkens back to what I was saying about David’s act in the last episode. Bret has never bought it. He thinks it’s an act.
It’s getting MEAN up in this mamma jamma and I’m bouncing on the sofa like a little kid. The TV! The amazing TVness of it all!
Probst is speechless by this turn of events.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY says his Probstness.
Jeff asks a bunch of people what’s going on…Adam…Jess…Ken and they’re all like I don’t know. It’s more confusing than when we walked in. And Ken wonders aloud why people would EVER be swayed by someone whispering to them at tribal. Like, plans have been made. A whisper at the eleventh hour shouldn’t matter.
But Bret is on the warpath.
Ken, this is the game of Survivor! Welcome to it!
What a dick! I still love Bret though because he feels like home to me, but if push comes to shove, I’d have a hard time rooting against Ken. He’s a really good dude.
And he handles Bret’s nastiness with an even tone and a classy answer. Lady Castleton and I share a glance and don’t say anything. We’re generally decent folk. Generally.
Bret’s not convinced. He’s an officer of the funeral home. He always sees a snake in the grass.
“This is all smoke and mirrors. Y’know. This is nonsense.”
“I say we vote.” Says Bret.
“Should we vote?” Asks Jeff.
“Yeah. Let’s vote.” Says Zeke.
And now it’s time to vote. AWWWWWW YEAH!
Everyone votes. Probst has the results in his hot little hands and he’s like NOWS THE TIME TO PLAY IMMUNITY IDOLS.
The ominous music kicks up a notch. No one plays one. David looks around. Jay looks around. No one is playing one and then!
AHAHAHAHAHAHA! YESSSSSSS! YESSSSSSS!
David plays his idol. Push those chips in, motherfucker! We GOT USSELVES A HOEDOWN!
Hannah is like…wait! Meekly. She wants David to play his idol for her. Then Adam pipes up and he’s like:
They were whispering over here and they want to vote for Ken.
So now what does David do? WHAT DOES HE DO? He doesn’t have immunity. He could be the one going home. But Hannah thinks she’s the one on the chopping block. She’s sure of it. But then Adam actually OVERHEARD them PLANNING TO WHACK KEN.
What to do? What to do?
OH HOLY SURVIVOR GODS WITH WHAT I’M SURE ARE VAGUELY POLYNESIAN NAMES — EXCEPT FOR VINAKA WHICH IS SOMETHING I USED TO SPRAY INTO MY MOUTH BEFORE HITTING ON GIRLS DURING THE TOP GUN DAYS—
WHAT. TO. DO?
Jeff, I’m going to play my idol for…KEN.
HOLY SHIT. WOW.
That’s some actual loyalty right there. I’m impressed. But it leaves him and Hannah dangling off the edge of a cliff.
“Alright” says Probst. “Any votes cast for Ken will not count. I’ll read the votes.”
First vote: ZEKE
Second vote: HANNAH
Hannah says DAMNIT, I KNEW IT.
Zeke….and the final vote?
Whewwwwww. Zeke lives to fight another day. His butthole unclenches from what I’m guessing is the tightest he’s ever squeezed it. Because that was the deciding moment. That was the time where, if David had managed to sway one person, Zeke would have been done.
But he’s alive. Pearl Jam is blaring in his mind. Yeeeeahyeah I! OH! I’M STILL ALIVE!
Okay we’re tied.
Jesus! What just happened? Did Bret just pull off an amazing, game changing Haversack Ruse? Did they whisper Ken’s name to throw the other team off the scent? That’s like, FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE. That has to be a Survivor first. You die hards pipe in and let me know, but that was UNREAL. If david had just picked Hannah to give the idol to, Zeke would be going home right this second and David would be in control of the game. My god.
So, we’re tied. What happens when you’re tied?
Well, first we re-vote. But this time you can only vote for either Hannah or Zeke.
Zeke is trying to push Jess to switch teams. Are you willing to go to rocks Jess? I flip flop all the time he pretty much says to her. Flip flop with me. Come to the open arms of Nosferatu, baby. Nothing but sunflowers here.
But Jess is torn. I mean, who wants to go to rocks? No one. No one wants to fucking to to rocks. That’s the Doomsday scenario. That’s Defcon 1. That’s Biothermonuclear war.
But then again, if she flips, where is she? She’d be giving a decided numbers advantage to the enemy and for what? So she can be the first one voted off from their group? Fuck that.
Everyone votes the same way. It’s still tied.
So what happens when it’s still tied after the revote?
Well step two is you talk it out and see if you can get EVERYONE to change their vote. If everyone unanimously decides Hannah or Zeke, that person goes home. What’s step three? ROCKS BABY. FUCKING ROCKS!
What does that even mean, Lord Castleton? Oh, don’t you worry yer purty lil head about it. I’m sure we won’t go to fucking rocks. You can’t have that much awesomeness in one show. People’s heads would explode.
So now, they’re talking it out.
No way is anyone budging.
Everyone stands pat. No unanimous vote. The game is afoot. I mean, just look at the Jury!
MEANWHILE I’M HUFFING INTO A PAPER BAG AND APE-CLAPPING LIKE NICK FROST IN HOT FUZZ AND LADY CASTLETON KEEPS TELLING ME TO QUIET DOWN BECAUSE I’M GOING TO WAKE THE KIDS.
BUT HOW CAN I CALM DOWN?
BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO ROCKS, MOTHERFUCKER! WE’RE GOING TO MOTHERFUCKING ROCKS!
Oh god. Wow wow wow.
Here’s the rub: because no one could agree on Hannah or Zeke, when you go to rocks now THEY BECOME IMMUNE.
So they’re immune. Jay is immune because he won the immunity necklace at the last immunity challenge. And Ken is immune because David played his idol for him.
That means David, Sunday, Adam, Bret, Man Voice Will and Jess will draw rocks.
Whoever gets a white rock gets to live in Trump’s America, god bless it.
Whoever gets the black rock goes home.
Probst chides them. “Here’s what’s going to happen now. Because you guys couldn’t control your own fate, Hannah who was in trouble, is now safe. Zeke who was in trouble, is now safe. One of you is going to go home after 30 days on Survivor by making the biggest move you can in this game. Going to rocks.”
Jeff brings them the bag and they all draw. “Grab it and don’t look” he commands.
Man Voice Will says he thinks he’s going to cry as he grabs his rock. Okay, says Jeff. “Million Dollar Rock Draw.”
REVEAL! COMMANDS JEFF PROBST
Those guys are safe…so who has it?
Jessica. Jessica has the black rock. Jessica is voted off the island.
Jess is crying. Everyone’s saying sorry Jess, sorry Jess and Bret is like “Sorry Jess, I didn’t want to go to rocks. David did.” Which is a pretty sinister and brilliant thing to say to someone you know will be on the jury.
Probst is reserved. Rather than say the tribe has spoken he says that he thinks it’s more appropriate to say “the game has spoken.” Oh Probst. You dog, you.
Jess is crying as her torch is snuffed out.
I’m lying on the floor in need of CPR and you are finishing the longest recap in TV history, a recap where David’s team is decimated and Zeke reigns supreme.
And the best part? SURVIVOR IS ON TONIGHT!
CUE MANIACAL LAUGHTER.
THIS SHOW IS SOOOOOO MUCH FUCKING FUN.
I love you all.
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