“Though we can’t agree on a single response, we want what everyone wants.”
– “Like Everyone Else,” from the musical SIDE SHOW
Well, SURVIVOR Buffs, at least nobody can claim that there aren’t any game players this season. Oh. no, quite the opposite. The first four people voted off this season have been voted off because of how they played this game, or other games in their pasts. This week’s victim, who in other seasons would have been voted out for laziness, actually fell victim to his own ego and overaggressive game moves, one of many parts of one of the most convoluted episodes of SURVIVOR that I can remember. This recap really could read like a description of “New York’s hottest club” from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’s culture reporter Stefon: “This episode had everything…
OLD MEN WALKING: The “Previously On” recap spends a lot of time focusing on how well Keith has been doing. Which, of course, means that this will not continue. During this episode, Keith looks for the Immunity Idol, based on the clue he received at Exile. When he doesn’t find it, he believes Jeremy has it, and tells other Tribe members. They immediately tell Jeremy, who is furious that Keith would point the finger at him and becomes committed to getting Keith out. His rationale? That Keith didn’t talk to him, his fellow alliance member, before talking to everyone else. You mean exactly like Jeremy is doing right now? At some point, I hope, Jeremy’s teammates will realize how hypocritical he is. This isn’t the first time. The episode opens with Dale trying to make sense of the John Rocker blindside, which was kind of a blindside of him as well. Dale interviews that he may have been too comfortable and now needs to work on his social game. Dale is really good at honest self-analysis, so hopefully he can course-correct.
DEPARTMENT STORE RETURN COUNTERS: So, the Hunaphu Tribe finds the flint that they lost a few episodes ago, resulting in their loss of fishing equipment in a trade for new flint. In a fun moment, Drew tries to give back the new flint, while his entire team watches in disbelief, knowing that this trade is not going to happen. And it doesn’t, although Probst has a good time pretending for a little bit that he is considering the trade. This interaction also establishes Drew as his team’s leader. I’m sorry, did I say leader? I meant jester.
RATIONAL GAME PLAY: The Reward Challenge, which involves grappling hooks and bags and then a huge version of a bunch of different carnival games, results in Jon beating his girlfriend Jaclyn, but just barely. And then, the couple has the most normal reaction to the Exile Island twist that we’ve seen all season. Jon says that he knows it sucks, but also knows that Jaclyn will be ok. She chimes in that, yeah, she can handle it, and that she thinks that Jon believing she’ll be fine – which is true, of course – is a sign of respect. And no tears. Great.
PIMPED OUT GIRLFRIENDS: Drew then volunteers to join Jaclyn on Exile Island, and Jon agrees. He later seems to regret his decision, because Drew is a lazy douchebag. So, why does he make that decision? And why does Drew volunteer? I guess because they are “bros.” Jon, your bro is a douchebag, and I know you believe in Jaclyn, but it might be nice to provide your girlfriend with a little help.
SIBLING RIVALIRIES: Baylor and Alec are shown bickering back and forth. Alec interviews that he was always made to do things at home because Drew was so useless. So, he is basically taking out his anger on Baylor, who actually is not useless, so I don’t really know what’s happening. I’m wondering if maybe this is like an elementary school crush, and the boy is being extra mean – and at times super condescending – to the girl he has a crush on. We’ll have to follow this story more. And hopefully Alec gets into some therapy.
THROWN CHALLENGES: Drew enjoys Exile Island, in some part because Miss Michigan is out there with him – although he is not trying to play his usual “ladykiller” role because it would interfere with his game, and, to a lesser extent, because Jaclyn is his friend’s girlfriend. He does leave out another, somewhat important reason – because Jaclyn has NO DESIRE to hook up with him. Since he has all this free time now that he’s decided not to let Jaclyn waste his time with her advances, Drew talks to her about strategy. He then reveals his master plan: to throw the challenge so that his tribe goes to Tribal Council and they can lose some of the “snakes,” as Drew calls them – and by this, Drew means “the women,” because he has this idea in his head that the women of his tribe are after the men. And throw the challenge he does – literally. His tossing of rings onto posts and repeated dropping of said rings is simply pitiful, and results in Coyopa’s first Immunity Challenge win of the season.
BROKEN ALLIANCES: The scrambling that happens back at Hunaphu is insane, and very hard to follow. But it breaks down kind of like this: Jon gathers some people together to bring up that there’s a chance for individual players to outnumber coupled players come merge time, so he proposes getting rid of Julie, who others agree is pretty useless for challenges. But Drew is adamant that, because of the female alliance, Kelley is the most dangerous person. I’m not sure why he has targeted Kelley, when it seems Natalie is much more critical of him, but he has, and tells everyone, including Natalie, who in another pow-wow with him. This meeting, however, is led by Jeremy, who is against Keith, who, in Jeremy’s eyes, broke their alliance with his Immunity Idol accusations. Drew continues to insist that Kelley should be the target, and this refusal to go along with him enrages Jeremy. I mean, how dare someone have an opinion and then want to stick to it and not agree with Jeremy’s opinon that’ he is sticking to. Jeremy gets really bent out of shape when people do exactly what he himself is doing. Interesting. Jeremy also keeps bringing up a alliance he had with Keith, one that the members of his other alliance, or “sub-alliance,” as he calls them at Tribal Council, didn’t know about. Not for nothing, Drew is not totally incorrect when he said Jeremy is too emotional in this game. He leaves out “hypocritical and kind of a jackass,” but he is on the right track in his analysis.
THIRD AND FOURTH PARTY CANDIDATES: During the scramble and subsequent Tribal Council, it becomes readily apparent that the men are all over the place, “a hot mess,” as Natalie correctly describes them. By the time Probst has declared the evictee, four different people have received votes. It’s so crazy. Ctazier still is the realization of who voted for whom. Jon didn’t vote for Julie, as he proposed. No, her two votes came from Reed and Keith., who himself receives one vote – but not from the offended Jeremy, but rather from Jon. Drew sticks to his guns and votes for Kelly, and then, what Drew feared would happen does: the 4 women join together. They vote for Drew, but are joined in their voting by Jeremy…hmmm….I wonder what the repurcussions of this crazy voting will be…
HUMAN FUNHOUSE MIRRORS: You know, it’s that thing where a person looks at themselves and sees themselves in a way that makes no sense and is not how the rest of the world sees them. In this case, it’s Drew, who this whole episode proclaims himself the leader and acts like he is in complete control of his tribe. It’s so weird. He interviews over and over not merely that he’s part of an alliance in charge, but that he is some sort of amazing player who is like the ruler of Hunaphu. This is so far from what is actually happening that I can’t tell if he’s completely joking or if he honestly has no clue. But, it doesn’t really matter: for the second week in a row, someone has been voted off for being a jackass. Drew never gets the chance to let everyone know that he threw the challenge, so that he can get what I’m sure he thinks would be praise for getting rid of the dead weight in the Tribe. No credit, but mission accomplished!
Judging from next week’s preview, Jon looks to carry on the Rocker-Drew legacy, right before the Tribes get shuffled. Things are very unsettled this season. And I like it!
What do you think, SURVIVOR Buffs? Are you enjoying the craziness of Season 29? How is this Blood Vs Water stacking up against last year’s version? Let us know…leave your comments here.