This episode was a doozy! The only downer was that the alliances shifted back to “good old David vs. Goliath” and that’s lame, but with how wild tribal council was, it’s easy to be left this week feeling 150-200% satisfied. Sometimes we’ve seen a season struggle to keep merge momentum, but this one’s only pickup up more and more. David vs. Goliath has reset the standard for Survivor (only for the show to most likely let us down with S38 ... ).
THIS WAS A MISTAKE
Angelina had to do some major damage control after Elizabeth nearly killed her game at tribal council. I say “nearly” but I suppose that’s not the best word when the vote ended up 12 to 1 ... oh well, she tried! Much like Elizabeth’s unsuccessful attempt to sway the tribe’s vote, Angelina was also unsuccessful in her attempt to convince the tribe she wasn’t a slime ball (as Alec eloquently put it). The editors then put together a fun little montage of no one buying any of Angelina’s lies. Oh well, she tried!
I love the fact that with each passing episode, the in-game popularity of Angelina declines more and more. I mean, we’ve gotta be in the negatives by now. At this point, I’m rooting for Angelina to go all the way if for no other reason than to spite everyone. She may not have found warmth from Natalie’s jacket, but the 24/7 roasting she gets should suffice for the remaining 18 days left in the game.
Mike’s a great narrator for the show, but what irks me about him is how wishy-washy and flaky he can be. He’s made many allies, but I’m not so sure I’d be as quick to work with him as others have been. Mike looks so nervous and on the verge of an anxiety attack almost every time he talks to someone—how do they not question his loyalty at all? Mike could make the end if he continues to successfully play on both sides of the David vs. Goliath fence, but I worry he could be a bit of a mess in front of the jury, feeling strangled by the stress of it all ... among other things.
NOT JUST A COOL T-SHIRT IDEA
Don’t worry. This is already being mass-produced by Jonny Fairplay, I’m sure.
David and Nick discovered the re-entry of the clue that was spotted during last week’s merge feast. I was apparently off on my guess that the idol was tied to a bird, but I was close—the clue was pointing to the tree painted right next to it!
Team “Dick” knew exactly what the clue was referencing, but in order to get to it without drawing suspicion, they needed to create a diversion, so Davie did ... whatever this was:
I don’t know if he was dancing, conducting an imaginary symphony, or pretending he was a Jedi, but whatever it was worked!
Carl was also let in on the scavenger hunt and after learning Nick had dug up a steal-a-vote, Carl shared the secret of his idol nullifier power. With these two powers, the Davids had their slingshots loaded and aimed right for a Goliath’s head. However, at a 7-5 numbers disadvantage, they’d still need just a little heavier of a stone if they wanted to take one out. Turns out that stone was Alec.
REWARD – IT’S IN THE BAG
Fun! A team endurance competition, and not one that’s just an individual challenge poorly disguised as a tribal one (looking at you, Gabon ... ) Why hasn’t this been utilized more on the show!?
Gabby let out an “oh, great” when she heard there would be a schoolyard pick, but she ended up a captain who, in my opinion, picked the stronger looking team. She picked John, Alec, and Nick—three with some of the most upper body strength—but her best decision ended up being not picking Dan.
“Look at Dan, he’s so strong!” pointed out both Dan and Probst. Kara actually held as much weight as Dan by the end of this challenge, but a strong woman isn’t something Probst is as quick to point out, so praise only went to the one with already too much pride. As we saw, it went straight to his head.
As much as this was an embarrassing loss for Dan, I’m not sure if the reward is one his team should have been too worked up over losing. I know I’ve pointed this out before, but Survivor pizza looks to be by far the least-appetizing pizza on the planet. I’d have definitely passed on that putrid piece with pineapple and maybe even the whole reward altogether. Thanks, I’d rather starve.
The pizza delivery back at camp may have been put to better use as fish bait, but desperate times call for desperate pleasures. As the victors tried not to vomit, Mike readied another kind of projectile and decided it was time to take aim at Christian whom no one had previously thought to target.
Oh wait, that’s right, this is literally what Angelina suggested doing less than three days ago! I totally understand her frustration even though I disagreed somewhat with the reception being 100% gender-influenced. Last week, the Goliaths had already settled on Elizabeth as the target and Angelina tried to strong-arm them all into changing their minds toward Christian. This week, they were still looking for a name, so when Mike threw out Christian’s, it stuck much easier.
The difference in time and tone played a significant role in making this second attempt to crucify Christian more of a go for the Goliaths, but it certainly is unfortunate that had Christian been voted out, Mike would have gotten the credit instead of Angelina when the vote was her plan from the onset of the merge. Don’t worry, Ang, I’ve always been appreciative of your game face.
IMMUNITY – PICK UP YOUR BUOYS
HEY DID YOU GUYS KNOW BRAD CULPEPPER WON THIS CHALLENGE AND LASTED 23 MINUTES!?!?!?
That was basically Probst for the entirety of this challenge. I know he likes to intentionally pester the players in these endurance competitions, but this was just over the top—even for Jeff.
I was hoping Dan would have an ego-influenced epic fail again here and Angelina would walk away with immunity, but she must have finally had enough of the Culpepper name dropping and decided to drop herself out of the misery. Dan came in third in the first individual challenge and now has an immunity win on his resume, so ... are you still wondering why you’re a target, Dan the man?
The brochacho bromance breaking up ... how tragic. John and Dan told their kid brother Christian that everyone was voting for Angelina, but in reality, John was readying up for a #BrochachoBlindside, and boy was he not kidding! He just didn’t realize what that actually meant.
Knowing votes were coming her way, Angelina was uneasy given that if the Davids pulled out an idol on Christian, she’d be the one to go. Being the stand-up guy that he is, Dan assured Angelina that if the Davids played an idol, he’d play his idol to save her—a real knight in shining armor!
Or not. Dan was determined to stay Goliath strong and not lose any of their numbers, but was playing his idol on Angelina, basically his nemesis at this point, really the price he was willing pay for that? This became Dan’s dilemma. However, it ultimately wasn’t going to matter because Alec still exists and we all know what Alec likes to say: fuck it.
Whoomp, there it is.
Once again, Alec’s logic is lost on me, but I’m here for it. I get wanting to maintain some trust with Nick, but filling Nick in on the Goliaths’ real plan basically secured that a Goliath would go. Could that be what Alec actually wanted? Did he plant the seed in Nick’s head knowing what would grow? Is Alec the biggest mastermind this game has ever seen? Is there still a chance for an outcast twist to bring back Natalie???
Nick did what literally anyone else would have expected him to do and went to Davie in hopes to come up with a way to save Christian via the steal-a-vote. That wouldn’t be enough, though, and would only make the numbers 6-6. Nick had no idea Davie had a hidden immunity idol that he was even considering using to save Christian, but both Nick and Davie questioned whether now was the time to go all-out and make a Big Move™. Davie wasn’t the one in danger and Nick’s name wasn’t on the chopping block either, so they could both go another round unnoticed or save Christian but put targets on their own backs in the process. The question on the major players’ minds, then, was whether or not to “save your idol.”
Still in no need of a jacket, Angelina was again in the hot seat, this time joined by Christian, but poor, unsuspecting John had no idea he was in the hottest seat of them all. The Davids did a great job here at keeping up the appearance that Angelina was their primary target while I’m not sure the Goliaths did as well at hiding a vote for Christian—not that there was much of a need to try thanks to Alec. If anyone, the Goliaths should start hiding their votes from him so things like this don’t happen....
With Davie playing his idol for Christian, the only hope for the Goliaths was to cancel out all the David votes to create a no-vote tie. As we knew going in, though, this plan would be met with some resistance.
Man, equally as funny as Angelina asking for someone else’s possessions yet again are Nick’s shocked faces in those frames. Proving that he’ll literally do anything in the world for his “Goliath strong” alliance, after Angelina asked for Dan’s idol, he obliged.
All seemed safe for the Goliaths, but to not only their surprise but the audience’s, Devilish Davie, Slick Nick, and Calculating Christian had one final trick up their sleeves. Placing their votes on John instead of Angelina was a—what do we call it?
That’s right! Thanks Debbie! John had some moments in the episode like coining the phrase “brochacho blindside” that softly hinted that maybe he’d be the one falling victim to it all, but the way the edit played this was perfect—so much so that not even John could be upset about it.
I love that he not only smiled but laughed – goes to show what an awesome guy he is.
I fully expected to hate John after seeing his hubris in this season’s first footage; however, he could be one of the humblest players to ever step foot on the island. John was a gentle giant among the Goliaths which made for a fantastically fun watch. I expected the brochacho business with Dan but seeing him act like a goofball with Christian was a treat. While John clearly filled the stunt-casting role, he was a surprising success. With so many great characters this season, I’m not sure if John will be at the top of a returnee list, but with the #BrochachoBlindside being memorable, maybe I won’t have to submit myself to professional wrestling to eventually see more from Johnny Nitro.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
That subtitle is teasing me WAY too much. Next week looks to be all about Dan, starting with his bad break-up with Kara, and with other Goliaths looking to leave the “dark side” has his time finally come? Much like Angelina, next week I’ll be sitting here going “Dan. Please. Please.”
Nick – I haven’t mentioned Nick here much, but I’ve grown more and more confident that he’s our winner. He’s been important in every episode and as he pointed out this week, no one is looking to write his name down. He’s made an immense recovery after the gameplay that would have made him the first boot had it not been for Mother Nature pummeling Pat. Nick is in the thick of it all with his Southern charm winning him favor from all parties—this week it was his, what, 5-day old relationship with Alec that got him the intel needed to blow up the game? I know Alec’s impressionable, but that’s some serious social game right there. Maybe they’ll edit out Nick’s shaky start during his montage on finale night....
Davie – THAT is how you play an immunity idol. Damn, Davie. A lot of Davie’s story has been centered around his idol so I’m interested in seeing where it goes from here. Does he go back to laying low, or has the blerd’s game been blurted out for good? I hope the latter, but we’ll see. He’s certainly capable of more greatness and glory.
Dan – I think Dan thinks he’s a hero in this game and giving Angelina – or “Devilina” in his eyes – his idol probably makes him certain of such, but his big, buffoonish blindside surely is coming soon, right? They say pride cometh before the fall, and this week he was in his rarest form with the display of cockiness during the challenges as well as continued condescension at camp, so I really am banking on this brochacho to bite it next.
Christian – It was a close count, but I think Christian managed to be talked about more than Culpepper this week. I swear every segment of the show focused on either getting rid of him or protecting him. The Davids must see Christian as one hell of a shield to consider playing all of their powers just to save him, but kudos to Christian too for playing the game that would make his allies want to do that for him. It was a little sad seeing him vote out John knowing how much comraderie they had, but maybe comptroller just wasn’t good enough for Christian. He strived for a higher power.
Ryan Kaiser has been a lifelong fan of Survivor since the show first aired during his days in elementary school, and he plans to one day put his money where his mouth is by competing in the greatest game on Earth. Until that day comes, however, he'll stick to running his mouth here and on Twitter: @Ryan__Kaiser