Ahhhhhhh this was the glorious Goliath downfall I have been waiting weeks for and it easily slated itself as the thing I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving (sorry friends and fam, but it’s not like this is the first time I’ve put Survivor over you). I loved the outcome, but as we get with some merges, I’m missing some fun or emotional moments that have taken the back seat a bit to all the talk of strategy, strategy, strategy. Watching large groups of people in a huddle talking about which name to write down isn’t always the most thrilling, but with numbers now where they are, hopefully it won’t be as easy for that to continue. The Davids and Goliaths are going to actually have to *gasp* cross tribal lines, so I’m hoping for some crazier scrambling and whispering back and forth in the weeks to come. And tears. Always more tears. Gabby’s are not enough.
DING DONG THE MAYOR IS GONE
I spoke too soon last week proposing Christian as the new Mayor of Slamtown as that vacancy was clearly filled by Davie, evidenced by him wearing John’s jacket. The night was doubly disappointing for Angelina, then, who not only was blindsided by the vote but also missed once again on nabbing a jacket. Though I didn’t even hear her ask, so this one’s on her.
Alison, Alec, and Kara later pow-wowed over how to rebuild after the Davids’ bomb blew up everything. We already knew that Alison and Alec had contemplated jumping ship, but Kara too was ready to take the plunge. The tricky part was going to be convincing the Davids they were still interested after not only lying to them about the last vote but being lied to as well—not the best time to start trusting each other after a major blindside like that. Alison was worried about missing the boat, but if I was a David, I think I’d set sail without her and any other Goliaths.
Dan not only felt duped but also like quite the doofus after misplaying his idol on his sworn enemy instead of his best bud. He was also feeling down about no Goliaths coming over to console him as he sat alone on the beach. Dan just needed some love, or perhaps a pep talk from Rory Freeman to remind Dan that he was a “grown ass man” and would be better off not sulking in solitary.
Kara finally came over to talk but she soon realized that Dan was a lost cause and that it was time to cut him loose. Dan was doing nothing but dragging Kara down and though she fought back tears, she knew it was the truth ... took her 22 days, but better late than never, right?
REWARD – COVER YOUR NUMBERS
Poor Carl drew the unlucky rock (I presume) and was forced to miss out on both the challenge and reward; but don’t worry—Carl would get his moment to shine later in the episode.
The teams were very lopsided in this with, for once, the orange team not looking so cursed. While there was still a puzzle to solve as per usual, the purple team looked a little without a prayer unless Nick was capable of carrying the tribe to the lock and puzzle portions of the challenge. Oh, how I wish we could have seen that accompanied by Probst yelling “NICK IS LITERALLY CARRYING HIS TEAM ON HIS BACK!”
My favorite part of this challenge was the shouting from Orange toward Purple, trying to throw them off at the combination lock after Orange forgot to cover their correct answer (could Production not have just made the solutions different?) Christian probably felt like he was on LOST trying to make sense of the all the numbers.
I love how Alec and Dan here are occupied distracting Purple while Kara is just 100% focused on the task ahead. Underrated challenge beast ....
Alec and Kara maintained Orange’s lead throughout the snake puzzle and secured their team the win which was an afternoon at the “Bula Burger Bar,” not to be confused with the “Tiki Taco Hut” from Ghost Island.
CRYING OVER VEGGIE BURGERS
Here’s the start of Angelina’s hero winner edit, y’all. I can’t imagine a single soul not being able to sympathize with her as she shed tears over the loss of veggie burgers. This quite possibly could go down as the most moving moment of the season for me.
Speaking of jokes, what the actual fuck was this Bula Burger Bar? That was some serious false advertisement because I thought Jeff promised the winners a boat ride, but this “bar” was like literally 50 yards down the beach I think and all it included was just a guy with a grill. When I hear “burger bar” I need to see some atmosphere! I’d have left in tears of my own, crying for some real food, drinks, and atmosphere.
See? Jimmy Johnson too is all about that enhancing experience.
Davie devoured his burger and bounced leaving four Goliaths to plot the next David’s demise. Despite being one of the first Goliaths to approach the other side, Mike has since become the figurehead of the “Goliath strong” movement, comparing the task of keeping all the Goliaths together to that of herding cats. Excuse me—what? Who the hell owns enough cats to have the need to herd them? Is Mike White a closet crazy cat lady?
Since voting for Christian worked so well last time, Mike suggested the Goliaths plan the same form of attack at the next vote. However, most cats don’t give a shit about what they’re told to do, and Kara proved that as she was still set on dropping Dan. Also proving to be the kryptonite Dan worried about, Kara let Alec and Alison know that Dan still had one more idol in his pants, laying the groundwork for another #BrochachoBlindside. Still, Alison and Alec had some reservations since going against an otherwise easy majority, as we know, can always be Dangerous .... I really make myself laugh way more than I probably should.
With two idols played at the last vote, at least one was rehidden on the island, so the Davids got up at the crack of dawn to start digging. Davie felt confident that he’d come up with something because finding idols is apparently what he does for a living. The show has labeled him a “social media manager” but if Davie’s got more than one job going, I’m going to have to start calling him Davie Wanner.
Davie’s not the only person moonlighting, or perhaps Christian just hasn’t yet turned finding idols into the same kind of financially stable career, but Christian put his own brand of nerd to use here to come up with the beautifully hand-crafted and highly coveted…uhh…whatever they were calling the latest idol.
Maybe not as basic as a f*cking stick, but that’s like ... a f*cking string and some rocks. I thought we established the other week that the art department upped their game and hired Debbie this season! Did she take the day off when they made this, or did she just pull an Alec and say f#ck it?
IMMUNITY – BATTLE OF THE BALLS
With the possibility of Dan getting blindsided being so high, my only want from this challenge was anyone but Dan winning. Of course, he immediately pulled out to an early lead just to make me sweat a little, but fortunately Alec too was able to carry his balls quickly across the field.
I feel like since his breakout with the Natalia boot episode, Alec has been the hero I haven’t praised enough this season. He saved Elizabeth and Davie that week, set up a cross-tribal alliance at the merge, blabbed about the Goliaths voting for Christian last round, and here he delivered on being the last line of defense between Dan and another immunity win. All of these moves have been pivotal in the outcome of their respective episodes so it’s got me thinking that Natalie isn’t the only one who turns to gold whatever she touches.
Dan was given the old “ironic foreshadowing” confessional slot just before the commercial break which made it look like everything was falling into place nicely for this brochacho boot—but Survivor is so rarely nice to me that a part of me still couldn’t help but to ask, “…who fucks this up?”
WHAT DO WE PLAY AND WHEN?
Kara was committed to the Dan boot and approached Nick and Gabby with the plan to split votes between him and Angelina “in case” he had another idol *giggle*. Alison was present for this conversation as well, and once it was over ... she proceeded to run to Alec and tell him about all the second thoughts she was having ....
Alison, you were the first person weeks ago to bring up Dan’s name—why are you doing this to me now??? Luckily, a Goliath flipping wasn’t the only way for the Davids to pull out a vote here; in fact, Alison and Alec having second thoughts may have triggered the sequence of events needed to make the Dan vote happen, so it may not have been too terrible.
See, the Goliaths are really bad at hiding their loyalty to each other. Nothing convinced the Davids more that they were “Goliath strong” than them gathering on the beach together like a herd of cats people see everywhere—especially on that street Jeff gets all of his Survivor fan feedback from. Thus, the Davids decided to hold their own board meeting on the beach.
Watching the Davids whip out all their advantages was an Adam Klein UNPRECEDENTED moment on the show. Nick started by showing the steal-a-vote he had in his hand, Christian saw that and raised him a hidden immunity idol, and Carl finally went all in with the reveal of his idol nullifier, a power which the Goliaths didn’t even know existed. With Davie’s idol last week, poor Gabby was the only David left who didn’t have a special power to play.
On second thought ... I mean ... she’s not wrong.
This plan seemed 100% fool-proof which is something rare to see going into tribal council. I think the show just wanted us hyped for this historic vote rather than left wondering if it would even happen. We weren’t presented with much doubt—the only way this wasn’t going to work was if Carl and/or Nick got skittish and sissied out, but they were the two who initiated it all. I really had nothing to worry about at this point—I just had to ready my popcorn for an even tastier #BrochachoBlindside than the last.
The Davids argued, naturally, that one of the Goliaths should flip over to their side, or the “good side” as Gabby called it earlier, but I will say that I didn’t see a convincing enough argument for whoever they were trying to coerce. Going from #6 in the Goliath alliance to #6 with the Davids isn’t exactly a hot deal. I’m sure that different offers were made at camp, but watching them try to make it happen at tribal council with no major incentive felt just a little like filler before the main event.
That came when Nick raised his hand like a true Southern gentleman and announced he was using his advantage to steal Alison’s vote. This came as a surprise not only to her but to me—it had me thinking for a second that maybe the Davids decided not to go after Dan. NO Davids, BAD! But it just as easily could have been misdirection, which is exactly what it turned out to be.
TFW you make six people simultaneously shart themselves.
The prophetic words of Natalie Cole were coming true as the Goliaths came out of this looking like a bunch of amateurs. It wasn’t entirely their fault, I suppose, given how stacked the Davids were with advantages, but what was more embarrassing was just the fact that they were so blown away by it all. The best part, of course, was Dan getting up to play his idol, smiling smugly about it, and then getting whacked in the face by Jeff and Carl’s correctly-played idol nullifier, perfectly proceeded by Carl’s now famous line, “bing!”
Even though this episode didn’t do much to hide the fact that it was coming (contrary to last week’s out-of-nowhere vote) Dan’s is definitely my favorite blindside of the season so far, and of the last several seasons even because of how sheerly satisfying it was. I’ve been waiting for this high and mighty Goliath to go since he hit the beach, but the wait was worth it because I honestly could not have written a more perfect ending for him—first getting dumped by his dream girl, then having his idol nullfied. Dan’s balls must have been a cold shade of Kalokalo blue.
Dan’s departure means that there isn’t really anyone left I’m rooting against, so for that sole reason, I’ll miss his presence. I hope the way he left doesn’t put him in the “robbed” category, deserving of another chance because I think we’ve seen what we need to see of Dan. Like most everyone to play this game, I doubt he’s as insufferable off the island as it was to watch him on it (although some of that attention-whoring he does on social media … yikes), but I wouldn’t expect anything different from Dan if he were to play again. I think he’d enter the game thinking he’d learned from his past mistakes but ultimately make some of the same ones again. Survivor always is going to have its token hot blonde, so unless they change that, Dan will never be able to win.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
“The Goliaths don’t know how vicious I can be.” You mean we’ve only seen Angelina-lite? DAYUM. As I mentioned at the start of this week’s recap, we’ve seen a lot of strategy since the merge which is to be expected, but next time looks to be bringing back some fire in the form of emotion which is needed again. No one is asking for a “Rice Wars” episode like the last season we heard, “Hell hath no fury,” but ... I’d like at least a little fighting inspired by hurt feelings. Pretty please? You took Natalie from me a month ago—throw me a bone, Survivor gods!
Kara – Dan’s kryptonite did a spectacular job this week! That’s bold to betray someone in this game who has undying, blind loyalty to you, but Kara was smart enough to realize that Dan would do more harm than good to her. I’m glad that she, Alison, and Alec decided to finally go against the Goliaths, but with all that has gone down, it could be just a little too late. I’ve been more impressed with Kara’s game than I expected to be and if she can maneuver her way to the end, I wouldn’t mind seeing her win, but my worry is that dumping Dan will be the last Big Move™ she’ll be able to pull off with the game looking to now be in the Davids’ hands.
Carl – Realistically, this will be Carl’s only majorly memorable week of the season, so it’s kind of now or never that I put him in this Players of the Week slot. Kudos to Carl for not wasting this advantage or holding onto it for too long like I worried he would. He needed Nick’s vote steal to make this move work, but his “Bing!” moment stole the show this week. Carl’s only story has been tied to the idol nullifier, so methinks that he’ll be the next David to go, but at least he’ll go down in history as the first to not only play a new advantage, but to play it correctly, setting the bar high.
Nick – A key player in the Davids’ success this week. Carl’s nullifier was needed to get rid of Dan specifically, but with Nick’s steal-a-vote, the Davids could have taken down any Goliath. While Nick didn’t find the right track in this week’s immunity challenge, I still think he’s the most on track for the bigger win. He seems to have all the right connections to both the Davids and the Goliaths and the only way I see him being voted out is if both sides come together and recognize him as the biggest threat to win. However, Nick still has a shield in Christian and whether it’s intentional or not, keeping Christian around will always keep Nick one neck away from the chopping block.
Also, Nick’s shit-eating grin after he played his vote steal killed me.
Alec – Because without Alec “f#ck it” Merlino, half the crazy shit this season would not have gone down, and we’d also be subject to another week of Dan. I haven’t leapt at an immunity win like Alec’s in a long time.
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