HOT TAKE: Survivor Recap – A Diamond in the Rough

This week’s episode starts off with a demoralized Malolo tribe returning back to camp having just eliminated Brenden. In my last post I thought that Brenden’s dismissal was all part of Michael’s master plan but now I don’t think that was the case. Michael seems pretty broken up about the fact that he caused his buddy to go home and now he’s up a creek without a paddle. Bradley’s former Naviti posse has a significant numbers advantage over the remaining 3 Malolo tribesman and can pick them off one by one if they need to – and Michael knows this. His only gambit at this point is to try and convince Bradley that picking off some of the stronger players (really just making the case for himself here) wouldn’t be a great idea moving forward because they will continue to lose challenges and eventually all be eliminated. I’m sure Bradley has at least considered this if he is as smart as he claims to be, right?

REWARD TIME! The coveted winner of today’s reward challenge gets something more precious than gold – COFFEE. Now hear me out – two weeks without coffee would make me insane. I won’t go as far as to say it is the lifeblood that allows me to slog through my entire day, each day – that’s beer – but coffee is an extremely close second. If it was socially acceptable to have a beer in the morning I could quit coffee cold turkey but since it’s not – coffee it is! Oh! Mr. Probst is also offering some pastries to go along with the coffee but honestly who gives a fuck? A cheese Danish is fine but pales in comparison to a nice cup o’ Joe. To win the coffee the two tribes will compete by running over tables (really? Tables? Someone mailed it in) to get to an area filled with sandbags. Two tribesman from each team will then move all the sandbags to expose a lever that will release smaller sandbags (Come on guys, this is getting embarrassing). The smaller sandbags will then be moved to a staging area where the competing tribes will toss the sandbags at 3 suspended targets about 20 feet away. First team to close all 3 targets wins the coffee. Got it?

Jeffry Probst gives the go-ahead and our two tribes are off. Naviti jumps out in front early and doesn’t really look back to see how Malolo is doing. Naviti is first over the tables, first to move the sandbags, first to release smaller sandbags and first to close their targets. How are they able to do this in such a convincing fashion? Turns out it is pretty easy when you have a former college baseball player on your team. Chris absolutely crushes the target competition by consecutively closing all 3 targets without missing once – I think? Did anyone see him miss? It certainly didn’t look like he missed the targets. Also, dude has a cannon for an arm so he hit each target with force when he connected, which was 100% of the time. Poor Malolo. They never stood a chance. Also Jeff Probst is totally geeked about Chris’ performance. He’s so jazzed! He’s never seen anything like this before because he has somehow avoided the millions of trick shot videos that exist on the internet. That’s more impressive than what Chris did for us today, tbh. How do you filter out all those Dude Perfect wannabe videos?! Did anyone else want Chris to whip a pastry at Malolo? Just me? Cool.

I know kung-fu

Tradition now demands that someone from the losing tribe be sent to Ghost Island. To keep things from getting political Naviti opts for the bag of rocks and Jeff dutifully hands them out to Malolo. The person who draws the white rock will be headed to the dreaded (?) GHOST ISLAND! Time for a question – why would anyone mind being sent there? I get that you can’t participate in the politics of the tribe but do you really want to? It seems like you get a nice break for a day and even have the opportunity to give yourself a huge advantage by finding an idol or completing a Ghost Island challenge successfully. The whole solitude aspect is also completely overblow since you’re probably surrounded by tons of a PAs and cameras. The whole idea just seems a little half-baked to me. AND IT’S NOT EVEN SPOOKY! MAKE IT SPOOKEY! THE ISLAND ISN’T EVEN SHAPED LIKE A SKULL, OR HAVE A SKULL LOOKING MOUNTAIN/CAVE!

After drawing the rocks it turns out none other than Miss “Hope” herself (Stephanie) will be headed to Ghost Island. If you recall from last episode, Stephers felt like she was up against the wall and her only strategy at that point was to channel positive vibes – and somehow it worked. Her voodoo mojo cast a spell over Michael who used his fake immunity ruse to “save” her in place of Brenden. This time it seems like her magic has worn off just when she needs it most. Upon arriving at Ghost Island Stephanie has to break a tile and reveal if she gets an opportunity for a challenge – she doesn’t. Well shit. Hope is dead. She doesn’t even get to the roll the dice to see if she can win immunity. Alright fine – well at least she has a whole day to tool around Ghost Island and look for an immunity idol, right? Nope. Now this could be clever editing but the way the scene is revealed to us makes it seem like Stephanie just sits in camp and eats rice the whole time – willing herself to survive. This doesn’t seem like a good strategy – especially for someone who thought they were going home last week…I would be moving every single damn rock and leaf I could get my grubby hands on. Not Stephanie though – she’s all about channeling those good good vibes. She talks about all this as she suns herself and I have to “hope” production offers up sunscreen because I can’t imagine being sunburned with no options for relief on a tropical island. That would be hell. Also, incredibly irresponsible of Mark Burnett and co.

Back with Naviti we see the tribe getting down with that java and shooting the shit over bear claws. It’s at this moment that I come to a profound realization – Chris has an extremely tiny head for his body. Remember the head hunter safari guy from Beetle Juice? There’s a definite resemblance there. We’re also treated to a quick scene where Donathan (I have major problems with the spelling and sound of this name. Did the J on his birth certificate just look like a D or something? Who else is named Donathan?) Anyway he starts to break down over being away from his grandmother, who he takes care of. I feel for the guy – it’s gotta be hard to be away from someone who has come to rely on you. Chris sees Donathan and makes his way over to tell Donny that he can relate to his situation. Chris is building allies any way he can to protect himself from being voted out.

Onto the immunity challenge! For this week’s challenge each tribe will…need to race from point A to point B and unlock a box. Honestly, the actual path to get from point A to point B is not worth explaining – it involves a body board, some planks and a rope…it’s dumb. I get that the competitions are limited based on location but can we please try and be a bit more creative? I’ve been watching the challenge for like 15 years and those challenges always seem different. Production doesn’t have the budget to spice things up a bit? Anyway the competition starts and Naviti is off to the races again. It looks like Naviti will be dominating this challenge as well but then there’s a brief moment where Desiree on Malolo seems to get ahead of Libby on Naviti and it looks like we could have a competition…but then Desiree falls into the water and whatever lead Malolo had quickly evaporates. Naviti is first to get to the end puzzle and, since they are so far ahead of Malolo when they start the puzzle, first to solve it and claim another victory. Malolo will be forced to cleave itself once again. Did anyone else see this coming? I sure as shit did. Did anyone else think that Jeff Probst was wearing a New York Jets cap? I sure as shit did. And while we’re on it – what’s not to like about the scrappy Jets this year? I watched some of their games last season and actually enjoyed myself. J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

Jeff Probst watching a New York Jets game next season

Naviti takes their immunity idol and skedaddles leaving Malolo to figure out who to vote off the island. Back at camp the politics begin as the Bradley Tribe debates who to eliminate. It seems like Michael’s point about eliminating stronger players is starting to sink in given the two recent loses – they can’t keep losing competitions and survive – they need to switch strategies up. During this scene I also learn that Michael is 18 years old. Are you kidding me?! I am sure this was mentioned in an earlier episode but I must have glossed right over it. Dude is 18 years old?! The guy looks like he’s just under 30 – what the hell! Do you know what I looked like at 18? Not like that. I was maybe 135 lbs., had bleached tips for my spikey hair and wore pukka shell necklaces. NOT FAIR.

Before they switch up their strategy there is still Malolo fat to trim. Stephanie would make the most sense but they don’t know if Stephanie found an immunity idol or not (She didn’t). To confirm, Dez helps herself to Stephanie’s purse and digs through it – no idol. Really? Is nothing sacred on Survivor? Obviously the expectation of privacy is out the window but going through someone’s modest personal belongings seems like a real dickbag move. Still, Stephanie could be keeping the idol on her I suppose (Where exactly?) but that seems unlikely. After riffing through Stephanie’s stuff the group sets poor Stephanie in their crosshairs.

At tribal council it quickly becomes apparent that Stephanie is going to be up for elimination. Is it just me or does Bradley look like someone? He resembles someone famous but the only person I can picture is Matthew Lillard – and that’s not who I am thinking of – anyone else got a hot take on who Bradley looks like? He’s so snivelly-looking. This is going to drive me nuts. While chatting with Stephanie Jeff Probst makes the claim that Survivor is the most difficult relationship game ever conceived – insert corny marriage joke here. So we get to voting and Jeff asks Malolo if anyone has an immunity idol that he or she would like to play. All eyes go to Stephers and we wait for a minute…No idol from Stephanie. She’s still rocking the posi-vibes but it’s not enough. Stephanie gets the needed 5 votes and Jeff demands her torch – her fire is out.


What did you think of last night’s episode? Do you think Malolo made the right decision in axing Stephanie? Is Chris’ head proportionate to his body? Is Jeff Probst all in on the NY Jets? Give me your hot take or rip on me for mine.


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