Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s time to turn up the furnace and settle in for another episode of Survivor! Previously on Survivor, Cole missed an advantage that was right under his nose and stood by helplessly as his boo Jessica was given the boot. After never going to a Tribal Council in the first part of the game, the Healers are now dangerously outnumbered by the Heroes and Hustlers. Will the Healers be able to find a cure for their predicament, or will they succumb to the Survivor sickness? After the vote, Joe is complimentary to the big move. “You have to appreciate it,” he says, before adding, “…but now you’ve released the devil.” Oh, no, not the devil! The next day, Lauren is hammering some nails into a tree for, I don’t know, a lark, and notices the rolled up piece of parchment in the bag. She quickly stuffs the parchment in her shorts, using a lost nail as a distraction. A lost nail? Don’t walk around barefoot! Lauren opens the parchment in private and it turns out she is the recipient of a new secret advantage. This advantage allows her to not vote at the next Tribal Council but then have two votes at a future Tribal Council. This is accomplished by Lauren swapping out a rolled-up piece of parchment when she goes to vote. Wait, can you just put any old rolled up piece of paper in the voting urn? Wouldn’t it be great if when Jeff went to read the votes there were just a whole bunch of old receipts and a Chinese food menu in there? Lauren is thrilled about her advantage, and I continue to be thrilled that Lauren wandered onto this show, seemingly straight out of an old old season of Survivor.
Challenge time! In this Reward Challenge the Survivors will compete in two teams to race through a ladder course and then use a slingshot to down five targets. The winners will receive a romantic spaghetti dinner, complete with breadsticks, salad, red wine, and Jeff Probst playing the accordion. Since the Survivors will be competing in teams that means one person will randomly sit out the challenge but they will go on the reward. That person turns out to be Joe, clearly thrilled that he’s not in command of any slingshots. The two teams are actually pretty lopsided, with JP, Devon, Chrissy, Cole and Ryan taking on Desi, Ben, Lauren, Mike and Ashley. Of course the team with former summer camp hunks JP, Devon, and Cole wins. Don’t change the channel yet, there’s another twist to this victory and it will take place at the reward. The reward will be served “family style” but you can put away that box of tissues because it actually means the reward will be given to the Survivors one at a time. They’ll all take turns eating from the same big plate of spaghetti and they’ll eat ALONE. Seriously, folks, there’s nothing more riveting than watching someone eat a plate of spaghetti by themselves. You know, I say that, and then I wonder if there’s a weird YouTube subculture devoted to people eating plates of spaghetti by themselves and there TOTALLY IS. Joe says that the reward will be a good time to try and woo one of the Hustlers over to his side, and it will also be a good time to be a sloppy spaghetti boy!
Joe is also in charge of determining the order in which the spaghetti is consumed, and he chooses Devon to go first since it is apparently Devon’s birthday. Go Devon, it’s your birthday, you’re gonna eat spaghetti like it’s your birthday. The show offers up a surprisingly bland #REWARD as Devon sits down at -I’m not kidding here- a card table set up in the woods with a tablecloth and a giant plate of spaghetti. Those of you hoping for an EAST SIDE MARIO’S product placement will be sorely disappointed! Devon gets his spaghetti on and as he hoists himself up from the chair, we see that there’s a hidden phrase buried underneath the pasta pile. JP is next to indulge and he misses the clue, too, leaving it open for none other than your boy COLE. Folks, I know this season of Survivor isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but can we take a moment to appreciate the sheer uselessness of Cole? Cole seems to have two sides to his personality, and that’s the buff side and the hungry side. Of course he chows down enough pasta to see the clue underneath. The clue, by the way, is the ridiculously obvious THERE’S AN IDOL HIDDEN UNDER YOUR FLAG AT CAMP. No riddle to solve, no words to unscramble, heck it’s not even written backwards! Cole wants to keep the clue a secret, so he covers up the plate with a napkin. Ah, yes, that’s how all great family pasta dishes are served: on top of a cloth napkin. Next to eat is Chrissy, who knows that a clue has got to be nearby. She looks in the salad, she looks under the table, she looks in the trees, and eventually she looks hard enough to move the cloth napkin to find the clue underneath. The spaghetti is starting to noticeably thin at this point, and speaking of noticeably thin here’s Ryan up to eat. Ryan finds the clue and decides to finally be done with it by hiding the plate in the bushes. An oblivious Joe is the last to eat while Chrissy and Ryan whisper on the beach about the clue, which Cole overhears. What is with Chrissy and whispering? She does know that a whisper isn’t silent, right? Back at the camp everyone plays it cool but when Cole goes to pee Ryan knows he has a chance to dig under the flag. Ryan scurries off to the beach and begins to dig, getting just deep enough to grab the idol. He stuffs it in his shorts just as Cole bangs out of the bushes to dig for himself. Chrissy decides to get in the mix and the two of them tussle when Ben gets involved. Everyone back at camp wonders what all the commotion is about when Ashley just deadpans, amazingly, “An idol.” Ryan’s got it in his pants so everyone else comes up short, even though Ben thinks that Cole has found it. Ben accuses Cole of having the idol, and Cole decides to go along with it since, “bluffing is the only move I’ve got.” Uh, Cole, there’s another move you’ve got and that’s called telling everyone you don’t have the idol. I don’t know what Cole hopes to gain by telling people that he’s a threat. He’s about as threatening as an ice cream sandwich. He’s about as threatening as a song by Taylor Swift. He’s about as threatening as a broken milk carton!
Challenge time! In this Immunity Challenge the Survivors need to use a broomstick to keep a statue on a narrow ledge while balancing on a thin beam. You can tell Survivor production is concerned about the safety of these statues, since they’re falling into harmless sand instead of dramatically smashing into many pieces. It’s another balancing challenge and Dr. Mike is out first, which is ironic because you think he’d be better at handling a stiff pole– (“That’s enough” – ed). One by one the Survivors unceremoniously drop their statues until we’re down to Cole, JP, and Desi. Desi already won immunity last week and is looking for a repeat, but she fumbles and drops leaving it up to JP and Cole. Thank goodness this isn’t a battle based on charisma! JP and Cole are so interchangeable they look like they could both play second base for the same team. JP and Cole both look like members of the evil fraternity in every college comedy. Cole ekes out a win, giving him immunity for good. Chrissy says that this throws a wrench in their plans, but they still have Healers left to choose from. Thank goodness, I was starting to worry that something interesting might happen on this show!
Back at the beach, Cole says that winning immunity was, “the bomb!” even though he was “bummed!” about not finding the idol. Gnarly, radical! Totally wavy! Ben outlines the vote to his alliance and says that the guys will vote for Joe and the girls will vote for Desi. Nothing on Survivor is ever quite this simple, and Joe decides to make a mad scramble to stay. Joe thinks he might be able to convince the Hustlers to join with him against the Heroes. He presents this plan to Devon and Ryan as Ben -incredibly- listens from the bushes, finally making the dream of Tony’s Spy Shack a Survivor reality. Joe doesn’t get much of anywhere with the Hustlers, and decides to try to blow up Ben’s game by saying that Ben has lied to everyone and has even swore on the Marine Corps. This is not true, as Ben explains to us in a series of confessionals that make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that Ben did not. Swear. On. The. Marine. Corps. “Well, alright, that’s that settled then,” you might say but apparently the show had some minutes to kill because this scene drags on, with Ben continuing to yell and Joe just sitting there saying, “Well, you could have said it.” Ben needs something but here’s Lauren with yet another complication. She tells him about her advantage, and says that she needs to play it at the next Tribal Council in order for it to work. This means that they can’t split the votes without there being a danger of someone else going home. Ben is now nervous that something wacky is going to happen, so he enlists the help of one Doctor Mike, asking if he’ll flip and vote with them to get out Joe. Mike just seems happy to be included but he doesn’t really show signs of straying. At Tribal Council, Jeff reminds us that Jessica (who?) was voted out last time and wonders if it’s going to be another Healer while pretty blatantly asking for something else to happen. It’s once again the Joe show, as Ben apologizes to Joe for yelling, even though he’s still sort of yelling in his apology. Ashley says she’s not sure if Joe is good at the game or just good at annoying people, and Joe even interrupts her during that. Lest you think Tribal Council is going to be all doom and gloom, Ben opens up about his time in the Marine Corps, and says that he’s still dealing with tough stuff out here. Devon opens up about how difficult Survivor is, and says that while he tries to be a “bright and beautiful light” he’s starting to feel a little dim. Jeff Probst congratulates everyone on a good therapy session and it’s finally time to vote. Lauren does indeed play her advantage, canceling her own vote. It works for the majority alliance, though, and they’re able to tie the vote between Desi and Joe. On the re-vote, Desi is unanimously sent packing, which is a pretty lousy way to end a respectable Survivor run. Joe tells Desi he didn’t flip on her way out, since Joe really does need to make every moment about Joe. I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t banged on in here while I write this wondering why I’m not writing more about Joe. He’s clearly the most important person out there!
Speaking of being important, make sure to click on over to the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess has ordered one hundred hot dogs in anticipation of something she’s calling “Franks-giving” but she promises to put down the ketchup and mustard long enough to send out the next bonus challenge. Next time on Survivor: Lauren tells Ben about her extra vote, Ryan tells Devon and Ben about his idol, and, if we’re lucky, JP tells another story about his truck. See you next week!