Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers finale update!

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Pool Players Finale and Survivors Weekly Points

Pool Players Total Points

Going Out Order

Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s hard to believe but after thirteen long weeks we’ve finally reached the end of our Survivor journey. Congratulations to Hero Ben who outwitted, outplayed, outlasted, and out-idol-ed everyone else in the game. Ben was able to best Chrissy’s impressive immunity run, Ryan’s questionable social game, Devon’s inability to make a fire and Dr. Mike’s bad jokes. Dr. Mike! Even at the reunion he was just happy to be there. I don’t know if this was a good season of Survivor, but it was at least interesting, and will give us a lot to chew on in the coming months. Speaking of lots of chewing, how odd was it that Cole (of all people!) was so chatty during the final Tribal Council? I barely remembered he was there! I’m not sure Cole remembers he was there! JP definitely doesn’t remember he was there! So congratulations to Ben, who managed to stay afloat against all odds, including a stunner of a Final Four twist. I would suggest that we try to have a fire-making challenge at the Family Tree Restaurant, but something tells me that would end with our photos on the wall under DO NOT SERVE TO THIS GROUP.

Speaking of come from behind victories, it’s time to hand out the awards in our Pool. Drum roll, please, the big Pool Champion is BETH who rallied to the top thanks to her pre-season pick of Ben as sole Survivor. Congratulations, Beth! In second place was Ashlee, who was only three points behind Beth. So close! Way to go, Ashlee. Rounding out the top three was Julie, who stuck close to the top all season long. Hats off to our top three! But wait, there’s more!

The top Quick Pick player was newcomer Sharon, who had an incredible run all the way until the final episode. Team Terkel ended up in the middle of the pack and gets our Thanks For Playing award. The super secret non-monetary prize goes to Aiden. What could it be? It’s a secret! Unlike Ghost Island, all our secrets will be revealed at the pool luncheon, coming this January. Put your thinking caps on and get ready to talk about all things Survivor, the pool, and what you’d like to see us do! We love watching Survivor, and we love running the pool because of all of you! Next time on Survivor: the mistakes of the past are back to haunt a whole new crop of players. It’s Survivor: Ghost Island! Spooky! Scary! I hope there aren’t any haunted dolls! Those things give me the heebie-jeebies! Here’s to hoping there are more tricks than treats and we will see you there! Adios!

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Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 12 recap!

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Pool Tribes and Survivors Weekly Points

Pool Tribes Points

Pool Players Total Points

Going Out Order

Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s a wintry Wednesday and time again for Survivor! Previously on Survivor, Ben overheard his alliance planning to vote him out, so he played his secret idol to send softball hustler Lauren out of the park. With no idol and a huge target on his back, Ben is truly down to an alliance of one. Back at camp, everyone is wary, but congratulatory of Ben’s big move. “That was better than my idol play!” Dr. Mike says, presumably referring to the idol he actually played and not the one he tossed in the fire. As Ben ambles off to get water, everyone agrees that he’s got to go next. Got to! No question about it! No debates here! Devon says that if there are Survivor gods, then Ben’s idol was, “A move by the Survivor devil!” Oh no, not the Survivor devil! The only devil that should be on Survivor is a plate of deviled eggs! Everyone pledges to win immunity and vote Ben out next, because you know how easy sticking to a plan is on this show! The warm sepia tones of daybreak welcome us to the morning, where Ben says that he has, “a long, hard road ahead,” and needs to either win immunity or find an idol to stay in the game. Ben sneaks off before sunrise to try to find an idol. Meanwhile, Mike and Chrissy both wake up and realize Ben isn’t around. They both know what he’s up to, but neither of them go looking for him. Certainly he couldn’t find another idol this quickly! Nothing to see here folks, go back to sleep!

Reward Challenge! In this challenge, the Survivors are paired up and roped together. First they need to maneuver themselves connected by a rope over and under a series of obstacles. Then they need to toss five rings onto some pegs. The first team to finish will be taken by chopper to a resort on a private island where they will enjoy lamb, chicken, and lobster and then get to sleep in a real bed. A real bed! With pillows and everything! The three teams are Ben and Ashley, Devon and Chrissy, and, uh, Ryan and Dr. Mike. Yes, the two kids picked last in gym glass have teamed up, Revenge of the Nerds style. Unsurprisingly, Ryan and Mike are pretty lousy at the rope portion but manage to make up some ground and it’s fairly even at the ring toss. Try as he might, Ben is unable to put a ring on it, and Devon and Chrissy win reward. But you can’t enjoy a chopper reward with just two people, so they get to choose a third friend to go along. Devon and Chrissy confer and Chrissy quickly offers Ryan as their third, to which Devon readily agrees. Ryan gets to go on reward while Ashley just looks sour about the whole thing. Ashley gives Devon a look like flames are coming out of the side of her face. Jeff notices this and asks Ashley is she’s surprised they picked Ryan. Surprised? Ashley is shook. But she handles it well, saying that they must have a reason, and it’s clear who is calling the shots. Congratulations to Ashley for having an honest reaction to the reward. As for Devon and Chrissy, I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about there. Move along, folks! You’ll all be fine!

Back at the beach, Mike is also upset that they chose Ryan. Mike decides that the losers should have a five-minute roast of Ryan. Turns out that Dr. Mike is about as good at comedy as an eggplant is at basketball. Ryan shouldn’t go on reward because he went on the last reward! Hey, did you know Ryan was young? Well, it’s another reason why he shouldn’t have gone on reward! [pause for laughter]. Clearly missing the other half of his coconuts, Mike tries to ingratiate himself with Ben and Ashley. It isn’t really working, though, since Ben would rather work with Ashley to vote out Mike. This doesn’t get far, though, as Ashley ignores her onetime alliance-mate. Ben says that talking to Ashley is like, “talking to a brick wall,” and that only works if you’re trying to get to Diagon Alley! At the reward, Ryan loses his mind over the pile of food, and says it’s even better than seeing his dad. Woah, that’s a low blow to Papa Ryan! Ryan says that the reward is, “one of the best days of [his] life.” I mean, it’s probably better than the day he had to chase a rat out of the air ducts. Is that what bellhops do? I think I’ve always been unclear. I feel like they’re either calling you a cab or singing in the chorus. Of course this is a reward this season, so it’s time to talk strategy. The group agrees that Ben and Mike are the next to go. Chrissy then floats the idea of these three being the final three. Devon seems pretty open to it, seeing as he once was close with Ryan and he’s, uh, never really worked with Chrissy. Chrissy now thinks they should vote out Ashley, and makes it her secret plan to get Ashley gone. Don’t worry, you can always vote out Ben and Dr. Mike. There are plenty of weeks left! Wait, what’s that, there’s only one week left? Ah, even so, plenty of time! Nothing to worry about here! Just another carefree episode of Survivor!

Immunity time! In this huge immunity challenge, the Survivors need to climb up and down an obstacle course, sink a basket to drop a ladder, pull down a second ladder, and then solve a complicated cog puzzle. Everyone is pretty close throughout the challenge but the puzzle is a real stump-er. Not only are there too many spokes but the cogs are all different sizes. If only they had a singing animated clock to help them with these cogs! This is a neat puzzle, but it would be a lot more fun if it were a clog challenge and they had to hoof their way to immunity. Which one of this lot would be the best clogger? Man, it would have been Lauren, right? I bet she could clog up a right storm! So, it comes down to the puzzle, and even though they try to make a show of it, this is Chrissy’s challenge to lose. She wins, OF COURSE, turning her cogs and squealing to victory. Chrissy wins Immunity, which means Ben didn’t win immunity which means this should be an uneventful rest of the episode, right? Right?

Back at the beach, Ben curses the “damn freaking puzzles!” that seem to confound him every time. Must be that Survivor devil at play! Ben knows he needs to continue the idol hunt to stay in the game. Everyone talks without Ben and agrees he’s the next to go. Just to be safe, however, they decide to split the votes between Ben and Mike, just in case one of them has an idol. Of course, Chrissy has other plans, and tells the rest of the rest of the group that she would rather vote out Ashley. Dr. Mike tries to explain that Ben is more dangerous in the long-term, but Chrissy says she might just need to go with her gut at Tribal, and her gut is full of lobstah! Meanwhile, Ben is out walking and ARE YOU SITTING DOWN happens to find a tree with a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Turns out the idol is hidden at camp underneath their shelter. It’s the Kelley Wentworth special! Ben is the only one that knows the idol is at their camp, and yet everyone else is just hanging around because it’s almost time to go to Tribal. Ben knows his window to get the idol is slim, but lest there be ANY sort of suspense on this show because we jump right to Tribal without knowing if he found it. At Tribal, Ben says he knows he’s on the outs because there are two couples; Ashley and Devon, and Ryan and Chrissy, plus Dr. Mike as the swing vote. There’s a lot of talk about the Final 3, and everyone but Ben reveals they have a Final 3 plan. I have a final three plan, too; it’s to stay awake during these final three episodes! Ben tries to start some drama, and eventually decides to take things up a notch by pulling an idol out of his boot. It was a wishing boot! Ben brazenly wears his idol at Tribal, and then asks Ashley and Devon if they want to go back to camp. If they do, they’ll join him in voting for Dr. Mike. Ben even decides to play his idol before they vote, just to prove to everyone that yes, he will play it. It is a real idol, and Ben is immune from the vote. There’s surprisingly little scrambling before the vote, and only Ashley seems truly stunned. The votes are read and Ben’s plan backfires. Instead of Dr. Mike going home, everyone else votes against Ashley. Ashley is gone and Ben is out another idol. On her way out, Ashley hugs Ben but TOTALLY WALKS PAST Devon with an ice cold “I’ll see you.” Man, Ashley was great. Lauren was great, and then Ashley was great and now all we’re left with is the island of misfit toys. Oh no, I’m slipping away to dreamland! Wake me when it’s over!

Make sure to stay awake while you click on over to the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess keeps trying to make “snow way!” happen, but she promises to stop long enough to send out the final challenge. Yes, it’s true. Next time on Survivor: it’s the finale! One of these morons will actually end up a million dollars richer. Will it be Devon, the surfer who looks like the old logo for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Will it be Chrissy, the heroic actuary? Will it be Ryan, the elfin bellhop? Will it be Dr. Mike, everyone’s favorite stand-up Doctor turned stand-up comedian? Or will it be Ben, the former marine with the wife and kids who got him through? Well one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be one of them! Tune in to find out who!

Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 11 recap!

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Pool Tribes and Survivors Weekly Points

Pool Players Total Points

Going Out Order

Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s a blustery Thursday and time again for Survivor. Previously on Survivor there were two hours of shenanigans, complete with cheeseburgers, massages, immunity idols plus the ousting of JP and Joe. Not a good week to have a name that begins with the letter J! There are only seven Survivors left. Seven! There are more members in the Korean pop group GIRLS’ GENERATION! After Joe was voted out by the majority alliance, Ben’s cover was blown. I guess he’ll need to hand back all his Academy Awards! Ryan and Chrissy are now totally alone, and Chrissy is not having it. She starts to lecture Ben about his betrayal, to which Ben replies “You can’t mother me, Chrissy!” Chrissy says that, “[Ben’s] responses were inhuman.” I don’t know, they sounded pretty human to me. Does Chrissy think that Ben has morphed into some sort of Lovecraftian inhuman entity? Is Ben the Dunwich Horror? Chrissy says that she knows this is Survivor but she can’t help but take. it. personally!

Reward Challenge! The Survivors are all gathered and told that they’ll be competing in pairs, but not with each other. Instead, these seven Survivors will be playing with THE DAYS OF THE WEEK wait, no, actually they’ll be playing with their loved ones. Yes, it’s the annual Survivor Family Challenge, in which even the most cynical and jaded of Survivor viewers must acknowledge that these are actual people with actual lives and maybe it’s ok to care about them a little bit. First things first, here’s Ashley’s dad, Jim. Jeff says some nonsense about fathers embracing daughters that doesn’t really read too well in, uh, today’s political climate. Next up is Ryan’s Dad, Steve. Steve! Steve seems like he’s got a story or two. Next up is Mike’s wife Berry. “We all want to see who married Mike!” says Jeff before Berry comes out, leading to the new FOX reality hit: “Who Wants to Marry Mike?” except it’s phrased as an accusation instead of a question, like, “Who Wants to Marry Mike?” Mike says that him and his wife has “one of the greatest loves of all time,” so step aside, Titanic! Next is Lauren’s sister Sunny, who hilariously hugs Jeff first. Lauren reveals that Sunny is the one who wanted to be on Survivor but Lauren was picked instead. Maybe next season, Sunny! Next is Chrissy’s husband Keith. Look, I guess I’m happy for them but these just seem to be two of the blandest people around. They look like the kind of people who consider adobo to be exotic. Next is Devon’s mom Sonya, who still looks like she’s about 25. We save the best for last, as Ben’s wife Kelly, who’s practically been a cast member on this show, finally makes an appearance. She’s lovely, and her and Ben seem to have an honest connection and it’s a good excuse for Ben to let out a happy cry. It’s alright to cry!

The embracing is over and it’s time to get to the actual challenge. Folks, I’m going to level with you here, this is not much of a challenge. Instead, it’s a random rock draw, and if the Survivor and their loved one randomly match, they’ll randomly win reward. What sort of skill is involved here? Telepathy? Are they supposed to talk to each other like the cats and dogs from Homeward Bound? This smells suspiciously like someone on the Survivor crew forgot to build a challenge and they had to use the props they had lying around and pull something out of you-know-where. So it’s dramatic, because of course it’s dramatic, but since there’s no skill involved Chrissy ends up winning. Of course the real importance of the challenge is Chrissy choosing three Survivors and their loved ones to share in a family BBQ. Chrissy chooses Ryan and his father, Mike and his wife, and Ashley and her father. Adios, other loved ones! You were only a rock away!

Chrissy tells us that she picked those three as punishment for how badly Ben betrayed her. Chrissy also says that she needs to persuade Ashley to vote Ben out next. Those of you hoping to spend more time with “Mrs. Dr. Mike” will be disappointed because we have about thirty seconds at the reward before it’s back to the loser’s beach. Ben has a new plan to make a fake idol and try to get Chrissy to find it. Ben has a pretty complex system of shells and beads. On the scale of fake idols this is a few rungs above the stick and a few below the Bob Crowley masterpiece. Lauren isn’t convinced that this fake idol is actually going to do anything, especially since she assumes that the “core four” is strong. Instead of making a fake idol, Lauren decides to try to find the real one, and actually stumbles across a clue. Lauren finds half of an idol buried in the sand at camp, and learns that the other half will be buried at the challenge. “Case closed, it’s either Ryan, Chrissy or Mike going home!” Lauren proudly declares before the commercial break. Oh no, Lauren! You do not make proud declarative statements before the commercial break on Survivor! It never ends well!

Challenge time! In this Immunity Challenge the Survivors need to support two discs using only their outstretched arms and fingertips. The discs are unnecessarily adorned with wind chimes, which are maybe intended to make for a more relaxing challenge? “When those discs drop, the chimes stop!” Jeff says. Disc drop. Chime stop. Raindrop. Drop top. One by one, the Survivors, with increasingly pained expressions, drop out of the challenge. All except for Lauren, who curiously just seems to give up. As Lauren collects her shell, the challenge whittles down to just Devon and Ashley. Devon starts to strike a deal, which Jeff Probst rudely interrupts, because how dare deals be struck on this show! This isn’t Big Brother! Devon makes a “bold statement” by saying that everyone knows he and Ashley are close, and it doesn’t matter which of them wins Immunity since they’ll both be safe. Devon ends up giving up immunity for a massage which is either a supremely confident move, or a supremely stupid one, or, seeing as how it’s this season, maybe both.

Back at camp, a newly emboldened Ashley says she needs to make a big move. She tells Devon that she thinks now might be the time to vote out Ben. They bring this plan to Lauren at the well, seemingly unaware that BEN IS RIGHT BEHIND THEM like he’s Michael Meyers or something. Seriously, do these people know how to talk in private? Ben overhears about half of their conversation, but it’s enough for him to start scrambling. Ben goes into desperation mode, and tells Mike about Lauren’s idol. “Never underestimate Dr. Mike!” Dr. Mike says, despite the fact that underestimating Dr. Mike seems to be a pretty decent game move so far. Ben even goes to Chrissy and formally apologizes to her. Ben tells Chrissy about Lauren’s advantage and says that he needs her vote to make sure Lauren goes home. Word of Ben’s loose lips reaches Lauren, who is none too happy that her former alliance member wants her gone. Lauren knows that she needs to make moves, too, so she, uh, gives Dr. Mike half of her idol as a sign of trust. Folks, if we’ve learned anything from Erik Reichenbach, it’s that you never give up your immunity, even if it’s only half of your immunity. Tribal Council is a Jerry-Springer-esque nonsense factory, with Ben and Lauren in full out war against each other. Seemingly every idol and advantage is revealed as the players physically scramble around trying to decide the vote. At one point Dr. Mike throws his half of the idol in the fire, saying that he’s waited fifteen years to do that. From crummy metaphors to bad idol moves, you can never underestimate Dr. Mike! It seems like it’s going to be an exciting outcome, but then before the votes are read Ben plays his actual immunity idol for himself, and suddenly things take a turn. Turns out everyone did agree to vote out Ben, except none of those votes count, which means that Ben’s sole vote for Lauren sends her home. Look, it was a stupid move by Lauren to give up half of her idol, but this is still a crummy way for arguably the best strategic player remaining to go home. Poor Lauren, always a day late and half an idol short!

You don’t want to be late in the pool, so make sure to click on over to the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess insists on wearing her snowsuit indoors, but she promises to take it off long enough to send out the final pool challenge. Yes, it’s true, this interminably stupid season will finally come to an almost certainly unsatisfying close. Who will be the sole Survivor? Whatever you do, don’t underestimate Dr. Mike! See you next week.

Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 10 recap!

A week late and a buck short! Previously on Survivor, Mike caused chaos for no real reason. Cole was voted out. Who? It’s not important. What is important is now it’s night 24! Back at camp, Mike says that he had to spice it up a little bit, and Joe is not a fan. Chrissy says Joe and Mike are dead men walking. Mike tries to play this off as a positive, saying that now he’s in a block of two with Joe. Voting blocks were so two seasons ago! Joe sees this for what it was, a bad move, and says now they have “No alliances, no power and no idol” Ah, yes, my favorite lyrics from the 1997 Destiny’s Child hit “No, No, No.” Mike again tries to defend, saying that he needed to start playing his own game. “Everyone thinks I’m that crazy doctor!” Which crazy doctor? Doctor Strange? Doctor octopus? The Witch Doctor? I guess it’s to be expected that Mike is making the most out of his bad move. The only other option would be to say, “Ah, beans, guys, I guess I really whiffed that one!”
It’s time to slip off your socks and slide into the feet-only challenge! In this challenge, the Survivors need to build a little fortress using only their feet. The winners will get to fly around in a little plane and then chow down on cheeseburgers, which they will eat with their hands, presumably. “You never know what skills will be required on Survivor!” booms Jeff, except they’ve done this exact challenge at least twice before. Dr. Mike, Ashley, Chrissy and Lauren are all good at this. Dr. Mike wraps his toes around his flag first but then he knocks over a block and Lauren wins reward. As much fun as it would be to eat a solo cheeseburger, it turns out this is not a party of one. Lauren gets to pick not one, not two, but three people to go on reward with her. She chooses Devon, Ben and Ashley. Ryan approves of Lauren’s choices. Little does he know!
Losers! Mike is very mad. He decides to team up with Joe to bust some more jokes, just like that famous comedy duo Siskel and Ebert. I give this routine two thumbs… nah, I don’t give them two thumbs up or down, I just give them two thumbs. Mike dubs their comedy alliance “The Coconuts”, because Joe is from the Dominican Republic and Mike works with nuts. Seriously, folks, those were his words, not mine! In between guffawing at the lovable antics of #THECOCONUTS, Chrissy and Ryan decide that after Joe they’ll vote out Ben and Lauren next. You know, the two players who just conveniently happen to be on reward together. Don’t worry, Chrissy and Ryan, things always go according to plan on Survivor! Meanwhile, it’s a high-flying time at the reward. They even fly right over camp! The reward turns out to be just a corner of a beach with a picnic table, where Lauren, Devon, Ashley, and Ben chow down on burgers and beers. Lauren gets mustard on her pants but then realizes she hasn’t had a shower in over twenty days, so it’s no big deal. I wish I could have the same approach every time I get mustard on my pants which is, uh, more often than you would think! Lauren says that she brought this crew on reward not only to have fun, but also to strategize, and presents them with a pretty aggressive plan of being the final four.  Oh, man, is this where this season gets good? Lauren explains that the four of them can work together before Joe and Mike are voted out to blindside Ryan, Chrissy and JP. This is where this season gets good! Everyone at the table decides to share their secrets: Ben and Devon tell about Ryan’s idol, Lauren publicly reveals her secret vote, and Ashley is just happy to be there. Poor Ashley, never really in the loop! The four decide they need to keep Joe and Mike, even though those two are unpopular they’re technically less dangerous than Ryan, Chrissy or, uh, JP. JP! You remember JP! He’s a firefighter! He once told a story about his truck! As if this lunch couldn’t get any more momentous, Lauren moves a cheeseburger and discovers a pile of letters from home. Everyone tearfully reads the letter. Hey, I get it, sometimes after a big cheeseburger you just need to have a little cry.
The next day, Ben reads his letter alone and reminds us how his wife and family have given him strength. Before you can say “winner’s edit,” Ben is just walking along and notices a special rock. Under that rock is a map which leads to an idol. How convenient? Ben is apparently looking for “a clay pot in the middle of a hook.” He goes to the right place on the map but doesn’t know to look up, where the pot is wedged into a tree. The cameraperson keeps hilariously panning to the pot as Ben walks around clueless below. Eventually Ben does look skyward, finds the pot, and tosses off his hat in excitement. Great way to find an idol, and a terrible way to lose a hat! Even though Ben has a new alliance, he says he’s going to keep this idol a secret. He dedicates his idol to his wife, which is nice.
Immunity time! In this Immunity Challenge the Survivors need to stand on a birdhouse floating on the sea without falling over. If you’re feeling safe enough you can opt to sit out of the challenge and eat peanut butter and chocolate. Ben, Lauren, and Devon all opt to eat, again. This is another tough endurance challenge that eventually comes down to Ashley versus Dr. Mike. Mike is unable to stay standing and flops, giving Ashley a somewhat unnecessary individual immunity win. Back at camp, Ryan is confused as to why Devon, Lauren and Ben all sat out. “I’m not a Romanian gymnast!” Ryan complains, even though he is sort of built like one. Chrissy says ““This coconut alliance is driving me bananas!” which is definitely one of the top five most absurd things anyone has ever said on this show. Not since the Coconut Bandits have coconuts been such a featured topic of conversation. Lauren says that the seven alliance is “crap” and they need to think about themselves. Wow, Lauren is coming through with the practical facts and really saving this season. Budding mastermind Devon has a plan for Ben, as follows, Ben should vote for Mike, and pretend he doesn’t know about the new alliance. That way Ben can still be in with Chrissy and Ryan while actually working both sides. Ben says he needs to put his acting shoes on. I know this is a feet-heavy episode, but what are acting shows? Do you remember that episode of Inside the Actors Studio, where James Lipton was interviewing Robert DeNiro about, I don’t know, Meet The Fockers, and DeNiro said, “James, it’s all in the shoes” before clicking his heels and disappearing back to Kansas! Devon and Lauren tell Mike and Joe to vote with them, saying that it’s time to flip. Everything is coming up Mike and Joe! Now is there time! They’re definitely not going to be used again! At Tribal Council, Mike is still clinging to his “I was right to be crazy” theory, saying that he’s a doctor so they’ll have to believe him! Maybe the MD stands for “Most Deranged.” There are a lot of questions about how strong the seven are. Don’t worry, Jeff, nothing to see here! It’s time to vote, and the new alliance is victorious, voting out JP and stunning Ryan and Chrissy. It’s too bad that such an exciting episode ended with the ouster of the least exciting player this season, but at least it was something. Adios to JP, we hardly knew you. No, seriously, who were you? Why, in arguably one of the best-cast seasons of recent memory, was this corporeal ghost allowed to wander onto the set? Good luck to JP in his future as the answer to an obscure Survivor trivia question!
Back at camp, Chrissy is not happy that she was left in the dark. Joe says they’re not going to tell her what happened. “We’re Coconuts, but we’re not idiots!” he exclaims. Ah, man, I spent good money to see the Idiots! Chrissy says that being snarky is not part of the game. Being snarky is part of every game, as far as I’m concerned! Ryan is a little more congratulatory, but is now nervous that he’s on the bottom. Don’t worry, Ryan, I’m sure everything will be perfectly fine! Ben decides to give the performance of a lifetime by acting like he didn’t know about the vote. “I should get an award!” Ben says. Step aside, Gary Oldman! Daniel Day WHO? Ben tells Lauren and Ashley he’s going to get Ryan to play his idol. If there’s one bromance damaged by this vote, it’s Ryan and Devon, who have been together since THE BEGINNING OF TIME. Apparently Ryan is no longer part of the plan. What if Devon needs to take the elevator to another floor? What if he needs someone to call him a taxi? Are we living in a world without bellhops? Is this a future we deserve?
Speaking of Devon, it’s all going swimmingly! Devon says that he’s sitting, “in the best possible spot!” I mean, he’s got a front-row seat to an either an easy victory or a terrible loss, so I guess! Reward challenge! In this reward, the Survivors are competing in teams. They need to row a boat, pick up a pile of puzzle pieces and then push those pieces through a slot to assemble the show’s logo, which is conveniently, uh, right over there. There are a couple of great moments in this challenge, from Ryan being unable to lift a bag that weighs more than he does to the blue team accidentally abandoning Ben because they don’t know how rowboats work, but there’s maybe nothing better than the sight of Lauren pushing logs through a tunnel using only her chest. Alas, these two teams are unevenly divided, and despite Lauren’s best efforts, the blue team ends up winning. Joe, Devon, Ben, and Ashley are off on reward. Time for some more award-winning acting! Can’t wait to see Ben’s angry massage!
All day massages! Devon and Ashley clown around with Ben, offering their cheers to King Arthur, while he answers back, “Cheers to my disloyal knights!” Is that how the story of King Arthur worked? Wasn’t there a sword involved? Who is the Guinevere? How does the Statue of Liberty factor into all this? Ashley starts to get suspicious of how good Ben is at lying. Foreshadowing! Ashley feels like she’s finally playing Survivor, which is good, since I guess before she thought she was playing MINUTE TO WIN IT and was really confused as to where host Guy Fieri was. Back at the loser beach, Ryan is in the dumps. He wants to work with Mike, and Mike is like, “Now?” Mike says that Ryan’s offer is, “A buck late and a dollar short.” He pauses, and then adds, “Don’t look a gift horse in the hooves? A bird in the hand is worth two in the other hand? When in Rome, don’t forget to rome around?” Speaking of prickly relationships, Chrissy is trying to patch up affairs with Lauren. Lauren is -incredibly- not having it with Chrissy. This conversation happens while Lauren is… building a swing? ooh, could a bowling lane be next?
The next day, it’s barely dawn and Chrissy already not having it! Whatever happened to never not being happy? Chrissy has some rice, and says she hope she can have the last laugh, just like everyone’s favorite superhero, The Joker. Immunity time! In this Immunity Challenge, the Survivors need to wheel a wheelbarrow through a course, collect some letters and then use those letters to spell the common, everyday word INVULNERABLE. This is a huge challenge that comes down to some sloppy spelling. Lauren even ends her word with a V. How many words end with V? Devon and Chrissy seem to get it, but in true underdog editing fashion, Chrissy wins and we all get the pleasure of hearing her yell, “Invulnerable!” Please do not make that your next text message alert noise!
Back at the beach, Ben is happy there’s still three to choose from. Apparently it’s finally (finally!) time to actually vote out Joe. Devon concocts another complicated plan to tell Joe and Mike they’re using Lauren’s extra vote to tie, and they’re voting out Ben. This is sort of hard to follow, but the important part is that Devon and Ben are both set on voting out Joe. Meanwhile, Ashley and Lauren start to get suspicious of Ben. Folks, Ben could totally win! It would be a bummer to see this new alliance fall apart so fast, but maybe this isn’t a terrible idea? Ben could totally win! Ashley brings this plan to Devon, and it totally blows his mind! Nice to know that a plan concocted by Lauren and Ashley comes down to whether or not Devon wants to do it, but, you know, this show.
Tribal Council 2! Mike walks in smiling, because Mike is just happy to be here. He’s the Joey Fatone of Tribal Council. Ben continues the show, saying that he’s probably going home. Ryan and Chrissy continue to buy into it. There’s a lot of talk about the seven strong, with Mike and Joe offering a lot of insight on conversations they weren’t really involved with. Will this “five-person” alliance be stronger than the seven? Mike gives another weird analogy, saying that two different surgeons can have two different outcomes. O…K? Joe says this is the first time at Tribal that he’s felt comfortable. Those turn out to be prophetic last words, as Joe is betrayed by his new alliance and is given the boot. Even Ben can’t stop himself from leaping off of his seat in excitement. Oh, and Ryan plays his idol for himself, which ends up not amounting to much, so congratulations for that! There’s no way this fun turn of events could possibly go south… right… right?!?
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Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 10 update!

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Hello, Pool Players! Guess what? This season of Survivor got good! All it took was a little mustard on Lauren’s pants for something exciting to actually happen. Tonight’s episode was a twofer – two Reward challenges, two Immunities, two Tribal Council and, oh, let’s say one and a half Survivors voted out. There’s a lot to unpack here and I want to give it the space it deserves, so I’ll be writing a longer recap later this week. Until then, you’ll need to indulge in the mental image of Ben tossing off his own hat in excitement over finding a hidden idol. We were all Ben this episode as the majority alliance crumbled from within, revealing a new alliance of ALL THE PEOPLE I LIKE taking control. Of course this is Survivor and anything can happen, but for now it feels like we’re on a particularly solid high. Make sure to check out the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess is deciding which fancy hat to wear to the royal wedding, but she’ll drop the chapeaus long enough to send out the next bonus point opportunity. See you soon!

Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 9 recap!

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Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s the middle of Saturday afternoon and you know what that means: Survivor! It’s true, the Survivor train stops for nothing, except the occasional Thanksgiving! We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday, followed, as always, by the Sunday Hat Shamboree. Previously on Survivor, Ryan found an idol and tucked it in his shorts, while previous-idol-finder Mike voted against his former tribe-mate Joe. In the end, Desi was unceremoniously sent packing, reinforcing the dominant seven-person alliance and cutting the Healers right out of the bill. Even though Tribal Council was stuffed with excitement, it ended up being a turkey for Mike, who was told to vote against Joe and Joe didn’t even go home. Mike’s upset about having been lied to, again, and he’s starting to grow wary of the majority alliance. Lest you forget that MANY MONTHS AGO Mike found an idol, Survivor reminds us right at the top, so make sure to file that away for later. The next morning, Chrissy announces, to nobody in particular, that she’s “Happy every day!” while Lauren and Ben sneak off to discuss the advantage. Apparently none of these brainiacs -not even math-wizard Chrissy- were able to figure out that only ten votes were read at an eleven-person Tribal. Lauren tells Ben that her advantage was played perfectly, and that only Ben knows she has it. Speaking of being the only one to know something, Ryan decides to blab to Devon about finding the idol. Ryan says he needs to “keep his cards close to his vest” as he literally pulls the idol out of his drawers. If that’s the way Ryan plays cards, please don’t invite me over for a game of Go Fish!

Challenge time! In this watery Reward Challenge, the Survivors will be split up into two teams. First they need to climb a ladder (?!?) and then jump into the water, untying three buoys before unlocking a chest containing more buoys and then hurling those buoys into baskets. The first team to finish will win an afternoon on a luxury yacht, where they’ll have yachts of fun yachting around eating sandwiches and listening to Lil Yachty. The teams are pretty evenly balanced, but when it comes down to the ball tossing Joe is supreme, giving his team the W. This is despite Ben’s unorthodox strategy of throwing the ball under hand, or as Jeff Probst calls it, “granny style old-school midwest!” Step aside, John Madden, there’s a new sportscaster in town, his name is Jeff Probst and his style is free association! Mike, Joe, JP, Chrissy and Cole all get to go on reward, and Joe tells us this is a good chance for him to make moves and change the game. If you’re experiencing deja vu, it’s because Joe said this exact same line last week, when he went on reward, failed to find the idol clue, and almost got voted out. Second time’s the charm! Joe is so proudly delusional he’ll probably end up on the moon.

Yacht talk! Dolphins! As the yacht does circles in the ocean, Chrissy tells us that while her alliance isn’t on the reward, she still has the opportunity to “control the conversation.” You and I both know that if there’s one thing Chrissy enjoys more than math, it’s controlling a conversation. As everyone pigs out on wine, sandwiches, and, uh, bagels, idol-hungry Joe starts searching everywhere for a possible clue. He even lifts the cake off the plate and jokes that there’s an idol hidden underneath the boat. As much as I would have enjoyed seeing one of them fall for this, we really don’t need to have a Survivor lost at sea, although it is entirely possible that if JP jumped off the deck nobody would notice. The yacht takes a turn past camp, making sure to sound the horn to alert the TV cameras other players. Some of the losers good-naturedly go out and moon the boat, which is kind of fun. After the derriere display, Ryan and Ben have a chat because Ryan will need an in with the Heroes tribe eventually. Since Ben is apparently the most trustworthy person out there, Ryan tells him about his new hidden idol. Ryan also says that Ben is the only one who knows, which is a lie, but he thankfully does not whip out his cards this time. Back from reward, Joe keeps digging for the idol that he thinks still might be under the tribe flag. Nobody else seems to be too concerned as Joe keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole—hey, wait, is this a METAPHOR? You got me, show! You got me good! Joe reminds us that he’s not here to make friends and decides AGAIN to “stir the pot” by acting like a jerk to Ashley and Chrissy. Ashley takes the bait, but she also tells us this only makes her want to vote Joe out more. The scene ends with a pretty decent, “Joe, shut up!” from Ashley, a phrase Ashley probably wishes she had in one of those Staples “That was easy” buttons.

World’s Most Trustworthy Dude Ben is now meeting with Devon as they hike up the hill of friendship and loyalty. Ben, not satisfied with his alliances with Chrissy, Lauren, and Ryan, decides he also needs Devon in the mix. For some reason Ben throws all of his trust in Devon, and tells him about Ryan’s idol. We know that Devon knows this, but Ben doesn’t know that Devon knows, and Devon doesn’t want to let on that he knows. I can’t really tell from Devon’s wide-eyed “WOW!” expressions, but he’s either a terrible or an excellent liar. Devon tells us that it might be time to move on from Ryan since he lied about the idol, and also because he keeps creepily asking if anyone wants to play “pinochle.” Don’t blink because it’s time for the Immunity Challenge in a, “all-new Survivor torture device.” This one has the Survivors squatting with their shoulders carrying the weight of an urn over a fire. If they squat too low or stand too tall, their urn will drop and they’ll be out of the challenge. While it’s sort of fun to see everyone do a round of downhill skiing charades, this challenge is actually kind of painful to watch since who wants to squat that long. Turns out that Cole, Lauren, Ryan and Chrissy are the last Survivors squatting, and after Ryan and Chrissy squat out it’s down to the unlikely duo of Cole and Lauren. After some tense stretching, and some particularly over-the-top music cues, Cole drops and Lauren wins her first individual immunity. Congrats to Lauren, who squatted to the top without a flop or a drop!

Normally this would be scrambling time, but Ben has already decided that the votes will be split four for Cole and three for Dr. Mike. Ben doesn’t really bring this plan up for discussion so much as he announces it from the mountaintop, declaring everyone should follow. Ashley, of “shut up, Joe” fame, really wants Joe out, but Ben won’t listen to her. She takes her plan instead to Ryan, Chrissy, Devon and Lauren, who if you’re keeping count, are all members of Ben’s core alliance. Whoops! Even though this seems like a bad idea, Chrissy sort of runs with it, since there’s a concern that if an idol is played at this Tribal Council, Joe might have a chance to find it before the next Tribal Council. Down-on-his-luck Mike asks Ben what’s going to happen, and Ben flat-out tells him Cole is going home. Since Mike has been lied to this entire game he takes this opportunity to not believe the truth, and vows to play his idol at Tribal Council. You may think this is Dr. Mike rising to the occasion, but he’s sloppy at the actual Tribal Council, where he does some Joe-level stuff-stirring for no apparent good reason. Yes, it’s annoying that the seven in power don’t show any signs of breaking, but Mike at one point rolls with a sentence that starts with Ben being King Arthur and ends with Mike being, uh, the Statue of Liberty. I think Mike implies that King Arthur attempted to conquer America, which is a good reminder that he’s a doctor of science and not a doctor of letters. As Mike and Joe clown around, Cole starts to seem like smaller and smaller of a target, that is, until it’s time to vote. Mike plays his idol for himself, but it’s flushed away as Cole is voted out exactly as planned. Adios to Cole and also, by proxy, all of the peanut butter in the Fijian islands!

Speaking of being creamed, spread your way over to the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess is now answering the phone with an enthusiastic “Gobble gobble!” but she’ll stop gobbling long enough to send out the next weekly challenge. Next time on Survivor: could there be a splinter in the seven strong? (Maybe). Do Dr. Mike and Joe have a chance? (No). Will JP speak?!? (Probably not). See you there!

Heroes vs. Hustlers vs. Healers episode 8 recap!

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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!