Survivor Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers Episodes 10 & 11 Liveblog: “Buy One, Get One Free”

Follow us on Twitter and Storify below for the tenth and eleventh episodes of Survivor: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers!

Matt
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Matt

Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
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813 thoughts on “Survivor Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers Episodes 10 & 11 Liveblog: “Buy One, Get One Free”

  1. For as much as Mike talks about how he constantly practiced challenges after being cast, do we think that he was working on his foot dexterity?

    1. He did say “This was my challenge to win.” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he practiced this exact challenge in his backyard.

  2. We’re all calling this the foot fetish level, but, dear god, these people’s feet are gross by this point.

  3. Ryan loses the challenge and kicks over the puzzle … just like winner Michele kicked her challenge! Winner’s edit?

  4. Lauren is turning into a challenge beast and is planning the first Big Move™ of the season. Looks like OWL.

    OWL.

    OWL.

    *my eyes roll back and go black*

    OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL. OWL.

    1. Every time someone says “the seven” I think it’s a Game of Thrones Reference. Do the minorities believe in the Lord of Light?

  5. This episode wants us to believe SO FUCKING HARD that something will happen to disrupt the majority 7. Which makes me think it won’t….

  6. Chrissy and ryan say it’s 100% that the 7 will stick together to 7 … which means one of the 7 is going home tonight.

  7. Ben lol

    “Im sick of being called King Arthur” and then five seconds later “Im sick of keeping everyone in line”

      1. Right now, i feel like maybe Lauren is our second boot? Devon’s confessional could easily be the seeds of ‘gotta get rid of Lauren, she’s too good’

        and just when I was thinking, eh, maybe I like Lauren…

    1. I have said it since the pre-merge that she has had good content throughout. A lot of people said she was just getting confessionals complaining about people but she got strategic confessionals in pre-merge even after the Patrick boot episode. She is winning!

    1. No, a production assistant would have shouted off camera “HEY, I WONDER WHAT’S UNDER THOSE BUNS”

  8. I know I’ve been teaching Kindergarten, because I was able to read that letter from Ben’s son way too easily.

  9. so jaded on survivor edit. I know when they show someone searching for an idol, it means they find an idol

  10. As good as that would taste, aren’t there better incentives for an Eat or Compete? It’s all sugar (and some protein I guess).

    1. I don’t think Lauren would have won it so it makes sense for her to sit out. I think Devon probably would have won giving his surfing background, though.

      1. Counterpoint: Lauren makes her living on a boat, so she potentially has a leg up on other people.

        1. True. I’m not sure her body type is helpful for this type of challenge. Probably better to eat and let the others play. Especially if you have no preference for who wins.

      2. I feel like Devon is making effort to hide himself as a physical threat, so sitting out may make sense from that angle (without JP though, he’s kind of got nowhere left to hide)

          1. Lauren could win every immunity from here to eternity and people would STILL consider Devon a bigger challenge threat because of….reasons

  11. Isn’t it also a bit much that three of the four people who went on the reward decide to sit out? Way to not signal your sub-alliance guys.

  12. If I’m eating that peanut butter, I’m digging through it for a clue, the way this season is going.

    1. I don’t think they’d give an extra reward for choosing to sit out a challenge. Maybe for an endurance challenge that would be the incentive, like with Stephen and the vote steal in Cambodia.

  13. I’m surprised more players don’t try that challenge sideways like Dr. Mike did. Seems like it would be easier than putting one foot right behind the other.

  14. This is either very good or very stupid. But even thinking of that elevates Devon from Fabio-status.

  15. Wait, Lady Liberty has become the court jester, and then become Merlin? This America vs England analogy makes no sense.

  16. If they cut to commercial right before Tribal, I’m speculating it’ll be a long segment. So something crazy is about to shake up this plan.

  17. Now Lauren says the 4th of July is happening tonight. Since when do English knights celebrate an American holiday?

  18. I still feel like it’s going to be JP and it upsets me. I want JP to lose because he’s dumb and dull, not because the other players are…

  19. Y’all, we have to watch an entire second episode of these people being terrible at Survivor tonight.

    1. Lol, just realized that when they were finally going to pull off a legit vote split, they decided to attempt a blindside. We ain’t getting a proper vote split in this season…

      1. Random thought: would you blindside with a vote split? Ryan has the idol. Ryan and JP are voting for Mike and Chrissy is voting Joe. Do you split 3-2 to be safe?

        1. Like sky said, if you have confidence in your blindside, you have to believe Ryan won’t know and won’t play it. That all being said, I sitll think it’s JP…

  20. Lauren: “JP’s a huge threat. He might not be good at balancing, but he’s good at everything else.” Besides maybe having a personality. And everything else that doesn’t have to do with being ridiculously good looking.

  21. This is the way that JP was always meant to get voted out of this game. And nothing of value was lost.

        1. But we didn’t have JP. He was barely in the show, now he just actually isn’t, and production has to find an entire Ponderosa out of that guy….

  22. So now you have spooked Ryan running around with an idol instead of getting rid of him while he suspects nothing. Nice job, secret alliance.

    1. I like it though. Something different and actually interesting in a season of things that mostly haven’t been.

  23. I’m as frustrated by targeting JP and leaving Chrissy and Ryan in the game as i am overjoyed at watching Chrissy and Ryan nearly shit themselves on TV after 27 days of “I”m the best fucking thing out here”

    1. This episode guaranteed their return to me. they are the only guys having fun out there. it’s a joy to watch.

    1. Because he’s not good at balancing but he is good at lots of other things that don’t involve being interesting.

  24. JP saying a grand total of one thing in his boot episode and not getting final words is about as on-brand JP as you could get. Well done, Survivor.

      1. Usually in double episodes they do final words and then the other ep. I have a feeling he won’t get any words. At least he is used to it

  25. Oh man. I wonder which team will win . I guess if Dr. Mike makes it to the puzzle his team has a chance … *if* his team makes it to the puzzle.

  26. If you take the “And” of your “Key Lime and Pecan Pie” then you get a very different and less exciting reward…

      1. I regularly use my boobs to close doors/cabinets/etc. There’s a lot of fat there, so it doesn’t hurt if you push with them strategically.

        1. Ha, I met friends at the weekend in a low-cut shirt (on a freezing day) and they were all ‘isn’t your cleavage cold?’. No, it’s pretty well insulated…

  27. So, are Devon and Lauren now FTC favorites? This season has been such a wild and crazy ride, except not wild, or crazy. It’s been a ride.

  28. Antagonizing Ryan and putting him into a corner when you know he has an idol…great move as ever by master strategist Mike.

      1. You’re right, but why not just say “yeah sure why not” and then dump him? I guess it could be a jury management thing, but I thought in general it’s better to say yes and not set up the rivalry. I could be totally wrong though.

  29. It seems like MAYBE by this point in the game you shouldn’t have anyone to whom you have to say “I know we’ve never talked strategy before but…”

  30. I’m having a hard time focusing on this episode, Bitcoin is at $10k and I didn’t buy any 1 YEAR AGO WHEN IT WAS 700! This may destroy my brain

  31. Devon has his pieces lying down on the thingamajig – why does Ben have his stacked vertically? Seems more difficult.

  32. It doesn’t matter how physically tough the first 5/6 of the challenge is – it all comes down to the puzzle.

    1. Yeah. As soon as he said ‘solve a word puzzle’ i was like so none of this wheelbarrow shit matters at all? Great, i’m gonna make another drink..

      1. I can’t believe these people can’t work around basic Wheel of Fortune rules. Use the weird letter first! Figure out where the V is going!

        1. Is it better to spell out the letters on the ground first instead of putting them in their slots randomly?

          1. I vote yes. Quicker to manipulate, harder for others to see. (Also, “-able” is a pretty good suffix to pull out to start with in lieu of an -ing or -ed.)

          2. My guess is that they’re not allowed to. It wasn’t spelled out to us, but I bet it is to them. For TV purposes.

  33. This seems early to have the immunity challenge over. This is the problem with watching the episode live.

      1. The generous reading of his complaint is that they’re too old to be surfers. (It’s still ridiculous.)

        1. They are not just surfers. Ashely is also a lifeguard. He was definitely playing up the dumb surfer bro dude thing with that comment. So satisfying to see him blindsided.

      1. I think it’s a bad move to eliminate one of your core alliance members before your alliance has the numbers. They can get him out at the next tribal.

          1. Hey, I’m saying this as someone who needs Ben out if she has any chance of winning Champion’s League!

    1. Agree, It would have been a massive overplay to take out Ben now. The trio would have handed too much power to the healer 2.

  34. What if Ben gets voted out just before he gets to drop his spy act? And Joe outlasts him? That would be the worst for Ben.

  35. Bet none of you got the Chicagoland commercial for Uncle Julio’s Chocolate Pinata desert, where they give you a bat to break open a pinata made of chocolate and filled with deserts onto a platter covered in fudge! BE JEALOUS

  36. Ben said “last week” talking about the previous tribal. Jeff should have told him “These 2 episodes will be shown on the same night – just say ‘an hour ago.”

    1. How else do we get to the unanimous spouse-swapping society he so stridently envisions being out there, mocking him in the moments between all of its sexual liaisons?

  37. Okay, this season, but instead of Ben, you have Ozzy trying to pull off this lie.
    Instantly a top 10 season. Basically.

    1. Yeah. In addition, if she had said that in a confessional, or with just an ounce of lightheartedness, it would have been a hit, but instead, it just come across as snarky.

      Like, imagine Cirie giving that line in a confessional and then giggling? That would be a joy, but Chrissy can’t pull that off.

      1. She pulled it off for me, I loved it! She said it in such a wonderfully passive aggressive way. Good villain.

        1. I agree. I don’t really care if she had no clue how the vote went, I thought it was the most hilarious comment of the night. He totally deserved it and I loved the snarky deadpan 10/10 very good.

    2. Tyson, pulled that off, but Tyson was a funny asshole. I think Chrissy may only have half of those traits.

    3. It is clear she has no social game. Her comment to Lauren about discussing strategy with her for the first time ever (!!!) was telling. No matter your strategic prowess, that is a very poor survivor player. I mean forget about trying to maintain relationships with those with the other alliance (which she should also definitely do), she has not even done it within her own alliance. Even if she had gotten to control the game her way with JP, Ryan and Ashley/Ben as her core alliance – I don’t think she would have gotten the votes at the end.

    4. I think Chrissy is in the Hantz bubble: she genuinely just thinks the jury will reward her clearly superior gameplay if she makes it to the end, no matter how much they hate her.

  38. Well, I came into tonight expecting a Pagonging, and we actually got some of the most interesting* gameplay of the season.

    *the bar is low

    1. Lol, yeah. I was going to say “This week was definitely a step up from the rest of the season” but it isn’t hard to step up from “already being talked about as a bottom-ranked season”

      1. Fuck it I’ll defend it. This was interesting gameplay for any season. Think about what Lauren and Devon did. They gameplanned a strategy for four people to take control of the game with 9 left and they did it without using any idols or other advantages, they just faked it. That is good gameplay and it is interesting gameplay

        1. I actually agree. They’ve successfully used a double agent through TWO tribals, which is incredibly impressive, in no small part due to Ben’s excellent lying.

          1. And Ben’s acting provided the key character moments to make what they were doing interesting strategically

          2. I’m still shocked Devon came out with the plan, but you have got to admire the implementation, it was almost a Falstaffian two-part tragedy in how easily someone so competent as Crissy was blindsided.

        2. Based *solely* on these two episodes, too, they seem to have a good sense for the proper balance between tricky, stunty things (Ben’s facade, not sharing all their intel with Joe and Mike) and too many double-crosses. I was really worried that the exhilaration of pulling off the JP vote was going to push them to do too much in the second vote, particularly once Chrissy was immune.

        3. I wasn’t really arguing that the gameplay itself was terrible, rather that I didn’t think either of these were amazing episodes of Survivor. Probably the two best of this season, but not a high level for the show overall in my opinion, and it’s certainly easy to be better then the rest of this season thus far. While I don’t agree with JP over Chrissy, I won’t argue the strategy was bad, and tonight was definitely entertaining.

        4. It really affects my Fantasy Four with Ryan, Ben and JP, but it was fun, roller coaster of a double episode. Not gonna get me in the Top 20 episode, but memorable playing nonetheless!

        5. I agree but IMO if they got rid of Ryan and his idol instead of JP, it would be an all time great move given they also had this side plan of Ben playing double agent.

        6. I think I realized that faking it is the most enjoyable strategy for me to watch on Survivor. Really had a lot of fun with these two episodes.

        7. God damn right. It was a LITTLE messy (I don’t care what anyone says, RYAN was the right vote in the first episode, that was riskier than it needed to be) but they pulled it off. Ben, Devon, and LAUREN MY GOD did extremely well.

          This is why I watch Survivor. Unlikely people forced to work together, learning to play the game together, and actually innovating. The second vote was a thing of beauty, so well executed. Double Agent Ben was fantastic, I can’t remember ever seeing anything like that before.

          If the rest of this season sucks as bad as the beginning did so be it, but that was an excellent two hours of Survivor.

          1. if the rest sucks then I’ll just look back at this episode like I look at “It’s a Turtle” a terrific episode on a sucky season

    2. I see it as, at least these people aren’t outwardly horrible people on the show. Super mediocre, but not awful.

  39. When people keep saying “this person is so dangerous” and then they keep leaving him in. If Ben wins this season, ugh.

        1. How are you defining ‘best’? Imo, “It’s a fucking stick” will always be the best fake.

          1. Rupert’s rock required minimum effort (he put a rock in his pocket) and it worked without him having to tell or show it to anyone – they were going to vote for him, but changed their mind. Hard to beat that.

            If you’re judging “best” by entertainment standards, then “fucking stick” wins.

  40. -Lol Chrissy and Ryan targeted Ashley, they’re going to try to vote out the island’s females until the bitter end.

  41. I can understand narratively why this was the double episode instead of Cole/JP’s boots. But my overall reaction to tonight was: “This was a nice change of pace.” *shrugs*

    1. Straight up two good episodes. Man I am going to be repeating myself a lot along these lines in the comments i feel

      1. I recognize that it was objectively good, but it didn’t actually get to the point of feeling that.

        1. once Ben started laying on the acting thick i was totally hooked. That is the kinda of character cherry I need on a strategy sundae

          1. I like that Ben’s acting was objectively terrible, and yet still good enough to hoodwink his “allies”.

            The power of creating a lie that actually makes sense. Unlike, say, the nonsense Ben was telling Mike a couple years ago. All hail actually-good-at-this Devon!

        2. I’m kind of with you here. I’m still not attached to these characters, besides kind of Devon, so I was able to enjoy these episodes from a “hey this is fun and kind of good play” perspective but not with the attachment that really gets me into episodes/moves/blindsides

          1. My two remaining Pick-4 players are Ben and Devon, so I am highly invested in episodes where they do well, despite the fact that there is literally no prize whatsoever for salvaging a mediocre pick-4 into an average one.

            What I’m saying is I’m starting to understand why people gamble.

          2. I have JP on pick 4 and was kind of sad when he got voted out, at which point I was surprised to discover I had any emotional attachment to him. So I’m right there with you

      1. No, but he did in Cambodia. So I guess technically he was voted out without medical attention, but he ended his Survivor run with medical attention

  42. Finally, a good episode. I think they should have taken out Ryan, but they navigated the fallout well. It’s weird, I could probably see any of these seven winning.

      1. I think they recognize that they need to ax one of Chrissy, Ryan, and Mike before they even risk cutting Ben loose. But that won’t stop them from getting Ben spooked.

        1. That why I said manage Ben to make sure he doesn’t get spooked. I think Chrissy and Ryan can manage to convince Ben to work with them if he get spooked enough.

    1. They were really good for two episodes, but Ben & Chrissy & Ryan have been good for nearly all of the other episodes. My jury is still out, but it’s hard for me to imagine a world where Devon and Ashley somehow manage to outsmart all three of them. I mean kudos if they can, but can they? I dunno.

          1. Like a fool, I switched her out at the last minute with the player I found to be the most attractive (Ali). I literally do this every season I’ve played and have yet to learn from my errors. Prom King, think with your head next time, not with your um heart.

            All I have left is Ben. Go, King Arthur, go! Get that grail!

  43. So, these two episodes were a big plus for Lauren: she puts a crack squad together, allows Devon to come up with a complex, but not convoluted (looking at you, Mike) plan, and they execute two votes in a row, breaking up the JP-Chrissy-Ryan trio and then getting Joe out of the way while also flushing out Ryan’s idol.
    Now, could they have taken Ryan out instead of JP and not had to worry about the idol? Yes. So, um…yeah. Moving on!
    I mean, ultimately it worked out for them anyway, but way to have to put extra effort into making sure that worked.
    These episodes went a long way toward making the rest of the season feel like it could be worth watching. I’ll take it.

    1. Taking out JP instead of Ryan was a definite mistake, but honestly the sleeper agent was a good counter to it because then you could know where the idol was going. Shouldn’t take that risk, but decent mitigation considering

      1. Yes, it was a good option to call once they apparently set their minds to JP. So good on Devon for that plan. And good on Ben for his performance.

      2. I guess JP, as the least objectionable of them, had the best chance of working his way back in (/being picked up as someone’s pocket vote), alongside his status as a challenge threat?

        I’d still rather Ryan had gone home, but if you want to make sure Joe and Mike aren’t going to go rogue on you, denying them JP as an option isn’t the WORST move, maybe.

    2. So Devon’s the mastermind, Lauren’s the muscle, Ben’s the mole, and Ashley’s … the getaway driver?

    3. Could they have taken Ryan out instead of JP? Yes.
      Would the second episode have been as enjoyable if JP had been the one scrambling? (What does a JP scramble even look like?) Probably not.

    4. I think I would have gotten rid of Ryan too. But an idol is only a threat to be used once a challenge threat could win any time. Also there isn’t much to go on but I have to think JP is more likable than Ryan as well so possibly a bigger threat in FTC and possibly latching onto a new alliance. But maybe I just find him annoying.

  44. I can’t be around here tonight but I had to laugh at John not being in contention in the Outcast league anymore. Guess you have to mention others now.

    1. He lost both of his players in one fell swoop. @SNPalsy:disqus is going to be ragging on him for days.

      1. I already called out sick for tomorrow and cracked open a new Moleskine in anticipation of a glorious Thursday!

    1. Actually, we all can be reasonably sure they probably were something like, “I needed to do a better job in all three facets of the game. You know, offense, defense, special teams, all could’ve had some improvement. I’m on to All-Stars.”

    2. I played as hard as I could, but they really brought it. There were some tough calls that I didn’t agree with, but that is par for the course. I will try to do better next time.

      1. I really left it all on the field out there. That’s just the type of competitor that I am. Unfortunately, today just wasn’t my day. Those guys played a heck of a game and they deserve all the credit.

        1. In the Magnificent Seven, Steve McQueen only has like 7 lines. That is 7 more lines than JP had this season

          1. McQueen gives a lot more knowing looks and nods and finger signs than he has lines. It might actually be only seven lines. They’re just all awsome.

          2. Stephen King repeatedly misquoting that line in The Dark Tower books pisses me off more than anything else in the whole series.

          3. oh we will get into this, Steve McQueen very, very rarely speaks, but he hogs the camera with looks and nods as Palsy says. Magnificent Seven is one of my favorite westerns

      1. Would this be the first Ponderosa video where the majority of the talking scenes are from the other jurors?

    3. I would have liked it it had just cut into him already talking and all it showed was him saying “… and things like that.”

    4. “I had a splendid time on Survivor, my darlings. To me, this experience directly explored the parallels of human biology and social psychology, as I first explored when I was writing my fourth novel, “Influencing Your Peers: The Paradox of Decision Making,” which ended up winning me my second Caldecott Medal. I am utterly humbled to have had this opportunity to analyze the personal relationships and bonds that were created on this island, and I fully intend to use my newly gathered knowledge in my future scientific research endeavors to continue to make the world a better, more well-informed habitat for me and my fellow human beings. I vow to dedicate the next 6 years of my life to continue my efforts in uncovering the cure for cancer, as well as finishing up the construction of my time machine. As I always say, ‘Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise.’ ”

      -JP’s Final Words, probably

  45. If I was ever on Survivor and played an idol, I would be sure to tell Jeff “I don’t know if I need to play this tonight, but better safe than sorry.” I’d never say something confident like “I know I’m the target, and I’m not going home tonight” because 99% of the time I wouldn’t get the most votes and look like an idiot for wasting my idol.

      1. Agreed, but if you play it and act like “Oh, you thought you were gonna vote me out tonight? Well, howdoyoulikemenow?” you looks foolish in front of the other players, the jury, and the viewers.

    1. Agree. At this point I couldn’t help but play to the cameras if I were on the show if in just trying to avoid saying anything that would make me look extra stupid.

      1. I’ve often said that if I was on the show, every one of my confessionals would be peppered with “I have no idea what is going on”, “I am not in control of anything”, etc. So any success I had would appear to be a happy accident, and if I was blindsided I would not look like a cocky tool.

    2. I would just go with my mom’s favorite kind of logic: if I hadn’t played it, they all would have voted for me.

  46. so I’m listening to RHAP and he said he would only be speaking with Joe because JP has limited availability. lol I think limited words is the right answer.

    1. I’m really wondering if CBS pulled this double episode just so that they wouldn’t have to haul Mute (but Hawt!) JP around SocialMediaVille. Joe will certainly make up for the dead spots!

        1. Yeah, JP will be answering three questions for you only, via email, and they’re all going to be checked by CBS beforehand. That’s if they’re not straight-up writing them for him.

    1. I saw that too. And wondered why someone would go no carb/glutton free even on survivor. On the other hand I have a limited amount of stomach space and I’d rather use it on meat and stuff than bread.

    2. We saw her eat that after we saw her eat a normal chesseburger with a bun. Maybe she just didn’t have room for more bread?

    3. Those buns looked way too fluffy for how thin the burgers were. I was thinking I would have at least done open faced burgers myself.

  47. Much better Survivor play tonight! Does anyone think that these last few episodes can drag this season out of the bottom tier? Does anyone think it still has time to become top tier?

    1. No way it can get to top tier, but it can be a solid B season if what we saw tonight keeps up through to FTC.

    2. Maybe and depends on what you mean by ‘bottom tier’. Not a top tier season and no chance of it. A top tier season is at least enjoyable basically every episode. Clearly failed on that. Even a season recent like SJDS which I really enjoyed the end game of and had at least on really good pre-merge episode. I don’t think this season can reach that level and that season is firmly bottom half for me.

    3. I’m not an expert season ranker, but I also don’t think that it can still get to top tier. I’m fully satisfied with the double episode and where it leaves things for the next week, though.
      Ben as double agent being in danger of being double crossed, but having an idol, that no one knows about, to defend himself should he get a hunch that anything is amiss, is really good stuff.
      And then there are Chrissy and Ryan, who were played for 2 full episodes and still are not any wiser about what’ is happening around them (ok, I feel a little bad for Chrissy (and JP – he didn’t deserve to be blindsided, poor Mr. Peanutbutter) and she also gave Ben a long look after the second vote, so she may have started to realize sth. is up right there).
      Dr.Mike giving it everything he got (including statements about his standing in the game, that he will surely regret looking back), but still not getting any traction is tragic, but also keeps me interested, as does the surprisingly ambitious and competent play of the foot fetish four (that’s what we call them, right?).

      1. It didn’t help that Ben started cheering when Joe got voted out. Yes, he could have played it off as he was excited that someone from the other side was voted off, but it was still a little too much because Chrissy and Ryan voted for Ashley.

        1. I thought that reaction fitted both, his true emotions and his play-acting. But he should have voted Ashley if he wanted to keep the cover up, so I guess they’re not really interested in keeping that ruse going. Still could try to explain it as a last minute tip of doubtful reliability that had him change his vote to Joe, though (because why not, if he’s possibly an option – that’s not betraying C+R).

          1. But if Ben votes Ashley, it’s a 3-3-2 tie.

            The subterfuge paid off- letting them win a vote at 8 with only four people in on it, while saving the extra vote. But this was the time to let it go.

      2. I’d upvote you for the parentheses within the parentheses alone, but I also agree with everything you’ve said. Well said!

      3. For me this season is Vanuatu-ing all over the place – which is kind of the ceiling. I mean I think Vanuatu is a borderline top 10 season but that’s because the last 4 episodes of the season were absolutely killer. So I think if this season continues to kill it like it did last night, it can get almost there.

        In other words, it can’t reach top tier but top half to top third is still in reach if it’s amazing (like one of the best stretches in the history of the show) from this point on.

    4. I think the last few episodes have to be pretty weak to leave it in the bottom tier. It’s pretty average for me now. Top tier? Unlikely, but it could come close to the top 10 with a really great endgame.

    5. I think the 2 episodes were good. If it has a strong finish now and has a good winner in someone like Lauren, then I can see it being top of the bottom third in seasons ranking. Basically above likes of South Pacific, Game Changers, Fiji.

    6. Early eps were relatively boring. Last week, Mike made a bad decision, I’d say, but not anything worth moaning about too much, there are bound to be less than perfect moments, players don’t know everything and getting it a bit wrong can lead to a big miscalculation. He’s not the first, I just think 8t stood out maybe as the first interesting thing for a lot of viewers.

      Anyhow, these two eps tonight amounted to one of the best nights of Survivor I have seen in ages. Lauren was great, strong strategically and challenge wise, and of unimpeachable character, and not in any apparent danger at all. Ben, wow, what a dramatic turn towards a doomful slope now following a pristine performance as a spy—I’ve never seen better on the show in that regard; and so kudos to Devon for that! And for a good game in general by Devon. I want to say that Ashley is super attractive at whatever week this is, but can she pull Devon or enough others away from Ben? Or is Devon happy to let Ben go, now that his spy plan is done…

      Anyhow, I’m excited to see Ben scrambling against odds, a possible extended James Bond storyline in this suddenly rich season!

    7. I think the best it can do is bring itself back to replacement level Survivor around Panama if the end game is interesting

    8. I had been saying HHH’s upside is SJDS on the assumption that Probst was being truthful when he said it has an exciting finish. In the predictions post comments yesterday I started wondering if HHH could turn into Gabon 2. I’m happy to say the SJDS scenario is a lot more likely now. So somewhat below average but well out of the bottom tier, maybe 16th-20th? But a lot is riding on how it ends.

  48. I still remained enraged at the strategic incompetence of this group- with the exception of Devon, who always has been and always will be my favorite.

    But at least we got two decent episodes, even if I was angered by the decision making.

        1. Well that sucks. Can we do another poll about theme songs then? I feel like Diff’rent Strokes is a Tyson win waiting to happen. Third time’s the charm!

  49. Don’t know if this has been posted here yet, but on KIA Rob announced that he would only have an exit interview with one of the two people voted off tomorrow … don’t worry, Joe will be on the exit interview. Apparently CBS says JP has “limited availability” and Rob can only email him 3 questions. So we won’t get 15 minutes of Rob asking JP questions and trying to get anything out of him besides “and things like that”.

      1. Rob really did say this. Also, when he said that CBS told him that JP had “limited availability”, Stephen asked “limited verbal availability?”

    1. I don’t think any of us saw the “Devon is hot Richard Hatch!” pitch coming before tonight, but sure, I can see it.

      I could also see Lauren giving good Sue Hawk speech, if it comes to that.

        1. I’m glad! At least for now. It has been many seasons since the Q&A was an actual Q&A. Final tribal councils have been annoying to me for years, thanks to people like Spencer.

        2. The open forum format still allows for jury members to make speeches. They just have to worry about other jurors immediately responding to what they said.

  50. Well, that was a lot of fun. Stuff happened, strategically interesting stuff to boot, and it was the kind of stuff (secret agent Ben! Telling Chrissy and Ryan to go away! Cutting the total dead weight of JP!) that is also appealing TV.

    I’m not sure what this means for the ranking of this season. But I know I’m very excited for next week.

  51. I quickly glanced through the Dalton Ross Probst interview for this week and Dalton asks Probst about looking at his feet during challenges (which I feel like pops up once a season in the Q and A session) instead of the JP boot. I would have loved to hear Probst’s thoughts about that.

  52. But… but… that personality full of Abs?!?!? We never got to hear his scintillating goodbye speech full of Abs?!?!?! #OneNote

  53. Honestly, if I were on the bottom, and peanut butter and chocolate was the alternative to playing for immunity, AND I know how bad my balance is (it will not be my forte whenever I finally get on this show, I promise you), I really really don’t know what I would do. That’s some dark night of the soul stuff there.

    Go home… or peanut butter and chocolate…. ??? That’s just Shakespearean to me!

  54. Loved your blog @PurpleRockMatt!

    Also, before I read comments, as one of the few who has been a big Lauren fan since about the 2nd episode, I am feeling very vindicated! She is pragmatic, a challenge beast, and willing to do what it takes to win–plus she doesn’t put up with fake-ass non-women aligning players like Chrissy. YAY!

    1. You should definitely feel vindicated! She really came through this episode. It was actually the first episode where I’ve enjoyed her, and I really really really enjoyed her. It probably helped that I realized she has a similar personality to most of my closest friends.

      1. She totally has the personality of the people I like best in the world. It’s a pity I didn’t recognize it from her pre-show stuff. Like most, I was convinced she’d be one of the 1st gone…then she dealt with Patrick, and I adored her!

        1. I wish I had more people like Patrick in my life, I’d laugh a lot more instead of just smirking! Not that I am down on my Laurens of course.

          1. Your admiration for Patrick is mystifying to me. He made me crazy in that 1st episode. So much so that I immediately bumped him from my team.

          2. People like Patrick are like the light of day to me; their goofy light-heartedness is refreshing and invigorating. I love their outlooks. But I’m more of a night person and tend to gravitate towards darker, less yay-positive type personalities.

          3. Err, I like good-hearted and fun, but Patrick came off as obnoxiously unaware of how his behavior affected others which I can not stand. Sorry, we really saw him differently.

        2. I think her extremely straightforward personality, combined with a deadpan sense of humor is hard to translate on screen.

      1. I am the same with Devon. I disparaged him last week but he showed good strategic chops this episode, other than the JP boot decision. A lesser player would also have stuck with Ryan. He would also be a decent winner for me at this stage.

      2. I am too. When I saw the cast, I had her pegged as her tribes first boot. She is this seasons Sue Hawk-Archetype (tough-as-nails older woman working in a predominantly male industry) and those women rarely make it far in the game. I also thought there was a good chance that if she went far, she would be the Denise WSAL (blindly loyal and easily disposable).

        She has demonstrated true agency,which is something I value in a player (that is why people who say inert Michele is a better winner than trying-and-failing ADAM are wrong) and has taken utilized every piece of information and advantage she has gotten. Good for her and I am really happy to be wrong!

    2. She beasted that 2nd reward challenge! She was carrying her whole team! I like Lauren and would be happy if she won, but I definitely tip my hat to you for seeing her potential early 🙂

      1. On that front, I loved the moment of Chrissy talking about how the challenge was FUN, and Lauren *who did all the work* looking at her with contempt.

      2. During the boat part it seemed like Dr. Mike was doing most of the work, after Ryan tried to lift that first bag of logs and couldn’t do it, Dr. Mike was lifting all (?) of them. But once they got to the beach, it was Lauren beasting the challenge.

          1. I was actually thinking “I wonder if those bags weight more than Ryan does when Jeff said exactly that.

      3. Thank you, thank you! I am more than a little pleased myself. I hope she continues to defy expectations.

  55. So, for the points, since Ben purposely voted Mike, even though he knew it would be JP, does that count as a point in his favor? #HopefulButReallyJustDesperate

  56. Wanted to save this for the podcast, but I know that there’s no way that someone else won’t beat me to the punch (in fact, I haven’t read comments yet, so someone may already have).

    Here’s why you go JP over Ryan:
    -First, the new alliance has the perfect balance of two former Heroes and two former Hustlers. But, there were two OTHER former Heroes left (Chrissy, JP) to only one former Hustler (Ryan). Getting rid of JP keeps that balance intact, thereby potentially eliminating any potential paranoia for Devon and Lauren.
    -Second, the ONLY threat posed by Ryan is his idol. That’s it. He’s not going to disrupt plans by winning immunity. He and Chrissy are clearly not liked by anyone in the game, and thus are less likely to bust up the new alliance or work with Mike and Joe. JP could win a challenge or be used by people within the 4 to turn on the other 2 (like, say, Ashley). There’s plenty of ways to beat an idol you know about. Like… doing what they did.

    1. That’s a decent defence but then why not target Chrissy over JP? I guess they deemed latter more likely to win the immunity. I still think getting rid of Ryan was the better move, idol can be worked around but you never know what a crazy move someone can pull off with a single idol as well. I think Devon was close enough with Ashely at least to not have paranoia about mismatch between Heroes’ and Hustlers’ numbers.

      1. That’s the questionable element because we have already started to see the transition from purely endurance ICs to ICs that end with puzzles which is something that Chrissy is good at. JP is simply average on challenges.

        1. 4 women have won immunity challenges out of 5 this season. Worrying about JP as a big immunity threat has little basis IMO.

      2. Yeah, Chrissy over JP was my main argument. In reviewing her reasons for each, Lauren has to caveat JP being good at challenges by noting he’s bad at balancing. If you can’t cleanly say ‘he’s good at challenges’ then maybe you shouldn’t be too worried. Further, in the event that JP does win a challenge, you have plenty of targets, as shown in the second episode.

        If i’m taking a shot to blindside someone, i’m taking out the person i’m most threatened by, and I think Chrissy is far more threatening and dangerous to still have in the game then JP.

      3. I think Devon has two solid reasons to want to cut JP over Chrissy.

        1. Chrissy is more likely to win challenges than JP, but JP is more likely to steal a challenge win from Devon. There’s an advantage to being the only young buff guy.

        2. JP is the easiest person in the world for his current allies to use to blindside Devon. He’s a natural pawn, and a pawn that seems to be closer to Ashley/Ben than to Devon. Chrissy….Chrissy has a brain and clearly wants to have her own thing going. Ben and Ashley are therefore going to be more wary of using her as a pawn. So by keeping Chrissy, Devon ups the chance of making this final four the final four. And if this is the final four, Devon is in damn fine shape to win.

        1. I think if you are starting a core 4 and already so suspicious of others in the group then you are in the wrong 4. Blind trust is bad in survivor but some trust is required to advance ahead. If Devon is ditching his alliance with Ryan than he has to believe that Ashley and Ben would chose him ahead of JP. Heck, by all accounts Ashley and Devon seem to be as tight as Ryan and Chrissy.

          Given current survivor challenges, it is impossible to predict as to who is or who is not likely to win the next challenge in first half of the merge. Anything other than a word puzzle at the end and I don’t believe Chrissy wins the last one.

        1. And people are clamouring to work with JP? He is least likely to make something happen if you leave him in the game. Ben and Joe hate each other yet worked together for that blindside in episode 1 (albeit unknowingly to Joe). It was not out of question that 2 healers could try to switch up the play after that first episode. I guess Lauren’s advantage game them a cover for that but still I think taking out an idol with a blindside is always a better move here. This reeks of Fishbach overthinking in Cambodia and switching up play to boot Wigglesworth.

          1. Working with JP would be the easiest thing in the world. It’s not about him making something happen. It’s about people making something happen with him.

          2. Cool. We can disagree. I feel like I’m in a good spot in this disagreement since we actually saw what happened when Ryan tried to work with Mike.

        2. You have to kill the easy to work with goat in JP to ensure he does not take your spot in the Final 3. Chrissy is a player who is easy to rally people against. JP could also potentially clean up in the final challenges.

    2. Fair points. Also presuming Devon drove the decision, it seems like he actually has a pretty solid relationship with Ryan, so even after blindsiding him, Devon can probably still depend on a desperate Ryan to be a back up/extra vote if necessary. He certainly doesn’t seem to have any real connection with JP or Chrissy from what we’ve seen.

      1. Yeah, this is what I though too. Keeping Ryan is good for Devon, it seems he can pull Ryan back in if he needs. Not so good for the other 3

    3. Also, pulling in Mike and Joe as votes + backup elimination plan in case one of your targets has an idol and the other wins immunity turned out to be a really solid idea. Regardless of how one thinks about their plan, the execution of it was masterfully done on all ends.

      1. Chrissy is Zero Percent. I think Ryan may still be in this, but his odds are low. I think it is between Devon, Lauren and Ben.

        1. I don’t think he is particularly well liked despite his “amazing social game” because he seems to have done the same as Chrissy and ignored members of the 7 alliance.

    4. The plan pretty much only works with Ben as a double agent though. You need Dr. Mike and Joe in the dark to avoid a vote split at F8.

        1. Lauren’s extra vote might be enough to ensure a vote split next week at 7, which would make it worth saving it for.

          (Only if they can still get Mike to vote with them, obviously – if Mike decides to join up with Ryan and Chrissy in revenge then it could only transform a 4-3 split into 5-3 and, knowing this lot, another incompetent split vote).

          1. Absolutely (or you can use it to, say, blindside Ben safely at 6, or pull other useful shit), that’s why the double agent trick was such a good Idea.

            But I do give the alliance credit for not putting ALL their eggs in the Ben subterfuge. They had other cards to play if things went wonky. Plan A worked, but there was a Plan B.

    5. Counter – You say only threat like it doesn’t matter. His idol is a huge threat for the next vote. If his idol is out of the game, it doesn’t matter if one of the two left wins immunity – you still get to vote the other out. Ashley obviously wasn’t too tied to JP – if she was, she could have given their alliance the heads up. It’s not like she didn’t know about Ryan’s idol. More to come, gotta work

      1. She wasn’t too tied to JP NOW. Talk to me again at the final five.

        And, you know, clearly Ryan’s idol wasn’t that big a threat. Weird thing to still be arguing this morning.

        1. I don’t think it is because Ryan and Chrissy are both still in the game. Also, so what if Ashley likes JP? Is the argument that she would then work with Chrissy and Ryan? Because if that were the case, why wouldn’t she have just done that before? 2 people is not an alliance, even at final 5. If the argument is that all they need is that 3rd person, then someone in that final 5 just made a bad strategic call by voting out JP. How is the fact that JP is unstrategic and malleable suddenly a bad thing? How is it suddenly better to keep strategic players who might actually be able to exploit cracks in your alliance around?

          1. Because I don’t believe Ryan and Chrissy are actually able to exploit cracks in their alliance and I’m guessing neither do any of the people in that alliance. I think they actually really suck at this and aren’t threatening to anyone.

          2. That’s possible. But unlike JP, they’ll actually try. And if someone is smart enough to realize that a jury won’t vote for them, someone might actually listen. JP won’t do anything.

          3. I think their attempts to try will help keep them from being dangerous. Because they’re not sneaking up on anyone.

            In any case, I just don’t understand how anyone can continue to argue that these people were stupid to not take out Ryan’s idol, when they very easily did so a few days later. Like, so easy. Laughably easy.

          4. I was originally against JP over Ryan, but after they easily got rid of Ryan’s Idol, I came around. Why not take out the pleasant challenge beast instead of the geeky guy they tolerate and the brainy woman everyone hates.

  57. Damn, I loved these episodes! Part of it is the season long edit. I don’t remember ever having such a well balanced edit between a final 8. Now, I don’t need equal distribution in time, but I do prefer when we know where everyone’s head is at and I feel like we could see the game so clearly in these two episodes because of that. Beyond that, we saw some strategy playing out that I don’t think we’ve seen before with Ben’s infiltration. Seeing Lauren/Devon/Ashley trio playing everyone on a different level was wonderful. I think these were some of the best strategic episodes we’ve seen since Tony bamboozled LJ.

  58. Ben: Double Agent was a great double episode. Especially following one of the more excruciatingly cringe-worthy episodes this season, courtesy of Dr. Mike at the last tribal. That was an embarrassing episode to make my friends watch over Thanksgiving. I don’t think I made any converts.

    Surf kids and awesome Lauren better manage Ben well, or it’s gonna be another flip next episode. Watch out, new alliance! King Arthur better not get wind of people talking about betraying him. Otherwise Chrissy le Fay and lil’ Mordred will swoop him up with the quickness. Oh and Merlin too I guess, although I see Dr. Mike as more of a Sir Kay.

  59. I am fully aboard the Lauren winner train now. Said it some weeks ago and the first episode pretty much cemented her as a top contender for me since she got both strategic and personal content. More importantly, she has not had any negative content at all this season so far. Only other contender is Devon, who also got a lot of good strategic content in both the episodes but I still think he is missing some personal content. Or may be we will get that much speculated tie between Lauren and Devon.

    1. “she has not had any negative content at all this season so far”

      I think the red-headed viewers would disagree with that.

          1. I’m not sure Lauren’s great at coming across as jocular and playful.

            I’m choosing to read it as a silly joke (founded in personal hatred of Patrick) badly told- there’s some exit information suggesting that Patrick was jabbering about his red-headedness in a way that would explain her reaction, and, well, I want to root for Lauren.

    2. I’d agree with this. I was flipping between the two of them all episode. I’d say I’m like 95% sure one of those two is the winner now

  60. How can my contribution be anything other than they suck at strategic voting?

    This isn’t to take away from lauren’s Successful and smart power grab. But the choice of target was stupid, as was leaving an idol in Ryan’s pants when he would’ve been caught unaware. And the two prior tribal vote splits, Jesus Christ.

    I do think that taking out Ben might not have been the worst call. Joe had no interest in working with Chrissy, and Ben’s a threat.

    1. I’d counter that the four of Lauren, Devon, Ben, and Ashley had priority over other alliances so if you vote out Ben, everyone else only needs one to flip for you to lose power. Voting out Joe requires two people to flip

      1. This is assuming that Ben wouldn’t flip. I’m not so sure that he won’t flip if it’s more advantageous to him.

    2. In Joe’s Ponderosa, immediately after getting voted out he says it was a good thing because he was about to start flipping. He’s such a wildcard that getting rid of him is probably the best move

        1. Joe actually says he was going to flip that very episode until they told him the extra vote plan. It might have been a lose lose, but they didn’t make a bad call or it was at least in a gray area to make it not terrible.

    3. I think it’s probably the school of thought that says Ben will ALWAYS be too big of a threat – when it’s time, you’ll always find a majority of people willing to go with it. Finish executing the current plan before getting distracted by a new one.

      1. That’s a valid line of thinking – my concern is that Ben has the potential to flip as well AND the potential to win, as opposed to Joe, who can only flip. He can’t win.

    4. Yeah, I enjoyed this episode and was happy that things were getting shaken up, but when I step back I can see that the outcomes were not as exciting as the process. Poor, boring JP didn’t even get a confessional in his boot episode (that I remember?) and Joe’s pagonging was only delayed one round. The only positive thing I can say about Lauren’s new alliance’s choices is that from my perspective as a viewer, they kept the more interesting players around a little longer (and ‘interesting’ is relative here, obviously).

      1. “Poor, boring JP didn’t even get a confessional in his boot episode (that I remember?)”

        According to the Survivor Wiki, JP had the least number of confessionals in this episode … with zero.

      2. JPurple actually had quite a long confessional. That’s why I wasn’t completely surprised when his name started coming up during the vote reveal. But his confessional was as content-free as all his others, so no shame if you forgot about it.

        1. I think you’re misremembering him talking at tribal as a confessional – but when he did talk at tribal I immediately thought he was going home.

      3. Yup, the results were unsurprising, but this was one of the the most entertaining paths to cutting Joe and JP to get to seven.

        Any time someone has an functional plan to win a vote with a plurality, I’m going to be happy.

  61. According to Survivor Wiki, here is JP’s final words “Damn! They blindsided the **** out of me. Couple people flipped, happy trails to them and hopefully they go further in the game than I will. Survivor’s, you know, all about timing, and they beat me to the punch. Looking big picture, I think they pulled that trigger way too quickly. Life’s a journey — sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some and, uh, they got me good. It is what it is.”

    1. How in the fuck would the Wiki know this? Someone was just playing with it there.

      EDIT: oh wait, maybe bonus video.

  62. If I were to ever play this game and got the opportunity to sit out a challenge for food and I did it, I would be telling everyone “Hey, I’m not confident at all with my position in the game – I just know that I have 0% chance of winning this challenge, so I am choosing food instead of coming in last or 2nd-to-last in the challenge.”

  63. There’s actually another benefit, alongside the ability to misdirect Ryan’s idol, to Devon’s plan to have Ben act as the spy. By having Ben pretend not to be in on the plan, that cut him out of all strategic conversations with Mike and Joe – which also cuts him out of the /credit/ with Mike and Joe.

    Presumably Joe is now off on the jury telling everyone how Devon (and Ashley and Lauren) orchestrated JP’s blindside, probably while continuing to trash Ben. That could be a hard perception for Ben to course-correct if and when it comes out that he was acting the entire time. And even when he does, Devon can still claim ownership of that idea. It’s a pretty neat way of taking what would have been a group move (with Ben as perceived head) and turning it into something that he can tout as his own strategic play.

    1. It can also benefit Ashley and Lauren too, but to a lesser degree. That is why it is so dangerous for Ashley to go to the end with Devon, even if she wants to. Their games are way too similar on paper, but Devon has made more relationships with that jury.

      1. Which means Ashley would have to stick with Lauren and…who? Mike? Chrissy or Ryan? Everyone else would seem an even riskier final 3 partner, really.

        I can understand the appeal of doing this for Ben, anyway. It’s something to do, if livens the atmosphere for him when the days are mostly quite boring, and it’s a really bonding thing for his alliance to be sharing in this joke. It’s also gameplay that would probably play quite well to neutral jury members (Desi, Cole, maybe JP), and any other jury members who are really going to respect gameplay.

        Unfortunately most of those other jury members are looking at being some combination of Joe, Mike, Ryan and Chrissy, all of who might well feel humiliated at having been played like that, and disinclined to reward it if it’s a bitter jury. So it’s a high risk play that could either win him the game, or directly hand it to whoever of Devon, Ashley and Lauren both makes it there and manages to claim ownership of the move.

        1. Presumably they’ll get rid of Ryan or Chrissy next, but after that I think Ashley is the most likely to turn on the alliance of four. As noted, she needs to get out from under Devon’s shadow, and just generally she needs to build up her resume more than the others. I think that Joe/Mike/Ryan/Chrissy contingent on the jury (plus JP) would look very favorably on whoever breaks up the four.

          1. I think you get rid of Mike next – he’s not a threat in the traditional sense but he’s the underdog with a massive following on the jury rooting for him.

        2. Chrissy. Go with Chrissy. No one likes her. Plus I wouldn’t trust a jury to pick me if there was dude next to me. Except maybe Ryan.

    2. I agree with this, and would even extend it to say that not only will Ben probably not get credit with the jury for those two votes, Chrissy and Ryan are going to be so super pissed at him if they find out that he was doubly betraying them. Flipping on them is one thing, but flipping and then lying to their faces for 6 days (or however many) while they think they’re bonding over shared hardship – that anger will be hard to overcome.

        1. A case could definitely be made that Devon realized all of this on some level – after all, he just as easily could have made himself the spy.

          1. Part of his argument was that Joe and Mike might not go along with the plan if they knew Ben was involved though, so it’s possible that there was a genuine argument for why it had to be Ben.

      1. I can see that happening, but I’m really hoping that the gamers within them appreciate the play instead of hating the player.

    1. “JP’s Ponderosa is exactly what you’d expect”

      I have no doubts.

      “it’s so great”

      Turns out, it was not exactly what I’d expect.

        1. I would rate it similarly to the remake of Do It Again that was just released by Mike Love of The Beach Boys, featuring Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray. It’s not good to begin with, but then Mark McGrath shows up to shout “Do it!” and “Woo!” over and over, and somehow it goes from just “bad” to “wonderfully bad” and I ended up loving it.

  64. Well the outcome of my trifecta prediction was pretty close, even if the way things went down wasn’t exactly how I laid it out. 2 out of 3 ain’t too shabby!

  65. Also as much as double episodes are fun, I’m a total wiener about staying up late so I had to go to bed as soon as the episode ended and I didn’t get to comment at all last night 🙁
    I plan on upvoting and commenting like crazy this morning though to make up for it 😀

  66. Did Ben expose his deception by voting with Devon et al? Or can he play it off? I guess the play would be “Devon (or someone) looped me in last minute and I didn’t get a chance to tell you guys”

    Also, I am here for needlessly, hilariously complicated plans but my other question is the risk/reward of the Secret Agent Ben plan: it worked, but in a better season, does looping Mike/Joe in carry more risk of them going to the other side than its worth? They hate Chrissy and Ben so it seems unlikely they would work with them but we’ve seen stranger alliances on Survivor

    1. Now that the idol has been played they might not NEED Ben to keep playing along? As I mentioned below, it kind of benefits Devon, Lauren and Ashley if they can convince him to keep it up, but once they decided to leave Mike out of the vote I think that kind of forces their hand in terms of revealing their alliance.

      1. Yeah, they got the big goals accomplished from the Secret Agent Ben plan and they did need his vote here to get enough votes on Joe so they were stuck. I’ll be interested to see if he can keep it up with them though

    2. I agree with everyone else that Ben no longer needs to keep up his act because the four make a majority. But I wonder if it benefits him to have some sort of excuse. Is this the sort of deception that is above and beyond normal lying on Survivor? IF Ben makes FTC, would he lose the votes of Chrissy and Ryan because of it?

      1. Ben mentioned the strain of keeping up the facade. Also Ryan and Chrissy are now in such a terrible position that if any of the four decide to make a move, including Ben, they can pretty much just dictate terms to Ryan/Chrissy.

      2. That’s an interesting question. They would both present themselves as players who can separate game from emotion but I’m not sure its actually true. I think they would both find a way to tie in up as bad social play or something and yeah, he probably burned their votes if its exposed

      3. I think this probably does hurt Ben’s relationship with Chrissy/Ryan- both in terms of FTC voting and his ability to work with them later.

        Which is another reason Devon sending Ben as the secret agent (rather than, say, being the secret agent himself, playing on his bond with Ryan) was strong gameplay.

          1. I think it was at least part of his thought process. He had clearly decided not only that the secret agent plan was a good idea, but also that it should be Ben before presenting it to the group.

            And my read on Devon is that he at least was going to consider taking the glamorous spy role for himself, and made a calculated decision not to.because he understood that it could backfire on the double agent.

          2. I’m trying to determine whether it was that or whether Devon thought Chrissy and Ryan were more likely to confide in Ben. Why would Devon be on the outs? Could he convince the other two that he truly was and get them to give him information as well?

          3. The other half of the plan was that Devon thought Joe and Mike were less likely to go for a plan that involved Ben too. Ben as the spy served the double advantage of keeping him out of the way of the Coco-Nuts, and on the inside to manipulate Ryan’s play.

          4. Also very true I think my argument is that Devon made two distinct very good decisions.

            1. He came up with the double agent plan, which because of the numbers made a lot of sense.

            2. He picked the right double agent. I can’t tell you exactly why Devon decided Ben was the right pick- there are lots of pathways to get there. But I don’t think it was arbitrary, and I do think it ultimately helped Devon and hurt Ben.

            All hail Lord Devon.

          5. I figure he thought it should be Ben because Joe and Ben openly dislike each other so it could be a challenge drawing Joe into an alliance if Ben were a part of that alliance.

    3. During this episode Ben said more than once that after the second tribal he would be able to drop the whole “secret agent” persona. So I think the plan was always for him to drop the act after Joe was voted out.

  67. Also, Chrissy and Ryan not talking to other people in their alliance has to be the poorest, most arrogant play from the top since … what? the Rotu 4? You’d think a big Survivor fan like Chrissy would know to avoid falling into that trap

        1. Same. Though, I do have a coworker who loves Survivor and has been watching them all with his Son, but he’s too casual to know phrases like that. He always knows who you’re talking about, but needs a season and a description or an event they were involved with to remember them…

          1. Maybe you and @badplayer91:disqus actually work together! Quick, each of you stand up in your office and yell out the other’s Disqus name.

    1. I put this in the category of nobody realizing a vote was missing a few tribals ago. It’s not good, but we have far more information than the players do, so it looks more egregious to us. Chrissy’s reaction to being deposed in the second episode was pretty terrible, though.

      1. It was interesting how she tried to play that conversation with Lauren. Like, she was coming at her still kind of condescending, in my opinion, like, “Did Ryan tell you that you’re our third for Final 3,” but in a manner that seemed less from a position of begging and more a position of “Don’t fool yourself, Ryan and I are still in charge here.” Maybe she was trying not to look desperate, but the whole tone of it felt off.

        1. “I might never have mentioned it before, or even talked to you ever despite you being in our alliance, but now we’re at the bottom and need your favour it occurs to me to mention that we were totally planning to take you to the final 3 with us all along. Honest. What’s your name again?”

        2. Wonderfully off! She’s such an amusing villain at times. Even when she’s trying to form a connection, she’s still exudes a sort of judgmental Stepford Wife vibe. Love it.

        3. I don’t think those of us (me) who have disliked Chrissy for not being friendly/ working with other women were wrong. This was just another huge example of this problem. She did the exact same thing before.

          1. She certainly didn’t have so strong a relationship with Ashley and Lauren that they didn’t cut her the moment they had the chance.

        4. I don’t think it’s condescending in particular so much as the consequences of her not talking strategy with Lauren until it was much too late (Ryan ran into the same brick wall with Mike) and having no ability to play from the bottom (the whole post-tribal sequence was a terrible look for Chrissy).

      2. I’m not sure its the same category. Basic Survivor gameplay is that you’re checking in with your alliance and having chats even if they aren’t deep. You can’t rely on chains of information.

        1. I doubt that they literally didn’t talk to anybody else for three days, we just weren’t shown any chit-chat about the weather or whatever in the edit. What I’m saying is that they probably didn’t detect any signs that Devon et. al. were putting up a front, or think it was fishy that three people who just went on reward with each other sat out the doghouse challenge.

          1. Oh, I see what you’re saying. I was referring more to the fact that Chrissy and Ryan don’t appear to have established any sort of individual relationship with Lauren, Ashley, or Mike at all as being their fatal flaw not that they failed to detect signs of the flip

          2. It’s almost as if Chrissy talked only to Ben, JP and Ryan, and didn’t really associate with Lauren, Devon or Ashley, and relied on Ben, Ryan and JP to shore up those relationships.

          3. This is exactly what the case was I suspect. And the lessons we’ve learned from the greats is that when you’re playing from the top, you have to put in the work to develop each and every relationship with everyone in (and even not in) your alliance (Boston Rob and Kim come to mind)

          4. Definitely. And if indeed that was the case for Chrissy, she should go back and watch those seasons again. Especially Redemption Island. People rag on that season all the time, but it is probably the best example of alliance management.

          5. I still maintain that, as an idiot’s guide to Survivor, Redemption Island works as a season. It’s basically Boston Rob running an extended primer on basic Survivor tactics and alliance management, and on that basis it’s a good season for newbies.

          6. I also think many people underestimate how fucking hard it can be to play from the lead position and instead have leaned on the crutch of “they were stupid to let them”.

          7. And, I don’t begrudge Chrissy thinking of several of her alliance as pawns. There are going to be people in any alliance of 7 who are actually pawns. But you can’t make them *feel* like pawns.
            Or prawns, to Buffy things up a bit.

          8. That was part of the brilliance of these two episodes–it turns out that of this alliance of seven, only JPurple was actually a pawn.

          9. The thing is you do need to keep your pawns feeling they are loyal to you. You can’t just think they’ll be there when it’s time to play with them.

          10. Chrissy’s relationship with Mike is basically her laying down in the shelter with a fake smile on her face as she internally sneers at his continued attempts to clown his way into some sort of an alliance.

        1. You did not see my tweet. Also, I don’t know if that is the same because Woo was not in their alliance at all. Also, that was a three day span. Chrissy and Lauren have been together in an alliance for like 8 or 9 days.

      1. Tasha is interesting because even if she does end up in the minority, she’s such a master at stirring shit up without even getting people to like her that I feel this problem only burns her at jury.

      1. From what we’ve seen in show and in exits, I’m not sure either of them ever really spoke to the Healers at all, other than telling Joe they hate him, which is not only terrible short term game play but also terrible jury management

    2. They’ve been selling this story since the merge with the way that Chrissy has been distant to Ben.

      1. For that matter, we got it before the merge with the stuff about how Chrissy wouldn’t talk to Roark.

  68. Not sure if it’s been mentioned previously, but the Probst casting commercial was amazingly weird. It felt like they asked him to do a promo and he was like “Only if I don’t have to leave my house. Send an intern with a cell phone that has mediocre video capabilities.”

    1. He was also way too close to the camera. It was hard on the eyes. You’re not a Tumblr meme, Jeff, stop acting like one!

    2. Now that you bring it up, I realize that it was probably done that way to subtly demonstrate how easy it is to do an audition tape: “Hey, that’s really all we’re looking for. You can do it right now!”

      Jeffy is so devoted to the show, that he’s even willing to appear slightly unprofessional, if it helps the cause. <3

    1. Or JP has is so interesting that he has transcended the need for speech and operates on a higher plane of thought.

      Yeah, probably it’s your thing.

      He’s also not doing normal exit press, BTW.

      1. His one look at the camera would tell us everything! Too risky.

        Yeah, you’d think it would be in their contract that they have to be available for press commitments (with exceptions for pregnancy and family tragedy).

        1. And all they can really do to them is take away prize money and disinvite them from the reunion. If you really don’t want to do exit press, no one can force you.

  69. Also, so nice of Ryan to take a note from the Cochran playbook with the whole be condescending to an entire profession/hobby, even when the person you’re being condescending towards has a profession that a lot of people would be impressed by. And requires some intelligence.

    If I can quote Courtney Barnett (speaking of Aussie musical ladies, Alex Lahey, guys, she’s awesome!) “I think she’s cool because she stops people dying.”

      1. What Emma said – at the time Cochran said that, Erik was a graphic designer. So that really bothered me for a few reasons.

        I’m sure there have been other examples of that, but Cochran stuck with me because it surprised me a lot, and because I like Erik.

    1. What did Ryan say? (Wooo I’m gonna one-up Barbara Anderson’s question by not being sure what happened this week.)

  70. Thinking of this now: Does it benefit Lauren to use her double vote as soon as possible? When the four “laid it all out,” they shared that Ryan had an idol (now recycled and in Ben’s pocket) and that Lauren had a double-vote. The double-vote can still be used by Lauren, and if she holds onto it, the risk increases that her alliance turns on her so they can get the jump on her before she uses it against them.

    But are there any more ways to use it and not have it seem like a waste?

    If you use it at 7, it’ll be the four +1 +Mike vs. Ryan and Chrissy, or the four +1 vs. Ryan/Chrissy/Mike. In the former, you can split successfully without the double vote, and in the latter, you can’t split at all.

    If you use it at 6, it’ll be the four +1 vs. two others. But you also don’t need the double vote to split. This is the outcome at any tribal beyond F6 (tho it expires at F5/F6 anyway).

    So will Lauren’s disclosure of her advantage end up hurting her in the long run?

    1. One could argue that it served its purpose just from being disclosed that she had it, and not needing to play it shows that she was able to manipulate its use to her advantage in other ways.

    2. I worry more that the disclosure to Mike is going to be what ends up hurting her, especially now that they burned him. It makes a pretty easy rallying point for a blindside, and all he needs to do is pull in one person from her alliance to do it

      1. Whoever does that will end up at the bottom of the remaining three and of the Mike/Ryan/Chrissy +1 group. I don’t think there’s a path to FTC in that unless you go on an IC run.

    3. I actually thought of a way to use this successfully: if at F5, three people in the four want to move against the fourth early. The double vote allows you to vote split.

    4. I think you’re right that since everyone knows about it, she needs to work overtime framing it as a tool for her new alliance to use to benefit all of them, rather than a flashing sign identifying her as a threat once that alliance has to turn on each other. Unfortunately though, I can’t see a way for her to pull this off while actually gaining anything from the actual playing of the advantage beyond maybe using it to enable a vote split at some point?

        1. Awesome as Lauren is, the harsh truth is that people probably don’t care about her having an advantage in the same way that they might care if, say, Devon or Ben was holding it.

          She benefits from that for now of course, but it also means she might have an uphill course to convince others of the legitimacy of her game should she made it to the end.

      1. Or can she sell it to Ashley as a tool to help the two of them turn on Ben? I think even with everyone knowing about the advantage, Lauren’s not going to be perceived as the biggest threat, and I hope she can use it to build a smaller alliance down the road.

    5. Even with everybody aware of Lauren’s second vote, I don’t think she’s in any danger for at least one more round. If the four+Mike stick together, Ryan and Chrissy are the likely targets. If the four fall apart, Ben and Devon are the likely targets.

    6. Important clarification: Ben doesn’t have the idol that might re-enter the game now that Ryan has played it. He has the idol that re-entered the game after Mike played it. So there may be another idol out there starting next week.

      1. That’s funny, I was just thinking that if (if!) you’re right and Ryan and Chrissy are now totally neutralized and drawing dead, Ben should tell the others about his idol to keep THEM honest.

        1. Maybe. I think that’ll be the key to holding the alliance together: taking away each other’s chances of flipping.

    7. In an ideal world I think the best use of it would be to take out Mike, Chrissy, or Ryan next, and then use the extra vote at final 6 to blindside Ben without telling anyone outside of Lauren’s core group of Ashley and Devon

          1. I thought he was a construction worker?

            Seriously, isn’t he a parole officer? All my cop knowledge is from TV and movies, but is a parole officer also a cop?

          2. In America, a parole officer generally has a badge, a gun, the ability to arrest, etc. So a very specialized cop.

          3. In most/all of the cop shows I have watched, the “regular” cops always look down their nose at parole officers. I thought they were completely separate.

          4. When I’ve dealt with them, and I have not often, all but one have been women. All worked at the county courthouse and none had a gun. I vaguely recall one in a law school class and he had one — with him in class.

      1. I really wish I hadn’t read that interview with Desi. She came across as spiteful and petty, and she hawked that whole “crossing a moral line” thing that always has me retching. Ugh, sore losers.

        1. But you see, it’s justified because Chrissy manipulated them with her teeth and boobs. It wasn’t fair for Desi, because it wasn’t like she was a former pegeant queen…oh wait.

    1. This may be a weird question, but whose edit from previous seasons do people think Chrissy’s edit is most like?

      1. I was thinking about this exact question the other day, and I couldn’t come up with a very good comparison. Maybe Ami Cusack?

        I didn’t think about comparing her edit to that of any past male players, but I’ll bet there are good comparisons there.

        1. I think Ami is a great comp for Chrissy, especially since she’s not seen as the mom by the other players because she’s lying about her age.

      2. That’s not a weird question. In fact, it is a really intriguing question. For right now, I am going to stick with the moms. I don’t see the Kass to her because Kass has a snark that hasn’t quite come across in Chrissy on tv. The second part of the episode aside, Chrissy has not had any major breakdowns which really knocks a lot of potential comparisons like Lisa/Dawn/Holly Hoffman to the side. Chrissy suffers in the social game which knocks away comparisons to Denise Stapley. So, I am now left with two viable options: Carolyn and Jane. Carolyn and Chrissy are both these strategic figures who can/were seen as wet blankets. However, Carolyn got way more strategic credit from the edit than Chrissy is getting. The only credit the edit is giving her is from Chrissy herself. That’s why I am currently leaning towards Jane. Jane and Chrissy should be these sympathetic badass superfan older moms, but there is just something lacking there. This really came to me when I remember how they both acted when they realized that they were on the bottom.

        1. But wasn’t Jane Bright something of a fan favorite her season?

          I’d also say that Jane was portrayed as a strong and plucky underdog. The edit hasn’t given Chrissy Le Fay those shadings. I also think that Jane’s negative attributes were actually highlighted when she was on top, and wasn’t getting her way (in voting off Marty) with her alliance.

          1. Clearly, her cast members are saying that she is getting a better edit than she deserves. Also, Chrissy has had more power in the game than Jane ever did. However, there is just something that is really similar about both of them. Maybe it’s the way that they both want you to know that they are superfans.

        2. While I have not watched this week’s episode so I don’t know if something’s changed, both Carolyn and Jane seemed to be edited as meaner than Chrissy though. Jane was outright bitter and nasty at times. To me, it’s more like Sherri if she had basically not disappeared after the merge or Missy from SJDS. Or Caryn from Palau.