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Survivor 35 - 11/08/2017 - Who's Zoomin' Who? No One Has a Clue!

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Soko, Night 16, Post tribal. Our two intrepid heroes and one turtlenecked hustler settle back at their beach in order for Chrissy to crow about her power position in their tiny tribe. Normally Chrissy is the kind of Survivor I can get behind, a smart, savvy older woman who works with what she has in order to secure alliances and move on. However, her peacocking attitude about her own inherent smartness makes me long for her downfall. In other words, dial back the ego a bit, lady.

Yawa’s five members (Ben, Lauren, Jessica, DrMike, and Pretty Cole) all decide that they are going to stay five strong whenever a merge happens. Cole and Jess believe they can bring in Joe and Desi to make the alliance seven strong. Ben, however, is still smarting from Cole eating a big fish all by himself. Oh, and being unable to keep his damn mouth shut. The cowboy is not quite so sure he wants to stay aligned with Cole as the game moves further along. In Ben’s favor: Cole is an idiot and will probably write his own name down at tribal council.

Over on Levu, the blue tribe is blue. It seems they have no more food left. In fact, Ashley is certain they are about to die because the only thing they have to eat is a spoonful a sugar apiece. Joe looks at the grains in his hand and I have a feel certain that this isn’t the only time he has looked at a powdery substance in his hand and ingested it. Okay, that might get Fisty a lawsuit. Let’s just say Joe has probably had a lot of candy in his lifetime. Devon, meanwhile, can barely make it up the beach. He’s such a beanpole. Devon calls digging for the last bit of sugar the saddest moment of his life, then lays down on the beach, arms outstretched, unmoving. HE’S DEAD, JIM!

The next day dawns with the tribes arriving at Challenge Beach. Probst is wearing a Valspar Billow Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. The bedraggled Levu tribe barely manages to shuffle their way up the sand for a look at the Ali-less Soko tribe. No one seems to care all that much. What they care about is when Probst tells them what they have been waiting to hear: “Drop! Your! Buffs!” There was much rejoicing. Not about the merge, but about the impending feast that is de rigueur for merge day. There is no feast. Oh, not because they don’t get fed. No, it’s because this is Product Placement Wednesday. You think you are going to get past commercials by recording the show then fast forwarding? Oh, hell no. So please enjoy the next ten minutes of INYOURFACE Outback Steakhouse food porn.

Crap. Now I want a Bloomin’ Onion. Assholes.

The interesting part of the Island Outback Steaktikihut is that Chrissy starts talking to Ben about alliances and strategy in plain sight. Now, everyone is distracted but Ben is rightly concerned that a smart player might pick up on Chrissy’s words since it’s, you know, out in the open. She is not exactly subtle. But the best part about the merge is that there is now only one tribe and I don’t have to use my subpar brain cells (compared to Chrissy) by trying to remember who is on which damn tribe and what color goes with which name. VICTORY! The new color is purple. Sonic Plum on the Valspar chart, to be exact.

Now that the multiple tribes have merged, there is a lot of camaraderie, shelter building, and renewing of old friendships (Desi and Jess, Ryan and Devon). Also Cole is aware that he should be looking for a clue to an advantage, but the awesome editors show him totally missing the tiny scroll hidden in the bunch of nails provided for building the shelter. Good thing he’s pretty. However, my favorite alliance is back together: Hellooooo Devon and Ryan the Turtleneck. The odd couple wanders off in the jungle and reaffirm their previous unity and discuss the need to eliminate one of the majority Healers. Turtleneck is actually a pretty savvy player. Lauren, meanwhile, is the opposite and rats out what Devon tells her about original tribal alliances being reformed when she speaks to DrMike. Lauren, it seems, wants to stick with the Yawa Reshuffle alliance. Mike accepts what she says but keeps to himself that he is more inclined to the old Healers tribe. However, what goes on for the next long segment and even after the immunity challenge is a mishmash of who is lining up with whom. I spent far too much time trying to figure out how this was going to play out and made some notes:

Original tribe alliances are Healers (DrMike, Joe, Jess, Cole, Desi), Heroes (Ben, Chrissy, JP, Ashley), and Hustlers (Devon, Ryan, Lauren).

Reshuffled Yawa alliance: DrMike, Lauren, Cole, Jess, Ben.

Power couple: Jess and Cole plus whatever Cole is snacking on.

Secret Immunity alliance: Chrissy and Ryan.

Sub-Hustlers: Devon and Ryan.

Old fart alliance: Chrissy and Ben.

Himself: Joe and his ego.

It is all very confusing. Let’s move on…to the Immunity Challenge! Probst is wearing a Valspar Boisterous Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. The Necklace of Power looks yet again like an unfinished toddler craft project that started with the lower lip disc plate from an Amazon tribesman. The challenge is simple and hilarious: standing on a progressively narrow beam, the Survivors must hold wooden circle vertically and move it so that a ball continuously circles the inner part of the circle. It is kind of like one of those cat toys. They will move down the beam at certain time increments, but the balls must never drop. We call this one “Delayed Puberty.” Everyone is ready and about ten seconds into it, Ryan the Turtleneck drops off. You know Probst is not going to let that slide, but we’ll get to that. In the meantime the drop off continues: DrMike, Jess, Ben, JP, Devon, Lauren, Joe. In the background, Probst enjoys waxing poetic, “You can’t get pulled in by that sound. It wants to seduce you into falling asleep.” Yeah, okay, you magnificent bastard. Cole drops, followed closely by Chrissy and we are left with Desi and Ashley. They are still going at thirty minutes and Jeff takes a minute to mess with both Ryan and to bait Chrissy at the same time. He asks if anyone is good at math and asks how many times longer Desi and Ashley have been up there over Ryan’s pathetic few seconds. Chrissy, who is an actuary, cannot resist the chance to show off her big brain and immediately pops up with 900 times. Probst loves it. He does it again at thirty eight minutes and asks Chrissy again. This time it is over 1,100 times. Jeff tells Ryan to put that on his resume. Finally when the two remaining Survivors have to move down to the narrowest portion of the beam, Ashley drops her ball and our girl Desi wins the first individual immunity challenge.

Post challenge strategy finds us back at the alliance shuffle scramble. To try and encapsulate it, the shuffling goes as follows: Ryan wants the Hustlers and Heroes to take out a Healer due to numbers. Cole tells Joe about the ReshuffledYawa alliance, which makes Joe a little nuttier/paranoid than usual. DrMike wants to target Chrissy but he unfortunately goes to Ben, who is a secret alliance with Chrissy. DrMike rightly points out that if Chrissy says in the game, she will work everyone to the end. Lauren takes that to heart and also works on Ben to stay true to the Yawa tribe alliance. Unfortunately, Ben’s irritation with Cole, despite the latter trying to apologize for being a thoughtless kid, may be the thing that sinks the Healers. Chrissy brings up the possibility of Joe having an idol and giving it to Cole, so Jess may be the person to target instead.

Aw! Baby turtle crawling to the sea! Oh, wait, it was just Ryan. Nevermind.

Tribal Council time! Probst is wearing a Valspar Field of Pines shirt, for those keeping score at home. There is some hilarious editing here during tribal when Lauren speaks to Jeff’s question on how does one figure out how to vote tonight. She says that you can pick a current physical threat (camera cuts to JP), or you can pick someone who will be a threat further down the road (camera cuts to Cole), or you can vote for someone who irritates you right now (camera cuts to Joe). That’s some good editing, folks! Chrissy, with her hair looking stringy and dirty just like mine would after being out there, shows off her Survivor knowledge by informing Probst that typically the physical threats are voted out after the merge. Joe is right on that, proclaiming himself to be loyal, physical, and smart. Probst just smiles at him for being an idiot and moves on to DrMike to ask him about being allied with Joe. If I wasn’t already growing fond of DrMike, this did it. Mike does a fantastic imitation of Joe’s fast talking Jersey accent, about declaring Mike had an idol when actually Joe was the person who found one. And because Joe, like Chrissy, is not nearly as smart a player as he thinks he is, cannot resist showing off. He interrupts DrMike, his ALLIANCE PARTNER mind you, to crow about the second idol he found. He pulls it out of his pants and puts it around his neck, preening the whole time. Probst is speechless. No, seriously, his mouth is just hanging open because he is as dumbstruck at this colossal stupidity as the rest of us are. Ben brings it to a close by saying battle lines are drawn and we are finally going to find out exactly how the alliances are falling. Time to go tally the votes.

Oh, but before that, Joe decides to play his idol for himself. He was so certain that he would be so feared in the game that it never occurred to him someone who was a softer target might be on the radar. He was so proud of using the idol, too. Let’s burst his ego, shall we?

Chrissy. The expression on her face was downright terrified. 

Jessica. Joe realizes he is an idiot here.

Chrissy. Now she's worried.

Jessica. Cole looks confused, like a puppy facing a staircase.

Chrissy. We have moved on to pissed off. 

Jess. She gives a wry smile. 

Chrissy. Oh, man it's AWN!

Jessica. She knows she is going at this point. 

Chrissy. Seething!

Jessica. Cole is about to cry puppy tears. 

Jessica. She smiles but doesn't say anything as she leaves. Chrissy, however, has recovered her smug bitch face nicely.

So after all that scrambling and talking and alignments, the votes broke down to original tribal lines. The Healers were targeted by the unification of the Hustlers and Heroes. I suspect Ryan did a lot of the legwork on this and more power to him for proving himself a player. That likely bought him a boot at the final four.

Next week, Cole knocks Chrissy over to get an idol. I may like that kid after all.

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