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Survivor 35 - 11/15/17 - I Will Gladly Pay You on Tuesday for an Extra Vote Today

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Solewa, the portmanteau name of the newly merged tribe, night 19. Post tribal finds Joe congratulating everyone on their amazing play since he did not see that Jess was going to be the target. Ben congratulates himself on being such an awesome Survivor player by conceiving and executing a plan to get rid of a healer. Good on you, Ben. You are just super excellent awesome as a Survivor. I’m starting my sarcasm early because by the end of the episode, Ben manages to totally lose me as a fan. He may even surpass Chrissy on Gryn’s Rage-o-holic Dislike Scale (patent pending).

Meanwhile, in the light of day, Lauren is working on the shelter by hammering random nails into the bamboo when she drops one and goes to get another one. Instead she finds, hiding in plain sight, a rolled up parchment, which she pockets none too gracefully. The boat captain opens it and finds an advantage in the game. I listened several times and her advantage is thus: she can choose to not vote tonight, then later on in the game she can use an extra vote when she feels it is most advantageous to her. In other words, no vote tonight means two votes later on. Lauren’s reading skills are on par with Joe’s social tact.

Reward challenge time! Probst is wearing a Valspar Gentle Wind blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. This looks like it took a while to put together. The Survivors will have to race up a tower one at a time and through a series of obstacles to the top, where they will have to launch a sandbag to raise a flag on five targets. Each team member will have to shoot at a target at least once. Wanna know what they are playing for? Leftover spaghetti! Really, though, I’m surprised this challenge wasn’t sponsored by Olive Garden. Pasta, salad, breadsticks, cheap red wine. What could go wrong? Teams will be randomly drawn and the person who does not end up on a team gets to join the winners on the private spaghetti eating island. Probst calls it winning the Survivor lottery. I call it a ticket to indigestion! The teams are red: Desi, Ashley, Ben, DrMike, Lauren, and blue: JP, Cole, Devon, Chrissy, Ryan. Joe is the odd man out, naturally.

Survivors ready? GO! The teams are neck in neck but red gets out ahead at first by two, then three. Blue ends up tag teaming with Devon and JP shooting the bean bags. Ashley takes a number of shots before she hits her target and that gives the blue team time to catch up. JP manages to hit the last target for blue before Desi can even get her foot on the ladder. Thus, JP, Devon, Ryan, Cole, Chrissy and Joe all get to eat spaghetti. However, before they are sent off to their own private Olive Garden, Probst has a twist. The pasta will be served family style to be shared. However, the twist is that the Survivors will be eating in private away from the others, one at a time. They can eat as much as they want or as little as they want and no one will know. The final twist is that Joe, as the lottery winner, gets to decide the order in which the team will eat. Joe thinks this will give him an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the non-Healers. I actually laughed at him for that one.

At the reward, Joe nominates Devon first and thank OGG that Hellooooooo Devon was on the winning team because he is about to waste away to nothing. As Devon chows down on the spaghetti, he stops before he notices some writing on the plate. JP is next and since he is a fine, upstanding citizen he takes only his fair share and does not notice the writing on the plate. Cole is next and the Pretty is actually smart enough to see the writing and find the clue to a hidden immunity idol. It says the idol is buried underneath the tribe flag back at camp. Cole doesn’t want anyone else to see it, naturally, and he does something smarter than I give him credit for: he piles the rest of the spaghetti on a napkin and puts that on the plate. Unfortunately, Chrissy is next and she searches high and low for a clue, finally lifting up the plate and seeing it, and assumes quite naturally that she is the only one smart enough to have looked for the clue and found it. Well, she’s two-thirds right. Next is Ryan the Turtleneck, who is not an idiot. He finds the clue and actually removes the entire plate, hiding it beneath some branches and leaves. Once he gets back to where the rest of the winning team are sleeping off their food comas, Joe goes in to finish it off. Chrissy, with all the subtlety of a hamfisted gorilla, starts whispering to Ryan immediately about finding the clue. They whisper about maybe Cole finding it and Chrissy immediately discounts that idea, stating Cole is not smart enough to find it. Yeah, that’s why I don’t like her. It’s my job to decide who is smart, who is stupid, who is annoying, and who needs a punch to the scrum on this show, not hers.

Back at camp, Devon, being the decent fellow that he is, underplays the spaghetti feast with the losing team. While the discussion is going on, Cole wanders off to pee and Ryan the Turtleneck takes this opportunity to go to the flag and dig up the idol. Hilariously, JP walks right by him and takes no notice as Ryan scoops up the idol and shoves it in his pink panties. Oh good Lord. He IS wearing pink panties! The Ghost of Phillip is upon us! Chrissy has noticed Ryan is over by the flag and she goes over. Ryan artfully tells her to cover up the hole since he found the idol. It looks like she continues to dig and by this time Cole is finished watering the spiders in the jungle and spies Chrissy digging by the flag. He runs over and shoves her aside to dig himself. Chrissy shrieks for JP to help her, and to his credit JP leaves her to her own devices. I may approve of JP now. Chrissy and Cole thrash about while she continues to shriek, causing the rest of the tribe to come running. Ben slides right down the sand and tries shoving Cole away so he can start digging himself. Finally Cole pulls away and tucks in his shirt. Since Ben seems slightly obsessed with making Cole the bad guy at every turn, he immediately starts crowing the Cole has an idol, he just saw Cole tuck it into his pants. Cole doesn’t deny it, but Ben makes himself look like a real tool here by continuing to bitch about Cole. Ben follows Cole back to camp and snots at him that it was a bad move. Cole, quite rightly, responds that if he didn’t do it then Chrissy was going to get the idol. There is no actual answer to that so Ben ignores the logic and just complains to the camera later about how much Cole has rubbed him the wrong way. Dude, it’s getting old and you’re a little old to be harboring such a hatred for an overgrown golden retriever puppy.

Immunity Challenge time! Probst is wearing a Valspar Blue Burst shirt, for those keeping score at home. Today the Survivors will stand on a narrow beam – and there is a lot of that this season so far – while holding a long pole to balance a statue on a thin board. If a Survivor falls off the beam or the statue falls, then that player is out of the game. Survivors ready? Go! And very quickly, DrMike it out of the challenge. This is not a surprise. He is followed by Joe, which is somewhat of a surprise. Devon falls off the beam and then the editors treat us to a close of up Ryan’s beating heart. No, really, we can SEE HIS FUCKING HEART beating against his skin. How did this mook pass the physical for this show? Anyway, Lauren is actually next to drop her statue and then heart beat boy Ryan goes down. Ashley goes out, followed by Chrissy and Ben. The final three left is JP, Cole, and Desi. Everyone is shaking at this point and Desi loses her balance. It’s down to JP and Cole. Both are concentrating, but in the middle of one of Probst’s monologues about JP looking like he is about to lose it…he does. Cole is the winner of individual immunity, leaving Ben more pissed off than ever. Chrissy smugs that it is just a matter of figuring out which healer goes home.

Post challenge camp is bummed that Cole has the immunity necklace. He feels the Healers are a sinking ship, and he’s not wrong. Ben decides that between the remaining Hustlers and Heroes, the men will vote for Joe and the women will vote for Desi, just to make sure an idol doesn’t come into play. Ben points out that Desi is really strong in all aspects of the game, particularly challenges. She is also likeable, Ben. Something to think about. Meanwhile the Healers try to think of angles to get to the Hustlers and get them to switch. Joe takes Ryan and Devon off and talks to them about voting Ben off. Ryan agrees with Joe’s logic. What Joe doesn’t realize is that Ben was skulking behind the trees listening to the entire conversation. And what do you know, as soon as Ben finds out Joe is trying to play the game for himself and not play for Ben to win the million dollars, what do you think happens? Ben finds he does not like Joe. The nerve! Joe does his usual thing and tries to needles Ben about the Marine corps, which causes Ben to get bent out of shape and start really getting angry.

Also, I’m a little pissed I’m now on Joe’s side. He’s as close as we’ve had to a Hantz in a while so siding with him really annoys the shit out of me.

Lauren, meanwhile, has her secret advantage. She decides to tell Ben about it because splitting the votes could cause problems. Since, according to her advantage, Lauren will not cast a vote tonight, that leave them vulnerable to the numbers advantage on the Healers, assuming Joe has an idol. The four Healers vote Ben. On the other side, all six votes (that would be minus Lauren) would be for Joe. Joe pulls an idol, Ben leaves. There are all kinds of permutations of this scenario, but what it comes down to is that Lauren needs to use her advantage tonight because she won’t have another chance, and being in possession of two votes down the line is huge in this game. Ben goes to DrMike to suggest he vote for Joe at Tribal, and the good doctor considers it as a way to get off the bottom of the Healers and raise his credibility with the rest of the tribe. That will still just get you to eighth place, dude.

Tribal Council time. Probst is wearing a Valspar Brookside blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. Jeff starts immediately with Joe, who admits to being hotheaded at the last tribal, but that there is one person who is running the show and that’s Ben. The Marine denies being the ringleader, and much of tribal involves sniping between Ben and Joe, to the point where Chrissy holds up her hand in the “stop” gesture and tells Joe, “None of us want to listen to you anymore.” This generates a “Wow!” from Probst, but whether it is because he cannot believe Chrissy’s audacity or because he is salivating at the good TV this is going to give, it is hard to say. Desi notes that a lie depends on what the person hearing it or saying it wants it to mean, and DrMike laments that the old Yawa alliance from the shuffle blew away into dust right after the merge, so it is hard to know who to trust. Probst gives Ben another opportunity to talk about being a veteran and his (basically) PTSD. Ben apologizes to Joe not for getting angry and yelling but for letting Joe get to him the way he did. So…not really an apology there, big guy.

Oh, let’s just get to the votes already. Time for the tally!

But first…we see Lauren at the voting booth, following the instructions on her advantage paper by slipping it in the urn. Now it’s time to tally the votes.

 Ben. Lauren. Desi. Joe. Desi. Joe. Desie. Joe. Desi. Joe.

Hmmm, let’s see..one, two, three…ten votes. One is missing. Does anyone notice? Nope. We never did see Chrissy being let in on the news of Lauren’s advantage so I’m not sure if she knows the math would be wonky tonight or not. In the end, it is a tie between Desi and Joe, so the revote is to cast votes only for one of those two.

Let’s go tally those votes. Desi. Joe. Desi. Desi. Desi. Desi. With that, Desi is the first person on the jury. She is very upset and cries as she leaves, but gives a good luck to everyone. She was just a byproduct of the whirlwind that is Ben’s hatred for Joe and Cole and she got swept all the way to Ponderosa. It sucks because she seems pretty awesome and I’m already starting a petition to bring her back for another season.

Tune in next week when your recap will be brought to you from north of the border, as gforce pinch hits for me in our traditional Wednesday before Thanksgiving substitution.

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