I barely made it to Survivor on time tonight, and I’m still catching my breath! The title of this episode is called “A Diamond in the Rough” which makes me think it’s going to focus on a surprisingly positive player! I spoke to some twitter friends recently, and they are having trouble watching the episodes online for some reason. Are you one of those people?! If so, you DEFINITELY need to have read my last recap before reading the current episode. Now let’s figure out who the diamond in the rough is!
We immediately see the post-tribal council fall out where Michael tried to pull a fast one with his fake double idol. Bradley was scared shitless and now fears Michael as a player. Expect our resident douchebag to rally the troops to target him for the rest of the game. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough. Michael feels really bad for not playing his idol correctly but takes it as a learning experience to do better in the game.
The reward challenge ends as quickly as it begins. One minute we are watching Michael’s hot body pick up sandbags and literally the next, we see Chris dominating the rest of the challenge. Jeff congratulates him on an impressive win, and we find out he used to be a baseball player. Did you catch that shady camera shot of Domenick grimacing after Chris was praised? Chris goes on this long self-indulgent confessional where describes himself as a diamond in the rough. Seriously?! I’ve now rewatched that confessional 5 times, and I still don’t understand what he’s saying. What I do know is that he is one cocky hunk. SIGH!
Stephanie is randomly chosen for Ghost Island and doesn’t get a chance to play a game. I really hate that Ghost Island is inconsistent. Anyone else annoyed?! If anyone deserved to play a game, it was Stephanie, because she needs it for the next tribal council! We do learn that she left the Mormon religion and her husband within 6 months which dramatically changed her life. She details how hard it has been adjusting to being a single mother, but that she remains both resilient and optimistic. Stephanie is truly an inspiration, and I don’t just mean her obnoxiously bright pants either!
Naviti gets back to their camp to enjoy their reward of cinnamon buns and coffee. James reminds us how useful Chris is for his alliance since he’s super strong but also willing to turn on Wendell and Domenick. The coffee and treats make Donathan really home sick, so Chris seizes this opportunity to connect with him on a deeper level. They discuss having family members in assisted living and how tough it is to be away from them. Wow! Is this Chris being genuine and trying to build a true bond with someone else outside of barking orders at them? Maybe he really is a diamond in the rough?! Donathan second-guesses Laurel’s idea to align with Wendell and Dom against Chris. I’m impressed!
The immunity challenge is much more interesting than the reward challenge. Basically, tribe members race out into the water to retrieve puzzle pieces with a body board. Their tribe reels them back in, and they have to solve the puzzle afterwards. This is called “Survivor Surfing!” The challenge is very mundane in practice but looks impressive from the viewer’s perspective! Desiree has trouble getting onto the board and is barely able to hang on as she is dragged under the water!! Chelsea also has trouble surfing putting Mololo behind. Luckily for them, they have puzzle masters Bradley and Kellyn working for them. They end up completely bridging the gap and catching up to Domenick and James. We have a short showdown, but Naviti ends up winning. Chris screams: “We got the puzzle! We got the puzzle!” I’m just as surprised as he is.
What a crushing loss for Mololo. Kellyn ends up taking the blame for not having gotten the puzzle for her team. The scheming begins on which original Mololo to pick off. Jenna decides that the key to her surviving is to work on correcting her bitch face and flirting with Sebastian. I’m not kidding. This IS Sebastian, my lover boy, so this strategy may actually pay off for Jenna! They flirt on the beach, and Sebastian says he’s going to keep her in the game as long as she keeps on flirting.
Kellyn and Chelsea think that Jenna is the weakest and should go, but Desiree and Sebastian argue that Stephanie is a much bigger strategic threat. Stephanie gets to work on Bradley and apologizes for throwing him under the bus at the previous tribal council. She admits that she doesn’t like sucking up to him but that she’s playing the game for her children. Bradley prefers that everyone boot Michael as the biggest threat. Didn’t I just predict this 30 minutes ago? Basically, Naviti is NOT on the same page whatsoever. We get lots of sad confessionals from Michael and Stephanie. They both get crying confessionals, so does this mean Jenna goes? It’s so hard to watch them be this frustrated. Desiree aggressively goes through Stephanie’s bag to see if she picked up an advantage while she was away on Ghost Island. We’re left not knowing who they decided on as a group.
Tribal Council is sooo grim. It’s hard to watch Stephanie, Jenna and Michael’s expressions. Michael touts his strength in challenges and that he should be kept over Jenna and Stephanie. Jeff reminds them that Michael tried to pull a fast one in the last tribal, making him a strategic threat. Michael says he’s going to prove his loyalty by competing hard in the challenges.
Stephanie gets a triggering question about why she needs to stay in the game. With tears in her eyes, she tells everyone that she’s out here competing for her children and the ability to grow personally. She gives a compelling statement about how her bonds in the game are strong and she wants to stay.
Jenna gets her turn to plead her case. She admits that she usually has her guard up but that she’s genuinely trying her best to correct that personality trait. Sebastian of course chimes in that he appreciates Jenna and her efforts at trying to create real bonds.
We finally get to the vote, and I’m simply heart broken. Desiree receives a vote, and one after another, votes are read for Stephanie. Everyone’s heads are down in shame. Kellyn has tears in her eyes, and Jenna seems to be sobbing. Stephanie leaves quietly, but not without a bit of heroic music. BRING HER BACK!
Next Time On Survivor: Chris and Domenick still hate each other; Jenna and Michael are on the chopping block next; but surprise, everyone’s dropping their buffs!!
Cho’s Top Takeaways
Alliance-Strong or Tribe-Strong?
As we head towards the end of the post-switch tribal phase of this season, we are reminded of one key conundrum faced by the survivors: “do we vote to keep our entire tribe strong or do we vote to keep only our alliance strong?” Voting out your strongest non-ally might get rid of a threat, but without their strength, you’re less likely to win challenges. On the other hand, you don’t want to keep players in the game that will undermine you later. This episode, the Naviti 5 obviously had to choose between Jenna, Michael or Stephanie and consider the pros and cons of each. It appears to me that they chose Stephanie as a middle of the road option. She’s not as strong in challenges as Michael, but she’s more of a threat than Jenna. Her strategic mind and zealousness for the game is what lead to her demise, but I want to hear your thoughts in comments below. If you were apart of the Naviti alliance, which of the three would you have preferred to vote off and why?
The Diamond In The Rough
Chris continues to get preferential editing treatment from CBS over the last few episodes. They are trying really hard to not make him so one-dimensional. Yes, we know he has a knack for being a bossy arrogant asshole. We know that his social game is trash. But he has a mom. He cries! He’s human! They are definitely sprinkling in more of his human side these days and giving us hope that he has the ability to change his ways. While his incentive to approach Donathan seemed strategic, I think his actual conversation was genuine. Do we think he’s being edited to overcome his arch nemesis, Domenick? What do you think? Are you warming up to Chris?
Those were my top takeaways, but I’m more interested in what yours were! Do you feel like you’re getting to know the characters better? Who are your favorites and least favorites? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments below!
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