Another solid episode of Survivor this week leaves us with just five players left in the game heading into next week’s Finale. Yes, we have almost arrived at the end of Season 35, and things have finally ramped up on our way towards the finish line. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s digest what went down this week and get set for next week’s (hopefully) fantastic finish.
Please remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 13 of Survivor: HHH, so if you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add too that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap, and is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE, AND THIS IS YOUR LAST *SPOILER* WARNING!
So how about Ben, huh? We’ve loved him, we’ve hated him, but now in any scenario he has reached the Final Five and the Finale Episode. He hasn’t so much burned bridges, it’s been more a case of other players realizing that the longer Ben makes it in the game, the less chance everyone but Ben has of winning. Ben had all six votes cast against him last week but was able to save himself by using his hidden Idol, and his lone vote sent Lauren to jury. He never told anybody that he had it. That all pretty much defines the textbook definition of how to use an Idol in the game. Ben even mentioned that he purposely tried to make himself a bigger target to ensure votes would be cast his way, and it worked out like a charm. The fallout though was that this move just made Ben seem even more dangerous then before, which is why everyone else left in the game was gunning for him again this week.
But lo and behold, Ben has a few more tricks up his sleeve, and is not going to go quietly. Usually when we get a segment where we see a player searching for an Idol, it’s because they end up finding it. Tonight, they showed Ben searching for an Idol out of desperation, knowing that he was a dead man walking without one, and we got like three Idol search sequences from Ben. Survivor did something I don’t believe they’ve ever done before too: To crank up the drama, they didn’t show if Ben did or didn’t find the Idol…they instead saved that to make it a bigger moment when he finally did reveal it at Tribal Council. It seems against all odds that Ben would play an Idol to save himself from a unanimous vote-out, only to then find a clue and another Idol just moments before going to another Tribal Council where he was most definitely going to get voted out. The dude has nine lives apparently, and for every minute he spends in the game, he solidifies the idea that he is the game’s biggest threat.
While Ben may be the biggest threat, as Ryan mentioned at Tribal, that doesn’t mean he’s the only threat left in the game. Chrissy seemed ready to keep Ben this week and wanted to get Ashley out, and the end result at Tribal was that everybody (except Ashley) ended up voting for Ashley. Was this Chrissy’s plan all along for this Tribal? Were they really going to vote out Ben, or try to split votes to flush his Idol prior to knowing he had one? Even Ben ended up voting for Ashley, which tells me that it must have been pretty obvious that Ashley was going home once Ben played the Idol.
Getting rid of Ashley, of course, is the right move and a great move from Chrissy‘s perspective. The other big development this week was the Final Three alliance formed between Ryan, Chrissy and Devon. We know Ryan and Chrissy are super-tight, after Ryan chose Chrissy as the recipient of his Super Idol advantage back on Day Three. Ryan and Devon had been incredibly close as well, until Devon caught Ryan playing too many sides. But if Chrissy and Ryan are to go to the Final Three together, they will need to pull in one more, and this episode laid out all of the arguments as to who they should pick: Everyone fears that Ben is a shoe-in to win the game should he get to Final Three. Dr. Mike too would be tough to sit against, as he has not made any enemies. And Chrissy never did trust Ashley. That left only Devon, and if Chrissy could get Ashley out of the game – who was Devon’s only other true ally – Devon would really need to rely on Chrissy and Ryan here on out. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that Devon has now put all of his chips in with Chrissy and Ryan, and now that we’re down to five, this threesome alliance looks to be all but golden.
Like Lauren before her, Ashley was on the receiving end of some bad luck, if you consider Ben finding Idols to be luck. She was clearly swindled by Devon, who ended up not having her back. Devon made the bold move to even try to give Ashley a good-bye hug on the way out, but Ashley gave him the cold shoulder. Of course she did, you doofus! You just voted her out of the game and cost her a chance at a million bucks! Get out of here with that good sportsmanship hug! I’m not sure Ashley could have won the game anyways…with all of the talk of needing a strong “Survivor resume,” Ashley just never seemed to be the one pulling any strings, and didn’t have a lot that she could have taken credit for. It’ll be interesting to see just how bitter she really was, and if this move ended up costing Devon a jury vote should he be sitting in at Final Three.
Episode Take-Away: It was another strong episode, and it left me with a sense that the Finale is going to be a good one. Everyone left in the game at this point have been strong…I don’t think there is anybody remaining who the fan base might deem “unworthy” of winning Survivor. Ben definitely proved a lot tonight…even after pulling out all the stops last week, he managed to continue fighting and clawing his way to one more day in the game, which often times makes all the difference. His story is also proving that there are just way too many Idols and advantages this season. I thought for sure that they wouldn’t introduce an Idol back in the game at just six players, but I was proven wrong. I’d like to say I’m confident that there won’t be any more secret advantages, but as we saw in the Finale preview, there is indeed one more advantage left this season.
As I look over the remaining five players, I think that Ryan and Chrissy are all but guaranteed to make it to Final Three. With Devon, they now control the majority and I don’t think Devon will look to split them up by teaming up with Mike and Ben (although that scenario would be very cool). That means that Ben is a goner if he doesn’t win Immunity and if he does, Mike will hit the road. At four is where it gets interesting, because Ben must win Immunity again in order for Ryan, Chrissy and Devon to not reach the end together. If he does win, look for Ryan and Chrissy to stick together to finally flip on Devon. Ben would have no real reason not to vote out Devon too, but he could force a tie just to shake things up…and it’s in this, the unlikeliest of scenarios, where Ryan and/or Chrissy would fall short of Final Three. In other words, Ben is a long-shot, but Dr. Mike is even more of a long-shot…but if either of them make it somehow, someway, they win the game (I don’t see any sort of scenario where BOTH Mike and Ben make finals). A Ryan, Chrissy, Devon Final Three is interesting because each would have pros and cons as to why they deserve the million, which could lead to a very spirited jury and Final Tribal.
Voted out this week: Ashley
Won Immunity: Chrissy
Vote: Ben plays Idol on himself. 5 – Ashley (Ryan, Chrissy, Devon, Ben, Mike), 1 – Mike (Ashley)
Next Week’s Episode: Mark it down people! Next week is the Survivor: HHH two-hour Season Finale Episode, followed by the one-hour Live Reunion Show. We enter the Finale with five remaining contestants, and as shown in the preview, there will still be one more game advantage that will be revealed. You aren’t going to want to miss any of it!
Quick Note! Remember to return right here to Reality Tea for my FilmSurvivor Podcast Thursday, where you can listen to my full exit interview with Ashley. Next week, you can count on my Finale Recap, as well as a mega-sized Podcast featuring interviews from all five of the remaining players, including the Winner of Survivor: HHH. Last but not least, I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews, especially this week! Here is my early review of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and later this week I will be revealing my Top Films of 2017. As always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.
TELL US – WHO WILL WIN SURVIVOR: HHH? IS THERE ANYONE THAT YOU THINK WOULD BE AN UNDESERVING WINNER? AND DO YOU LIKE HOW MANY ADVANTAGES AND IDOLS THERE HAVE BEEN THIS SEASON, OR HAS IT BEEN TOO MUCH?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira