I Don't Like Having Snakes Around

Jeff Probst – as he does – summed up tonight’s episode of Survivor perfectly. After a crazy Tribal Council, a secret advantage and a tribe swap, and after the most recent victim was sent walking down the path of shame following another torch-snuffing ceremony, Probst closed out the show and gave it to us bluntly: “You can make all the plans you want, the Survivor Gods don’t care.” That about sums it up.

Please remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 4 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.


I Don't Like Having Snakes Around

Lots to dig into! Anytime you see “#dropyourbuffs” flash on your TV screen, you know you’re in for a better-than-average episode, and we arguably got the best episode yet of this young season. There was lots going on, but there was no time wasted as we got the promised tribe swap right off the bat…and speaking of the Survivor Gods, they were good to us regarding the switch-up, in that the original tribes were shuffled up pretty equally. In the past we’ve witnessed swaps where much of a tribe stays intact and that’s always a bummer. But tonight, it yielded some interesting new tribes, and we’re finally starting to get a sense of who has a real shot at going far and who doesn’t.

Which leads us to Alan. Pro athletes and/or celebrities don’t tend to fare all that well on Survivor (was Jimmy Johnson really on Survivor? Ugh.). From the very first episode, we saw that Alan was missing that in-game awareness that the great players all possess. He was willing to shake it up and played the game hard – and was a decent pre-merge character on the show – but you could just tell that he was not long for this game. What I loved about tonight’s result – as I keep saying each week – is that we continue to shed these “lesser” players, now for four straight weeks. There was drama, there was confusion (we’ll get to these in a minute), but ultimately, the right person was sent home.

I Don't Like Having Snakes Around

Let’s take a look at the new tribe dynamics at each camp:

The New Blue Tribe. Forgive me for not using the tribe name, but quite frankly, nobody gives a damn about the tribe name. I mean, really. So Alan was sent packing after a very crazy Tribal Council and that leaves four: Joe, Desi, Devon and Ashley. Devon picked a side, and chose poorly for his game…only because the Survivor Gods were not smiling down on him. He correctly sniffed Joe’s BS, and decided to hitch his wagon up to the Ashley and Alan train, but after receiving the “Secret Advantage” from Jessica, Devon was royally screwed. This Advantage of course was no advantage at all, blocking Devon from casting a vote. Ultimately it would not have mattered anyways, because he likely would have voted for Joe as well, and when Joe correctly played his Idol on himself (instead of on Desi), their fates for the evening were sealed. Joe accurately stated that losing Desi would decimate his game and paint him the easy target next week, so whatever he saw on Ashley’s face ended up being his saving grace. Now Idol-less, Joe also has painted a big ole’ target on his back, but I think he comes out a bit cleaner than Devon, who has now shown his cards and is up against Joe and his other five remaining Healers moving forward.

I Don't Like Having Snakes Around

The New Yellow Tribe. Of the three new tribes, we saw the least of Yellow…but we saw enough to realize that Chrissy is still this game’s power player and front-runner. Even separated out from her closest ally Ben, we saw Ryan and her bond over Ryan’s admission that it was he that willed her the Super Idol during the first episode. With Ali and Ryan aligned, this puts Chrissy in a majority position over the clueless JP and the isolated Roark…which means that all signs point to Chrissy not only making the merge, but getting there with several allies…if only Ben could wiggle his way to the merge as well.

The New Red Tribe. Speaking of Ben, he and Lauren found themselves in the minority to the three Healers who managed to stay together after the swap: Cole, Jessica and Dr. Mike. We might have seen the start of cracks forming in the Cole/Jessica showmance, with Cole’s loose lips really starting to create issues for Jessica. Cole is showing that he’s probably next on the list after Alan as a “player not long for this game.” He just doesn’t quite understand that knowledge is power on Survivor, as in life. He seems too friendly a guy to really have what it takes to go far, and if Jessica doesn’t realize this, he could end up sinking her ship, much like what happened to Figgy on Millennials vs. Gen-X, or countless other failed in-game showmances (rarely do couples become Boston Rob and Amber). I like both Ben and Lauren, but the Reds need to keep winning challenges if either of them plan on making merge…despite Cole’s mistakes, I just don’t see Dr. Mike or Jessica voting against him, which means that Ben or Lauren could be next if Red were to finally lose.

I Don't Like Having Snakes Around

Episode Take-Away: I liked the episode overall, easily my favorite of the season thus far. The new tribe dynamics are interesting and I think we haven’t lost anybody yet that I’m all that upset to see go. Believe it or not, we’re nearing the jury phase of the game already, with probably only two or three more boots before people start landing on jury. I think it’s a solid group, and for me, there are several players that seem to be playing very good games: Chrissy, Ryan and Ali are probably at the top of my leader-board (and not particularly in that order). Jessica is so innocent and sweet that I hope she doesn’t allow Cole to ruin her game, but I don’t see a happy ending to their in-game alliance. I like the secret advantages that have been introduced thus far and I’m sure we can expect many more twists and turns as we make our way through this season.

Strategic Movie of the Week: This has got to go to Joe, because, as sloppy as it may have seemed, his plan ultimately worked. He put a huge target on his back and his opponents did end up ultimately putting their votes on him, so orchestrating this, in conjunction with using his Idol properly, makes that the move of the week.

My Kisses Are Very Private

Voted out this week: Alan

Won Immunity: Red Tribe, Yellow Tribe.

Vote: Joe played his Idol on himself. 2 – Alan (Joe, Desi), 0 – Joe (two votes for Joe cancelled by the Idol: Alan, Ashley), Devon’s vote was blocked by Secret Advantage willed to him by Jessica

Next Week’s Episode: Devon and Ashley solidify their alliance, meaning that there is a solid two versus two at the Blue camp.

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 Alan. The Podcast will post a bit later than normal on Thursday due to scheduling conflicts with Alan. Last but not least, I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews. And 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.


Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira