Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

Wow, lots to digest this week! I have been continuing to tell people to stick with this season, and I have to say that this week’s installment of Survivor was an all-around solid episode? Am I right? It had an interesting Reward that led to some pandemonium back at camp, there was a lot of strategizing going on, a secret advantage was found and played, a player that HAD to win the Immunity Challenge to survive did just that and a Tribal Council ended with a re-vote and then a surprising vote. What more can  you ask for as a Survivor fan?

We’ll dig right into tonight’s episode (in a nice and calm way, not in a Chrissy/Cole sort of way…). But first, please remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 8 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.


Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

So I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you on your thoughts from tonight’s episode! For me, it hit all the spots – checked all the boxes – and was a very entertaining episode. Although I dislike Cole as a player, it was good to see him at least try to throw people off the scent of his Idol clue (even it putting a napkin over the plate was a pretty lame attempt) and you always have to respect when a player who absolutely needs to win Immunity does so. So kudos to Cole. I was also happy that Joe stayed in the game, although I was also a big Desi fan. Desi seemed like the sort of player worth rooting for, and a person who could have most definitely won the game had she found herself sitting at the end. We did get confirmation that she will become the first member of the jury this season, also known as the “Mayor of Ponderosa.” What’s Ponderosa? I’m glad you asked!

As I always do around this time of each season, I URGE each and every one of you to check out the Ponderosa Videos on here. Ponderosa is the lavish resort area where the jury members live in-between appearing at Tribal Councils, and each week CBS chronicles the latest person voted out as they arrive at Ponderosa and begin to unwind from the game. The Ponderosa Videos have become absolute MUST-SEE videos for true fans of Survivor, and usually each one is under ten minutes in length. But they offer a lot of insight into the mind of the jury and are a great supplement to the actual show. So go watch the Ponderosa videos (of course, only after you finish this recap!).

Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

But Desi is now out and Joe was spared. Why? Most likely because Joe has become the hated “villain” of this season and the majority probably agrees that Desi was much more of a threat in the game. She has proven she is a challenge beast, and she’s likable as hell…pretty much the opposite of Joe. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Joe (but as Rudy Boesch would say, not in a homosexual way). Joe is a needed element in the game, in my opinion, as without him we lose tons of opportunity for drama. Just look at how Joe was able to get underneath Ben‘s skin tonight with the whole “swearing on the Marines” thing. Joe threw something out there and it stuck, but even if in a subtle way, it exposed a side of Ben that nobody in the game has seen before. Time will tell if this may be an important development in the game, but I love that Joe is not afraid to stir the pot…but he will need to stir a bit more briskly if he wants to go deeper into the game.

As the Healers continue to get picked off, there are some very interesting developments going on elsewhere. Ryan finds an Idol, making his alliance with Devon and Chrissy even more powerful…however, from the look of the preview next week, Ben may be starting to shift his focus away from the Healers and on to Ryan. Ben targeting Ryan will put Chrissy in a very interesting predicament, but all of a sudden you have the spotlight off of both Joe and Cole. Will the alliance stick together for a bit longer to get Joe and Cole out, should they lose Immunity? The fewer Healers there are in the game, the more likely it is one of the others will turn on their own.

Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

In what appears to be a great spot moving forward, we have Lauren. She is seemingly the smallest threat of the three remaining Hustlers, and she is obviously tight with Ben. Her “double vote” strategy may definitely come in handy moving forward and it was great watching her pull that off at Tribal right under everyone else’s noses. What did you all think of the new twist? I think it was very interesting, because it involved a player needing to take a risk in order to get a reward. She took the risk, and now will reap the benefit of the secret advantage.

We have officially entered the jury phase of the game, so it will be important for every remaining player to keep in mind that this group of people that you need to vote out will also be the ones that will be voting for you to win the million dollar prize. Of all the remaining players, I think that Cole is the only one left with no reasonable chance of winning the game…even if he were to win every single Immunity Challenge until the end (which would be an impressive, unprecedented feat), he is the rare player that I think people STILL wouldn’t vote for to win the game. Even Joe, although he is annoying everyone else, I think has the social savvy and the know-how to turn his game around. Time will tell.

Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

Episode Take-Away: Again, I felt like this might have been the strongest episode yet this season. Tell me why I’m wrong (or why you agree with me!) in the comment section! With just three Healers remaining, the Heroes are now the majority original alliance, and time may be running out for the Hustlers to make a serious move if they plan on coming out on top. Dr. Mike, who has mostly been comic relief much of the season, has now quietly made jury and poses no threat to anyone. However, should he make it to the end, there would potentially be three fellow Healers on jury (Joe, Cole and Desi), and add those to a bitter juror or two who might want to vote for anyone other than the person that sent them out of the game (likely not Mike), I am seeing a path for Dr. Mike to possibly become the unlikeliest of Survivor winners. Could it happen?

Voted out this week: Desi

Won Immunity: Cole

Vote: Lauren secretly played her advantage which meant she didn’t vote at this Tribal, in order to have two votes at a future Tribal. No Idols were played. 4 – Desi (Devon, JP, Ben, Ryan), 4 – Joe (Ashley, Chrissy, Cole, Dr. Mike), 1 – Lauren (Desi), 1 – Ben (Joe)

Re-Vote: Joe and Desi were not allowed to vote, Lauren‘s vote was again cancelled out. 7 – Desi (not shown), 1 – Joe (not shown)

Survivor: HHH Episode 8 Recap: Russian Roulette

Next Week’s Episode: Lauren does some gloating after she was able to pull off the first part of her secret advantage. Ryan has loose lips when it comes to his new-found Idol, as we see him tell both Devon and Ben…but there may be even more pandemonium next week because we are then shown Ben going to Devon with that piece of information, putting Devon in a real tight spot.

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 Desi. Last but not least, I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews, including my reviews of “Justice League″ and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” this week. 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.

Thanksgiving Week Note! Next week being Thanksgiving, the schedule for Survivor coverage may get a bit funky…but stick with it, there will definitely be a Recap following next Wednesday’s new episode (just maybe not on Wednesday…), and there will definitely be a Podcast and exit interview at some point…but 100% it won’t be on Thursday like usual. Sometimes they hold interviews on that Friday but CBS has also pushed them to Monday or Tuesday of the following week in the past. So again, look to follow me if you already don’t to make sure you don’t miss anything next week! And Happy Thanksgiving in advance!


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