Survivor: HHH Episode 9 Recap: What The Heck Just Happened?

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! I hope everybody had a safe and happy holiday, and that by now you were able to catch up on Wednesday’s new episode of Survivor! While we all sit back, stuffed, and let the turkey digest, it’s also time to try to digest just what the heck happened at that very confusing Tribal Council. So let’s get to it!

But first, please remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 9 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 9 Recap: What The Heck Just Happened?

There was lots going on Thursday, but it seems like it’s confession time for me: As much as I want this season to become great, it continues to be mired in mediocrity. I actually really like this cast, and some of the twists this season have been interesting, but almost at every turn, when the season has a chance to get really interesting and have something big happen, the explosion comes off more like a dud.

What am I talking about? Look no further than this week’s Tribal Council. Dr. Mike has an Idol and plans to completely shake up the game, apparently. Now I really like Ben, and Ben has clearly been sort of running the show thus far, but man would that have been a surprising and fulfilling turn of events had Dr. Mike sent him home last night with a smart Idol play. The Tribal even started out compelling, with Dr. Mike leaning over to Joe and telling him to just follow his lead and to trust him. Wow, something big is about to happen! Or so I thought. We then saw Dr. Mike kind of blow up his own game as he became very verbal at Tribal, and then he used his Idol – incorrectly – to save himself. I say incorrectly because Cole was still the main target of the majority, but the truly confusing part came when we saw the votes being revealed…after all that, Dr. Mike and Joe both voted for…Cole?

Survivor: HHH Episode 9 Recap: What The Heck Just Happened?

Breaking this down, I can’t for the life of me come up with an explanation for what Dr. Mike was trying to accomplish. Had they wanted to ensure that Cole went home, they could have both thrown their votes towards him, knowing that the majority was going to split their votes. So even if the majority was leaning in the direction of voting out Joe or Dr. Mike, their two votes would have tipped the scales to ensure Cole went home. And they must have known that Cole was going to be one of the two names being written down…he is a major physical threat and they now had their chance of getting rid of him after he failed to win the Immunity challenge to Lauren. Dr. Mike sitting quietly at Tribal would have most likely led to Cole and Joe having votes between them. Opening his mouth to get votes to come his way…darn it, I just don’t understand! But the truly confusing part is, why not just throw votes at Cole, but not play the Idol? Why would Dr. Mike play his Idol and not put it on Cole? They had a real chance to flip the script but now Dr. Mike and Joe are just sitting ducks on the outside.

Their only saving grace is that the closer the majority seven get to the end, the more likely someone is going to want to flip things upside down and use Joe and Dr. Mike in possibly doing so. Maybe Dr. Mike was using a play out of Joe’s book, where he figures if he gets people to dislike him, they may be more willing to keep him around longer. Survive at any costs. But still…why play the Idol?

Survivor: HHH Episode 9 Recap: What The Heck Just Happened?

The other big development this week was that Ryan‘s game is starting to unravel. Sharing his Idol info with bestie Devon didn’t come as a surprise, but sharing that info with Ben? Not smart! Then Ben goes and tells Devon about Ryan’s Idol…yikes! To Devon’s credit, he played it off nicely acting like he didn’t already know.  But the fact that Ryan also told Ben just shows Devon that Ryan is playing both sides. The Devon/Ryan alliance seemed to be the season’s strongest, but Ben somehow, unknowingly, was able to throw a wedge in there.

By the way on a side note, I know there were some issues trying to locate the Ponderosa videos last week…I agree that it was a bit difficult how CBS buried the links on their page somewhere, especially after promoting it for people to go to. But there is an easier way to get to these Ponderosa videos: On YouTube, the “SurvivoronCBS” channel. You can even subscribe to that link and you’ll get emails when new content posts, like the weekly secret scenes as well as the Ponderosa videos.  But for simplicity’s sake, here  you go, and this week’s Ponderosa Video also gives a bit of insight on Lauren‘s “missing vote” from a few Tribals back:

Ponderosa Episode 1:

Ponderosa Episode 2:

Survivor: HHH Episode 9 Recap: What The Heck Just Happened?

Episode Take-Away: Again, Dr. Mike‘s move at Tribal was a total head-scratcher for me and it felt like a major fizzling-out…as much as I like Ben as a player and character this season it would have been epic to see him blindsided by, of all people, Dr. Mike. Oh well. With Cole now gone, the majority seven alliance still is steamrolling, but some will have to start feeling like they’re on the bottom…and one might think that one of the three remaining Hustlers would be in trouble. But not so fast. Lauren is super-tight with Ben and in a great position, and Ryan – even after making a mis-step this week – is still in a great relationship with Chrissy who looks to be on her way to the end of the game. That leaves Devon, but Devon seems to be loved by everyone and even was approached by Ben for a Final Three promise. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out…but I’ve been saying that all season! Let’s hope that I end up being right in the end.

Voted out this week: Cole

Won Immunity: Lauren

Vote: Dr. Mike played an Idol on himself. 7 – Cole (Ben, Ryan, Lauren, Devon, Dr. Mike, Joe, Ashley), 2 – Dr. Mike (negated by Idol, JP and Chrissy), 1 – Ben (Cole).

Next Week’s Episode: It’s double the fun! A double-episode of Survivor is coming next Wednesday, which means we will have two people on the Podcast next week! The preview shows – as expected – the majority alliance starting to show some cracks.

Quick Note! Remember to return right here to Reality Tea for my FilmSurvivor Podcast on Monday, where you can listen to my full exit interview with Cole. Last but not least, I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews, including my reviews of “Coco″ and “Last Flag Flying” 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.


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