Someone got voted out on tonight’s Survivor, but most of the debate and discussion will center around the trade Jeff Probst offered to the Hunahpu tribe for more rice (since they had gorged themselves on their entire supply already). My full recap will be up later [UPDATE: Dalton’s recap is now live], but read on to find out or sound off on what happened. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched tonight’s episode of Survivor: San Juan del Sur.]
After Hunahpu won yet another immunity challenge, Coyopa voted Dale and his fake immunity idol out of the game. But that’s not what will have people talking. In last week’s episode, the Hunahpu tribe revealed that they had eaten through almost the entirety of the rice that was supposed to last 39 days in only 14. They asked Probst if they could trade something for more grub, and tonight Probst presented his offer. He demanded all the comfort items (which included the tarp protecting them from rain) as well as the hatchet, the hammer, one of the pots and the extra flint. While Jeremy did not seem so keen on making the deal, his tribemates agreed to it so Probst left a full bag of rice and dragged off the items…just in time for a big rainstorm.
So the question becomes: Was it a fair trade? Hunahpu becomes the first tribe in Survivor history to need an official bail-out due to their gluttony. (Folks needed more food in The Australian Outback, but that was due to a flood washing away their supply.) And, as Probst pointed out, all that extra rice Hunahpu was eating had to have helped them win all those challenges against the other team, keeping them in the game. So on the surface, it would seem that a harsher penalty might be in order — like, say, forcing them to immediately vote someone out.
However, here is where things get complicated. Three of the seven current Hunahpu members were not only not a part of that rice gorging, but were actually victims of it. Alec, Wes, and Josh were part of Coyopa before the tribe swap and watched their team lose member after member due at least partly to the fact that they were rationing their nourishment while the other team was not. And former Hunahpu members Missy, Keith, and Jon — who enjoyed all those extra servings — are now free from retribution over on Coyopa (as was Kelley before she got voted out). So how much should the new Hunahpuians pay for the sins of the others?
So while Probst taking all the luxury items back may have seemed a bit anti-climactic due to the weeklong build-up and prospect of even harsher penalties such as a vote-out or disadvantage in the next immunity challenge, it probably was the fairest and most appropriate solution considering almost half the tribe was not to blame and you cannot actually let people starve to death on national television.
What do you think? Was the Probst penalty too harsh, not harsh enough, or just right? Hit the message boards to weigh in and then check out my full recap. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.