Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Survivor recap: Fighting For Pole Position

A major blindside is considered as the final 6 welcome their loved ones and battle for immunity

Posted on

Image Credit: CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

What a wasted opportunity. All the pieces were in place. Everything was set up perfectly. We, the audience, were on the edge of our collective seat waiting for it to happen. But it never did. And when it was all over, we were left to curse the wasted chance. I’m speaking, of course, of the final leg of the Immunity Challenge. And perhaps the worst job by Jeff Probst ever in calling a challenge. I’ve known Jeff for a lot of years. Sometimes we agree on things, sometimes we don’t, but I have always considered him very good at his job. Until now. Because what just happened was a full-on travesty. You remember the situation — the contestants had used rope and sticks to make a pole that then needed to be used to push a target. A golden, gift-wrapped opportunity for prime sexually-inappropriate-when-taken-completely-out-of-context comments if ever there was one! Everything was all teed up.

Yet as Carter and Malcolm battled it out for immunity, we kept waiting and waiting. Surely the unintentional hilarity would be coming fast and furious. But no! (Not unless you consider Probst’s opening instruction of “You need to erect a pole long enough and strong enough to knock over your target,” — which was, indeed, impressive for the use of “erect” and “pole” in such close proximity to each other.) Alas, clearly determined to give me less fodder for this week’s recap, Probst’s play-by-play consisted of mere banalities such as “Carter taking a shot!” and “Malcolm now taking a shot!” UNACCEPTABLE! Here are just a few of the play-calling gems that Probst passed up:

“Malcolm extending his pole as far as it will go!”

“Carter’s pole is turning limp!”

“Malcolm’s pole appears to be longer than Carter’s!”

“Carter can’t get his pole back up!”

“Malcolm’s pole rubbing up and down its intended target!”

“Abi and Lisa, sneaking a peek at Malcolm’s pole!”

“Carter, trying desperately to beat Malcolm’s pole with his own!”

Okay, maybe that last one is taking it a tad too far, but coming from a guy that just last season treated us to “Tarzan’s balls haven’t moved in a long time!” and “Troyzan, with balls on both sides of his disk!” it would not have seemed completely out of place. Probst cannot bust out those beauties only to then do a complete 180 and give us a challenge with dudes using gigantic poles to rub up against targets and not throw out a few instant classics. First he refuses to jet ski the final Tribal Council votes all the way back to America anymore, and now this?!? You’re on thin ice, mister!

But before that ice breaks, let’s go through the rest of the episode, starting from the very top. We begin after Penner’s ouster from Tribal Council. Abi is aware of the final four alliance and tries to get something happening strategy-wise with Carter. “I don’t know,” he responds. “I’m not thinking about it right now.” What is Carter thinking about exactly? If I had to guess, I’d go with a solitary tumbleweed blowing across an abandoned ghost town. Or perhaps the Meow Mix jingle. Of course, it’s been a good 11 seconds since the always subtle Abi last claimed to have a hidden immunity idol, so she brags once again about her non-existent lifesaver.

NEXT: Loved ones alert!