It is the time to give thanks, so let’s give thanks right here and now for Survivor. Because here we are, in season freakin’ 33, still experiencing shock, delight, and dismay over a television program that — by all measures of logic and precedence — has no business still being on the air. And yet it is! And it is still awesome. Look for no further proof than the two humdinger episodes unleashed on Thanksgiving eve.
This is the night when Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X graduated from a very good season to a great one. As if the blindside in the first hour wasn’t enough, we were then treated to one of the tensest Tribals ever when a thrice-deadlocked vote led to the dreaded black (né purple) rock. Let’s begin with the end, as we dive deep into this second-hour Tribal Council.
First off, let’s set the table. Zeke was coming for David and David was coming for Zeke. Zeke knew David was coming for him because Bret told him. Also, Hannah is a terrible liar. I mean, seriously, the worst. Zeke had gone to her to solidify her support, and instead of just lying and saying, “Sounds good, you’re right, he needs to go,” she may as well have turned on a giant neon sign flashing “I WANT TO VOTE YOU OUT!” on top of her head by not agreeing immediately with Zeke’s plan to oust David.
So now Zeke wants to take out Hannah instead (because David already told him he had an idol — WHOOPS!). Hannah sensed she was now the target and said this to David before heading to Tribal: “I’m probably going to need your idol tonight.” That’s important. File that one away, because it will definitely come back into play.
Now we get to Tribal Council and everything goes haywire. First off, Hannah and Adam spend the entire time whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Usually, this could be a good sign of two strategic stalwarts fine-tuning their game play, but it strikes me as something else — two neurotic Nervous Nellies looking for any reason to talk themselves out of the right move to make.
Meanwhile, there is other drama afoot. Bret and Zeke — who had a really nice moment earlier in the episode, when Bret told Zeke he was gay and we actually saw the starkest example of the cultural differences between some members of different generations — start making ugly personal attacks on David, mocking his anxiety and asking if he’s going to cry. That was a bad look for Bret and Zeke. And then Bret starts yelling at Ken for asking about all the whispering going on. And then a giant bug goes and lands on Taylor’s shirt, causing Taylor to ignore the rest of Tribal Council while he keeps gazing into the bug’s eyes and telling the flying menace how hot it is.
Like I said, crazy stuff. But we’re not done. Not by a long shot. Because Hannah will not rest until she has whispered with every single cast member, past, present, and future. She starts asking Zeke “What is happening?” and Sunday “What’s the plan?” Sunday tells her the plan is to vote out Ken.
Okay, awesome. So now, since Hannah and Adam know Sunday is on the other side of the great David vs. Zeke divide, the only clear and rational deduction anyone with half a brain could make is that they’re actually planning to vote for Hannah. Because why would they tell you whom they’re voting for if they’re trying to vote one of you out? So obviously Sunday is lying. Game. Set. Match. See ya, Zeke!
And yet, then the most inexplicable thing this entire season — and that includes Zeke’s Hawaiian shirt — happens after the votes are cast when David stands up to play his idol. Clearly he is about to play it for Hannah, but then Hannah tells him to wait. Then she stops. Hannah looks really confused. Granted, Hannah always looks really confused, but now she looks even more confused, if that’s possible. Then Adam weighs in about Sunday whispering to go for Ken. So David listens to Adam and Hannah and wastes his idol playing it for someone nobody was voting for.
This is not unlike watching a horror movie and seeing some oblivious buxom coed about to open the door to a closet in which the serial killer with the meat cleaver is waiting inside. You see her death coming, yet are powerless to stop it. So you just start yelling in slow motion in your mind. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
How could Adam and Hannah fall for this? They consider themselves students of the game, but they just got schooled. I would give major props to Sunday for outwitting them, but what she was doing was so patently obvious I actually thought it was a bad move on her part — it essentially told the Millennials they were actually targeting Hannah instead. I mean, of course she was lying to them! Honestly, this was the most shocking moment of the episode for me.
So we end with a 5-5 tie between Zeke and Hannah. That means it’s time for a revote. You can see Jessica wavering. Zeke tells her he realigns with people all the time. Hannah tells her to stay strong. Jessica pulls an Eliza Orlins and pauses at the voting urn for the same amount of time it takes Bret to polish off nine drinks, which, granted, is not all that long.
NEXT: Why Jessica had no choice but to go to rocks