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Also, some thoughts on Chrissy refusing to listen to or believe Ben. As the Sex Doctor said himself, “It is vengeance at this point.” On one hand, you could say that since Ben burned her before, it does not make strategic sense to trust him again. That can be situationally true, but look at the situation she is in: Whom else can she trust? What other options does she have? Ben shares a plan to get rid of Lauren, and yet then Chrissy says she still wants to vote out Ben? How does that make sense? (Unless that scene with the Sex Doctor was shown out of chronological order and Chrissy had already been approached by Lauren and Co. to vote Ben off, in which case, it totally does.)
Regardless, Chrissy clearly has an axe to grind with Ben, and if she was worried she could not trust him, here’s what she should have said. “Look, you duped me and made me look really foolish. Fine. I’m prepared to let that go. But I am telling you right here and right now, if you are lying to me about Lauren, not only will I not vote for you at the end of the game to win, but I will do everything within my power to influence the other jurors and tell them all the reasons why they should not vote for you either. I will poison that jury so hard that not even a lifetime of building up a tolerance for iocane powder will protect them. So if you are telling me the truth, I am with you and let’s go do this. But if you are lying to me yet again, your game is done. What’s it going to be?”
Now, let me be clear about something. I don’t think Chrissy should follow through on that threat and not vote for someone or poison the jury just because she got lied to. That would be super lame. (Unfortunately, it happens all the time.) You all know my feeling on bitter juries — it’s as if their entire view of the game is clouded by a thick layer of weak sauce. HOWEVER, there is nothing wrong with threatening to do that. It’s just one of many calculated bluffs that can be made throughout the game. And if you think the empty threat of repercussions will get you closer to the truth or further in the game, then you should absolutely 100 percent do it. Had Chrissy pulled this and said that to Ben, she likely would have been confident enough that he was on the level.
Speaking of reactions to Ben, let’s get into the fact that Ashley, Lauren, and Devon were killing Ben at Tribal for betraying them and being disloyal. Are they auditioning for roles on The Good Place or something? Because that was pure comedy. We’ve heard the three of them discuss the possibility of turning on Ben for days now. And his move to get rid of Lauren was only a reaction to hearing them talking about when to get rid of him! And yet now they are getting all holier than thou about trust? Puh-leeze.
Also, did Lauren really not bring her extra vote to Tribal? I couldn’t tell if that was fact or fiction. She didn’t use it, but that could just be because she was confident everyone was voting for Ben anyway — which they were. But if she did indeed leave it back at camp, that was yet another boneheaded move on her part this episode. You always bring every idol and advantage with you just because YOU NEVER TRULY KNOW. And if you get in trouble, you can’t play it if you don’t have it. If Lauren had brought it, she could have used that second vote on Mike, Chrissy, or Ryan to force a tie as a safety measure in case Ben played an idol (which he did). She still probably would gone out on the revote, but again, you don’t even have that option if you don’t bring it with you.
Another thing will never be played? Lauren’s idol. That was assured once Mike threw the half she had given him into the Tribal Council fire. “I’ve been wanting to do this for 15 years,” proclaimed the Sex Doctor, whose math is clearly a bit off seeing as how there were nether idols nor fake idols 15 years ago. But much like Bluto talking about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor — forget it, he’s rolling.
So then all the craziness goes down, with so many sidebar conversations happening I half-thought I was watching an old rerun of The Practice. In the end, Ben’s idol saves him, and as the wise Jeffrey Probst so eloquently points out: “It was a Tribal Council in which everything was out in the open, and yet the one thing that had the most power was the only secret.”
This whole season has served as Exhibit A as to the dangers of sharing information. Joe asked Cole to help him find an idol, and then Cole told everyone. Cole also told everyone about Jessica’s advantage. Ryan told Ben about his idol, and Ben immediately squealed to Devon about it, causing Devon to leave his day 1 alliance-partner. Lauren told everyone about her extra vote and it made her a target. Lauren’s idol was found with Ben and then Ben told everyone about it, making her an even bigger target, forcing her in her mind to give it up. “Jeff, here’s what people are saying at home,” said Ben at Tribal. “Don’t reveal that you have an idol or an advantage.” I feel like we have been saying that for years. And yet people keep doing it, and people keep paying the price.
And thank God they do, because it makes for fantastic television. This season has definitely picked up since the merge. It’s certainly not an all-time great for me, but it’s not an immediate afterthought either. I have a lot of meditation and thinking to do before I put it into my updated season-by-season rankings next week, that’s for sure. But that’s for next week. We’re not done with this week yet. That’s because we have an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode for you above. And our weekly Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst is always a must-read. Want to hear from the ousted Lauren? Well, the very first place you can do that is on EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) at 9:40 a.m. ET, and we’ll have that up later on EW.com as well. Also, if you did not yet vote in our Survivor winner rankings, please do so and make your voice heard, as we will be posting the results next week. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on the Twitter @DaltonRoss.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Did you want to see Ben or Lauren go? Were you as underwhelmed by the loved ones challenge as I was? And who do you want to see win from those who are left? Hit the message boards to weigh in and I’ll be back next week with a penultimate scoop of the crispy!