Jaclyn had some things to get off her chest after Wes had some things he had to get out of his body
I have this neighbor. Don’t even know his name. He walks by my house all the time with his big, hairy dog, and I always make a point of saying hello. Now, I don’t go crazy and, like, start a conversation or anything. But I extend common courtesy—a cheery greeting coupled with an awkward smile (because I don’t know how to smile normally ever since I got braces, retainers, and headgear as a teenager and therefore did not show my teeth in photos for an extended period of time). Am I doing this to make like State Farm and be a good neighbor? Hardly. I do this so the dude doesn’t let his big hairy dog take a crap in my yard.
I used to find such droppings on my lawn on a semi-regular basis and this particular canine became suspect #1. The best way to put a stop to such shenanigans, I figured, was to make sure the man allowing—nay, encouraging!—this activity could put a friendly face with the house and thereby feel too guilty to continue. And you know what? It worked!
I bring this up to illustrate why Jon & Jaclyn just took a proverbial dump all over Josh’s game. The lack of alliance maintenance is something I will never understand on this show. How many times throughout the years have we seen people on the top of an alliance completely ignore people on the bottom, only to then watch those neglected parties jump ship and turn the tables? (Somewhere, Shambo is nodding her mullet vigorously in approval.) This is the most underrated aspect of Boston Rob’s game in the Redemption Island season. He constantly checked in with every single member of his alliance of sheep and made them each feel vitally important.
Josh, Reed, Alex, Wes, and Keith are clearly no Boston Rob (although maybe they will be in their fourth time playing). They got way too comfortable. They thought they had Jon and Jaclyn safely in their alliance and once Jon went off to Exile (non) Island, they did not feel the need to socialize nor interact with Jaclyn. Instead, I guess Wes thought it would be cool to fart in her face. And Alec thought she would take kindly to him treating the women like second-class citizens by ordering them to throw out his trash.
But don’t take my word for it that Alec and the others felt way too comfortable. Let him tell you! “I’m feeling as comfortable as I probably could,” he said about Jaclyn as an alliance partner, noting that she “will do whatever Jon says.” And that’s the attitude that just lost you their votes, and, in all likelihood, the game. I don’t know how much clearer I can state this, but I seemingly say it every season and yet players still ignore it: The people on the bottom of your alliance are the ones you need to be nicest to. They are the ones who control the game… at least when they are the swing votes. Don’t be an idiot! Suck it up, do the extra work, act interested in what they have to say, and for God’s sake, stop passing gas in the shelter! And the fact that Alec thought that Jon, not Jaclyn, would be the one to determine which alliance they went with when one side was acting so dismissively toward her shows that Alec has absolutely zero idea of how decision-making works in a relationship. And zero idea how the game of Survivor works as well.
As a result, Josh was voted out in what may just qualify as the shocker of the season. I say shocker because Josh had definitely been getting the “winner’s edit” so far—a pumped-up edit usually given to people who will make it very far in the game. But here he is, the first person voted out after the merge. It’s a shame to see him go, as he and Jeremy have been the biggest gamers so far, and their battle was the best thing about this season. How will San Juan del Sur fill that dramatic void with that battle now over? We’ll have to wait and see, but here’s the other activity that went down in episode 8. We better get through it before my neighbor makes his regular late-night rounds with his dog, Max. I actually have no idea if that is the dog’s name, but seemingly every other dog on the planet is named Max, so I figure I have a 50/50 shot of being right. Okay, other notes of interest from this episode in handy bullet-point form:
• Am I the only person who gets a bit bummed out when Probst announces they are going to choose teams for a reward challenge by a schoolyard pick ’em… and then they do not show the schoolyard pick ’em? We know Missy was not picked and had to sit out, but who were the captains? Who was picked first? Who was picked last, before Missy? Kinda curious. I get that there are only so many minutes in the broadcast and you don’t want to eat up airtime with someone hemming and hawing like Eliza Orlins voting at the Micronesia final Tribal Council (check her out at the 1:42 mark, milking it for a full 25 seconds!). The deliberations would probably not be all that interesting: “Hmmm… whom should I pick? Reed’s a dancer so he must be athletic. But Wes might be able to disorient the other team by breaking wind in their faces, so he also could be a good call. Decisions! Decisions!” Anyway, I’m happy to air said pick ‘em as a deleted scene on EW.com if CBS would hook me up with the footage.
NEXT: Jon finally gets a clue… as in, a real clue
• Otherwise, the challenge was cool enough. Two teams had to load heavy puzzle pieces on a cart and then build a temple to unlock a statue which they then had to hoist to victory. I realize those instructions make it seem more confusing than it actually was. I also realize that the word hoist sounds an awful lot like the word moist and therefore I may have inadvertently given a large percentage of you reading this an immediate case of the heebie-jeebies, and for that I apologize. The yellow team of Keith, Natalie, Reed, Jeremy, and Wes won. Yay for them. They then decided to send Jon to Exile (non) Island because he had never been there and, unlike Missy, could survive.
• A few weeks ago, I noted that Keith’s quote of “Is this a good time for me to nap?” right before Tribal Council pretty much summed up the entire season so far, but this humdinger by Natalie at the reward feast does the job as well: “Are we supposed to be talking about strategy like other people do on rewards, or just eating?” Nope. Just eating. Why bother strategizing to win a million dollars when there are tacos to scarf down? In Natalie’s defense, it was a weird group and there really was nobody to try and woo over as everyone was pretty firm on their particular side, but still, that was a very San Juan del Sur quote.
• Wes orders tacos with double meat and double cheese and then wonders why he keeps farting all over the place? His epic intake guarantees that Wesley skips right past the silent but violent stage, going straight to loud and proud. And he does seem proud about it. Forget what Jeremy said about there being women around, there are freakin’ cameras around! People all across the country are watching you squeeze the cheese, for crissakes! In what universe is that possibly attractive?
• Josh’s plea to Baylor that “I feel like you owe me at least one vote to not vote for Reed or I” is ludicrous. For one thing, the grammar is terrible, but lord knows I churn out some piss-poor grammar while racing to get this recap up, so we can excuse that for the moment. But what about the fact that Josh wrote Baylor’s name down at the very first Tribal Council? And what about the fact that NOBODY OWES ANYONE ANYTHING IN THIS GAME?!? Don’t believe me? Ask Lex, who convinced his buddies in All-Stars to save Amber under the promise that Boston Rob would owe them one… and then Boston Rob voted them all out. Or ask Yau-Man, who gave that lunatic Dreamz (yes, Dreamz… with a Z!) a free car in Fiji under the promise that Dreamz would not vote him out… and then Dreamz voted him out. I haven’t had much cause to praise Baylor in this game—although I certainly would not whup her seven times like Keith would—but good for her for seeing through that lame ploy. Although she can dial down the indignation over Josh abandoning his Christian values for even bringing it up. This is not a Bible class, it’s Survivor. Folks with religious beliefs are allowed to play by the same rulebook as everybody else, and should not be criticized more heavily or called hypocritical for doing so. Why? Because It. Is. A. Game. And everyone’s allowed to play.
• Wow, that was one easy hidden immunity idol clue. Jon got a hint to the location of a new idol at Exile (non) Island and it went something like this: “Go climb on the rocky pillar until you find an idol because it is there and nowhere else and not enough people are playing idols this season and not a lot else is happening so we would appreciate it if you could go find it and use it because that would be swell because all the fans said they wanted all new players so we gave them all new players again but you guys really aren’t delivering so what are you still doing reading this clue when you should be searching already before it gets dark and/or the tide comes in and by the way now that Julie is gone the other producers asked me to ask you to ask your girlfriend to walk around in a bikini a lot more because we have a quota of cleavage shots we have to hit every episode by order of Les Moonves and the Columbia Broadcasting System.” (How they managed to fit all of that onto the tiny parchment I’ll never know.) Oh, and whaddya know… Jon found the idol!
NEXT: The return of the hotly-debated memory challenge
• The memory challenge is back! A fun little backstory on this: After the memory challenge appeared last season, Jeff Probst wrote in our weekly EW.com Q&A that he was not a fan of it and they would probably get rid of it. Too boring, he argued. But then I did what I do best—I argued right back! I wrote him a waaaaaay too lengthy email explaining the virtues of the memory challenge. The basic gist of my argument was that this was one of the few Survivor challenges that you could actually play along at home. And while I usually do prefer big action spectaculars and certainly would not want memory challenges every week (or even more than once a season), I do think it is fun to match wits with the contestants and see how you compare (granted, on a full belly and full night’s sleep) against the players. Probst then took to social media and asked others to weigh in and many folks agreed. So, lo and behold, it’s back! I guess when you get right down to it what I’m saying is, if you completely hate this challenge beyond all belief… my bad. And even if you refute my stance that the memory challenge is welcome in moderation, you have to appreciate that it came down to Josh vs. Jeremy—the two best players and the two most likely candidates to be voted out going—down to the wire for immunity. In the end, Jeremy took it. Did that play a part in Jon and Jaclyn switching sides?
• There is no doubt the Blood vs. Water twist has not played out nearly as well here as it did the last time, but you still get some flourishes, like when Keith told Missy that “I hate to be blunt, but Baylor don’t do s—.” It’s one thing to dis a contestant to someone. It’s another thing when that someone happens to be the contestant’s mother. No doubt producers thought they would be getting a lot of loved-ones related fireworks, especially after the whole Rocker-Val-Jeremy-Julie thing, but it’s been pretty light since then. I’ve always said that Survivor is a game of chemistry. You pour a bunch of different elements into a tube and shake it up. Sometimes the mixture explodes; other times, it just kind of fizzles out.
• Am I the only one who noticed at Tribal Council how after Missy said that Wes and Alec just sit around and “literally belch, fart, spit,” Wes responded by licking his own face? I don’t care if that was an out of context reaction plugged into that specific spot for maximum emphasis—it was still brilliant. But perhaps not as brilliant as this response from papa Keith: “I have not heard Wesley fart lately, or spit. But I’ve had a little bit of gas. I’m sure everybody on this panel has had gas. That’s just a normal bodily function.” Mr. Keith Nale, ladies and gentlemen!
• Alas, Josh was voted out. It would have been nice to have both him and Jeremy in the game for a bit longer. FUN FACT: Reed is actually the more long-term Survivor fan in that couple, not Josh. But you wouldn’t know it by the way they were playing. I’ve been a bit rough on this cast, but Josh was a totally solid addition. Sorry to see him go. He just didn’t work hard enough making all of his alliance-mates feel integral to what was going on, which is why he’s now on the outside looking in.
Speaking of looking at things—awkward segue alert!—you should make sure to check out this week’s Q&A with the Hostmaster General, Jeff Probst, as well as our exclusive deleted scene and pre-game interview with Josh and Reed in the video player below. We’ll have our exit interview with Josh in Thursday’s edition of the InsideTV Podcast, and for more Survivor scoop you can follow me on Twitter @Dalton Ross.
Now it’s your turn. Did Jon & Jaclyn pick the right side? Were you Team Josh or Team Jeremy? And are you pro- or anti-memory challenges? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy.