Survivor recap: San Juan del Sur' recap: Double Trouble
With two episodes airing back-to-back, two people get voted out of the game. Also: Keith continues to be confused.
Living with Jaclyn must be exhausting. I mean, I’m just exhausted looking at the woman, and keep in mind, she is not difficult to look at. Never in my life have I seen someone so despondent any time she is not the center of attention, and this is coming from the father of a tween girl who only leaves the house each morning after 15 meltdowns about what she is going to wear to school.
Jaclyn insists on switching sides because the men are not paying enough attention to her. Then Jaclyn wants to switch sides again because now the women are not paying enough attention to her and inviting her to go ride horseys. Then Jaclyn refuses to talk to her boyfriend RIGHT BEFORE A CRUCIAL VOTE AT TRIBAL COUNCIL because he snapped at her a bit after roughing it for two days alone with no shelter and hardly any food at Exile Island. And I have a pretty good feeling Jaclyn’s bitching right now about the Survivor: San Juan del Sur editor that insisted on including footage of her hairy armpits in the second reward challenge. How hard is it to make this woman happy?
Part of me wonders if this is just a by-product of being a beauty pageant queen where you are used to all eyes being on you at all times and always getting your way. But another part of me remembers the other pageant types—and there have been roughly 1 million and 12 cast on Survivor to date—that have done just fine out in the elements in a cutthroat social setting.
But the thing that is most infuriating about Jaclyn’s wishy-washiness is that whenever she wants to switch sides, it is never about strategy. It’s always just about whom she likes and doesn’t like on that particular day. Jon has been equally irritating with his constant back and forth (switching sides three times on three consecutive votes), but at least he did that on strategic grounds—not saying his strategy was strong, but that was what was guiding him, not who was sitting around gabbing about stupid stuff to him more.
It is amazing that these two have been the pivotal votes at so many Tribal Councils because they are not good players in the least. And yet here they both are in the final 6 with an idol in their collective pocket driving me insane in the membrane. Okay, we had two back-to-back episodes. That’s a lot to get to, so I’ll try to jam through all the big events a bit quicker than normal to cram is as much as I can. Let’s hit the high and low lights.
• “Tribal Council was crazy!” said Keith about Wes’ dismissal. “Didn’t go quite like we anticipated.” Gee, Keith, do you think that might have had something to do with the fact that you blabbed to everyone about your secret plan to blindside Jon? “How would he know that was the plan?” he asked Reed and Alec incredulously after they chided him for opening his big dumb mouth—still not recognizing the fact that his mentioning they had any sort of plan is the type of thing to set off alarms in the opposition’s heads. Is Keith the worst Survivor player ever? I mean, he’s strong in challenges, so I guess that has to count for something. He found an idol—okay, nice work. But he is just so terrible in the nuances of the game that it is borderline shocking. And yet here he also sits in the final 6.
• Jon actually does have a point when he tells Jaclyn not to give Natalie credit for having the strategic smarts to tell him to play his idol. Never give another player a feather in their proverbial cap that they could use later to plead their case to the jury on why they should win. And yet, of course, Jaclyn made it all about her and got upset, thinking Jon was trying to steal her spotlight and credit when, in fact, he was just telling her to keep Natalie out of the picture. Pure 100 percent uncut Jaclyn, who does not seem high maintenance at all.
NEXT: Reed thinks he spots a wink
• The first reward challenge is what the producers call a “F— you” challenge, because it is one of those where if you get a question right you can screw someone over by cutting a rope. Once a player’s rope gets three cuts, a rock smashes over that person’s fake skeleton skull causing blood to ooze out all over the place…which technically doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. (Do skulls bleed profusely?) This particular contest once again offers us a fantastic quote that pretty much sums up this season as a whole. I present it to you now for your consideration:
JEFF PROBST: “Keith, where you going?”
KEITH NALE: “Who knows?”
Exactly. Who knows? Not Keith, that’s for sure! While producers were no doubt hoping that a pecking order would be revealed in this challenge amongst the alliance of five, instead—once Reed, Keith, and Alec were out—the others started literally counting out how many rewards each of them had won so they could throw the competition and handpick the winner. Probst wasn’t having it. “Let me ask you guys a question,” he interjected. “Is this just gonna be a friendly ‘We’re gonna see how this goes between the five of you for the rest of this challenge?’” When told it was, he responded, “Why are we wasting our time? I think this is just a big charade and really if all this is is, ‘We’re just throwing it until we get the person we want to win,’ just tell me who it’s gonna be.” Great idea! Can we also fast-forward this entire season while we’re at it? Kidding! (Am I?) Yes, I am. As I wrote last week, even a subpar season of Survivor is better than most anything else. But good for Probst for putting a stop to that. He basically told them, “I’m not gonna stand here in my custom-made Survivor baseball cap and put up with this bulls—.” And knowing Probst, I bet he gave them all an earful once the cameras stopped rolling. In fact, he’s probably been giving them an earful all season.
• So they chose Missy to win the challenge and Jon to go to Exile Island, where he found one of the most pathetically hidden immunity idols ever. Then, a few interesting things happened. Missy chose Baylor and Natalie to go with her on their horseback riding sleepover feast, which made Jaclyn super pouty. I’m not going to dwell on the Sourpuss Princess anymore, but what was Missy thinking in choosing Natalie over her? Even on the reward itself they spoke about Jaclyn and how “she could easily be swayed.” So why leave her back with the guys to sway her? And then later at Tribal Council Missy said that, “I knew she was going to be approached. I knew it.” Again, why leave her?!?!? And why is everyone this season so terrible at playing this game?!? Oh, also Reed called Baylor a brat several times, which upset Missy because nobody likes to hear her daughter being called a brat. The truth hurts. Rumor has it Jaclyn also got upset about Baylor being called a brat… because once again the attention was not focused enough on her. Also, Jaclyn had not been upset about anything in 7 whole minutes so she was overdue.
• I have nothing to say about this but just want the following quote from Alec entered into the official record: “Downtown Orlando is a blast!”
• The first immunity challenge involved the players balancing an oversize paddle on a stand and rolling balls down said paddle until they landed six balls in six holes. Naturally I was on the edge of my seat just waiting for Probst to bust out several classic out-of-context “ball” quotes… you know, stuff like “landed six balls in six holes.” But Probst was being way too careful, knowing his words would unquestionably end up in this here recap, so instead it was Jon who saved the day by gracing us with “Way to get those balls in there” following Keith’s victory. Yep, way to get those balls in there, Keith.
• I’m not going to waste more space reliving the whole Jon & Jaclyn lovers’ spat at the worst time ever (right before Tribal Council), but I could not help but enjoy the whole confusion surrounding Winkgate. Did Jon wink to Reed when Natalie interrupted their strategy discussion? Or was that just some of that poison from the leaves used to build a shelter roof getting in his eyes? Or was it wishful thinking on Reed’s part? Or has this season reached the point where I am spending an entire paragraph discussing an alleged wink that had no bearing on the game whatsoever?
NEXT: Natalie makes herself a third wheel… in bed
• At the first Tribal Council, basically everyone accused downtown Orlando pimp daddy Alec of flirting with Jaclyn, Jaclyn talked about how hurt she was not to be picked to go on a horsey ride, Reed loves his mom judging by his water bottle, and Missy accused Reed of being a “rabble-rouser,” which may be my favorite thing Missy has done all season because I love the phrase “rabble-rouser.” (She also said “By the way, my child is not a brat,” as if saying it made it true.) They then all voted Reed out. We didn’t see much of anything from Reed until Josh got voted out, which surprised me because I know what a huge fan of the game he is. But these past few episodes we saw him attempting to make big moves, and last week’s may have just worked had Keith not opened his mouth at Tribal Council. Oh well. Sucks for him.
Well, that’s gonna wrap up this week of Survivor. Don’t forget to check out my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as the exclusive deleted…wait, what? We’re only halfway through and have a whole other hour to go? Well, okay. Sorry, Modern Family, blackish, and whatever sporting event I may have been mildly interested enough to switch over to and let’s do this… even though Jon just kicked things off in hour number two talking about how he is “steering and controlling the direction of the game.” I cannot stress how positively depressed that makes me.
• The second reward challenge is an endurance affair, as players have to stand on a small block while stabilizing a ball against a piece of wood. Your ball drops, you’re out. And yes, I will keep the typical Dalton Ross complaining about the discrepancy in foot size leading to a huge advantage for the women to a minimum…as long as it does not come down to two women in the end. DAMMIT! It came down to two women at the end. (Knew it.) Indeed, Natalie and Jaclyn are the last players standing. Natalie wins and sends Alec to Exile Island, although if I were Alec I would be psyched about that because there should be another clue and hidden immunity idol there. Since two were played at a recent Tribal Council, and only one found since, that would stand to reason that another one is there for the taking. At least that’s what I would figure. But since Alec is super boring, we see not a single second of his time at Exile, so who knows? (Who knows? Was that rhetorical? Because I know who knows. Jeff Probst knows! So I asked him in this week’s Q&A. Read his response there to find out.)
• Natalie picked Jaclyn and Jon to join her in bed, and I realize that makes it sound like they were preparing to take a drive down the three-way freeway, but it’s just because the reward was a comfy bed for the night, including wine and dinner. And I can’t tell you how ready I was to mock Jon for his pompous chatter about wanting to be a sommelier while incessantly shaking the liquid around in his glass like some sort of wine snob. But then he went and had to talk about his dad dying of brain cancer, causing me to feel like a real jerkface. It even killed my headline of “The Wine & The Whine” (Get it? Cause Jon likes wine. And Jaclyn likes to whine. So The Wine & The Whine…? No? Not working? Oh well.)
• When did Jon being lazy become a thing? I don’t remember hearing anything about him being lazy or sleeping all day until now. All I know is it’s never good when freakin’ Baylor thinks you’re not doing enough work around camp.
• Another quote to sum up Survivor: San Juan del Sur, this time from Natalie while talking about Jon: “If he wins, I will literally kill myself.”
NEXT: Did Natalie and Baylor miss the most obvious target?
• The second immunity challenge is a redo of one I believe we saw in the last Blood vs. Water season. I have a vague recollection of Tyson winning it, but don’t quote me on that. (Unless I’m right, in which case definitely quote me.) In this one, the players have to pull a rope balancing a wobbling table and bring back wooden blocks one at a time. First one to set up all 10 blocks win. I will say this: You all know I love water challenges and always bitch and moan when there are not enough of them. So let’s set that aside for a second. Although I am not a fan of Nicaragua because the water there does not allow for more in-water contests, at least the ones that have been occurring on land have been decent. No Survivor bowling or nonsense like that. Challenge producer John Kirhoffer and his team have done a good job of using the terrain at their disposal. I’m not saying this particular wobbly table contest is the be all and end all, but it is good in that it is easy to track and monitor each player’s progress, and I like watching the players walk that fine line in determining just how fast to go without going too fast. Oh, by the way, Jon won.
• This, I do not understand. After Jon won immunity, it took Natalie and Baylor’s plan to blindside him off the table. But why not just shift the target to Jaclyn? You can’t say it is because he had another idol he could have given her, because he had that idol when they put that plan into effect to begin with. So again, why not target Jaclyn? You take out his biggest ally. Leave him in a minority with perhaps only Baylor’s mom as an ally. It’s the perfect back-up plan! And yet we never heard a single word about it. Instead, Natalie decided to flip her vote from Keith to Alec just to piss Jon off and keep a bigger threat to beat him in immunity competitions in the game. If you are going to turn your back on him, turn it all the way and inflict as much damage as possible. Booting his biggest ally does the most damage. So yeah, I still don’t understand why… OH MY GOD, IT’S A RAT! A RAT RUNNING ON THE GROUND AND NOT HARMING ANYONE OR ANYTHING OR EVEN TOUCHING ANYONE OR ANYTHING!!! EEEEEEEEEK! HOW SCARY!!! Actually, after living in the East Village of New York City for a decade, I don’t even blink (or wink, Reed) when I see a rat. In fact, I actively look for them down on the tracks whenever I am waiting for my subway train to come because what else is there to do when you are standing on the platform? Talk to people? Hell no!
• So, yeah, Jon was perplexed when it was Alec and not Keith (or “Kieth,” according to Alec) who was voted out. As for Alec, he wasn’t too bummed about it. “I didn’t win, but at least I beat Drew,” he said in his final words. “So that counts as a win for me.” Of course it does.
Okay, no more false alarms. This time that will do it. But you really should go check out my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst because, you know, he’s host of the show and all. Also, you may not have seen any of Alec at Exile (non) Island, but we have an exclusive deleted scene of him talking about his time there in the video player below along with our pre-game interviews with Reed/Josh and Alec/Drew. We’ll also have fresh exit interviews with Reed and Alec on the InsideTV Podcast. And for more Survivor scoop sent directly to you, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
Now it’s your turn. Did you love or loathe getting back-to-back episodes? Who’s to blame for the lovers’ spat: Jon or Jaclyn? And whom are you rooting for to win Survivor: San Juan del Sur. Hit the message boards to weigh in, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy.