S35 E12
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S35 E12
December 06, 2017 at 09:00 PM EST

I think I need to see a doctor. Not a Sex Doctor, mind you. Rather, I need a doctor for matters above the belt — the neck, specifically. Because I am suffering from some serious Survivor whiplash. And I’m guessing I am far from alone. We may want to consider some sort of class action lawsuit against Mark Burnett, CBS, and the Survivor Entertainment Group (yes, there is such a thing) for the high-speed back and forth that went down in the latest episode.

See if you can follow this: Devon, Lauren, and Ashley seem ready to vote Chrissy off. But then Ben overhears his name in the mix, so he gets Mike and Ryan on board to vote out Lauren. Only problem is, vengeance-seeking Chrissy refuses to go along and insists on voting Ben out. So then Mike goes back to Lauren and squeals on Ben, so now they all plan to vote for Ben. Then, at Tribal Council, Ryan and Mike decide to vote for Lauren. Chrissy then agrees to that. But then Mike says to Chrissy to vote for Ben, and now after earlier refusing to vote for Lauren and insisting on voting for Ben, Chrissy refuses to vote for Ben and insists on voting for Lauren. BUT THEN SHE VOTES FOR BEN! Say what?!?!? But Ben does not go home because he plays an idol. So Lauren goes home even though nobody but Ben ended up voting for her. And a parrrrrrrrrrrtridge in a pear tree!

You presumably came here for me to make sense of all of this, but I can’t. (We did see Chrissy and Ryan asking Mike to be brave and vote for Lauren right before the vote, so I suppose he declined and they fell in line and joined him in attempting to oust Ben.) In truth, it all could not have worked out better for either them or us. For viewers, we got to watch levels upon levels of strategy and gamesmanship. For players, they just burned Ben’s idol (which they clearly did not even know he had) plus Lauren’s extra vote and idol, putting everyone in the game back on equal footing.

The only person who came out a loser in this entire scenario is Lauren, and she can chalk up that defeat to two haunting decisions. First off, she told everyone about her extra vote. That, coupled with the idol she procured, made her a target. Information is power, and she gave away way too much information in this game. Her second error was giving away half of her immunity to Mike, rendering the half she kept useless. “It falls into those stupidest moves ever in Survivor history,” said Mike. “And the only question is, do the Survivor gods make her pay for it or not?” They did.

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Look, I get what Lauren was trying to do here. I understand she was attempting to build some trust with Mike and was trying to make herself less of a target by giving that away. But here’s the thing: You can’t build trust with a guy you just doubly duped by not telling him Ben was a spy and also not using your double vote at the previous TC like you promised. Mike is done trusting anyone. That trust ship has sailed and run into a huge iceberg — and I’m sorry to say that if that plank of wood floating in the water is not large enough to hold both Kate and Leo, then it certainly isn’t big enough to hold the both of you.

And as far as making yourself less of a target, that’s not the way you get rid of an idol. The way you get rid of an idol is by playing it — that way you still maintain some safety and can’t be voted out, but then you are no longer a target moving forward after that.

So yeah, Lauren screwed up, and I’m sure she’s not happy about it. Then again, is Lauren happy about anything? Did we ever even see her crack a smile in 33 days? I’m not saying she needed to be a charter member of The Coconuts, but the woman never appeared to be having any fun out there. And Survivor should be fun — although I suppose Keith Nale would disagree. But even Mr. “Survivor Ain’t Fun” seemed to be enjoying himself out there, like when he stole the tuk-tuk. Regardless of her lack of a certain joie de vivre, Lauren became a fan favorite due to her no-nonsense style. And I’m very curious to see how that translates to her new role as a member of the jury. But that’s looking way too far ahead. Let’s buckle up and recap the rest of this S.O.B.

The episode begins with the aftermath of Super Spy Ben finally being revealed, and the minority is licking its collective wounds. “I just believe people when they tell me something,” laments the Sex Doctor. “I was just duped…I had no idea.… I’m in an awful spot right now,” says Ryan. Chrissy, however, goes on the offensive. “What you did tonight really showed your true colors,” she tells the wannabe Daniel Day-Lewis. “You’re such a jerk, Ben.”

This is the first (but far from last) hypocritical picking at Ben for deceiving by folks who have done plenty of deceiving on their own. Deception is part of Survivor and I don’t have time for people who celebrate when they’re on the giving end of it but whine and get holier than thou when on the receiving end. If you can’t handle being lied to, DON’T PLAY SURVIVOR!!! (And I say this as someone who actually likes Chrissy.)

Okay, enough ranting. Let’s go watch people break down and cry for 10 minutes. Yes, it’s the loved ones visit! I dig the loved ones visit. Not because I am so moved by these super-emotional displays of affection. You all know me better than that. No, I dig it because you see contestants at their most vulnerable. I dig it because there are usually one or two zany relatives you kind of want to build a sitcom around. And I dig it because you get to hear Jeff Probst utter super-awkward things like “Ashley, let’s get you some love,” and “Chrissy and Keith, you’re in charge of love!” (In charge of love? Does that mean Chrissy and her husband just became island pimps or something?) (Recap continues on next page)

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