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We do see Chrissy trying to mend fences with Ashley on the reward feast. Chrissy knows she needs to bring one of the four over to flip the script and thinks Ashley is the most likely to break. Her argument that Ben will win if allowed to get to the end is fine, but what she should really be telling Ashley is that she needs to make a signature move if she wants any hopes of getting any votes at the end. And a signature move does not mean joining Devon and Lauren in taking Ben out, because that becomes a group decision. The signature move is making that move by yourself now! That’s a signature move!
Of course, that’s all kind of a lie. Because let’s play along and see what happens. Let’s say Ashley does flip and join Chrissy, Ryan, and Mike in getting Ben out. History has shown us that it is not the flipper who gets the credit, but rather the person who convinces them to flip. And rightfully so. If you are on the bottom and convince someone on the majority to join you and it works, that is a lot more impressive because you did all the work. Plus, the person who initiates the flipping was not aligned with the majority party that just got flipped on so does not get nearly as much bitterness directed their way as the person who actually deceived them.
So what I’m saying is that at this point Ashley is not going to get a lot of credit no matter what she does. But Chrissy should have been hoping she was not schooled in the game and Survivor psychology enough to realize that and still tried to convince her she needed to make a big move anyway. (Of course, maybe she did and we simply didn’t see it.)
While Chrissy is enjoying her vengeance against Ben, Ben is creating some of his own back at her. He’s making a fake idol and wants to plant it so others find it. I have a few questions about this. First off, does he have a note with a previous idol to go with it? Because if not, is anyone going to buy that phony baloney? I wouldn’t. Also, Ben may have had a harsh back and forth with Chrissy, but he already embarrassed the minority alliance once with his super secret spy routine, so why do it again? What’s the tactical advantage here? Aren’t you just unnecessarily pissing off jury members? Don’t get me wrong: I’d laugh if someone tried to play it, but I’m a horrible person and am not then asking for that individual I just humiliated to hand me a million dollars.
While all this is going on, Lauren finds a rope that acts as the first half of a hidden immunity idol, with a note telling her she must get a shell in front of her platform at the next challenge to make it a complete idol. Hiding idols at challenges: stellar idea! Although this one was a little too easy to get. Here’s another idea I’ll pitch: Why not also try doing something fun here like saying that to retrieve the second half of the idol she would also have to be the third person to drop out of the challenge or something — forcing her to make a difficult decision. Is it worth dropping out of an immunity challenge to get an idol? It’s a decision you could make on the fly as well once you saw how you felt during that particular challenge. (Seeing as how I still haven’t heard back from anyone about the idea I pitched this season of hiding an individual immunity idol in the tribe immunity one, I don’t expect to get much feedback on this one either. I can’t say I blame them. Apparently I’ve hit my quota of annoying ideas to pitch.)
Speaking of immunity, off to the challenge we go to see who gets to win some new (temporary) jewelry. It’s that one where players have to stretch their arms out so their fingertips are pressed against discs on each side. You drop a disc, you’re out. The reason I approve of challenges like this is not because I enjoy watching people suffer. I mean, I do, but it’s actually seeing who has the grit to overcome that pain that I enjoy. It’s why I love the final Thailand coin challenge. It’s all about mastering your pain. (Something I have not been very adept at doing myself, as evidenced by the amount of incessant whining I have been doing the past week over what is essentially a glorified case of the sniffles.)
In any event, when Probst starts off a challenge by announcing, “This will hurt,” I know we’re in for a good time. Although whenever someone says something about being “in for a good time,” that does sound vaguely sleazy, as if someone is providing very specific “good time” services, if you know what I’m saying. Do you know what I’m saying? Hookers. I’m talking about hookers. I suppose since Chrissy and Keith are “in charge of love,” we should find out from them how much this good time is going to cost us.
I’ll tell you someone who is definitely not having a good time, and that is Ben. The former Marine is huffing and puffing and looks like he is about to blow himself down. Sure enough, he is the first one out of the contest, followed by Chrissy and Ryan. Then, after openly encouraging the Sex Doctor to drop out, Lauren out of nowhere carefully takes her discs and puts them down on the ground. Why she just did not let them drop and crash is beyond me. That she took the time and effort to carefully remove them was simultaneously hilarious, bizarre, and terrific.
Eventually it comes down to Devon and Ashley, with Devon negotiating a massage — at least someone is having a good time — to drop out and hand it to her. You really don’t see a lot of immunity negotiating on Survivor, which I suppose is a bit surprising since it happens EVERY SINGLE WEEK on Big Brother. Then again, Big Brother also has a sassy, wisecracking robot who enters the house to insult the contestants sooooooooo, you know…apples and oranges, I guess.
In any event, I don’t like this move by Devon to give up immunity at all, because as we will see later at Tribal, you never know what will happen. And I like it even less when Devon explains that “it is known across the tribe that Ashley and I are big allies.” First off, if that’s true and you are indeed known as big allies even within your own alliance, then you have done a poor job of hiding that. And then why would you point it out? Devon tried to backtrack later at Tribal and say he meant he was big allies with everyone in his alliance, but I still was not a fan of that.
So Ashley wins and then the crazy carnival of strategy shenanigans begins. We’ve gone over most of those events already so I will attempt to show remarkable restraint and not unnecessarily repeat myself, but there are a few things worth pointing out. First off, how incredibly awkward was that scene where Ben walked up to the water well after overhearing his alliance discussing whether to get rid of him? It was absolutely cringetastic. Also, does it count as a Spy Shack if you don’t have to build anything and just walk over and hear people talking about you? Will Tony Vlachos just try to hide inside Ben next time he comes to play? It also seems like this has been happening more and more lately — where people are being overheard talking strategy smack about someone else. (Recap continues on next page)