S35 E13
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S35 E13
December 13, 2017 at 09:00 PM EST

I had a babysitter once. I mean, I had a babysitter a lot of times when I was a little kid. My parents were pretty social — hitting parties, hanging out with friends, staying out late…basically, the complete opposite of me. So I had a lot of babysitters. But there was this one babysitter who was the best. She was the best because she just turned on the TV, walked out of the room, and left me alone.

And let me tell you something — I would sit there for hours and hours watching some of the most God-awful television that has ever been put on the air. Reruns of Welcome Back Kotter, televised competitions where Ralph Malph from Happy Days would be trying to out-kayak Tootie from Facts of Life in a swimming pool on Battle of the Network Stars, and even some hysterically terrible TV movie called Dream House where John Schneider from Dukes of Hazzard played a country boy who built a home on the mean streets of New York and had to endure lots of city slickers and street toughs who wanted no part of his good ol’ boy routine.

It was all mind-numbing garbage. And I loved it. (Except for that time I didn’t sleep for three nights due to a super-scary episode of The Incredible Hulk that I am now guessing was not scary in the least save for Lou Ferrigno’s green paint job.) In any event, I loved that babysitter, but let’s be frank — she probably wasn’t very good at her job. However, she was nowhere near as bad as the members of the Solewa tribe were at babysitting Ben.

And you would think they would know better! “That was amazing! That was amazing! That was amazing!” Don’t worry, your Survivor recap is not skipping like that old vinyl copy of Styx’s Kilroy Was Here that you like to pretend you never bought. Rather, that was pretty much all Ryan could say after Ben played an idol out of nowhere in the previous episode, repeating himself out of pure shock over and over. “If there are Survivor gods, then that was a move by the Survivor devil because that was messed up,” said Devon.

They knew whom they were dealing with. They also knew the only way they could get rid of Ben was to make sure he didn’t go out and find another idol. And yet that is exactly what they then permitted him to do. Look, I understand it is impossible to follow a person 100 percent of the time out there. Contestants are often pulled for confessional interviews and can spend some time on the way back searching. Same thing on bathroom runs — and no, that was not an intentional pun with “bathroom runs.” (#SevereGastrointestinalDistress)

But the rest of the tribe — Ryan, Chrissy, Ashley, Devon, Sex Doctor — appeared to make no attempt whatsoever to curb or monitor Ben’s searching. (Nor did they appear to be searching themselves, although that certainly could be a function of editing.) It’s positively crazy how much time they left Ben alone on multiple days to search for his safety. What this tribe needed to do was go full Boehlke. Remember back in Caramoan when Andrea basically babysat Malcolm to make sure he didn’t find another idol? Probably not, because the word Caramoan drags up painful memories of Shamar and Brandon so you’ve done your best to forget and block it all out, but suffice it to say that the point of the comparison is that the other five should have worked in shifts to never let Ben out of their sight.

Ben woke up early, put his boots on — I half expected the idol to be in his boot because producers no doubt would have loved for him to find it — and went searching the morning after his previous idol play. Chrissy finally woke up and realized what he was doing, but did she do anything to stop it? Did she wake everyone else up to go find him? Did she go out searching on her own? According to what we saw: No, no, and no.

And then after Ben did not win immunity, did anyone make any attempt to shadow him? Nope. First thing Ben did when he got back to camp was say he was going to get water, even asking if anyone wanted to go with him. AND THEY ALL SAID NO!!!! Even Ben himself said it was loony tunes that nobody was following him as he went idol hunting. But the other five players seemed bizarrely confident that Ben would not find an idol. Sex Doctor even went on and on about how there was no way it was going to happen — signaling to viewers that it clearly was.

But they didn’t bother, and as a result, Ashley got a one-way ticket to the jury, leading to a fabulously awkward encounter en route with Devon as she refused to hug her former alliance and massage partner. It may just have been the most awkward #Survivor encounter since…

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But I don’t blame Ashley. Not like Devon owed her anything whatsoever, but her assertion that Chrissy seemed to be controlling Devon’s decision making (which she made after Chrissy convinced Devon to bring Ryan on reward instead of her) seemed to hold up with the Tribal Council vote. After all, Devon didn’t appear to want to get rid of Ashley, and Ben openly pointed at the Sex Doctor as the one he wanted out. So how did we end up with a unanimous vote on Ashley? One word: Chrissy.

And if that is the case, people need to seriously give her credit for imposing her will — even if I think the logic behind getting rid of Ashley next is shaky at best. Sure, Ashley is a strong challenge competitor, but what has she done game-wise to make anyone take notice? Her résumé is pretty thin. This felt more like Chrissy wanting vengeance on Ashley for her comments after the reward selection. This is not the first time Chrissy was insistent on a making a certain move out of revenge over strategy.

Okay, let’s get to the other notable moments from this penultimate episode because it is also time for our updated season-by-season rankings. Where will Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers fall? Read on to find out after the recap! (Oh, and also make sure to check out our new Survivor winner rankings, as voted on by you, the fans. You all ranked every Survivor winner from first to worst and now you can see where your favorites landed. (Don’t yell at me if you don’t agree. For once, this is not my doing!) All right, on to the rest of the recap. (Recap continues on next page)

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