One man's devastation is another man's good TV
My Kisses Are Very Private
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

I’m going to say something nice about Patrick. After all, the guy got voted out. It’s literally the least I could do. It’s certainly not going to be about his social game, which was clearly terrible. His antics and hysterics are not the type of thing you want to deal with when you are sleeping little and eating even less. It’s definitely not going to be about his strategic game, which consisted of openly searching for the idol right in front of everybody. (So much for the second coming of Stealth R Us.) Nor will it be about his performance in the challenges, when he refused to let someone else take a turn at knocking the blocks down. And it’s most assuredly not going to be about his haircut, because I have no idea what is happening there.

But I said that I would say something nice about Patrick and I am a man of my word. So here goes: His final comments were awesome. I mean, not awesome for him. The dude was crushed. But he was honest about it. “This is the worst thing I’ve ever felt,” he said after the vote. “This has been devastating.” God, I love that. To be clear, I don’t love the fact that someone just had all of his hopes and dreams obliterated like Alderaan on national television — I mean, I kind of do, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about is the fact that when we, as viewers, see that, we are reminded of the stakes. Not just the financial stakes of playing for a million dollars, but the emotional stakes. The personal stakes.

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I’m probably the biggest offender when I bitch and complain about bitter juries and talk about how people should be able to separate gameplay from friendships. You don’t cry when someone beats you at poker after bluffing about his or her hand — at least I hope you don’t — so why take it so personally being lied to in another game? ESPECIALLY WHEN LYING IS PART OF THE GAME!!! That’s my admittedly gamebot approach to things. But the truth is, I like seeing the emotion. I like seeing the moral quandaries people put themselves through on this show. And I like the reactions people have when they feel betrayed, even if I don’t agree with them.

“I had total trust with Ryan, Devon, and Ali,” said Patrick after being blindsided. “I hope you guys don’t have a very successful game because you’re liars and it really hurts me that you would not keep your word.” That’s a dumb rationalization because Patrick would have had no problem with them lying to Lauren and telling her she was safe when she wasn’t. Memo to all future Survivor contestants: If you don’t want to be lied to, DO NOT PLAY THE GAME! You will be lied to! It’s going to happen! It is neither dirty play nor against the rules, so get to used to it and don’t get upset if someone ends up being a better liar than you are.

So, yeah, Patrick was demonstrating selective rage here, but I appreciate the rage nonetheless because at least he cared. I want my Survivor contestants to care. Because we need them to care for us to care. So here I am on one hand saying Patrick was being a big baby by complaining, while on the other hand at the exact same time saying how much I enjoyed seeing his emotional meltdown. I guess I appreciate the fact that he was at least honest about how despondent he was. And I also appreciate that this game still has the ability to take contestants, chew them up, and spit them out, because as a viewer, you need the lows as well as the highs. We want the entire emotional spectrum. Patrick gave us a heaping helping on the low side this week. So that’s my nice thing I said about Patrick. But I still don’t get the hair. Sorry.

Okay, let’s run through some other notable moments from the episode.

Simone’s Clothes
I know a lot about Survivor. I don’t know a lot about fashion. I actually know nothing about fashion. But I have to imagine those were some pretty expensive boots that Simone left behind after being voted out. Apparently, she left pretty much her entire wardrobe, which I don’t get. She had to know she was in danger of being voted out, yet she still neglected to bring her stuff to Tribal Council. Makes no sense.

Sure, her clothes most likely reeked, but isn’t that what the wash is for? And as for the boots, at least bring them back and sell them on eBay for charity or something. Seems like a waste to leave them. But not in the eyes of Ryan, who turned the Hustlers’ beach into his own private runway, trying on everything to see what fit. “Finally Simone is showing her worth in some capacity,” he says. Ouch. And when I say ouch, I am referring to how he must be feeling trying to squeeze into those thigh-highs.

Power Coupling
By far my favorite moment of the episode was when JP walked over in his underwear and Ashley said, “That’s a good size, JP.” (It seems being a successful firefighter is all about the length of your hose, am I right? No, seriously, am I? I have no idea. I could never be a firefighter due to the fact that I am such a weakling I would most likely collapse from the weight of the oxygen tank on my back.)

Hey, I’m not the one with the dirty mind! Just listen to what Ashley told us. “JP is becoming dreamier and dreamier as the days go on. Every time he walks out of the ocean with a different animal on his spear, something happens inside of me.” See! She’s the one talking about size, and spears, and things happening inside of her, not me!

All I can talk about is what is happening outside of her, and what that happens to be is pretty transparent gameplay. Ashley keeps lobbying Ben to keep JP instead of Alan. The problem is her approach. Instead of subtly leading Ben to draw his own conclusions on why JP would be better to bring along, she just tells him her feelings on the matter. And all this does is further solidify to Ben that Ashley and JP are indeed a power couple. The closer she makes herself appear with JP, the less Ben wants to keep her. Then again, Alan can’t even open a coconut, so who knows. (Recap continues on next page)

Like a Virgin
Reality television loooooooooves virgins. This look-but-don’t-touch relationship dates — maybe not the best term — all the way back to Jason in Big Brother 3. Our latest entry in this long, proud tradition is Jessica, who acknowledges that, “My lips don’t go near other’s people’s cheeks very often.” (I’m going to leave that one alone.) But Jessica is as smitten as a kitten when it comes to Cole. Jessica and Cole are making quite the love connection (if not an actual, you know, love connection), and Cole tries to deepen that connection — again, wrong term — by telling Jessica about Joe’s idol.

It’s a smart move as not only does Jessica plant a kiss on Cole, but she then also joyfully talks about all the power she now has knowing about Joe’s idol. (Not as much power as the idol itself, it should be pointed out, but okay.) So good move, Cole. Now you two can sit on this info until if and when you lose an immunity challenge, because you would never want to needlessly bring it up before then, thereby increasing the odds and time that Joe has to find out about your…WAIT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?

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Not only does Cole tell Jessica, but then he seems to experience #SevereGastrointestinalDistress of the mouth as he starts blabbing all about his plan to blindside Joe and his idol to both Roark and Desi. Ugh. Dude, this game is all about timing, and your timing is terrible. Again, I like the plan, but you only unfurl said plan once you need to unfurl said plan. Apparently, Cole is awful at keeping secrets. It may not bite him in the butt this time, but it could down the line if he keeps it up. No more kisses for you, mister!

A Challenging Situation
This felt like an old-school Survivor challenge. Going over and under obstacles, knocking stuff down, and then stacking them back up. I was actually surprised that there did not appear to be any puzzle element to the blocks that needed to be stacked — not in a disappointed way, just surprised.

Of course, the real drama came not from the challenge course itself (although Alan leaping up to grab the net was pretty impressive, and everyone having to lift Roark up by putting their hands in awkward places on her body made me cringe a bit). No, the real drama came from Patrick refusing to sub out from throwing sandbags to knock the blocks off of the ledge. A critical error on his part.

Here’s the thing: I get it. Patrick is clearly a competitive dude and wanted to help his team win. He didn’t want to accept failure and wanted to power his team through to victory. I’ve been there. I ran a press challenge and was digging up puzzle pieces with Friday Night Lights’ Scott Porter yelling at me to sub out and I was basically like “Hell no, QB1!” I just kept digging. But I was in no danger of being voted out if I was not able to get the buried piece (which I was).

In a situation like this, you need to consider the ramifications if you are unsuccessful. Quite simply, it’s called hedging your bets. If you are the only one to throw, and you do much worse than the other teams, then the team’s loss is 100 percent on you. If you throw a few and then sub out for someone else, then you are protecting yourself from blame. Call it cowardly if you want, but I call it smart. And it also comes with the added benefit of making you look like a team player. So it ends up being a win-win, even if it means your tribe loses.

Speaking of losing things, the Healers lost out on first place when they misplaced one of their blocks. They thought they had stacked all of them and then raced back to their mat and waited for Probst to raise both arms in the air while looking down at the ground and proclaiming themselves the winners. But instead he proclaimed something else.

“Something is not right!” he yelled. “No!” Interesting that Probst did not tell the tribe specifically what was wrong and instead made them figure it out. I sort of like it. It would have been easy for him to say, “No, you have one block missing! Let’s see if the Healers can heal this situation!” Okay, he probably wouldn’t have said something that cheesy, but the point is, he could have told them what was wrong and didn’t. And I like it. I like them having to take that beat to make the mental equation, figuring out what it might be, and then having to locate it. It’s a small thing, to be sure, but one I enjoyed.

And the mistake mattered as the Heroes then took first place and the four chickens that went with it, while the Healers had to settle for the dozen eggs that came as the consolation prize. Of course, with the tribe swap coming, who knows who will end up with what, but I can’t wait to find out who will be among this season’s numbskulls that join the long, not-so-proud tradition of eating a hen (who can lay eggs) before the rooster (who cannot). (Recap continues on next page)

One Last Hustle
Wow, Patrick and Lauren do not like each other very much, do they? Any meeting between the two of them feels like an 18-wheeler full of nitro barreling down a potholed street paved in glycerin. Lauren is just not having it with that guy. Even when he apologized back at camp for not subbing out, she didn’t bother to give him the cursory “Don’t worry about it!” before voting his ass out. Instead she hit back with, “You can’t justify it.”

On the other hand, Patrick still doesn’t really get it. “Lauren is not happy with me,” he told us. “But by looking at her, I don’t think that her coming in for me would have changed much.” Wow, so much for not judging a book by its cover. Dude, didn’t you hear? She played centerfield for 25 years! We know because she only told us about 25 times! I feel like this entire season of the Hustlers has been Ali telling us ad nauseam about how Patrick needs to step up his social game, Lauren telling us ad nauseam about how she played centerfield for 25 years, and Simone telling us ad nauseam about her defecating prowess in the ocean.

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Lauren promises us she is going to fight at Tribal Council, and she does, informing us, “I’ve never believed a redhead a day in my life.” Well, that seems unnecessarily cruel. There are plenty of trustworthy redheads! Ariel! Archie! Strawberry Shortcake! Princess Fiona! Wilma Flintstone! Ms. Frizzle! Who cares if they all happen to be animated?

On the flip side, it is true that Ginger Spice did leave the Spice Girls in the lurch, while Axl Rose is perhaps the least reliable human being on the planet. And let’s be honest: Pippi Longstocking’s hair does make her extremely suspicious, while you can never seem to be able find where in the world that sometimes-ginger Carmen Sandiego is. What (and where) exactly is she hiding? And then there is Marcia Cross, whose entire Melrose Place arc as Kimberly Shaw was basically a five-season PSA on the dangers of crazy redheads.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of redheads so can’t cosign Lauren’s follicle prejudice on this one. But I can endorse the following Tribal Council back and forth:

PROBST: “Ryan, it’s kind of like if you’re in a relationship…”
RYAN: “I’ve never been in a relationship. You know somebody?”

That was funny. Sad, but funny. However, what I really want to find out is: Does Jeff Probst know somebody? He must, right? After all, Jeff Probst knows everybody! I can’t tell you how many times other actors or directors or producers I meet all are like, “I know Probst! He came to our Survivor viewing party!” Or “Probst? Love that guy! We sang Hall & Oates at karaoke together!” Or “Yeah, I’ve met Probst. He gave me the best shoulder rub of all time while I was in the middle of an emotional breakdown on national television.” Okay, that last one was Brandon Hantz, but you get the picture: Probst is an official man about town! (Especially for a guy who is not in town all that often.)

My point is this: If Jeff Probst can get John Cochran — who had zero professional writing experience — a writing gig on a CBS sitcom, then he should be able to hook Ryan up with a phone number or two. I don’t even think Ryan is being that picky here. Just a name and a number, that’s all he asks. (Well, I asked for him as well, and you can see Jeff’s response in this week’s Q&A.)

So Patrick is unanimously voted out of the tribe, leading to an uncomfortably long pause before he stands up to leave, declaring, “You guys are awful,” followed by a stare-down before vacating the premises. It is truly a magnificent display of showboating and comes off almost as if he is auditioning for a spot as a WWE star. (Stage name: Ginger Ail). But here’s the thing: As I explained at the top of this recap, I think the emotion in this case is real. I think Patrick was legitimately shocked and legitimately hurt. That sucks for him. It really does. But it also makes good TV, and sorry, but I like good TV.

So we’re left with that tantalizing tease that next week the tribes will be realigned somehow. 15 is an odd number to do it on — literally — and it could go one of two ways. The predictable thing would be to go to three new reshuffled tribes of five people each, but I also wonder if we might go down to two tribes of seven folks each, with one person going to Exile and then joining the losing tribe after Tribal Council. But maybe it’s something else entirely that I am too dumb to figure out — which is actually, now that I think about it, probably even more likely. Remember: Always bet against Dalton Ross predictions when it comes to this show.

But here are some things you can bet on. We’ve got your exclusive deleted scene from the episode above, and my weekly Q&A with the Hostmaster General as well. The first place you can hear from the ousted Patrick is at 9:40 a.m. on EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) and then look for that later on and the EW Morning Live podcast. You can watch me break down every episode live right after the show (or later) with Andrea Boehlke and special guests on PeopleTV, and for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Okay, now its your turn. Did the Hustlers make the right move in ditching Patrick instead of Lauren? Happy a tribe-swap is coming? And are you loving or loathing the new showmance couple of Cole and Jessica? Hit the message boards to weigh in and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!