Last week on Survivor, ex-NFLer Gary got the boot, despite all his machinations to try to cling onto some sort of footing in the game.
Now it’s Day 31, only six Survivors are left, and Danni knows she’s the next one in line to join the jury.
The jury might almost seem appealing, with people like Judd around; when Lydia that morning says she woke up smelling sausage and eggs, Judd says any egg smell might have been Stephenie passing gas. Oh, well, isn’t he a gentleman? Cindy rolls her eyes.
Danni says that everyone’s trying to pretend like the tribal council of the previous night didn’t happen. This is because some truths were told – like Judd’s lie about the hidden immunity idol – and so people are just pretending all that stuff didn’t come out. She thinks they’re scared to talk about it.
So scared they’re doing cartwheels. Literally. Where did that come from? And who knew Judd could do a cartwheel?
Anyway, Danni say she’s not going down without a fight. She thinks she could get Lydia on her side, and if she can sway one other person, she has a fighting chance. After all, she says, that cozy alliance dominated by Judd and Steph is going to have to start breaking up at some point; they can’t all be final two. They’ll have to turn on each other.
Our reward challenge this week is a Survivor auction. They’ve all been given cash, and the opportunity to bid on various items. Danni gets a plate of beef jerky, Cindy ponies up for cookies and milk, Lydia buys a mosquito net, Danni and Rafe go in together for a big plate of food, and then Danni wins something that Jeff calls a “huge advantage” for the upcoming immunity challenge. It’s a sealed envelope, she can’t open it yet, but Jeff promises it could help.
But that is overshadowed by the next item for bid, which comes walking around the corner of the temple – family members. Cindy’s twin Mindy (who else is rolling their eyes at those names?), Judd’s wife, Steph’s boyfriend, Rafe’s mom, Lydia’s brother, and Danni’s … well, I don’t remember, actually. It’s the first time in two years Lydia has seen her brother, Jeff says, a factoid I’d like to hear more about. I mean, what, he can’t visit when they’re both theoretically in the same country, but he can fly to Guatemala? Anyway, they’re bidding on an overnight stay for their family member, and it’s clear that no one person has enough money to win, which means they have to convince someone else to be altruistic and give them money.
Thus begins a desperate scramble to win the family member. Stephenie asks Lydia for money, while Cindy gives her cash to Judd. It comes down between Steph and Judd and Judd wins. Stephenie mouths to her boyfriend that she’s sorry. But wait! There’s a twist! Judd can invite the family members of two other people to come along! So that’s going to be two ecstatic people and three bitter, angry ones. Judd invites Cindy’s sister, since he won his wife with Cindy’s money, and Stephenie’s boyfriend, since he and she have that Jersey bond. Rafe by this point is actually sobbing.
The three who aren’t chosen have to go back to the old camp and stay there alone for the night, while the three whose family members are staying get to take them to the regular camp.
Judd the Sexy Boy Scout? Ew.
Judd shows his wife around the camp like he built it himself. She – her name’s Kristen – is shocked at his camping skills; apparently she’d have never thought her Jersey boy would be able to survive in the wilderness. Judd says she thinks it’s sexy, and I briefly debate poking my eyes out with hot needles.
Cindy’s twin Mindy is also impressed. She says that as children “playing wilderness people was our favorite thing to play.” Wilderness people? What the hell is that? It doesn’t sound anything like cops and robbers.
Stephenie calls this a dream come true, and says she owes Judd big-time; this is the second time he’s let her participate in big rewards.
Judd explains the alliances to his wife, and says he hopes Steph will take him to the final two. Foreshadowing much?
At the old camp, the other three are having a bit less fun. They’ve got very little to work with, and Rafe calls it a fight for survival. Also, here’s where it shows that Judd didn’t choose the family members strategically, because we’ve got three disgruntled people just ready to flip alliances, and they’ve got all night to talk about it.
Rafe and Danni discuss strategy and trust issues, and agree that they trust each other. Danni says Rafe needs her if he doesn’t want to get picked off by Judd and Steph. They talk about how to break Judd and Steph apart, and show Stephenie how untrustworthy Judd really is. Rafe explains to us that this is his backup plan, because he doesn’t trust Judd.
At the family gathering, Judd is telling Cindy how they should still be ok with their alliance and their plan to boot Danni, even with Danni’s mysterious advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. If she wins it, Judd says, they’ll just boot Lydia, no harm no foul.
Nothing Says I Love You Like Beef and Cheese
The next day, the realities of roughing it are coming home to the family members. Mindy says the camp is more barren than she expected and that everything they do to live is so much work. Mike, Stephenie’s boyfriend, says this is the real deal and most people wouldn’t be able to do it. Judd’s wife just looks around with distaste.
The three castouts return, surprised to find the family members still in camp. Judd says he hasn’t been eating a lot – not that it seems to have hurt him – but that just the sight of his wife makes him feel full. “It’s like eating 25 White Castle cheeseburgers, man,” he says. Um, is that supposed to be … romantic?
Anyway, it’s time for the family members to leave. Judd’s wife says she misses him so much, and that she’s never gone this long without talking to him. Cindy says having her sister there made this even more of a memorable experience. And Stephenie says it was bittersweet, since her boyfriend had to leave, but more sweet than bitter. And after all, this is over in what, seven days?
With the family members out of the way, the survivors get back to strategy. Lydia, who appears to have no concept of subtlety, goes to Judd and probes him about his game plan. He defensively says he knows who the players are here, she’s not telling him anything new by pointing out that they can either get rid of the threats, or wind up on the jury themselves. Partway through this Danni joins them. Judd says he knows who orchestrated the ousting of Jamie, which took Judd by surprise, and that he’s not happy about it but he can’t say anything without risking making a target of himself. Lydia suggests he make a change, and Judd claims to be willing to entertain that idea. Danni comes away from all of this hopeful that her plan is working.
Human Chess Indeed
The immunity challenge this week is a sort of human chess game, Jeff says, although it winds up looking a bit more like human checkers. They all stand on a board and turn over squares, and when they wind up getting themselves into a corner surrounded by already-turned squares, they’re out of the game.
Danni’s advantage will be that she can trade places with anyone in the game, once. So if she understands how the game works, it could be a big help.
Cindy is the first one out, followed by Lydia and Rafe. About halfway through, Danni decides to trade places with Stephenie. Steph is not happy about that, having been playing quite strategically and having built a good position for herself. Judd, who forgot he couldn’t move diagonally, is out, and Steph and Danni are the only ones left. Eventually, Stephenie is stuck and Danni wins. She knows she was going to be the boot, and she’s thrilled.
“That was the biggest immunity I could ever win,” Danni says.
Back at camp, Danni and Steph are sitting together when Stephenie wonders where Judd has gone. Danni takes this chance to start telling Steph the things Judd said to Lydia, leaving out the fact that Lydia was probing him. Danni says Judd is still mad about Jamie, and she tells Stephenie what Judd said about eliminated strong players.
Stephenie is apparently starting to be swayed. She says Judd has made it clear he’s playing the game, and playing for a million dollars, and he’ll do anything to win. He’s been caught in lies, and Danni hasn’t.
Rafe gets in on the action, asking Stephenie what’s going on. She says Judd appears to be pulling a Jamie, getting all weird on them, and suggests getting rid of Judd. Rafe looks aghast, and says they need to really think about it before pulling such a big move.
In the woods, the conversation continues, this time between Danni, Steph and Rafe. They’re plotting a final-four scenario involving themselves and Cindy, although no one’s told Cindy about this yet. They’d boot Judd first, then Lydia. Stephenie says her heart says get rid of Lydia first, as Judd’s her boy and she actually likes him. “But if someon’es going to slit your throat, because you like their company? Hell, no,” she says, somewhat cryptically, but you get the point.
Danni is privately delighted, since appearances suggest her plan is working.
Lydia, meanwhile, is bumbling around trying to make her own plans. She tells Judd that it’s weird Danni won the immunity right when she needed to, and reminds him that if he needs her vote, it’s there and available. Judd mumbles something about no one being safe in this game.
Unfortunately, she also then goes and tells Rafe that if he needs her vote, it’s there and available. Judd overhears and loudly says that since she offered her vote to him first, he’d like to remind her that he needs her to not vote for him.
Stephenie plays everything off in front of Judd, asking him if Lydia knows she’s going home tonight. Judd says he’ll miss Lydia and her dancing, singing ways, but that people have to go so he can move up and there’s no hard feelings.
Hypocrisy Run Amok
It’s time for tribal council, and Jeff’s weekly probing questions. In answer to various questions, Danni says there was no way she was going to let pass the opportunity for an advantage in the immunity challenge; Cindy says it’s harder to vote these days because you have to consider the vote’s impact on everyone’s alliances and how that person might behave on the jury. Rafe says you don’t know who to trust and have to just go with gut instinct. Stephenie says she thinks it’s important to be able to explain her reasoning for each vote when it comes down to being quizzed by the jury in the final two. She also claims they’re all like family, an idea Judd rather disputes.
He says everyone’s pretending it sucks, when everyone wants someone to go home and they need to just deal with it if it’s them. “If somebody goes home, better for me,” he says. Didn’t Judd get the “Survivor 101: There’s no need to be a gratuitous jackass” lesson?
Anyway, it’s time to vote. Danni of course votes for Judd, and Judd votes for Lydia, and we have to wait for the credits to see what everyone else does but I’ll go ahead and tell you anyway; Cindy votes for Lydia and everyone else votes for Judd, making it four to two and making Judd the next person booted from Survivor.
He’s shocked and furious. “I hope you guys all get bit by a creepy crocodile,” he says. “Scumbags.” He stomps over to Jeff, gets his torch snuffed and storms out, still muttering “scumbags.” In his post-boot confessional, Judd fumes that he was blindsided. He seems oblivious to the idea that he has done exactly that to other people. “I can’t wait till the final two, man. I’ll have a lot more to say,” he promises. Raise your hand if you can’t WAIT to see that. We might finally get a Susan Hawk-level performance
Jeff tells the remaining five that they can’t rely on what used to be, because the game just took a big turn.
Cindy is pissed because she wasn’t told about the shift in alliances, and she’s not happy with the pattern she sees emerging – the “don’t clue in Cindy” pattern. There’s some sort of shocking tribe dilemma as well.
Finishing this recap was, like, 10 cheeseburgers. firstname.lastname@example.org