CBS

Survivor Makes Us Give Thanks For Tribal Councils

A double episode brings two tribals, each with surprising results.

The Survivor gods have graced us with a double episode tonight, so let's get right to it! There is a TON of strategy talk in this one, so strap in.

Chris Has Plans, God Laughs

After successfully ousting Taylor, Chris wants to get rid of Jess before Jay, because he thinks that she's more dangerous, and he also wants to get revenge for the blindsides at the beginning of the season. Bret agrees, but thinks they need to be quiet and careful about this move, because it could backfire on them. Chris interviews that he wants to get Jess out if it's the last thing he does. Ooh, that makes me nervous about Chris's future in the game.

What's The Story, Morning Glory?

Hannah and Ken watch the sunrise and Hannah interviews that she's been flirting with Ken and she thinks maybe he's into her? Oh, Hannah. I mean, maybe he is. Or maybe he's just trying to get further in the game. Or maybe he digs sunrises.

Will, who wants to sever ties with the on-the-outs Jay, reveals to Zeke that Jay does have an Immunity Idol. Zeke promises not to tell anyone else. And then, in a great piece of editing, we cut to Zeke telling David, who tells Chris. And Hannah. And Ken.

Chris and Zeke decide that Jessica should go next, but they're going to pretend to target Jay so that he will play his Idol. Sounds like a plan!

Reward Challenge

The Challenge is the ol' start in the water, get some keys, and then do a puzzle. The prize is eating at a floating pizza restaurant, so one team of five gets to eat while the other watches from the shore. With odd numbers, David volunteers to sit out since he's a crappy swimmer and he doesn't want to drag a team down. Everyone else tells him to give it a go, and David is touched by their support. Like, he starts crying. I get that the game is stressful, but I'm starting to wonder how David gets through the day in his regular life.

They choose rocks for teams, and we have Ken, Jessica, Chris, David, and Will (Orange) taking on Bret, Zeke, Sunday, Hannah, and Adam (Purple). Jay has to sit out. Orange leads throughout, given that they have stronger athletes. David doesn't screw up the physical part, despite his fears. But when it comes to the final puzzle, David and Chris have a hard time and Zeke and Adam outdo them, winning Reward for Purple.

While they are on Reward, Bret is psyched to have a chance to get closer to Zeke. The waiter brings out letters from home and everyone cries, of course. Adam interviews that he hasn't told the others that his mom was diagnosed with cancer before he left, and he's ecstatic to have news from home. His mom is still okay.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, David and Ken bond. Ken compliments David on how much he's grown while they've been there, and they reiterate that they want to be in the Final Three with Jessica. The three of them discuss how they need to break up the Chris/Bret/Sunday alliance by voting out Chris. David thinks they can pull Zeke to their side, although Ken thinks Zeke and Chris are tight. David really thinks he can do it.

Immunity Challenge

Each Survivor has to stand on a beam while using a pole to balance a statue. At timed intervals, they have to move backwards, where the beam is narrower. If their statue falls or they fall, they're out. It comes down to Jessica, Zeke, and David. Jessica seems like she's in for the long haul and then suddenly, she's out. Zeke struggles throughout, but then David starts wobbling too, and ultimately Zeke loses it. Everyone cheers for David. He's like their mascot now.

Pre-Tribal Council Scramble

As usual, once immunity has been determined, everyone starts putting plans into action. Jay is pretty sure he's going, since no one will talk to him. Chris tells his group that they're going to vote Jess. David pulls Zeke aside and tries to get him to vote out Chris. Zeke seems amenable to any plan that doesn't take out someone from his core alliance and breaks up the giant GenX group.

David tells Jessica that Chris is targeting her, which is smart, because now he has Jessica and Ken voting with him. Jessica gets Adam on her side, but they don't know what Zeke is doing.

Zeke tells Hannah that both Chris and David are trying to pull off a blindside. Zeke interviews that it's a tough decision for him because he trusts both Chris and David, so he needs to figure out which path is best for him to get to the end.

Tribal Council

Jay tells Probst that he thinks he's going home. So now the smart play is to talk up how they can't trust Jay after Mason Jar Gate to ensure he plays his Idol, right? But these dummies get into a semantic discussion of the difference between alliances and voting blocs. Hannah explains that an alliance is permanent to the end, while a voting bloc is temporary. She's got a new term for us: trust cluster. It's small, but permanent, so it's the best of both worlds. I don't know why an alliance has to be big. An alliance could be two people -- see Richard Hatch and Rudy in the very first season. Regardless, Probst loves trust cluster. He actually says, "Bret, where do you weigh in on the trust cluster?" Everyone giggles.

Jay doesn't play his Idol. I wonder if Sunday tipped him off again. I theorize that she's counting on their secret alliance down the road and no one knows about it. Jay votes for Jessica, increasing my suspicions that Sunday told him what was up. Anyway, when the votes are read, they all go to Chris and Jessica, with Chris getting the majority, so he's gone. Zeke and Hannah did ultimately vote for Chris. I'm sad. I liked Chris, but I think he put himself out there too much, and the leaders always get picked off. I don't know if he has it in him to play any other way, though.

It's A Double Episode So Let's Take It From The Top!

When they return from Tribal Council, there are apologies all around. Jay apologizes to Jessica for voting for her, saying that he definitely would have voted for Chris if he knew that was happening. She tells him not to worry about it.

Bret pulls Zeke aside and says that Chris had to go at some point or he was going to win the whole game, and he hopes they can continue to work together. Zeke apologizes for keeping Bret in the dark, and says he does still want to work with them. Zeke interviews that now he wants to make a move against David and his group soon, and he will need Bret and Sunday on his side, so he's happy they talked.

The next morning, David has basically the same conversation with Bret and Sunday, where they all agree that Chris had to go and there are no hard feelings. David then tells them that Zeke is playing the best game right now because he's in with every group. I guess he wasn't super-convincing, because Bret interviews that he's choosing Zeke over David right now, and in fact wants to get rid of David soon.

2016-11-24-surv-david

Later, Zeke and Bret go for water and Bret spills the beans and says they need to target David. The problem is, they both know, David has an Idol. So it needs to be a total blindside.

David and Zeke both interview that the other is the game's biggest threat. Zeke adds that this is the war that everyone knew was coming, so now it's a scramble for troops. To that end, Zeke takes Adam and Hannah aside and tells them about his talk with Bret, and that David is targeting Zeke next. Plus, David has an Idol. Hannah isn't sure if she should side with Zeke or David now.

Reward Challenge

They will be divided into teams of three, with the feet bound together and arms bound to their sides. They will have to slither like snakes through the sand and around obstacles and then put together a snake puzzle. Since they have an extra person, the extra gets to sit out and, this time, automatically gets reward. The reward is a helicopter flight and a picnic.

David gets the white rock so he gets reward no matter what. This challenge is pretty hilarious to watch because they are just wriggling through the sand like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Quaalude scene in Wolf Of Wall Street. Plus, the movement in the sand tends to make people's shorts and/or tops come down.

Will, Ken, and Jay finish the course very quickly and get a head start on the puzzle. But they're not puzzle guys, right? So the other two teams catch up, and Sunday, Bret, and Zeke end up winning.

A Gay Old Time

After the Reward team eats, Sunday and David go for a walk on the beach, leaving Zeke and Bret to drink and chat. Bret takes the opportunity to come out to Zeke. Zeke is surprised, but they have a nice chat about how they come from different generations, and Bret was a little worried about coming out to his tribe of macho guys like Chris and Ken. Dude, Ken would not care. Chris probably wouldn't either, but Ken definitely would not care.

Anyway, Bret says that no one has ever given him shit, so his reluctance to be out is totally in his own head. But the older he gets, the more he DGAF. Zeke laughs that he never even considered keeping his sexuality a secret from his tribe. Zeke interviews that he owes a lot to Bret's generation, for paving the way for Zeke to come out at fifteen. He adds that Bret served in the military during the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era where he literally couldn't tell people he was gay, so his reluctance makes sense. Anyway, this was a nice bit. I like these two guys. And now I don't think either will flip on the other.

Sunday returns and the three of them talk about how nervous they are about David's machinations. Zeke is happy that David came on Reward with them so he could keep an eye on him. Zeke wants to try to get Jay, Will, and Hannah to vote with them.

Hannah Takes Charge

Once everyone is back at camp, Hannah immediately grabs David and tells him that Bret is with Zeke, and they know about David's Idol. David freaks out but Hannah assures him that Zeke trusts her and she'll know if Zeke is planning to come for David.

David thinks his game is screwed, and he proposes that they vote Zeke while David plays his Idol, so that Zeke goes home. Hannah wants to wait until she sees what Zeke is thinking of doing, so David doesn't waste his Idol, but she adds that if Zeke finds out she's talking to David, they're both screwed.

Immunity Challenge

They have to maneuver a handle through a maze to unlock a door, then complete a slide puzzle to win. This is a very puzzle-y season. Jay is the first one through the door, and it cracks me up because he turns and closes the door behind him. Who knew Jay had manners? Before anyone else even gets through their door, Jay finishes the slide puzzle and wins immunity. He thinks he needs it, but he doesn't.

Pre-Tribal Council Scramble

This is where things get nutty. David tells Jessica all of the reasons that they need to vote Zeke. She agrees, and Ken is also on board.

Meanwhile, Zeke talks to Hannah and wants her to agree that David is the most threatening person in the game. Hannah won't agree to it right away and her fumbling answers tell Zeke that she's not with him anymore. Oh, Hannah. That was a terrible performance.

Zeke realizes that they can't blindside David now, so Zeke immediately goes to his group (Bret, Sunday, Will, and Jay) and tells them to vote Hannah. They all agree, but that only means there will be a tie.

Hannah tells Adam that they need to vote for Zeke. Adam agrees but privately isn't so sure he wants to cast his lot with Hannah. Meanwhile, Hannah somehow found out they were voting for her, not David. I feel like we skipped a step here. Did Hannah just figure that out, or did someone tell her? Anyway, Hannah wants David to play his Idol for her. David isn't sure about that, because if the other group is NOT voting for Hannah, and it's a five-five tie, they will revote, resulting in another tie, and then it goes to rocks. And then anyone could go home.

So heading into Tribal Council, as far as we know, Zeke's group is voting for Hannah and David's group is voting for Zeke. Adam might be a wild card, though.

Tribal Council

David comes in and tells Probst that this is probably going to be the most chaotic Tribal Council ever. While David is talking, Hannah is whispering to Adam and Zeke. David tries to call Zeke out and Zeke and Bret start taunting David about crying and his "journey," which is not a good look. I have to think some shit went down right before they all left for Tribal because where is this coming from? Bret is on fire. Jessica has the Manson Lamps because she has no clue what's happening and why everyone is whispering and no one is whispering to her.

At some point, Sunday tells someone to vote for Ken. Ken? Where did that come from? Ken is blathering on about something and Bret tells him that this is the game and welcome to it, intimating that Ken hasn't been playing at all so far. Man, who pissed on Bret's Cheerios? There is so much undercurrent here and I don't understand any of it. I hope they do a flashback next week. Anyway, Bret thinks they should vote, so they do.

While they are voting, Taylor (on the jury) gets attacked by a giant beetle. I mean, the thing is the size of my entire hand. Just to add to the weirdness.

After Jeff tallies the votes, David says he wants to play his Idol. Hannah tells him to wait but then shuts up. As he sits down, Adam says that the people near him were whispering that they were voting for Ken, so David says that the Idol is for Ken. If that was a setup to flush the Idol, I will fall out.

It totally was! Because when the votes are tallied, it's a tie between Zeke and Hannah. Then it's time for a revote: everyone except Zeke and Hannah vote, and everyone can only vote for Hannah or Zeke. As they wait their turn to vote, Zeke tries to get Jessica to flip, or else they are going to rocks. Hannah begs her not to change her vote. Jeff reads the votes and it's still a tie. Man, Jessica. You had a chance.

So now they have to try to come to a unanimous decision. If they can't, Zeke and Hannah join Jay and Ken with immunity, and everyone else draws rocks. The person with the odd rock is out. Will tries to get everyone to agree that they don't want to draw rocks. But they also can't come to a unanimous decision. If I were Hannah and Zeke, I would be trying to foment dissension in the ranks so that I could get immunity. Anyway, Probst finally calls an end to the nonsense and they draw rocks. That means Bret, Sunday, Will, Jessica, David, and Adam are on the chopping block.

And Jessica gets the black rock. Well, she should have flipped her vote when she had the chance. Bret (playing to the jury) immediately says that he didn't want to go to rocks and David did. Jessica is a sobbing mess. Well, she made her own fate. I don't feel that bad. She wills her Legacy Advantage to Ken, as she promised. That was bananas.

Verdict

Remember when the part of the episode before the Immunity Challenge was goofy shit like arguments over who wasn't pulling their weight around camp or who caught some fish? The strategizing with this crew starts the second they return from Tribal Council and doesn't stop until they vote again. It's insane. I'm actually glad that both David and Zeke are still in it, because they are driving all this strategy talk. Now I have no idea what will happen next week.

Almost all readers liked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Survivor forum or add a comment below.