Sorry to be five days late, but I was away on vacation with my boyfriend and his mother and had no way of blogging this, though I finally did see the episodes.
This week's two-hour episode of Survivor was very thrilling . . . save for the Immunity Challenge in the second hour. It began with the eight remaining castaways, fresh off Wes's sad, Keith-caused vote-off, resuming the game following the last Tribal Council. Back at camp, the castaways were reeling from the attempted blindside going wrong. Keith caught fire for giving away the plan to get rid of Jon, and Reed and Alec were both furious at him. Alec, in particular, knew that Keith was bad at Tribal Council and had left their alliance feeling helpless and even more vulnerable than before. Even worse, Alec didn't trust Reed or Keith. Elsewhere, Jaclyn praised Natalie for sniffing out that Jon had to play his idol. It was clear to her and Natalie both that Jon wouldn't have played it without being told, even though Jon insisted that he would've. (No, he wouldn't.) He was upset that Jaclyn was giving credit to Natalie for what he thought was his play (when it was Natalie's). Natalie knew he wouldn't have played it. She knew that Jon was determined to look like the mastermind in anything he did when he really wasn't. But Jaclyn was upset at Jon for taking credit for the idol play when she knew that she and Natalie were the reason he was still there, not Jon himself.
The Reward Challenge was a Survivor classic. It saw the castaways taking surveys and answering the same questions based on how they assumed the majority of the castaways would answer. The answers would be the twelve people who made it to the merge -- Alec, Baylor, Jaclyn, Jeremy, Jon, Josh, Julie, Keith, Missy, Natalie, Reed, and Wes. If they guessed right, they'd chop a rope. If a castaway got three ropes chopped, a rock would full onto a skull with their names on it, spilling blood from that skull. The last castaway standing would win reward -- a horseback ride to a resort at which a barbecue meal was being served . . . with brownies.
So here's how the challenge shook down. Probst first asked who else, other than Natalie, has a twin sibling. The answer was Jeremy, and everyone got it right except for Keith. Natalie chopped Reed's first rope, Jon chopped Reed's second rope, Alec chopped Natalie's first rope, Missy chopped Reed's third and last rope, putting him out of the challenge, Jaclyn chopped Alec's first rope, Baylor chopped Alec's second rope, and Reed chopped Missy's first rope before he sat down. The second question was who owned and operated their own tanning business. The answer was Julie, and everyone got it right. Jon chopped Alec's third and last rope, putting him out of the challenge, Alec chopped Jon's first rope, Missy chopped Keith's first rope, Jaclyn chopped Keith's second rope, Keith chopped Missy's second rope, Baylor chopped Keith's third rope, putting him out of the challenge, and Natalie chopped . . . no one's rope.
Instead, the five members of the majority alliance decided not to finish the challenge. Instead, they wanted to give the challenge to Missy by default. So Missy won reward! So she'd get to go on the horseback ride. She chose Jon to send to Exile Island, even though Natalie knew why he wanted to go. She also chose to take Baylor and Natalie with her, leaving Jaclyn to go back to camp with Alec, Reed, and Keith. Jaclyn knew it was coming since the three of them were fairly tight. So with that said, that was that. Jaclyn was stuck going back to camp with people who didn't like her. Reed claimed they did like her, but Baylor called out his phoniness, saying he liked everybody. This led to Reed getting into a fight with Missy over Baylor being a brat. It was all pointless. But still, the choices were set.
At Exile Island, Jon got a clue for a new clue to a hidden Immunity Idol. (And I found this odd, as it was so late in the game for there to be yet another one.) And to save time, I'll just say he searched for it and, again, found it. He thought it'd help him and Jaclyn.
On the reward, Missy was glad to have Baylor and Natalie on the reward. They enjoyed the horseback ride to the resort, and then immediately went to chow down on their food. But they realized from Jaclyn's reaction to not being picked for the reward and knew that they'd have to be careful for her feelings in future rewards. Baylor was worried that Alec, Reed, and Keith could bend her ear and sway her and Jon to their side. But things got better when Natalie and Baylor told Missy that they had a hidden Immunity Idol. Missy was proud, as this meant that her daughter was playing the game. Natalie was hoping to make a final three deal with Missy and Baylor, as she knew she'd beat them. Anything could happen, but for now, she liked her chances with them.
Back at camp, Reed decided to see if he could sway Jaclyn to flip to his, Keith, and Alec's side. He used her upset over the reward against her, seeing if he could get her to overthrow Natalie, Baylor, and Missy's planned final three. Jaclyn knew what they were doing, though. Still, she wanted to see what they pitched to her. Reed pitched a vote-off for Missy since she seemed ruthless. Jaclyn seemed open for it, but would she really be? When Missy got back from the reward with Natalie and Baylor, she tried to gauge where she stood, knowing how fast a worker Reed was. Natalie also kept an eye out, seeing Jaclyn get chummy with Alec. He made her feel comfortable, and he wasn't worried about what damage she could do since she was "like cream cheese" -- something that wouldn't hurt anyone and just be non-threatening. Natalie was disgusted by this, seeing her get chummy with Alec when she had a boyfriend. Baylor saw this, too, and was worried that she might flip, after all.
The Immunity Challenge saw the castaways balancing paddles on stands, then rolling balls down the paddle in an attempt to land it in a hole. It was similar to the challenge Michael won in the Philippines. The first castaway to land six balls in all six holes would win immunity, be safe from the vote, and be guaranteed a one-in-seven shot at winning the million dollars. One of the losing seven would become the eleventh person voted out of the game and become the fourth member of the jury.
So here's how the challenge shook down. Jon got an early lead with his first ball, as did Reed, though he quickly lost it. Jon landed his second ball around the time Natalie landed her first. Keith landed a ball, as did Missy and Alec, who lost it. Jon landed his third ball, followed by Natalie's second. Keith landed his second, as did Missy. Natalie lost both of her balls. Keith got his own third, and then his fourth and fifth. Jon got his fourth ball and went for his fifth. But it was no use. Keith landed his sixth and last ball to win immunity! He'd be safe from the vote and be guaranteed a one-in-seven shot at winning the game. Meanwhile, one of Alec, Baylor, Jaclyn, Jon, Missy, Natalie, and Reed would be voted out at the next Tribal Council and join Josh, Jeremy, and Wes on the jury.
Before Tribal Council, the obvious targets emerged -- Reed and Missy. Reed was targeted by Natalie, Missy, and Baylor for being the best strategist on the minority side. Missy was targeted by Reed, Alec, and Keith to break up her planned final three with Baylor and Natalie. But it all hinged on Jon and Jaclyn's choice of alliance. Jaclyn wanted to target Missy, but Jon wanted to trust their current alliance. They got into quite the fight over this. But not only over this. They also fought over Jaclyn's position of just being Jon's appendage. And that he didn't listen to her about anything they did. But after the fight was over, Reed tried to pitch to Jon, but Jon wasn't willing to trust him since he'd gone after him at the last Tribal Council. When Natalie walked up, he winked at Reed to throw him off and make it look like a show, but for all we know, that was a show to Reed. Also, Jon told Missy he had an idol from Exile Island, and that made Jaclyn nervous about how close he was with her now. Seeing them fight had Natalie worried that they wouldn't be on the same page. She needed them united for Tribal Council. Would they be? . . .
At Tribal Council, the answer was clear. By a vote of 7-1, the eleventh person voted out of San Juan del Sur and the fourth member of the jury was . . . Reed. So the plan of the majority alliance held, and Jon and Jaclyn stayed with their current alliance. (Oh, and the lone vote was Reed's for Missy. Even Keith and Alec voted for Reed.) So his torch was snuffed, and he was sent on his way.
I was all right with this ending. I didn't hate Reed, but after seeing his true colors, I really did stop liking him. He was annoying and thought he was better than he was. Plus, he was tied to Josh, whom I hated. I'll give him props for his near-perfect blindside last week, ruined largely by Keith, but other than that, that's really the only good move he made. Other than that, he wasn't that good of a player, and this was why. So goodbye, Reed. Go enjoy your life with Josh. You both deserve each other.
Fresh off Reed's long-overdue vote-off, the seven remaining castaways resumed the game, returning to camp following Tribal Council. Jon and Jaclyn were glad they'd worked things out. Alec was feeling down with his allies falling one by one. He was still holding on, but he didn't know for how much longer he could. He had no loved one in the game with Drew voted out early, and seeing Jon and Jaclyn and Missy and Baylor together made him upset. He tried the next morning to talk to Jon about it. But while Jon felt for him, he knew he and Keith had no game left. They had no cracks to exploit in the main alliance of five. He trusted them completely. And he thought he was still controlling and steering the game. (He wasn't. Missy, Baylor, and Natalie still were. He and Jaclyn are still just the swing votes.)
The Reward Challenge saw the castaways standing on small blocks while stabilizing balls against pieces of wood. If they dropped the ball or fell off, they'd be out of the challenge. The last person standing would win reward -- a king-sized canopy bed delivered to camp to enjoy food and dessert.
So here's how the challenge shook down. Alec fell out first after just seconds. After twenty minutes, Missy fell out second. Keith fell out third. Baylor fell out fourth. Jon fell out fifth, and it was down to Jaclyn and Natalie. It was close, but in the end . . . Jaclyn fell off sixth and last! So Natalie won reward! She'd be enjoying the canopy bed, and she could pick two people to join her. But first, she chose Alec to go to Exile Island. Then, she chose Jon and Jaclyn to join her for the reward. So that was that.
Back at camp, Natalie, Jon, and Jaclyn enjoyed the bed immediately, though they had to be careful. They'd be enjoying it while Missy, Baylor, and Keith would be staring at them. Jaclyn saw Missy, Baylor, and Keith walk away eventually, and she hoped that Jon's bond with Missy was still strong enough to hold their alliance together. Indeed, Jon trusted her and also trusted Natalie, whom he didn't realize was plotting to vote him out. The trio of castaways and enjoyed some pasta and champagne. Natalie wanted to keep Jon and Jaclyn from plotting with Keith. Of course, Jon's douchiness was annoying to Natalie. He talked about and swished it in such a snobbish way reminiscent of what his father had taught him about it. But apparently, he'd been doing that over the course of the game, and it was torture. Natalie was sick of his know-it-all attitude. Nonetheless, she felt good that he trusted her, since he told her about his new hidden Immunity Idol. Just the same, all that mattered to her was him not winning immunity so she could blindside him at the next Tribal Council.
After the reward, Natalie vented to Baylor and Keith about how fake Jon was, as well as how much he'd acted like he'd be having an easy cakewalk to the Final Tribal Council. He had Jaclyn, he had his bond with Missy, he assumed Baylor wouldn't go against what Missy wanted, and he wrongly thought that Natalie was fully loyal to him. She would kill herself if he won the game. It was clear that he wasn't as liked around camp as initially thought. She got Baylor and Keith to agree to voting Jon out, and she was sure that Alec would be on board. Baylor knew that Missy would not be on board since she saw him too much like a son figure. Or like a man who'd burned her in the past. And Keith was on board because he knew that Jon was coasting through the game. His being the constant swing vote with Jaclyn got him feeling too complacent. All of this talk got Jon and Jaclyn worried that Keith was trying to get Missy, Baylor, and Natalie to turn on him. Jaclyn, in particular, was worried about this, since Jon was acting like he had the whole game in the bag, something that was apparently demonstrated in real life, as well. It'd brought him several failures. If he wasn't careful, he'd be failing again.
The Immunity Challenge (and it was here that the episode started to get lame) saw the castaways holding onto a rope keeping a wobbly table steady, all while racing out to gather wooden blocks to place on their tables one at a time. They'd have to start anew if any blocks fell. The first castaway to successfully balance ten blocks would win immunity, be safe from the vote, and be guaranteed a one-in-six shot at winning the game. The losers would be vulnerable at the next Tribal Council, where the twelfth person would be voted out of the game.
So how's how the challenge shook down. Everyone got their first blocks easily, though Alec just as quickly lost his. Keith got off to an early lead, putting down his third block while Jaclyn, Jon, Natalie, Missy, and Baylor all got their seconds. Keith actually held the lead for most of the challenge, but dropped his table after his fifth block. He recovered fast, but Jaclyn and Jon took the lead now with their sixth blocks. Keith caught back up, though, and retook the lead, and Natalie tied it with her sixth, as did Baylor. Jon, Jaclyn, and Keith each got their seventh ones. Alec kept dumping his blocks by accident. Jaclyn dropped her blocks after number seven, leaving it to Jon and Keith, who each got eighth. Natalie was right behind them. But Keith dropped his near the end, allowing Jon to put down his ninth block. Keith recovered and caught back up, putting down his ninth block. Keith went back to get number ten, catching up with Jon. But he didn't move quickly enough. Even worse, he dropped them all. This opened the door, allowing Jon to win the challenge. So Jon won immunity. Meh. This made the whole episode lame for here. So he'd be safe from the vote and be guaranteed a one-in-six chance at winning the million dollars. Meanwhile, one of Alec, Baylor, Jaclyn, Keith, Missy, and Natalie would be voted out at the next Tribal Council.
Before Tribal Council, now that Jon was immune, the obvious targets emerged for the majority alliance -- Alec and Keith. Both were targeted since they were on the outside. Plus, they were the Plan B for Natalie and Baylor since their main target, Jon, was immune. Meanwhile, with no game left in them, Alec and Keith were pretty much going to vote for each other just to keep themselves from going out. The plan was to split the votes in case one of them had a hidden Immunity Idol. Three of them (Jon, Jaclyn, and Natalie) would vote for Keith, two of them (Missy and Baylor) would vote for Alec. Jon wanted Keith out for being an immunity threat against Jon. Missy was fine with it since she had Jon's back. But Natalie and Baylor were unsure of it. Natalie wanted Keith more loyal to her and indebted to her if she saved him. Plus, he was the best bet for beating Jon at immunity. So she thought about getting Baylor to agree to flip the vote and just vote Alec out. Especially after seeing how close Baylor was getting when Alec tried to flirt with her to stay in the game. And being just as bad at it as Drew was, I might add. So knowing the dangers of Baylor getting drawn in, how would the votes go? Especially with the risk of Jon flipping out at them going against his orders? . . .
At Tribal Council, the question was answered. By a vote of 4-3, the twelfth person voted out of San Juan del Sur and the fifth member of the jury was . . . Alec. So Jon's plan to get rid of Keith failed, and Natalie's plan to save him succeeded. (Oh, and the lone votes were Missy and Alec's votes for Keith. So Baylor flipped to get rid of Alec, too.) So his torch was snuffed, and he was sent on his way.
I wasn't too sad about this ending. If Jon couldn't go, then I'd rather Alec go home. He was an asshole in the early parts of the game, only quieting down when the Jeremy vs. Josh stuff rose up, and then Jon starting rising up as a Grade A jerk himself. But really, aside from his jerkiness, he also had no real game to him and was just floating along as Josh, Wes, and Reed got picked off, waiting for his turn to go home himself. Add in the fact that he was worthless in challenges and Keith gave Natalie and Baylor a better shot at beating Jon at his own game, and Alec was an easy choice. So adios, Alec. Hope you and your douchebag brother, Drew, never return.
In other news, I firmly hope Baylor, Missy, or Natalie win. Keith is okay, too, but he's just so damn bad at the game. Jaclyn is too much of a follower for Jon. And Jon himself . . . I hate him. Enough said. He's a jerk, his dying father story is played out, and he just doesn't seem like a nice guy at all. I don't know what Jaclyn sees in him. At least this last vote shows he's not as much in control as he thinks he is.
Six castaways remain. Who'll be voted out next week? We'll see then!