Hopefully everyone found time in their busy holiday schedules to tune in to “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” this Thanksgiving Eve. For those that did, we were rewarded with one of the best episodes of this season, topped off with a truly memorable Tribal Council. For everyone else, here is what you missed on Wednesday night:
Idol Reminder. First off, the night started with Jeff Probst’s “Previously on…” segment that took time to remind us that there were in fact three Immunity Idols in play. Three? Oh yeah, that’s right, we all know that Jon and Keith each have an Idol, but some of us may have forgotten that Baylor had a clue to a third Idol, a clue that she had shared with Natalie. A bit of foreshadowing of things to come, perhaps?
Damage Control. Returning to camp after the major blindside of Jeremy, Reed was shown enjoying a minor, muffled celebration. “Let’s stay humble and try to figure something out,” Reed told Wes, Alec and Keith. Meanwhile, Natalie was noticeably shaken after her closest ally, Jeremy, was blindsided. Missy, Jon and their alliance try to convince her that they are still tight with her, and to prove it, Jon tells Natalie that he has an Idol. Why would he tell her that if he didn’t trust her, he asks? Natalie tells the camera that she definitely plans to take Jon out, but that in this game, timing is everything.
Reward Challenge. A water challenge split the remaining nine members up into groups of four (Keith wasn’t picked and sat out). The winning team – Reed, Alec, Jaclyn and Jon – were to go on a Survivor ambassador “good will” mission, bringing a local village a load of baseball supplies (as Probst explains, baseball is the most popular sport in San Juan del Sur). They would then watch the kids play a game while feasting on baseball goodies like hot dogs, pop and caramel corn. For the second straight week, someone decided to give their reward up for someone else. This time it was Reed, allowing Missy to go in his place since she had not been on a reward the entire game. The team chose Wes to go to Exile Island.
For the Love of the Game. The always touching “good will” mission took the contestants out of the game and showed them connecting with the local children. For Jon and Jaclyn, it was especially touching to interact with the kids, since Jaclyn is not able to have children. No strategy was discussed, a definite rarity.
Go Big or Go Home. Back at camp, Reed pulls Keith aside and lets him know that he is on Keith’s side. He reveals that the other side plans to split their votes for Keith and Wes, to flush their alleged Idol, but their plan includes Reed and Alec voting along with them. Reed informs Keith that instead, Alec and Reed plan on voting along with Keith to blindside Jon. Elsewhere at camp, Baylor and Natalie start looking for that third hidden Idol…and Natalie finds it! They then discuss how they both want Jon out, but now was not the time…Reed, they say, has to go next.
Immunity Challenge. A challenge of pure will, each person had to stand on a perch keeping their hands on handles above their heads, and their heels on the base of the perch. All of the perches were measured for each person, to keep the challenge even and fair. Probst spent the challenge tempting them with a series of food items, and was able to bait many of them. Jon jumped for some candy, while Baylor and Jaclyn stepped down for some cookies and milk. Keith pointed out that Natalie’s entire alliance had bailed out of the game, which says a lot about how comfortable they may feel. Then, inexplicably, Wes jumps out of the game for a plate of chicken wings and two beers. Wes isn’t exactly safe in the game, so that was a risky move. After three hours, it came down to Natalie and Reed. Natalie figured that if she was going to lose, she at least wanted some nourishment, so she asked Jeff for some pizza, wings and water. He granted her request. With that, Reed won much-needed Immunity.
Hatching a Plan. Reed is making all of the necessary moves to orchestrate a blindside of Jon. Alec is on board with getting Jon out. Missy is convinced that Reed will not vote along with Keith and Wes, but Jon realizes for the first time in the game that he is not controlling the upcoming vote. He is feeling very vulnerable heading into Tribal.
Tribal Council. What a doozy. Probst brings up how no Idols have yet been played. After some back and forth, Keith leans over and says “I say we stick to the plan.” This comment explodes the tribe into a world of chaos. What plan??? It is a rare Tribal when people get this shifty. People started whispering, changing their votes, scurrying around. It appeared that all hell had broken loose. So what was about to happen??? It was time to find out.
The Vote. No votes were revealed on TV and then came the time where Jeff asked if anyone was going to play an Idol. After a moment of hesitation, Natalie whispered to Jon to play his Idol. “Are you serious?” Jon said. He clearly did not see it coming. Natalie kept urging him, and so Jon stood up and announced that he was indeed playing his Idol. Seeing that Jon played his, Keith had no choice but to play his as well. Before doing so, he offered it up to Wes, who refused. With two Idols played, votes would not count for either Jon or Keith…and it ended up being a game-saving move for them both to play their Idols. The votes were read: Jon – Jon – Jon – Keith – Keith – Jon – Keith. With only two votes remaining, no votes have counted yet. Then the last two were read: Wes…and Wes. With that, Wes was voted out of the game in one of the craziest Tribals in several seasons.
Analysis. No stand-alone Analysis article tonight due to Thanksgiving, but man, what a Tribal! Reed definitely “went big” but wasn’t able to pull off the blindside. What an episode for Natalie, who not only found an Immunity Idol, but got Jon and Keith to play theirs. Suddenly, she is in a great position of power moving forward. On the other side of the spectrum, all the cards are on the table for Reed and Alec, who along with Keith, are now extreme long shots and in the minority. Baylor, Missy and Natalie now seem to be controlling things.
Next Time On…Tensions are high, but as Probst teases, “One fight will change the game for good.” Shown underneath that audio, was Jon and Jaclyn having some sort of a serious spat. Oh yeah, and it’s a double-episode!
Remember, no exit interview tomorrow due to Thanksgiving, but my exclusive interview with Wes will post next Monday.
Last but not least, please check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, SurvivorFever.net.