Survivor San Juan Del Sur Recap
Episode 1, Part 2
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
September 25, 2014

Celebrate good times, come on!

Previously on Survivor, we ranted about three people we dislike. Then, the episode started and none of that trio was highlighted a lot. Let’s hope that this trend continues.

Day one at Hunahpu is spent splashing around the beach. That is true of most of the cast members, anyway. Drew, who is listed as “Alec’s brother” finds himself in charge of construction. Thrice divorced Missy notices a pair of shirtless, attractive gentlemen past the age of consent and works her way over to check out their wood. It is the base of the housing structure, perverts. Any Mrs. Robinson joke should go without saying.

Drew hopes that his sweat of brow will endear him to the other contestants. He also takes this opportunity to announce his professional success as a male model. Somewhere, Missy’s heart flutters. As Drew discusses how much he has accomplished for the tribe, the show predictably airs a complaint from a competing player.

In this case, Julie, a woman full of the seed of Satan’s spawn, is annoyed by his behavior. She considers his take-charge attitude a sign of arrogance. Yes, the significant other of John Rocker is claiming to be turned off by the arrogance of a different Survivor contestant. While she continues to vent, we cannot help but feel that this is the start of a romantic comedy.

Drew is instantly the most annoying man Julie has ever met. Her dumb jock of a boyfriend will create the dramatic tension in act two before those crazy/beautiful kids shove him out of the way and embrace, finally releasing the unmistakable sexual tension. Survivor as a meet-cute is an idea whose time…will never come.

Wes, Keith’s son, is the first person to recognize John Rocker. He first discusses his suspicion with Drew before engaging Rocker in conversation. The former Atlanta Brave hilariously attempts to deter Wes by claiming that his last name is Wetteland. Yes, in order to prevent anyone from deducing that he is a former professional baseball player, John Rocker claims that his name is John Wettleland.

For those of you who do not understand why this is so funny/stupid, John Wetteland was also a former baseball closer. Rocker’s attempt to deceive is the most ineffective ploy possible. It’s like a wanted killer coming up with the pseudonym of O.J. Simpson. We presume that the former Atlanta Brave’s back-up name was going to be John Notrocker.

Even Wes can see through this clever ruse, although it isn’t his finest moment. The southern gentleman attempts to out his companion. He asks if his last name, Rocker, “has five letters in it”. We are going to go out on a limb and guess that Wes was not a math major. Rocker actually does something even funnier when he tries to count the letters in his own fake name, eventually settling upon seven for “W-E-T-L-A-N-D”. If you are going to try to steal John Wetteland’s career, at least learn how to spell his last name, dude.

Josh, Reed’s boyfriend, is already struggling on day three at Coyopa. He has suffered some sort of eye infection and appears to be a man in desperate need of a pirate patch. His left eye has swelled shut. He deduces that there is some sort of branch that is creating allergic reactions. The tribe members remove the offending foliage from camp.

Over at Hunahpu, Handsome Jon relays a heartbreaking story regarding his father. Papa o’ Jon has a brain tumor, and his outlook is grim. Jon faced a choice of spending more quality time with his father or participating on the show. Since Jon’s dad is a huge fan of Survivor, Jon decided to join the cast. Hopefully, his father is able to watch his son play the game very well for the entire season.

Probst Returns: The Probstening! Do you want to win more challenges? Sure, we all do. Val and Keith return from Exile Island to join their tribes for the Immunity Challenge. Probst is quick to point out how screwed they are since they haven’t had a chance to build any alliances or relationships. Judging just by the way he’s changed during the many seasons of Survivor, Probst is going to be such a cranky old man.

This very first Immunity Challenge has the tribes scrambling on the ground underneath a wooden structure – which makes for visually arresting television, actually. Then they have to retrieve some bags from a high hanging post. The guys lift the lighter females onto their shoulders to accomplish this feat.

Next up, the teams have to choose a player who will launch a ball up to where it will hopefully catch. Once done, they’ll have a rope they can use to ascend a steep wall. Rocker gets his tribe off to a solid lead as he quickly secures the rope and his team is up and over the wall.

Then, they’re able to use pegs for the next wall. Both teams work really well together throughout the wall-climbing portion of the challenge. Eventually, they have to climb a wall using whatever means they can. Rocker pretty much is responsible for getting his entire team over the body, sacrificing his body as a kind of grappling bridge. Coyopa gets a lead and has started on the inevitable puzzle.

It’s not long before Hunahpu has caught up, and they are better at puzzles than Coyopa. They fit the final piece in its place and Hunahpu. Wins. Immunity! Probst is quick to point out the aspect of the Blood vs. Water game that is most interesting. Even as a team is celebrating their challenge win, they are realizing that their family member is about to go. The Hunahpu tribe members quickly become somber as they realize that their loved one could be the first person voted out.

And now it’s time to play “It’s Anyone But the Old Guy.” We’ve already mentioned that Dale has been semi-separated from the rest of the group for a good portion of the game, and he’s clearly worried that his tribe might follow the proud Survivor tradition of ousting their elders first.

But first, we go back over to Hunahpu, where Keith is pretty pleased with his team’s performance. He introduces himself to the group, and has a conversation with Jeremy, who feels like he owes Keith for taking care of Val over at Exile Island. Keith figures that Jeremy may be all right since he’s a fellow fighter, but he’s still wary. And he doesn’t harbor any illusions that he can trust anyone else, either.

Over at Coyopa, Val is paying the price for her husband’s stupidity in volunteering for the first challenge. With the realization that she’s a woman without allies at the moment, she sets out to look for the idol. Val seems like an incredibly cerebral person, which means that whomever she allies with will go far while she gets sacrificed.

A segment we heartily encourage occurs. Nadiya is being… Nadiya. She’s talking about her Amazing Race experiences, and Dale takes this opportunity to mention her past backstabbing tendencies to the male members of the group. He suggests that they should eliminate her before she has the chance to double cross one of them, too. That’s right, people. Vote Nadiya!

The tribe is pretty evenly divided between men and women, and both groups are trying to curry Josh’s favor. He’s listened to Dale’s suggestion that Nadiya should be the one to go and his analysis is absolutely right. As long as other people are being mentioned as targets, you make sure you listen.

Then, Nadiya (don’t call me Natalie, dude!) approaches him and attempts to gain his alliance. Josh is pretty pleased again, because he wants to be the person that people approach with suggestions. It’s a good strategy in the short-term, and can benefit him in the long run as well as long as he doesn’t make conflicting promises to too many people.

Of course, we start to see which way the wind is blowing when Nadiya says to him, “Oh, I’m counting you as one of the girls.” He… does not react well to this and in fact finds it terribly offensive. She even calls him “girlfriend” and we can’t believe she’s not seeing his body language that is telling her, “I can’t believe you don’t shut up.”

Josh says that if you want proof that this is the worst thing you can say to him, just ask his boyfriend. It really didn’t take long for Nadiya’s big mouth to start getting her in trouble. We can only assume that Natalie is doing the same thing over at her camp.

The women get together to discuss the mythical “Girls Alliance,” and they all agree that Dale is the vote tonight, as long as they can pull in one of the guys. Nadiya tells them that Josh is going to be with them, and Baylor heads off to discuss the impending vote with him.

He doesn’t really commit to anything, but notes in confessional that he realizes he is the swing vote tonight and his vote will really need to be about what’s best for him moving forward in the game. A lot of people claim to be Survivor fans but then show no real gameplay ability. Josh is definitely a step above these sorts of frauds. He clearly has studied the game and learned from it, and so far, he is playing a calculated, intelligent game.

The music is serious, and Probst is telling the members of Coyopa that they should dip their torches in the fire and that fire represents life and yadda yadda yadda we’ve all heard this before. He of course starts with Rocker, er, "Wetland", who says that this is actually a tough vote because there’s not an obvious choice. No one was terrible in the Immunity Challenge, and no one has been lazy at camp, either. We grudgingly admit that this is a good answer.

Then Probst moves on to Nadiya, who basically says, “We’re voting for the old guy!” He also wonders how Survivor compares to Amazing Race. She tells him that on Amazing Race, they were given precise instructions that they had to follow or risk coming in last place. On Survivor, they’re just put on an island and are told, “Here you go, do whatever!” It’s actually an interesting evaluation that we’d enjoy more if it were coming from the mouths of say, Dave and Connor or the Globetrotters.

Val admits to being stressed, but implies that she may have an idol. We’re not sure anyone’s buying it. When Probst asks Jaclyn if she’s noticed anyone bonding so far, she mentions that the guys all seem close. Probst decides to pick on Dale a little bit, pointing out that old people are usually first to go, but Dale does a great job of reminding his teammates that he’s been instrumental in making camp life better, sacrificing his glasses so that they could have fire quickly.

And through it all, the theme seems to be that everyone really likes Josh. This is really great news for Josh, but he does need to tread carefully here. If people start thinking he’s talking to everyone, they’ll lose trust in him and think he’s double-dealing.

With a final dumb comment from Nadiya (she calls Josh “one of the girls” again), it’s time to vote. When Jeff brings back the urn and asks if anyone has an idol to play, Val plays around with her bag like she might pull something out, but it’s a bluff, of course. We will say that we’d welcome the day that a Survivor found an idol without the audience knowing. It’d be kind of fun to experience that anticipation and shock with the Surivors.

Probst reads the votes. Nadiya. Dale. Baylor (huh?). Dale. Nadiya. Dale. Nadiya. Nadiya. Nadiya. And it’s the best possible result for episode one as we’ve got one down, two to go. C’mon, Survivor. Let’s make it 1-2-3.

So long, Nadiya. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, “girlfriend.”