Survivor San Juan Del Sur Recap
Episode 8
Wrinkle in the Plan
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
November 17, 2014

I can't believe I thought Baylor would be loyal to me.

Previously on Survivor, Jeremy narrowly avoided elimination when his staunch ally Julie quit the game after the merge. One of the most self-absorbed players in recent memory, Julie figuratively curled up the fetal position the moment John Rocker was eliminated. This leads us to wonder how someone could be so connected to a guy like Rocker that the idea of him leaving was anything other than glee-inducing.

Had we seen a Tribal Council, Jon and Jaclyn seemed prepared to flip on their previous alliance, because they felt it positioned them better for deep advancement in the game. The only flaw with their plan is that it seems to give a numbers advantage to Josh, the best player this season. The power couple is currently in the trickiest of Survivor positions – stuck between planning for the next couple of eliminations as opposed to thinking about end game. To their credit, Jon & Jaclyn do seem aware that it’s too early to worry about the final vote. That particular arrogance-based misstep has tripped up many previous players.

The episode begins basically where we left off last week. Jon & Jaclyn remain in conflict about their next move. Jon is all-in about the idea of eliminating Jeremy, whom Jon believes poses the biggest threat long-term. Jaclyn is much more concerned about the repercussions of flipping on their current alliance in order to join a bunch of dudes she doesn’t necessarily like that much. You have to wonder how Jaclyn felt about Jon’s football buddies at Michigan State.

An antagonistic relationship seems to be developing between Jaclyn and the guys. This is important because Natalie, Missy and Baylor would love nothing more than to develop a girls’ alliance. They can’t have the numbers yet, but the situation is definitely still fluid.

This episode wastes no time as we go straight to our Probst sighting. Today’s reward challenge is splitting the group into two teams. They’ll lug around the building pieces for a pyramid, which they must then put together. First team to finish gets to celebrate Taco Tuesday! No, seriously. There will be a taco bar with all the fixin’s. Needless to say, the Survivors are enthusiastic about the prospects of this prize.

Probst points out that after 19 days, the pieces are really heavy. Since the teams are picked schoolyard style (although this takes place off screen), Baylor is picked “last” and her mother Missy is not picked at all and has to sit out. The teams are Jon, Jaclyn, Baylor, Alec and Josh versus Natalie, Reed, Jeremy, Wes and Keith. Seems like the team with Baylor is at a disadvantage since she’s so small and the pieces are heavy, but we’ll see.

In fact, it turns out to not even be very close. Although Jon & Jaclyn’s team manages to get semi-close at the end, the team of mostly dudes takes the prize and will be enjoying a delicious taco dinner soon. But before that can happen, they’ll need to pick someone from the other team to send to Exile Island. They take a moment to discuss, and they feel bad about forcing Missy to sit out, so they decide against her. Eventually, they settle on Jon, because he’s a tough guy and he can take it. People sent to Exile Island no longer get to enjoy the company of another Survivor, so he’ll be roughing it alone.

At the taco bar, everyone realizes that it’s not really possible to talk strategy. Wes, Keith and Reed are part of one alliance, while Jeremy and Natalie are part of the other. They kind of acknowledge this from the get-go, noting how weird it is to just be eating but not really talking about game strategy. Keith does mention that he had planned to vote for Julie, which Jeremy knows is B.S. He has no respect for the Louisiana fireman’s game.

That little bit of game discussion dispatched, it’s now time for Keith to warn his son Wes not to scarf down his food so quickly. Wes doesn’t listen, though, which means that his body is about to be a symphony.

A funny comment from Keith about Wes comes when he says, “Wes is a good kid. He ain’t been in jail yet, you know, but he does make some mistakes.”

Yes, Wes has #tacooverload as the hashtag tells us, and he’s pretty much the most disgusting thing going at the moment. Too many tacos plus a margarita or two are hell on a digestive system that’s been consuming mostly rice over the past several days.

Meanwhile, back at camp, Josh is trying to make lemonade from lemons. He figures the people he’s currently stuck with are the ones that he needs to talk to in order to make some arrangements for game strategy. He starts with Baylor, who had been his ally back in the olden days when they started out together. Josh mentions that he saved her a time or two, so he respectfully asks if she and her alliance might consider skipping over him and Reed during the next vote.

Baylor thinks it’s not very Christian of him to ask for a gift in exchange for the one he gave her and believes he’s trying to blackmail her. We realize that she’s only 20, but she’s a particularly selfish and entitled person. Josh is the reason she is still in the game. But Survivors have short memories, and Baylor is no exception.

To his credit, Josh reads her pretty well. He instantly realizes that Baylor listens to no one but her mother, and he’s not going to be able to work with her moving forward. Since his attempt to solidify his alliance failed, he moves on to Jaclyn. He figures that an alliance of the various “couples” in the game makes sense because the singles still left will want to break them up (excluding Missy & Baylor, of course). Jaclyn assures him that she and Jon don’t want to vote for him. Josh hopes that Jaclyn & Jon hold true to their word, but realizes that no one in this game is ever completely trustworthy.

We take a quick jaunt over to Exile Island, which has creepy, scary music and sound effects to accentuate its awfulness. Jon says that being alone sucks, and he misses Jaclyn. He does say that this gives Jaclyn a chance to build up relationships with people in his absence so that she won’t be seen as a tagalong. Funny. We thought that Jon was the hanger on out of the two.

He gets a clue that seems to indicate there may be an Immunity Idol on Exile Island. Recognizing that the clue seems to give him a limited amount of time to search before high tide comes in, he quickly hunts. Just as time seems to be running out, he spots a rock that looks out of place. Lo and behold, there is in fact an idol. Jon says this is a game-changer, and he’s probably right. It doesn’t matter for the short-term, but with Jon and Keith both carrying idols, someone like Jeremy is probably going to get blindsided in a coming vote.

Other than idol searching, Exile Island is pretty dull, so we head back to the stupidly named Huyopa. Wes says that the reward was totally not worth it, because it made him gassy. Along with Alec and Keith, he talks about the sort of scatological subject matter you’d normally see in a Farrelly Brothers movie. It’s totally a case of guys being guys, and as Jeremy says, that’s fine for the firehouse (or maybe a fraternity house). However, it’s completely inappropriate in the presence of women, particularly ones that you have been antagonizing. You can see the disgust written all over the faces of Jaclyn, Missy and Baylor.

Alec continues picking at Baylor, telling her to take some trash away to dump it. She scoffs at him and says she feels like a slave, and Missy tells her he’s a jerk and to just forget about it. Then, she’s lying around and Keith asks her to help out with some wood, which she bitches about as well. Look, these guys are not being subtle in pointing out her laziness, but she could counterbalance that by, you know, not being lazy. Once again the camera cuts to a very uncomfortable looking Jaclyn.

Of course, Missy defends her daughter to the death, saying that they’re the most chauvinistic group of men she’s ever seen. Alec yells at the girls to keep the fire going, and when they say, “Yeah, okay,” he scoffs that Natalie might, but he doesn’t know about the others.

We go back to Jaclyn once again, who notes that these guys really ought to be nicer to her. She and Jon are the swing votes, after all, and who are they to presume that the power couple is automatically aligned with them. And she makes a very important statement here that Jon will vote whichever way she wants him to.

“Jon can vote with them, but I’m not. No way,” Jaclyn says.

Someone in the Josh alliance may be in trouble tonight.

Keith and Alec talk about the upcoming vote, and Alec is confident that Jon is on their side. For his part, Keith is not quite so sure. He asks if perhaps they shouldn’t be making sure Jaclyn is onboard with their alliance as well, but Alec just shrugs him off. Keith is really perceptive about the things that are happening around him in the game, but because he’s automatically tied to his son (and his friends), he’s handicapped. This is a case where Keith would truly be better off if he could be playing an individual game. That’s part of the beauty of Blood vs. Water.

It’s finally time for our Immunity Challenge, which is a brain teaser that has the Survivors playing a “Memory” style game. As we know from past seasons, this is no easy challenge. After days and days on the island, the players’ mental conditions are not as sharp as they normally would be. In the first round of the game, Jon, Wes and Alec are quickly eliminated.

The second round rolls around, and we lose Natalie, Baylor, Jaclyn, Missy and Keith. That means that either Josh or Jeremy will win immunity tonight. On the very next memory item, Jeremy wins individual immunity. Needless to say, the Bro Alliance won’t be able to send him home tonight.

It’s time to play “It’s Anyone But a Boy.” Josh is the obvious choice since he’s the most threatening player, but he and Jeremy are the only ones who treated Jaclyn with any respect while Jon was away at Exile Island. Alec and Wes frankly deserve to be voted out for their behavior, but then again, so does Baylor. We’ll name her an honorary Bro for the night. More than anything else, what we’ve learned tonight is that you should never piss off Jaclyn.

The vote options are discussed. Jeremy says that he feels that he’s been battling Josh for control of the game the whole time, so he really wants to eliminate his key competitor. He knows his alliance is on his side, but worries about Jon and Jaclyn’s votes.

On the other side, the Bros (plus Josh) decide that Baylor will be the vote. Have you noticed that people dislike Baylor? No? Perhaps you’ve been watching Hell’s Kitchen instead of Survivor. Anyway, like Jeremy, Josh frets about Jon and Jaclyn and says that if they’re not on his side, he’s about to spend his last evening at the Huyopa camp.

This naturally segues into a conversation between Jaclyn and Jon. When he asks her how it went while he was gone, she tells him that she hates all the boys because they completely disregarded her in his absence. In addition, she notes that they’d have a much more difficult time beating the Bros in a challenge, so it makes sense to pick them off one by one. In confessional, Jaclyn notes that she’s not sure that Jon is 100% onboard with her and her decision to break with Josh and his alliance, which in her words is “stupid.”

Basically, we figure if Jon wants to have any sort of intimate relations with Jaclyn ever again, he probably ought to consider his next move very carefully.

What follows next is a conversation between Keith and Missy where Keith tells Missy how awful Baylor is, while she counters with the “your kid is awful, too” argument. Baylor wonders why Keith would say this to her mom, which is an absolutely fantastic point. Missy decides she needs to approach Jon and ask him to vote for Josh, but he’s obviously just saying, “Uh, sure.”

At this point, tonight’s boot is going to come down to whichever one of Jon or Jaclyn backs down. At Tribal Council, Jeremy talks about how much he needed Immunity for tonight’s vote, and Probst asks Josh if he feels the same way. If we’re reading Josh’s face, he thinks he’s going home tonight. He says that he absolutely needed the idol today, and has a sick look on his face throughout Tribal Council.

Natalie makes a savvy move when she talks about how much the Bros disrespected Jaclyn in Jon’s absence. This confirms exactly what Jaclyn had been telling Jon and may influence his vote in a positive way. The burps and farts come up again, giving Missy and Keith another opportunity to bicker.

After a bit more discussion about Jon and Jaclyn’s voting power, it’s time for the vote. We see Alec vote for Baylor because duh. We also see Baylor’s vote for Josh, where she notes that she stopped trusting him when he wrote her name down without telling her during the first Tribal Council. We mentioned at the time that this move made no sense and in fact it may have just come back to bite him (although let’s be fair – Baylor is going to justify her vote however she needs to justify it).

Probst reads the votes. It goes Baylor, Josh, Baylor, Josh, Baylor, Josh, Baylor, Josh, Baylor, Josh. The final vote goes to Josh. Throughout Jeff’s reading of the vote, he seemed very confident it would be him. He hugs and kisses Reed on the way out, and tells the gang he’ll eat a cheeseburger for everybody.

Too bad. Josh was probably the most likable person on the show. Oh, well. There might be some entertainment value in watching the rest of these losers bumble their way to the finish.