Survivor San Juan Del Sur Recap
Episode 10
This Is Where We Build Trust
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
November 27, 2014

Aw, dad.

Previously on Survivor, they used to take breaks during Thanksgiving week. We miss those days.

Also, we learned last week that Missy is not a person of her word, while Natalie lost her primary ally. Those of you who read Ben Willoughby’s power rankings – and you ought to be if you’re not, because they’re hilarious – know that he sees Missy as an out-in-the-open snake. He believes that her use of this strategy can lead to long-term success. He goes even further to suggest that people should vote her out immediately or risk winning Survivor. That is one way to look at Missy’s position.

A slightly different point of view, the one that we hold, is that Missy has the same chance of winning as you, the reader. She’s dumb, she’s annoying, she’s enabling and she’s treacherous. The only way she would have a chance of winning anything is if she were a character on Orange is the New Black. And we still like her chances better than Baylor’s.

With Jeremy and Josh eliminated during consecutive Tribal Councils, the best remaining player argument is a lot like picking your favorite Washington General. We’re clinging to the hope that Jaclyn is smart and that Keith is running a con based on the expected stereotypes about him. If we’re wrong, this is the type of season that leads to someone like Coach, Brian or Vecepia winning Survivor. That would be the karmic result for a season that cast John Rocker and the Amazing Race twins, though.

Night 24 at Huyopa begins with Keith expressing confusion about what just transpired. He had been told that the vote was for Reed, and so he voted for Reed. He then discusses his close alliance with… Reed. In Keith’s words, Reed is a gamer because “He knows how to talk to folks and figure stuff out, mathematic numbers and all that mess, which is way above me.” Okay, Keith is probably not playing the long con we were hoping for. If he is, he’s Keyser Soze.

Coincidentally or not, the editing goes a long way in defining the political groups on the 24th evening. Keith, Reed, Alec and Wes stand together and confer about how to pull another player into their group. Meanwhile, a quartet of Jon, Jaclyn, Missy and Baylor tries to convince Natalie that the horrible breach of trust that occurred only hours before is a net positive for her.

Jon reveals that he has an idol, which causes Natalie to say something that is mirrored by the four gentlemen standing a few yards away. These five people want Jon eliminated for various reasons. So, the one thing we can say with confidence is that Jon is safe from elimination tonight.

We waste no more time and head straight to the Reward Challenge. Once again, there will be two teams competing against each other. This time, they’ll dive into the water and collect puzzle pieces that will help them to build a statue. Winners will be able to deliver some baseball equipment to underprivileged Nicaraguan kids, and will also feast on baseball type foods.

The teams are chosen schoolyard style again, and we have Reed, Jon, Jaclyn and Alec versus Missy, Natalie, Baylor and Wes. Keith is sitting out. We honestly have no idea who did the choosing on the Missy side, because four of the strongest five players wind up playing for the opposing team. On paper, this is a horrible mismatch.

All we need to really say is that we are surprised how close it is during the physical portion of the challenge. Missy’s team actually develops a lead thanks to the strong swimming of Wes. Eventually, the power and athleticism of Jon’s team negates this early advantage and they win the swimming phase by about a quarter of a leg.

The puzzle phase is pure domination. Missy cannot even find the right key for the lock. Natalie has to tell her to calm down, and you know how well people do when they’re already panicking. They can’t even get to their first piece by the time that Jon’s team wins. A frustrated Keith spits once again, which he always does when he’s annoyed with stupid people. In his mind, he keeps giving them great advice, but they just won’t listen.

After the loss, Baylor is devastated because Missy hasn’t been on a reward yet. Reed offers to give up his spot on the reward so that Missy can get something to eat. Really, he’s giving up his spot so that he can spend a little time with Natalie to see if she can be swayed to vote with the guys. Reed is moving to the front of the list for top Survivor players this season. We’re totally gonna get his Washington Generals jersey.

Wes is sent to Exile Island, which makes Keith spit again.

When the Survivors arrive for the reward, the kids are all so excited. It’s a pretty tender moment, and Missy in particular seems to be appreciating the chance to interact with the children. Jon talks about how he wants to be a dad someday, and notes that he and Jaclyn would be looking to adopt someday since she is unable to have children herself. It’s a really lovely moment all around.

Back at loser camp, Reed wants to get Keith by himself for a discussion.

“Sometimes I don’t know if Keith quite understands exactly the intricacies of how this game is played,” he says.

Reed’s hope is that the majority alliance will try to split the vote between Wes and Keith, allowing them to have their four votes for Jon determine who goes home tonight.

While the men are away, Natalie and Baylor are searching for a hidden idol. Both of them have seen clues at Exile Island, so they figure one has to be there somewhere. And… they find one.

Dear Survivor Producers: If one-third of the remaining Survivor players have a hidden Immunity Idol, you have too many idols.

Natalie and Baylor talk strategy. We pound our fists against our head in frustration. Reed has just done a ton of strategizing in order to vote Jon out. Natalie has just done a ton of strategizing in order to vote Jon out. If everyone would just talk to each other about who they want voted out tonight, Jon wouldn’t stand a chance.

And we’re moving right along to the Immunity Challenge. It’s a simple balance challenge that is complicated by the fact that Probst is offering them food to tempt them. Demonstrating how much he understands his position in the game, Jon steps down in order to eat some candy. Keith takes this opportunity to emasculate Jon about what a wuss he is. If Jon is this big of a threat, why does no one like him?

Missy is next to step down, and it’s not even in exchange for food. She misses out, but Jeff offers chocolate cookies, which causes Baylor and Jaclyn to leave a cloud of dust in their wake.

At the 45-minute mark, he brings out beer and chicken wings, which is enough to convince Wes to jump down. We can’t wait for the next round of burping.

Keith takes this opportunity to point out to Natalie that her allies are sitting over on the benches enjoying various delicacies. Meanwhile, Natalie is drenched in sweat, and it should be noted that these people voted off her primary ally last Tribal Council.

Probst asks Keith why Wes would go ahead and jump off the platform for chicken, and Keith says it must have been a food weakness and they’ll have a heart to heart later.

For his part, Wes says, “I ate 58 chicken nuggets in five minutes and won an eatin’ contest once. What what?” We’d like to say that we hope to keep peeling back the onion on Wes, but…

Time eventually takes its toll on Keith’s body, and he has to step down when his body starts shaking uncontrollably. Alec’s feet are an unnatural, alarming shade of red, and he quits, too.

Natalie tries to pull a Keith and spit, but it only winds up on her breasts. “Ew,” she says. Jon and Jaclyn wake up from their nap to see what’s going on (we’re not exaggerating). The other players are so bored that they discuss an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Natalie asks Jeff if there isn’t any more food coming out, which makes him incredulous. He cannot believe she will cede immunity in exchange for food. Not wanting to pass this opportunity to see what happens next, he tries to entice her with a plate of pizza, chicken wings, a cookie, a glass of water, and beer. In a weird change of pace for Probst, he actually tries to convince her to stay in the challenge. She says that it’s been three hours, so she might as well get some food. Notably, none of her “allies” concurs.

Natalie eats her dinner and Reed does the splits. Probst can’t take his hands off of him. We’re not sure how much of that is Reed showing how limber he is versus him finding the only way to be comfortable after the long challenge.

After two episodes of the strongest player being voted out, the producers work overtime to convince us that everyone wants Jon gone and they’re manipulating the vote to achieve this. The problem is that Jon doesn’t believe that Alec and Reed will vote for Wes and Keith as they indicate. He states that he is not going to play his idol and Keith says the same thing, although we’re dubious about him. The potential here is for the split votes and the played idols to lead to a person being eliminated with only a couple of votes…probably Wes.

What happens next is one of the most exciting Tribal Councils in the history of the game. Events begin innocently enough with Jeremy glaring at Jon and Missy, the latter of whom gulps with shame. The players debate their status in the game, with Jaclyn mentioning that she thinks she’s in the power five, but she’s not 100% sure. Probst tries to talk about the idol, which leads to a couple of glib replies.

Then, Keith figuratively pulls out a pin from a grenade and rolls it in front of his fellow tribe mates. He leans forward and emphatically states, “I say stick to the plan.” At this moment, there is no true way of knowing what the plan was. Suffice to say that the tenuous situation is shaken like an Etch-a-Sketch. People stop paying any attention to the conversation between Probst and whoever is speaking at the moment. Instead, they start negotiating about whom they will eliminate. Jon is clearly the target of multiple people, yet he is blissfully unaware of this fact as Reed and Natalie negotiate Jon’s potential elimination.

Natalie asks Jaclyn whether she trusts Reed, and she bluntly says, “No.” Jaclyn says, “Just keep the same, we’ll go with you guys.” At this moment, Jon overrules her. He doesn’t realize it, but what he is doing is working against him.

Reed tries to persuade Natalie, but after being burned last week, the twin demonstrates impressive tenacity.

“You know when you’re at, um, like a fair and you’re looking in those distorted mirrors? Okay, well I feel like all three of them are jumbled up and I’m really fat, really skinny, and like this [making a wavy hand motion] right now. And I think everybody might feel like that.” – Baylor, making one of the best analogies we’ve seen on Survivor and semi-justifying her presence this season.

After the votes are cast, Natalie rubs her forehead in frustration and eventually embarks upon a course of action. “Dude, play your idol,” she whispers to Jon. He isn’t sure about this, but should be noticing that Reed is doing everything except say, “Shut the eff up, Natalie!”

After a few moments of contemplation, Jon correctly decides that playing his idol is a smart move. This has the ripple effect of causing Keith to ask Wes for their idol. Keith offers it to Wes, understanding that both of them are in jeopardy now. Like a good son, Wes politely refuses.

The votes are revealed. The first seven go to Jon and Keith, who cannot be eliminated. Jaclyn nods her head with satisfaction at Jon’s risky decision to play his idol. We note that she has the same look that Cersei has when someone badmouths Joffrey, though. No matter what happens next, Reed is going to suffer for this at a later date.

Jon is having the time of his life, while Reed looks like they just killed Josh in front of him… which we suppose actually kind of happened.

Wes and Keith both know what will happen next. Keith has a look on his face that shows he regrets not pushing his son to take the idol. This is in direct contrast to Dale and Kelley from earlier in the season, as he irritated us by actually rooting against her in a challenge. The final two votes are revealed. In the end, Jon and Jaclyn once again determine who is voted out of the game, as their votes go to Wes, who is accidentally eliminated by his father’s big mouth.

Jon taps Reed on the leg and says, “You sly dog, you.” Reed awkwardly fakes a smile and says, “Good job,” knowing all too well that his assassination attempt has just failed and the police will be arriving at any moment.