Survivor San Juan Del Sur Recap
Episode 13
Let's Make a Move
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 11, 2014

I got mud on my face for nothin'.

Previously on Survivor, everyone wanted to vote out Jon, especially Natalie. What is strange about the previous statement is that Jon would be gone be now if Natalie had not told him to play his immunity idol. To Natalie, revenge is a dish best served never.

Jon was fortunate enough to win immunity in the most recent episode, which forced the group to split their votes between Keith and Alec. The younger, more gullible gentleman was sent packing, and the average IQ of the tribe immediately went up considerably.

Also putting a crimp in Natalie’s plan to vote out Jon is the fact that he found another hidden immunity idol while at Exile Island. Presumably, she’ll tell him to play that one when she’s trying to vote him out. At this point, we have no idea what Natalie is doing. Then again, neither does she. Thanks for casting the twins this year, Survivor producers! Were the Harlem Globetrotters not available or what?

Natalie’s chaotic behavior is the subject of the opening segment. She, Missy and Baylor voted for Alec instead of Keith, who had been the designated target. Natalie feigns ignorance, claiming that no one spoke to her beforehand, saying that she got confused. The expression on Jaclyn’s face tells us that she has deduced that Natalie is a lying liar who lies. Meanwhile, Jon still has no idea that Natalie hates him and feels guilty that they didn’t talk more prior to the vote.

“Alec was just obsessed with Jon for no reason, you know?” – Natalie, not cursed with any sort of self-awareness.

Keith is surprised to hear that Natalie saved him from elimination. He is even more surprised to hear that he is in an alliance with her, Missy and Baylor. Keith, we’re gonna go out on a limb and say that you shouldn’t trust them. If you do, Survivor is going to be in Worst Winner Ever territory – and remember that Coach and Tyson have both won.

We’re saved from the nonsense by a Probst sighting. Today’s Reward Challenge splits the Survivors into teams that are determined by draw. It’s Jon, Missy and Keith versus Natalie, Baylor and Jaclyn. They are all tethered together. First, they have to climb through some hay and then climb over several hurdles. Next, they gather a bucket and fill it with water before going to a giant teeter-totter, which is a very rough ride. Then they have to fill a bigger bucket of water until it has enough water to open a gate.

This challenge is really complex.

The three girls get out to an early lead, and maintain it when Missy comes down really hard off the teeter-totter, injuring her ankle. Their group moves pretty slowly from this point on.

As is so often the case, the challenge ends with a puzzle. Natalie, Baylor and Jaclyn have a sizeable lead, but they don’t work particularly well together. Jon, Missy and Keith are a well-oiled team when it comes to puzzle construction, and they overcome a pretty sizable deficit to win the challenge.

This season, we’ve seen a lot of people give up their rewards for strategic purposes. Jon talks about how great the reward will be for Missy, and when Jaclyn talks about how annoyed she is with him, he says, “Did I say I was going?” Indeed, he gives up his spot for Baylor. He semi-offers to go to Exile Island, too, but Natalie insists that she take that punishment. Obviously, she’s going to find an Immunity Idol clue that leads to no Immunity Idol.

Missy climbs on Baylor’s back so that her daughter can carry her to the reward. Jeff makes sure that Missy knows she should notify him if she needs medical attention. Keith does not spit, but probably wants to when faced with the prospect of time alone with the mother/daughter duo.

Since Natalie is going to Exile Island, Jon and Jaclyn will have time alone as well. Bow-chicka-wow-wow. We’ve come a long way in Survivor porn since the days of Jenna Lewis’s honeymoon video.

At the reward, Missy and friends limp over. Her ankle has already swelled to an alarming size. Keith, a firefighter, takes a look and worries that it might be worse than a sprain. Missy says that she’ll crawl to the finale if she has to.

For his part, Keith enjoys the food and the shower. He also makes very happy noises during the massage, which cracks Baylor up. All of a sudden, she thinks he’s the greatest person ever. We guess that spa rewards make strange bedfellows.

Back at camp, Jon and Jaclyn have a discussion, and as we speculated, Jaclyn wasn’t buying a single thing Natalie told them. Jon pretends he knew Natalie was lying the whole time, too. He talks about how he’s totally going to bring it up to the jury. Jaclyn speculates some more about a potential surprise alliance with Keith and the other girls, and wonders if they might have to split up their group of five sooner than anticipated.

We learn that Natalie has never spent this much time apart from her sister as she hangs out at Exile Island. She doesn’t even bother looking for an idol, so perhaps she doesn’t have a clue after all. It’s a little opportunity to rest, but she is pretty clearly emotionally exhausted at this point.

As for Missy, she can’t even stand on her injured leg. She’s using a makeshift crutch, but says she’s absolutely not quitting. Probst insists on calling in medical to take a look. The gentleman who examines her ankle says that at best it’s a severe fracture. The fact that it feels worse after two days may indicate that it’s broken. He suggests that it might be best to pull her from the game so she can be x-rayed. All of the other Survivors are in tears.

Ultimately, it is Missy’s call as to whether she leaves the game. She decides to stay. She will not participate in the Immunity Challenge, which will give the medical staff time to get her in a splint.

So, we have only five people competing in the challenge. They have to stand on a very uncomfortable looking perch, holding two cords that will keep a ceramic cylinder in place. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that it is a windy day. Everyone struggles a bit at the beginning, but the first one out is Jaclyn, who just can’t quite hold on. Keith starts to wobble, which seems to distract Baylor enough that her cylinder falls.

The wind picks up, but our three remaining contestants hang tough. Natalie seems pretty comfortable, but the guys are having a bit more trouble. And indeed Keith does lose control of his cylinder. It’s Natalie versus her “rival” Jon, so she’s going to be super motivated. There’s another big gust of wind, but ultimately it seems to be Jon just breathing on his cylinder that causes it to fall. Natalie wins immunity. She’s obviously going after Jon. The question is whether he and Jaclyn will be smart enough to play his idol.

Keith props Missy up on their way back to camp, and Jon figures he has a good plan to eliminate Keith tonight. Natalie, on the other hand, is aware of Jon’s secret idol. Her strategy is to split the votes between Jaclyn and Jon to get rid of one of them. (It would be a 2-2-2 vote.)

There’s just one little fly in the ointment. Baylor has to convince her mom to vote for Jon. Missy just doesn’t want to do that, because she has a “deal” with Jon. Baylor rightfully points out that Missy can’t win in a final vote versus Jon, and that she’d be far better off sitting next to Baylor and Keith at the end. Missy wants to be sure to be honest to the people she’s allied with (never mind the people she already lied to), so she’s struggling with this decision. If she really wants to be technical, her alliance is with Jon, so she might as well throw one Jaclyn’s way.

At Tribal Council, Keith jumps right in and talks about how he thinks the alliance of five is strong and impenetrable. He points out that he does have a vote, though, and that if someone wants to make a big play in the game, they should use it. Keith also notes that it would be a lot more impressive to the jury to make a play now rather than just coasting with the alliance of five and eventually to the end.

Probst asks Jaclyn what she thinks of all this, and she says that of course she thinks people are probably thinking about opportunities to change the game, but she still believes her alliance is strong and that she and Jon are not going home tonight. This brings a lot of sour looks from both players and jurors, including Missy. Jaclyn may have just sealed her fate with that comment.

Natalie talks a little about vulnerability due to having been away for two days, but of course she won immunity at the challenge so it’s a little hollow and meaningless.

That’s okay, though, because Probst lays a trap for Jon and he takes the bait. Our benevolent host asks if Jon thinks much about his speech at the final Tribal Council, and Jon replies that he thinks about it all the time. Jaclyn may have pissed them off, but this comment is like dropping a bomb. He does follow it up with a comment about the impressiveness of the five sticking together, so at least that’s something to give Missy pause before voting his ass out.

When Jeff quizzes Missy on the possibility of making a move, she makes the excuse that she’s not able to think about much other than her broken foot. However, she does state that she is loyal to a fault when it comes to Jon. We can’t help but notice that it’s Keith that helps her to and from the voting booth and not Jon, though.

Probst asks if anyone will play an immunity idol, and Jon holds tough. It’s basically all up to Missy.

When Jeff reads the votes, it is in fact two for Keith, two for Jon and two for Jaclyn. That means that Jon, Jaclyn and Keith will not be able to vote, which means that finally, Natalie and Baylor are about to send Jon home. The jury is delighted with this turn of events.

Of course, Jon credits Keith for a big move, which just reinforces the fact that he doesn’t see women as being able to strategize at all. And that includes his own girlfriend.

In closing, Jon says that he wishes he’d played his idol, which means that it was more important to him that he win the game than that his girlfriend stay in the game. Or maybe he’s really bad at math.

Next week is the two-hour finale! Join us for a two-part recap that will reveal the Sole Survivor.