Survivor: Worlds Apart - Episode 11
Survivor Russian Roulette
By Ben Willoughby
May 4, 2015

She's going to be on the jury!

Previously on Survivor, the only likable person left in the game was voted out. Is there really any more to say? Eight are left. Can they all be voted out tonight?

Hi, I’m Ben Willoughby and you may remember me from previous Survivor recaps such as Caramoan with Iowa’s only sex therapist and Blair from The Facts of Life, and Blood vs Water with “Huh, Tyson gets a third season?” and “F* You, Brad Culpepper!” I’m filling in this week, because Jim is out of town and David and Kim really can’t deal with all these horrible people.

On with the show! Before the credits, Dan has an interview where he is trying to convince himself that he is not at the bottom if his alliance. He even uses the same voice he uses when talking down to other people. “Do I think I’m at the bottom of my alliance? Absolutely not! I agree with me 100 percent!” is the basic gist. At least he’s found someone appropriate to talk down to.

Then we see Dan check in with Shirin, who talks about Will attacking her and whether he’s so dumb he doesn’t realize it, or so cruel. She settles on dumb. Dan says “for what it’s worth, I’m really sorry about what happened last night at Tribal.” But then back in interview he says that “Shirin is a drama queen, a two faced liar, she loooooves to play the victim.” He makes the point that the whole situation happened because people didn’t trust that Will had shared all the food, which is a fair one. But then he calls what happened karma – like it was deserved, even though we didn’t see Shirin complain at all. All we saw was Tyler list the people he said were talking – the ones who conveniently happened to be outside his alliance - and Will explode 150,000%.

Roll credits.

Because it’s still Jim’s season, Probst sighting! Probst explains the reward challenge, but to be honest I tuned out during the exposition. Tribes divide into teams, blah blah blah, and winners get to go on a boat and eat burgers!

After the schoolyard pick, there is a blue team with Mike, Shirin, Sierra and Rodney and a red team with Tyler, Dan, Carolyn and Will. After Probst says "go" they all start moving barrels, planks and rope to get from one end of a sandpit to the other without the castaways or the planks ever touching the ground. Basically, the blue team go with barrels on their side. The approach depends on Mike rolling three barrels at once while lying on top of them and the other three just standing on one up-ended barrel holding planks and looking useless. Meanwhile, the red team keep all their barrels up-ended and use the planks to make a bridge between two of them while moving the others. Blue gets off to a faster start, but red’s methodical approach overtakes them.

The members of the Blue team decide they need a new strategy, but they really stuff it up by trying one that involves putting the planks on the ground, and Probst has to send them back to the beginning of their section. Then, they decide their only option is that everyone has to stand on a barrel and roll it with their feet as though they've had years of lumberjack training. That goes about as well as you’d expect, and Red wins.

On the winners mat, Probst notes how subdued the victors are. Tyler says that they’re worn out, and Dan says that he feels for the losing team, especially Rodney, who has been on no rewards so far and happens to be in control of the alliance that Dan wants to get further into. Probst suggests that Dan can give up his spot, and Dan finally shuts up about something. Carolyn interviews about how great it is to go on a reward with Dan, so she can ram home there should be no flipping back to Mike. Flippers never win!

The despondent reward losers get back to their beach and decide to kill a chicken. For all the personality clashes that have happened this season, this is the second time that challenge losers have decided to eat a chicken as their consolation prize, and the winners have seemed cool with it, or at least we haven't seen any fights about it. Small mercies.

It’s also time for complaining interviews. Mike complains that they get back to camp, and he has to do all of the work. Rodney complains about how he’s never been on reward and how nasty his nails are - especially with his birthday coming up! Rodney claims that for his sanity, he needs some “Rodney time." Sounds like that would help everyone’s sanity.

While Mike is off doing the work, Sierra and Rodney are preparing the fire. Sierra takes the opportunity to argue that Tyler is going to win this game if Rodney does not take him out. Rodney says he’ll get Tyler out but he wants him out at six, not eight. He says he doesn’t trust Shirin. Sierra, who interviews that she would prefer to use Shirin’s vote to get rid of Tyler, tries to convince Rodney that Shirin is the perfect person to take to the end as no one would vote for her. No one except the three people currently on the jury who smile and wave at Shirin and dislike all the other castaways.

In interview, Rodney protests that Tyler’s not a threat. Rodney sees himself as the biggest threat, because he has ‘the numbers, the relationships, the personalities on my side.” Of course, that’s exactly why he should not be so blasé about the threat from Tyler. But I understand why he wants to get his alliance to the final six and then “Rodney works his magic.” Fracturing the alliance now would turn the game upside down and change up his plan. At this point, it’s better for Rodney to let someone try to make a move and then stomp on them.

Will, Dan, Carolyn and Tyler are on their catamaran-burger reward, and they all lie about how the game is on pause while Dan trashes Mike and tries to fit in. In interview, Dan says that when Mike loses immunity, “smell you later.”

The four start eating burgers, and Dan is still blabbing on about how Mike is convinced that those three plus Rodney turned on him to get rid of him at nine. Oh, Survivor editors, it’s as though you put that in because you knew it would make Dan look stupid. Tyler lies that Mike was right about one thing, “he is a threat.” In interview, Tyler gloats about how Mike was right and how he loves that “Dan cannot see beyond top six.” Back on the boat, Dan talks about how Mike is Teflon, and no matter how many times he screwed up, he would always find a way out. Foreshadowing!

Probst sighting! You all know the spiel. “COIG! YGRTGTTIC? FTF. Mike, ITBTIN. OAIIBUFG!” It’s the old “grip onto a rope handle that is holding up 25% of your body weight, until you can’t hang on any more and you drop a big bucket of water over yourself” challenge. There will be two immunities today, one for a man and one for a woman, so only six people will be in danger tonight.

I saw a bit of talk about this challenge and how it was unfair that there are five men and only three women in the game, which makes it advantageous to be a woman. Of course, there are so many facets of Survivor that are disadvantageous to women, like lots of immunity challenges based on physical strength and the resulting dynamic we see every season to vote out women before men “because men are needed in challenges” or the difficulties women players have if they take a leadership position in a group, that I wonder why those people single out this example (and also the “use your tiny feet to stay on top of a pole” challenge) as being “unfair.”

Anyway, after 15 minutes, everyone is still in it, including Will (!). Sierra is first out, followed by Tyler (before Will!), then Will, then Dan. So now it’s the tense part of the challenge with Mike vs Rodney and Carolyn vs Shir… who are we kidding, Carolyn wins the female immunity necklace. Everyone starts cheering for Rodney, calling him Hot Rod and the like. Dan tries to motivate Rodney by talking to him the same way I imagine Dan talks to cheeseburgers (sample: “you got it baby, oh you got it”) but it is not enough. With a look of defeat because he knows he can’t give any more, Rodney slips his rope and Mike wins immunity.

The tribe returns to camp, and they all agree the vote tonight is for Shirin, and there will be no splitting because that would give away who is on the bottom. Shirin gets a side conversation with Dan for her “I’m not a threat in this game, so you’d be stupid to vote me out” pitch. Dan empties all the dirt out of his shoe and then takes a swig of water and spits it out. “I agree with you! I agree with every single thing you’re saying!” he Dans.

Shirin then takes her case to Sierra and talks about how Sierra is at the bottom of her “alliance.” Shirin lays it flat and says she’ll go with Sierra and Carolyn to the end. I don’t remember Sierra's response, and I’m not going to check the tape, either.

Meanwhile, Tyler decides to rifle through Dan’s bag. Dan is twirling his stupid hat on his finger, and the editing suggests that Tyler just grabs Dan’s bag, takes it to the waterhole and reads about the extra vote. He tells Carolyn, and explains in interview about how that’s a threat to him.

I have to say that I’m not a fan of the bag-grabbing. Part of Survivor is that you all have to live together, and when you have to share in each others’ lives to the extent that you’re washing dishes bottom-less and discussing each bowel movement, going through the one private thing someone has left is Survivor taboo.

That said, what is Dan doing keeping his Tribal advantage note in its ceremonial box? Does he think there’d be no-one so unscrupulous as to root through his meager possessions? People have been going through other people’s stuff in Survivor for longer then there have been hidden immunity idols, even though it’s obviously uncool and heavy. Go bury that somewhere, Dan!

But instead, Dan is listening to Mike’s pitch. Dan is worried that Mike could whip out an idol to protect Shirin, and he (Dan) could get the shove instead. But Dan also thinks that he can make it to the end, and “then point out all the moves I’ve made along the way.” I’d like that, because I like my tribal Council speeches short and silent. Mike moans in interview about how Dan was his strongest ally but he (Mike) screwed it up, and now Dan won’t give him a chance. If only there is some way for Mike to prove everything! As we look at Mike’s pleading face, I am reminded of The Blue Lagoon.

Tribal Council! Probst takes Shirin back to the last Tribal Council and what she said about her personal history, and asks how it affects her in the game. Because a lot of people on the show talk about how they can trust their family, but she has no one! “Trust is very hard to come by in my life,” says Shirin, and she explains that she’s not close to her mother and while she has a boyfriend and his family and her best friends, it’s not the same thing. Dan is shaking his head, and says that he is an adopted child, and all he has for blood in this world is his mother. His adopted family, who loved him and raised him and (I'm guessing) never said “you were adopted because your parents didn't want you!” is not the same thing at all! “So you had domestic violence in your upbringing?” asks Probst. “I’m an adopted child,” is Dan’s reply. “Not to split hairs, but that’s a big difference.” Duh. Dan’s adoptive parents think so too.

Shirin wants to turn things back on Will, and talks about how he verbally assaulted her and made light of her family situation. But Probst doesn’t want to talk about Will. “Dan, is that just the way it goes when there’s a million dollars on the line?” “No,” says Dan “but I wasn’t there when it all went down.” “But notice that none of them are saying Will was wrong, or that he should apologize for the things that he said, because you crossed a line,” says Shirin.

Now Probst turns to Will and suggests that he has not made up with Shirin and has no intention to. “Not at all,” Will confirms. Probst is confused. “Why not just apologize? What if you make it to the end and Shirin’s the vote?” Why not take the advice Mike gave way back earlier in the season and just apologize insincerely? After all, women just want to hear the word “sorry.” But Will explains that if “I’m gonna apologize, it has to be sincere. That’s the game.” Well, I understand that Will doesn’t want to feel like a phony by saying something he doesn’t mean, but that has nothing to do with Survivor. Look at all the insincere apologies that have been made to win jury votes.

It’s time for Shirin to make her pitch to not go home. She tells Probst that we are going to see one of the dumbest things ever tonight. “Everyone here knows that I am not a threat, and yet... we’ve got Tyler who will take a million dollars from every person here.” Tyler throws out some meaningless Survivor platitude about how he trusts his alliance.

Probst asks Sierra if this convinces her, and Sierra says, “What can I do? I’m just one person.” Shirin argues that if Sierra is just one person, maybe she isn’t in such a great position. But Carolyn shuts it down by saying “we are an alliance of six,” and makes a threat. “Timing and moves in this game are critical, but you don’t want to make moves too early in this game, because if you do you could make the worst decision of your life.”

Mike’s turn. Probst points out that for his strategy to work, he has to keep winning. But Mike argues that he just has to win the next one, because then the others will have to start eating each other and that will give him something to work with. He appeals to the blue collars, but Tyler cuts Mike down as a flipper and says that everyone in their alliance is smart and patient enough to stay with the alliance. But Probst says that if someone realizes they are at the bottom, now is the right time to make a move.

Rodney says that Mike was actually part of an alliance of seven, but he flipped on them. It was the wrong time to make a move. Dan backs Rodney up, and says Mike will say anything to stay in the game. I’m really starting to feel sorry for Dan and how wrong he is. Any last words, desperates?

“Absolutely,” says Mike, pulling out his hidden immunity idol. “We are going to see where this six is divided!” He announces that Shirin will have immunity and will vote for Tyler and he will be voting for someone else. The jury is thrilled. Probst calls this “Survivor Russian Roulette – you’d better vote Tyler, because if not someone will vote for you.” Hint hint. Hey Probst, no fair using your quotes as the episode title!

“Just sit there and look pretty,” is Shirin’s vote for Tyler. “Oh boy, hope this works,” is what Tyler says as we don't see his vote. Has anyone on the bench noticed that Mike is still holding onto his immunity idol? But when Probst asks if anyone has an idol to play Mike stands up, says “Love you girl,” and then fakes everyone out by sticking it back in his pocket.

Probst reads the votes. Tyler. Shirin. Dan. Tyler. Shirin. Dan. Shirin. One vote left. It’s Shirin. Everyone claps for some reason. “Dan still got two votes,” says Mike. Shirin is geekily excited to have her torch snuffed. Time for you to go.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been this confused after a vote,” Probst lies, saying that no one seems to mind how the vote went. “Absolutely. I 100% agree. I’m absolutely not on the bottom.” says Dan. (Not really.) And it turns out that Mike and Shirin both voted for Tyler, and that Dan’s two votes came from Tyler and Will. That’s not the clutch play I would have expected from a former NFL kicker. (Note: not Will. Eleven episodes in and he still hasn't made sandwiches for anyone)

NTOS, Tyler tries to explain why he voted for Dan - to which Dan will probably say “I hear what you’re saying. I absolutely agree,” five or six times. And the alliance of six starts to crumble to the point that Rodney shouts frustratedly he wants to be in the jury. Ah, episode-bait.

Shirin’s last words are about her lack of hard feelings on camera, and about how sensitive Dan is and how badly he will take the vote. Because Shirin is a true Survivor nerd, Shirin is excited to be part of the jury! Better for her than making it to the end.