Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X - Episode Recap
Episode 5 - Idol Search Party
By Jim Van Nest, Gen X-er
October 24, 2016

Challenge non-beast.

Hello, good people, and welcome to Episode 5 of Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X. Last week's episode had a great "for TV" Tribal that featured one of the more out of the blue idol plays ever. A pre-merge idol play on someone else? That just doesn't happen often...if at all. But, that's what we got. David felt so strongly about getting Gen X Jessica on his team that he saved her with his Precious. Ken seemed to be out of the loop, but I'm sure that will be smoothed over quickly and easily. And with that move; David, Ken, CeCe and Jessica will now make up the majority of the Gen X tribe. Only two things could stop them.

One is If Chris, Bret or Sunday find the newly hidden immunity idol. The other would be if the tribes were to be inexplicably split up. We've already seen the infamous "Drop your buffs" in the preview for tonight, so a split is happening! We've also seen a mad search by the Gen X'ers to find the idol. Hence the episode title: Idol Search Party. Can David reclaim the idol, have the numbers AND an advantage? Or will he lose his numbers; watch someone else find the idol and end up separated from his alliance after the split? Oh yeah, and what happens if Taylor and Figgy get separated? Will either of them make it??? All this and SO much more on tonight's episode of Survivor. Let's check it out!

We begin, as you would expect, with the aftermath at Gen X beach. No one is actually that upset over the idol play. David tells us that he's not so sure it was the best move for him. Without the idol, he's feeling much more vulnerable. We cut to Jessica promising her undying devotion to Ken. Wait, what? She feels really bad that she didn't trust Ken and she tells him that she will always trust him from now on. To prove it, she tells him about her #LegacyAdvantage. Ken tells us he's giving Jessica his full trust again. And a new alliance looks to be forming.

As the sun rises on Day 13, everyone on Gen X beach us in full on idol search mode. So, they're all out looking, but only one person knows what they're looking for. They're not looking for a packet with an idol in it. They're looking for some piece of nature with their tribe symbol on it. David is looking for purple. And just like this, he sees a big log with their purple symbol. Problem is CeCe and Sunday are both right there looking with him. They continue to search and after a little while get tired and head back to camp. That's when David makes his move. He busts open the log and claims his second hidden immunity idol of this young season. And as David revels in his newfound idol, it's time for a....

Probst sighting!! We're set up for a reward challenge, but Jeff drops the bomb on the players with three little words. "Drop your buffs." They are switching things up.

After they leave us hanging through a bunch of commercials, we come back and Jeff lets us know what's happening. We are changing things up, but we're taking a page from Second Chance and we're expanding from two tribes to three tribes. The third tribe will have to go to a new beach and start all over from scratch. I'm not a huge fan of this kind of twist; I think it puts that tribe at a severe disadvantage to have to start all over again. And with nothing!! But that's the way Jeff wants to play it, so we'll play it that way. Everyone will draw a new buff. An orange buff sends you back to Millennial Beach as a Vanua. If you draw purple, you'll go back to Gen X beach as a Takali. If you draw the new green buff, you'll head off to a new beach and be called Ikabula. He lets them know that the new Green tribe will get the extra member to help with the work. And it's time to draw...let's see how it goes. Taylor is worried that he might get split up from Figgy.

As everyone opens their new buffs, Michaela is the first to find a green buff and she is visibly pissed off. And just like that, Taylor and Figgy manage to stay together. They will switch over to the purple Takali tribe with Adam. They'll join Gen X leftovers and new alliance-mates Ken and Jessica. Over on the Vanua tribe, Zeke and Michelle will remain and be joined by Chris, David and CeCe. For our brand new Ikabula tribe, there is a 4-2 Millennial v Gen X split as Jay, Michaela, Hannah and Will join up with Bret and Sunday.

Jeff asks Michaela about her obvious anger. She tells him that he didn't do this right. She tells us that she is completely pissed to have to start over with no food. And just like that, there is no challenge and they all get to head back to camp. As they head out, Zeke tells us that this was a disaster scenario for him. He's outnumbered and the only Millennial he's with is Michelle, whom he doesn't have much of a relationship with and doesn't trust. So he knows he's under the gun right off the bat.

The first of the new tribes we'll check in with is the newest, Ikabula. We start with introductions and Bret laments about his 4-2 numbers disadvantage. His plan is to work as hard as possible to show that he is needed. So, as they start to build, it's Jay that takes the lead. He tells us that his Gen X'ers aren't very helpful at all. And either way, with a 4-2 split, they're next to go. So, he's good even if they lose the first challenge. I have to say - he looks like a bro. He sounds like a bro. But I think there's a lot more going on with Jay than there is with your typical bro. He might not be as in tune with the game as a Malcolm, but he has a lot going on and might just be a force as this game gets deeper.

Time to check in with Takali, another tribe where there is a Millennial numbers advantage. Ken tells us that he's glad to have some energy in camp with the younger people. He's just hoping that he and Jess can find a way to stay in the game. Meanwhile, Figgy doesn't want herself and Taylor to be out in the open, even though they have the numbers. Taylor thinks it's stupid and makes no sense. Adam, the ultimate third wheel, jokes that Taylor will do whatever she says. He tells us that he's in a worst-case scenario with this split. He can't stand being there with Taylor and Figgy. So we join Ken and Adam in a talk about where they were on their tribes. Adam tells Ken that he was on the bottom with Mari and Zeke. Ken lets Adam know that he'll have his back. Adam tells us that he's not sitting so badly right now as he has two strong couples that won't turn on each other, so they'll all need to come talk to him.

It's time to check in with the only tribe where the Millennials are down in numbers, Vanua. Michelle is not happy with the turn of events. She was in such a good spot before, but could definitely be in trouble now. As they start to get to know each other, Zeke realizes that Chris is also from Oklahoma. Not only that, but he played on the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners national championship football team. Zeke is a huge Sooners fan and the guys that won the championship are his heroes. As everyone splits up, Chris lets Zeke know that everything is not as it seems. He's ready to make a move. Zeke is now riding high with his new alliance and buddy; he might actually have finally caught a break.

Back over at Ikabula, it's been a while without fire. And food. And water. Spirits are down as Jay and Bret struggle with fire. Michaela comes over and takes the machete and flint and decides to give it a go. After working at it forever (it seemed), she finally gets a fire. Bret is blown away and Michaela takes a minute to go into the woods. This moment was so important for her that she breaks down. She tells us that this is a sign for her that this whole thing is worth it. When she comes back to camp, the fire is now blazing and the entire tribe, led by Bret, is genuinely relieved and happy. When they tell her that she's their hero - in this moment, every single person means it. This is one of those rare bonding moments you don't see often in Survivor. For those few minutes, no one was thinking game. No one was thinking alliance. They were all generally happy to have fire and they were all genuinely in Michaela's debt. When Bret says, "You saved us." He meant it.

When we come back from break, it's time for another Probst Sighting!! The challenge this time will have members of each tribe diving down into the water to release a buoy. Once released, they'll swim the buoy to a new platform and put it in a basket. When they have all five buoys and all their people on the platform, they'll start shooting the buoys into a basket on yet another platform. First one to score all five buoys wins immunity. Second one to score all five buoys wins immunity. Third place wins a date with Jeff at Tribal. But there is a bit of strategy involved here. Once it's time to shoot, they can either start shooting, or try to use a rope to grab the basket platform and pull it closer to make the shots easier. The question becomes, can you catch it and pull it closer in time to make the easier shots work to your advantage. Since Ikabula has an extra person, someone is sitting out. That will be Will.

As the challenge starts, Adam makes quick work of getting the first buoy. CeCe unties hers quickly as well. Sunday cannot get hers and she moves on without it. Adam gets to the platform first. Sunday, buoy-less, is right behind him. Jessica and Jay each get their buoys and get to the platform. Michaela gets the second buoy for Green while Ken has the third buoy for purple. CeCe finally gets the first buoy to the platform and David dives in.

As purple gets all five buoys, David has made it to the platform, but drops the buoy which rolls off the other edge and into the water again. Jay has now gone back in for the second time to get a buoy and he gets back super-fast with the fifth buoy. Now green can shoot. Ken chooses to pull the basket closer and is shooting as Chris gets back with orange's third buoy. Michaela now pulls her basket closer and starts shooting. Zeke gets the fouth buoy for orange and Chris heads in to get the fifth. Michaela then quickly lands two shots. Ken scores for purple. Michaela lands her third and fourth as Chris finally starts shooting for orange. Ken is having trouble landing the shots as Michaela lands number five - Ikabula wins immunity. Chris and Zeke decide to pull the target in now as Ken lands his second and third buoys. Chris never actually lands a shot as Ken lands four and five to win immunity for Takali. And just like that, Vanua is heading to Tribal. Guess it's time to see how strong that Oklahoma bond really is.

We come back from break to the Vanua camp. Oddly enough, Chris is apologizing to the tribe for sucking in the challenge. Um, really? CeCe and David were absolutely terrible in this challenge. CeCe had the tribe down by two or three buoys from the get go. David then cemented their last place status with quite possibly the worst challenge performance in the history of Survivor. And that includes the challenge where Fishbach hit the other tribe's target. David was THAT Bad.

At camp, the Gen X'ers get a chance to talk and they decide that Zeke is strong in the challenges, which means Michelle has to be on the chopping block. Chris tells us that he is not down with that plan. Because he feels that David is better for him numbers wise, CeCe is who he's targeting. So, he takes David aside and tells him that they really need to get rid of CeCe as she's a challenge liability. David tells us that Zeke and Michelle are on board, so the only play he really has is to go along with it.

Chris tells us that he hopes everything goes as planned, but he's trusting a guy that's burnt him twice. The guys let Michelle and Zeke know that CeCe is the vote tonight and that they're safe. Chris tells them that if anything else happens, he'll be the first person to choke someone in front of Jeff Probst. Michelle is happy with the thought, but she's not totally buying it. So, she has a conversation with CeCe. She tries to make her case that she and Zeke should stay and they're both stronger than David. She tells us that CeCe has no desire to talk strategy with her, so she's just going to hope that Chris and David are on the level. There's a little bit of back and forth as CeCe tells David that Michelle was gunning for him. So he'll be bringing his idol to Tribal just in case.

When they arrive at Tribal, Jeff starts with the challenge. Zeke says that he and Michelle know they're on the bottom, but eventually, the two tribes will need each other to get forward in the game. Chris talks about all the stuff that he and Zeke have in common. Jeff asks CeCe how that bond makes her feel. She says she's worried about it as that kind of bond could eventually lead to Chris voting out a Gen X'er. There's some back and forth about Chris and David and how Chris has been burnt twice, but he's still putting his trust in David tonight. Michelle suggests that she would vote out David. And with that, it's time to vote. We see none of the votes tonight and no one wants to play a hidden immunity idol. So, Jeff tallies and reads the votes. Ultimately, this was a no-brainer from the start. Michelle gets the first vote and then all four votes come up CeCe.

I applaud the episode for trying to show us something different, but this is one of those votes that was so painfully obvious, they couldn't whitewash it away. CeCe may have been #blindsided, but no one watching the show was. At this point, if they keep CeCe and vote out either Millennial, they may never win a challenge ever again. CeCe and David are the rare pair of very bad challenge performers and to keep them both in the game would be a death sentence for this tribe. At least with CeCe gone, they can compensate for David and at least hold their own in the next couple of challenges. Honestly, this is one of those episodes that is usually the first part of a double episode because it's a bit boring and has a very obvious result. Hopefully next week's episode has a lot more to it!

Next time on Survivor: Taylor and Figgy decide to let everyone know they have a "thing" going. And a blindfold challenge has Survivors spinning around in circles and results in Jeff calling Medical in...again. We see one clip of Hannah saying, "You're not gonna let me die?" As well as clips of Sunday and Ken going down hard.

Can I just say - will Survivor ever learn about the frickin' blindfold challenges? Someone gets hurt almost every time. They say that they want everything to be safe. They don't want to call in medical all the time and yet they continue to have challenges like this that are hazardous to the players’ health. I'm sure I'll have a major rant on this next week, but you'll have to come back here to see it. Until then, kiddies, take care!