Survivor: HHH - Episode 5 Recap
The Past Will Eat You Alive
By Jim Van Nest
October 31, 2017

Nice knowing you. Or not knowing you.

Hello good people and thank you for joining me for Episode 5 of Survivor: HHH! After getting off to a pretty slow start, Survivor knew just how to shake things up last week: a tribe swap! Our first ever 3 tribe to 3 tribe swap shuffled up the Hero, Healer and Hustler decks and may have seriously changed the game in the process.

We saw new relationships and alliances being built: Ryan and Chrissy, Ben and Lauren and Devon and Ashley to name a few. And all this while the 6 original Healers all try to stay in control at their respective new tribes. After a loss in the immunity challenge, all eyes focused on the Levu tribe (that's the Blue one) as a showdown took place between Healer Joe and Hero Alan. When all was said and done, Devon had his vote taken away by Jessica; Joe played an idol for himself and spark plug Alan was forced to take the walk of shame to join Patrick, Simone and Katrina on that pre-merge trip.

Previews have centered on a sweet inch-worm challenge, the budding alliance between Ashley and Devon, Dr. Mike finding an idol and something coming back to haunt Marine/Hero Ben. Should be another wild ride, so let's get right to it!

After that crazy Tribal, there's nowhere else to begin but at Levu beach, right? Ashley and Devon are very good sports about everything and give Joe the "attaboy" on his move. Ashley confirms that they're now 2 v 2 on this tribe. But, the 4 remaining members do appear to be getting along with no hard feelings coming from Alan's boot.

Day 2 dawns on Yawa beach and Ben's working on the dishes. As he comes back to camp, we see Lauren tending the fire with a big piece of bamboo as part of it. I've watched 34+ seasons of Survivor and tonight I learned that apparently bamboo makes ridiculously loud popping sounds when burned in a fire. Many Survivors have said it sounds very much like gunfire. This is not a good thing for ex-marine Ben. As this thing pops and cracks, Ben freaks out a little and makes a mad dash for the beach. He tells us that, having seen actual combat during his tenure in the Marine Corps, he does have a bit of PTSD and he has an issue with loud noises like that. It's one of the actual real moments that will show up on Survivor from time to time. It has nothing to do with strategy, challenges, a million dollars or anything else in the game. It's a real person having a real moment that is actually very revealing and touching. To most of us who have never served, those who do are kind of larger than life. They're tough, they're seasoned and they are definitely the strongest of the strong. So, to see this bad-ass Marine brought almost to tears by some bamboo popping in the fire, it's really a wakeup call. What these people go through for our protection and our way of life can and does have long-lasting effects on them in ways that the rest of us can't possibly fathom. Ben lays it out for us in confessional. He says that people who haven't been through it can't possibly know what it's like to go through combat, to have people try to kill you. Aside from winning the million and providing for his family, Ben really hopes that his time out in the game can provide a little comfort to other vets. He wants them to know that there is a life out there. A future out there. Happiness out there for them. For all the people that still like to shit on Survivor as a show, THIS is why we continue to watch. Stories like this are what set Survivor apart from the rest of the reality dreck out there. Let the credits roll!

We come back from break on Day 12 and our first Probst Sighting! Everyone getting their first look at Levu sans Alan. There's quite a bit of surprise to go around. That being said, let's get to the challenge. Today, 3 people will have their feet tied together and arms tied to their bodies. They'll lie on the ground and wiggle/inch worm there way across the sand, up and over little mini-dunes, all the while pushing a ball with their face. Each of the 3 will take a leg and when the ball gets to the end, the 4th person will use it (and 4 others) to shoot Survivor baskets. First tribe to sink all 5 baskets wins an ice coffee basket. Ice coffee, pastries and coffee and tea to take back to camp. 2nd place tribe gets 1 jug of iced coffee. 3rd place - got nothin' for ya. Chrissy and Lauren sit out for their respective tribes and we're ready to go. Desi, Roark and Jessica take the first leg. Desi absolutely tears through the course and Ashley takes leg 2. Jessica is the next one to make it and Dr. Mike takes over. Roark is having some problems. She finally makes it to Ali and she's on her way. Ashely gets to Joe for the final leg and it's not even close right now. Dr. Mike is stuck and Ali is catching up. Joe finishes the course and Devon starts shooting. He has a HUGE lead. Ali get s past Dr. Mike and Ryan takes off. Mike finally gets to Ben just as Ryan loses the ball on a small dune and watches it roll back behind him. Oh yeah, Devon sinks the first shot. But uh-oh, Ben tears up his leg and Cole starts shooting. Meanwhile, Ryan loses the ball again. There is no kind of actual drama in this challenge once Ryan loses the ball for the 3rd time. Devon goes on to sink all 5 and Levu wins reward. A few shots later and Cole ends it for Yawa. Soko comes up short but Ryan did finally complete the course, so there's that. Ultimately though, Soko heads back to camp empty handed. As we head back to camp, Ali tells us that despite his poor performance in the challenge, she plans to do whatever she can to have Ryan's back.

What a difference a day makes. And a sweet reward full of caffeine and sugar. Levu is the party beach now. Everyone is getting along quite well. Funny how 1 win can change an entire tribe's fortunes. Now, if they can ride this momentum into something, Levu might be able to avoid being the joke tribe of the post-swap game. As they dine, Devon reminds us that he hasn't taken himself out of the game because of the win. He wants Joe to be the next to go and he and Ashley are ready to go 2v2 with Desi and Joe. They decide that they WILL go to rocks, but they really want to pull Desi in before that has to happen. Ashley feels pretty confident that Desi would flip before she'd let that happen.

Over at Soko, Ryan feels absolutely terrible about losing the challenge for his tribe. Everyone does their best to make him feel better, so there's that. He tells us that while he's not awesome in the challenges and he's not a huge help around camp, which we see as he can't open coconut, but he does have a solid social game. He likes to make people laugh and keep the camp in a good place so that people will pick him up on the other things. Roark seems to have found herself in the middle of a 2 Hero v 2 Hustler situation and she decides she wants to hook up with Ali. She lets Ali know that she has a bunch of Healers with her and when the merge comes, Ali and Ryan can go with her and the Healers. Ali brings this to Ryan and the talk of voting off Chrissy begins. Following Survivor Rule 1, Ryan does the right thing and totally agrees with everything Ali says. He tells us that he's in bad spot as his 2 biggest allies on this tribe will not work together so he'll have to tread lightly as he moves forward in the game.

Over at Yawa, Cole is just frickin' disgusting. He's digging through the remains of the peanut butter and jelly jars and it's just a bunch of dirt, peanut butter and dirty ass fingers and...Yuck! Lauren is noticing how much he eats and hopes that maybe that'll be enough to make people want to get rid of him. Jessica takes Dr. Mike to the well with her and they talk some game over there. She isn't feeling so great about Cole so she wants to bond more with Mike. As they get water, Mike starts digging around the well for the idol - since that's where it was located on the Healer Beach. With Jessica on lookout, Mike finally reaches pay dirt and voila, Dr. Mike is now packing a sweet idol. While Mike tells Jessica the idol is for both of them, the bottom line is that he has it, so it's his.

We come back from break and what do we have here? Another Probst Sighting? Yes, please! Today's immunity challenge will see the players swimming out to a boat where they'll grab 3 very heavy bags of rice. They have to get the bags through a hole in a rig out in the water and then climb over it. They'll then carry all the heavy bags (now water logged) across a balance beam. Once they get all 3 bags through, they'll cut them open to get a ball out of each one. They'll then maneuver the balls through a stand up maze. First 2 tribes to get all 3 balls through the maze win immunity and are safe from Tribal Council. Ryan and Dr. Mike are sitting this one out. As we've seen with so many challenges over the last few seasons, the first half of the challenge doesn't really matter. It all comes down to the puzzle/carnival game at the end. This challenge follows this formula quite well. The one bright spot is that Devon is a challenge beast. And Desi ain't too bad either. Devon is a threat to win all the individual immunities, they better watch out for him.

Oh yeah - we're in the middle of a challenge. Levu and Yawa have the lead in the challenge, but ultimately all 3 tribes end up on the maze at the same time. Ben and Ashley have no problem with the maze. Chrissy, on the other hand, keeps losing her balance. Ali scores for Soko as Levu and Yawa get their second balls in. Cole finishes it out for Yawa. They will not be headed to Tribal. Meanwhile, Chrissy falls off the beam again. And again. As she keeps struggling with the beam, Desi lands ball #3 for Levu sending Soko to Tribal Council. Chrissy really should have given up her spot. Roark offered to come in and she offered for Ali to come in, but Chrissy wouldn't give up the course. With that in mind...

It's time to play, "It's Anyone But Chrissy!" Chrissy is feeling nervous about the vote tonight, so she wants to have a chat with Roark. She suggests the possibility of an all-girl alliance and Roark's response is tepid, at best. "I, personally, don't have an objection..." Um, the hell is that? Roark wants Chrissy to go home and just can't seem to hide that fact. Realizing that she has nothing going with Roark, Chrissy has a conversation with JP. She suggests Roark as a vote, but JP wants to keep her. So she tells him that Roark wants to do an all-girl alliance. And it takes less than a second for JP to decide that Roark has to go. Chrissy takes her case to Ryan to take out Roark. So, despite the actual divide of the original tribes, Ryan finds himself in the swing vote position, rather than Roark. He now has to decide between Ali, his ally from the very beginning of the game. And Chrissy, the person he shared an idol with before he even met her. Seems to me that this is an easy decision. You stick with Ali and regroup tomorrow. Hell, it's pre-merge, so dumping Chrissy means nothing to his game at this point, right?

We get to Tribal and start off with Roark grabbing a torch and getting fire. Fire represents your life in this game. When your fire is gone, so are you. Jeff starts by asking Ali if she's noticed a difference in how each former tribe plays the game. She takes the first shot across Chrissy's bow by suggesting that Chrissy should have gotten out of the challenge. Most of this Tribal turns into a pissing contest between Roark and Chrissy as Roark tells Chrissy that they should have talked before she absolutely needed to. Well, why does Chrissy have to be the one to initiate a conversation? Why can't Roark? This goes back and forth a bit. JP does mention the possibility of a girl alliance and things like that. Chrissy admits to being very concerned about the vote tonight. Roark, on the other hand, feels pretty confident. Also, she still thinks she is the swing vote. Chrissy mentions that she doesn't so much see Roark as the swing. Any group of 3 might emerge.

And with that, it's time to vote. We see Roark's vote for Chrissy saying, "Next time, don't come for me." We see Chrissy's vote for Roark saying, "I'm outsmarting Miss Smarty-pants." Sassy! Ok, anyone have an idol? That's a big fat no, let's tally the votes. First vote: Chrissy. Second vote: Roark. Then Chrissy, then Roark. Ooooh, what did Ryan do? The 5th person voted out of Survivor: HHH - Roark. Whoa! Ali does not look happy with Ryan at all. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I feel like Ryan really should have stuck with his #1 in Ali. But, at the same time - having Chrissy AND Ali still in the game could potentially give him options come the merge. I mean, sure, Ali's pissed with him right now, but what option does she have moving forward except to stick with Ryan? For right now, I'm going to give this move a thumbs up, but it will really depend on Ryan's next move. He needs to get back to camp and do major damage control with Ali. There's a way out of this for him, let's see if he can figure it out.

Next time on Survivor: There are explosions at Soko Beach following Ryan's betrayal of Ali and
and it looks like we have a really scary moment coming next week as we see Cole, completely upright, just pass out and fall face first into the shelter floor and the sand. Jessica tells us that she's not sure she wants to play this game without Cole just yet. As always, looks to be another gripping episode next week. Til then kids, take care!