Survivor: HHH - Episode 10 Recap Part 1
Buy One Get One Free
By Jim Van Nest
December 5, 2017


Hello good people and welcome to the 10th episode recap of Survivor's 35th season, Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers. First of all, tonight is a double episode and since I'm sitting down to watch and write at about 12:30am, I'm only writing the first hour tonight. I'll be back tomorrow with Episode 11. Second of all, if you're still with me all the way to this episode, you deserve a medal or cookie or something, 'cause this one's been a bit of a chore to keep watching. Last week we saw Ryan tell everyone about the idol in his pants, Devon and Ben formed a new alliance, Lauren outlasted Cole in the immunity challenge, Dr. Mike lost his mind at Tribal and despite CBS' best efforts, we had another straight forward vote as the Pagonging on the Healers tribe continues and Cole was finally sent home for crimes and misdemeanors - both real and imagined.

In a season where the pre-merge was like walking in mud, these first 3 post-merge episodes haven't been a whole lot better as they've all been According To Hoyle votes of the dominant tribe coming into the merge. We have only 9 people left at this point and if there's going to be any good drama and/or game play, they are seriously running out of time to show it. Maybe tonight's double episode will offer up something to get excited about as the end game starts to surface. As it is, though, this one is going down as the worst overall season since Fabio won Nicaragua. Again, there's time left to right the ship, but they better get on it.

All right, with that out of the way, let's get to tonight's episode...we begin the episode back at camp after the vote on Night 24. Joe pokes a little fun at Dr. Mike for playing an idol. Chrissy tells us that everything went according to plan and for no reason at all, Mike flushed his own idol. Mike promises to tell Joe later what his thinking was. Luckily for us, we get confessionals. Mike tells us he played his idol for 2 reasons. 1 - he's not going to go home with an idol in his pocket. 2 - he tried to draw votes off of Joe, so he could play his idol and keep Joe in the game. Then he has 2 votes going forward. If Cole stayed, he'd still be a block of 1. I'm gonna go with hunger and sleep deprivation, because that makes NO sense! He actually explains this to Joe, in front of the rest of the tribe. They all are having a good laugh at his expense. Joe says that he understands, but he wasted an idol that no one knew he had. At this point, the alliance is feeling bad for Joe because he's stuck with Mike as his only partner. Again, I'm not 100% what the point was, but it was missed. By everyone. To his credit, though, Dr. Mike feels like he did the right thing. And his game is to make it past 9 and 8 and 7. The alliance of 7 has to break up at some point and he has a feeling that he's going to be able to get off the bottom. "Stay tuned. I think it's about to get really good."

Wow, no credits. We go straight to Day 25 and a Probst Sighting!! Today's challenge is a foot only challenge. They'll use feet to untie a rope that will drop some blocks. They'll then have to set them up in a circle, with only their feet. The final piece is putting a flag in the middle. First one to do that wins reward. And it's the helicopter reward. They'll get a tour of the islands, and then have cheeseburgers, fries and beer. They're all pretty pumped. So, let's get it on. The challenge gets started and everyone is pretty well even at the beginning. Lauren is the first to the second level, with Mike, Ashley and JP right behind. Mike passes up Lauren as does Ashley moving on to the 3rd level. Mike, Lauren, Ashley and Chrissy are all on the final level. Mike stacks his last piece and moves on to the flag. As he tries to put it in place, he knocks over a block. Lauren is now at the flag and she sticks it. Lauren. Wins. Reward. And I'm sure she'll get to take someone with her. This should be good. She chooses Devon? Wow!! Interesting choice! She gets to choose one more person. Ben, without a thought. But wait, she gets to take one more person and without hesitation, she picks Ashley. Ryan applauds her choices, saying that Devon is a big guy and that Ben and Ashley haven't gone on a reward yet. As we head to break, Lauren tells us Ryan is wrong. She chose these people specifically to start the plans of breaking up the 7 and setting up an end game. Way to go, Lauren - it's about time someone did something!

We come back from break to the winners taking off in a sea plane. I know I said helicopter, maybe I misheard Jeff. Anyway, they're enjoying the hell out of it and are soon overlooking their camp. Joe gives them the moon as they go by. Mike is pissed to have lost the challenge and to be stuck with Chrissy, Ryan and JP who have no desire to play the game with him. So, he and Joe are basically a comedy act at camp at this point. They try to decide what to call themselves, since they aren't part of the round table. They decide on the Coco-Nuts - based on Joe's skin tone and Mike's job. While they're having a good time, they are doing nothing but irritating Ryan and Chrissy. Ryan tells us that they are making it easier for this group of 7 to stay together than it should be. Hmmm, might be a little ahead of yourself there, big guy.

We join in a conversation between Ryan and Chrissy as they decide Joe has to go next. They decide that after they get to the 7, Ben goes first, then Lauren. Ryan tells us how strategic he and Chrissy are being right now, way more than everyone else. They also discuss that they feel confident they'll make it to the 7.

We cut to the folks eating cheeseburgers and Lauren waits til everyone has a nice full belly and she starts talking game. She tells them she chose them for a reason. Ryan, Chrissy and JP think everything is fine to the 7, but she wants to break it up. She convinces them all that now is the time to make a move as she thinks the other 3 will be coming for Ben as soon as they get to 7. She asks everyone to just let it all out and tell everything they know. So, Devon spills the beans about Ryan's idol. He explains the story of how Ryan broke his trust on this. She confesses to her advantage. Ashely is blown away by how much is going on that she doesn't know about. And here's where Lauren really shines. She asks Ben if he can put his issues with Joe aside and vote with him a couple times to get them firmly in control. She tells his the whole King Arthur Roundtable thing is going to come back to bite him, so he needs to strike first. Ben has been feeling this as well and says he's completely on board with whatever she wants to do. Over some beers, they cement their Final 4 pact. Devon tells us that he is really impressed with how Lauren is playing right now and she's almost as good as he is! As they reach for more buns, they realize that there are letters from home underneath the buns. Letters are read; tears flow and this group actually seemed to bond MORE than they already had. As we head to break, Devon and Ben tell the group that they are in it til the end now. Wow! I have to say - right now, it is Lauren's game to lose. Out of nowhere, she has taken it over. Well played!

Back from break and Ben is reading his letter again. He says this letter just gave him the fuel he needs to play the game. As he tells us this, we see him accidentally finding a clue to the idol. So, he digs for it and does not find an idol. Instead he finds a map that tells him where the idol is. It's in a clay pit. So he sets off after it. The camera zooms in on a pit stuck up in a tree as Ben walks right under it. But he feels like he's in the right place, so he keeps looking and looking and finally sees the pot in the tree. He busts it open and now Ben has a hidden immunity idol. He tells us that he really needed this right now and that he ain't telling no one. Because none of them can keep their damn mouth shut.

And with that, it's time for a Probst Sighting! Today's challenge is an oldie but a goodie. They'll have to balance on a triangle platform in the water on very narrow beams. Last one standing wins immunity. But before we get started, Jeff has an offer to make. If anyone feels secure enough that they don't need the necklace, they can opt out of the challenge and instead feast on peanut butter and chocolate for the duration of the challenge. Devon, Ben and Lauren choose not to participate, everyone else is in. I get it, but you all JUST ate. You don't need this food right now. Sitting out is practically daring them to come after you. They were doing so well and I think this was a serious misstep.

Once again, we have an endurance challenge that is pretty cool to watch and boring as hell to try to write about. There's wobbling and saving and everyone is doing pretty well until JP loses his balance and falls out. After 20 minutes, they all move to the top of the triangle and shortly after letting go Chrissy and Joe bow out. After a couple minutes, Ryan drops out. Dr. Mike and Ashley are the only ones remaining. This battle doesn't last long as Dr. Mike loses his balance and Ashley wins immunity! As we head to commercial, Ashley is just super excited about the vote tonight and the turning of the tables. Let's see if it actually happens.

We come back from break and I honestly have no idea what to play. Ryan starts off by telling us that he was a little put off by the people sitting out the challenge, but luckily Ashley won and they can choose between Joe and Mike tonight. We join 6 of the final 7 (JP is not there) as they discuss who to vote for tonight. The talk is that Mike is starting to become a threat, but Devon points out that Joe could find an idol. After a couple minutes, Chrissy tells them she thinks it would be funny to vote out Mike and save Joe til last. So, they decide to split votes again, guys voting for Mike, girls for Joe and it's all set. Devon tells us that he could actually see the power blinding Ryan and Chrissy as they spoke.

Of course, later, we see Lauren, Devon and Ashley talking about breaking out of this alliance. Lauren breaks down the other 3 and what makes them strong players. She gets the idea that flushing Ryan's idol might be a good idea. Devon tells us that it's going down tonight. He says that he has a plan to maintain control after the biggest blindside of the game. So he approaches Ben and Ashley with his plan. He doesn't want it to be obvious who all is in the new group. So, he wants Ben to vote for Mike, like they expect him to. That way he can stay on the inside with that group and get information. Plus - Mike and Joe will be more likely to join the new group if they don't think Ben is in it. The plan is that Lauren, Ashley, Devon, Mike and Joe will vote together, forming a 5 person majority and Ben can act like he had no idea. So, he has to prepare to look shocked and Devon has to go lock in Joe and Mike. I knew Devon was a lot smarter than he let on. This is a unique and solid plan. But it's complicated and I can't wait to see if they pull it off.

Lauren and Ashley approach Mike and Joe about a new plan. With Devon, they want to blow up the Roundtable. Lauren looks at Joe and tells him that if he doesn't believe her, that's fine, but when he's still around after Tribal, he will. They are on board to vote whomever Lauren and Ashley say. Mike tells us that he just knew this would happen and he's ready to start taking over the game. Honestly though, this is Lauren and Devon's game right now. Everyone else is just trying to keep up. As they head to Tribal, Lauren can't wait for this plan to go through tonight. She is looking forward to all the fireworks when they get back to camp tonight, too.

We get to Tribal and the jury comes in and we're ready to roll. Jeff starts with Dr. Mike and asks if there was any fallout from his play. He says that he was trying to change the game around. Jeff suggests that Mike and Joe are like toys that the alliance is playing with and Chrissy chimes in that it's more like the guys are playing with them. Ryan admits that Mike and Joe are now a package deal, but they don't really get how strong the 7 are and that while they're tightly aligned, they're just 2 votes in a 9 person tribe. Joe says that while his and Mike's plans don't line up with Ryan, they might line up with someone else. Devon agrees that they might find a crack or they might not. Lauren adds in that while everyone is happy with the 7, they're right on the verge of everything getting more interesting. The way they're answering these questions would start to make me wonder, if I was the alliance. But, that could be because I know what's about to happen and they don't. I'm not sure. Chrissy says that not everyone in the 7 is as tight with everyone else and that it will sort itself out in time. Joe points out that she doesn't even consider him and Mike as players. He says they're the 2 kids in the neighborhood asking if they can play Survivor too. Jeff calls them all out on the final 7 thing as knowing that there are smaller alliances within it. Lauren admits that they won't all be sitting around the fire saying, "Ok, which of the 7 of us will go home first." As more people talk, JP actually says something. He says that they have to remember that you can't get to Plan B until you've finished Plan A. He doesn't want people thinking too far ahead and missing what's right in front of them. Ashley also says that they're not all playing the game as poorly as Joe thinks. She says they don't think it's a magical 7, but it's a start. Chrissy says that she feels like she can fully trust the people in her alliance as they've proven themselves in the past. And finally, it's time to vote. Let's get it on!

We see Ryan vote for Mike. Chrissy votes for Coco-Joe. JP votes for Dr. Mike. We also see Ben's vote for Mike. We see no others. Time for Jeff to tally the votes and ask about hidden idols. No one wants to play one and it's time to read the votes. First vote: Mike. Joe. Mike. Mike. JP - uh oh. Another JP. A third JP. At this point, Ryan and Chrissy start to see that something is wrong. Ben shakes his head, playing along. Mike and Joe fist bump as they look around dumbfounded. Fourth vote JP. And Ryan realizes that it's happened. Last vote: JP. 10th person out and 3rd member of the jury is JP. On his way out, you hear JP say, "Damn. They got me good." I have to be honest with you now. Watching Chrissy count votes with her fingers trying to figure out what just happened - it's priceless. She's been smug, arrogant and watching her squirm tonight was fantastic. Ryan too. So sure of himself and his alliance. Watching their faces change as the votes came up was priceless.

I should mention here that this move, while very satisfying television, is only as good as the move that follows it. So, if this new alliance doesn't take it a step further and take out Ryan or Chrissy next, then it was a waste of time. Either way, I expect the second half of the show is going to be pretty damn good. THIS is what the season desperately needed. Hopefully it'll build off this momentum tonight and for the rest of the season. And, that's it for me tonight. It's 2 am and I've got to stop now. Look for the second half of this tomorrow. Til then, take care!