Survivor: Ghost Island Recap

Episode 1, Part 2: Can You Reverse The Curse?

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

March 7, 2018

No happy little clouds here.

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Previously on Survivor, someone named Gonzalez wanted to be a Corinne-level villain. Alas, she was so transparent and bossy that she failed to survive the first vote. Humorously, she stood up in the middle of Tribal Council and attempted to direct other people about their votes. We wish we could have heard their internal monologues on that.

Also, a guy named Domenick immediately feuded with Chris because the latter gentleman had the audacity to look and act better. Dom’s desperation to be the tribe alpha tells us all that we need to know about his self-confidence.

We were also prepared to write some funny comments about Jacob. Instead, we watched the full episode before recapping it. Spoiler: Jacob is about to have one of the worst performances in the history of the show – fitting given the theme of Ghost Island.

On Night 3 at Naviti, Dom is creepily staring at people while they sleep. Possibly not even for the first time. We suspect he found out who the other cast members were and started stalking them in real life. Anyway, the triumphant music means he’s about to find a hidden Immunity Idol.

Surprise! It’s almost as if the producers saw a way to interfere in the game and extend the length of a villain’s stay. If only Gonzalez could have lasted one more day, she’d probably have an Immunity Idol, too. Survivor’s so fixed that the FBI is currently investigating Russian hackers.

Along with the immunity necklace comes a note that tells Dom this is a Ghost Island relic from the time when Andrea went home with it in her pocket. He figures he wants to play the game hard, so let the games begin. And also creepy night stalking.

Morgan talks for a moment about how their plan is to send the weakest players to Ghost Island so that the opposing tribe has to vote off strong players. She quickly recognizes the fruits of this labor, as she has received the Legacy Advantage from Jacob in her bag. She also notes that she has a big mouth, so it will be challenging to not meet Sierra’s fate.

Don’t worry, Morgan. You do not have the big mouth in tonight’s episode.

Island Madness takes hold of Jacob. He gets the bright idea to lie to his tribe mates about having a hidden Immunity Idol. As a reminder, the last time they saw him, he was drawing attention to himself at the Immunity Challenge as a way to duck Tribal Council. They already know he’s shady. Somehow we doubt that the “Lie even more” strategy will prove beneficial, but then we remember the 2016 election campaign.

Jacob makes a first grade craft project that he attempts to pass off as a hidden Immunity Idol to his tribe mates. He calls them together for a group meeting, which is funny in and of itself, because when he arrives at Malolo’s camp, only a couple of them even bother to say hello. They’ve known the dude for two days and he’s already less popular than chlamydia.

“I have some damn good deception skills.” – Jacob, who has no deception skills

Jacob threatens to play his Immunity Idol at the next Tribal Council, no matter what, which is akin to saying, “I’ve got pocket aces, I swear. Don’t call me on it.” Teammate Stephanie believes him so little that she can’t stop giggling. Brendan asks where the Immunity Idol note is. Self-proclaimed Survivor super fan and master of deceit Jacob claims to have forgotten to bring it back from Ghost Island. Had this really happened, Jacob would have died with his hands clutching said note in his coffin.

We’ve noticed a rather extreme disconnect between what Jacob says and reality. He’s like a human Oculus Rift.

“I wanted to make sure that my tribe isn’t super suspicious of me, and I think it worked.” – Jacob, whose tribe is super suspicious of him

Cut to everyone saying, “I don’t believe a word he just said.” These complete strangers have nothing in common except for their certainty that Jacob is a liar, and a bad one at that.

Dom, who is riddled with insecurity, pretends to do some weight training with a bamboo stick. All of the people with abs look on with amusement.

He decides that he needs to make up with Chris, who was his early enemy in the game. His best tactic is apparently false humility, as he apologizes for getting off on the wrong foot with his counterpart. Dom does take a clever approach to win Chris’s trust by showing him the hidden Immunity Idol clue. He also constructs a (better) fake idol and offers to use it to save Chris if needed.

Chris sees the note and realizes it’s authentic. He doesn’t study the Immunity Idol carefully enough, which is a potentially fatal mistake. His instincts are terrific, though. None of what Dom says rings true to him. Even though he has the clue and something resembling an Idol, Chris understands on a subconscious level that he’s being played. It looks like the early part of the season will be a Dom versus Chris matchup.

Probst sighting! It’s time for an Immunity Challenge that is initially hard to watch, but eventually becomes pretty inspirational. We’ll just go ahead and tell you that Naviti wins this challenge. We expect to say that a lot.

The reason for their runaway victory is that a portion of the challenge requires diving for some buoys. The divers have to go down a ways – probably 10 feet or so. James, one of the abs guys from Malolo (there are a lot of abs guys this year), is simply unable to dive more than a couple of feet. The tribe had paired up James and Donathan with the intent of letting Donathan swim across to the platform while James dives for the buoys.


James tries a few times, but he doesn’t have the capability. Eventually, Probst and the tribe start to encourage Donathan to do the dive. Donathan is clearly terrified. Athletics are not his strength. Eventually, James beckons him, and one of his tribe mates tells him she believes in him. Donathan takes a deep breath. Probst says, “You can do this! Commit and go!”

Donathan dives and releases the buoys on his first try. “Donathan amazes himself!” says Probst. “Out of nowhere, a hero has emerged!”

He is a hero, even if his tribe doesn’t win. And his reward is to be sent to Ghost Island, where is safe from the vote at Tribal Council. (This despite Jacob loudly saying that he’d be happy to go again.)

“I was hoping that Naviti would send me back to Ghost Island. Fortunately, I have this fake Immunity Idol, and everybody thinks it’s real, and I’m going to try and use it to take control of the game.” – Jacob, who is no Bob Ross

At Ghost Island, Donathan smashes the urn, but his message says, “Nope. Not today. No game for you.” So, what does he do? He just builds the first fire he ever built in his entire life. He’s finding his inner toughness and it’s really kind of lovely to watch.

And thank goodness for that, because Jacob’s gameplay is painful to watch. Seriously. We’re glad he gets voted out in a bit, because we really aren’t enjoying this. We can’t even imagine that he wants to watch this episode.

For his part, James takes responsibility and apologizes. He says that his parents raised him to try his hardest, but he just didn’t come through. Admirable, but…

His teammates don’t really know what James brings to the team. Still, Jacob is their target, partly because they want to flush out his “Immunity Idol,” but mostly because he’s weird. They figure they can split the vote between Jacob and James, and that way they can be sure that someone either weird or questionable is going home.

They talk amongst themselves about how perhaps they can get Jacob to trust them and maybe spill whether the idol is real. Also, he needs to believe that someone else is the target.

So, Stephanie goes to Jacob and makes him her bitch. And not in a fun, sexy way.

Jacob does think Stephanie is cute, so her job isn’t that hard. But her approach is pretty genius. She is a superfan just like Jacob (well, not really. She’s a real superfan who understands tactics and strategy). So, Stephanie plans to appeal to that side of him by talking through Tribal Council voting options and padding his ego by making him believe she wants an alliance with him.

Obviously, the flirting works. Jacob immediately tells her that he wants to target Michael, who is strong and a threat (and good looking). He also tells her that he made up the Immunity Idol.

“Shut up,” she says, totally unsurprised.

THEN, he goes on to tell her that he gave the Legacy Advantage to Morgan. She says in confessional that she’s struggling with the Jacob vote. Because he trusts her, he’s someone who might be worth keeping around.

Stephanie and Jenna spend some time discussing the options, and Jenna reminds Stephanie that “he’s just annoying” and has no social skills.

Brendan worries with Michael about whether Stephanie and Jenna might be pulling off a double cross.

“If I get voted out by frickin’ Jacob, I’m gonna be pissed off,” says Michael. Yes, he would be insulted that someone so terrible at the game might get the better of him.

Let’s sum up Tribal Council with a sampling of Jacob quotes:

“I felt welcome to a surprising degree… It says a lot about my relationship with this tribe and I felt more comfortable moving forward.”

“I still believe that these are some of the best people who have ever been on Survivor.” (Better than him, absolutely.)

“I’m a neurotic, paranoid indoor kid.” (This is the first thing he’s said that makes sense.)

“I have a dream about getting to the end of this game. And to do that, I have to fight all the fears that come with it.”

“This game is becoming way more about relationships. And way more about the people you trust and way more about loyalty.”

“For all I know, you know, when I wasn’t there, they all gathered up and said, ‘Okay, make him feel good and we’ll get rid of him next time.’ I don’t know. I hope that didn’t happen. I don’t think it happened. It could happen!”

“Any kind of work that I’ve put in the past couple of days to help myself and help my allies and help my friends might all just be in vain.”

In the voting booth as he voted for Michael:

“We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more.”

Obviously, Probst tallies the votes and other than Jacob’s vote for Michael, they’re split between Jacob and James, according to the original plan.

“Y’all did good,” he says as he leaves.




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