Survivor: Ghost Island Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
June 5, 2018
Previously on Survivor, we narrowed it down to four contestants. We’re going to skip straight to an Immunity Challenge now that will go a long way toward reducing the number to three. The honest takeaway is that it’s Day 38, but we’re not seeing the normal signs of fatigue from the contestants. This has apparently been a less physically grueling season of Survivor.
At this point, we have two players who can win this game and two players who can’t, so the outcome of this Immunity Challenge could go a long way toward determining who wins Survivor this season.
For this final challenge, the Survivors will have to stand on a beam while stacking and balancing some balls and discs. Obviously, the person who wins chooses one person to sit next to them in the final, while the other two will be forced to go to building a fire for the third spot.
Once again, this isn’t the most exciting challenge to recap. It’s people being very careful and cautious. Wendell gets off to a fast start (doesn’t he always?), followed by Angela and then Dom. Despite being deliberate, Dom knocks his stack down early on. Laurel does, too. She has to start over. Wendell has just one ball left, but as he steps on his platform, his stack topples over.
So, Angela is able to slow down, but her stack is wobbly. It falls. Dom is carefully placing his balls (are we still using phrasing?). Wendell is catching up, but Dom is down to the final ball. He places it and wins. Dom is guaranteed a spot in the final Tribal Council.
Rather than go back to camp, the Survivors will spend the afternoon at Ghost Island and plead their case to Dom. Wendell knows Dom has to choose him to build fire, because only Dom and Wendell can win this game. That likely means Laurel will be Dom’s choice, as Angela has had little to do with the actual alliance that has been going for some time now.
Even though he knows he’ll be making fire, Wendell is confident in his fire building ability. Dom asks him how he feels about the other two players, and Wendell is sure he can beat either of them. Dom’s decision comes down to whether he thinks Laurel or Angela can beat Wendell in a fire building challenge.
Laurel tells Dom she doesn’t know how to build fire and that she hasn’t practiced. Dom is actually pretty annoyed with Laurel, and doesn’t respect that she isn’t prepared for this possibility. He’s pretty gruff with her considering that she might be on the jury if he does send her to the fire challenge.
Angela isn’t thrilled that Dom’s relying on her to beat Wendell. She tells him that he doesn’t want to go to the end with Laurel, because Laurel can beat him in the final. (Narrator: Laurel cannot beat him in the final.)
Dom does have a message from Jeff to read, and Dom makes his way to the top of Ghost Island to read it. He has to choose an urn from Survivor seasons past, hoping to reverse the curses they inflicted – all where people chose the wrong person to sit beside. For a brief, crazy moment, Dom considers giving Angela his necklace and going in and building fire against Wendell. He chooses the urn from the season where Tony won, because he wants people to think his game is as good as Tony’s was. We don’t think Tony’s game was good. Dom shouldn’t sell himself so short.
“Tribal Council” is a rehash of everything that has already been discussed.
Dom chooses Laurel to go to Tribal Council. Time to fight fire with fire! Angela vs. Wendell! For some reason, Wendell doesn’t want to sit with the orange flag, and Angela agrees to switch.
Wendell has clearly practiced his fire building skills, because he quickly gets one started, even though it goes out. After a bit longer, he gets another flame, while Angela fights her tools. Even her tiny flames go out. Wendell builds his fire taller, and it reaches the rope that it must burn through in order for him to win. Despite a windy evening, it does burn through the rope. The final three Survivors will be Dom, Laurel, and Wendell. Given that Dom and Wendell have been connected from the very beginning, it’s a fitting end.
“I’m glad it’s them three. They deserve it,” says Michael.
I’m not sure why we don’t just go straight to the final Tribal Council, but anyway. We get the sad moment with Wendell, Dom, and Laurel sitting together and crying. At least they don’t do the fake “reflect on fallen Survivors” activity anymore.
Hooray! It’s almost over. Probst welcomes the jury, and instructs everyone that the first discussion will center around the “Outwit” portion of the game. Kellyn asks everyone how they thought they’d play the social game coming in. Laurel says that her plans didn’t match what actually happened, because her Malolo tribe was constantly on the bottom. She’s the only one who scrapped on through.
When the notion that she rode coattails arises, she claims that she was in on all of the strategy, which Donathan verifies. Michael contradicts her, though, saying that just because she always made sure someone else was voted out first doesn’t mean that she played a good game. In fact, Michael flat out says that Dom played the best social game, and that Wendell went off by himself a significant amount of time.
Wendell argues that his conversations were more genuine than Dom’s. After noting that he and Desiree would have arguments about Kanye versus Chance the Rapper, she rebuts him by saying that she’s not going to vote for him because they talked about music a couple of times.
So, Wendell changes tactics, saying that he protected Dom all the way to the end. It’s true early on, but things definitely changed as the season progressed. Wendell claims he was the mastermind of their alliance, though. He says that he pulled in Laurel and Donathan, but Donathan contradicts him and says that Dom brought them in.
Dom says, “There was no mastermind here.” So, Kellyn asks for everyone who was part of the “Dom and Wendell Show” to raise their hands. Then, she asks which one brought them in. Laurel claims it was her own idea and that she went to them. Donathan, Libby, and Jenna say Dom. Sebastian says Wendell.
Unsatisfied, Chris wants Dom and Wendell to bury each other to achieve true alpha male dominance. To his credit, Dom isn’t having it. They truly like each other, and couldn’t get to a place that they were taking each other out. Dom does note that he’d have taken Wendell out at five if he could.
Meanwhile, Wendell brings up The Dom Show again, pointing out that Dom hurt people and was a jerk. Wendell is all about love, man! Michael points out that this makes it sound like Wendell let Dom do all the dirty work.
Now, we’re on to Outplay. Laurel has no good argument other than the fact that she never had to rely on winning a challenge to save her game. While true (and a stat that could be a great argument in other circumstances), this is more circumstantial than due to great gameplay. It’s a pretty cool claim to make, though.
Wendell says that his strategy was to make the camp more comfortable for everyone. Michael says they were thankful for the comfort, but wondered what was real, what was faked, and what misdirection Wendell was able to pull off. Something, something idol, something.
Dom mentions the Sebastian vote and what he did during that vote as he preserved his real idol to get him to the final five. Sebastian’s feeling were hurt by Dom and Wendell sporting their bling so aggressively. Dom asks if he was mean to anyone, and several people nod their heads.
This is kind of a brutal Tribal Council for both guys. Laurel is a non-factor.
Finally. Outlast. Laurel talks about taking Dom and Wendell to the end. Ha ha. Isn’t that cute? No. She took no one to the end. As we’ve discussed during previous recaps, she didn’t have any good options, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean she played a good game.
Dom notes that he was sometimes mean or hurtful, but never meant it that way. He was just truly brash and enthusiastic because he’s playing hard. “I’m proud of what I did.”
For his part, Wendell wanted to be his weird self and play a clean game. He hopes everyone understands that he was strategic.
Time to vote. We know Michael will be voting for Dom. Sebastian will vote for Wendell. Probst tallies the votes, but doesn’t take them away with him. No, he reads them out. For the first time in 36 seasons, it’s a 5-5 tie between Dom and Wendell. In case of a tie, the person out of the running joins the jury and votes. Laurel does.
NOW Probst can take the single vote back to the United States, where he’ll read it in front of a LIVE! STUDIO! AUDIENCE!
Laurel of course votes for Wendell. Wendell wins the title of Sole Survivor. All hail Wendell!