Survivor: David vs. Goliath

Appearances Are Deceiving

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

October 1, 2018

And his football team is terrible, too.

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Previously on Survivor, Mark Burnett became too famous, accidentally got a pinhead elected to the White House and set the world on fire. And not in a good way. Don’t worry, though. Tom Arnold is on the case.

In the interim, we’re left to recap Survivor, which host Jeff Probst is now describing as “a social experiment.” We presume he means the Stanford prison one. The theme this season is David vs. Goliath. To the best of our knowledge, half of the cast won’t be equipped with slingshots, but it wouldn’t be the strangest thing ever on Survivor.

On the plus side, one of our favorite reality contestants ever is on the show this season, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

The show begins with all kinds of character clichés. We meet Christian, a roboticist who seems like he’s going to bristle at the idea of being called a nerd before completely embracing it.

Then there’s Elizabeth, the home-schooled Kentuckian, who seems to think she might be in some sort of hay-baling competition. Even then, we wouldn’t like her chances as she seemed to have peaked at 12.

We also meet Natalie Cole (not that one), the publisher of Our Weekly and CEO of West Coast Expo. She may have heard that slingshot rumor, because she says that she has employees who would take a literal bullet for her.

Finally, there’s Angelina, who claims she’s had a fairy tale life, then she talks about a lot of higher education accomplishments, which makes us wonder what type of fairy tales she has read. Unless one of your financial consulting clients gave you a poisoned apple, we’re not buying it.

A weird moment happens at the beginning – they lower a banner that shows a giant logo of the season. The contestants now know that they are on “David vs. Goliath,” and it’s pretty clear who the Goliaths are. We don’t think that the David’s should be that worried, though. Mike White is one of the Goliaths, and from what we remember of him on The Amazing Race, he’s as threating as a Tsum Tsum. Also, the producers of Survivor always swap teams after about three episodes anyway and then ignore the theme of the season until the final Tribal Council.

Someone named Nick says the words “trailer in the holler” and we decide to ignore everything he says from this point forward while mentally assigning a bunch of Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel quotes to him.

Next, the only person we care about speaks. Over the years, we’ve watched a bunch of reality shows. One of our favorite contestants is named John Hennigan, who competed on Season 3 of Tough Enough and became the first person in the world to do a standing shooting star press during one of the episodes. He is a freak athlete and multi-federation world champion, and he has even held the WWE Tag Team Championship belt with another one of our favorite reality stars, The Miz. We’re just here for Hennigan, who we will frequently refer to as Morrison or Johnny Impact, because those are the wrestling names we know him by.

For no apparent reason, Probst does a thing where the Goliath tribe has to pick the weakest male and female members from the David group. Mike White, always a people person, says they’re going to go with “Purple Hair and Big Bang Theory.” These are two different people, if that’s not clear. He means Lyrsa and Christian.

Next up, they have Goliath choose their strongest man and strongest woman, which winds up being Alison and Morrison (John). The weak players and the strong players will compete against each other for… some reason.

The challenge involves balance, agility, strength, and a puzzle. The two courses are different, so the Davids get to choose who will do which portions. They think they’re clever in giving the Goliaths a puzzle, but I suspect that Dr. Alison and Morrison (a college grad with a degree in Geology), are more formidable on that front than you’d imagine.

The Davids have a slide puzzle, and they solve it almost immediately. The Goliath puzzle is more challenging, so the Davids do win reward. Christian reveals that he wrote algorithms for slide puzzles in college, so who could have imagined that Survivor’s stupid stunt would work? Well, the producers, we bet. The fix is in.

Christian talks. A lot. He could have solved the puzzle even faster. His talking gets a montage. We hope Christian gets voted out first.

Oh, they do win a little shelter building kit.

Apparently, Survivor is jealous of the ratings of Hallmark movies, because Goliath Dan meets a woman named Kara, and the sparks are truly electric. She learns that he named his dog after Superman’s niece, Kara, which after he explains it two or three times is the same as her name. Our guess is that she’s too distracted by his biceps to hear anything he’s saying. She’s very excited to hear that he thinks she’s blond and beautiful, though.

First rule of Survivor: Vote off anyone who looks like they’re going to vote in blocks. So, don’t get attached to either of these two.

Our favorite part of the scene is the musical accompaniment. They choose soft, romantic piano accompaniments, not Barry White.

Over at the David camp, Pat Cusack, the forgotten Cusack, isn’t a people person. He bosses everyone around constantly, telling them exactly what to do in order to get the shelter built. He’s also a yeller, and some of his jokes are less amusing and tasteful than he realizes. He’s the type of person who goes a long way even though he never has a chance of winning. At the final Tribal Council, he’ll be screaming a lot about how he was wronged.


The walking Hunk of the Month calendar that is Team Goliath starts working on their shelter. A feud develops between Natalie… and Natalia. The older CEO is used to barking out orders at young employees, and she treats many of her tribe mates as interns. The younger Natalia, on the other hand, isn’t a big fan of working smart so much as working fast. She’s hurrying off to prove herself to everyone else, but she isn’t listening to anyone. The two butt heads a lot, but it seems like the elder Natalie is the odd woman out at the moment. Her blunt nature might work well in an environment where she calls all the shots, but it’s a poisonous social game here.

A bunch of Davids start making alliances based on absolutely no information whatsoever. It’s a bunch of pairs, with the exception of Jessica, who finds a couple of people to “keep it 100” with, and Carl, who joins forces with Jessica and Davie.

Morrison and Mike bond a little bit, and John explains to Mike that he’s the mean American wrestler in Mexico, telling all of the masked wrestlers that they have to wear them because they’re ugly. John runs through his NUMEROUS nicknames, which are pretty amusing, especially ABraham Lincoln.

Then, Mike goes off to look for an idol, because it’s on his Survivor Bucket List. He thinks he’s being sneaky, but then we cut to the rest of the tribe saying, “Does he think we don’t know he’s looking for the idol?” The group is basically choosing between elder Natalie and Mike as their potential targets. She tells him that he’s in trouble, and he notes that he’s been “hoisted by his own petard.”

But hey, at least he has all that Nacho Libre money. And hey, he can do a sequel with Morrison!

Nick thinks that it’s easy to not work on a tribe of ultra hard workers. He also thinks no one notices. Right on cue, people discuss how little he’s worked, how they can’t stand him, and how they hope he’s the first one voted out.

He does form an alliance with the other Kentuckian, Elizabeth, which they call the Thoroughbreds. Basically, he’s more excited about naming the alliances than he is to win the game.

Over at Goliath, everyone is just looking for idols. A couple of women, Alison and Angelina are looking and hoping to be one of the rare females to find an idol. Angelina says she had read that women find 15% of the idols. Mike is searching as well, which means that the rest of the group is going to search, too.

John rightly points out that all of the Goliaths want the idol because the power is the big thing. Dan is searching with his girlfriend Kara and Natalia, and he finds it and whips it out and puts it in his pants. Yeah, he said all of those things.

The Davids catch an octopus. More accurately, Davie of the Davids caught an octopus. Dinner is served – calamari and rice!

Davie calls himself a blurd, which means black nerd. He says he likes zombie movies, cartoons, and other nerdy things.

We haven’t mentioned that it’s raining a ton. Jessica breaks down at a point while they sit under the shelter, talking about her mother’s abuse at the hands of a boyfriend. Bi can relate, as she also had a violent boyfriend. Tears are shed.

Nick is clearly uncomfortable, and after the sharing session, he wants to share something about himself. He lost his mother to a drug overdose, and telling the tribe about it allows him to release a weight from his shoulders. Honestly, this is about the fastest we’ve ever seen a tribe bond and open up to each other.

The rain continues to pour as the tribes join…

Wait. Probst sighting!

Time for our first Immunity Challenge.

The teams will go through an obstacle course, where they’ll have to dig, do ladder things, pole vault, and solve a puzzle.

Goliath has a slight lead after the first station, but it grows after the digging portion. They are all the way across the pole vault before the Davids even start it. But now it’s puzzle time.

The Davids do catch up, mainly because Christian is a puzzle ringer.

But eventually, the Goliaths take the prize despite yelling at each other. They get the Immunity Idol and flint.

The Davids are sad, but they’ll have to get rid of someone.

But wait… as the Davids’ boat is coming back to camp, the boat takes a sudden slam in the VERY rough waters. Pat gets hit on his back very hard, and it’s causing him a lot of pain. In fact, I’d say that it’s one of the more serious injuries we’ve ever seen on the show. The medical staff says that they fear he may have a fracture in his back.

Pat begs not to leave, but the medical staff overrules him. They have to run some scans to check for serious injury. Probst gives the rest of the cast flint (and probably some additional wavers to sign). He also talks to them about how they’re so totally the David tribe and something like this was bound to happen to them.

Sometimes we wish he’d shut up.



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