May 1, 2020
Survivor: Doubling Down (S31 E10 RECAP)
In this week’s double episode, rain dampens the survivors’ spirits, everyone plays footsie, and two more contestants join the jury.
In the previous episode, Kelly Wiglesworth was sent to the jury because Fishbach, Spencer, and Jeremy flipped on the majority alliance. Jeremy knows this has strained some relationships. He is particularly concerned about what Tasha thinks, so he goes to her and explains that, while they “couldn’t” tell her about the flip, she’s still “in the power,” which, if you have to be told…
Also, Joe, who apparently is a friend of K-Wigles, is pissed.
Everyone else is over it, though. They’re on to complaining about the rain, which has been relentless for days, trapping them in the shelter with each other.
Eventually, they venture out for the reward challenge. There, they are split into two teams for a game of full contact tackle water basketball. Joe, Spencer, Ciera, Tasha and Abi (Team 1) face off against Jeremy, Fishbach, Kimmi, Keith, and Kelley Wentworth (Team 2). Spencer scores first, then Jeremy, then Joe, and then Tasha.
Team 1 wins the reward, which is a break from the miserable camp conditions in the form of being able to get warm and dry by attending the Cambodian circus. Everyone politely pretends to enjoy the entertainment, and Ciera does get emotional over seeing a little boy who reminds her of her son…
… but everyone is probably more interested in the food being served than anything else.
Drying her eyes, Ciera tries to talk strategy. She says Fishbach should go, since he has some kind of secret advantage in the game. Meanwhile, the folks back at camp are talking about voting Joe out, as long as he doesn’t win individual immunity.
The circus-goers return, and everyone has a miserable night in the shelter. The hardest hit is probably Fishbach, who has an upset stomach and keeps getting up to use the nonexistent facilities. Later, Abi, ever the diplomat, will repeatedly refer to him as “Poopy Pants.”
The next morning brings the immunity challenge. The contestants gather and Jeff Probst explains the challenge, which is to stand on a small platform and hold a ball against a piece of wood. Essentially, it’s the same darn balancing challenge that they keep doing every time.
Gee. I wonder who will win.
There is a twist, though. Probst hands each of the contestants a black rock and a white rock and tells them they have an opportunity to change conditions at camp. A construction crew will shore up their shelter, build them a fire, and leave them a pile of cookies, if and only if at least five of them agree to forfeit the challenge. Everyone but Joe and Keith takes that opportunity, opening up their hands to reveal white rocks of forfeit.
As predicted, Joe beats Keith and wins individual immunity for the fourth time in a row. He does not, however, win any friends.
Now that Joe is off the table, who to vote out? Ciera still thinks Fishbach, and Fishbach thinks Ciera. Most folks seem to be siding with Ciera and planning to vote Fishbach. Everyone is afraid of the secret game advantage he has. Surmising that it might work something like a hidden immunity idol, a couple of folks say they’ll vote for Kimmi, just in case that will help. Jeremy, meanwhile, is not down with a Fishbach blindside, so he keeps trying to talk people into voting against Ciera. It should be an interesting tribal council.
And it is. Topics covered include:
- The weather (It’s terrible!)
- Why everyone forfeited the challenge (Supposedly “for the good of the group” and not because they had no chance of beating Joe)
- How someone is probably going to get blindsided
Everyone casts their votes. Then, in what he probably thinks is just a formality, Probst asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol. To everyone’s surprise, Jeremy produces one.
Is he just pulling it out prematurely? No, he’s using it on Fishbach. The votes are read, and most people did vote for Fishbach, although those votes don’t count. Ciera gets the second largest number of votes, so she joins the jury. That’s where her eye rolls will really be appreciated anyway.
This is a double episode, so we don’t so much mourn Ciera as just roll on to the next thing. Fishbach is really grateful to Jeremy for playing the idol on him, but also stunned that he was so out of the loop that he had no idea that people were going to vote against him. Plus, he has another problem:
Spencer, on the other hand, is hurt that Jeremy played the idol on Fishbach without telling him. He really wanted Fishbach to go, but Jeremy ruined his plans. He’s afraid he’s not as tight with Jeremy as he once thought. Jeremy tells Spencer he would have done the same for him if he was in danger of being voted out, but you can tell Spencer doesn’t believe it.
Next, it’s time for a reward challenge. Our contestants will be playing as individuals, with the winner being flown to a spa complete with food and a swimming pool. Sounds tempting, but strategy-wise, I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. It sounds like an excellent way to draw negative attention to oneself and then leave camp so the others can plot your demise.
The game is essentially a multiple choice test. First, Probst tells a boring story from Cambodian history. Then, the contestants race to a series of stations to read questions about the story. Each of the stations has three baskets representing answer choices. To select an answer, the players grab a packet from their preferred basket, then race back to their “home” station to unwrap it. If the answer is right, the packet contains a gold medallion. The first person to collect five gold medallions wins reward.
The challenge begins and, at first, everyone is hanging in. Everyone, that is, except Joe and Keith. Joe is pretty but not too bright, and Keith is…
They can’t seem to get anything right.
Kelley Wentworth opens one of her packets and finds a surprise. In addition to a gold medallion, she gets an idol clue. The next idol is hidden underneath the very shelter in which they sleep, and knowing its location is way more valuable than this reward.
Eventually, brainy guys Spencer and Fishbach pull to the front of the pack. Then, Spencer gets question number five wrong, and Fishbach overtakes him and wins reward. Fishbach gets to choose two people to go on reward with him, and he picks Tasha and Jeremy. Again, this would seem to serve only as a good way to get some other people to resent you, and sure enough, Spencer isn’t happy that he didn’t get picked.
At the spa, Fishbach tries to repair his relationship with Tasha, who is still stung over not being in on the K-Wigles ouster, and to repay Jeremy’s loyalty. He reveals the nature of his secret advantage (that he has the power to “steal a vote” from another player at tribal council), and the three decide to work together. They agree that Joe should be the next to go, but then again, who hasn’t had that idea?
Meanwhile, back at camp, the others are talking about voting out Fishbach because of course they are. Kelley Wentworth is showing remarkable patience in waiting for other people to wander off so she can retrieve the idol. Eventually, everyone goes out to the beach for various reasons.Everyone but Abi, that is, who just hangs around at the shelter for an annoyingly long time. Finally, Abi goes to lie in the hammock and Kelley gets her second idol.
Now, for the immunity challenge. Finally, they are doing something different, really different. The challenge is to untie a rope to release wooden blocks which you then use to build a fort. Oh, and they have to do it all with their feet.
Most folks get their blocks released right away. Even Fishbach, with his horrible, swollen feet, manages to do this, but Spencer is really struggling. People start building their forts. Finally, Spencer gets his blocks released and gets into the game. He turns out to be really good at the fort-building part and makes up a lot of ground. Soon, it’s between him and (who else?) Joe for the victory. But then a wind or something knocks over some of Joe’s blocks and Spencer actually finishes first.
For the first time in a long time, Joe does not have immunity. He’s shaking in his nonexistent boots.
Back at camp, pretty much everybody agrees that it’s time to oust Joe, now that they have the chance. Done deal. But then, they go off and make other plans. Spencer and Kelley, for instance, want to vote out Fishbach. Joe, of course, is down with that.
Fishbach, meanwhile, is on board to oust Joe, as are his allies Jeremy, Tasha, and Kimmi, but… they also plan to throw a few votes Abi’s way, just in case Joe has an idol. Apparently, they don’t know anything about Joe, because if they knew him at all, they’d know that he is not in any real sense playing this game. Being good at challenges is 100% of his game. He does not have an idol.
As for Abi, she refuses to commit to either side. She says she’ll just make up her mind at tribal council.
At the council, there’s the usual chatter about alliances and voting blocs, and then Fishbach says he wants to play his advantage. He steals Joe’s vote, and then votes for Abi with his own vote and Joe with Joe’s vote.
It doesn’t work out, though because Spencer, Kelley, and Abi all vote against him. Fishbach joins the jury. Swim away, little fishy.