Survivor: Ghost Island

Survivor: Ghost Island — Logan Saunders Episode 5 Recap

Logan Saunders recaps episode 5 of Survivor: Ghost Island ahead of episode 6.




























Previously on Survivor: At the Naviti tribe, an alliance began to form across old tribal lines, and they have a clear target. The Malolo tribe was facing TC, and the minority alliance felt defeated until Michael offered hope. After a million confessionals about the curse, Michael lied about the powers of the idol, and put his plan in motion. In the end, Michael made the wrong decision and was unable to reverse the idol’s curse, sending his closest ally home.

Sixteen are left; who will be voted out tonight?




Bradley was certain he was going home, and it was a big wake-up call for him. Old Naviti praises Michael for a ‘good lie’. Michael is very humble about the praise.

BRADLEY: He outed himself as a hard player. Up until this point we all thought he was some fratty bro who liked to hang out with Jenna and Stephanie.

To be fair, Jacob isn’t a fratty bro and wanted nothing but to hang out with Jenna and Stephanie too.

Everyone praises Michael for not being selfish. Again, Michael isn’t too keen on the praise.

MICHAEL: I didn’t reverse any curse.

Take a drink at home folks.  

Michael knows his position in the game is absolutely awful now that he is the biggest threat of the minority alliance.



DAY 13

Why is there a giant skull in the middle of the course? Is this Exile Island?

Naviti walks in first and is blown away by Brendan’s absence. James, Donathan, and Libby have the biggest reactions.

For today’s challenge, they’ll leap over a series of tables, dismantle a pile of giant sandbags revealing a lever, pull the lever dropping sixteen smaller sandbags. Work together to put the sandbags in the finish, and use the sandbags to throw them at spinning targets to unveil three flags. First tribe to unveil all three flags wins reward.

The reward is coffee and pastries. Probst is surprised by the giant reaction to one of the crappiest rewards of the season.  Dom says they’re starvin’ out here, bro.

In addition, a player from the losing tribe will go to Ghost Island.

Wendell is the only one to hurdle the first table; Chelsea meanwhile manages to fall onto the ground as she rolls over the first table in the most uncoordinated display I have ever seen.

Michael and Bradley are dismantling sandbags for Malolo.

Domenick and James are dismantling sandbags for Naviti.

CHRIS: Dig deeper in those quads and use the legs.

Chris can’t not be the leader. It doesn’t make him a skilled Survivor contestant, but it does make for entertaining pre-merge drama.

Wendell is excited for the lever.

WENDELL (to CHRIS): Get that arm, ready baby. Get ready to pull that thing then we’re running.

Michael pulls the lever followed by James seconds later. This is a dead heat.

Everyone is collecting sandbags except Wendell, Chris, Stephanie Johnson, and Jenna. All four are being pelted by the sandbags.

Chris is starting to throw. He hits it on his first shot as a blurred Jenna is having vision issues as she takes a while to find the missing sandbag. Sea Bass is throwin’ for Malolo.

It’s the two Florida lobster fishing candy-loving athletes who are facing off in a target competition for the second challenge in a row. Chris won the last one in a rally. Can Sebastian redeem himself?

Sebastian’s southpaw throws are waaaay off. Chris looks like Pauil Quantrill in his prime and Probst is experiencing an erection while watching this performance. One flag is down. Two flags are down. Sebastian can’t find the strike zone. These targets aren’t easy while Chris slaughters this challenge and wins.

Chris deserves the entire pot of coffee and every pastry on that plate. My god.

PROBST: Naviti wins reward, and Chris guarantees a spot as the first post-merge jury boot!

CHRIS: I want those pastries! I want those pastries!

No kidding. The boy is hungry.

After Wendell gives Chris a celebratory smack on the ass, the two tribes gather on the mat. Probst asks Chris if he has a background in sports.

CHRIS: I used to toss the rock back in my prime.

Chris was a drug dealer????? “There’s one thing you got to know about me Joe Rogan, I toss rocks!”

PROBST: Which means what?

CHRIS: Which means I used to play baseball in college and I pitched.

Speaking of rocks, Naviti agrees to force Malolo to draw rocks to determine who is going to Ghost Island.

PROBST: Sebastian gets what’s left. . . truly leaving it to chance.

Actually, it’s the exact opposite of chance because his fate is determined since it is the only rock in the bag.

Stephanie draws the white rock and exits. Chris gathers the pastries as he sits down for a confessional.

CHRIS: This was just me being me. I guess it’s fair to say I was pretty hot today (blows out fingers like it’s a gun). I’m like a diamond in the rough.

Do you see me glow? This ain’t no Pay-Per-View;

it’s a free show.

I’m still shooting balls all day–

free throw.

This is more painful than Fonzworth Bentley’s attempt at freestyle rap. The way he blew out his fingers like a gun put him in stage three Jim Carrey’s The Mask territory. Somebody stop meeeeeee. I’m smokin’!



DAY 13

Speaking of people that are smoking, we check in with Stephanie Johnson at Ghost Island. This is the youngest cast by average age of all thirty-six seasons of Survivor, but thankfully we didn’t go any younger otherwise we wouldn’t have Stephanie Johnson here. My goodness, woman.

She wants to play a little game but instead gets:


Well, that’s not fun if you’re in the minority. I am surprised the advantage shut down by Kellyn didn’t carry over to this episode.

Stephanie talks about being divorced and leaving Mormonism and empowering herself as a single mom. I don’t even want to see how some of the casual fans react to this confessional. Maybe they’ll be used in a future special Funniest Casual Fan Complaints blog o’ mine if she goes on The Amazing Race.



DAY 13

James says Chris being on his side with all of the challenge prowess means the old Malolos are in control. The coffee is poured while they praise the muscle on their tribe.

The scene progresses as coffee and pastries remind Donathan of his mom and grandmother. I don’t know if Survivor has been on for too long, but everything with this scene becomes super predictable like a forced piece of editing from a TLC reality show.

  1. Donathan thinks of home
  2. Piano music plays
  3. He sits alone on the beach
  4. BFF on his tribe joins him
  5. He opens up about what happened
  6. The rival threat comes over and they connect on an emotional level through mutual struggle.

I am probably going to Google the origin of the word ‘mamaw’. Is it just an eastern Kentucky term for grandma or if it is more widespread throughout the US?



DAY 14

What happened to our 3 day cycles for the pre-merge phase in 20-person seasons? We’re back to old school 20-person formats as we trim a day pre-merge.

Stephanie returns from Ghost Island. She refers to her tribe as her family. Michael squeezes everyone’s shoulders.

For today’s challenge, one person will run across a floating bridge while carrying a bodyboard attached to a rope. Grab a bag then hang on as the rest of the tribe will crank a giant wheel pulling them back to shore.

Once they have all three bags, they’ll have three numbers for a combination lock. Once the combination lock is opened, there’ll be a slide puzzle inside. Solve the slide puzzle and win immunity. Safe from the vote. Losers go to Tribal Council where somebody will be voted out.

Yes, this challenge is essentially a variation on what we saw in Survivor: Micronesia, but replace the mat puzzle with a combination lock and slide puzzle at the end.

Wendell and Chelsea are the first two to run out with their body boards. How many seconds until Probst mocks Chelsea? Actually, he doesn’t.

Wendell is first in the water. That looks like so much fun. He is back on shore before Chelsea jumps in.

Wendell is back with the bag while Libby is very slow on the bridge. She is falling down like America’s Funniest Home Videos. Desiree passes Libby. She loses time untying the knot which lets Libby get ahead again.

Desiree hangs onto the board in a way that puts her head underwater. She holds her breath and uses enough strength to hold onto the board that it doesn’t affect her. It’s practically a tie.

Wendell and Chelsea are going for the final bags. Chelsea is already stumbling on the sand. She one-ups Libby by tumbling into the water while only a quarter of the way onto the bridge.


Yeah. Chelsea goes back to being mocked. This is one of the worst invisible edits for a Survivor contestant ever.

Wendell is already back on the beach with his third bag. The combination lock is being solved before Chelsea even gets into the water. She is then sideways on the board and lets go.  Probst runs past Chelsea on the beach which is a hilarious visual. Chelsea is EXHAUSTED.

Domenick and James solve the combination lock. Chris tells them the slide puzzle will say GHOST ISLAND.

Bradley and Kellyn open the combination lock. They are on the slide puzzle too.

As JLP from Australian Survivor would say, the puzzle is the great equalizer (unless if Anneliese is on your tribe).

Eventually, they solve it.

CHRIS: We’ve got the puzzle! We’ve got the puzzle!

I like how Chris recaps what just happened at the end of every challenge repeatedly. Kellyn is sad, weeping, and leaning over in defeat. Even Probst points out Kellyn’s expressiveness. She begins to cry and hates letting everyone down.

Michael tells Probst it is a certainty that one of the Malolos will be going home regardless of Chelsea and Kellyn’s errors. Kellyn confirms this in a confessional.



DAY 14

Everyone sits in the shelter together. It is awkward. Michael knows it is every man and woman for themselves.

Kellyn and Chelsea talk about splitting up the two old Malolo women. They think Jenna is the weakest and needs to go. Did Jenna have a confessional yet?

Oh. Now she does. She knows old Naviti is playing it safe and love their alliance.

JENNA: I am trying my best but unfortunately I always have this blank almost angry look on my face so it’s hard for me to switch off the defensive bitchy look.

We transition into Jenna flirting with Sebastian. She asks Sebastian if his hair still smells good.

SEBASTIAN: The faintest dead of good.

JENNA: Smell mine.

SEBASTIAN: Hmmmmm. Like dead weasel.

I love Sebastian’s vocabulary.

Sebastian proceeds to make fart noises when Jenna claims she can’t braid hair without it being too crazy. He wants to keep Jenna around because he needs people who can do his hair. It would be the most unique way for somebody to scramble and successfully save themselves.

Chelsea, Desiree, and Sebastian talk. Desiree is observant enough to know Stephanie is super smart and strategic.

Chelsea reports this to Kellyn and is concerned about switching the target to Steph. Kellyn is OK with it, but Chelsea is clearly concerned.

Meanwhile, Bradley and Steph hug. Steph bats her eyes at Brad and gets emotional. She goes straight for his right shoulder to do a stand-cuddle.

STEPH: I have been envisioning getting that million-dollar-check at the reunion show, running down to my two kids and picking them up. . .I’m so close. I am only twenty-five days away from having that happen.

. . .Plus the ten months waiting for your season to air after you get back home.

Brad proposes Michael to Kellyn and Chelsea. Or Stephanie.

BRAD: You can’t trust him and you also can’t trust Stephanie, but Jenna is practically harmless and will do whatever Sebastian wants.

Are you sure Sebastian and Jenna’s relationship isn’t the other way around?

Michael pitches to Brad to keep him for the challenges and promise to prove his loyalty in addition.

Here’s the thing: All eight players on Malolo are playing this round correctly. Nobody is making a bad move here. Michael cries knowing his game could come to an end.

The group of five come together to discuss who is going home. Desiree searches Steph’s bag for an advantage and nothing is in there. No clear indication as to who will be ousted tonight.






Kellyn feels bad for the bottom three that “one sentence” anybody said in discussion amongst the five could result in one of them going home. Stephanie, Jenna, and Michael all look miserable.

They talk about Stephanie possibly having an advantage.

Kellyn makes a coded response to one of Probst’s questions that there are enough twists in the game to prevent a losing streak from having a long-term impact on the old Naviti alliance.

Michael’s surprising strategic power but wanting to help the tribe win challenges will be a bigger benefit.

Steph’s visit to Ghost Island, her dream, and her kids are worth noting and has a lot of game left in her. Kellyn is crying.

Jenna says she constantly puts up a front, but is trying her hardest to make relationships and hopes she doesn’t fit the category of what old Naviti is looking for to determine who is going home.

I like how Michael says his dream of playing Survivor has been ongoing since he was thirteen–even though earlier in confessionals he said it was a ten year long dream. That means he adjusted his statement at TC for how old his fake age is (23). That’s hilarious.

It’s time to vote. If Malolo held another idol, they would have no idea who to play it for again because Naviti is being very very very mysterious about it.

Everyone votes. No votes are shown being cast.

Probst asks for somebody to play an idol. None are played.


I don’t know why the first person ousted from Australian Survivor is receiving votes, but whatever.




FIFTH VOTE: Stephanie


Wow. This is heartbreaking. She’s gone. Everyone at TC is emotional.

Jenna is crying. Michael is crying. Kellyn is crying. The whole tribe is miserable. The happiest person is gone.

Stephanie walks out of TC. She’ll go down as one of the most underrated players ever. I expected her to be first out for being too crazy, but my god her charm let her take control of original Malolo and have somebody play an idol for her at just the fourth Tribal Council. Too bad Michael didn’t hang onto his idol for just one more round.


Next Time on Survivor: Battle lines are drawn. The targets are clear, but a bomb goes off.

Stephanie’s heart is broken by the early exit and still believes in herself.  Hopefully this exit doesn’t hurt her too much in real life.


Another switch is teased in the next episode. Stephanie can now join Jacob in “what could have happened if I just won one more damn immunity challenge or been on the other tribe” club of never-ending what-ifs. New Naviti would have been perfect for somebody like Stephanie.

I always hate it when everyone says at the end of each episode “That person will likely be brought back for second chances!” in Survivor or TAR. Especially when I don’t like returnee seasons anyway.

However, production has made it very clear in these five episodes and the super duper over-the-top positive edit for Steph tonight that they really want her to come back in a future season. After attending four out of five Tribal Councils and the way she can charm everybody, production is playing the ‘what if’ game as much as Steph and the audience is at the end of tonight’s episode.


Malolo, the best tribe ever, now has had four of its original members eliminated in the first five episodes. Despite that, I think the winner of this game will come from the original tribe. Donathan, James, Michael, and even Jenna to a lesser extent have all had positive edits since the start of the game.


Chris has yet to attend Tribal Council. It is the Survivor cockblock for Domenick who has an idol and a Legacy Idol ready to knock Chris out of this game.

Chris has to be the one who goes down instead of Domenick. A huge showdown is being created and production never likes these showdowns to go on for all fourteen episodes. I expect it to collide at the merge as they declare open season on each other. Chris is invaluable in tribal challenges, he has an emotional story, and loves being a leader. That guy is soooo dead at the merge.


Sebastian can’t throw anything vertically or horizontally over the past two weeks. Everyone’s hopes of him being the next Ozzy is being shattered right now. However, him being the biggest goofball on the island isn’t such a bad thing. I need more random analogies on a weekly basis from him.

He kept somebody because of dreadlocks. It wasn’t strategy. If Stephanie offered to braid Sea Bass’ hair, the ending to this episode could have been different.


Poor Chelsea. One confessional. Five episodes. Constantly portrayed as a letdown in challenges.

Other than a controversial Na Onka edit or a Ben Browning edit with over-the-top visibility, this is pretty much the most negative edit you can get for being an invisible player in the game.

Let’s just say if anybody says “oh, Chelsea could come back for second chances!” after she is voted out, I will be the first to roll my eyes. C’mon. Production is not being kind to her.


I assume post-merge is when production wants to load up the game with as many advantages as possible.

The biggest mystery of all is “what is the advantage that Kellyn ignored last week?” and does this mean it will not be in play for the remainder of the season?

I for one am grateful the producers didn’t load the game up with as many advantages and idols as they could. Hell, they didn’t even tilt the table a little bit for old Malolo to dig up James’ other idol after Michael played one last round.

I blame Chelsea for this.


I just can’t take the CAN. YOU. REVERSE. THE. CURSE. thing seriously at all. Is anybody at home really thinking ‘this random item which activates a quarter of the time has yet to work after two attempts must be really bad luck for the player’?!

Something tells me that finding an idol which can be played for two people will become a future twist. As we all saw on CBS’ website and Twitter, the CBS interns thought Michael’s lie was actually the truth and seems like something production wants to do in the near future.

If it happens, I’ll blame Chelsea.


After new Malolo experienced two very predictable TCs, I am sure production is pissed off that new Naviti is too good to ever go to TC with Chris on their tribe for these two rounds. It would have been so much more fluid and interesting as nobody would solidify control on the tribe.

Which is why it is no coincidence that we’re seeing a new tribe shuffle (most likely 3 tribes of 5 or two tribes of 2 with one going to Ghost Island) because production believes they can’t send new Naviti to TC. Three tribes seems ideal as spreading the old Naviti-new Malolo alliance across three tribes would really make the game intriguing across all camps.


After receiving votes in the third episode, Libby, Angela, and Laurel have gone back to being minor players this season.


Michael’s maturity for an eighteen year old and his level of independence is amazing to me. I would not have been like that if I played Survivor at eighteen. He did a great job at campaigning to stay over a highly skilled Stephanie and scrappy Jenna this week.


Even with lowering her guard a bit, Jenna is a tough person to figure out. She is excellent with appearing non-threatening but still respected enough to where she could likely win over a jury at the end of the game.


I want more Desiree content.


Donathan’s storylines are too emotional for me to feel it is authentic because of the way Survivor edits it. He is always served better as comic relief.


Bradley didn’t have as many amusing quotes this week. Smart guy who isn’t as much of a jackass as we all assumed he would be.


Kellyn, despite being part of the evil alliance, is receiving a very positive edit. She’ll be around for a very long time in this game.


Is James always going to speak on behalf of himself, Laurel, and Libby when it comes to old Malolo’s thoughts on new Naviti?


This is Domenick’s first low key week so far this season. I feel like the season is much more enjoyable when his presence is downplayed. We don’t need him to be a central character.


Wendell seems like a guy who is keen enough to adapt in this game to the point he would leave Domenick for Chris. Or both of them for Malolo. I don’t think he would use an idol to protect Dom like Dom would for Wendell.

Just a gut feeling.


We could all speculate on what will happen next round, but we all know it is pointless because we all assume an unmerge into three tribes of five is coming. With two tribe swaps having already occurred, this is bound to be a mess.

And chances are we will only be doing this for two rounds as Survivor is keen to do their fourth consecutive 13-person merge in a season that starts with twenty players.

The merge is the only tribal format that ever plays out long term. Of course, these two rounds means anyone who goes to TC can vote people out based on very short-sighted criteria without risk of it backfiring at all.

P.S. If there’s a third tribe, that means we will have a Malolo idol, a mysterious 3rd tribal idol, and Dom’s two idols to carry over into a merge. I am sure the old school fans will love that.

P.P.S. At the start of the season, Probst mentioned the rice ration was halved. This was included in the first scene of the premiere. Tonight Dom brought up that fishing to make up for these rations can only get you so far. Is this a setup for long-term starvation down the road? Something tells me that will indeed be the case.

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