Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers

Survivor Heroes v Healers v Hustlers: Reverse Potluck

Logan Saunders recaps Episode 8 of Survivor: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers.

Survivor Heroes v Healers v Hustlers: Reverse Potluck


Ashley, Joe, Desi, Devon. Chrissy, JP, Ryan, Cole, Mike, Lauren. Ben


hhh-barPreviously on Survivor: After the merge, Cole was looking to get the upper hand, but the Heroes and Hustlers came together. Putting the Healers on the wrong side of the numbers. At Tribal Council, Joe thought he was saving himself, but the real target was Jessica.

Eleven are left; who will be voted out tonight?

solewaNIGHT 19 

Gotta love the purple buffs.

They are in a circle. Cole laments over everyone lying to him.

JOE: I didn’t see Jess coming. . . as a fan you got to appreciate it. The only problem is now you’re playing with the devil.

But can the devil read Ashley’s face at Tribal Council?

We cut to a Ben confessional.

BEN: I want to get us to the seven, but the individual part is what I’m worried about because an individual can mess this thing up.

Yeah, who would play individually post-merge?


DAY 20 

Devon is doing yoga and Lauren is working hard with the nails. A nail falls into the basket. It’s the note with the secret advantage from the previous episode.

LAUREN: My heart was beating at 150 beats per second.

That’s 9, 000 beats per minute. Dragon Ball Z fans are losing their mind.

The secret advantage turns out to be the smallest advantage in Survivor history, but one that producers have loved over the past few seasons–The Extra Vote.

At the next Tribal Council, Lauren must secretly not vote. Once she pretends to be like China at the United Nations and opts to abstain, she can  secretly use an extra vote at a future Tribal Council.

As anyone can tell you, the Extra Vote has been broken down numerous times–there are very very few scenarios where it will make any difference to the outcome of the game. You need a vote that’s already heading to a tie, in which case you could probably intimidate someone into avoiding picking rocks out of a bag or force a tie leading to a potential rock draw.

Both of these scenarios are quite rare in Survivor. Besides the hiccup over the rules in Game Changers, the Extra Vote has only had impact in random Survivor ORGs on the Internet rather than the TV show itself.

Lauren hopes no one will know how to do math and not notice there will only be ten votes cast at Tribal Council rather than eleven.

LAUREN: The hard part will be to take that voting parchment in front of ten other people.

I don’t think they will keep an eye out for that since it is an unprecedented way to award the Extra Vote.

Very brief intro time.


Race up a tower through a series of obstacles to the top then use a slingshot to fire sandbags at five targets. First team to hit all five targets wins reward. That’s it. Shortest explanation ever.

Winning team will be taken to a private island where they will enjoy spaghetti (Kevin Malone voice), bread, salad, and red wine. Desi is excited for bread.

Since there is a prime number of people, it is the annual 50/50 tossup of whether or not the person not chosen to be on either team will partake in the reward. This year they get to go on the reward without doing anything.

As luck would have it, Joe wins the lottery to irk the majority even more.

TEAM #1: JP-Chrissy-Cole-Ryan-Devon

TEAM #2: Devi-Ashley-Dr. Mike-Lauren-Ben


Everyone runs five feet together until just one person climbs the tower. Ben and Ryan are the first two.

Ryan fires a single shot before starting to go down. As soon as he starts going down,  Chrissy climbs up. We need to know what the rule is here since Chrissy fires a single shot before going down and letting JP climb up.

Ben hits a target. Probst says once a target gets hit that somebody else must climb up.

JP misses a target repeatedly. Mike connects with the second target; JP lands the first.

Lauren and Cole climb up next. Lauren also played with a slingshot for twenty-five years as she connects with the third target. Cole misses repeatedly until he lets Devon climb up. Devon has the second shot.

Ashley keeps missing her shot. This allows JP to climb up and hit the third target. Devon gets to go again. Ashley either undershoots or overshoots the target. Devon has the fourth target. Only one is left. Ashley is either stubborn or the red team has a very stubborn strategy as a whole.

Ashley gets her fourth target but it doesn’t matter as JP hits the final target seconds later.

Devon and JP sure love their slingshots this season. They are Survivor’s Bart Simpson and Dennis the Menace.

NOTE: Behind the scenes, the first five pre-jury members tested out this challenge with the Dream Teamers. Once again, they lost. Probably because Patrick wouldn’t let anybody else play.

Lauren’s secret advantage isn’t the only twist of the episode.

PROBST: It’s going to be served family style which means there is one large portion to be shared and you will eat one person at a time alone in private.

What family eats one person alone at a time in secret? If it were my family, my dad would not be allowed to go first. We would be better off having John Goodman going out with us on the reward.

And I am curious if this twist was partially inspired by the Big Brother 4 USA twist where teams are bribed with cash in order to punish the rest of the players by withholding food.

PROBST: One final twist. . . Joe will decide what order everyone will eat, including yourself.

This is. . . an interesting reward twist. I approve. A minor social dilemma without forcing an item that directly impacts the outcome of a Tribal Council or how the game plays out. It is ultimately their world with this twist.


Joe decides Devon will go first because it is his birthday. Joe tries to win social favour and puts himself last. He notes the Hustlers are currently in the swing position.

Fun Fact: It is not Devon’s birthday. Like Caryn did to Coby in Survivor: Palau, “he lied”.

Devon enters the jungle first.

DEVON: It’s the perfect date by myself.

It’s like Ryan on every Saturday night.

Devon pours himself a big ol’ glass of wine. He digs into the spaghetti. He’s a nice guy.

DEVON: I may have eaten a little more than my fair share.

The birthday portion.

The letter ‘B’ has been revealed underneath the spaghetti plate. Is it ‘B’ for birthday?

JP goes second. He quietly, like, you know, eats, and at the end of the day, he like, had a full belly.

Cole is third. He wants to “get back” at those who backstabbed him by eating as much as he can. This dickish move is interrupted by seeing the clue for a hidden immunity idol underneath the plate. He covers the plate with a napkin.


Well that’s the most direct clue ever. No etching into the bark of a tree is necessary this time.

Chrissy is fourth. She studies every item on the table and the trees around her. She lifts up the napkin and sees the clue.

CHRISSY: Shut the f–k up. Pardon me.

Chrissy covers it up and hopes Ryan will see it.

Ryan is fifth. He is also looking for a clue to an advantage. Joe’s idol play has made everyone keep their eyes peeled for a clue.

The spaghetti is pretty much gone.

RYAN: Caesar salad was okay.

That chef back at Ponderosa is going to be pissed.

Ryan takes the spaghetti plate with the clue and throws it into the woods. Only the spaghetti crumbs are left on the napkin. He returns as everyone tells Joe to clean it all up.

For the second round in a row, Chrissy whispers in front of Ryan. Considering all five are lying together on the same patch of sand as they rest their head against the same log on the beach, it doesn’t take much for Cole to note the whispers.

RYAN: Did Cole find it?

CHRISSY: I don’t think he is that smart.

RYAN: I think he did.

Cole knows Ryan and Chrissy saw the clue.

COLE: I could definitely beat out Chrissy and Ryan in a digging challenge; if push comes to shove, I’m gonna have to bigger push and shove there and I don’t feel bad about going for the idol.

It is a very Tommy Linz-esque “I don’t roll with the punches; I punch” confessional.

It’s true. Chrissy and Ryan weigh less combined than Cole. Cole would win in that handicap match.

All five walk back to camp. Ryan tries to figure out a camp to break away. They talk about the reward with the other five. It wasn’t seen as a big reward. Chrissy’s first detail is the twelve-inch baguette. That would make Jean-Robert Bellande proud.

Ryan sees Cole wanders off to go pee.

RYAN: Cole goes to pee, and I am thinking this is it–this is when I have to strike. When Cole is literally caught with his pants down, I’m going to dig for the idol.

Cole shouldn’t have drank so much wine.

Chrissy sees Ryan digging and is withdrawn from the conversation. Ryan digs up the idol as JP was less than five feet away. I am not exaggerating. JP is clueless about what happened even though Ryan is in his peripherals.

Ryan instructs Chrissy to cover up the hole aloud. Again, JP doesn’t hear it. Chrissy is covering up the hole but Cole sprints over thinking the idol is still up for grabs. It becomes a wrestling match as Chrissy screams for JP. JP does nothing as Ben runs from the shelter and starts digging against Cole.

Ryan watches over as we get an unnecessary zoom-in of the wood in Ryan’s shorts.

Joe and Devon are digging too. The tribe flag falls onto Devon’s head.

DEVON: Guys. You were about to kill me all for an idol.

It would make the heart attack in Bulgarian Survivor seem like a much more dignified way to pass away on Survivor compared to Devon’s ultra concussion. My goodness.

Ben claims Cole has the idol because he saw him tuck his shirt in.

COLE: It’s a long shirt like a dress.

Ben really doesn’t like Cole. Any little thing puts Cole under scrutiny. It is clear that Cole is screwed.

MY MOM: Cole is going to win immunity. It’s too obvious that he is going home.

This is the first time my parents have paid attention to editing in thirty-five seasons.


Desi gives back the necklace.

DESI: Temporarily.

It’s another challenge that suits Desi.

Players are holding a long pole horizontally against a statue. The statue is braced between a narrow ledge and a pole while the players are on a balance beam. At regular intervals, they must move further back on the beam.

We see all eleven on the third section of the beam. I presume they started out on the first section of the beam but the footage was cut down to start showing where people got eliminated.

Last time it was ants crawling over people in this challenge; this time it’s ants.

Dr. Mike is out first. Joe is out second.

PROBST: Joe out of nowhere drops. He had no movement. Joe has no shot at immunity. He is vulnerable at Tribal Council.

JOE: You’re killing me, Jeff.

Since when did Porter join the cast of this season?

Devon falls off the beam but his statue stayed in place. Ryan licks his moustache vigorously as we watch Ryan’s heart beating. Man, that dude is thin.

Lauren is out of the challenge in fourth; Ryan is fifth out. He really got the shaft in this challenge.


We are on the final section. Yeah, this challenge was edited down. Ashley is next out. Five remain.

Ben is wobbly. Probst starts quoting more Foo Fighters songs to throw people off their game. JP is also off-balance. He recovers and is back to being solid as his abs. Somebody whispers that Cole is done as Chrissy is out in fifth.

Desi, Cole, Ben, and JP remain. So many six packs are still in it. Ben is out. Desi’s facial expression is Full Zombie. JP is biting his lips.

Desi surprisingly loses her statue. Her individual immunity streak ends at one.

It’s just JP and Cole. JP’s tongue is nearly bitten in half. Cole is shaking all over the damn place. JP loses his statue. Cole wins individual immunity. He complains his little chicken Keon Clark legs are rubber as he walks over to be crowned with the talisman. He is so screwed the next time he loses a challenge.

Chrissy says now it is just a matter of figuring out which Healer should go next.


DAY 21

Ben asks how much further Cole could have gone in the challenge. Cole says he was okay except for the sun burning his toes. Ben probably hates Cole with that response for some random reason.

Ben decides women will vote Joe and the men will vote Desi. Joe is a gamer and Desi is physically as well as mentally strong. This 4-4-3 split seems risky to me, but they fear Joe’s third idol.

Meanwhile, Cole confesses to Joe and Dr. Mike that there is no idol tucked away in his dress/shirt. Joe still wants to target the Hustlers for swaying. Cole says it will be only one because of the suspected idol in his shirt.

Joe goes up to Ryan and Devon while Ben is hiding behind Joe against a tree. This makes the conversation awkward. Joe pitches a plan to eliminate Ben. Chrissy is out of the Healers’ crosshairs this time. Ben heard the conversation and is annoyed.

Ben later grills Joe if he is going to play a third idol for himself.

JOE: You swore on your Marines to three different people.

Oooooooo. This is uncomfortable. Joe says Ben is confident and cocky which leads to him making up the lie that Ben swore on his Marine Corp.

JOE: He’s always saying I am a Marine. . . maybe he didn’t say he didn’t directly swear on his marine, but it didn’t really matter ’cause I am in trouble and I got to do what I can.

In other words, Ben didn’t swear on being a Marine.

Desi, Chrissy, and Ryan hear the yelling.

CHRISSY: They have, like, a rivalry.

Thanks, Laura Boneham.

Ben refers to Joe as a putz in a confessional. I personally would be too if I was him. Joe may have crossed a line out of desperation.

BEN: I don’t give a f–k what you hope.

JOE: You’re right. When they swear on the Marines they don’t give a f–k what we hope.

Desi describes the situation by using the biggest word I have ever heard on reality TV since Dorothy Hui’s DISTRUSTFULNESS from The Mole 2 USA.

Lauren informs Ben about the no-longer-secret advantage because of the split vote plan being in peril. Lauren is playing the game for herself and for her daughter. Ben says this advantage is a blessing and a curse.

Ben’s next plan is to sway a Healer. He goes up to Dr. Mike. Dr. Mike doesn’t mention his idol whatsoever. He thinks showing his allegiance to Ben could get himself out of the bottom. For some reason, Mike thinks Ben is the biggest threat remaining in the game. What happened to Chrissy being the threat?

BEN: It’s like a game of Russian Roulette.

Which is a game only slightly less lethal than the Dig Up An Idol And Give Devon A Concussion that we played earlier.





Probst asks Joe if he is feeling the heat.

JOE: When is there a time where I haven’t felt the heat at Tribal?

Considering Joe has played an idol at both of his Tribal Council appearances, that’s true.

Joe calls out Ben as a threat. Ben responds that his alliance is like Knights of the Round Table. Coach would love this analogy.

Cole says the Healers are in peril. Joe uses this as another excuse to bring up Ben’s betrayal to the Healers at the last Tribal Council. Ben brings up Joe’s accusation of him swearing on the Marines. Joe decides to interrupt Ben repeatedly.

BEN: I apologized to Joe for letting him pushing my buttons like he was trying to–

JOE: I wasn’t trying to push his buttons–

BEN: Can I finish–

CHRISSY: Just stop talking. None of us want to listen to you anymore.

Joe responds to somebody saying that he was pushing his buttons by interrupting somebody who accused him of having his buttons pushed.

ASHLEY: It’s really hard to say if Joe is really good at playing this game or really bad at playing this game–

JOE: It’s a combination of both.


I think Ashley’s question was answered–it’s the latter.

We get another Marine speech from Ben after Desi gives a Darrah Johnson-esque answer of how things can be lies and the truth while Mike talks about feeling betrayed. Joe doesn’t interrupt either of them.

Desi assumes everyone has told at least one or more lies. Probst goes into full-on talk show host mode. Devon says he was nearly dead in the shelter and keeps going on until he loses confidence in what he is saying. Probst has to bring him back to Earth.

ASHLEY: A roller coaster, you could say.

After more talk show host antics from Probst, we vote.

Nobody’s votes are revealed. The only vote that is revealed is Lauren’s No Vote as she removes the note from her bra, and stuffs a parchment in its place. She proceeds to put the note into the urn.

Let’s tally the votes.


I feel like Jenny from Cook Islands would’ve put down something more offensive for her vote.










4-4-1-1. It’s time for a re-vote. JP silently takes the urn.

Lauren pushes a parchment over the table and pretends to throw it into the urn. She had to do it twice.







Joe promises Desi he didn’t flip on her during the initial vote; he swears it on Ben’s Marines.

Desi’s torch is smuffed. She cries as she retreats into the jungle.

Probst runs with Ashley’s roller coaster analogy and says more loops are to come. Like Mike’s idol if he ever plays it.


Next Time on Survivor: Lauren is armed and dangerous while Ryan’s loose lips could sink his ship.

Desi cries more in her final words about thinking the Healers would all have her back. Most likely because she threw her vote away on Lauren. If she had voted against Joe, he would’ve been gone and Cole was doomed to be ousted next. From there, a path would have opened up for Desi and Mike to likely turn things around.

Why in the world did Desi refrain from voting Joe? I mean, the guy had two idols and refused to play either one on any of his allies except for himself.

My diagnosis: Desi was obsessed with the team game and couldn’t transition into the individual portion once we hit day 17. That is surprising given her competitive background, but Desi didn’t play as an individual for any of her twenty-one days in the game. She didn’t even have much of a presence this episode. In fact, only JP had a smaller presence than her this round.

It’s a shame because this would have been the perfect time for Joe to be eliminated.


Dr. Mike’s Yawa bonds with Ben and Lauren seem to still be intact. I am curious where this goes since Mike is going to be the last Healer spared and the only person who knows about his idol is a long and gone Jessica.


Cole is doomed. Nobody wants to work with him and this round he decided to become a challenge threat.


Everyone understands Joe is a nice guy who is -trying- to be an asshole. It’s not Ashley that is being read, baby girl–it’s people having a good read on Joe. He doesn’t realize how transparent his moves are, and is probably why he was spared over Desi tonight. Nobody is taking him seriously anymore outside of his idol antics, and is bound to go home within the next two or three voteouts unless an outsider can find a good temporary use for him.

And yes, I do think Joe would receive all of the Healer jury votes if he is up against any of the non-Healers.


Mike has separated himself from the Healers. He is well-liked. He is not a challenge threat and is socially good with everyone in a very under-the-radar way. Mike is definitely going to make the deepest run out of all of the Healers. I can’t wait to see when Mike decides to make an aggressive move in this game.


Desi is the first member of the jury.

In the early days of Survivor, the jury was seven people because that represented fifty percent of the eliminated players (seven out of fourteen).

Of course, like many aspects of Survivor‘s original parallel structure, the jury size has been adjusted and tinkered with over the years.

We have seen seven, eight, nine, and even ten member juries.

You know what I really want to see? A five-person jury. It’s as arbitrary as an eight-person jury. Production doesn’t like the idea of bullying groupthink overtaking a jury, and it would be interesting to see if groupthink is even possible when you have just five people voting on who to win the game. Furthermore, you wouldn’t have the mess of an even-number of jurors causing a potential deadlock at FTC.

P.S. Please bring back a Final Two.


Ryan has an idol, but is it really Chrissy’s idol? Ryan continues to be a subset of Chrissy’s game at this point. And within that, Devon is a subset of what Ryan is doing. Factor in that Ben, JP, and Ashley are all extremely close to Chrissy, and it seems like it is damn near impossible for Chrissy to be eliminated.

Hell, Chrissy not making it to the Final Three with Ryan seems like a huge upset at this point. I am curious to see how Chrissy dismantles her own empire when we hit the final phase of the game. Ryan desperately needs to get out of the trance, like Jafar inducing the Sultan with the snake staff, but I don’t think it is going to happen.


JP and Ashley have both been awfully quiet. How long has it been since the phrase “power couple” has been used? I am curious to know if they are still united together or are still avoiding any power couple stigma.

I can’t really provide any analysis when neither of them has been provided with any meaningful content since JP was the decoy boot pre-merge.


Ben is in a very unique position. He is close to Dr. Mike, Chrissy, and Lauren. Nobody else has those varied bonds. It probably wasn’t a bad idea for the Healers to chase down Ben.

I think Ben is sticking out a bit more than he should at this stage, but if he fights hard enough to keep everyone in the majority together, he is going to be set up very well for the endgame. Perhaps Ben’s biggest liability will be his stubbornness. We saw a glaring weakness as his judgment was clouded by his hatred for Cole.


Devon is such a nice dude. He is easy for the audience to identify with and seems like such a typical man in his early 20s who has stumbled into Survivor. He isn’t douchey, he isn’t goofy, he isn’t boring, and he isn’t one-dimensional. Devon is just Devon.

I think Devon will do a very good job of hovering around the middle and is likely perceived as a very good listener in this game. The crazy thing, though? Devon led the charge against the Healers.

He is respected and well-liked. Perhaps a late-game blindside is inevitable when he becomes an obvious jury threat, but he should be safe for now. Perhaps nobody will realize how big of a threat he is until it is too late.

Devon adapts well in Survivor. I am curious if his relationship with Ashley is still strong.


If anybody is to find an advantage amongst a pack of nails, I s’pose it ought to be Lauren. Maybe she can be the first one to make the Extra Vote item matter.

In a game that has a combined total of eight advantages in just eight rounds of play, these items make Survivor feel like the first ten turns of a game of Mario Party rather than Survivor.

Lauren has a helluva lot of street smarts and is very good at setting up what everyone else around her needs to do. I really want to see Lauren and Chrissy in a showdown because that would be like watching two chess professionals with two very different attitudes battling it out.

Lauren seems to have fewer cards in her deck at this point, but we have seen Lauren achieve a lot with very few things at her disposal pre-merge.


In other words, this season is still fun (advantages aside) and I am curious to see how the rest of this game plays out.


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