Two-hour episodes are the best! Survivor delivers the drama whenever two episodes are combined and paired together. Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers was no exception. We got two hours of blindsides, new alliances, betrayals, tough challenges and twists – these two rounds kept the players on their toes. It’s a shame whenever a majority alliance gets too comfortable and simply picks off the remaining members of the minority tribe. This isn’t fun to watch and it gets tedious. Luckily, things changed for the two-hour episode.
Firstly, kudos to Lauren for actually playing the game. She didn’t sit around and wait for the others, like Ryan or Chrissy, to make the final decision when it came to who got voted out next. Her taking the initiative to start a brand new alliance will no doubt help her get far in the season. In fact, we already saw it starting to work this week. By teaming up with Ashley, Devon, and Ben, they flipped the vote to get out JP and shook up the dynamics at camp. She’s in the power position, and it boosted the positioning of her alliance members like Ashley. The four of them have a new lease on Survivor life.
For future players watching this season, I think it goes to show that every challenge and reward can be used to flip the game each week. Lauren used her reward prize as an opportunity to pull the three people with whom she wanted to start an alliance with. She never would have been able to do this had she not won the reward challenge. Moral of the story: always try your hardest to win prizes and think about how to utilize it for future success.
Still, while I commend her for using her reward here, she, Devon, and Ben shouldn’t have sat out at the immunity challenge. They were already full and didn’t need the extra food of being safe. It’s a risky move to give up your chance at immunity and it sends a clear message of a castaway’s comfort for the week. This could’ve gone horribly wrong if the others had banded together and turned on them.
JP being voted out was surprising. None (and I stress this that there was no inkling) of the editing made it seem like JP was going to be the target. From the way it was being positioned, Joe, Ryan or Chrissy were the top three targets. JP came from left field and got the major blindside of the season. Everyone was shocked; I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of viewers were shocked, too. While he wasn’t a strategic threat, he was a tough competitor in challenges and he seemed the least likely to have a hidden immunity idol. For the core four people to find a target, he was the easiest to get an ally out.
Chrissy and Ryan scrambling post-vote may be one of the most humbling moments in Survivor. Before the blindside, they were on top of the world and being smug because they thought they ruled the season. While I do like them, they needed to be hit with a dose of reality. Chrissy had no idea where to go next and Ryan even tried to start an alliance with Mike and the Healers to keep his safety.
Though, good on Mike for turning him down! As he mentioned in the clips, he tried for days to get Ryan on his side and Ryan turned him down; now it’s come back to haunt him. That’s sloppy gameplay! You have to humor people and consider all the possibilities or else you end up in a situation like this where someone feels strongly against ever working with you.
Ben might be in the biggest trouble with the other players. While he’s performing his double agent duties, he still can’t shake the big target on his back. Everyone is considering him as King Arthur – that’s not someone you want to sit next to in the finals. Ashley, Devon, and Lauren are even considering voting him out just to get rid of the threat while they can. If they really wanted him gone, they should have struck now before letting him get the upper-hand. The same goes for Chrissy; they didn’t vote her out in the first half of the two-hour episode and she won the second immunity of the night, so she’s safe.
Joe getting voted out was a long time coming. He burned a lot of bridges that could never be rebuilt. Even though he thought he was making leeway with his castaways, he couldn’t shake the past. Joe was, for all intents and purposes, the “goat” of the season. Whoever sat beside him would have won. I think they should have kept him around for that purpose, especially since it means an easy win. However, his days were numbered regardless. You can’t trust Joe.
The two-hour episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers broke up the pace and delivered the drama we’ve all been waiting for. We’ve waited weeks now for the majority alliance to turn on themselves and based on this week’s episode, it was well worth the wait.