Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers 35×12 Review: “Not Going to Roll Over and Die”

What just happened?! Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers blew up into one of the most intensely heated and dramatic episodes of the season. We had it all from fake idols to real idols, to family visits to blindsides. I couldn’t believe my eyes that all of this happened within one round. It was previously teased that the season would be building up to more fast-paced, exciting episodes as the season progressed, but I never expected this. Survivor continues to surprise, even in its thirty-fifth season.

The loved ones’ arrival is a staple of the series. After all of the betrayals and troubles living at camp, it’s nice to see the castaways enjoy happiness at seeing someone important in their lives again. We’ve had this twist appear nearly every season since the early days of the series. This should never be removed from Survivor – it’s an important piece that can shake up the game and it can motivate players to work towards the end. This was evident this week with the moves made by Ben (finding the idol) and Chrissy (trying to sway Ashley to her side).

I quite enjoyed the challenges. Having to hold up the chimes is a physically enduring game that puts a lot of stress on the body. Just look at the way Ben could barely keep them up! While it fits in the common category of keeping objects balanced, it did deliver on making an interesting win for Ashley. The loved ones challenge, on the other hand, was my favorite. It was simple, it was fun, and it involved the loved ones competing in the challenge. Pulling a ball from a bag may not seem like the most interesting thing to watch on TV, but Survivor is a game of luck and this tested their lucky ability. I would be happy to see this come up again.


Ben making the fake hidden immunity idol was a nice touch if executed correctly. Unfortunately for him, it looked too fake and he didn’t have the letter to go along with it. Plus, if someone had found it and he played his idol, they could trace it back to him and it wouldn’t look good for him in the finals. When it came to Lauren’s idol, she just created one debacle after the other. Unless you implicitly trust the person without a shadow of a doubt (and I would never recommend this unless it’s a loved one season like Blood vs. Water), you should never tell anyone you have an idol…or half of an idol. People were able to outmaneuver her, suss out her advantages, and keep her from using power in the game.

Going after Ben was a smart move. He’s a dangerous person to keep around in the game since he’s a physical threat, likable and has a good story to win. However, the others needed to be more cautious and sly when making their moves. Everyone knew Ben was the main target, even Ben. There was no secrecy about what to do next since they had it out in the open. Though, I will applaud Ben for making a strong case to Chrissy. She was mad at him and wanted him gone, but he got her to think about the future and realize how dangerous Lauren was to keep around. While she did vote him out, there is an opening for these two to work together in the future.

What do you think about castaways talking to each other at camp? This has started happening for a few seasons now and this time it erupted into full chaos. I actually love this! I think it’s an essential part of the game and it’s something that’s been needed for a long time now. The game doesn’t stop, regardless of if Jeff is sitting on a stoop waiting for people to cast their votes. No decisions are ever final until the name has been cast down on the parchments. I enjoyed seeing these players scramble and determine their votes right down to the wire.


Lauren being sent out with a single vote due to Ben’s idol was perfection. I believe this is the first time that someone has gone out due to a unanimous vote being blocked. Lauren was a threat, plain and simple. She had all the makings of being a worthwhile winner and she was a strategic player. It’s a shame to see her go because she was making key moves that pushed her alliance forward. However, the fumble with the half idol and leaving her extra vote at camp was a bad play. I’ll excuse her last Tribal Council, but she will need to make it up in a future season.

The twelfth episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers shook up the game and erupted into fireworks. Castaways scrambled for safety and now it’s a game of everyone vs. Ben. I can’t wait to see how he crawls his way out of this one, but knowing how Ben plays this game, I don’t think it will be too tough for him to make it happen.



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