Outwit, Outplay, Outblog: One Castaway (Gloriously) Flames Out

An accurately titled episode, "We're a Hot Mess", said by Natalie describing her tribe's game play.

An accurately titled episode, “We’re a Hot Mess”, said by Natalie to describe her tribe’s game play.

by Benji Glowinsky

After a sub par second episode which saw Val get voted out, and an uncomfortably entertaining third episode seeing through the fall of John Rocker, we were finally given a break from the disaster that is the Coyopa tribe. No, this episode focused on a storyline much, much more entertaining than anything we’ve gotten this entire season; the utter train-wreck that is the Hunahpu tribe. We were shown what many believe to be some of the worst game play by a group of castaways since Survivor: Borneo (the inaugural season of the show, where strategy was almost nonexistent), and at the center of it all was self-proclaimed mastermind and kingpin, Drew Christy.

The episode begins with Coyopa returning from Tribal Council after Johnny Rocker got blindsided with a Hidden Immunity Idol in his pocket, and essentially the group explaining to Dale (who was the only person not in on the plan to get out Rocker) why they took John out without telling Dale. Dale realizes at this point that he is probably next if Coyopa loses another Immunity Challenge.

If any viewer bothers to think this is going to be another Coyopa central episode, these thoughts are dispelled when we cut to the Hunahpu camp, and we get our first, of many scenes which put Drew in the spotlight. The tribe is having an ordinary morning up until Natalie finds the flint Jon had lost two episodes prior. Now they have two flints, after bartering with Jeff to trade fishing gear they had won for a new flint. Drew, the genius he is, thinks he can trade back a flint for some fishing gear. Not surprisingly, Jeff almost immediately shuts down this proposal while Drew’s tribe mates laugh at his idiocy.

When Coyopa enters “Hero Arena” (that’s the name for the arena they have Reward Challenge duels in for some reason), Jeff announcing “John, voted off at the last Tribal Council” is met with cheers of joy from the Hunahpu tribe, who were yelling at Coyopa to vote John out after the last challenge. When Jeff asks Julie what her opinion is of her tribe applauding her boyfriend’s exit, she responds by saying she’s not surprised after seeing how he played the game, and she knew she had to be blind to his antics and just stick with her team. This is some of the better strategy we’ve heard from Julie, and by openly letting everyone in the game know she doesn’t want to be associated with the antics of John Rocker, it actually puts her in a decent position moving forward. I think we’ll be seeing Julie stick around at least until the merge.

In this week’s Reward Challenge duel, we were given Jaclyn versus Jon, boyfriend versus girlfriend. Each player had to lasso a grappling hook to retrieve three bags, each with balls in them. Once all were lassoed in, the players had to catapult the balls into five baskets. First to get a ball in each basket wins Reward, loser gets sent to Exile Island.  In what many people thought would be an absolute blowout, Jaclyn proved to be fairly impressive by making the duel come down to the last point, but ultimately Jon took the cake. When Jeff announces that Jon must pick someone from his tribe to accompany his girlfriend to Exile Island, Jeff barely finishes his sentence before Drew proclaims “I’ll do it Jon”. This guy is such a team player, ain’t he? First, he, in his words, “was the only one who had the balls” to ask Jeff to trade back the flint, and now he’s really taking one for the team by being stranded on an Island with a former Miss Michigan. What a guy.

Back at the Hunahpu camp after the duel, Keith starts to search for the Hidden Immunity Idol after receiving a clue at Exile Island last episode. After searching for five minutes and having no success at finding the Idol, he immediately assumes Jeremy, the only other person on his tribe to have visited Exile Island and received a clue, has already found the Idol. Keith quickly tells almost half of the tribe that he believes Jeremy has the Idol, and not five seconds later Reed relays to Jeremy that Keith is throwing him under the bus. Jeremy, not unexpectedly, is pissed, and now wants Keith out at their next Tribal Council. I have been pretty high on Keith so far this season, but it was  pretty boneheaded of him to out Jeremy, someone who he was “aligned” with, to half the tribe without certainty that Jeremy actually did have the Idol. The icing on the cake to this is that Keith returns to the Treemail area to look for the Idol once more in case he missed anything, and ends up finding the Idol. Go Figure.

During Drew’s stay on Exile, he mentions to Jaclyn that he plans on throwing the next Immunity Challenge in order to rid of some dead weight on his tribe. Now, I actually do agree with Drew in that it may have been the correct time to throw a challenge, because its important for a tribe to experience Tribal Council, or else all of their animosity just keeps building and building as long as they don’t attend Tribal Council. On Survivor: Philippines, the Tandang tribe attended zero Tribal Councils pre-merge, and once they finally got to the merge and attended every Tribal Council, the tribe self-destructed. So yes, I will agree with Drew’s decision on this one matter, that it was the correct time to throw a challenge, and ultimately, Drew does end up throwing the challenge, sending Hunahpu to their first Tribal Council. However, and that’s a BIG however, the way Drew handled his strategy in the lead up to Tribal Council was horrendous. While there were easy targets like Keith, who Jeremy wanted out, and Julie, who Jon wanted out, Drew was insistent on getting Kelly out. You may be thinking, who’s Kelly? Well, she’s barely had any airtime, but Drew is certain she’s a mastermind and a genius and needs to be taken out. He doesn’t listen to anyone’s ideas back at camp, and every time someone brings up getting someone other than Kelly out, Drew quickly interrupts and maintains that Kelly needs to be outed. The genius Drew is, he even says to a couple of the men near the shelter “Let’s get Kelly out tonight”, not realizing she is standing almost directly behind him and can hear him campaigning to get her out. Amazing, I know. The scrambling at the Hunahpu camp was crazy as a whole, with most of the tribe not knowing where to vote heading into Tribal Council. But by a vote of 5-2-1-1…

Drewche
Drew, the Tribe has spoken.

As mentioned, many people had no idea where to vote. Jon voted for Keith, thinking Jeremy and co. were still rolling with the plan to vote off Keith after he upset Jeremy. Reed and Keith voted for Julie, thinking Jon’s plan to get her out was still in motion. And of course, kingpin Drew voted for Kelly, because obviously everyone on the tribe is going to listen to the entitled, delusional model’s plan. It ended up being the alliance of Jeremy, Natalie, Kelly and Missy along with a vote from Julie that controlled the vote that sent Drew home. Does this mean Julie is taking what used to be Keith’s spot in that alliance? That remains to be seen, but with a tribe swap next week, people like Reed, Keith and Jon will either find themselves in trouble by being on the outs in the pre-swap Hunahpu, or it could put them in a position to flip to the pre-swap Coyopa players and give them new found power.

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