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On Survivor, a classic challenge and ‘a common, easy vote’ make their return

On Survivor, a classic challenge and ‘a common, easy vote’ make their return
Wendell Holland and Michael Yerger on Survivor Ghost Island. (Image by CBS Entertainment)

The challenges were the highlight of Survivor Ghost Island episode nine, and that included the return of the food challenge. Oh, classic Survivor elements, how I’ve missed you.

Tangent: Maybe it’s time to bring the Survivor auction, which we haven’t seen since season 30, out of retirement, perhaps with new twists to keep everyone from just hoarding their cash?

After years of Fear Factor taking that kind of challenge to the extreme—so extreme that one episode never even aired—this eating challenge seemed kind of tame, though I appreciated it for many reasons, starting with having an immunity challenge that didn’t involve endurance or balance.

Perhaps to compensate for the lack of intensity, Survivor’s post-production team added lots of sound effects, with all of the subtlety of Jeff Probst calling a challenge through the world’s largest megaphone.

So, so many sound effects. Whether these were digital or someone had some foley fun, the sound effects during the immunity challenge were far more disgusting than things the cast had to eat, which included fish eyes, beetle larvae, and a sea slug.

Like Probst’s challenge commentary, it was over-the-top and unnecessary, and sometimes didn’t even match anything we were seeing—it was just grotesque, nauseating sounds, and it left me like this.

Tangent: That movie clip/GIF still causes me to completely, hysterically lose my shit. Watching the movie in the theater, I thought I’d have to be revived I laughed so hard and so long.

Unnecessary tangent addition: I am disturbed, I know.

During the challenge, Sea Bass won my unintentional double entendre award: “It’s just impressive to see a woman eat a sea slug better than I can.”

Angela won the actual challenge, beating Michael, who is playing so hard to be invited back that he ate his leftovers, even after he’d lost the challenge. It was the kind of Survivor moment that made Jeff Probst’s stick come to life.

Wendell dominates, Probst pronounces ‘margaritas’

Earlier, Wendell single-handedly won tacos for his reward challenge team, and then gave them credit while toasting with margaritas: “congratulations to everybody.”

Tangent: It’s too bad Jeff Probst’s pronunciation of “margaritas” can’t be turned into a GIF.

As to the game, Survivor Ghost Island also went the traditional Survivor route, with a somewhat easy vote. It was complicated only by my continued confusion about who’s original Naviti and Malolo.

Idea: Could they all wear their original buffs so I can keep track of them? Or is it too late to care?

The tribe split votes between Michael and Libby, and Michael saved himself with his idol.

With Naviti splitting the vote—five on Michael, four on Libby—Michael suggested the original Malolo could have worked together and blindside one of the original Naviti. Michael also told Angela, who is a person on the show this season, that he wanted to break up Domenick and Wendell.

So Angela told everyone, because, as she told us, “I want to see the battle of all battles,” and she also wants to see metaphoric Survivor corpses everywhere and know that she was responsible: “I made those casualties.”

But that didn’t happen. Nor did Laurel go after Wendell, who she’s aligned with (along with Dom and Donathan), perhaps because it’s too early to do that, or perhaps because Wendell is getting a winner’s edit.

Laurel did seem irritated to learn that Dom had a legacy advantage, and that Wendell had an idol he hadn’t previously disclosed, but as Wendell pointed out, they’re the only foursome, and in a game with 11 people remaining, that’s a considerable advantage.

Tangent: What happened to voting blocs?

“Maybe again we have a common, easy vote,” Wendell said, and yes they did. The slight complication was that Michael played Ozzy’s fucking stick and saved himself.

The common, easy vote had plans for that, though, and Libby was sent home—though there was a second of drama thanks to Probst’s line reading: “This is not…” he said, pausing dramatically, “…just a stick any more. This is a real idol.”

Also: What happened to “live” Tribal Councils? (Probst trying to get everyone to praise the new-ish Tribal Council format does not count as live.)

Speaking of things that have disappeared, Ghost Island continued to be an elusive and pointless twist. Jenna, on Ghost Island for just one night, summed it up well: “What’s the point if I’m not going to play a game?”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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