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A “well played” vote ends a Survivor’s game

A “well played” vote ends a Survivor’s game

The two most important words on Survivor David vs. Goliath’s penultimate episode were “well played.” They’re worth remembering in the deluge of tears, sadness, and empty threats to stop watching this season now that beloved cast member Christian has been voted out.

As Mike White told Nick, “We would be crazy to not take out Christian now. He doesn’t have immunity; he has no more idols.”

That’s exactly right. (Why Mike actually didn’t vote for Christian is a mystery for now.)

The vote was the right decision, of course, and it was a good move for the same reason that it’s also sad: Christian is absurdly charming and great television.

Oddly, though, the editing didn’t really give him much attention at all during his final episode, and he kind of faded away; there seemed to be more footage of Mike White telling other people to vote out Christian than there was of Christian himself.

His exit was dramatic, but not because of anything he did. Instead, there was Tribal Council chaos—including Nick playing his own fake idol to see if anyone reacted to that, and then deciding to play his real idol even though absolutely no one voted for him.

Davie also played an idol that he’d found and was good only at this Tribal Council, and played it for himself, nullifying the two votes against him. Watching the jury’s faces ping-pong back and forth during this was a joy.

Still, if neither idol had been played, Christian still would have been voted out on a 3-2-2 vote.

One of the many things I like about this season’s cast is that they tend to appreciate each other’s games, even when they’re being voted out, and this episode was no exception.

But this vote did give Christian a reason to appreciate his own game, which was a perfect cap to his arc this season.

In a moving final confessional, he said that the votes against him meant that his tribe respected his game, and concluded, “maybe I should respect myself more as a consequence.”

After 13 episodes of positive fan reactions, he now has a lot of more evidence.

Christian Hubicki, Survivor David vs. Goliath episode 13

Christian Hubicki hacked away at coconuts during the tiny bit of screen time he got during Survivor David vs. Goliath episode 13. (Image from Survivor via CBS)

At first, it seemed like Alison was going to be the target, which if you think about it, is kind of bizarre.

Is she a threat to win? The jury has three Davids and three Goliaths, if original tribe loyalty would possible affect someone’s vote, and I don’t think it really would.

The conversations started with Davie telling Kara about Nick’s fake idol and deciding to vote him out—and this happened at the reward, while Nick was going to the bathroom, which was wonderfully shitty.

Kara, “drooling at this idea,” told Alison, but they decided to leave Angelina and Mike out, because they can’t trust Angelina or Mike.

Of course, Alison then told Mike. Mike insisted Christian was the bigger threat, but they still wanted to take Nick out instead.

It seemed like Nick was done for until Nick shared with Davie the incredible story of creating a fake idol using a real idol’s parchment and then finding it himself in front of everyone, and Davie decided that he wasn’t going to go after Nick after all, returning to the Alison plan.

So Mike told Nick that Davie was coming for him. Nick wanted to take Davie out as revenge—though it was Mike and Alison who ultimately voted for Davie at Tribal, because Mike was still arguing that Christian was the real threat.

Phew! I do appreciate how much we’re seeing of the tribe’s decision-making, and its ebbs and flows.

Ultimately, Nick, Kara, and Angelina cast the three votes that sent Christian home. For some reason, Mike White, who by the end was practically running around camp screaming CHRISTIAN! VOTE OUT CHRISTIAN!, voted for Davie.

I’m curious to learn how they decided to split votes, if that’s what happened, or if that 3-2-2 was a result of a lot of competing interests, none of whom ultimately agreed.

More balls, more balancing, more asks

After Nick crafted his idol—and made me think about the fact that Survivor really needs some kind of rule about fake idols, because hiding a fake idol with a real idol’s parchment seems like it should be outside the bounds of fair play—Davie figured out his ploy pretty quickly.

Davie said, “you never know what God has out here for you,” and he was right: Jeff Probst delivered unto him an advantage in the game.

Alas, it was those fucking urns from Survivor Ghost Island, a reminder of the nonsense we had to sit through episode after episode last season. Davie basically faced the same choice that some players who I’ve already forgotten about did during Ghost Island: take a one-Tribal idol, or gamble his ability to vote for to extend the idol’s life.

Davie waited for a sign from above, and got some wind (“that’s God talking to me”), and decided not to play.

At the reward challenge, the prize was an actual meal at a hotel, not just a jar of mayo that’d been sitting in the sun, and Davie won despite Probst screaming that Davie was going to lose because he hadn’t unspooled enough rope: “He doesn’t! And that is going to cost him!”

That said, Probst screaming, “Angelina does not have enough rope” is pretty much a perfect summary of her position in the game.

Angelina did provide more entertainment than the actual reward challenge, though, when she took The Jeff Probst Show bait (“Does anyone here want to plead their case?”).

She said “I hate to pull this card…”—and then, surprise!, pulled the card right out. She said she deserved to be chosen because she sacrificed immunity during The Great Rice Negotiation of 2018.

There is enough footage of Angelina asking other people for things for it to become its own spin-off series.

“I do not want any reciprocity or favor about the rice,” she said to her tribe, before immediately asking for reciprocity and favor: “…but I stepped out of a puzzle challenge in order for us all to have rice—it’s like, come on, Davie.”

This really should be a sitcom.

Meanwhile, the immunity challenge was yet another hold-and-balance challenge, which by now are getting ridiculous.

The challenges this season are pretty weak, but everything else around them isn’t, thankfully. And at least this challenge had balls, so I can share this meme again:

The tribe members had to balance balls on flat discs, giving Probst a chance to pull out his ball jokes.

“Which is worse: balls separating or balls clanging together?” Probst asked at one point. “Both give you that uncomfortable feeling. In this challenge.” (Yes, Probst knows he’s making testicle jokes.)

Mike handled his balls the best, and I’ll stop there.

It’s hard to believe that this season ends next week; it’s flown by, but delivered so much. I imagine/hope the same will be true for the finale.

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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. Learn more about Andy.


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