Archive for November, 2017

‘Survivor’ Castaway JP: ‘If I Could Do it Again I’d Probably Shake Things Up a Little Bit More’

November 30, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

We want to believe that everyone who appears on “Survivor” is worthy of a story, but the fact is there are a lot of people and only 42 minutes of airtime. So, sometimes people end up on the ol’ purple (Kelly) tribe.

JP would have been the challenge superstar of the purple tribe.

I spoke with the mystery man the afternoon after his elimination and asked him why he was targeted first, what happened to his potential power couple partner, and how his mother felt about his prime-time nudity…

Gordon Holmes: The Round Table explodes, you get hit with the shrapnel. Why do you think you were target instead of blindsiding Ryan and his idol?
JP Hilsabeck: Yeah, a big-time blindside. I think I was targeted because I’m a big physical threat. And you have to break the seven up and I was on the outside with Chrissy and Ryan. And you know, if you win a couple of immunity challenges, you can make it further in the game. They figured they’d get rid of me. A good play on their part.

Holmes: How in the loop were you with the Round Table? Did you know about Ryan’s idol? Did you know about Lauren’s extra vote?
Hilsabeck: I didn’t know about the extra vote, but I was right there for Ryan’s idol. When he was digging I was right there with him. We just played it off like nothing had happened.
Holmes: And you were there for Chrissy jumping on Cole’s back and strangling him with his buff.
Hilsabeck: Yeah, Ryan had already gotten the idol before that. It was really funny to stand back and watch everybody wrestle.

Holmes: You and Ashley were close on the original Heroes tribe, but we didn’t see much with you two after the merge. Had you drifted apart or were you trying to make sure people didn’t think you were a couple?
Hilsabeck: After the merge, our relationship faded out a little bit just as far as we were on different tribes and different alliances had formed. We didn’t really rekindle anything when we got to the merge.

Holmes: You got the ol’ invisible edit as far as gameplay went. What did we miss?
Hilsabeck: Luckily I was able to get in with the seven. I wanted to break up the seven a little sooner than later, but it was the safe way to go. I went the safe route. If I could do it again I’d probably shake things up a little bit more. But in the heat of the moment, that’s what I did and it was the wrong way to go.
Holmes: And you considered Chrissy and Ryan to be your closest allies?
Hilsabeck: Yes, at that point it was Chrissy and Ryan.

Holmes: Cole said that you had offered to throw a challenge if it meant he would win immunity.
Hilsabeck: That is accurate. We were the threats going into the challenges and if he was able to win immunity that’d be two votes for us. Maybe we could mix things up and go with the other guys. As you know, the game changes so fast.

Holmes: And Joe wanted me to ask you about how you would shy away from group strategy discussions and would have one-on-one meetings with people.
Hilsabeck: You get a better sense of people in one-on-one meetings. When you’ve got a big group it’s more about deception. And you might open your mouth and say the wrong thing. It was easier to talk to individuals. Maybe it hurt me, I could’ve done two, three, or four people at a time.

Holmes: Cole also said you were concerned about being too deceptive because it might reflect poorly on your firehouse. How important was that to you?
Hilsabeck: It was. I have that t-shirt on and I not only represent myself but something bigger than myself. I represent the whole department. We’re professionals and we do our jobs, we’re not backstabbing people. I stand by it.
Holmes: If the theme had been something more along the lines of “Beauty vs Brains vs. Brawn” and your heroic career wasn’t as much a part of your in-game identity, would you have been more deceptive or is that just not who you are?
Hilsabeck: I think that’s not the kind of person I am. At the end of the day, you’re there to play the game. But, if I was out there without the firefighter part, I probably would’ve went with it and tried to be more deceitful.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Alan.
Hilsabeck: Athletic, funny guy.
Holmes: Roark?
Hilsabeck: Funny and outgoing.
Holmes: Ryan?
Hilsabeck: Skinny little guy, you could see his heart pounding through his chest. I felt bad for the guy.
Holmes: Ben?
Hilsabeck: Jokester.
Holmes: Ali?
Hilsabeck: She wore her heart on her sleeve, great personality.
Holmes: Jessica?
Hilsabeck: I didn’t get a chance to know Jessica very much. Nice…sweet…humble girl.
Holmes: Desi?
Hilsabeck: Super athletic, great looking, great person.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Hilsabeck: Super smart.
Holmes: Cole?
Hilsabeck: Stud.
Holmes: Joe?
Hilsabeck: Manipulating.
Holmes: Katrina?
Hilsabeck: Huh…I don’t even know…I don’t really have anything.
Holmes: Devon?
Hilsabeck: Super laid back.
Holmes: Lauren?
Hilsabeck: Hard working.
Holmes: Let’s finish off with Ashley.
Hilsabeck: Beach girl.

Holmes: Your trademark moment for this season might be the impromptu strip search. How did your family and friends react to that?
Hilsabeck: All my friends and co-workers thought it was hilarious. The only person who didn’t think it was hilarious was my mother. She wasn’t too happy about that. But hey, it happened.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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‘Survivor’ Castaway Joe: ‘I Had No Idea that the Three Stooges Allowed (Ben) to Be That Sleeper Cell’

November 30, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

You never want to see your torch get the ol’ snuffer treatment from Probst. But if you do, you hope you go out guns blazing and heck raising!

Not having been totally deceived by your biggest rival in the game.

I spoke with Joe, the victim of the Reduced Round Table’s “Survivor” sleeper strategy the morning after his elimination. We had a chance to talk about the big deception, the controversial Desi vote, and his Twitter feuds…

Gordon Holmes: Oh man, the “Survivor” sleeper gotcha! Ben pretending to be on the outs! What was it like watching that at home knowing it was coming?
Joe Mena: In the game I knew I was next in line. But I had no idea that the Three Stooges allowed him to be that sleeper cell and to maneuver between both alliances. I didn’t see it coming on the island. And watching it, it made no sense. These guys are true fools.
Holmes: When you said you knew you were next, did you think you would be going home at that Tribal?
Mena: What happened…the first JP vote made no sense to me at all.
Holmes: Agreed.
Mena: I wanted Chrissy or Ben out initially. But then again, I’m at the bottom of that alliance and the “Survivor” gods gave me an opportunity to stay in the game. So, I didn’t have much power or say with the JP vote. So, I thought they were going to use me for the JP vote, then get me out in the next round. But the way they convinced me was, they’ll take Ben out, the idol will be flushed, and the advantage will be used. At that point, I’m thinking I might as well take my chances because I’m getting Ben out and the idol will be replaced. I knew it was coming, but maybe there was a chance I’d stay around because Ben was the biggest threat in the game at that point.

Holmes: I like it when people play “Survivor” hard, then tip their cap when their torch is snuffed. That seems like the approach you took. Were there any hard feelings outside of the game?
Mena: No, that’s the funny thing. What they didn’t show was that I had a blast. I was legit laughing 24/7. Even when I was causing chaos and conflict, internally I was laughing. The conversation with Ben, the conversation with Ashley. There was conflict and animosity between me and Chrissy. I rubbed her the wrong way, she rubbed me the wrong way. I think Ben and Chrissy weren’t big fans of me and it was a little bit personal for them. But for me it was all game.

Holmes: I was surprised by the tie vote between you and Desi. It made sense to me to get you out because you were a threat to find idols. Why do you think Desi went home?
Mena: The Desi vote out…there’s been a lot of confusion. I was aware that Mike and Cole were going to flip. Desi was never going to write my name down and I had informed her that I’d never vote her out. I was extremely loyal in the game. I wasn’t surprised with the Desi vote out because Lauren and Devon had come to me prior and said, “I don’t trust Desi.” Desi didn’t talk strategy with everybody. She kept that close to her. She spoke strategy with me. So, I knew they didn’t trust her on that end and she was a physical threat.

Holmes: You’re out there upsetting Ben, Chrissy, Ashley, I was wondering if the reason they voted for Desi was because someone was hoping to take you to the end against a hostile jury.
Mena: Absolutely not. They were terrified of me in the final three. Devon and Ryan told me that they’d never take me to the final three because I’d win. People would eventually respect my game. In the edit they didn’t show my social game. I’m pretty self-aware. My connections were genuine connections. They weren’t just strategy and game. I think Jeremy said it once when he played with Spencer that Spencer was engaged in many conversations, but they didn’t feel genuine, he was just there. That’s like the conversations I had with Chrissy. It wasn’t genuine. Chrissy was just playing the game. And my social game was Joe being honest. And people felt comfortable talking to me because they knew it wasn’t just game. If that answers the question.
Holmes: No, it does. I interview everyone after their elimination and the sentiment towards you has been very positive. It feels like you’re brash, but you’re honest.
Mena: I love my edit, because I’m human. I’m imperfect. I’m going to make mistakes. And the edit gave that. Chrissy in reality is like Chaos Kass. You don’t get that in the edit. The perfect person to keep in the game is Chrissy because nobody is going to vote for her. Everyone hates her. She’s the true villain.

Holmes: Alright word association time. Let’s start with Mike.
Mena: Nuts.
Holmes: Alan?
Mena: Puppet.
Holmes: Ben?
Mena: King.
Holmes: Roark?
Mena: Miss Google. She’s extremely intelligent.
Holmes: JP?
Mena: Dilligent.
Holmes: Desi?
Mena: Gorgeous.
Holmes: Devon?
Mena: Gnarly.
Holmes: Lauren?
Mena: Sweetheart.
Holmes: Jessica?
Mena: Southern belle.
Holmes: Ryan?
Mena: Witty.
Holmes: Ashley?
Mena: I’d say complacent.
Holmes: Cole?
Mena: Adventurous.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Chrissy.
Mena: Condescending.

Holmes: You played your first idol perfectly by reading Ashley at Tribal. What exactly happened there?
Mena: When I went up to play the idol, I stalled. And I mean I stalled. I asked Jeff’s questions. “Wait a minute, Jeff, can I play this idol for someone else.” I’m a fan of the show. I’ve seen every episode ever. I knew I could play it for someone else. And I stalled for several minutes. I kept looking back. And Ashley never smiled. She was either laughing or she had what we called “resting bitch face” out there. And she was just smiling from ear to ear. It was obvious to me that once I told Jeff I was going to play the idol for Desi, she smiled. I knew the votes were coming my way.

Holmes: Was there anything we missed that you wish we had seen?
Mena: I did all my stuff at night. I found the idol at night. I enjoyed looking for things at night. I think they didn’t show the fun I had out there. I really enjoyed my time. Me and Mike had a blast out there.

Holmes: I’m interviewing JP later this afternoon and I have no idea what to ask him because I didn’t see much of him out there. What should I be asking him about?
Mena: (Laughs) Yeah, I think we were all confused about JP out there. But, JP actually had a strategy. Ask him about how he would talk to all of us about strategy, but he’d only do it individually. They didn’t show that because…it really wasn’t a strategy. The conversations didn’t ever go anywhere.

Holmes: You know, for someone who’s a healer, you’ve been causing some trouble online with your Twitter feuds.
Mena: (Laughs) I’m a healer, I’m a hustler, I’m a hero, I’m whatever you want. I don’t take things seriously. I’m not a serious dude. I love trolling on Twitter. I don’t initiate most of the conflict. Chaos Kass made some comments, I responded. Jonny Fairplay made a comment about punching me everytime I came up on the television. It’s just me reacting and having fun. Unfortunately, Chaos Kass takes it serious, she blocked me on Twitter. Jonny…I’d love to body slam him. But it’s all in fun.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 10 & 11 Recap: Table Games

November 29, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: The Round Table was on a roll, attracting attention was Mike’s goal, and the person to receive the most votes was handsome…

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the tribe…

The Solewa Tribe – Wearing Purple
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer
JP, 28 – Firefighter
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop*

*Has an Immunity Idol

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

We hilariously kick things off with Joe telling Mike that it was stupid of him to burn his idol in that fashion. No argument here, Joe.

Chrissy assures us that Joe or Mike are next.

Mike doesn’t regret his move and tells us to stay tuned because it’s about to get really good. Well, it’s about time.

Reward Challenge Time: The players will create a block tower using only their feet. When the tower is done, they’ll place a flag in the center. The first person to finish wins a seaplane tour of the islands and a cheeseburger feast.

Result: Mike comes close, but Lauren pulls off the win. She’s allowed to take three people with her. She chooses Ashley, Devon, and Ben. Ryan tells Probst that you can’t read into her picks, but in private, Lauren disagrees. Uh oh…

Round Table Reduction

At the reward, Lauren pitches a foursome of herself, Ben, Devon, and Ashley. Everybody seems to be on board. They trust each other so much, that they reveal all of the advantages they know about including Ryan’s idol and Lauren’s extra vote.

They decide to work with Joe and Mike and vote out one of the other Round Table members next.

Devon is very impressed with Lauren’s strategy, saying she’s as good a player as he is. Yeah, but is she a beacon of light?

Also, family letters from home were a part of the reward.

While all this is going on, Mike and Joe brand themselves as “The Coconuts” because of Joe’s ethnicity and Mike’s profession. Don’t forget to tip your waitress, folks.

Also, Ryan and Chrissy decide to target Ben after the Coconuts are gone.

King Arthur Finds His Xcalibur

Ben stumbles upon an idol clue under a rock with an “X” on it. He follows the directions and finds himself an idol. Well done, sir. I have a feeling you’re going to need it.

He smartly decides to not tell anybody, because nobody can keep a secret.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will balance on top of a dog-house-esque structure. The last person standing wins immunity.

Snoopy would kill at this challenge.

Before the challenge, JPro offers them the chance to sit out in exchange for peanut butter and chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate?! And they get to keep their clothes on?! Devon, Lauren, and Ben take him up on the offer.

Result: Ashley wins immunity.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Ryan is not happy that Devon, Lauren, and Ben sat out.

The Round Table decides to split the vote between Joe and Mike, however, the Reduced Round Table wants to target Ryan or Chrissy.

In an interesting twist, Devon comes up with the idea of making it seem like Ben isn’t in on the vote so the remaining players will run to him. Ben seems to be down with the “Secret Spy” plan.

“Survivor” sleeper! I’ve been pitching this idea for years!

Ben says he’ll have to put his acting shoes on. Those aren’t a thing, Ben.

The Reduced Round Table fills Mike and Joe in on the plan and they jump at it.

Tribal Time

Mike is hoping someone will use the Coconuts’ two votes.

Lauren knows the Round Table can only last so long because seven people can’t get to the end.

JP also says something.

Voting Time: We’ve got one vote for Mike, one vote for Joe, two votes for Mike, four votes for JP, and the tenth person to be voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the third member of the jury is…JP.

Wait, who?

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

Chrissy and Ryan play things very differently. Ryan thanks the people who stabbed him in the back for sparing him, while Chrissy seems very annoyed.

Ryan is shocked by Devon’s betrayal, but they’re still cordial. Devon admits to Ryan that Ryan telling Ben about the idol shook him.

Meanwhile, Ben plays his outsider role very well. And, it must’ve been hard, because Joe was really digging into him. This…uh…this might be tough for Joe to watch tonight.

Reward Challenge Time: The tribe will be split into two teams of four. They’ll row a boat and collect bags of logs. They’ll use the logs to release puzzle pieces. The first team to complete the puzzle will win a spa reward and veggie wraps.

Veggie wraps? If you lose the challenge you should have to eat veggie wraps.

Result: Ben, Ashley, Joe and Devon pick up the win easily, but Lauren really showed some determination.

Spa and Strategy

Ben continues to play his role as the unseated king during the reward. In fact, he plays it so well that it makes Ashley realize that he’s a huge threat. Ah…uneasy lies the head that wears a…uh…cowboy hat.

Meanwhile, Ryan is trying to get Mike to swing to his side. And, seeing as how Ryan never worked with Mike when Mike was on the bottom, he’s not interested in working with him now that he’s on the top…er…middle…er…middle bottom.

Chrissy tried to talk to Lauren but she doesn’t have any better luck than Ryan.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will use a driving wheel to transport a key through a series of obstacles. They’ll use the key to release puzzle pieces. The first person to use the pieces to spell “Invulnerable” will become just that.

Result: Chrissy wins immunity.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

The Reduced Round Table decides that Joe’s day has finally come. The plan is to tell Joe and Mike that they’re going to use Lauren’s vote and split the votes between Ryan and Ben.

Remember when people just voted alphabetically?

Hilariously, Mike is psyched to send Ben home because he has fooled him so many times. He even says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” This’ll be the third time, so…

In other news, Ashley and Lauren are considering making a move on Ben. Ashley approaches Devon with this idea…and they’re both non-committal.

Also, Ben encourages Ryan to play his idol.

Quick Aside: I tell ya, if this “Survivor” sleeper plan works, it’s genius.

Tribal Time

Joe admits to taking a lot of joy in Ben’s downfall. He also says that this is the most comfortable he has ever felt at Tribal. Oh man…this might be amazing.

Ryan thinks Mike and Joe are making the same mistake they accused the original Round Table of making.

Voting Time: Before the votes are read, Ryan plays his idol for…himself. We’ve got two votes for Ryan, two votes for Ashley, three votes for Joe, and the eleventh person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the fourth member of the jury is…Joe.

Deuces indeed.

Verdict: Wow, the foursome really stepped up and executed some next-level moves. Ryan and Chrissy are good players, but they both took a beating today.

In the end, it kinda feels like Ben’s idol is going to decide this whole thing.

  • Devon – You’re in the inner circle in the inner circle. You’re beaming, buddy.
  • Lauren – From winning challenges to making the moves necessary to get to the final three, Lauren is proving to be a hell of a player and she’ll have a solid resume.
  • Ashley – I’m placing you a smidge below Devon and Lauren because I think you’re pairing up with two people who can beat you at final Tribal.
  • Ben – Good job on finding that idol and pretending to be on the outs. That’s some next-level play there. However, how you play that idol is going to be huge because nobody wants to go to the end with you.
  • Ryan and Chrissy – From top to bottom, you both got played this week. I don’t think that should reflect badly on your overall games. Sometimes you get beat and you just have to tip your cap.
  • Mike – I don’t blame you for not partnering up with Ryan. But it doesn’t hurt to give him a glimmer of hope. And now you’re going to need him. In the end, I think you’re a great “Survivor” character, but a bad “Survivor” player.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had JP in spot two, I had him in spot five. Aubry and I both had Joe in spot eight. The current score is Team Bracco 94, Team Holmes 103.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Round 9 – Last Healers Standing Edition

November 27, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Ryan is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive seven points and Gordon will receive six points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry Bracco and I both had Cole in spot ten. The current score is Team Bracco 84, Team Holmes 90.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry’s Score = 84

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 90

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Devon: Whether the seven stays solid or disintegrates, Devon’s even temperament and presence in multiple people’s end plans will keep him safe. 1. Devon:  Ben and Lauren want to work with you, Ryan wants to work with you, and Ashley and JP probably want to work with you…but…you’re super well liked. Bordering on too well-liked. I think you’re safe now, but you have a rough road ahead of you.
2. JP: JP’s certainty not going to win, but he’s as laid back and inert as they get. This guy certainly seems safe as a reliable number on the majority’s army for the next couple weeks at least. 2. Chrissy: I hope that conversation with Ben was a wake-up call. Just because you guys became buddies after the first Tribal doesn’t mean you need to stay BFFs forever. The only way you’re going to win is if you get credit for steering the ship, and you won’t get that credit with Ben around.
3. Lauren: Lauren’s trusted, a challenge beast and a stable, reliable force. At this point, stability is gold: Lauren’s sticking around. 3. Ashley: Could Joe have brought Ashley and Chrissy closer together? A Ryan/Chrissy/JP/Ashley alliance makes a lot of sense.
4. Ben: Ben’s got control of the group and the votes, which is what makes me nervous. Could he be peaking too soon? Only time will tell. 4. Lauren: Lookit the challenge competitor! Lauren isn’t an obvious target at this point, but her name could be dropped if someone wants to shake up the Round Table.
5. Ashley: Ashley’s starting to question the group, and that can go either way. Either she plots too soon to break up her alliance and gets hacked, or she plots just in time and can organize numbers to strike before the other 6 to her 7. 5. JP: You’re good at challenges, so you’re never really safe. That’s all I’ve got.
 
6. Chrissy: Chrissy’s responses to people trying to goad her and overt comments about who is and who isn’t in control of the game make me nervous for her chances. The second someone gets confident, complacent can sometimes follow just after. 6. Ryan: I’m not positive that you and Devon are on the outs because I don’t think Devon told Ben that he already knew about the idol. But, you’re on thin ice, buddy.
7. Ryan: Ryan needs to slow down and keep it zipped. He’s giving too much away in sheer excitement to lock in an end-game. One piece of information to the wrong person could tear everything down. 7. Ben: I think the scene where Chrissy was telling you that you were steamrolling the Round Table and you continued to steamroll her is going to seal your fate. You’re a great player, but I think self awareness might be the missing ingredient.
8. Joe: I don’t care what it’s like living with him, all I know is Joe is in trouble (as always), yet he’s found a way to hang on by a thread. He came to play. He’s fun to watch. I dig it. 8. Joe: I have such a hard time believing this, “We can get Joe out whenever because he’s a pain,” line of thinking. But, it seems like Desi and Cole bought it. There is something likable about being a brash person who owns their brashness (maybe a word?) and Joe has it in spades. If they keep him too long, he can win this thing.
9. Mike: YES. Dr. Mike, you are an outspoken underdog and an a bright beacon. Did you put a massive target on your back at the last tribal? Without a doubt, but I love your style. Never change. 9. Mike: You made your big move last week and it didn’t work out. Plus, that move put a big target on your back. I think the doctor is out.


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Castaway Cole: ‘If I Had Found That Idol, I’d Still Be There’

November 27, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

I’m usually a pretty good judge of who my mother will like on “Survivor.” She loves adorable, young challenge stars and hates deceptive food swipers.

But what happens when someone does both of those things?

I spoke with the latest “Survivor” castaway a few days after his elimination to get his take on why my mother seems to hate him so much…

Gordon Holmes: My mother and I only get to watch “Survivor” together during the Thanksgiving episode and I thought she was going to love you. I find out she was so mad at you for stealing the food and telling Jessica’s secrets. What’s been the public’s reaction to you?
Cole Medders: I’ve gotten a lot of love from fans. On the days of the show I’ll get comments like, “Why did you eat all the food?” But they’ll also say, “He’s a giant guy, he passed out.” So, there have been a lot of friendly people who say they want to see me play again.
Holmes: Do you feel differently about how you played when you watch those moments at home?
Medders: I do. Obviously I’m much more self-aware about those moments. In the moment I thought, “I did a pretty good job.” As I watch it back I’m hitting myself in the head saying, “You’re so stupid.” (Laughs)
Holmes: Well, get that second chance and see if you can win my mother back.
Medders: Hopefully. Nobody saw the game I’m capable of playing, so if I get that second chance they won’t know what’s coming.
Holmes: What would you do differently?
Medders: I’d go in with a lot more self-awareness. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the game. When I told Jessica’s secrets, I didn’t think about how that would emotionally impact her. She told me those secrets on a personal level, not just playing the game. And I was just playing the game. It was a lack of knowledge of gameplay. I need to be personally invested.

Holmes: It makes sense to me why they’d target the good-looking challenge threat, but why are people sleeping on Joe? Is Ben trying to work with him? What was happening before you left?
Medders: Joe was seen as an easy target to take out later that nobody liked. There wasn’t a threat of him working with anyone because he got on people’s nerves.

Holmes: Were there any cracks within the Round Table that you could’ve worked your way into?
Medders: Me and JP had been having a lot of conversations. We had bonded over rock climbing, he does a lot of that too. He was willing to throw that immunity challenge with Lauren if it came down to me and him to make sure that I won immunity. He wanted to make a move after that Tribal Council.
Holmes: Wow, we don’t see much of JP at all. Had he been making any other moves?
Medders: No, he had not. He really did keep to himself a lot. He’s a really nice guy. Very friendly. And for his sake, he was representing his firehouse on his t-shirt so he didn’t want to do anything too crazy on the show. He caught a lot of fish and we were definitely bros out there, but he didn’t do much of anything outside of his seven.

Holmes: It must have been tough to watch yourself lose consciousness on television. What do you remember from that moment?
Medders: All I remember is I was going to lay down on the beach, and I had been getting dizzy a lot when I’d stand up. I tried to take it slow. I stood up, it started happening again, I tried to grab a tree to support myself, and I missed the tree. Everything blacked out. The next thing I remember is Dr. Mike in front of me saying, “Cole! Are you OK?”
Holmes: That must have been concerning knowing Mike’s field of medicine.
Medders: (Laughs) Yeah, I was hoping it wasn’t for those reasons.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Mike.
Medders: Mike’s lovable. He’s probably one of the funniest guys I’ve met.
Holmes: Ben?
Medders: Manipulative…which is what you need on “Survivor.”
Holmes: Chrissy?
Medders: Over-confident.
Holmes: Roark?
Medders: Quirky.
Holmes: JP?
Medders: A bro.
Holmes: Lauren?
Medders: She’s tough. She’s got a big attitude…in a good way.
Holmes: Desi?
Medders: Besides being intelligent and beautiful, she’s very personable. You can talk to her forever.
Holmes: Ashley?
Medders: I don’t think I had more than one conversation with Ashley the whole time.
Holmes: Devon?
Medders: He’s got this awesome spirit about him. He’s a light, honestly. He draws people towards him.
Holmes: Joe?
Medders: (Laughs) Joe’s loud.
Holmes: Ryan?
Medders: Witty and comical.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jessica.
Medders: Genuine and sincere.

Holmes: You’re going to get a lot of this today, any post-game romantic sparks with Jessica?
Medders: We’ve been lucky enough to hang out a few times. We all went to Lollapalooza in Chicago. We met up again in LA for the premiere of the season, we’ll see each other at the finale. And we have a trip planned together too.
Holmes: Reaaaaaally.
Medders: (Laughs) Right now we’re just staying in the friend zone. She’s very busy in her professional life and I’m traveling and off the grid a lot. But, we’re building a great friendship and there’s always room for other things in the future.
Holmes: Nice. Man, off the grid sounds amazing.
Medders: (Laughs) It’s nice.

Holmes: Let’s talk about Lauren. You and her butted heads, but you’re not the first person to butt heads with her. Help me understand her better.
Medders: My first interaction with Lauren was once I told Lauren and Ben about the secret advantage, there was a large fight that was not shown between me and Lauren. Lauren took things very personally. For me, it was easy to separate the game and personal things. For Lauren it was all the same. She saw me telling her about the advantage as me trying to trick her and lie to her and be a sneaky person. But that was me trying to make a move in the game. Maybe Patrick’s goofiness rubbed her the wrong way and she took it personally.

Holmes: The spaghetti challenge, what are you thinking when you saw Ryan hide the plate?
Medders: Ugh…there are three big moments that are my biggest regrets. That is one of them. If I had found that idol, I’d still be there. When I saw him hide that plate I thought, “Why didn’t I just do that?” I think if I had made the plate disappear, it’d look like the food had been disturbed and was not natural and I already had a lot of flack for having food issues.
Holmes: What were the other regrets?
Medders: Not throwing the challenges on the middle tribe. We had all discussed it. But, we decided against it because there can be uncertainty at Tribal Council. I wish we had. We could’ve gotten rid of two people who were not in our alliance. And the other is I shouldn’t have told Joe how to find the idol.

Holmes: The beach brawl is easily my favorite moment from this season. Did we miss anything there?
Medders: Oh man…me the idiot, I was in the back of the line heading back into camp, I could’ve easily gone and grabbed it. But I thought, “Nobody is going to go for it in the middle of the day, I’ll be sneaky about it later.” I go to pee, when I turn back around, I see Chrissy digging. Apparently she didn’t even know that Ryan had it. She thought she was finishing the job. So, I in three steps crossed camp and ended up on the beach. Chrissy later told me that it was pure terror in her eyes when she saw me flying at her.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Medders: (Laughs) We both start digging, she calls out for JP and Ben. JP hilariously doesn’t budge. He just stands there and laughs. Ben comes flying down the shelter, throws his shoulder into me. Chrissy jumps on my back and uses my buff as a gag.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Medders: She’s pulling my buff. At that point I back off a pretend like I’m putting an idol in my pants. And then Chrissy reaches for my pants and starts grabbing at my belt.
Holmes: (Laughs) Can you press charges against Chrissy at this point?
Medders: (Laughs) Fiji’s rules might be different.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers’ Episode 9 Recap: Mena Girls

November 22, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: Pasta deceived, an idol was retrieved, Ben was aggrieved, and Joe was relieved when Desi was cleaved.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the tribe…

The Solewa Tribe – Wearing Purple
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer
JP, 28 – Firefighter
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist*
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop*

*Has an Immunity Idol

Post Tribal Shenanigans

We aren’t treated to any shenanigans, which is annoying. We still don’t know why Desi was targeted over Joe or if anyone noticed the missing votes.

Advantages and Ill-Advised Actions

Lauren and Ben celebrate Lauren’s extra vote. She claims that he is the only person she has told about it. Not sure it’s the best move to make a final three deal with someone who will absolutely win a jury vote.

In other news, Ryan let’s Devon in on his idol secret and they agree that it’ll just be between the two of them. Then, Ryan lets Ben know…uh oh.

Sure enough, Ben uses this knowledge to get closer to Devon. Devon tells us that he doesn’t trust Ryan anymore. And, it looks like Devon didn’t tell Ben that he already knew. That’s smart.

Reward Challenge Time: The Tribes will be split into two teams of five. One by one, they’ll climb a ladder, then dive into the water to retrieve keys. They’ll use the keys to open a chest that contains balls. The first tribe to sink five basketball shots will win a trip on a luxury yacht.

Result: Joe, JP, Chrissy, Mike, and Cole pull off the win thanks to Joe’s impressive basketball skills.

They’re on a Boat

Cole points out that he has only ever lost one challenge in his “Survivor” career. Sounds like an XFINITY “Survivor” reporter I know. Ahem…

Joe hilariously carves up a chocolate cake while he pretends to look for an idol.

And, Devon, Ryan, Ashley, and Ben moon the boat as the winning team returns. Hilarious, but otherwise the trip has uneventful.

Quick Aside: I really liked this segment. I wish “Survivor” showed more of the players having fun with each other.

A Second-Place Strategy

Joe decides that his best course of action is to upset everyone. He quickly accomplishes this by telling Ashley that she’s going to get to the final three as a goat.

Oof…truth hurts.

He then tells Chrissy that nobody cares what she thinks.

Mission accomplished, Joe.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stand in an odd contraption that will eliminate them if they stand too tall or hunch too low. The last person standing wins immunity.

Result: Cole puts up a good fight, but Lauren takes immunity.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Ben wants to split the votes between Mike and Cole in case Joe has an idol. Ashley is not down with this because she’s sick of Joe.

Hey Ben, if you’re so afraid of Joe, why DIDN’T YOU GET RID OF HIM LAST WEEK?! Show us, “Survivor!”

Honestly, the only thing that makes sense to me is Joe and Ben working together, or Ben is hoping to take Joe to the end as a goat. But, if that’s the case, they haven’t showed us a second of it.

BLURG!

Anywho, Ben seems to be steamrolling the conversation during the round table discussion and Ashley and Chrissy don’t like it at all.

When Chrissy confronts Ben with this concern, he assures her that nobody feels that way. Way to take constructive feedback, dude.

Quick Aside: I don’t love “Round Table” as an alliance nickname.

Later, Ben tells Mike that they’re going to target Cole. So, Mike thinks he’s safe, but he knows he needs to make a move to change the game.

Unfortunately, Mike only seems willing to risk Joe’s non-existent idol.

Tribal Time

Before the festivities get underway, Mike tells Joe to follow his lead.

The Healers admit that it’s obvious that they’re on the chopping block.

Chrissy calls out Joe for insulting her and Ashley.

Mike thinks it’s unethical to treat Joe like a pariah, and then not vote him out.

Mike then makes an odd analogy comparing Ben to King Arthur and himself to the Statue of Liberty, and the USA will beat England in the end. So, we’re getting a tea tossing immunity challenge?

Lauren thinks Mike is burying himself. I’m wondering if he’s trying to draw votes the same way Jason Nesmith drew mines in “Galaxy Quest.”

Voting Time: Before we get to the reveal, Mike plays his idol for himself.

Alright, we’ve got one vote for Ben, two votes for Mike, four votes for Cole, and the ninth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the second member of the jury is…Cole.

Verdict: The Ben/Joe thing is really starting to annoy me. To the point that even if nothing is going on, surely Chrissy and Ashley would think something was going on.

Anywho, it’ll be fun to watch the Round Table turn on each other.

  •  Devon – You were the only person who was really good at “Survivor” this week.
  • Ashley – Joe isn’t wrong about you being a goat. Fortunately, you still have time to change opinions.
  • Ryan – I’m not positive that the idol slip cost you Devon’s trust, but thatwas a rare misstep.
  • Lauren – I’ve got a feeling that Ben is going to fall out of favor. Just make sure you don’t go down with him.
  • Mike – You finally stood up and swung for the fences and…it ended up in the right fielder’s glove.
  • Chrissy – Do you realize that Lauren is Ben’s number two?
  • Ben – We’re all acting like Ben’s a shoo-in to win at a final Tribal, but people have to be getting tired of his act. The Chrissy conversation was just awkward.
  • Joe – Phillip Sheppard got to the end of “Survivor” too…but he had no chance of winning.
  • JP – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco and I both had Cole in spot ten. The current score is Team Bracco 84, Team Holmes 90.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Round 8: Stone Cole’d Edition

November 20, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Mike is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive eight points and Gordon will receive one point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry Bracco had Desi in spot nine, Gordon Holmes had her in spot five. The current score is Team Bracco 74, Team Holmes 80.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry’s Score = 74

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 80

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Devon: Nobody’s even talking about this guy as a threat! He’s in a good spot to leverage his wide net of relationships and stay safe behind other meat shields until he can make the right move at the right time. 1. Mike: Cole’s going at it with Ben, Ryan’s about to upset Devon, and Chrissy is annoying everyone. Meanwhile, Mike’s just hanging out with an idol in his pocket.
2. Lauren: Lauren’s numbers seem locked in. The good thing for her? All her other alliance members are bigger lightening rods for the threat designation than she is. That’s a great place to be at this point in the merge. 2. Ashley: I was way off last week. (What else is new?) Nobody is worried about a potential Ashley/JP power couple.
3. Ryan: Ryan’s packing an idol in his pink pouch and he’s got friends (and frenemies) everywhere. That’s a place from which you can effectively run the game like The Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain in the Emerald City. 3. JP: See Ashley.
4. Ashley: Ashley’s start was rough, but right now she’s cruising – a loyal soldier. She’s safe for the moment, but it’s unclear if her connections are deep enough to do much strategic damage on her own. 4. Devon: Are you going to let Ryan telling Ben about his idol ruin his game? I wouldn’t if I were you. Nobody should be planning on hitting the final three with Ben. That’s a ticket to a second-place finish.
5. JP: See Ashley’s description, but add some extra love from Chrissy. 5. Ryan: Did you swap brains with Cole? What’s with sharing the info about your idol with everybody?
6. Chrissy: It’s pretty clear who Chrissy does and doesn’t like. It’s also clear when she’s scheming. She’s got a great head for the game, but her execution could use a little finesse. 6. Lauren: Lauren was the target last week according to Desi. But why? Were they sure she didn’t have an idol and one wouldn’t be played for her?
7. Ben: Ben has now had votes cast against him; he’s been clearly called out as the leader and now he’s been open about his journey in life, which can tug on the heart strings AND make people extra wary about bringing  you to the final three. Proceed with caution. 7. Chrissy: In other Desi news, it seems like Chrissy is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. Is she destined to make it to the end as Ben or Ryan’s goat? Also, why can’t she wait to talk? Last week was the second time where she was whispering when she probably shouldn’t have been.
8. Mike: Dr. Mike seems well-liked and nobody suspects he has an idol. If only he could lift the Scarlet Letter that is the Healer curse, he’d be golden. 8. Joe: Who’s protecting you, Joe? I don’t buy the “Desi is better at challenges and we can get rid of Joe at any time” bit. People are always more afraid of gamers than they are of challenge threats.
9. Joe: At this point we all know I dig most of Joe’s antics for the sake of good TV. The only issues? Nobody else does. It’s only a matter of time. Joe’s the kind of chaos that people won’t want to invest in taming, because he’s too dangerous — his days may be numbered. That said, I’ve had him low on the rankings all along, and this firecracker has managed to stay. 9. Ben: Oh, Ben…you did a wonderful job creating an argument for why people should be trying to get rid of you last week.
10. Cole: Not only is Cole not loved — now he’s a challenge beast. He could be an easy vote as soon as the tribe starts chipping away at strong men. 10. Cole: So, everyone knows you don’t have an idol. Maybe you can work the angle that someone from that reward must have it and is keeping it secret. Or, maybe you can just win the next seven immunity challenges.


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Castaway Desi – ‘I Don’t Think (Chrissy) Is Well-Liked Inside the Game’

November 16, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

OK…Cole has immunity and we love Doctor Mike. So, let’s split the vote between someone we all seem to like and someone we all seem to hate. Then if it’s a tie, we’ll vote out the person everyone likes.

Wait…what?

I had a chance to speak to Desi the morning after her elimination to get an explanation about her odd extermination…

Gordon Holmes: What happened last night? It seemed like they were gunning for Joe, nobody was even talking about you, and then you’re out. What did we miss?
Desi Williams: I actually think it’s a compliment to what a physical player I was. I think they felt like they could get rid of Joe at any time as long as he didn’t have an idol. It didn’t seem like he was doing well in the challenges. I think they thought, “Let’s get out Desi because she could win the next several immunities and we’d have to go to final Tribal with her. Because it Joe gets to final Tribal, he’s probably annoyed enough people that he wouldn’t get the vote.”

Holmes: Cole and Mike jumped to the Hustler/Heroes and you and Joe split your votes between Lauren and Ben. What was the reasoning behind that split?
Williams: It was not what I thought the plan was. I thought all four of us were voting for Lauren. That’s who we said we were voting for. And when we got there everyone jumped ship and changed their plans. I don’t know what happened or why it happened.

Holmes: Other than your immunity win, we didn’t see a lot of you after the merge. What moves were you making to try to get back into the game?
Williams: I had several conversations with people. Ben and I had talked together. I’d talked pretty extensively about working with Lauren. Even on Levu tribe; me, Devon, and Ashley had talked about working together. But, I think my biggest downfall is that I’m not the type of person who needs reassurance over and over again. Once we planned to work together, we’d check in before Tribal, but I don’t feel the need to have that conversation five more times. I’m the type of person who says what I’m going to do and I do what I’m going to say. I realize that’s not how people are on a game like “Survivor” where everyone is paranoid.

Holmes: Did anyone point out that there were eleven people at Tribal and Jeff only called out ten votes?
Williams: No. Once we all go to vote, there’s no conversation. We’re being watched like a hawk. So, nobody said it, but I certainly didn’t notice that there were only ten votes read. I don’t know whether or not anyone else noticed.

Holmes: You were there for the tail end of the beach brawl. What was your take on that moment when you looked over and Cole and Chrissy were wrestling in the sand?
Williams: I saw Cole sprinting down to the beach, and he’s a gentle giant so I knew it wasn’t out of malice at all. It was very clear that they were looking for an idol. It was just so funny how many people jumped in to dig who didn’t really know what they were digging for. It was fun to watch last night when Ryan found it, put it in his pants, then watched the whole thing unfold. I truly thought Cole had the idol, Ben was convincing enough. It made for an exciting day at camp, it was total chaos. There was one point where Chrissy literally jumped on Cole’s back and was riding him like a horse.
Holmes: Can you blame her?
Williams: (Laughs) Under other circumstances.

Holmes: Cole told the Healers he didn’t have the idol. Mike does have an idol. Do any of the Healers know that at this point?
Williams: I’m not sure whether or not Cole knows. I certainly didn’t know, and I doubt Joe knows.

Holmes: Joe made it a point to let you know that he did not flip on you. I know Roark was your original number one, did that change to Joe after the tribe swap?
Williams: It did. Once we had that first Tribal at Levu, I trusted Joe almost 100%. I realized at that moment that Joe was playing an honest game. It may have been abrasive and sometimes offensive, but he was being truthful with me. He was the only person on the island that I felt like was being truthful with me.

Holmes: Chrissy seems very bright, she clearly knows the game. It’s hard to tell if she’s liked by people outside of her alliance. What was your take on her?
Williams: I think you have a very accurate read on Chrissy. (Laughs)
Holmes: I do this for a living, Desi.
Williams: I don’t think she’s well-liked inside the game…and maybe even outside the game.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Lauren.
Williams: Hilarious.
Holmes: JP?
Williams: Confused.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Williams: Annoying.
Holmes: Roark?
Williams: Intelligent.
Holmes: Doctor Mike?
Williams: Quirky.
Holmes: Jessica?
Williams: Happy…she’s so happy.
Holmes: Ashley?
Williams: Gosh…also confused…but more overconfident.
Holmes: Alan?
Williams: He’s crazy…mostly crazy eyes.
Holmes: Cole?
Williams: Immature…but lovable.
Holmes: Ben?
Williams: Noble.
Holmes: Devon?
Williams: Zen…I don’t know. Who knows what Devon is thinking?
Holmes: Ryan?
Williams: I have a hard time describing Ryan. He’s like a cartoon character.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Joe?
Williams: Real.

Holmes: Let’s jump back into that. Why is Ashley “confused and overconfident.” We haven’t seen much of her other than her pining for JP.
Williams: When I say “overconfident” I think it’s feigned overconfidence. I think she’s a fan of the game. But also, she gets caught up on who she should be playing the game with.

Holmes: Had there been conversations about how hard it will be to beat Ben at a final Tribal Council?
Williams: Absolutely. We were having that conversation daily. And Joe and I were very much on the same page. We could identify that he was a threat and everyone else is stupid for staying in an alliance with him. He’s going to beat you.

Holmes: If you had voted for Joe, you would’ve stayed in the game.
Williams: Yeah, that was clear. I was having a really tough moral dilemma about it. I wasn’t ready to flip on him. Because then, who do I trust? Then I’d become one of those crazy paranoid people. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Joe.
Holmes: Is that something you regret or are you happy that you stuck with your morals?
Williams: No. I’m happy that I stuck with my morals. It was important to me to stay authentic to who I am.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 8 Recap: Ben-t Out of Shape

November 15, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: The merge feast participants got hammered, the advantage clue was nailed, and Jessica got the axe.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the tribe…

The Solewa Tribe – Wearing Purple
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Desiree, 27 – Physical Therapist
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer
JP, 28 – Firefighter
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist*
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

*Has an Immunity Idol

Post Tribal Shenanigans

Joe goes the modern route when addressing the blindside by congratulating the blindside…ers? But, he also has to get his dig in by saying they now have to play with the devil.

That’s a very Russell Hantz thing to do. Go back and look at how crapily (not a word) Russell treated Rupert after Russell clearly had the numbers in “Heroes vs. Villains.” How does that help you? Sometimes it’s best to just stop talking.

Nailed It

The next morning, Lauren finds the advantage clue that was hidden in the nails. Apparently, she can forfeit her vote at the next Tribal Council and get an extra vote for down the line. Luckily for her, the extra vote has never backfired.

Ahem…

Also, she’ll need to slip the advantage into the voting urn and keep a piece of parchment. She’d better hope it’s a blowout vote and Probst doesn’t have to read all of them.

Reward Challenge Time: The tribe will be split into two teams of five. They’ll race through an obstacle course, then use a slingshot to knock down targets. The first team to hit all five targets will receive a pasta dinner.

The odd person out gets to enjoy the reward no matter who wins.

Quick Aside: Darnit, Probst! Make that person bet on the winner!

Result: JP, Chrissy, Cole, Ryan, and Devon pull off the win. Joe gets to tag along.

Before they head off to the reward, Probst tells them that there’s only one big meal and they’ll have to eat it alone, one person at a time. Joe will get to pick the eating batting order.

Ugh…so somebody is going to get to eat off of a dish after five other filthy people have had their fill? Sloppy sixths?

Carbs and Clues

Joe doesn’t want to be accused of eating too much, so he chooses to eat last. He lets Devon go first, then JP, Cole, Chrissy, and Ryan. I like this plan. Devon and JP are the most likely to eat enough to annoy the other players.

As more and more pasta is eaten, we can see that there’s some kind of clue on the plate. Cole is the first person to notice this. He learns that there is an idol buried underneath the tribe flag.

Cole tries to hide it by putting all of the pasta on an apron, then putting the apron on the plate.

Creative…but weird. I would’ve just tossed the plate. Also, kudos to Cole for not immediately telling everyone about the clue.

Sure enough, Chrissy realizes something is up during her turn and sees the clue too.

Ryan sees it as well. However, he goes the extra mile by actually taking the plate and hiding it in the forest. Smart boy. #PlateGate

Beach Brawl

Back at SoLeNaWaPa beach, Ryan sneaks away to try to claim the idol while Cole is off relieving himself.

Ryan digs it up and quickly sneaks it into his pants. As this happens, Chrissy walks by and Ryan tells her that he has it and to cover up the hole. As she’s doing this, Cole returns and springs into action, diving toward the hole. This commotion draws everyone’s attention. Chrissy is frantically telling JP to help her. Ben leaps in. Even the tribe flag falls in the ensuing scuffle. Meanwhile, Ryan looks on in shock with an idol in his shorts.

Amazing. Moment of the season.

When it’s all said and done, everyone thinks Cole has the idol.

Quick Aside: Chrissy was defending the hole with everything she had. Maybe she didn’t hear Ryan say he had the idol?

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stand on a balance beam while holding up an statue with a pole. Last person standing wins immunity.

Result: Cole wins immunity.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

It looks like the Hustleroes are going to split the vote between Joe and Desi in case Joe has an idol.

None of the Healers are discussing using Mike’s idol, so it’s probably safe to assume that they don’t know that he has it.

Joe lets Ryan and Devon know that they can’t beat Ben in the end. In a great moment, Ben can be seen lurking in the background during this conversation.

Ben confronts Joe with this and Joe floats the lie that Ben has been swearing on his service as a Marine. This…sets…Ben…off. Joe is clearly baiting Ben and Ben is falling for it.

Later, Lauren lets Ben know that she can’t use her vote because of the secret advantage. This screws up their whole numbers game and forces them to approach Mike to vote with them.

Tribal Time

Joe points out that Ben is running the show. However, Ben claims they make decisions as a group.

Both Chrissy and Ashley get into it with Joe while discussing if Ben was using his Marine status to get ahead.

Finally, Devon says the game has turned him into a zombie, whereas he’s usually a “bright, beautiful light.”

Heh…adorable.

In the Voting Booth: Lauren uses her advantage and keeps a piece of parchment.

Voting Time: We’ve got one vote for Ben, one vote for Lauren, one vote for Desi, one vote for Joe, one vote for Desi, one vote for Joe, one vote for Desi, one vote for Joe, one vote for Desi and…one vote for Joe. A tie!

Note: Nobody mentions the weird number of votes, but a few people seemed confused.

Voting Time Part Deux: We’ve got four votes for Desi and the eighth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the first member of the jury is…Desi.

Verdict: OK, so Cole and Mike both voted with her Hustleroes. But, why would they get rid of Desi when everyone is annoyed with Joe? Is someone hoping to take him to the end? Ryan? Chrissy?

Very interesting, but I don’t think we have enough of the pieces to make sense of the vote. That’s super annoying.

 

  • Ryan – That idol moment was hilarious. You snagged it, nobody saw it and Cole took the heat. And, you have something else to tie you to Chrissy who seems to be playing a 3rd-place game.
  • Doctor Mike – They’re gonna need swing votes and you’re still packing an idol. Well done.
  • Lauren – Good job locking down that extra vote. But, your closest ally can probably beat you in front of a jury.
  • Joe – Why wasn’t it you, Joe? What don’t we know?
  • Chrissy – I worry that getting into it with potential future jurors Joe and Cole is gonna cost you.
  • Cole – Tackling a woman who’s older than you is not a good look. But, you did vote with the majority.
  • Ben – You let Joe bait you and all of this Marine talk is putting a big target on your back.
  • Ashley, JP, and Devon – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Desi in spot nine, I had her in spot five. The current score is Team Bracco 74, Team Holmes 80.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Round 7: Deuces Wild Edition

November 13, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Mike is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive eight points and Gordon will receive four points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry Bracco had Jessica in spot 11 while Gordon Holmes had her in spot 12. The current score is Team Bracco 65, Team Holmes 75.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry’s Score = 65

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 75

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Ryan: Ryan’s blending at the beginning of the merge, and that’s a prime spot to be. If he uses this lull to make a plan and assess his potential jury, the turtleneck-clad analogy machine might be worth $1 million. 1. Lauren: She voted with the Hustleroes alliance and Mike will probably do what he can to keep her safe on the other side. She’s in a great position right now.
2. Devon: He might be starving to death, but Devon’s in a good spot. He’s got friends everywhere and he wasn’t in the hot seat to make a big decision last vote. 2. Devon: Devon’s makin’ some moves! And at the same time, nobody seems really threatened by him. I never would’ve said this at the start of the season, but Devon could take this whole thing.
3. JP: JP seems like ideal goat material and part of several people’s plans. Even better, he doesn’t outwardly appear to be a strategic threat at this time in a season full of them. The only way he could be in trouble next week? If the Hustlers and Heroes go to war for his number and decide to target him instead. 3. Ryan: A lot of shots are being thrown back and forth and none of them are being lobbed at one of this game’s savviest players. I say hang back and pick up the pieces when it’s over.
4. Ashley: I’m not sure what this merge holds for Ashley. She’s got a lot of feelers out there, and she was on the right side of the Jessica vote. This girl knows how to hang with the guys, and that’s a good thing given how many are left in the game. One possible issue? She showed her individual challenge prowess early. 4. Mike: Lauren really wants to work with Mike. And with Jessica gone, Lauren could become Mike’s new number two. Would she tip him off if his name was put up? I think so.
5. Ben: Ben’s spot could be good or bad depending on how you interpret the swing vote position. Sure, it’s great to have a bunch of allies and the opportunity to choose a side. What’s not so great about being friends with everyone? They’re more hurt anytime you make a move against them or their friends. 5. Desi: Challenge Goddess! I caught last week’s episode with 500 of my closest friends at the “Rob Has a Podcast: Know-It-Alls” live show in NYC. And when Desi won immunity, the place exploded.
6. Lauren: Lauren’s fully in an alliance and the voice of reason (who would have thought?) That said, she has to make sure she continues to go with the flow as the tribe works through the early merge. If she manages that, she’s going deep. 6. Ashley: The only reason you’re this low on the list is in case someone wants to break up your potential partnership with JP.
7. Chrissy: Chrissy has a target on her back at the beginning of the merge and is perceived as a threat. That’s not a great spot to be coming from when you’re hoping to stranglehold the game. 7. Ben: Does Cole hold you responsible for targeting Jessica? Possibly. You went from under-the-radar to smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-radar pretty quickly.
8. Mike: Mike is in the best position of all the Healers with everyone remaining, but that doesn’t mean much. Even worse, he lost his closest ally. I’m just glad you still have that idol in your pocket, Dr. Mike, and didn’t make a Jason/Scot Flub Of The Century by letting Jessica hold it before tribal. 8. Chrissy: The math thing…the making Ben nervous by playing too fast thing…last week was not a good week for Team Chrissy. Fortunately, you have a chance to regroup.
9. Desi: With the Healers and women dwindling on this tribe with a name so strange I can’t remember it — I’m worried Desi could find herself on the chopping block sooner than later. Even worse, Desi’s challenge prowess could make her an Andrea 3.0 (aka running from the vote all post merge long). 9. JP: Sing it with me folks; “Challenge threats…are never safe after the merge. If you’ve got skills…there’s always a motive to purge.” Yeah, it isn’t that catchy, but it’s hard to find words that rhyme with “Immunity.”
10. Joe: I keep putting Joe toward the bottom because he’s so chaotic, and here he’ll stay. Joe, I love you, but your overplaying smacks of a 9th play Debbie Wanner (no double-birds for you). 10. Cole: Your bestie got the boot last week and you’re caught in a weird wrestling match with Chrissy in the preview. The Cole train might be hitting its last stop.
11. Cole: Oh, Cole. You’re getting so far into the game now, I’m beginning to think they’re preening you to be the most handsome Billy Goat Gruff of all time. That said, you’re annoying the hell out of people and could just as easily be a liability. 11. Joe: You had to have thought your number was up to play that idol, right? You’ve watched the show enough to know that the idol-hiding methods change after the merge, right? I want you to stay, Joe…but I’m worried you’ll be using the farewell slang version of “Deuces.” #iamanoldperson


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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