Archive for December, 2017

‘Survivor’ Castaways Devon and Mike: ‘My Biggest Change Would Be to Get on Top and Stay There’

December 21, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage.  Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

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


Gordon Holmes: Hey guys, sorry to start the interview off like this, but I have to duck out for a second to get some water and some firewood. You guys wait here while I go do that..
Devon Pinto: (Laughs)
Mike Zahalsky: I’m going to follow you, and I’m going to get my own firewood, my own water, and hopefully I find the firewood in the right spot.

Holmes: I feel like you both have a ton of potential to be two-time players. What would your second chance look like?
Pinto: I wouldn’t do anything differently. I think I played the best game I possibly could have.
Zahalsky: Clearly I had some strategic errors in my game. I had this strategy going in and it went out the window, literally the first minute of the game. When Joe put a target on my back. You saw it. You never think you’re going to be on the bottom within the first three minutes of “Survivor.” I was struggling to get back on top. When Jessica got blindsided, it blindsided me as well. She was my biggest ally. I think my biggest change would be to get on top and stay there. (Laughs)
Holmes: That works.

Holmes: Last night it comes down to Chrissy being in control and winning immunities vs. Ben who was able to hustle and take advantage of idols and twists. Why do you think the jury rewarded Ben?
Zahalsky: Honestly Gordon, I think Devon and myself were controlling the game. The edit is the edit, but Devon and I were silently in the background controlling the game. If Chrissy hadn’t won immunity, she was going home. If Ben didn’t have an idol, he was going home. But they kept pulling it out. We had to change to orchestrate things differently. Now wait, what was the question?
Holmes: Forget the question. This is all news to me.
Pinto: (Laughs)
Holmes: Devon, do you agree that it was the Devon and Mike show out there?
Pinto: Oh yeah, Mike and I were talking the whole game. Some of my best strategy talks were with Mike. It’s true. I was looking to get Chrissy and Ben out much earlier. There was just never the opportunity.

Holmes: At final five, did Ben tip you off at all that he was going to vote for you?
Pinto: No.

Holmes: Mike, you seemed very confident that you would have won at final three. What would have been your argument?
Zahalsky: There were three Healers on the jury, and they’re probably voting for me regardless. We had such a good time in the nine days without going to Tribal. All I needed was one more vote. And you need to win the jury’s respect. They want to think you’re this amazing “Survivor” player, but they also want to respect you and feel like they have a connection with you that transcends the game. Devon probably would’ve been my hardest competition. If I made it to the final three he had this fantastic game. But if I made it with Chrissy and Ryan I would’ve won. The same with Devon, I think he’d win against them too. But a Devon, Ben, Mike final three? I don’t know who would’ve won.
Pinto: That would’ve been a wild one.

Holmes: Ben managed to stick around for four consecutive Tribal Councils where the majority wanted him gone. As a jury member do you respect the hustle with which he got the idols? Did you value idols more than immunity wins?
Pinto: For me? No, I value immunity way more than idols. He worked hard to look for them, but it came down to luck.
Zahalsky: I valued them the same, that’s why I voted for Chrissy. She had four and he had three. Ben went from the top to the bottom and never worked his way back up. Chrissy went from the top to the bottom to the top.
Holmes: That’s a very interesting point.
Zahalsky: And Chrissy took me on that family reward. I felt like I should reward her for that.
Holmes: Devon, you say you appreciated immunity wins over idols, then why the vote for Ryan?
Pinto: That came down to my word. I’d promised Ryan that I wouldn’t write his name down unless he made it to the finals. And he said the same to me. I strongly believe he would’ve kept his word.

Holmes: Chrissy wins an immunity challenge and the jury hears about it. Ben plays an idol and they get to witness it. Does that have an effect on the jury?
Zahalsky: I haven’t heard that before, but it’s interesting. When I threw the idol in the fire I was putting on a show for the jury. That’s what Ben was doing with his Ben Bombs. And clearly it worked because he won the game. I said “I’ve been waiting to do this for fifteen years.” But, apparently there haven’t been idols for fifteen years. I’m just a “Survivor” fan, I’m not a “Survivor” super fan.
Holmes: We’re in the same boat. I love the show, but I can’t remember the facts the way Ryan can.
Zahalsky: You ask Ryan who was the first person to get voted out in season seven, he can tell you the name and the immunity challenge. That’s great, but I’m just going to watch the show.

Holmes: Devon, I’ve asked a lot of people about your game because I thought you were playing a great, low-key game. How intentional was it that you played up the laid-back surfer angle?
Pinto: That was my gameplan since day one. I wanted to play that perception of me up, because I get that a lot. I wanted people to underestimate me and not see me as a threat.
Holmes: You’re young, you’re fit…but you didn’t win a single immunity challenge. You even stepped down from one. Were you holding back or were those challenges just not your cup of tea?
Pinto: No, I wasn’t holding back. Those challenges are harder than I could’ve imagined. They look so simple on TV, but when you’re out there participating you’ve got no energy, you’re starving, it’s a whole other ballpark.

Holmes: Was there anything that happened out there that you wish we would’ve seen?
Zahalsky: You figure out who you really are when you’re stripped to nothing. And I think I’m a happy, funny, nice guy. I think that was portrayed really well. What you didn’t see is Devon and I got to share one of the most incredible experiences when we were looking for the idol, we found baby turtles.
Pinto: That was beautiful.
Zahalsky: We saved 22 baby turtles that day.

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

‘Survivor’ Finalists Chrissy and Ryan: ‘I Think We Both Would’ve Voted for Ben to Win’

December 21, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage.  Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

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

Gordon Holmes: Ryan, how did you know on day one when you gifted an idol to Chrissy that she was going to become this generation’s Colby Donaldson?
Ryan Ulrich: (Laughs) You know, I thought she’d be good at puzzles. But she might be the best puzzle solver in “Survivor” history. I knew she’d be a strong player, but I wasn’t expecting her to break records.
Holmes: Chrissy, you’ve entered rarified challenge air.
Chrissy Hofbeck: I love doing puzzles. I’ve been doing puzzles my entire life. So, in that respect I was very well prepared for this game.

Holmes: This season was odd in that the original concept for this show is you have this society, and then every three days, for whatever reason, you vote someone off. The majority of votes were going toward Ben for four consecutive Tribals and he still stuck around. Now, you were all dealt the same hand, but was it frustrating that you couldn’t make it happen?
Hofbeck: First of all, that’s the game we signed up to play. I do feel like the idols were a little too easy to find. They were planted in particular places, but I don’t want to take away from Ben’s game because Ben played an awesome game. It was certainly an interesting season and an unexpected way for it to turn out. I was shown in the edit several times saying, “Nobody’s going to find that many idols.” I don’t think any of us thought an idol was going to be put out at final five. But, that’s the game. And we’ve seen historically that twists have been introduced. As an actuary I’m supposed to think of all of the things that can happen. And I didn’t think there would be a fire-making challenge at final four. Did I think someone could wake up and find an idol after 15 seconds of hunting? No.
Ulrich: To echo what Chrissy said, even that final five idol, Ben found that within seconds. Me and Mike went right to the raft. We joke about it. We went to the raft that day and still weren’t able to find it. I think all of our games were reduced to “Let’s get Ben out. We’ve got to get Ben out.” When that doesn’t happen four times in a row, it ultimately becomes a bad reflection on your game. For a whole week you tried to do something and you just couldn’t do it. I think when that happens, and we end up sitting next to Ben, he had the biggest target on his back and he ended up in the same place that you did. He persevered. I think, as a fan, that there has to be a round where we can vote for the person that we want to vote for if they don’t win immunity. That round used to be final four. But now you can play idols every consecutive round, then the fire challenge is there too. I don’t think anyone will be able to do what Ben did again. Ben played an amazing game. The luckiest players are the ones that are working the hardest. And he went out every day and hunted for those idols. So, my hats off to him.

Holmes: The jury only got to hear about Chrissy’s immunity wins. They got to witness Ben’s idol plays. Do you think that made a difference?
Ulrich: Oh yeah. When the jury is seeing something tangibly…the jury loves seeing that. I think Joe was blowing kisses one time and clapping when Ben was playing idols. So, I think if Ben gets to the end, Joe’s definitely going to vote for him.
Holmes: Wait a minute, you’re telling me Joe was making a big scene? I don’t believe it.
Hofbeck: (Laughs)
Ulrich: Yeah, that might have just been the edit. Maybe the kisses were for me.
Hofbeck: I totally agree with Ryan. I think that when you ask what’s more important to a jury, the jury sees the idol play and it becomes what’s ingrained in their brain. I won four challenges, that’s a record. The next youngest person to do that was 20 years younger than me. But, the jury doesn’t see that. So, it could potentially become less important.

Holmes: Devon played a very low-key, solid game. How would you two have beaten him at final three if he’d won that fire challenge?
Ulrich: If he wins that fire challenge, that’s a huge leg up. What are you doing in front of the jury? To send Ben to the jury would be huge. I don’t like it in the sense that the immunity challenge was so hard and for Chrissy to pull it off is a big deal. So, Chrissy should get the credit for putting Ben on the jury. But now, it’s going to be Devon who put Ben on the jury. It takes credit away from Chrissy, and then what did I do? I really don’t know what would’ve happened if Devon had won.
Hofbeck: I do think I would have won the game if I had gone to the end with Devon and Ryan. I don’t think I would have swept the game because Devon and Ryan both had great social games. I think Devon would have had problems because he was playing the surfer bro. And he was a master at that. I could not believe when I was watching the season back. His confessionals were great. He was playing the surfer bro, but he was a mastermind. I think he’d have a tough time convincing the jury that he wasn’t a surfer bro. And let’s not discount Lauren’s moves. She was incredible. I think Devon would have had to take credit for some of Lauren’s moves and that could have rubbed her the wrong way. But Devon absolutely belongs in the final three. I was heartbroken for him. That final advantage, was not an advantage.

Holmes: Chrissy, I sensed some negative sentiment toward you from some of the early exit press. But, it seemed like the jury had nothing but respect for your gameplay. Did you sense that you were rubbing people the wrong way and then you course corrected? Why was there that difference?
Hofbeck: No, I think I was more well liked than the exit interviews let on. Shortly after those exits were coming out, I had a number of people in the cast call me and I also reached out to some people, I think some people in the cast were surprised by the exits. And I also think Roark got a raw end of the deal too. I was told by some other people in the cast, that it was a story that was thoughtfully crafted to remove any and all blame from people who potentially wanted to play again, extend their fifteen minutes. I think it’s human nature to want to blame someone else. But, I don’t think while the game was going on that that existed. Apparently that was a story that was crafted afterwards by recruits. I feel like in the game of “Survivor” nobody has ever come up with a strategy to vote only based on demographics. And so to assume that someone was voting based on demographics does a disservice to the game and does a disservice to me. It was hurtful to me, but there were so many flaws in the argument. And I think the better podcasters and “Survivor” reporters, including yourself, Gordon, could realize that there was something off on that.

Holmes: Ryan, you’re not used to camping…I hate to use the word “helpless,” but that’s what it seemed like. But everyone adores you because you’re likable, non-threatening, and hilarious. But, behind the scenes you’re a secret genius. Are you worried you’ve ruined that game for others going forward?
Ulrich: Yeah, my fear going in was the last full season we saw was “Millennials vs. Gen-X.” David, Adam, Zeke, Will, Hannah…they all made it deep. So now a good social player who isn’t good at challenges or around camp, they’re just going to get voted off really early. I felt like that might’ve been me. It’s tough. Even out there, players on seasons remind you of former players. Joe accused Mike of being that David character. He was gunning for him from second one. I may have ruined that for future players. So, when you get to camp, you should know how to cook rice.
Holmes: And start a fire, apparently.
Ulrich: (Laughs) Yes. Or don’t be able to and the winner will take you to the end.

Holmes: Probst finally revealed how a final Tribal tie would be broken. The finalist with the least amount of votes would cast the final vote. If that had happened last night, who would you have voted for.
Ulrich and Hofbeck: (Silence)
Hofbeck: I don’t think either one of us wants to go first.
Ulrich: Ugh…I don’t know. I think we both would’ve voted for Ben to win. (Laughs) What do you think Chrissy?
Hofbeck: Yeah, if there was a tie between Ryan and Ben, I have to admit that I would’ve voted for Ben. I just think he made more moves.
Ulrich: How did he get there?! He’s still sitting there!
Holmes: I told him he was lucky I wasn’t there, because I would’ve lashed him to my arm or to a tree or something.
Hofbeck: It’d have to be the latter. Even if you’re following Ben, if he finds the idol, it’s still his idol. So, you’d have to tie him to a tree.
Holmes: But Chrissy, I know you’re not above tackling Cole to get an idol.
Hofbeck: (Laughs) That is true! And that was one of the best moments of the season. That was such a fun moment.
Holmes: Didn’t you try to choke him out with his buff?
Hofbeck: I did! What happened was, he started digging and I was digging, so I’m screaming for JP because I needed help. But Cole is twice my size, so I jumped on his back and pulled his buff over his eyes. That was my best move at the time. Then Devon and Ben jumped in and it was a big rumble.
Holmes: You should not be proud of trying to choke out poor Cole!
Hofbeck: (Laughs) C’mon! That’s such a big move by the grandma of the game.

Holmes: Thanks so much for your time, I know you’re super busy.
Hofbeck: One last thing, thank you for making me your winner pick in your Power Rankings with Aubry. I’m sorry I couldn’t pull it out for you.
Holmes: I was pulling for you last night. Sorry, Ryan.
Ulrich: Well, Aubry picked me. So, we both let you down.
Holmes: What the hell, guys?
Ulrich: How are we not doing word association?
Hofbeck: (Gasps)
Holmes: It’s too hard and takes too long with two people.
Ulrich: Alright…

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

‘Survivor’ Champion Ben: ‘Everybody Had a Fair Shot at Finding Every One of Those Idols’

December 21, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage.  Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

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

Gordon Holmes: Oh Ben, you get to learn “Survivor’s” dirty secret. Very early on the morning after one of the biggest nights of your life, you have to wake up and talk to me.
Ben Driebergen: (Laughs) I know! That is a dirty little secret.
Holmes: Hopefully the million dollars makes up for it.
Driebergen: Oh, absolutely. We’re all in good spirits here.

Holmes: I think you’re a lucky man, because they won’t let me play “Survivor.” If I was on a tribe with you, I’d be on you like white on rice. How on Earth did they let you sneak out?
Driebergen: They honestly tried, but I was constantly getting water and firewood. And in the morning I would wake up while they were sleeping and go look for idols. They tried, but they were really lackadaisical about it.
Holmes: I would get some twine and tie our hands together.
Driebergen: (Laughs) I don’t know if that would’ve worked, you have to have me on board for that to happen.

Holmes: My mother is obsessed with the bandage over your tattoo. What’s under there?
Driebergen: It’s a John Deere logo.
Holmes: Finally!

Holmes: You survived four Tribals where the majority of the votes were going to go to you. That’s amazing. Everyone was dealt the same hand, you just played it better. However, it’s a very non-traditional route. Has there been any backlash about how you made it happen?
Driebergen: You know, obviously I wish I would have won immunity challenges. But, as far as trying to justify how I got there, all of those idols were placed in public spots. Everybody had a fair shot at finding every one of those idols. And Doctor Mike was behind me, maybe 15 minutes on most of those idols. Everybody had a fair shot. As far as the final twist, it makes sense to create more action and drama at the final four. It’ll change up how people play now that they know it’s in effect. We didn’t know. Devon and I had a 50/50 shot, but he knew about it, so I’d say he had an advantage.
Holmes: Have you reminded him of that since then?
Driebergen: (Laughs) Devon, I love Devon. We are buddies. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. That was the only way that would have looked good in the jury’s eyes. And if Devon had won, that would’ve looked really good for him. Going head-to-head was how it had to be.

Holmes: Speaking of Devon, did you tip him off at final five that you were voting for him, or did he just read your face?
Driebergen: He debated on that, about whether to vote for Mike. And it took him quite a while. I think he just played smartly. I think the Lauren vote taught him. He played it smartly.
Holmes: Devon played a very solid, low-key game. I think it was Lauren who didn’t appreciate how well he was doing until she had worked with him for a while.
Driebergen: At Ponderosa, you look at Devon and he looks like a good guy. He’ll look you in the eyes and give you a head nod. So, I wanted to work with Devon. At the merge, that talk at the rock was me feeling Devon out, just seeing where he’s at. And Devon is awesome. He looks you in the eye and he’ll tell you straight to the face. We’ll get into it at Tribal, then back at camp we’ll eat rice and he’ll tell me about surfing and I’ll tell him about the mountains. It was awesome playing with Devon.

Holmes: How confident were you going into that final Tribal that you’d take home a win?
Driebergen: Not at all. With Chrissy winning four immunities, she tied a record there. She has a story too. She’s a mom, she’s an amazing motivated, driven woman. I was not confident at all. When the votes went one-one-one and she got another vote, I thought I had lost.
Holmes: She had a great resume. Making moves, winning immunities. You did too. You ran the first half of the post-merge, you found idols. Do you think this represents a change in what jury’s will appreciate?
Driebergen: No, I think it’s who wins the immunity, if that makes sense. And what the challenges are that are being won. They make it an equal affair, but the way they’re won says a lot. And the game is played 24/7. Your actions and reactions are always under the spotlight.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Katrina.
Driebergen: Happy.
Holmes: Alan?
Driebergen: Buddy.
Holmes: Jessica?
Driebergen: Sweet.
Holmes: JP?
Driebergen: Adventurous.
Holmes: Devon?
Driebergen: Right near the beach.
Holmes: Ryan?
Driebergen: Sidekick.
Holmes: Lauren?
Driebergen: Second love of my life.
Holmes: Joe?
Driebergen: Real.
Holmes: Desi?
Driebergen: Beautiful.
Holmes: Ashley?
Driebergen: Driven.
Holmes: Mike?
Driebergen: Mikey! Determined.
Holmes: Cole?
Driebergen: I love Cole. He’s learning, but he’s a good guy.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Chrissy.
Driebergen: A strong mom.

Holmes: Probst finally revealed that a tie at final Tribal would be broken by the finalist who wasn’t part of the tie casting the final vote. If Ryan and Chrissy had tied, which way would you have voted?
Driebergen: Honestly, I would have voted for Ryan. The way he handled being blindsided, compared to how Chrissy handled it…Ryan was always cordial. He’d say, “Good move.” He’d shake my hand. And if I didn’t want to tell him something, he’d say, “Oh, I understand.” And he’d still talk to me. With Chrissy, I don’t think she could separate. And I love Chrissy, I’m not saying anything bad about her. But the rush of Tribal would get to her.

Holmes: Your win has helped bring PTSD to light. What’s been the response from the military community?
Driebergen: Just a lot of support, a lot of encouragement. It’s actually really crazy how this has all worked out. It’s been amazing. People have reached out and said, “Thank you for your bravery.” “Thank you for bringing this to light.” It’s been really neat to help people. I never thought that coming into “Survivor” that I’d have a platform to help vets. And if we can address this and help vets figure this out and lower the suicide rate, that’s what we should do.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Finale Recap: Heroes Welcome?

December 20, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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: Ashley paid the price for Ben’s unsupervised Easter egg hunt.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

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

The Solewa Tribe – Wearing Purple
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

Back at camp, Ben immediately sneaks off to go idol hunting. The others prove that they DON’T LEARN by saying that there probably isn’t a new idol out there.

So…they don’t follow him.

If you hear a continuous low thud coming from Philadelphia, PA…that’s XFINITY’s “Survivor” expert banging his head against a coffee table.

Sure enough…and say it with me…HE FINDS AN IDOL.

I…I…I just can’t.

Seriously, is it too late to rename this season “Survivor: Easter Egg Hunt”?

Heroes Reunited

The next morning, Chrissy approaches Ben and asks if they can mend their friendship. They hug it out and are pals again.

She promptly tries to get Ben to take her to the final four if he wins immunity, saying that he should want to beat the best. He doesn’t seem interested in this plan because she wouldn’t do the same for him.

Really? That was the plan, Chrissy?

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will retrieve keys while running through an obstacle course. The first person to unlock and complete their sliding ball puzzle will win immunity and comfort food.

Result: Chrissy wins her third immunity challenge. She’s allowed to share her food reward…and she chooses Mike and Devon.

Dead Idol Walking

At the reward, Mike, Chrissy, and Devon search the food for an idol clue. Oh, now you’re worried about an idol?!

I’m sorry, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so frustrated while watching this show. Ugh…

While they’re eating, Chrissy raises the idea of using her dead idol from earlier in the season. They decide to tell Ben that they’ve found the idol so he’ll stop searching. Sure enough, Chrissy uses the idol and the letter that came with Ryan’s idol to try to fake Ben out.

Ben sells it perfectly, as they’re now convinced that Ben is demoralized. This pleases Ben because now he doesn’t have to fake look for the idol that he already has.

This is where we are now; Ben doesn’t have to pretend to look for an idol he already has because Chrissy is pretending that the idol she didn’t use in the beginning is still valid. This is how a bill become a law.

Ben starts to act like he’s giving up, but Devon doesn’t buy it. He’s considering voting for Mike in case Ben has something up his sleeve.

Tribal Time

Probst asks Chrissy why Ben has been allowed to hunt for idols. Chrissy claims that you can’t follow someone 24 hours a day. Um…Andrea Boehlke did.

Then, Chrissy puts her dead immunity idol around her neck.

Ben thinks that Chrissy was gloating about her good luck.

Voting Time: Ben once again drops a “Ben Bomb.” He plays his idol for himself. We’ve got three votes for Ben, one vote for Mike, and one vote for Devon. A tie!

Before the revote, Devon admits to Mike that he voted for him. Yeah, and it’s a good thing he did.

Voting Time Part Deux: We’ve got one vote for Devon, one vote for Mike, and the fourteenth person voted out and the seventh member of the jury is…Doctor Mike.

Before they head back to camp, Probst informs them that there will be a twist at the final immunity challenge.

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

Devon congratulates Ben on being the first person to write his name down.

Ryan points out that nobody has ever played three idols in a row before. And…hopefully they won’t again.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stack letter blocks on a wobbly platform. The first person to spell “Heroes Healers Hustlers” will win immunity and a special advantage.

Result: Ben almost had this won twice, but his “U” was upside down the first time and he lost a bunch of blocks while locking in the structure the second. Chrissy manages to hold on and win her fourth immunity. That ties the record for most immunity wins by a woman in a single season.

Quick Aside: That challenge was so tense. It was amazing. Kudos to Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer and his crew.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Ben is really beating himself up over the loss, but he’s not ready to give up yet. He tries to get Chrissy to work with him. She agrees to listen to him at Tribal. Well…that’s…nothing.

She sneaks away to read her advantage. She will cast the only vote at Tribal to decide who will sit with her at the end. The other two players will compete in a fire-making challenge. So…Ryan is safe and Devon…who was shown making fire earlier…will square off against Ben.

Sure enough, she goes with exactly that plan. She tips Devon off so he’ll be ready.

Quick Aside: I’m not sure if I love this twist, but if it will inspire people to learn how to make fire before they go on the show, then I’m willing to give it a shot.

Tribal Time

Ben is still bummed about the upside-down “U.” He says it will haunt him forever, but he’s proud of his game.

Chrissy admits that she didn’t share her advantage with Ben. She then reads it to everyone.

She chooses to keep Ryan safe, so we’ll get Devon and Ben in a fire-making challenge.

Ryan is thrilled that he’ll get to the final three, Devon is excited to have his fate in his own hands, and Ben can’t believe he’s getting a second chance.

Fire-Making Challenge: The first person to build a fire tall enough to burn through a rope will be the last member of the final three.

Result: It’s not even close, Ben wins his way into the final three. Devon is the the fifteenth person eliminated from the game and the eighth member of the jury.

Pre-Tribal Reflections

Ryan is giddy that he made it to the final three. I hope that keeps him happy, because I can’t imagine a situation where he picks up the win.

Chrissy points out that she went from puking at the first challenge to dominating at the end. That’s a hell of a point.

Ben enjoys a mimosa in the ocean while going over his strategy of striking a balance between being confident, yet humble.

Final Tribal Time

Round One – Outwit: The Social Game

Desi immediately points out that everyone wanted to take Ryan to the end. He responds by telling her about how he used the super idol to get Devon and Chrissy on his side.

Ashley thinks Ryan’s social game is weak because he never had a conversation with her. He claims that he spoke to Ashley through Devon. Devon seems to agree with that.

Joe respects that Ryan used Devon as his puppet. He doesn’t respect Ben or Chrissy’s game because they never communicated with him.

Ben says he had a hard time speaking with Joe after the argument about Ben swearing on being a Marine.

Chrissy claims that she didn’t flip and move around. She stayed loyal to Ryan and JP.

Cole admits that he ate a little extra peanut butter, but Ben threw him under the bus for it. Ben agrees that he used that to paint a target on Cole’s back. Ryan thinks Ben had a vendetta against Cole.

Ashley respects Chrissy’s social game because she’d ask people about themselves. Ryan thinks she just remember facts.

My thoughts: I think Chrissy did really well, with Ryan and Ben probably tied for second.

Round Two – Outplay: Camp Life, Twists, etc.

Cole is very impressed with how well Chrissy did in the immunity challenges and how Ben found idols. He doesn’t think much of Ryan’s survival skills. Ryan admits that he doesn’t have the best survival skills. He was happy to let people do things for him because they would do it better.

Desi doesn’t like this answer because she did a lot of things that she had never done before.

Ryan did well with the twists though. He found the super idol clue and the idol buried under the flag.

Ashley gives Chrissy credit for her immunity wins. Chrissy points out that the women took eight of the nine immunity challenges. Wow…that’s awesome.

Ben knew his back was against the wall after Lauren was voted out. He woke up early every morning to go idol hunting.

Desi asks why they let Ben go out on his own. Ben says that he was one step ahead of everyone.

My thoughts: I think Chrissy takes this round too with Ben a close second and Ryan a distant third.

Round Three – Outlast: Does the jury respect your game?

Ryan knew survival and challenges wouldn’t get him to the end. His neck was never on the line at a single Tribal because he worked with so many people and made strong social bonds.

Doctor Mike asks what he learned about himself. Ryan responds that the game is a series of emotions and that he learned an appreciation for the simple things in life.

Ben claims that he had a hand in putting everyone on the jury because they were a threat to stop him.

Mike tells Ben that he played one of the best games in “Survivor” history. However, Joe claims that Ben needs to do more to get his vote.

Ben responds that even when he was called “The King,” he kept battling. He also says that him being on “Survivor” is a message to people with PTSD that they can still be happy and go on with their lives.

Chrissy says she kicked ass at the challenges and she made connections with everyone and that she played a good, solid game without leaving a path of destruction. She also says that she’s a mother and mothers are heroes because they do what they have to do for their kids. Also…moms are healers and hustlers too. She finishes by saying that she’s a winner they can be proud of.

My thoughts: Ryan isn’t going to win. That’s pretty obvious. I think Chrissy has it, but it’ll be close.

Voting Time: Lauren votes for Ben, Devon votes for Ryan, Ashley votes for Chrissy, and the rest of the votes are secret.

Tallying Time: We’ve got one vote for Ben, one vote for Ryan, two votes for Chrissy, two votes for Ben, and the winner of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” is…Ben.

Verdict: What a weird season. The first half was kind of meh, but the second half had some clever, bold moves.

Buuut…this is always going to be the season where Ben was able to Easter Egg his way to the end. And that’s not good. You can’t push yourself as the ultimate social experiment and then let someone gimmick their way to the end.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco and I both had one person in right place. The final score is Team Bracco 103, Team Holmes 112. Big thanks to Aubry for being such awesome Power Rankings competition!

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Final Round: All About the Ben-jamins Edition

December 18, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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”

Finale Rules: For the finals, each player will rank the remaining Survivors in the order in which they think they will finish. The first contestant is the winner, the second received the second most votes at Tribal, etc. Each correct placement is worth two 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 Ashley in spot four, I had her in spot five. The current score is Team Bracco 101, Team Holmes 110.

Aubry’s Score = 101

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

Gordon’s Score = 110

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

1. Ryan: Ryan has been quiet the last half of the season, but he is in a Final 3 that seems committed and determined to get to the end together. That said, he appeared to make some strong relationships at the beginning, and despite the dips in his game, he can claim he had control at points. If he goes to the end in a Power 3 with Devon and Chrissy, which seems most probable, Ryan seals this win. 1. Chrissy: This will probably be a controversial winner pick. She hasn’t been very popular in my exit interviews, but the truth is; she’s won challenges and she’s made a lot of moves. Aaand…now Ashley thinks Chrissy is telling Devon what to do. She could steal this.
2. Devon: Devon’s in a good spot to get to the Final 3 — he seems the type to be in everyone’s endgame plans AND he seems a bit underestimated. He’s done a heck of a job finding a way to go back and forth within alliances this season, but that Ashley burn could cost him so late in the game, and I don’t get the impression people around him feel they have seen his game. 2. DevonThat Ashley thing might come back to haunt you. You haven’t been a challenge force and I don’t know if you can take credit for any of the moves you made while partnered with Ben and Lauren. 
3. Chrissy: Chrissy has a resume, but she’s rubbed people the wrong way. Plenty of people are courting her for a spot in her Final 3, so it’s likely she gets there. The only problem? Once she gets there, she’s going to be facing a jury that doesn’t feel too emotionally connected to her. 3. Ryan: Your best bet to win this thing is to get to the end with Chrissy and Mike and hope that Chrissy has rubbed too many people the wrong way. But, I don’t think you have the pull to get Mike to the end. So, you’d better pray he wins immunity at final four.
4. Ben: Ben’s got an uphill battle to the end since he’s Enemy #1. That said, I played with Brad Culpepper, and I’ve seen what happens when someone who is a force feels like they’re on the bottom — sometimes, they become unstoppable. I knew my game was over when my alliance turned on me and voted out Andrea instead of Brad. Ben last episode gave me flashbacks to Culpepper’s revenge tour. If Ben gets to the Final 3 he wins hands down, but it’s going to be tough. He may go the way of great players past — think David Wright, Kelley Wentworth, etc. 4. Mike: Swing vote, never been in control, probably not great at making fire, never won a solo immunity challenge…Mike might be a good person to take the finals, but the people that need him don’t have the power to make it happen. At least he’ll be fun on the jury.
5. Mike: By far and away, Mike is the Final 5 member with the least blood on his hands. This guy is an endearingly awkward Teddy Bear. If he gets to the end, and that’s very possible given he’s not a super-overt threat at the Final 5, he might just have the likability factor to pull it off. I smell a come-from-behind upset from Mike. 5. Ben: Surely everyone wouldn’t be dumb enough to let Ben run around the forest without an escort, right? Surely everyone wouldn’t be dumb enough to let Ben run around the forest without an escort twice, right?

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Ashley: ‘We Should Have Been on Ben Patrol’

December 14, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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’ve never played “Survivor” before. I give the players all the credit in the world for pushing themselves to their physical limits. And, it’s really easy to sit on my couch with a bowl of chips and a beer and tell these people what to do. That being said…

If someone is going to beat everyone in front of the jury and has a history of finding idols…FOLLOW HIM WHEN HE “GOES TO GET WATER!”


I spoke with the latest victim of Ben’s Idol Streak the morning after she was eliminated. While we chatted I asked about Devon’s betrayal, Chrissy’s motives, and how five people couldn’t stop one dude from wandering around a jungle.

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

Gordon Holmes: I hate to start off like this, but why weren’t you guys following Ben?!
Ashley Nolan: (Laughs) I didn’t really think he was looking. In the morning, that’s a different thing if we were sleeping. But, we should have been on Ben patrol. After Tribal, when he went off to get water, I wasn’t in that huddle, because I did follow him. I went with him and tried to talk about game stuff and mend our relationship. They didn’t show that.
Holmes: OK, you get a pass. But everybody else is going to hear about it.
Nolan: We should’ve been on Ben patrol for sure. Everywhere he went they just seemed to pop up.

Holmes: What was the plan heading into Tribal?
Nolan: We were going to split the votes between Ben and Mike. And when Ben showed the idol, nobody’s demeanor really changed. They had a Plan B. And they always say on “Survivor,” if you don’t know the Plan B, then you are the Plan B. So, it hit me right then. I remember someone saying, “We’re going to stick to the plan.” And I remember Mike agreeing. So, I was thinking, “What does he think the plan is?” If I’m confused right now, then something might be up.

Holmes: Had there been any hints that Chrissy was targeting you before Ben played the idol?
Nolan: I knew as soon as they took Ryan to the reward. It wasn’t going to be good for me. Chrissy and I didn’t play together at all. We talked no strategy. Getting to the final six, I knew I was nothing but a number to her. So, as soon as she got Devon, that was it. I love Devon, but he’s naïve. Chrissy’s a good player. Ryan’s a frickin’ lawyer. He can convince anyone.
Holmes: There was a moment where it seemed like you and Chrissy were bonding over the way Joe was treating you both. Nothing came out of that?
Nolan: I think it was fair to say that we both just didn’t like Joe. At that point in the game, she wanted him out because of who he was. And I did too. Gamewise, that’s when you saw us get him and Mike on our side. They didn’t show this, but he got really personal. Like how he got personal with Ben, Chrissy had sworn on her children, and what kind of mother is she. It was really degrading as a person. They just showed our reaction to it. So at that point, I felt like I needed to stick up for her. Me and Chrissy joke about this still, we really enjoy each other. I just got a Christmas card from her and her family. But, for some reason we never played together. When Devon and Ryan had a falling out, we went with our partners. We never met back up.

Holmes: When your name came up four times, you hugged Ben, you did not hug Devon. What are you thinking in that moment?
Nolan: I expected it out of Ben. I knew he was going to do everything he could. He knew I was gunning for him. That’s just gameplay. But, Devon had looked me in the eye many times and said, “I’m not writing your name down. We’re in this together to the final three.” We made plans, made moves, so that was huge. But Ben, I joke with him that he was my “Survivor” husband. Although I did start plotting against him… But that one Tribal Council, that was our “Survivor” divorce. (Laughs)

Holmes: When Chrissy, Devon, and Ryan went off on the reward and you felt like you were on the outs, did you think about trying to get Mike and Ben together?
Nolan: That’s where my naïve self comes in. I really was hopeful that Devon was working for both of us. After the merge, we were going to try to work with Ryan and Chrissy, but then Ryan and Devon had a falling out. I did not think they were going to talk about my name. I remember that day I was just too quiet. I should be having conversations and making my own Plan B. But, that’s what I did.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Ryan.
Nolan: Genius.
Holmes: JP?
Nolan: Lovable.
Holmes: Jessica?
Nolan: Giddy.
Holmes: Katrina?
Nolan: Wild.
Holmes: Alan?
Nolan: (Laughs) I don’t want it to be crazy…that word follows him.
Holmes: Desi?
Nolan: Pretty.
Holmes: Cole?
Nolan: Hungry.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Nolan: Mom.
Holmes: Joe?
Nolan: Heartless.
Holmes: Lauren?
Nolan: Hilarious.
Holmes: Mike?
Nolan: I can’t say hilarious twice. Mike is a character. He should be an action figure.
Holmes: Ben?
Nolan: He truly is a hero.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Devon.
Nolan: A free spirit.

Holmes: After Lauren is voted out, what was your dream final three?
Nolan: I really was thinking Devon and Mike. But, Mike got in both Dev and my ears. I found this out afterwards that he was telling Devon that I was going to switch on him while he was telling me that Devon was going to switch on me. He was trying to break us up. But I think that’s the ideal final three. But with Lauren and Devon, the closer you get to someone, you realize that they’re really good at the game. The more moves you make together, the more you see their strengths. I’m getting insight into their thought process. With Mike, who didn’t have a thought process, he was just kind of there, what could he sell as a game move? He’d just been going with the flow.

Holmes: Joe called you “a goat.” What argument would you have used at the final three to counter that claim?
Nolan: There are a million ways to play the game. His way didn’t work. I’m not the kind of person that wants to get under people’s skin. And how can you win if people don’t like you? To each their own. But in other people’s press interviews, I’ve seen that people have said I had good relationships. I respect Joe’s game, but a “goat” is a term that people use when they’re big dramatic players. Smart players can be just a little bit quieter.
Holmes: So, insulting military veterans, mothers, calling people “goats” isn’t the best strategy?
Nolan: (Laughs) Yeah, insulting everyone isn’t going to get you a million dollars.
Holmes: I called you “a goat,” but I meant it in the nicest possible way.
Nolan: Yeah, goats are cute, right?

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 13 Recap: Screaming at My TV Screen

December 13, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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: In haiku form…

Mike leaves them shell shocked
Lauren and Idol both burn
Marine stays serene

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
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

We kick things off with Ryan hilariously saying that Ben’s move might have been better than his idol play. That was a joke, right? It’s hard to tell sarcasm at night and through subtitles.

Ben tells everyone there are no hard feelings, then he goes looking for an idol…AND NOBODY FOLLOWS HIM!

Wow…Ben deserves to win.

Seriously, they hang back and agree to work together and come up with the brilliant plan of “someone needs to win immunity.”

Ow…my head.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will be paired off and tethered to a rope. They’ll follow the rope through an obstacle course, then compete in a ring toss game. The first duo to land five rings will win a chopper trip to a private resort for an overnight stay.

The teams are Devon and Chrissy, Ashley and Ben, and Mike and Ryan.

Quick Aside: I’m not loving Mike and Ryan’s chances here.

Result: Chrissy and Devon win the reward. They agree to let Ryan come along. This displeases Ashley. And not…like…a subtle she’s annoyed during a testimonial moment…like she calls them out in front of Probst. She says that she knows who made the decision not to take her.


Marine Psychology

Back at camp, everyone is annoyed that they get to go on the reward. Mike, seeing himself as a swing vote, can’t believe that they didn’t try to…you know…swing him.

Ben tries to use this as a way to get back in their good graces, but Mike flat out tells Ben that he’s on the chopping block.

Ashley on the other hand, seems a little more open to talk to Ben. But, she smartly realizes that Ben is an unreliable source due to his place in the game.

Ben eventually gives up and goes on another idol hunt…AND NOBODY FOLLOWS HIM!

Last Resort

Devon, Chrissy, and Ryan all agree that Ben is the biggest threat and Mike is right behind him. They also agree that they should go to the final three together.

However, Chrissy is also entertaining the idea of getting rid of Ashley first because she has better relationships with the remaining players. Oof…stay on target. (That’s for you “Star Wars” fans.)

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will run through an obstacle course, then complete a cog puzzle. The first person to figure out the cogs and raise their flag will win immunity.

Result: Chrissy takes yet another immunity. She’s like an early 2000s Colby Donaldson.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

They get back to camp and Ben immediately goes on an idol hunt and…say it with me…NOBODY FOLLOWS HIM!

Seriously! It’s like they don’t even know who Andrea Boehlke is!

A grown man should not scream at his television as much as I did tonight.

Sure enough, he finds a clue. Apparently the idol is tied to the bottom of the shelter. We don’t know if Ben is able to retrieve it before they leave for Tribal. But seriously, how could he not?

In other news, Chrissy is changing her mind about targeting Ben first. She tells Devon, Mike, and Ryan that she wants Ashley to go first.

Tribal Time

Ben calls out the alliances; Ashley and Devon, Chrissy and Ryan, and Mike as a swing vote.

Probst wonders why Devon didn’t take Ashley on the reward. Chrissy did not like the way Ashley called her out.

Ryan admits that everyone is trying to get to their final three. Probst asks who has a final three deal and everyone says they do except for Ben.

Then Ben tells Probst that he’ll be playing the game tomorrow because he has an idol. He then makes an explosion noise.

Chrissy does not appreciate the theatrics. I’m OK with them.

Devon reminds everyone that Ben might not play it.

Ashley thinks Ben should play it.

Ben tells Ashley that she can go back to camp with him if she votes for Mike. He tries to get Devon on board too.

Devon says he isn’t sure because he doesn’t know if Ben’s even going to play it.

Sure enough, Ben stands up and hands the idol to Probst. Wow…baller move.

Voting Time: We’ve got one vote for Mike, three votes for Ashley, and thirteenth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the sixth member of the jury is…Ashley.

Ooo…and Ashley totally dissed Devon when she was leaving.


“Why I Love Ben’s Move” by Gordon Holmes

So, let’s say Ben had four decisions…

1. Don’t tell anybody about the idol, play it, and probably vote out whoever he wants.
2. Tell everybody about the idol, hope they scramble, don’t play it, and hope they voted for someone else.
3. Tell everybody about the idol, hope they scramble, and play it.
4. Play the idol before the vote.

The first three are all solid plans. The reason I love Ben’s unprecedented move of playing the idol first is because it forced the alliance to turn on each other. If they’d all voted for Ben and he idoled out Mike, who cares? It doesn’t hurt how Mike feels about the others. By letting them know that a vote against Ben is useless and making them show that there is intent behind their votes, it turns a future juror against the alliance and makes them show their cards.

Well done, Ben.

  • Ben – Kudos for doing what you needed to do to stick around. And if you find another idol or win the next immunity, you’ll be at least a fire-building challenge from the end. These grades are episode-based, and I think you did everything you could possibly due this hour.
  • Chrissy, Devon, Mike, and Ryan – Just awful.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Ashley in spot four, I had her in spot five. The current score is Team Bracco 101, Team Holmes 110.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Round 11: Shell of a Tribal Edition

December 12, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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 one point and Gordon will receive two 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 Lauren in spot three, I had her in spot two. The current score is Team Bracco 97, Team Holmes 105.

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 = 97

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

Gordon’s Score = 105

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

1. Ryan: Ryan may have voted against Ben, but so did everyone else. The fact that Ryan hasn’t been in the driver’s seat the past few votes means he’s more of a number to others at this point as opposed to an overt mastermind. That’s a good thing for his chances to get to the end. 1. Chrissy: Well, that certainly was a Tribal to remember. I think what it all comes down to now is; who should people be trying to sit with at the end. I’d bet Chrissy is near the top of everybody’s list.
2. Chrissy: Chrissy’s social squabbles and lack of control over the past couple votes make her a viable partner as a final three option to others. By hook or by crook, you’ve got to get to that three, and Chrissy could make her way there and pull it out. 2. Ryan: Right now, I think Ryan’s best bet to take this thing is if he’s sitting next to Chrissy and Mike. He can get there, but where the new idol lands is going to have a big impact.
3. Mike: Mike’s never had the most control in the game, but he’s got an endearing personality. At the Final 6, any degree of likeability has potential to be a liability. 3. Mike: MIKE! You are my favorite bad player of all time. You’ve never been in power, you burned your idol (figuratively) early, You burned Laurin’s idol (literally) when she could have used it to defeat Ben. (Well…if he didn’t have one of his own.) Oh man…I hope you get a second shot and learn from your mistakes.
4. Ashley: Ashley has proven herself to be a challenge beast, AND she’s wed to Devon as a strategic partner. A power duo is a threat no matter how deep you are in the game. Ashley’s time may be up just short of the Final 3. 4. Devon: Here’s where it gets interesting. Everyone voted for Ben, but Ben still gets to go back to camp. With the scrambling that’s going to happen, I’m betting that Devon manages to find his way back into Ryan’s good graces.
5. Devon: Devon openly stated he was aligned with Ashley: translation to everyone else is “Ashley and I are in each other’s Final 3 plans.” Not. Good. 5. Ashley: Devon and Ashley still have that two-some thing going on. However, Ryan’s more likely to work with Devon and Ashley has proven to be a serious challenge threat.
6. Ben: Ben just pulled off the most epic move of the season and literally EVERYONE sees him as the biggest threat. There’s not question he’s hanging on the edge, and something tells me it could be the edge of a cliff and not glory. 6. Ben: You made your move at the right time, Ben. Lauren confirmed that she was coming after you even before she knew you had flipped. Now you need an idol or a challenge win.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Lauren: ‘Why Didn’t I Just Try to Grab the Idol Back?’

December 7, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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 like to picture Jeff Probst and the other “Survivor” producers sitting around a whiteboard with mugs of cocoa dreaming up new advantages. They think of clever twists like, “Make them forfeit their vote first!” And, “Have half of the idol planted in front of their challenge stand!”

I’m sure they never imagined anything like, “Maybe she’ll forget to bring it to Tribal,” and “Maybe a vengeful tribemate will throw half of the idol into the fire.”

I spoke to the victim of both of those mistakes the morning after she was eliminated. While we chatted, Lauren opened up about her disastrous final Tribal Council, her dream final three, and her hatred of redheads…

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

Gordon Holmes: So, what was the plan before you learned that Ben was going to flip?
​Lauren Rimmer: Basically, I really wanted to keep Devon, Ashley, and Ben. But, I knew I couldn’t take Ben to the end. The plan was kind of to maybe pull Dr. Mike and get rid of Ben. But, that didn’t work.
Holmes: What was your dream final three if things had worked out last night?
Rimmer: It would’ve been to take Ashley and Devon.

Holmes: You gave half of your idol to Mike, was that a “You’re safe. If I vote you out, you can chuck this into the ocean” kind of play?
Rimmer: Yeah, it was to keep Mike as close to me as I could. There are so many things that Mike felt like he was left out of. And I didn’t want him to feel like he was being left out of the situation. It was really a last-minute thing. I’d just found out that Ben was gunning for me and I had to make sure that Mike was with me and voting the way he needed to vote. And then when he threw it in the fire I was just dumbfounded.
Holmes: And you couldn’t have dug it out with your torch?
Rimmer: Looking at it now I’m thinking; why didn’t I just try to grab the idol back? Would Jeff have accepted it? I was in such shock.
Holmes: I don’t think there are any rules against it. And would a shell even burn up?
Rimmer: It wouldn’t have burned, if anything it would turn black a little bit. I should’ve got it. And I’ve talked to Dr. Mike a little bit since then and neither one of us had even thought about digging it out of the fire. He’s like, “Why didn’t you think about that?” And I said, “Why didn’t you think about it?! Why’d you even throw it in?!” (Laughs)
Holmes: Do you at least still have the leather string as a souvenir?
Rimmer: Yes, I do.

Holmes: You said you left the extra vote back at camp. What was the reasoning behind that?
Rimmer: It was actually in my pocket. I was trying really hard not to use it at that point. Things never work out the way you want them to. Once I went with, “I don’t have it, I’m not using it.” I kind of had to stick with that. I needed to convince them that it wasn’t in my pocket. And if they were all going to switch their votes, I had to run with it.

Holmes: Ben was very confident going into that vote last night. Were you worried he might’ve had a secret idol?
Rimmer: At the beginning it never crossed my mind. And then when all the commotion started going on and I watched his facial expressions, I knew something was up. There’s no way you could be that happy. About halfway through Tribal I knew I was going home.

Holmes: Devon was one of your dream final three. Devon seems smart, likable, good at the team challenges, were you worried about facing him at final three?
Rimmer: He could have…but he…during the beginning, he never really showed a lot of gameplay. He kind of went with what Ryan wanted. Right until the end…he started voicing his opinion and coming up with different ideas, but prior to that, he didn’t say too much at all. Having him not doing too much, I thought he’d be a good choice. But the longer I went with it, the more I realized he was starting to play. But, once I picked that final three…Ashley was just a follower, but at the end she started to voice her opinion. So, who knows what would have happened.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Ali.
Rimmer: Very nice, but she also was playing her own game. She was gunning for me in the beginning.
Holmes: JP?
Rimmer: He’s very quiet…and he doesn’t have a personality.
Holmes: Simone?
Rimmer: This is bad, but she’s very annoying. She wasn’t a people person.
Holmes: Ben?
Rimmer: Had some good stories. You can tell he’s a good guy. He wanted it.
Holmes: Ryan?
Rimmer: God bless him, he needs to get out more.
Holmes: Ashley?
Rimmer: You could tell she’s strong. A hard worker, gets along with everybody.
Holmes: Jessica?
Rimmer: Nice girl, very naïve, has a very annoying laugh.
Holmes: Desi?
Rimmer: Very sweet…pretty much a follower. She was waiting on people to give her a direction to go.
Holmes: Patrick?
Rimmer: He was all about camera time. He’s funny, but he’s annoying at the same time.
Holmes: Joe?
Rimmer: Nobody likes Joe, but I love Joe. He never shuts up.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Rimmer: She’s going to hate me for saying this, but she worked my nerves. She was constantly trying to analyze something.
Holmes: Mike?
Rimmer: He kept us all laughing. You couldn’t trust him, but you needed him.
Holmes: Cole?
Rimmer: Cole got on my nerves, but I actually like Cole. He’s a really good guy. What he does outside of “Survivor” is awesome. He worked my nerves, I’m not going to lie. But, he’s a great person.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Devon.
Rimmer: I love Devon to death. He’s a genuinely nice guy. And he’s smart and knows how to play.
Holmes: (Laughs) If there was a theme for this, it would be: People who annoy Lauren.
Rimmer: (Laughs)

Holmes: I do that word association exercise with everybody. And the answers to your name have been very positive. You made good alliances, you won challenges, you made strong moves, and you had a solid social game. I think you could’ve won this thing. And that was not the popular sentiment heading into this season. Was it nice to prove people wrong?
Rimmer: It was. It’s a really good feeling. On social media a lot of the stuff was negative. I felt like I was on the bottom. I was the oldest one and I really had to work hard to stay in this group. They were younger, they were all YouTubing it, and all I see is seagulls. So, it was very challenging to keep it together.

Holmes: Was there anything that happened out there that you wish we would’ve seen?
Rimmer: When we merged, there was an argument that wasn’t shown. Cole, within five minutes of us being there, he was telling us that if we went to Tribal that we wasn’t with Jessica. He told us about her secret advantage, he just spilled all of her beans. At the same time, me and Ben thought we should get Mike. As soon as we talk to Mike, he runs down and tells Cole and Jessica in like two minutes. Then all hell breaks loose. That would’ve been interesting to see.

Holmes: I’ve gotta ask; what was with the redhead hatred early on in the season?
Rimmer: I have a lot of friends who are redheads. When I’m fishing, there are three or four guys who are redheads. And it’s always been a running joke, and I forgot that the world didn’t know about this running joke, that I can’t trust a redhead. These guys, half of them are sneaky and they’re always playing jokes. And Patrick, I was trying to get under his skin because he was doing such a good job of getting under mine.

Holmes: I want to see you and your sister on a “Blood vs. Water” season.
Rimmer: If they bring us back, that’d be hilarious. She’s a trip. I promised her I’d get her to the family visit. She got to experience something she enjoys very much. If they bring us back, it’d be comical because she probably would try to get me out. (Laughs) She’d turn against me and say, “Screw it, let’s go.”
Holmes: Could she even focus on these challenges with Jeff Probst standing right there?
Rimmer: Jeff would probably have to say, “OK, get the hell away from me.”

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 12 Recap: Urolo-uttaidols!

December 6, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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: Lauren splintered the Round Table with the cunning of a cat, Ryan was convinced to play his idol by a spy in a brown hat, and JP was voted out and things of that nature…

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
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

*Has an Immunity Idol

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

We start off with tons of fireworks coming off of Ben’s double agent-ism. Chrissy is sick of being made to look like a fool by someone she used to consider her closest ally. The two battle back and forth with Ben doing a terrible job of explaining himself to a potential future jury member. At one point she even calls him a jerk and swears to get revenge on him.


I think there’s a way to make a move like that and to own it as gameplay. Ben went another route.

Reward Challenge Time

Before we get to the reward…it’s family visit time!


First up, Ashley greets her father. At one point Probst points out that “This really is a father/daughter connection.” Well…yeah.

Ryan’s father is out next. And man, it must be hard to see your son looking so skinny. Ryan is beyond excited because they’re both “Survivor” fans and he promised he’d get him to the family visit.

Next up we get to meet Mike’s wife. And…they…are…adorable. Mike claims that they have one of the greatest loves of all time. I won’t debate that.

Whew…no tears yet.

Lauren’s sister comes out next and hugs Probst first! Hilarious! Probst claims this is the first time he’s gotten love in 35 seasons. What about Sarah Dawson?!

Apparently Lauren’s sister is a huge “Survivor” fan and convinced Lauren to go to a casting call. Thank you, Lauren’s sister.

Chrissy’s husband joins us and she just wraps herself around him. She tells Probst that the game has changed her and when she gets home she’s going to focus less on her job and more on her family.

It’s getting dusty in here…

Devon completely breaks down as his mom comes out. And…that’s all I can stand. Devon wins the “Make Gordon Cry Award.” Jerk.

Finally we get to meet Ben’s lovely wife. She tells Jeff that there’s a huge hole in her life with Ben gone.

Ugh…shake it off, Gordon. There’s recappin’ to be done.

Fun Fact: My wife asked who’d I’d want for my family visit. I immediately said, “You, but we’d have to discuss my lies in advance.”

The Challenge: The players and their loved ones will pull rocks out of a bag. If the rocks they pull match, they get to stay. If they pull mismatched rocks, they’re eliminated. The last couple to match rocks wins a barbecue.

Wait…that’s it? Pulling rocks? Was this challenge designed just to anger Jessica Lewis?

Result: Ben and his wife and Chrissy and her husband are the only pairs to advance to the second round where Chrissy and her husband pull off the win. Chrissy decides to invite Ryan, Mike, Ashley, and their loved ones on the reward.

Flipping Burgers and Flipping Alliances?

At the barbecue, Chrissy makes a push to get Ashley to join her side and send Ben packing. And she has a strong case too, as Ben, Devon, and Lauren will probably all beat Ashley at the final Tribal Council.

Idol Hands

Back at camp, Ben fashions himself a very respectable fake idol. It’s not Runaround Bob-level, but it’s a reasonable facsimile.

The three left-behind players go for an idol hunt and Lauren finds one half of the idol. Apparently the second half will be placed in front of her stand at the immunity challenge. She shares this information with Ben and Devon.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stand still while pressing discs against a platform. A player is eliminated when their discs fall. The last person standing wins immunity.

This challenge forces you to stay in a really awkward position. In fact…

I’m not proud of that.

In other news, the other half of Lauren’s idol is just a seashell. It won’t be suspicious at all if she picks it up. Shouldn’t it be a medallion or something so it’ll be risky for her to pick it up?

Sure enough, she drops out and pockets the shell. Nobody seems to think twice about it.

Result: It comes down to Ashley and Devon, with Devon agreeing to step down in exchange for a shoulder massage. Ashley wins immunity.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Uh oh…Ben catches Ashley, Devon, and Lauren throwing his name around the water well. He immediately shakes things up by going to Mike and Ryan and telling them about Lauren’s idol and her voting advantage.

Everything is going smoothly until Ben tries to get Chrissy on board. She’s been burned by Ben twice and isn’t looking forward to seeing the three-quel.

Chrissy won’t commit to the plan, so Mike tells Ashley about Ben’s manuevers. Ashley, of course, shares this with Devon and Lauren.

THEN in a ploy to get Mike to trust her, Lauren gives Mike the shell that makes up half of her immunity idol.

That…uh…that was…brave? Is “brave” the word? Is “insane” better?

Tribal Time

Fun Fact: For some reason the jury is all wearing blue, sleeveless shirts.

To kick things off, Devon says stepping down from the challenge was his way of showing trust to his alliance of Lauren and Ashley.

Ben wonders why he wasn’t included in that list.

Then it gets worse.

Lauren calls out Ben for outing her idol.

Ben calls out Lauren for throwing his name around the well.

Lauren claims that she did not bring her vote advantage to Tribal.

Mike then throws half of Lauren’s idol into the fire.


Then the whispering starts. Mike and Ryan tell each other to stick to the Lauren vote. Then Devon gets up and tells them to vote for Ben because he’s targeting everyone.

Voting Time: Before the votes are read, Ben plays an idol for himself. We’ve got six votes for Ben and the twelfth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” and the fifth member of the jury is…Lauren.

Verdict: What a mess. Devon and Ashley manage to flip the entire tribe and still fail. Meanwhile, Ben is a marked man and I assume they’re going to place a new idol next week.

Great episode.

And all Lauren has to show for it is a string.

  •  Ryan – I don’t know if anybody gets a good grade in an episode where six of the votes were voided. Ryan, you’re highest on this list because you have the least amount of heat on you.
  •  Devon – Everybody likes you, but nobody seems threatened by you. You lost tonight, but you still managed to flip everyone back to your side.
  • Ashley – Didn’t you learn your lesson about Power Couples earlier this season? After they target Ben, they’re going to come for you and Devon.
  • Ben – It’s hard to give you this terrible grade after the way you saved yourself. But, the fact remains that you’re going to need idols or immunity wins to get much further in this game.
  • Mike – That idol toss was classic, buddy. However, I don’t think you can win, unless there’s a final two and you get to the end with…
  • Chrissy – I can’t think of a single realistic scenario that results in you winning this game. If you get a second shot, you’ve got to learn how to keep jurors on your side.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Lauren in spot three, I had her in spot two. The current score is Team Bracco 97, Team Holmes 105.

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

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