December 27, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Ben is the Sole Survivor

12/27/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Finale!

After Ben's latest Hidden Immunity Idol play, the group is hellbent on getting out Ben at long last. Chrissy wins Immunity and a reward, which gives her, Dr. Mike, and Devon time to concoct a brilliant plan to fake-out Ben. Chrissy will say the Reward had a clue for an idol, which she found, and she'll use her old, expired Super Immunity Idol from the first vote out and the instructions from the Idol Ryan played to sell the story. Only problem: Ben is two steps ahead. Since these dinguses keep giving Ben alone time, he spends the entire night wandering in the dark until he finds yet another Hidden Immunity Idol. Ben does his best acting work to pretend he's screwed knowing fully well he's safe and the others gloat at their psych-out success. Devon finds it odd that Ben would give up this easily and worries maybe, just maybe, Ben has another Idol and will need to vote against one of his allies to ensure he's safe.

Tribal Council time! The group vocalizes that Ben is the primary target but they also aren't babysitting him to make sure he's not finding idols. Chrissy continues her Immunity Idol ruse and takes the Idol out of her bag and says she'll give it to Dr. Mike or Ryan by the end of the night. Ben says Chrissy gloated about her wonderful day, and continues to play up his dead-man-walking-status. The tribe votes and Chrissy gives her "idol" to Mike. But then another "Ben Bomb" drops and he plays another Hidden Immunity Idol. Three votes for Ben are null, but Devon's instinct to vote for Dr. Mike to save himself is correct. There's a tie between Devon and Dr. Mike, requiring the tribe to re-vote. In the re-vote, the tribe says goodbye to #1 Survivor urologist Dr. Mike.

Immunity idols are dunzo for the season but of course there's another twist ahead. After a super intense final Immunity Challenge to balance letters to spell "Heroes Healers Hustlers," Chrissy wins her 4th individual immunity which ties her for most challenge wins by a female in a season. Along with her safety, Chrissy wins a Secret Advantage in the form of information which lets her in on the final twist of the season and it is a doozy. Chrissy will choose who to bring with her to the Final 3 and the two remaining castaways will partake in a fire-making battle to earn the last spot in the Finals. Since Ryan is useless at the survival aspect of this show, Chrissy tells Devon he'll be making fire against Ben as their best bet to finally take out Ben. Devon tries to practice but breaks the flint which he takes as a sign from the Survivor gods to rest up. Tribal Council time! Ben is crushed to know an upside U in "Hustlers" is what led to his demise in the game, unaware of the twist lingering ahead that could change his fate. Devon and Ryan say they know the advantage, so Chrissy reads aloud the fire-making twist and makes her official declaration to take Ryan to the final 3. Devon and Ben get setup at their fire-making stations and the battle is on. Devon takes a slower approach to build up a pile of magnesium, but it's Ben's persistent sparks that eventually catch and turn into his victorious fire. Ben wins the last spot in the Final 3 while Devon becomes the last juror of the season.

The Final 3 enjoy their celebratory breakfast and mentally prepare for the last battle ahead. It's one last Tribal Council time! The new jury format introduced in Survivor: Game Changers of an open forum instead of individual beratement sessions is utilized again this season, which allows for open dialogue and discourse. Chrissy is congratulated to being a challenge beast and Ben for finding a trifecta of idols, while Ryan is written off pretty quickly as a GOAT. Ryan defends his game and explains his social game is what brought together many alliances including the infamous seven, especially finding the day one advantage which helped him gain trust with Chrissy and Devon. Ryan admits he wasn't a provider, which is frowned upon since he didn't help much around camp. Ryan's argument is he made social bonds which never made him a target and secured him several deals to the end. Chrissy stayed loyal to her alliances but says she did take time to socialize and learn about her fellow castaways. Chrissy was terrified of challenges and puked on day one and is proud that she won so many challenges. Chrissy owns her game of kicking ass, making relationships, and not leaving a trail of destruction and this was a 16 year dream come true for her. Ben admits his social game was kinda bad but he did open up and tell stories to certain people he felt close to, but with his back against the wall Ben hunted non-stop for idols to keep himself in the game and never quit. Ben fought to win this game for his family but also opens up about his PTSD and wanting to be a "hero" to those vets to show you can be happy. But who will the jury vote for to win this game?

Everyone's cleaned up and it's now the reunion show, which Probst methodically reads the jury's votes. Ryan receives 1 vote, Chrissy gets 2 votes, but with 5 votes to win the Sole Survivor of Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers is Ben. The reunion is a completely rushed 30 minutes and while any longtime reader knows I dislike reunions, it feels like the cast outside of the final 3 didn't a final moment in the sun (granted Dr. Mike and Devon got their features mid-episode after their eliminations). That said, Chrissy talks about applying to this show for 16 years and finally getting on, Ryan is proud of lasting, and Ben is reunited with his former Marine buddies. Probst brings up Lauren's failed two-piece idol (RIP to the other half which Dr. Mike threw in the fire) along with other failed advantages and idols of the past as a big ol' lead in for next season. Survivor: Ghost Island will feature the bad decisions of former players past coming back to haunt the new cast. And with that another season of Survivor is wrapped up and while overall it's not a favorite of mine, it was a fun ride. See you for Ghost Island which they swear isn't a Scooby Doo episode.

Before we wrap this all up, there's a Pre-Show Winner Prediction Trophy to hand out! Only one this season as most of our predictions went towards the ladies this season taken out pre to early jury. Yet again I leave trophyless but in my initial blog explaining my pick, I had Ben as a darkhorse and this quote will be etched into my mind forever: "Ben is also a big fan of the show and was a complete pleasant surprise and he might be that one that truly snuck by me for winner predictions."

But congratulations to the one winner who nailed it!




[All images credited to CBS]


December 18, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Secret, Secret, Secret

12/18/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 12

After Ben's idol-playing blindside at the last Tribal Council, all are in agreement to get rid of Ben next "no matter what." Ben spends the entire episode searching for a Hidden Immunity Idol and apparently no one considers the idea of tailing Ben to ensure he doesn't find it. Maybe it's arrogance or ego... or just plain stupidity. Ben finds a clue that tells him the Idol is hidden beneath the shelter, so it'll take some slick moves to snag it undetected. But the Ben as a target plan doesn't last too long before a new name is thrown out. On a desert island reward feast, Devon and Chrissy opt to bring Ryan which infuriates hangry Ashley. Ashley and Devon have been tight allies since the swap, but on the reward Devon makes a final three deal with Ryan and Chrissy. No one thinks Ben could possibly find an idol again, but just in case the idea is suggested to split the votes between Ben and Dr. Mike. But that's not Chrissy's true intent, instead wanting to vote out Ashley now to officially sever the Ashley/Devon alliance. "No matter what" my butt.

Tribal Council time! Ben points out there's two pairs, a swing vote Dr. Mike, and he's the lone wolf being hunted. Everyone except Ben says they have a final three locked in, which is a way for Ryan to shoehorn in more bad analogies. Ben's bursting to ruin everyone's plans and force power moves, revealing that he in fact secured the Hidden Immunity idol from under the shelter. Devon doesn't believe Ben will play the idol and it could all be a ruse, so Ben gets up and hands the idol to Probst before the votes and declares he's playing the idol and safe. Time for Plan B! Ben tells Ashley and Devon to vote for Dr. Mike. Ashley complies with the request, but no one else does. Ashley's blindsided when the rest of the tribe votes her out of the game.

[All images credited to CBS]


December 10, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Core Four No More

12/10/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 11

It's time for the much anticipated (by the castaways, not me) loved one visit and clearly someone forgot to do their homework assignment and scrambled to make a challenge last minute. Calling this a "challenge" is an overstatement: the loved ones and survivors randomly draw rocks from a bag and hope they match to get time together. Chrissy "wins" a visit from her husband and also picks Ryan, Dr. Mike, and Ashley to get family visits. This is Chrissy's middle finger moment to Ben as she's furious at her former ally for jumping ship to the other side, leaving her in the dark on the Joe vote-off. While on the reward, Chrissy attempts to bring Ashley to her side to get Ben out. Meanwhile, Ben crafts a fake immunity to hopefully distract Chrissy and Ryan from finding the real idol. Lauren ends up noticing a marked log and calls over Ben and Devon. The clue is half of a Hidden Immunity Idol and in order to complete the idol, Lauren must pick up its counterpart at the Immunity Challenge.

Ashley wins the latest endurance Immunity Challenge after Devon gives it to her in exchange for a backrub, which is a solid deal. Lauren comes out the secret winner here as she's able to snag her Immunity-Idol-finishing-shell off the ground. Looking towards the finish line and pondering that infamous Survivor resume, Ashley begins to ponder Chrissy's idea of voting off Ben as her big move. Ashley's idea is nixed by Devon and Lauren, but they do agree Ben needs to go soon... which Ben overhears and then get's awkward silence from his allies. Worried about his status, Ben turns the target onto Lauren, spilling all the tea about Lauren's newfound Immunity Idol and her extra vote. Dr. Mike and Ryan are onboard with the plan, but Chrissy is extremely resistant to trust Ben again. Dr. Mike sees Chrissy's need for revenge (Ben-geance?) and puts Plan B in motion: let everyone know Ben is throwing Lauren under the bus. Suddenly the Core Four alliance is in shambles. As a move to show her trust in Dr. Mike, Lauren gives half of her new Immunity Idol to Dr. Mike. Is this move brilliant or horrible? TBD.

Tribal Council time! Devon explains giving Ashley immunity in exchange for a backrub was a display of trust, which he'd do for both Ashley or Lauren. Ben pipes in that he thought he was part of the alliance which begins a Tribal Council shitstorm. Lauren is mad that Ben spilled the beans about her Idol, citing his paranoia and lack of trust. Lauren lets everyone know that Ben made a fake Idol to try and dupe Chrissy. Chrissy thinks Lauren should destroy her extra vote advantage to remove her target and Lauren insists she's not playing it and would give it away. Well the extra vote isn't destroyed, but the new Immunity Idol is when Dr. Mike tosses his half into the fire. Dr. Mike explains advantages are blessings and curses and it's agreed by everyone that maybe you shouldn't keep telling people about your game-changing secrets. Everyone begins whispering and scrambling to figure out what the heck to do with this vote. The only person who knows who they're voting for is Ben, who openly tells the group he's voting for Lauren. The night gets even more shocking when the one advantage that was actually kept a secret comes out: Ben plays his real Immunity Idol. All votes cast for Ben are null, which is every vote except for one: Lauren. My soul is crushed.


[All images credited to CBS]


December 3, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: The End of the Seven

12/03/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 10

After Mike's extremely poor attempt to get votes sent his way and play an idol, him and Joe appear to be sitting ducks for the seven to knock off over the next two votes. But the seven aren't as strong as assumed. Chrissy and Ryan already have plans to target Ben once they reach "the seven". Meanwhile, Lauren wins the Reward Challenge and chooses Devon, Ben, and Ashley to join her for burgers but also to create a new majority alliance to take control of the game. In the midst of all the scheming, there's a bit of a surprise: letters from home under a burger bun. That's where I usually leave my mail as well. When Ben returns to camp to read his letter alone by himself, he stumbles upon a clue for a new Hidden Immunity Idol in a clay pot which he successfully finds. Time to shake up the seven.

At the Immunity Challenge, Devon, Ben, and Lauren opt to sit out of the Immunity Challenge to chomp on some chocolate and peanut butter. The rest of the group balance on pyramids for their guaranteed safety, eventually won by Ashley. The seven gather to decide which of the Coco-nuts (Joe is Coco, and urologist Mike is the nuts) to vote off, with Chrissy saying to take out Mike first. But there's a different plan in motion by the new foursome to seize control. The plan: Ben will act as a double agent and vote for Mike with Chrissy, Ryan, and JP, but Lauren, Ashley, and Devon will bring in Joe and Mike to gain the majority and blindside the others. Oooh this is getting fun.

Tribal Council time! Mike explains his idol play and rantings at last Tribal Council were not crazy and had a point. The newly formed comedy duo of Mike and Joe are two votes that can be used to anyone's advantage, should anyone take up their offer. But of course, Ryan says their pitch doesn't fit into the seven. The "perfect storm" is coming per Lauren because the game ends with three, not seven, and they're not seven best friends sitting around a campfire together. It's all about being in the know on the plans and playing Survivor at all times. This conversations pans out beautifully when the big blindside happens and JP is voted out of the game, shocking Ryan and Chrissy who thought they had their checks signed, sealed, and delivered. So much for lucky number seven.

But guess what, everyone? This recap isn't over because this is a TWO HOUR EPISODE! Shall we continue?

The tribe celebrates/gloats to a dumbfounded Chrissy and Ryan about their move. Devon is ecstatic that he's running the game, which is either the confessional of a future winner or a guy who eventually gets screwed big time. Ben plays his role as infiltrator masterfully, pretending to be on the outs so Chrissy and Ryan think he's still a part of their alliance and making Joe and Mike believe he wasn't part of the plan either. It makes for an amusing reward of keeping up the ruse with Devon and Ashley fake-disliking Ben and Joe loving every moment of Ben being on the bottom. Desperate to re-gain the upper hand in the game, Ryan tries to talk game with Dr. Mike but gives him a hard pass since Ryan rejected his outreach before. Chrissy tries to tell Lauren her and Ryan have talked about taking her to final three and Lauren isn't buying it since Chrissy never once tried to align with her before. Oh how the mighty have fallen and it's so entertaining.

Chrissy hates the feeling of having no control over her fate in the game, but turns that fate frown upside down by winning the wheelbarrow and puzzle solving Immunity Challenge. Ryan and Chrissy assume the votes will go towards Ben or Ryan, so Ryan plans to use the Hidden Immunity Idol he doesn't stop talking about to buy him three more days. They're totally unaware of the four's actual plan to finally vote out Joe under the guise that the votes are being split between Ryan and Ben, then utilizing Lauren's extra vote to get rid of Ben. As Ben continues to ride high on both sides, Lauren and Ashley realize Ben's in the best position to win this game and considers that it might be advantageous to blindside Ben now. The idea is floated to Devon whose face lights up at the idea but is also torn which is a better move for their future game. Betrayal all around, this is getting good.

Tribal Council time (again)! Chrissy's dream for sixteen years was to be on Survivor and winning immunity while at her lowest is a great feeling. Dr. Mike and Joe are all smiles too, finally feeling a part of the alliance. Ben says he feels he's going home and Ryan agrees, pointing out that the other side utilized Dr. Mike and Joe's middleman votes. Joe says there was never a seven and puts that all on "King Ben." Ben says Joe and Dr. Mike are the bottom of the five, but Dr. Mike explains there's equal sharing of information. Probst's analogy of the night is wiping a whiteboard clean with a new plan each time and Devon agrees. Not willing to let a Tribal Council pass by without one of his own heavy-handed analogies, Ryan compares Tribal Council to going to prom with one person and leaving with another. Nope, doesn't work. A smiling Joe admits this is the first time at Tribal Council he's felt comfortable, but the smile fades into a baffled grin when his "alliance" votes him out of the game.

[All images credited to CBS]


November 24, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: King Arthur and the Statue of Liberty

11/24/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 9

Chrissy, JP, Cole, Joe, and Dr. Mike win the Reward Challenge and spend an afternoon chowing down on carbs on a luxury yacht. Other than Joe hacking up a chocolate cake to look for a clue, game talk on the reward is minimal. But there's game talk back at camp as Ryan decides it's a good time to share his Hidden Immunity Idol news with Ben to build up his relationship Rolodex. Ben has the exact same idea and uses Ryan's idol secret as a way to get closer to Devon, but Devon thought Ryan only shared this secret with him. Ut-oh. Building relationships is key in the game, but Joe decides his strategy is to destroy all of his relationships for the sake of being kept around as a constant annoying target that would be an easy person to beat in the end.

At the Immunity Challenge, Lauren outlasts everyone in yet another endurance competition and wins Immunity. Cole has been dominating the challenges and this rare moment of Immunity failure seems like the time to strike. Ben tells the tribe to split the votes between Cole and Dr. Mike, but the rest of the alliance of 7 (particular Ashley and Chrissy) are adamant they should get rid of Joe. Ben tells Dr. Mike that he should vote for Cole, which he agrees to but worries they might betray his trust. Dr. Mike decides he's going to play his Idol at Tribal Council to "make their world implode" which seems like a bit of a stretch, but this season could use a shake up.

Tribal Council! As soon as they sit down, Dr. Mike whispers to Joe to trust him and follow his lead. Joe explains he's an outsider in the dominant alliance of Heroes and Hustlers, and Mike tags on that once the all powerful seven get to that point then the Heroes have a numbers advantage. Chrissy brings up the bad vibes at camp because of Joe which then leads Dr. Mike into a speech about Survivor representing society and justifying actions, so not voting out Joe is a display of poor moral character. Dr. Mike says Ben is King Arthur and he's the Statue of Liberty. Lauren basically tells Mike to shut up because he's digging his own grave, which is maybe what Dr. Mike hopes will happen. After the votes are cast, Dr. Mike plays his Immunity Idol on himself which nulls two votes. This all goes according to Ben's earlier plan as an idol is flushed and the  alliance of 7 votes Cole of the the game.

[All images credited to CBS]


November 19, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Spaghetti with a Twist

11/19/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 8

This week's Survivor episode is like working at a soft-serve ice cream stand: a lot of twists. Lauren notices a piece of parchment in a bag of nails and quickly snags it. She sneaks away and learns that if she doesn't vote in this week's Tribal Council then at any future Tribal Council she'll have an extra vote. But one twist isn't enough so there's a new Hidden Immunity idol clue beneath a big ol' family style spaghetti platter (devoured by the winners one-by-one). Third eater Cole discovers the clue and tries to hide it by placing the spaghetti on a napkin, then putting the napkin over the plate. Chrissy finds it weird that there's no plate, but quickly discovers the plate and clue under the napkin. Ryan reads the clue and dumps the evidence like a murderer in a Lifetime movie by hiding it in the trees. Upon their return to camp, Ryan quickly acquires the idol from below the tribe flag. Chrissy covers the tracks by returning the sand, but Cole returns from an ill-timed pee break and assumes she's digging. It's an all out shoving and digging brawl that ends with everyone suspecting Cole got it but him leaving empty handed with a target on his back.

In true Survivor fashion, top target Cole wins the endurance/balance Immunity Challenge and secures his safety for three more days. The Hustler/Hero alliance decide the girls in the alliance will vote Joe and the men will vote Desi, just in case there's an idol. Since the Healers are lacking an idol (an unaware of Dr. Mike's), Joe tries to flip the Hustlers on Ben and Ben overhears everything. Ben confronts Joe and the argument escalates when Joe claims Ben swore on the Marines. While Ben's allies have no desire to turn on him yet, a split vote combined with Lauren's advantage to note vote could give the Healers the majority to vote out Ben. So the game changes up again with Ben trying to flip Dr. Mike the healer to his side. Could Lauren's advantage accidentally take out her closest ally?

Tribal Council time! Joe says regardless of playing an idol successfully he's always feeling the heat, then ousts Ben as the ringleader. Ben says his alliance makes decisions together and they have each others backs. He also stresses he would never swear on the Marines and apologizes to Joe and the tribe for losing his cool earlier. Dr. Mike mentions feeling betrayed after the Yawa thing fell apart at the last vote, Desi talks about lies and personal moral lines, and Devon gives a rambling speech that I think was about being low energy but honestly, no clue. The tribe votes and when Jeff reveals the votes, no one seems to realize they're short a vote. But there is a tie between Desi and Joe, requiring a re-vote. Being a strong physical competitor, Healer, and probably he ties to Joe gets Desi eliminated and a place as the first member of this season's jury.


[All images credited to CBS]


November 12, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Ribeyes and Blindsides

11/12/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 7

The three tribes officially merge into one and celebrate their unity with ribeye steaks, baked potatoes,  and Chocolate Thunder From Down Under cake courtesy of the Outback Steakhouse (who must not have really pondered what that dessert name sounds like). There's tension under the friendly greetings with everyone eyeing up the threats and targets. The new Yawa promises to stay five-strong and hope to bring in remaining Healers Joe and Desi to gain the majority. But there's another alliance brewing between the Heroes and Hustlers to pick off the Healers. Lauren isn't so sure about this plan because she likes Dr. Mike and Yawa, but Ben's her tightest ally and his irritation with Cole is pushing him away from the Yawa pact. With so many meaty targets to choose from, winning immunity is everything.

But it's not the powerhouse men who dominate the first Individual Immunity Challenge, it's the women! A mix of balancing and spinning a ball on what looks like a Hot Wheels toy track, Desi outlasts all to win the Immunity Necklace which looks like it was stole right off King Triton's nightstand. Cole gets wind from Jessica and Dr. Mike that he's being seen a food hog and target for the vote, so he takes Ben aside to apologize and try to keep the alliance together. Joe warns Cole that Ben is going to flip, so Joe is prepared to play his latest Hidden Immunity Idol if needed. The Yawa alliance plans to vote for Chrissy because she's a huge threat and smart. They're not wrong about Chrissy who concocts a plan to act like they're voting for Joe to flush out his idol, but vote for Jessica in case Joe plays his idol on Cole. All solid plans but they're all dependent on a key vote: Ben.

Tribal Council time! There's talk about numbers and while it's easy to go after majorities or minorities, you need to think a few moves ahead of the obvious. Targets change every vote because what's a threat one vote could be different next time. Joe promised Cole he'd come alive at Tribal Council and does he ever, busting out his Hidden Immunity Idol and wearing it proudly to show he's safe. The tribes head up to vote and Joe hesistates, then plays his Immunity Idol for a fresh start. It's a close vote with back-and-forth votes for Chrissy and Jessica, but ultimately the Heroes and Hustlers come together and blindside the other alliance with the Healer they least expected.


[All images credited to CBS]


November 5, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: A Slice of Betrayal

11/05/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 6

Cracks in the tribes are becoming more apparent, which sets plenty of targets out there for the voting. While a pizza party reward temporarily satiates the Soko tribe, Ali is still seething that Ryan lied to her and left her out of the vote to blindside Roark. But at least Ali is a known entity unlike the human form of an unscented candle, JP, who brings nothing strategically and is just counting down the minutes until challenges. Over on Yawa, Cole continues to annoy the tribe with his incessant eating like a greedy Mogwai after midnight. Turns out Cole's muscular physique is struggling for nutrition and briefly faints, sending healers Dr. Mike and Jessica to the rescue, but also setting off red flags that maybe his body isn't in this game for the longhaul. Ashley and Devon continue trying to turn Desi to their side to vote Joe off of Levu, but he's off successfully finding his second Hidden Immunity Idol (again by the well but this time it's four feet away instead of five feet - what a gamechanger).

Twisting up the format, the stack and spell "IMMUNITY" Immunity Challenge is turned into a tribe challenge which calls for teamwork and a steady hand. All the tribes falter and flub but Soko ultimately loses and is headed to Tribal Council again. Knowing she's on the outs, Ali approaches Chrissy to pledge allegiance and move forward together. JP's challenge prowess and post-merge Immunity threat provides a glimmer of hope for Ali, which she tries to sell to Chrissy and Ryan. Chrissy and Ryan are elated to play the game together and make the decision of who will be easier to beat when they merge.

Tribal Council time! Probst asks for a recap of the last blindside, which Ryan defends as Roark was a threat that would've re-aligned with the Healers at the merge. Ali assures the group she's over being left out and ready to move forward in the game together. JP acknowledges being a physical threat but also doesn't give much valuable info, which is part of the mystery of JP's "game." Ali hopes the relationships were mended but the vote says otherwise. Ali is voted out of the tribe just shy of the merge.


[All images credited to CBS]


October 29, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: What the Roark?!

10/29/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 5

Before getting into the game of it all, Survivor has an excellent emotional moment to share after Ben is startled by the bamboo popping in the campfire. The former Marine explains how in war you see and experience things others won't and it's hard to go back to a normal life after. He hopes by succeeding on Survivor he can inspire other veterans and it's a beautiful human moment in a reality game show.

Commencing game-bot mode. The Reward Challenge has iced coffee and pastry on the line and all it takes is doing the worm through the sand and shooting some baskets. Levu is able to come together after voting off Alan and win that beautiful platter of breakfast treats. Ashley and Devon give Joe credit for his surprising idol play, but begin putting their heads together for a way to sway Desi to oust Joe once and for all. Wary of Cole's blabbermouth tendencies and the tribe's growing irritation with him as a whole, Jessica and Mike begin to grow closer as allies when they successfully find the Hidden Immunity Idol at the Yawa well. Eventhough Ryan completely blows the challenge for Soku, but his social game is enough for no one to care about losing a vat of coffee and still wanting him as an ally. 

Ryan's position as the turtleneck-in-the-middle becomes crucial after Soku loses the Immunity Challenge. Chrissy and Roark talk strategy for the first time and Chrissy poses the idea of an all girl's alliance, which is all BS. Chrissy wants to vote out Roark and lies to JP that Roark is the one who suggested a girl's alliance. Ali, Ryan's ally from the Hustler tribe, wants to vote with Roark to eliminate Chrissy, who is weak in challenges. Ryan's in the middle of two pretty tight allies, neither of which wants to work with the other, and both think he's on their side. What's a guy with a smelly red turtleneck to do?

Tribal Council time! Ali brings up that Chrissy didn't tag out of the challenge, but she insists she asked and everyone told her to keep doing that weird Swiss cheese puzzle. Chrissy admits today was the first time she talked strategy with Roark, who points out Chrissy waited to talk to her until she needed her, since Chrissy did talk game to everyone else. JP, poor bland JP, brings up the women talking together and fear of them aligning against the men. Roark thinks she's made enough bonds to trust at the vote and is the swing. Ali brings up a good point that this is Roark's first Tribal Council and voting is what really builds trust. Roark's first Tribal Council ends up being her only one as Ryan picks a side and votes with Chrissy and JP to eliminate Roark from the game.

[All images credited to CBS]


October 22, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: That Is Not An Advantage

10/22/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 4

The time has come to drop those buffs and shuffle the tribes! With 15 survivors remaining, the Heroes, Healers, and Hustlers randomly draw buffs to be placed into their new tribe. The three revamped tribes have to test their new and pretty much non-existent bonds immediately with a Reward Challenge for a "peanut butter and jelly bonanza." Yawa AKA red tribe wins PB&J and bags of chips, the most budget conscious reward you can have as a group.


Yawa divvies up their sandwiches and individual brown bags of chips and if you're getting bagged snacks and it's not product placement, a secret advantage is ahead. Jessica discovers the secret advantage in her bag, which allows her to block one person from voting at the next Tribal Council. She shares her secret with fellow Healers Cole and Mike, which Cole proceeds to divulge to Ben and Lauren as a way to gain trust. Jessica is baffled and upset to learn the whole tribe knows her advantage because of her flirting buddy Cole, concerned she picked the wrong guy to trust. Speaking of secret advantages, Ryan reveals to new tribemate Chrissy that he gave her the secret advantage at the first Tribal Council to make sure she was safe. Chrissy smile radiates happiness and potentially a new partnership is formed. New Levu is also divided into two pairs of unlikely partners: former rivals Ashley and Alan and Healers Joe and Desi. Hustler Devon sits in the clutch position of swing vote and easily picks the Heroes side after catching Joe in a super easy to fact-check lie.

At the Immunity Challenge, Yawa and and Soko's puzzle smarts secure them immunity and dooms Levu to Tribal Council. Since Yawa won immunity, Jessica plans to use her anonymous vote block to help her fellow Healers. The Healers need the help they can get after Joe's plan to get the target put on himself (and shock everyone with his idol) ends up creating more of a target on Desi. Desi request that as an extension of trust, Joe should play his idol on her. Right before heading to Tribal Council, Devon find a surprise in his bag: the secret advantage! Devon hopes this could be something amazing to grab the power... oopsies.

Tribal Council time! The conversation kicks off with talk about the heated afternoon discussion incited by Joe. Ashley is not pleased at being call the weakest link and Desi fears she's in trouble due to Joe's actions. Devon says he'll be voting with who he feels more comfortable moving in the game with. Alan points out the Healers are undefeated and if they are left together, they head into a future merge potentially six strong and ready to pick off the rest. Probst announces it's time to vote and Devon reveals his secret advantage but the joy fades from his face when he reads that he's been blocked from voting. "That is not an advantage," he says glumly. The remaining four vote and when Probst prepares to read the votes, Joe gets up and plays his Hidden Immunity Idol on himself. The two votes against Joe are null and Alan is voted out of the game with the two remaining votes. Twists galore!


[All images credited to CBS]


October 14, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Banishing the Wild Banshee

10/14/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 3

In a group of young'ns, Lauren feels vulnerable about her place on the tribe. Her best bet for staying alive is if the tribe turns on Patrick and his fail at a social game is definitely helping Lauren's odds. Over on at boring Heroes beach, Ashley is still denying she's in a power couple with JP but doing her hardest to campaign to keep eye-candy-provider JP over can't-open-coconut-wildcard Alan. Healer Cole confides to Jessica that Joe found the Hidden Immunity Idol, which is Cole's form of whispering sweet nothings to his crush. Jessica rewards Cole with a kiss on the cheek, but later gets annoyed when Cole continues to reveal the powerful Idol secret to Desi and Roark as part of a master plan to blindside Joe at a future Tribal Council.

The Hustlers lose the Immunity Challenge largely to due Patrick's poor performance to accurately throw sandbags at blocks, allowing the Heroes and Healers to get to the stacking portion (and victory) sooner. Veteran outfielder Lauren is particularly annoyed she didn't get to throw and have her A League of Their Own star moment. Always the Kit, never the Dottie. Devon, Ryan, and Ali are at a crossroads of who to keep because alleged challenge strength Patrick lost for them and Lauren's a bit of an outsider. Talk turns to the merge but maybe they should be thinking about an obvious swap first.

Tribal Council time! Lauren isn't being coy about her feelings about Patrick, laying into him for being out for himself and not the team. Patrick brings up his conversation with Lauren on the beach and she turns that around on him too, talking about him smirking and fake comforting her. But then Lauren talks about not believing a redhead in her life and that seems a biiiiit extreme. The tribe seems to be in agreement that the vote will be about creating the best chemistry for the tribe but how they'll fit into the merge. Patrick thinks he'll be valuable at a merge because he's good at making friends, but Ali points out he hasn't made friends with Lauren so it might not be his best asset. Patrick hopes he can grow but unfortunately he'll be growing on some really cool pre-merge boot trip as the Hustlers vote Patrick out of the tribe.



[All images credited to CBS]


October 9, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Howdy, Partners!

10/09/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 2

Strong partnerships are starting to form across all the tribes. With the "core four" dead on arrival after the first Tribal Council, Chrissy uses her actuary skills to use data to select her perfect partner. I call it the Goldilocks method as Chrissy interviews everyone until she finds the ally that's just right: Ben. When Healer Joe finds a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol carved into the tree, he pulls in Cole for the assist and together they find the Idol hidden by the well. Looks like Cole's got himself two partners in the game: Joe because of the idol, and Jessica because they're a budding showmance. Ryan and Devon seem to be the dominating secret pair of the Hustlers, it's Ali that's at the center of most partnerships. Week one she aligned with Patrick, but in the following days has formed a strong bond with fisherwoman Lauren and considers taking on Simone, the tribe's outsider. Ali's in an awesome spot except for one problem: her allies are annoyed by each other. What's a girl to do?

The Hustlers initially lead the Immunity Challenge when retrieving puzzle pieces, but blow the lead and lose the challenge when they're unable to properly assemble the sign post puzzle before the other two tribes. Failing at the puzzle is another strike on Simone's small resume which includes cleaning a fish and finally pooping in the ocean. Simone knows she's the easiest target so tries to change her fate and put the focus on Patrick. Ali ponders her options and approaches Ryan to talk through voting scenarios which is Simone's unpredictability and Patrick's constant need for a babysitter.


Tribal Council time! Ryan compares Tribal Council to a birthday party you're forced to attend for a kid you don't like. Lauren says it's a funeral which is probably more accurate. Ali explains that the vote isn't just about how the person benefits her game, but also the tribe. Simone urges the tribe to vote for someone they can trust rather than the old school method of challenge performance. Patrick wants to keep the tribe strong, then flubs by saying he trusts "most" of the tribe. It's a real oopsy but Patrick can't help grimacing and laughing at himself the whole time. The Hustlers vote and decide that babysitting the prime target is the way to go, and they vote out Simone.


[All images credited to CBS]


October 1, 2017

Survivor Heroes Vs Healers Vs Hustlers: Idol Strip Search

10/01/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 1

Toot the conch shell: a new season of Survivor is here! Jeff Probst corrals three tribes of Heroes, Healers, and Hustlers on a boat and unleashes the traditional insanity of the marooning. In the process of tossing bananas and pineapple overboard, Ryan from the Hustlers Tribe finds a secret advantage (but more on that later). When Probst rings the supper bell, it's time to GTFO the big boat and race to shore in their paddleboats to win fire. The Healers succeed in lighting their torch first which wins them a full fire kit (and a massive bonfire at their beach). The Heroes place second and get flint. The Hustlers are left straggling out at sea trying to figure out the oars. Great start!

All the tribes head to camp to get to know each other, but idols dominate the first few days of the game. Ryan's secret advantage from the marooning is an Immunity Super Idol that can be played after the votes are read but is valid only for the first Tribal Council. But here's the kicker: if the Hustlers don't go to Tribal Council, Ryan must give it to a member of the losing tribe. Looking to make an ally tighter than the red turtleneck he's wearing, Ryan shares this information with Devon so they can choose the right recipient if needed. Mike the urologist's kids told him to hunt for an idol so he follows their orders, but Joe confronts Mike to say everyone knows what he's up to when we wanders alone. But no one loses their mind over the idols quite like Alan. Already wary of the bond between Ashley and JP, Alan confronts JP about having an idol in his pants so JP strips downs and proves he's got nothing but the Idol he was born with - wiiiiiink. Alan hopes this confrontation puts a target on the "power couple," but it might have made himself a target in the process.

The tribes gather for their first Immunity Challenge which includes rolling down a cart like a Survivor rollercoaster and a choose-your-puzzle adventure. An early lead allows The Heroes to pick their puzzle first, choosing one with a lot of walls and less opportunity to fall of the sides, but they can't pull out the win and are heading to Tribal Council. An exhausted Chrissy gave her heart, soul, and lunch, leading her to puke beside the puzzle. A good puke is the equivalent of a Bachelor First Impression Rose, which makes Chrissy a standout and therefore the recipient of the Super Immunity Idol from Ryan. It's just what Chrissy needed as the "mom squad" of her and Katrina are isolated from the fractured foursome of Ashley, JP, Ben, and Alan. Ben and Alan end up in the middle of the two sides, but if Chrissy plays the Super Idol choosing a side might not matter at all.

Tribal Council time! Chrissy and Katrina admit feeling left out, expecting the physical threats to get together (correct). Probst's face lights up with delight hearing about the idol strip search. The tribe still thinks Ashley and JP are a power couple, which Ashley adamantly denies and JP boringly answers. Alan's eyes are open to everything happening, quite literally because I'm not sure he blinks at all during Tribal Council. Ben speaks the of voice of reason and tells everyone to vote to stay strong and they'll discuss their problems later. The Heroes cast their votes and even after the votes are read, Chrissy holds onto her Super Idol. Katrina and her colorful workout wear because the first voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.

[All images credited to CBS]


September 22, 2017

Survivor: Heroes Vs. Healers Vs. Hustlers Pre-Show Winner Prediction

Move aside, Pumpkin Spice. The true sign of fall is a new season of Survivor, and the 35th season is a three tribal battle of Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. In all my seasons of (inaccurately) trying to predict a winner, no season has been quite as hard as this one. I like the cast across the board but really had a hard time deciding who could win it all. That said, when it's hard to predict a winner and unpredictable season should be ahead!

After too many hours of reading player bios, watching cast videos, and listening to endless podcasts, I've sussed out my prediction of who will be the Sole Survivor.


MELISSA PREDICTS...



Desi will win Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers

This has taken me hours to decide upon and a ton of rambling conversations where I changed my mind four or five times. Ultimately I chose Desi as my pick to win because she seems extremely well-rounded. But the other survivors also can see Desi is a threat, so hopefully she can ingratiate herself well and put bigger targets in front of her. Now for lots of honorary shout-outs. I love Chrissy and hope she goes far and my main reason for not picking her was a young cast, which is something she fears as well. Ali is awesome but the Hustlers tribe looks destined for many Tribal Councils. Roark and Ryan both stuck out as superfans, but perhaps with Millennials vs. Gen-X on the mind the big fans could be targets due to Adam's win. Ben is also a big fan of the show and was a complete pleasant surprise and he might be that one that truly snuck by me for winner predictions. But truly this season, minus a few here and there, pretty much anyone could take the title.

Now it's your turn! Time for YOU to cast your pre-show winner prediction. Who do you think will be the winner of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers? VOTE BELOW - voting closes right when the east coast premiere begins!



[All images credited to The Hollywood Reporter and CBS]


September 11, 2017

Bachelor in Paradise: A Little Love and Lots of Break-Ups

9/11/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 5 - Finale

The end is nigh for Paradise and only serious couples are allowed to stay. So begins the mass breakup morning at Playa Escondida! Jack Stone makes an offer to Christen: let's leave Paradise together immediately. Christen puts Jack into the Acquaintance Zone and waves her scallop fingers to say goodbye; he leaves solo. Tickle Monster and Jasmine agree to part ways as if their makeout sessions might have been something bigger. Diggy dumps Dominique to pursue something with Jaimi, who in return ditches Diggy. Dean admits to D.Lo that he's ending things with her because he's in love with Kristina and ruined everything. Well you ruined our viewing experience as well, Dean. Amanda is having flashbacks to last summer in Paradise, where you may recall she got engaged with sweaty douchebag Josh. She's not ready to continue on with Robby's unwavering hair and she ends their summer fling, shocking him.

The mass exodus of people who came for the open bar and airtime ends with three couples choosing to pursue their relationships further. Derek and Taylor are Paradise's supercouple of the season and the sexy times impending is a big deal for their love story. No one probably expected Daniel and Lacey to last until the end of this show, but here we are watching these two weirdos agree to date after the show and exchanging "falling for yous" before accepting a Fantasy Suite card. Break out the creepy Canadian flag Speedo! Adam tells Raven he feels he could fall in love with her and is optimistic about their relationship, but Raven's is resistant to let her guard fully down and has hesitation about going to the Fantasy Suite.

Cut to the live audience reunion where the cast looks so bothered to be forced to attend. Almost as bothered I am that they cut the regular end of Paradise to force us into watching a reunion. Dean takes all the blame between Kristina and D.Lo, but still pursued a relationship with Danielle after the show and is trying to restart things with Kristina. Amanda and Robby ended up dating after they broke up on the show because they had different expectations, but rumors say skeezy Robby cheated on Amanda and he denies. Lacey and Daniel are dunzo after he admitted he was lying about his feelings. Raven and Adam did end up going to the Fantasy Suite and are still dating and in love. Then Adam gets to meet Raven's parents who are in the audience because everyone loves a good setup. Wrapping up the season, Derek and Taylor come out to the hot seat and Derek proposes to Taylor and she says yes. Bachelor in Paradise is really going to surpass The Bachelor success rate. It's hilarious.


[All images credited to ABC]