Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers episode 7 review: The merge is crazy as always


Survivor season 35 episode 7 reviewGoing into Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers episode 7, our expectations were higher than they’ve been almost the entire season. This is when the game tends to explode in terms of strategy and blindsides.

Come about twenty minutes into this episode, after the merge and the extensively-sponsored Outback Steakhouse feast (with all of their air time these days, we’re starting to feel like they are Les Moonves’ favorite restaurant), we started to see just how crazy the game was. The numbers were falling in an interesting place. The remaining five Healers were all back together, and they seemed to have Lauren on their side thanks to the bond that she forged with Dr. Mike after the swap.

The problem here was Ben — the Healers tribe thought they had him, but he didn’t trust Cole and he was super close to Chrissy, who basically decided that she wanted Joe out the moment that she started to hear him talk about the game. Cole and Joe were the obvious targets of the anti-Healers alliance — Joe’s a strategic threat and Cole’s eating all the food.

(Sidebar: Ali may have said that Chrissy’s been the beneficiary of a lot of luck in our most-recent Survivor exit interview, but we do still think that she’s doing a very good job navigating the game — she may be a little too aggressive at times but nobody seems to want her out right now.)

The immunity challenge

The best moment of this may have been Mike dropping out after he got distracted talking to Jeff Probst. (Second best moment was Jeff repeatedly trolling Ryan about how bad he was at it.) This challenge was awkward — we prefer ones that we could somehow envision people doing if they were on a deserted island. We’re not sure how many people are moving balls around a circle while also standing on a balance beam.

The four people who performed the best in this episode were Devon, Ashley, Cole, and Chrissy — Cole needed it more than anyone. Desi ended up winning it and that makes sense — she allowed the ball to move a little slower and that seemed to be the right move.

Now, preparing for Tribal Council

After realizing that he was on the chopping block, Cole immediately went into damage control — apologizing to Ben for eating all of the food. Joe meanwhile, was very concerned about the idea of his fellow Healers trusting Ben and for good reason.

It was at this point we finally started to understand who the Healers’ target was: Chrissy. Dr. Mike realized how smart she was, and this is where Chrissy’s flaw comes into play: She’s smart and everyone knows it. It’s a great skill to be as brilliant as she is in life. In Survivor, it’s dangerous. It can get you into big trouble.

The big tell of the episode

Early in the episode Survivor showed a confessional of Jessica calling herself “Queen Bee” — if you ever brag about your position in the game in the confessional, odds are you’re going home. Jessica found herself a target of Chrissy’s just because Joe or Cole could do something crazy with the idols.

Now, Tribal Council chaos

Let’s be real: It made sense for Ben to side with the Healers since otherwise, you were looking at a 6-6 tie and nobody wants to draw rocks this early. (Or … did it make sense? We’ll get to that in a moment.)

This Tribal Council was all about Joe in between him pulling out his Hidden Immunity Idol, being completely honest, and overall just serving as this season’s entertainment gold. He’s cocky through the roof but cocky is fun, especially on this season where there are too many people trying to play under the radar.

Who left? Well, it was … Jessica! Someone flipped, Joe wasted his idol on himself, and the remainder of the Healers tribe is now in big trouble. Jessica didn’t see this coming, and we got the merge blindside we wanted. Lauren was the one who flipped tonight with Ben, which we didn’t see initially coming.

CarterMatt Verdict

A big move by Ben tonight, but one that could end up blowing up in his face. What we do love about the Jessica vote is that it rocks the entire Healers tribe to its core — she was the glue seemingly holding some of them together.

What did you think about Survivor’s merge this time around?

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