'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (2024)

Can I ask you all a question? And that question is: What are you all talking about? Hahahahaha, that's just a little topical Survivor humor for you. BAM! Coming out of the gate hot! Well, I'll tell you what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Jem… or Jungle Jem, if you're nasty. Last week, I posited that Jem was truly outrageous —truly, truly, truly outrageous. Something I am more than sure Jem has never heard in her entire life. (Shout out for originality!) She had found a Beware Advantage and placed the note in another area so her tribe mates spent hours upon useless hours digging for an advantage that was not there. Hilarious! Well played!

Even better than that, Jem did not let anyone in on her secret. She did not break the cardinal rule of Survivor that pretty much everyone goes and breaks anyway —do not tell others about your idol or advantage. I wouldn’t say she was the best liar. While she may not have been giggling while fibbing — usually a pretty dead giveaway —she did often have a supremely goofy grin attached to her face while up to Survivor shenanigans. But again, props for lying in the first place.

So why is Jem now laughing at herself on camera for being voted out with an immunity idol in her pocket? Because as stealthy as the international brand mentor may have been with her advantage, her attempts in trying to convince Ben and Tim that she really, really wanted to know who they were voting for because she was totally on their side were about as believable as me showing up as New Jersey’s representative for the 2024 World’s Strongest Man Competition.

That was the least credible performance I have seen since Sofia Coppola in the Godfather III. Did Jem working Tim and Ben so hard —with a machete in her hand! —play any factor in Maria and Charlie deciding to side with the men instead of the women once word got back to them how hard she was going? Beats me, but they were so emphatic about getting Jem out that Maria even used her extra vote to do so even though they already had a 3-2 majority without it. Day-yum! In my world, that is going ALL CAPS IN BOLD AND ITALICS WITH THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS AT THE END!!! And that is because my world is the world of people who never in a million years would even consider risking it for the biscuit on the island and instead are perfectly content to criticize from the climate-controlled comfort of the couch while navigating our own brutally taxing challenges like attempting to not spill cheap beer on a laptop while typing. The struggle is real, people!

But what a savage move by Maria. From the top rope! The parent coach either wanted to ditch that extra vote the same way the Chicago Bears ditched Justin Fields because she felt it made her a bigger threat to have an advantage heading into the merge, didn’t fully trust the plan, or just wanted to drop the proverbial hammer on the person that made them all dig for hours for no reason. No matter the reason, her extra vote —which could potentially have been a valuable tool heading into the merge is now burned, not unlike Jem’s game.

Okay, let’s get into what else what went down this week on episode 5 of Survivor 46.

'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (1)

What to believe when

“We’re the tiniest tribe there was ever was,” Kenzie said after verbally voting out Bhanu at Tribal Council… reminding me I need to introduce Kenzie to my good friend Stephenie Lagrossa-Kendrick and a little thing called Survivor: Palau. But props to Yanu for making it all the way to day 11 without fire. Yes, true, giving a tribe props for coming in last in four straight immunity challenges is not really the way I like to do things around these parts, but, hey, they persevered. And haven’t even once talked about quitting!

[Cue abrasive record scratch noise.]

Sooooooo, I don’t quite know what to make of this scene between Kenzie and Q. Apparently not satisfied with my props, Kenzie decided to give props to… herself! “We’ve fought so hard, and I don’t see either one of us stopping anytime soon,” she told Q, to which he replied, “I might.” When pressed if he really meant that, Q confirmed and seemed to go full Lulu, adding “It’s not giving up, it’s accepting it.”

Another quitter? Really? But then Q immediately pulled a 180 in an interview clip, explaining that he was just trying to get Kenzie to feel comfortable so she would not play her Shot in the Dark and that “It’s tempting to give up and go home, but I would never do that.”

So what should we believe? Something that is easy to forget while watching Survivor but is super important to remember is that you can’t always believe what you hear in confessional interviews. Just because Q says after the fact that he did not mean he was ready to quit when he said it does not mean he did not mean it. Often people use their confessional interviews to justify their actions around camp after the fact, or make it seem like something questionable they did around their tribe mates was actually part of some elaborate covert strategy as a form of explaining away behavior or comments… when it was really exactly as it seemed on the surface.

I’m not saying that was the case here with Q. But I also really don’t get how a guy who was a big-time college football player and prides himself on dishing out motivational speeches and being the leader and coach of the tribe would decide it to be a good idea as a strategy to tell one of his tribe mates that maybe they should just give up and quit. Seems odd, no? I’ll give Q the benefit of the doubt on this one, but it’s a good reminder to viewers in any case to not always believe everything you hear.

'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (2)

The dirt on Siga

In the name of Bruce Kanegai, what is going on with Tim on Siga? Dude has not pooped in 10 days and still feels “good”? How is that even possible? Or maybe he just thinks he’s doing okay, and is suffering from other cognitive symptoms. I mean, the guy was having full-on conversations with an immunity idol, and even gave him the name of “Tiki Man” —which begs the question as to whether this particular immunity idol has multiple personality disorder since he also appears to go by the name of Frodo.

This was a weird episode all around for Flock of Siga. Tim’s not pooping, Moriah is worried Jeff Probst thinks they all poop together in the water and then splash fecal matter all over each other, Maria has turned into Carrie Ann Inaba and is giving dance lessons on the beach, and Ben is doing dramatic readings from the Mötley Crüe biography. Speaking of which, there is a little Survivor history behind that book.

I actually read The Dirt when I was on location for Survivor: Cook Islands. I was obsessed, and told challenge producer John Kirhoffer he needed to immediately quit his job and start reading. After careful consideration, he declined to quit his job, but he did read the book and also became obsessed. After all, when there is a passage centered on Ozzy Osbourne getting down on the ground and snorting up a line of ants, that’s pretty tough to beat. Anyway, I have little-to-zero doubt that Ben is Kirhoffer’s favorite Survivor player ever.

Of course, all the drama centered around which side Charlie and Maria were really on, but we’ll get to that a little bit later.

Idol hunting with Hunter

Yeah, Hunter found the Beware Advantage because is there anything Hunter can't do? Actually…yes. Yes, there is. But we’ll also get to that a little bit later. But other than Hunter finding an advantage to a clue that he does not even need to lose an immunity challenge to receive thanks to the impending merge, the only thing notable to come out of the Nami camp this week was just more confirmation that it is Venus versus the world on that beach.

The editing was pretty masterful as we saw everyone but Venus searching for an idol, and then as soon as Soda talked about not wanting it to fall into the wrong hands, we got a super dramatic musical cue and a big shot of Venus, as if Thanos himself had just teleported to the Nami beach and was on the cusp of snapping his fingers.

What followed was a super uncomfortable conversation between Hunter and Venus, where she told him that everyone would want him out at the merge for being such a big threat —everyone except for her, of course. Hunter bought this about as much as people bought New co*ke when it came out back in the 1980s, and his reaction was pretty much the same reaction of people that did buy New co*ke —wanting to immediately spit it out.

But you know what? Venus becomes a very interesting player next when the merge happens and potential free agents are wooed by other tribes.

'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (4)

Better late than never

Man, this challenge looked like loads of fun as players got to scramble through a three-level obstacle course and eventually hit targets with sand bags. Too bad half of Siga had to sit out and watch. Because we all knew Nami would win, it really came down to whether Yanu could set a record with the most immunity loses in the new era or somehow, someway beat out Siga.

It was a seesaw battle as Yanu would intermittently look completely out of it… only to stage a remarkable comeback… only to give it all away… only to then come back again. Kenzie began by appearing to run in slow motion through the obstacle course, putting her team in a hole. But then Q passed Siga while getting the key, only to then take approximately the same amount of time unraveling his rope as it takes me to recap an entire season of Survivor, putting Yanu way back in last place again. Clearly going for the record!

But the guy who may or may not have been on the precipice of quitting the game had they lost again pulled it out in the end, leading to a jubilant group hug that ended with Kenzie and Tiffany falling down on the ground and Q sort of hovering over them awkwardly wondering whether it was appropriate to jump on top of two women laying down. (Note: He chose wisely.) As happy as Yanu was, I think viewers were even more ecstatic finally getting to see another tribe go to Tribal Council.

'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (5)

Logo my Eggo

You all know I’ve never been big fan of the Journeys, but let me just say that we were completely robbed of what would have been the best Journey scene in history this week. Can you imagine how amazing it would have been to watch Q attempt to put 20 Survivor season logos in correct chronological order? Actually, scratch that. They should have flown Chris Noble back to the island and asked him to do it. I would bet you every single cent in my bank account —granted, not that many cents —that the Noble One doesn’t even have any idea whatsoever what his own season of Ghost Island was. 2? 19? 45? The guy has no clue, and I love it.

Anyway, Hunter was chosen by the others to risk his vote for an advantage, and considering the dude has an entire Survivor challenge and art department in his living room, I figured it was a shoo-in. But no! He wasn’t even close! Am I the only dork out there who could have done this in his sleep? (Don’t answer that.) Anyway, while watching Hunter lose his second vote of the episode, all I could think about is how funny it would have been if he only had to put six seasons in order and it was the logos for Survivor 41 through Survivor 46. Another missed opportunity for comedy gold.

Of course, the most notable thing about this entire Journey was Q, Tim, and Hunter talking about how they would be vulnerable as physical threats at the merge so should each pick another ally to make a secret cross-alliance of six. Maybe I am wrong about being such a Negative Nancy Journey-hater, because this is pretty fascinating no matter how this pseudo-alliance plays out. If the pairs (which also include, unbeknownst to them, Tiffany, Maria, and Tevin) actually pan out and work together, that will be something we have never seen before. And if it doesn’t —and some pairs ultimately end up deciding to stay tribe strong instead —then that is interesting as well. Also, Tim picking Maria instead of Ben? And when Maria’s ride or die is actually Charlie? Whoopsie!

'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (6)

A true Jem (of a blindside)

We’ve already congratulated Jem on keeping her idol a secret, and bashed her for coming on too strong to people she was clearly not aligned with. In the end, it all averages out, I suppose. I will say this: I will not fault her in the least for getting voted out with an idol in her pocket. I never understand why fans call people dumb for getting voted out with an idol— especially one that nobody even knew she had. You play an idol and don’t need it, people call you dumb. You don’t play an idol and get voted out, people call you dumb. It’s all calculated risk, and nobody in the entire tribe had any clue about the Maria and Charlie duo pulling the strings. Speaking of which…

We never really got to see why Charlie and Maria ultimately sided with the fellas instead of the ladies and sent Jem packing. I get that producers wanted to keep the vote a mystery until the last second so couldn’t drop more intel, but I hope next week we get an accounting from the dynamic duo as to why. I also hope we eventually learn if the Siga six all went and got their matching tribe tattoos. I can only assume they all say “charisma rock and roll shield” across the perimeter of, like, a giant Captain America shield or some nonsense like that.

Also, BREAKING NEWS! Probst will never, ever, ever retire from Survivor. Season 50 will not be his last. He said it right here on the show, telling Jem “I’m here, forever.” Hey, Pat Sajak clocked 43 years hosting Wheel of Fortune. Probst just needs 19 years to beat that. Anyone really want to bet against it at this point? I mean, the season may only be, like, 13 days long at that point so it’s not entirely out of the question.

What is out of the question is me wasting any more of your time, but before you go, I will recommend you check out the entire Survivor 46 cast talking about the twists they did not want to see on their season, one of which happened right on day 2. Also make sure to enjoy our exclusive deleted scene from this week’s episode as well as the Hostmaster General’s take on what went down. And you definitely need to read my exit interview with Jungle Jem, so make sure to take that in as well. Meanwhile, I’m off to prepare next week’s scoop of the crispy.

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'Survivor 46' recap: Battle lines are finally drawn (2024)

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