It’s not every day that we get a continuing storyline that drops into your lap. It’s rare that you get a good one. It’s even rarer that you get one that ends on a cliffhanger, and rarest of all that it ends on a cliffhanger that you want to see the next week of. That’s what we got here.
I have not been super high on Champions vs Contenders. It’s been good, but I have had problems with the uneven edit and the fact that so much seems to be… not very real. It hasn’t felt tonally consistent. While the moments of sadness, anger, and hilarity are legitimate, they feel like they happen at random and don’t really lead into each other. It’s the same problem I have with US Survivor- the episodes feel independent save for a couple of obvious cliffnote summarizations. This, however, feels like a good plot that will carry through with a conclusion that I will look forward to.
What is this storyline?
The storyline is of the sudden villain and the underdogs set to unravel him.
This will be a shorter recap this week because ultimately all I really took away was this story. I already forgot what the Champions did. Be happy, I guess. This takes up legitimately all of my memory, as it damn well should.
This week was dominated by one of the very few supervillain surprise reveals that the show has ever had. I’m not kidding, it was absolutely insane. Now some of you may have studied up on the bios and history of each contestant but like a good article writer, I did not do jack shit. All I saw was Benj getting six episodes of the very very barest minimum to avoid an INV0. He was the dopey background enabler misogynist and was treated as such.
All of a sudden, he goes on a tear. The first thing he does is reveal that despite being a college athlete, he’s actually a secret multimillionaire bestselling author like bitch I don’t care about anything else he was the goddamn proprietor of my wig right there. Then, he went after “Queen Tegan and King Heath”, who we are led to believe are swing votes. Not only that, Tegan is easily edited to be the best person of her tribe (and Heath a close second) where everyone else gets the edit of being petty or misogynistic. They’re a clear partnership, despite staying apart to vote for who the men and women say. Next to them, Benji doesn’t stand a chance.
And it goddamn happens. Benji does it. Holy shit. The invisible UTR1-UTR1-UTR1-UTR1-UTR1-UTR1-CPN5-CPN5 sudden strategic monster gets Tegan out 7-1-1. The spare votes go to Zach, because Zach is a pig bitch, and Anita, who gasps loudly at the sight of getting a single vote like a single vote will send her home. Not only that, Benji gets Tegan out with the laziest lie that ever did work. Like, come on, Anita. Benji professes to not know you well after only two and a half weeks and yet he tells your alliance that Tegan said something about voting you out and you buy it? Yikearoni.
So that will be the end of you, Tegan, only not because announced before the vote is a new twist- the next two people voted out will be sent to Exile Island, and given a Redemption Island duel to fight their way back into the game. So now, you have Tegan on Exile, angry, confused and wanting revenge. Furthermore, you have Heath on the Contenders tribe, alone, outcast, and with a little something-something.
You see, the episode before, Heath found a hidden immunity idol. Heath was smart enough to know he had to play it next round. Aside from a moment where he felt he didn’t need to because everyone was overly playing to him, Heath knew what he had to do.
So consider where you’re at. You are Heath, with an idol, and your best friend on Exile Island who needs to win a challenge to win a game. Your tribe is made up of two sides- three women and three men in a tight alliance (oh and whatever the hell Paige is doing). Your goal is to get your ally back on your tribe, but the biggest challenge liability is one of the women.
Specifically, the as of yet unaddressed Anita, a stubborn, chipper fifty-year-old supermarket sales rep that the fans inexplicably hate because they hate older women but that’s neither here or there. The relevant bit is, for Heath to make sure Tegan is safe, he needs Anita to hit Exile Island so Tegan has good odds to win. All he has to do is use his idol and make sure Anita has the next-most votes.
The problem is Benji. As it always is.
Fenella teased the idea of getting rid of Zach because duh he’s a pig bitch. Zach tried to make Heath feel comfortable that others would get rid of Anita. However, Benji keeps them on his side and everyone votes for Heath. The man with the idol no one knows about.
Heath gets every vote. Every vote. He single-handedly has the power to get whoever he wants out, and of course, he gets rid of Anita with his single vote. I love it when a plan comes together. Heath’s plan is quite simple- get his buddy the best chance possible at returning. However, he’s sent Anita, the person most connected with the other woman, who got Benji’s lie about Tegan targeting her.
I don’t even think Heath knew why that was a good idea for him.
The next time on Survivor preview shows Anita and Tegan hashing it out about the lie that Benji told her, and I am sure by the time it ends neither are going to be very happy with Benji setting them on this path. I hope that Tegan returns, she and her giant second in command Heath tear through the Contenders and become the inexplicable F2 underdogs in one of the greatest partnerships in Survivor history.
However, even if Tegan goes home at the challenge, we have a world of hurt in for Benji. Anita is not the type to stand for the shit that Benji thrust upon her. If those three people team up with Heath and that other person, Benji could get the chop 5-3. Either way, it’s impossible to see a way where Benji comes out of next week unscathed, save for the Champions inexplicably losing both challenges.
That’s why this is such a great storyline. Not only does it have a great buildup to Tegan going home, but the second act is phenomenal. If it ends how I hope, I could not have written this little saga better myself.
Let’s hope I’m actually right about something.
P.S. I will be likely doing a South Africa wrap-up sometime later this week! It’s so good, and I cannot stop smiling/laughing when I think about it.