Survivor 33: Episode 2 “Love Goggles” Recap

A medical emergency, a hidden idol find, a Fiji beach hookup, and a devastating blindside mark the second episode of Survivor: Millennials vs Gen-X. After being introduced to the castaways in the premiere, some stick to their episode 1 form while others already begin to surprise us. One thing that is for sure after episode 2 is that even in its 33rd season this game continues to surprise us.

Episode 2 picks up with Dave admitting that his game is going horribly and that he must redeem himself before it’s too late. Last week the Gen-X tribe ultimately decided to spare him and eliminate Rachel despite the fact that he overtly searched for a hidden immunity idol, under-performed in the challenge, and appears to have a fear of all things related to surviving in the wilderness. Dave begins his path to redemption by starting a fire at camp. Next, he continues his frantic search for an idol, but this time in a more sly way. With the cover of collecting rocks for the camp (the purpose of which are never clearly explained), Dave is able to take multiple trips into the jungle without his tribe-mates making a fuss. Thanks to his alibi, a large rock, Dave manages to find a hidden immunity idol hidden inside a marked coconut without anyone catching him.

Meanwhile the model of the Gen-X tribe, Ken, contemplates his place in the game. He believes that a group he refers to as “Paul’s Posse” (assumed to be everyone except Ken, Dave, and CeCe) is running the show, and something needs to be done about it.  Ken voices his concerns to Dave and the two form an unlikely bond. The two could not appear more different. Ken, who is confident and capable, is shown spearing an octopus in the ocean for his tribe to eat while just last week Dave was covering his ears at the sound of bamboo being chopped by a machete. Regardless of their obvious differences the two form a genuine bond of trust which is solidified when Dave reveals his idol to Ken. The beauty of this alliance is that these are two men who would most likely never connect with one another in the real world, but throw them into Survivor together and they become a pair you really want to root for. CeCe, who received several votes last week, is brought into the alliance, since these are the three people who are on the outs. The three of them discuss how Paul absolutely must be the next person to go. As if their scheming words acted as some sort of curse, Paul begins to collapse on the beach and we witness our first medical emergency of the season.

What happens to Paul is very frightening to watch. He leans over as if only tired but in the next minute is collapsed on the ground, his hands shaking. The medical team rushes to his aid but things are not looking good. Paul whimpers “my chest” and “I’m scared”, which is terrifying to hear. The entire tribe is surrounding Paul as Dr. Joe keeps telling him to breathe as he assesses the situation. The sounds of a heart monitor can be heard (never a good sign) as Jeff arrives at the camp and announces that a chopper is on it’s way – things do not sound good. Just as it looks like Paul will be evacuated from the game for having what appears to be a heart attack, Dr. Joe announces that he is going to be okay. Most likely the episode was brought on by extreme heat exhaustion. We breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the Millennial tribe.

Drama of a very different kind unfolds at the Vanua tribe camp. On what is only day 5, the flirtatious Figgy and Taylor decide to have a make-out session in the night. Michaela notices them and is disgusted that two people who have not brushed their teeth in almost a week are able to kiss in this condition. The next morning Michaela outs the two love birds in front of the whole tribe. Taylor laughs it off but Figgy is clearly annoyed, insulting Michaela back. She seems totally oblivious to the fact that being in a romantic partnership as well as getting catty with Michaela has already put a target on her back. Michaela quickly becomes my favorite character of the night with her sassy confessionals bashing Figgy’s inability to be subtle when trying to “work her magic” on the men. In her words, “You need to pull the bunny out of the hat. You just can’t walk in with the bunny.”

Next thing you know the two tribes tribes are standing on wooden rafts in the ocean and ready to square off in the second immunity challenge. When it is revealed that Rachel was voted out at the last tribal council nobody on the Millennial tribe looks the least bit surprised. Despite the advantage of youth, the very physical challenge is a nail bitter as the two tribes seem very evenly matched. Strong swimming is crucial in the first leg of the challenge, while accuracy in a ring toss race are key in the second. While watching, I panicked when Dave hesitated to jump off of a platform and grab a key for the Gen-X tribe. Having to swim back and re-attempt the jump would’ve eaten up a lot of time. However, neither Dave nor any member of either tribe misses a single key and the race to the next raft is neck-and-neck the entire way. Even Paul glides through the water swiftly despite having just recovered from a medical scare. In the end it comes down to the ring toss and CeCe and Ken are able to snipe the targets and secure the first immunity win for Takali.

For Vanua, what we thought would be an easy first vote turns out to be a ridiculous and fascinating tribal council. With the several targets Figgy drew on her own back, it seems obvious that she needs to go. Zeke, Adam, Mari, Hannah, and Will discuss the need to vote out Figgy and nip the “showmance” in the bud. Yet they make the mistake of discussing these plans in front of Jay and Michele, two other pretty people who want to align with Figgy and Taylor (despite the fact that they are acting like numskulls). Even though they are in no danger themselves, Michele and Jay go to work to protect Figgy and in doing so certainly establish themselves as power players in this game.

After telling Figgy that she is the target (somehow Figgy is surprised to hear this), Jay tells Michaela that he heard she would be next. Michaela realizes that is Jay is telling the truth (he isn’t) that she may have to put her hatred of Figgy aside and change up her strategy. Meanwhile, Michele approaches Will and plants a seed that Mari is the most dangerous player in the game. He admits that she would be a formidable force in the game, and goes on to list every winner of Survivor he can think of to compare her to.

At tribal council the tribe tells Jeff “if the shelter is rocking don’t come a knocking”, referring to Taylor and Figgy’s hookup. Zeke expresses excitement and enthusiasm for being out in Survivor, to which Michaela basically says “not for me” and continues to throw shade at Figgy in front of everybody. While The rest of the tribe is busy answering Probst’s questions, Michele whispers to Hannah that she is voting for Mari. Hannah is shocked and confused, insisting that Michele give her a good reason to switch her vote, to which Michele replies “I’ll tell you later”. When called out by Probst, Hannah, clearly frazzled, rambles nonsense to avoid explaining what Michele just told her. When she is called out for whispering to Michele a second time, Mari makes the mistake of defending Hannah by insisting that she is “probably just talking about puppies or butts.”

At crunch time we are shown Figgy writing Mari’s name on the parchment and pleading to the camera “I really hope I can trust Michaela” Would Michaela really vote with her after insulting her once again in the open? When Hannah reaches the parchment she freezes. In what probably felt like an eternity to the other castaways, Hannah debates with herself, counts on her fingers, and struggles to come up with a name to right down. It’s so bad that Probst even has to peek into the voting booth to make sure Hannah hasn’t pulled a Paul and collapsed on the scene. Finally she makes a decision and the votes are ready to be tallied.

In a whopping 7-3 vote Mari is the second person eliminated from Survivor 33 and the Millennials claim their first blindside. Adam and Zeke’s (and probably most viewers’) jaws drop to the floor as they realize that Hannah switched her vote at the last minute and even Michalea decided not to vote out Figgy. The Taylor/Figgy romance will live to see another day and there is sure to be a big backlash when the Millennials return to camp.