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Survivor recap: Flip-flop and you don't stop

Jon and Jaclyn switch sides yet again, as no good deed goes unpunished.

Survivor

KNOCK-OFF This challenge looks a lot cooler than it actually was. (Monty Brinton/CBS)

Survivor

Season 29, Ep. 9 | Aired Nov 19

Hey, everyone. Thanks for coming. Sorry I’m late; it was my week to bring the hot cocoa and donuts. Got any glazed fans in the house? Anyone? Glazed? Bueller? Anyhoo, welcome everybody to Survivor Backstabbers Anonymous. Who’d like to go first? And remember: no judgments.

“Umm… I’ll go, I guess. My name is Dawn Meehan.”

Hi, Dawn.

“So, yeah, my BFF Brenda dove down into murky water and recovered my missing teeth. She then followed that up by selecting me to go on a loved ones reward with her. And then followed that up by giving up her reward so others could see their loved ones instead. Basically, she was an absolute angel at every turn.”

Awww, that’s so nice. So what did you do in return? Bake her a cake?

“Ummm… no.”

Promise to stop crying every two seconds?

“Not really?”

What then?

“I voted her out of the game.”

[Silence]

Damn. Okay, even for this group that’s pretty cold. Who wants to go next?

“Oooh! Oooh! Me! My name is Dreamz. And that’s Dreamz with a Z.”

Hi, Dreamz with a Z!

“I like rainbowz and unicornz and lots of other things. I also like stuff. Any kind of stuff, really. If you have stuff, I might like to see it. Dinosaurz are also cool, especially big scary ones that growl all mean when they’re hungry. I’m hungry. I like food. It tastes good in my mouth. I also like…”

Um, Dreamz with a Z, can we move it along a bit? I know our good friend John Cochran also has a few words he’d like to share about his tribemate Ozzy, who volunteered to go to Redemption Island so that John would not be voted out of the tribe and how he repayed him for that selfless act.

“Oh, right. My bad. Anywayz, my pal Yau-Man gave me, like, a new truck! He didn’t make me pay or anything. Just gave it to me! All he asked in return was that I give him immunity if I should happen to win it at the final four.”

Wow. How generous! And how did it feel later handing over that immunity when you won it?

“Oh, hell no. The only things I handed him were Jack and S—. We voted his ass out.”

Well, thank you for sharing that story with us, Dreamz with a Z. Truly heartwarming. Okay, exciting news, everyone: We have someone new with us today. Hi, could you stand up and tell us your name, please?

“Yeah, hi. The name’s Jon, and I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND!!!!!”

Hi, Jon. That’s nice and all, but that’s not why you’re here today, is it?

“No. But I do love her. Like, totally love her. So anyway, this guy Jeremy gave up his reward on a yacht where he could have been eating sandwiches and acting like he was in a Duran Duran video or an episode of Miami Vice just so me and my SUPER HOT girlfriend could go instead.”

My, how charitable of him. Did you thank him from the bottom of your heart?

“Sure did! And then I sent him to suffer for two days on Exile Island and voted him out of the game.”

Well, hey, that’s just fantastic. Welcome to the club, Jon. Our friends Natalie and Albert would love to get you acquainted with the group and also discuss with you the merits of stealing gullible saps’ immunity idols and then watching them get immediately kicked out of the game. Consider that your official instruction manual for Survivor Backstabbers Anonymous. Anyway, I think that will do it for this week, everyone, but thanks for coming. And don’t forget to stop by next week for Boston Rob’s symposium on getting suckers to save your girlfriend before permanently damaging their collective psyche to the point that they start giving themselves ridiculous mohawks while on the jury. Powerful stuff.

The moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is this: Never do anything nice for anyone on Survivor. It will only come back to bite you in the butt. This example of Jeremy and Natalie giving Jon and Jaclyn their reward trip—and then the couple turning on them and voting out Jeremy—is just the latest example. Karma has no place here. The track record speaks for itself. But there are two points we should absolutely make clear. First off, this “selfless” move by Jeremy and Natalie was not so selfless. As Reed so accurately pointed out at Tribal Council, it was as self-serving as selfless, as they were trying just as hard to secure those votes in Jon and Jaclyn as they were being charitable. Harder, actually.

But more importantly, there is this: NOBODY OWES ANYBODY ANYTHING IN THIS GAME! I wrote about this whole concept of “you owe me” the other week when Josh tried to guilt Baylor into not voting for him because he had protected her earlier. If you blame someone for voting you out after you did him/her some sort of favor… well, shame on you. I argued that Dawn voting Brenda out in Caramoan after Brenda found her teeth, comforted her numerous times, and invited her to join her on a reward was a bad game move because Brenda would make sure that ill will spread to the jury and therefore Dawn would never get a vote in the finals. But it wasn’t this evil, terrible, horrible, no-good thing that many viewers made it out to be. Brenda would have beaten Dawn in the finals. I have zero problem with someone getting rid of someone else to do what they set out there to do: win.

NEXT: An unrewarding reward challenge

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