Survivor recap: The Spy Who Shacked Me

Tony's scheming doesn't seem to rattle anyone in his alliance except for Jefra, who must make a life-altering decision over ribs.
Ep. 09 | Aired Apr 23, 2014

INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY: Tony demonstrates that his bag of tricks is still chock full of surprising talents, including (but not limited to) prehistoric architecture, low-level espionage, and general sneakiness.

Michael Yarish/CBS

In the beginning, there was Dalton Ross. Forged from 96% twigs and local flora, 3% tropical ocean air, and 1% the fabric they use to make the buffs, Dalton is one with the many lands of Survivor and has easily adapted to each season's exotic environment because he, like Jeff Probst, is risen from the ashes of a fallen phoenix whose only crime was trying to make the merge.

I am no Dalton Ross, sadly, but while he is away—I forgot to ask why, but I think jury duty? Dalton is honestly always on jury duty—I’m recapping Survivor in his stead. I can't pretend to offer the same type of tough love and brilliant insight into Survivor that Dalton does (or that you deserve), but I sure as hell love this show, so I'll do my best to offer my opinion on what's happening in crazy old Cagayan. It's also worth noting that my significantly older but moderately wiser boss has expressed his concern that he always misses the best episodes when he gets a recap sub, so I hope he can civilly adjudicate with a clear mind knowing that he definitely did not miss the season's best episode. But he did miss a very silly one.

Where are we? In the grand theatre of Survivor, the second act (of three) is drawing to a close and the star player—one Tony Vlachos, 39—is thisclose to performing his version of “Rose’s Turn.” (For those unfamiliar with the theatre, that's the famous musical number from Gypsy in which the main character goes full bonkers.) Fueled by paranoia, Tony is growing increasingly skittish as his steamboat journey to Port Crazy chugs on, and I sense that we're coming very close to a full-scale Tony meltdown before the season's end.

But we’ll get to that. We start with Act I, Scene 1: Twilight After Tribal. After Tony and Woo decided to blindside LJ, they have to face the three burned members of their alliance…who, aside from Jefra, really don’t seem that burned at all. That's the first shocker of the evening, and my disbelief fuels the rest of the episode, so hopefully I'm not alone here in my befuddlement.

The intra-alliance blindside should have exposed Tony for being an untrustworthy instigator, but it’s alarming that Jefra is the only one who is outraged. I mean, Kass and Trish are, like, moderately peeved, but they're definitely not mad. Gentle Kass seems to take solace in the fact that it was a one-time thing, suggesting that she’d also be super content to suffer through a one-time carjacking or a one-time triple homicide. Meanwhile Trish appears subdued for no reason other than blind loyalty: “At first I felt like, oh wow, I wish I kind of knew, but then immediately I understood why he didn’t tell me. He was afraid the plan might get destroyed, so I wasn’t mad.” Wouldn't it stand to reason that if you think someone is going to destroy your work, then you probably don't trust that someone? It's amazing that Trish doesn’t even seem irritated that her closest ally decided she wasn't important enough to let her in on his plans. Honestly it’s mind-boggling that she and Kass still stand by their man without so much as a raised voice. (That said, didn’t Tony try to get Trish onto the LJ elimination train last week the same way he convinced Woo? Or does she not realize that, yes, that actually happened?)

Spencer, meanwhile, continues to exercise his intelligence in his interviews, recognizing that in the Alliance of S'mores, Jefra is a toasting marshmallow ready to be rescued away from the open flame before she catches full-on fire. (In this s’mores-based analogy, it must be noted that Tony is the fire, Woo the stick, Trish the chocolate, and Kass the stale, bland, utterly awful graham cracker.)

NEXT: Tony's been watching too much HGTV


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