Survivor San Juan Del Sur Recap: Plurals are a Problem

Jon vs. John on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur
Survivor: San Juan Del Sur (Photo: Monty Brinton / CBS)

Episode 2: “Method to This Madness” — Blood vs. Water becomes literal in the Immunity Challenge.

Previously on Survivor San Juan Del Sur: nine pairs of folks were dropped into the Nicaraguan wilderness to fend for themselves against Jeff Probst for 39 days. The pairs were promptly split into two tribes: Coyopa (Orange) and Hunahpu (Blue). Jeremy and his wife Val were the first to duel in the Survivor arena for reward and a first class ticket to Exile Island. Jeremy won the reward, which included sending his tribemate Keith to Exile. Exile isn’t sooo bad: Val got a clue for the Hidden Immunity Idol back at Coyopa, which was somewhat handy after the tribe lost the immunity challenge. Fortunately for Val, fellow tribemate Nadiya’s previous reality experience on The Amazing Race spooked the tribe and the Twinnie was voted out.

Prologue – Night 3

Coyopa. Josh pulls Baylor aside to explain why he voted for her even though they are supposed to be working together. He provides the episode title, telling Baylor he voted against her so that no one would suspect they were working together. Baylor interviews that the move is smart (maybe) but also sketchy (definitely).

We hop ahead to Day 5 and life at Hunahpu beach. The boys (Jon and Drew) have established a daily brodown ritual, which has Jeremy comparing the guys to cartoon characters. The guys are entertained, but they seem to be the only ones. Today’s festivities get interrupted by Kelley when she discovers the flint has gone missing. The tribe looks for it, but Jon has a sneaking suspicion he may have dropped it into the fire. He accepts the comparisons to J’Tia with the appropriate level of shame.

Challenge Arena

Natalie does not take the news that her sister got voted out all that well. She tears up, telling Probst this is the first time they have been separated in 28 years and the first time she has cried in 10 years. After milking the emotion for a bit, Probst describes the reward challenge. One person from each tribe will have to navigate obstacles while balancing a ball on a disc. If the ball falls, the player has to start the course from the beginning. After completing the course, the player has to skee-ball into three separate holes. The loser goes to Exile; the winner gets fishing gear for the tribe, but has to send someone to Exile.

Reed (Hunahpu) and John Rocker (Coyopa) rock, paper, scissors to decide which team sets the match. John wins and sends himself into the challenge, which means he faces his girlfriend Julie. Julie dominates the challenge, taking a slow and steady approach. She’s done skee-balling before John even finishes the obstacle course. Probst says “no one would have predicted this,” though he doesn’t explain why that would be. John says it sucks losing to a girl. Oh, now it makes sense. Shut up, both of you. Julie selects Jeremy to go to Exile. Before the tribes leave, Reed makes a proposal to Probst. He offers a bag of beans from the reward package in exchange for some flint. Probst offers a crash course in bargaining, negotiating and leverage. He’s absolutely right in what he tells Hunahpu, but he’s also overly dickish. Probst says the final offer is the entire reward package for flint. Hunahpu accepts.

Camp Life

Nothing much happens. At Hunahpu, Julie gets praised for her mad balancing skillz while Natalie gets hugs about her sister. With John Rocker temporarily gone from Coyopa, Wes blows up his spot about being THE John Rocker. Dale corroborates the stories. Josh files this information away in his mental rolodex under “future assets.”

Exile Island

Jeremy is also aware of John’s past, but there’s not much he can do about it now. They go to the urns to pick clues for the Hidden Immunity Idol. Jeremy gets the clue, but shares it with John. The clue is not cryptic, basically using photos to illustrate “go to the well, take seven paces north, start digging.” Maybe they thought with Amazing Race alumni people wouldn’t read the clues? Anyway, the last thing we hear is Jeremy and John striking a deal. If John protects Val, Jeremy will protect Julie.

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Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: