Warning: This recap for the “The Truth Works Well” episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X contains spoilers.
A lovers’ paradise turns into a lovers’ nightmare in Episode 6 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
Fiji, home of golden beaches, crystal-clear waters, and tropical scenery: the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Perfect, that is, if you’re on a honeymoon. Not so ideal when playing a cutthroat game for $1 million. Figgy and Taylor had to find out the hard way that Survivor isn’t all hugs and kisses and romantic strolls on the beach.
But before we get to the couple’s comeuppance, we begin at Vanua beach, where the CeCe-less tribe is in high spirits after all voting together last tribal council. David, happy not to have been choked to death by Chris, tells us that it’s no longer Millennials vs. Gen X — it’s now “People I Trust vs. People You Trust” — which, given the increasingly desperate show titles, could be the name of next season’s edition. Zeke is the most high-spirited of them all, as he can’t believe the “silly Gen Xers” voted out one of their own, sparing him and Michelle.
Over on Ika Bula, Jay has a touching, tearful moment talking about his absentee father and how he now takes care of his mom and sister. Family is becoming a recurring theme this season, between Adam playing for his cancer-stricken mother, and Michaela’s emotional release last week about her family’s struggle to maintain success. There’s a stereotype about how millennials rely too much on their parents, but here we see the kids wanting to give back to their providers. Which reminds me, I need to buy my dad a birthday present.
Jay’s determination to win for his family spurs him on to discover a hidden immunity idol. Will, absentee castmate, is by Jay’s side when he finds the painted log with an idol inside. Their excitement is short-lived, as one-woman-quote-machine Michaela stumbles upon them “huddled up like two Eskimos.” She lets us know that even though she and Jay are currently aligned, if he tries anything shady she’ll have no trouble “snitchin’.”
Milk and various confectionery snacks are up for grabs in today’s reward challenge! It’s the classic Survivor blindfold challenge, aka “Let’s watch people fall over and get hit in the nuts.” A caller for each tribe must direct their blindfolded compatriots around obstacles to collect puzzle pieces, which they must then complete, also while blindfolded.
Before the challenge begins, we get our first Figgy faux pas of the episode when she admits in front of everyone that she’s happy that Michelle is still in the game. There’s even a moment where she catches herself but makes it worse by saying she’s “just really close with Michelle.” Jeff Probst asks Michelle if that kind of honesty will get Figgy in trouble, to which she replies, “I think the truth works well in this game.” Have you seen this show before?
The challenge begins with Figgy, Jay, and Michelle acting as callers for their respective tribes. Lots of stumbling, falling, shoving, and David wandering around like a sleepwalking zombie. Takali gets out to an early lead but falls apart at the puzzle portion. Meanwhile, Vanua comes from behind to snatch the win, closely followed by Ika Bula, who are awarded a second-place plate of participation cookies.
Despite the challenge’s setup being an injury claim waiting to happen, it’s sit-out Hannah who requires medical attention, as she begins to feel faint on the sidelines. Admittedly, watching David trying to complete a challenge is enough to make anyone anxious. After the challenge is over, Dr. Joe, who at this point has had more screen time than at least a third of the cast, checks on Hannah. It seems she suffered a mild panic attack but after some shade and breathing exercises is deemed fit to continue. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I can relate to Hannah’s predicament, and dealing with that on Survivor can’t be a pleasant experience, especially with Jeff yapping in your ear. Still, at least she got to enjoy cookies.
While Vanua enjoys its reward of brownies and pie, at Takali the focus is on Figgy and Taylor — or, as they’re now known, “Figtails,” which sounds like the name of a Nickelodeon cartoon aimed at 6-year-olds (about the appropriate level we’re working with here). Last week Figgy put her island boyfriend on strip-club rules (i.e., no touching) so as not to be seen as a power couple to their new tribemates. But young love (and libido) cannot be contained. I’m surprised they haven’t carved “Figgy <3 Taylor 4eva” into a palm tree yet.
After some persuasion from Taylor, Figgy confesses her romantic fling to a not-at-all-surprised Jessica and Ken. It’s like when two work colleagues who have been “secretly” dating for months decide to come clean at the office Christmas party, and everyone is just like “Well, duh, we saw you practically making out by the photocopier and you both have pictures of each other as your desktop background.” But Figgy and Taylor are no Jim and Pam, and their island hook-up was always heading toward disaster. “They’re not as cool as they think they are,” says Ken. Indeed.
At the immunity challenge, tribes have to race across balance beams in the water and retrieve bags of coconuts. After they’ve collected the bags, two members of each team must maneuver three balls through a table maze. The first two tribes to finish win immunity and are safe from the tribal council.
It’s pretty even out of the gate, and all tribes end up at the table maze with a chance of winning. Michaela barks orders at Hannah, which is both hilarious and effective, as Ika Bula win their second immunity challenge in a row. “I love Hannah; I just need people to shut up sometimes.” In the words of Bret, there’s “nothing [Michaela] can’t do,” except, you know, remain polite under pressure. Not satisfied with just helping her own tribe to win, Michaela then offers advice to Michelle and Zeke, who manage to pip Figgy and Jessica to the post, sending Takali to tribal council.
When Jeff asks Michaela why she helped Vanua, she says she was saving her former Millennial tribemates. Taylor pipes up to say that there are Millennials on his tribe too, but Michaela replies, “There’s three of you. If you can’t figure out how to work together, you deserve to go home.” Michaela continues to be the standout of the season, a refreshing mix of brash honesty, humorous confessionals, and kick-ass challenge ability. Whoever cast her deserves their own plate of cookies.
Takali prepares for a night at tribal council, and immediately Figgy and Taylor’s public relationship is seeming like a bad idea. At least it is for everyone else but them. They should see it coming, they really should, but for some reason, Figtails/Tiggy/Faylor believe that they still have Adam on their side and that he’ll vote with them against potential threat Ken. Adam is caught in the middle. On the one hand, he has Figgy and Taylor, one of whom he voted against in Episode 2 but whom he’s known since Day 1. On the other hand, there’s Jessica and Ken, who have promised never to write his name down, but he doesn’t know them very well. As he says at tribal council, whatever decision he makes, “someone is gonna go home upset tonight, and someone is gonna go back to camp upset tonight.”
Before the votes are cast, Jeff reveals that he’s an ordained minister and could marry Figgy and Taylor right there at tribal council if they so choose. I wish I were joking. This actually happened. He seemed so desperate to make this “Survivor first” happen I thought he was about to offer them a night in Ponderosa to consummate the marriage. Jeff should know his millennial stereotypes by now! It’s Netflix and chill, Probst, not Netflix and matrimony.
Unfortunately, there are no wedding bells for Jeff, just a torch snuffing for Figgy, as Adam decides to flip to Jessica and Ken, ending the Survivor romance and leaving Taylor to play all by (with?) himself.
It has seemed inevitable since Michaela caught them smooching back in Episode 2 that the young lovers were destined for a downfall. Their love goggles blinded them to what was going on around them, not realizing that blatantly flaunting their relationship only made them a bigger target to everyone else. Survivor is a game all about relationships, plural, not just one relationship at the expense of all others.
Players of the Week
Michaela: We might as well just give her a permanent spot here. Once again dominated in the challenges and secured immunity for her tribe.
Jay: While he did get caught in the act, he did manage to find a hidden immunity idol.
Jessica/Ken: Even though they’ve known Adam for only a few days, they managed to persuade him to trust and vote with them. Although Adam’s other choice was Figtails, so his decision was probably obvious.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.