‘Survivor Ghost Island’ Episode 10: The Truth Will Set You Free (RECAP)

It's Like the Perfect Crime
Spoiler Alert

[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from Episode 10 of Survivor: Ghost Island.]

After weeks of dominance, the Naviti alliance finally begins to crumble in tonight’s Survivor: Ghost Island when one player gets caught in a game-ending lie.

As always in Survivor, fire represents your life, and so it does here in our recaps. Each week we’ll be breaking down the episodes into moments and moves worthy of fire, and moments/moves that should be snuffed out. Also, make sure to read to the end of the recap for a special Survivor Brain Buster Trivia question!

FIRE: A much-needed change in direction

I’ve found Survivor: Ghost Island to be a mixed bag of a season up until this point. It started strong out of the gate with a seemingly strong cast of characters and a cool concept which acknowledged the show’s 18-year history with a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor. However, a lot of the more compelling or rootable characters were voted out pre-merge as the “Malolo curse” narrative consumed the game, and that’s resulted in a post-merge lacking somewhat in personality and dynamic strategy. It doesn’t help that the Ghost Island twist has also become increasingly redundant as the season’s rolled on.

This episode didn’t completely remedy those flaws – Ghost Island continues to eat into screen time which could be better spent elsewhere — but Desiree’s attempt to make a move against the majority alliance and the subsequent blow-up at camp at least provided a change in the narrative. It forced former allies to question their position in the game, and that created a palatable buzz around camp leading up to Tribal Council.

As for Desiree’s move itself? Well…

SNUFFED: A Desiree disaster

Throughout the season, Desiree has been one of those players on the periphery, a purple blur among the Naviti stronghold running the game. She’s dropped a little bit of insight here and there, but the edit has never taken any particular interest in her as a character relevant to this season’s overarching story. Due to that lack of attention, my Survivor-senses started tingling as soon as she popped up early in this episode and vowed to take control of the game.

Desiree realized that she was on the bottom of the Naviti alliance, a correct read based on what we’ve seen, and was sick of everyone else ruling her vote. She decided to approach the ragtag group of Malolos with a plan to flip the next vote on the trio of Domenick, Wendell, and Kellyn. To sweeten the deal, she told the outnumbered underdogs that she could bring Angela and Chelsea on board.

Photo: CBS

It’s undeniable that Desiree had the correct read on those in power and sooner or later someone will have to make a strike against them. But was this the right time? For us viewers, definitely, anything to shake up the repetition. But as a player, Desiree was putting herself at a potential numerical disadvantage. If this plan had been pulled off, herself, Ang and Chelsea would have been outnumbered 4-3 in their new alliance with the Malolos. Obviously, relationships can change, so there is no saying things couldn’t have shifted, but it seemed a risky play when if she waited until after one more Tribal the numbers would have been even.

None of that was the problem though, Desiree’s issue was her approach, or more importantly, it was WHO she approached. Rather than testing out the waters with a couple of well-timed, one-on-one conversations, Desiree threw out her plan to the whole Malolo group at once, a group which included Laurel. The reason that’s such a dangerous strategy is because all it takes is for one of that group to spill the beans and you’re screwed. You’ve created a situation where there are witnesses to corroborate the snitch’s version of events and that is certainly not the perfect crime Jeff Probst was talking about at Tribal.

LIGHT FIRE: Laurel’s loose lips

I’m still undecided on whether Laurel made the right move here to out Desiree’s plot to Domenick and Wendell. Right now, I’m leaning more towards this being the smarter decision, after all, Laurel has built up a substantial amount of trust with Dom and Wendell over the past few weeks. It’s the kind of trust she’s never had with Desiree and the rest of the Naviti girls. She also knows they both have Hidden Immunity Idols and there is a lot to gain in knowing who has power. While she recognizes the danger they pose, I think Laurel is correct in that they don’t pose an immediate threat to her.

The reason I’m not all in on the move is because Laurel did take some heat here for snitching. Yes, she had witnesses in Donathan, Jenna, and Michael, but Desiree still dragged her name through the mud. As we previously saw with Libby, once your name starts being thrown around camp, you can quickly become an easy target. It’s not so much what Desiree said to Dom or Wendell which is worrying, but what she said in front of the Malolos. She outed that Laurel snitched to Dom in front of Michael and Jenna, which jeopardized their chances of turning the game around. You’d think that would make Michael and Jenna extra wary of trusting Laurel going forward.

The other question for Laurel is, how long do you wait until you make a move? Try and overthrow the system too early, and it could be your torch getting snuffed, just like what happened to Desiree. Wait too long, and you might never get the chance. And that is my concern for Laurel, especially with Dom and Wendell having idols, the lower the numbers get, they could easily idol their way to the end.

SNUFFED: Kellyn’s gut

Another player who took a hit this week was Kellyn, who throughout the season has been the leading proponent of sticking Naviti-strong and trusting her gut. Both of those things led her down the wrong path in this episode. Kellyn refused to believe Dom when he told her that Desiree was scheming to turn against the alliance. She thought Dom was trying to drag her into his paranoia and was adamant that the girls she’s been with since Day 1 would never consider voting her out. “Me and Des and Chelsea are unbreakable. They would never turn on me like that,” Kellyn stated, while Des and Chelsea were planning to do that exact thing.

Kellyn straight up asked Desiree about it and, of course, Desiree denied, denied, denied. Kellyn continued to have her so-called friend’s back long after the rest of the tribe had verified the information. She even got into a mini-argument with Dom, literally stamping her foot down and demanding that Michael should be the target. “Us girls have been folding for what you guys want and we want Michael out,” she asserted. I admire the ballsiness, but it’s not a good look when you’re yelling demands at the person trying to save your skin. Kellyn said she was trying to be “Sherlock Holmes” in her pursuit of the truth, but it was obvious she was missing vital clues in her investigation. She was just wrong and almost tanked her game out of misguided loyalty and a false sense of control.

Photo: CBS

In the end, Kellyn did join the majority in voting for Desiree, who was unable to convincingly claw her way out of the hole her lie put her in. But it took a lot of convincing for her to reach that point, and even now, I’m not sure she wholeheartedly believes it. And don’t get me wrong, Kellyn’s not a terrible player, she’s made a couple of nifty moves in the past, but I think she has become so locked into this Naviti-strong mantra that it’s clouding her judgment. It might be time to stop listening to her gut and start playing with her head.

Extra Flames

– Angela had a chance to play a game at Ghost Island, which resulted in her losing her vote, but it didn’t affect the events of the episode at all. As I touched upon earlier, there is a real lack of excitement in these Ghost Island scenes now.

– Donathan discovered Scot Pollard’s idol from Survivor: Kaoh Rong, though for it to work he needed to combine it with Tai Trang’s idol which was hidden under the tribe’s shelter. He managed to retrieve it with the help of Laurel, Michael, and Jenna. Congrats to Donathan, but I’m kind of over all the idol finds at this point. All this scene really did was remind me how great Kaoh Rong was as a season. Also, any time we get to see Scot Pollard embarrassed on TV is a good thing.

– The guys might be finding all the idols, but the women are kicking butt in the Immunity Challenges this season. That’s three in a row for the ladies with Chelsea’s win tonight.

– Did anyone else think Libby and Chris were looking very Malibu Barbie and Ken on the jury?

– My brain usually goes into autopilot when people start talking about their dreams, but when Dom said he dreamt about Michael Sheen being Laurel’s dad, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity. Still not as ludicrous as Shambo’s chicken dream from Survivor: Samoa though.

– “You don’t even need food when you have highs like that” — Sebastian. I’m just leaving that there without context.

Before I go, here is the Survivor Brain Buster Trivia question of the week: We saw a helicopter reward in tonight’s episode, which season first featured a reward via chopper?

Post your answers in the comments below, and let us know your thoughts on the latest episode. Could Desiree have played this move any better? Was Laurel right to tell Domenick? Is Kellyn’s gut going to be her downfall?

Survivor: Ghost Island, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS