Over the coming months, Inside Survivor is undertaking its biggest list ranking yet, as we count down the 100 best episodes of Survivor ever. As always with these kinds of lists, it’s entirely subjective, and we’re sure many fans will have different opinions. This is simply Inside Survivor’s ranking. Join us each weekday for a new entry.
Season: San Juan Del Sur
Episode: “We’re A Hot Mess” (Episode 4)
Originally Aired: October 15, 2014
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Every once in a while, a Survivor player comes along that has such a precipitous and delicious downfall that the show has no choice but to tell that story without any misdirection, leaving the audience reveling in just how badly that person lost. Drew Christy in Survivor: San Juan Del Sur is one of those players.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing an egomaniacal villain get their comeuppance. Television has thrived for decades on the fall of bad guys. [Game of Thrones spoiler alert] Didn’t we all stand up and cheer when that sadistic little s**t King Joffrey choked to death at his wedding? In an increasingly bleak and cynical world, it feels good when a bad person finally gets what they deserve. And boy, did Drew Christy get what he deserved.
Drew steps onto the Hunahpu beach ready to “manipulate minds” like some sort of surfer version of Russell Hantz. For the first couple of days, things go pretty well for Drew, with his tribe winning the first three Immunity challenges. Then this episode comes along, where Drew makes mistake after mistake that ultimately leads to his demise. The remarkable part is his unwavering belief in how awesome he is as he’s making these mistakes, proudly proclaiming, “Basically, I’m a badass” along the way.
Pretty much everything Drew does throughout the hour is wonderfully flawed. Some of the highlights include:
- Boldly negotiating an ill-fated trade of his tribe’s flint (their second flint, that is) for some fishing gear. Drew thinks this will be an awesome way to redeem himself for the mishap with the previous flint and give him a chance at fisherman glory. His tribemates think that he’ll look like an idiot. The verdict? A big fat NO from Jeff Probst.
- Volunteering to go to Exile Island to hang out with—and creepily leer at—his best buddy Jon Misch’s girlfriend, Jaclyn Schultz. This one isn’t so much a mistake, just a thing that gives off massive douche chills.
- Actively and blatantly throwing the Immunity challenge in the clutch position without telling anybody. This is a plan devised while on Exile Island, where Drew decides it’s time for him to seize control of the tribe and fashion himself as a power player.
- Targeting Kelley “She’s the Biggest Threat Because She’s Seen Every Season” Wentworth, who had barely said two words before this episode and was seemingly the most innocuous person on the tribe. Although after her impressive—and almost winning—game in Survivor: Cambodia, it does make Drew seem somewhat prophetic in hindsight.
On a side-note, “We’re A Hot Mess” is probably the reason why the producers decided to invite Wentworth back in the first place. It is by far her most visible episode outside of her boot episode and her “WTF?!” reactions to Drew pop off the screen. You could see Wentworth’s potential in this episode, and she would go on to cement herself as one of the stars of modern Survivor in her subsequent appearances.
Outside of the Drew drama, this episode also provides us with some classic Keith Nale logic. Unable to find the idol, Keith assumes that Jeremy Collins must already have it and subsequently informs the rest of his tribe. The news gets back to Jeremy, and he is dumbfounded why a member of his own alliance is throwing him under the bus. The situation is made even funnier when Keith later finds the idol and realizes his assumption was wrong. When Jeremy calls him on it at Tribal Council, it leads to this classic exchange:
Jeremy: “We could have had two people aligned and a sub-alliance with somebody else.”
Keith: “Sub-alliance. Okay. That’s a new one on me.”
Jeremy: “It’s not a new one in Survivor!”
This episode’s Tribal Council as a whole is one of the most unpredictable pre-merge vote-offs in the history of the show. Between Jeremy and Keith’s back-and-forth, Jon’s utter confusion on who he is supposed to be voting for, and Drew’s misguided confidence that Wentworth is going home, it makes perfect sense why eventual winner Natalie Anderson tells Jeff that her tribe is “…a hot mess.” The vote eventually comes back 5-2-1-1, sending a surprised Drew packing.
All of Drew’s buffoonery makes him closer to asshat than badass, and his inflexibility and obtuseness cause his torch to be snuffed by the episode’s end. It’s an unflattering look for any Survivor player, but when the show commits to showing all the stumbles a player like Drew experiences in this episode, it makes for an exit for the ages.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 56. You can check out the previous entries here.