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.
Episode: “Price For Immunity” (Episode 12)
Broadcast Date: December 1, 2005
Get exclusive content and features by supporting Inside Survivor on Patreon.
The fall of Judd Sergeant is one of the better “obvious blindside” episodes in Survivor history. At this point in Survivor: Guatemala, Judd thinks he has the game in the bag, with a clear path to the end with his partner in crime, Stephenie LaGrossa. The family visit this episode seemingly bonds the two of them even further, as Judd happily gives Steph a chance for her and her boyfriend to have some Mayan family time along with him and his wife (almost as good as eating 25 White Castle cheeseburgers). Everything seems to be going great in Judd’s world.
But Danni Boatwright has other plans. For maximum enjoyment, you should watch this episode from Danni’s perspective. Seeing Judd obliviously throw his game away is fun in itself, but it is the underdog story of Danni that is truly compelling. Danni starts by telling us she is on the chopping block after her last remaining ally (Gary Hogeboom) was voted out the night before. However, she remains hopeful and quietly confident. “This perfect little alliance is gonna have to start breaking up,” she says in confessional, setting up an episode that soon becomes Danni vs. the World.
The edit makes no attempt to hide what a monstrous two-headed beast Judd and Stephenie have become, talking about farts and performing cartwheels around camp like two court jesters that have somehow overthrown the monarchy and ended up in power. Stephenie greedily takes money from Lydia Morales at the Auction so she can bid on seeing her boyfriend and thereby depriving Lydia of the chance to see her brother—who Lydia hadn’t seen in two years! And later, back at camp, Judd and Steph arrogantly dismiss Danni’s chances of being able to win Immunity.
This brashness from Judd and Stephenie is beautifully contrasted with Danni’s relaxed confidence. Just keep a particular focus on Danni throughout the Survivor Auction. While everyone else is panicked and emotional and pooling money to bid on their loved ones, Danni just sits there, happily chewing on her beef jerky that she snatches for a bargain price of $20. In the face of desperate greed and overconfidence, Danni remains calm and humble. And her patience pays off in a big way!
For the first time ever, an Immunity challenge advantage is offered up at the Auction. Being the last surviving member of the minority alliance, Danni is savvy enough to snatch this advantage up (for only $200! My, how times have changed). This advantage helps Danni pull out a clutch Immunity win and allows her to then work her relationships back at camp. She reaches out to Lydia and Rafe Judkins, planting the seeds against Judd to flip them to her cause. Seeing where the numbers are going, Stephenie is forced to go along with voting out one of the only people she could actually beat in a Final 2.
Steph’s loss is Danni’s gain, as the tribe delivers the death blow to the Juddinator. “Hope you guys all get bit by a freakin’ crocodile. Scumbags,” Judd says as he collects his torch, delivering one of the greatest reactions to getting voted off in Survivor history. It’s a moment that perfectly encapsulates Judd, a brash and volatile guy with absolutely no filter, which might not make for the best player, but certainly makes for an awesome Survivor character.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 89. You can check out the previous entries here.