The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 50)

“We’re A Hot Mess”

San Juan Del Sur, Episode 4 (Air Date: October 15 2014)
by Martin Holmes and Ian Walker

Every once in awhile, 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 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.

Drew Christy got what he deserved.

Drew stepped onto the Hunahpu beach of Survivor: San Juan del Sur 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 the unwavering belief in how awesome he is as he’s making those mistakes, proudly proclaiming “Basically, I’m a Badass” along the way.


Pretty much everything Drew does throughout the hour is wonderfully bad. Some of the highlights include:

Boldly negotiating an ill-fated trade of his tribe’s second flint for some fishing gear. Drew thought this would be an awesome way to redeem himself for the mishap with the previous flint and give him a chance at fisherman glory; his tribe thought he would look like an idiot. The verdict? A big fat NO from Jeff Probst.


Volunteering to go to Exile Island to go hang out with, and slightly 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 challenge in the clutch position without telling anybody. This was a plan he had devised on Exile Island, deciding it was time for him to seize control of the tribe and fashion himself as the power player.

Targeting Kelley “She’s the Biggest Threat Because She’s Seen Every Survivor Season” Wentworth, who had barely said two words to the audience 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 bring Kelley Wentworth back in the first place. It was by far her most visible episode outside of her boot episode and her reactions to Drew radiated off the screen.

Outside of the Drew drama, this episode also provided us with some classic Keith Nale logic. Unable to find the idol, he 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!”

The 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 Kelley is going home, it makes perfect sense why Natalie Anderson tells Jeff that her tribe is “…a hot mess.” The vote comes back 5-2-1-1.


All of Drew’s buffoonery makes him closer to asshat than badass, and his inflexibility and obtuseness causes 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’s an exit for the ages.

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Written by

Ian Walker

Ian, from Chicago, Illinois, graduated with a Communications major and an English minor and is now navigating adult life the best he can. He has been a fan of Survivor since Pearl Islands aired when he was 11 years old, back when liking Rupert was actually cool.

14 responses to “The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 50)”

  1. And people say that San Juan Del Sur was boring before the merge! Great episode, and a great pick to start this ranking.

    • It was boring. It was the first season (superfan) that I actually did NOT watch live because it was so boring pre-merge. Glad people said it picked up post-merge though.

    • I think that partially people think it is a hot mess because the players (with the exception of perhaps Josh, Jeremy and Natalie) are playing like early seasons. We got used to a higher level of strategy and antics from players. Other than John Rocker who seemed to be under control, there weren’t any really nutty or repulsive acting players either (Phillip (nutty), Colton (repulsive), Brandon Hantz (repulsive)) or strange but interesting and funny characters (like Tyson or Coach), other than Keith. Drew was the basic frat/surfer guy and Fabio did that better and was more likable. Even his brother was more likable.

  2. Drew is one of those people that you Kinda want to feel bad for, but they make such an ass of themselves, you can’t help but smile. Easily, one of the worst players ever.

  3. SJDS is actually the most underrated season ever. WE have a deserving winner. Blindsides. And wasn’t that amazing to see the chauvinist getting voted out back to back to back and we all have a very solid Final 3?

  4. SJDS will be a series people will -remember- in the future, there are just so many great episodes & moments! I know there might be a slight recency bias, but really it takes a lot of unnecessary flack. Drew Christy getting voted out in a chaotic tribal was just delicious. He is the prophecy though!

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