30. Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (Season 35)
However messy and complicated you thought the name of this season was, it would be doubled in its execution on television. One could argue the season first became interesting after this epic blindside, but even then it took 27 hours before December of its original runtime to even take a whiff of intriguing, exciting gameplay.
There were plenty of Survivor firsts in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. It marked the first time that three starting tribes swapped into three more tribes, presenting an entirely new format of pre-merge play. We got plenty of lovable, unique characters, such as Lauren Rimmer and Devon PInto. We even saw a masterful idol play, producing the first-ever 1-0 elimination in the show’s history.
The first two-thirds of the season, however, was fairly predictable. We also saw a reverse-Pagonging attempt at the merge, with the two weaker tribes teaming up to take down the Healers in a predictable fashion. It was capped off with a series of idol finds (including one placed where only one player visits each morning), and a Final Four twist that the castaways didn’t know about that allowed Ben to make it to the final Tribal Council.
In 34 of the show’s previous seasons, he’s voted out in 4th place and to a hero’s welcome for the history books. Instead, the majority of Survivor fans were soured on the show’s production and felt robbed of a natural outcome.
Written by Daniel George.