HOLLYWOOD—I find it quite hard to believe that I have once again become a fan of “Survivor” after checking out from the series probably a good 10 plus years. It was “Survivor: Cambodia” that reeled me back in and since then I have tried to watch previous seasons on a consistent basis. I’ve been up and down with the latest entry, “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” as there are root-able characters, but at the same time not as many as I would hope in the game of “Survivor.”

It seems some want to win, while others are just there and I’d like to see a bit more manipulation and strategy in play than what I’m witnessing right now. Well, they do indeed say the game doesn’t officially begin until the merge, and after last week’s devastating loss of Ali thanks to Ryan’s backstabbing, viewers got what they wanted this week. However, there were plenty of surprises in play that people never expected. With the merge upon us, it’s all about numbers people, and with the Healers still having the most players in play, it’s no surprise they became major targets of surviving members of the Hustlers and Heroes tribe.

Unity amongst the three separate tribes will not last forever, as Cole is still seen as a threat by Ben, while Desi and Joe find themselves at battle with Devon and Ashley, who are foodless, lacking energy and eager to eat. Well Jeff Probst announced the big news and everyone rejoiced, but they really shouldn’t have, because this is where the game truly begins; it’s no longer a team sport, it’s an individual sport. Yes, there is already friction between Chrissy and Joe, and I love it, we’ll be able to see if Chrissy can actually outsmart someone ready to play the game and who is just as conniving as she is. Ben is playing things smart people, Chrissy, not so much; too much talk in the public sphere can hurt your game.

Ryan and Devon touched base and as I predicted the Heroes and Hustlers would reunite to go after the Healers, putting a majority in play (7 against 5). Could this be more obvious people? Devon brought a valid point about the Hustlers and Heroes sticking together, but I love that LAUREN is going against the majority and Lauren spilled the tea to Mike. Ben is also thinking long-term, unlike everyone else. Love the idea, but Lauren be careful because that information can put a major target on your back. Ben is annoyed with Cole, which puts Jessica in a bind yet again. Jess you might have to cut Cole, he is becoming a liability to your game, but Ben’s suspicions has Mike teetering carefully, and his ability to maneuver has him standing out in my personal opinion as a possible winner.

The first individual immunity challenge was a test of endurance with survivors spinning a ball in a contraption and moving down a steep beam. I swear I wish Jeff would just shut-up sometimes. The constant talking is such a distraction, and I seriously believe he has no idea as a viewer how frustrating it is to see him constantly talk and talk and talk. That final section of the challenge led to Cole, Chrissy, Ashley and Desi fighting for victory, but once Cole dropped, Chrissy immediately dropped (if you’re going to throw a challenge Chrissy you should try being a bit more coy about it). It was a fight to the finish, but Desi earned the victory.

Wow, I’m impressed with Cole actually playing a SOCIAL GAME and having a conversation with Ben about his past antics, even though Ben is still considering all his options. Mike threw out Chrissy’s name and Lauren was sold, but Ben continued to raise suspicions, as Lauren attempted to inform Ben his personal game is more important than his team’s game. That conversation with Joe and Cole was sensational because Joe is so perceptive, and Jess became a target for Chrissy.

Man this tribal council was so explosive and worth every moment of TV. Joe delivered good TV and called out people on their BS and I love it, I love it! Cole, Joe, Jessica and Chrissy are all possible casualties tonight. Mike delivered a funny moment, and Joe showed his idol and was not afraid to shake the game even more. I noticed that Ben was very quiet throughout most of the Tribal Council and I was on edge of my seat wondering who would be bidding adieu. Joe decided to play his idol on himself, meaning Jessica or Chrissy could be headed out. Joe that idol was played for no reason and Jessica was blindsided. I knew it as soon as they pinpointed Jessica’s name in the episode she was a goner.

So it looks like Lauren and Ben went with the majority, but I don’t see that happening come next tribal people. Chrissy is playing a dominant game, but I’m certain that she is going to slip up people; no one with that much screen time stays in power forever. The game is truly underway and I cannot wait to see what other surprises are in store for “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.”