Survivor “Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart” Review (Season 31 Episode 12)


Survivor returned tonight with yet another intense installment with “Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart”. This has been one of the greatest seasons in recent memory, and depending on where we go from here it might be ranking in the top five seasons in Survivor history. Even though the season has been so great, it adds an extra level of pressure to each episode.

Thankfully this episode didn’t disappoint. The opening scenes were OK, but since this has been one of the best seasons of Survivor in quite a while, so it was fitting that we had one of the best loved one visits ever. Not only did we have a pregnant wife visiting and actually revealing the sex of a baby, which was a Survivor first, but we had Spencer telling his girlfriend that he loved her for the first time. It was great that we had the scene way back in the beginning of the season that set up this issue with Spencer’s relationship, and now it’s paying off in episode 11! So cool. And also, way to go Spence! Your girlfriend is totally hot, and it was adorable seeing her flash that huge smile every time he said “I love you”. Joe and his dad also had a surprisingly strong relationship, and their bond really hit me harder than usual since I just had my second son 4 weeks ago. I know how strong the bond between a boy and his father can be, so that was really great.

The reward challenge was your basic Survivor fare, but the most surprising part of the whole thing was who Wentworth picked to join her on the challenge. It was a little odd that she didn’t pick the guy with the pregnant wife with Jeremy, but instead picked the guy who she wanted to get out of the game with Joe. The guy is a total challenge beast and you’re giving him extra protein and emotional strength before the immunity challenge?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough protein or strength to last through the challenge, and he had that terrifying collapse after an hour and twenty minutes! I was terrified when he fell and medical rushed in, because it’s extremely rare on Survivor that medical will examine you and they’ll actually let you stay in the game. I can actually only think of it happening once, with Boston Rob back on Heroes vs. Villains. I thought he’d be pulled from the game, so I was glad that he was allowed to stay in, but he still was most likely going to go home, right? Well, that’s what I thought last week, too!

I have to say that it’s a little odd that Keith was able to wear a cap that not only covered his head, but also shielded his eyes from the sun. For a challenge that involved staring up into the sun for over an hour, it seems like that would be an unfair advantage. Sure, Keith is 52 and it’s definitely impressive that he lasted that long anyway, but it was still pretty questionable. I always feel like they need to distribute standardized outfits and equipment for all challenges. Sometimes some people get to wear shoes during challenges that involve your feet, and some don’t. They need to make everybody wear the same thing! Anyway, that’s my Survivor pet peeve.

Another small quibble is that it seems like we’re getting a lot of endurance challenges for immunity. Why not make it a speed or puzzle challenge instead?

Anyway, those were my only two small complaints with the episode. I’m a fan of Joe so I’m sad to see him go, but I can’t say I was altogether too surprised. The guy basically had to win out every challenge from here on out, and the odds of that happening were pretty low. I’m sure we’ll see the guy come back for an All Stars season or something, and I’m glad he wasn’t claimed by an injury, either. See ya later, Joe! Hope to see you again!

What did you guys think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I loved Jeff’s convoluted double-negative way of telling the players that their loved ones were actually being brought to them. It reminded me of the doctor from Arrested Development who kept making it sound like the Bluth’s loved ones had died.

– Man, Keith and Joe are really turning into serious challenge rivals, huh? It seems like they’ve been the only two remaining for a lot of challenges.

– Abi’s dig at Joe’s hair was hilarious, but that’s the style now, Abi! I don’t like it anymore than you do!