Why is Survivor San Juan Del Sur So Boring?

Hunahpu sits around bored out of their minds, much like Survivor's home audience.
Survivor San Juan Del Sur (Photo: Monty Brinton / CBS)

Survivor San Juan Del Sur Episode 6: Make Some Magic Happen — This week’s episode title comes from the fans waiting for something—ANYTHING—to happen.

I’m deviating from the normal Survivor post format this week to address a major concern: why is Survivor: San Juan Del Sur: Blood vs. Water 2: Exile “Island” nth so incredibly boring? Last night’s episode was a culmination of everything that has been wrong with this season, and the series as a whole, of late. Here’s the quick version:

Jeff Probst delivered rice (and a well-deserved lecture) to Hunahpu in exchange for a full camp reset. All that’s left on the beach are a machete, the original piece of flint, and a pot. The shelter also stays, but all tarps and comfort items were collected by production. Jeremy raised a stink about yet another stupid deal his tribe is making, since there could be a reward challenge with food just around the corner. There is and the tribe wins it. The only other drama is that Julie thinks about calling it quits, but doesn’t. Riveting?

Coyopa loses the immunity challenge and Dale tries every Hail Mary play he can think of to stay in the game. Instead, he missed the opportunity to cause a 3-3 tie with Keith and possibly flushing out a real hidden immunity idol instead of the fake one he tried to use as a bargaining chip.

The main story this season seems to be the Ballad of the Hungry Hunahpu, which is not compelling because it isn’t really a crisis. In his lecture to the tribe, Probst points out that this is the first time since season two and even that involved special circumstances, e.g. a flood washing away the camp while the tribe was at a challenge.1 Frankly, I think the deal Probst should have made last week was that Hunahpu would have to give up immunity and vote someone out in exchange for a bag of rice, thereby also getting rid of an extra mouth gobbling up resources that no one at the camp can seem to manage.

Next week’s Survivor features the merge, which also undercuts any potential drama from Hunahpu’s supposed sacrifice. There will probably be a merge feast and hidden immunity idol party favors, which means Hunahpu’s dominance in the game will probably go unchallenged. No heroes, villains, or crowd favorites have emerged because nothing of import has happened in the game. Blood vs. Water became neutralized by last week’s tribe swap, Exile Island will probably be out of play once there is one tribe2, and the environment is not picturesque or especially threatening. Maybe something will happen when 12 people3 share one beach, but with the new tribe being 2/3 Hunahpu, I expect many of the same boring dynamics to continue.

  1. Sidebar: If you haven’t rewatched that season recently, it still holds up.  
  2. and both Immunity Idols have been found, making the clue urns pointless  
  3. too many, in my opinion  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles

Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it “TV Camp.” After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv