“The Tribe Has Spoken”: John Hennigan Voted Off Survivor 37 in Shocking Fashion

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John Hennigan, Survivor
Credit: CBS, Survivor

If you are looking for a Survivor recap with a specialized focus on the weekly exploits of one John Hennigan, you’ve come to the right place. After each episode, until Hennigan either wins the show or is eliminated, we’ll recap his best moments and highlights in a column we like to call, “Johnny Survivor.”

“After each episode, until Hennigan either wins the show or is eliminated…”

Well, we always knew one of those outcomes was going to happen but I don’t think anyone would have guessed that week eight would have been the swan song for everyone’s favorite multi-name wrestler. The ironic part about it is, and John himself acknowledged it, that he somewhat predicted his own demise. While talking about the Goliaths plan to blindside Christian, John noted that, although it was tough for him to get rid of his lone David ally, that tonight it would be “#BrochachoBlindside.” Oh how right he was and now, #BrochachoBlindside, is probably going to become a part of Survivor lore given all of the craziness and gameplay that led to perhaps this season’s most surprising and out-of-the-blue elimination.

To take things back a bit, we return to week seven, when the much anticipated merge finally happened. At that point, John was looking pretty solid. He had his Brochacho alliance and still had his alliance with Dan, Alec, Angelina and Kara as well, not to mention the Goliath majority. And as it became evident pretty early on, the former purple team seemed intent on staying true to their Goliath roots. Well, most of them did, but then there were Mike and Alec, both of whom have made big moves and gotten Goliaths voted off the island, because of their alliances with Davids. The two of them, along with Allison, had unbeknownst to their fellow Goliaths, formed an additional Strike Force alliance with Nick, Christian and Gabby.

For a player who perhaps rightly so, believes he would have been the first one voted out if not for Pat’s unfortunate injury, Nick has done an exceptional job at managing the game. His propensity for making alliances has gotten him in good with both Davids and Goliaths, and not to mention, he’s managed to do all this while staying relatively under the radar. No one sees Nick as a threat yet but if they knew he was masterminding several of these scenarios, they might think twice about trusting him. Then there is Alec, who has either done a brilliant job at playing his own game, helping now to take out two of his fellow Goliaths, or he’s playing a terrible one that has somehow worked out in his favor. Either way, Alec, Nick and Mike have had their hands in just about every elimination that has gone down this season.

Alec was the first of any player to go against tribal lines when he shockingly sided with the Davids in the Vuku tribe to take out Natalia. He made another move against his own when he stayed true to the Strike Force, telling Nick that the Goliaths were planning to vote off Christian. Now, Alec had no way of knowing that Christian and Nick had somewhat of a “final two” in the form of Mason-Dixon, which was the game’s first official alliance, but he certainly knew what he was doing. That part was made all the more clear when Alec basically told Nick that the information was his to do with whatever he wanted and that if he wanted, he could really blow things wide open. And as it would turn out, that’s exactly what Nick did. He went to Christian and then went to Davie, to suggest using their “steal a vote” advantage to get the votes tied six apiece. But unbeknownst to Nick and everyone else, Davie had an immunity idol, and when it came down to it, he was selfless enough to use it on another player.

(^^^^This went up on Tuesday morning. Oh Survivor Twitter, you tease…)

Anyway, at Tribal Council, most people probably thought either Christian or Angelina was going home. It was in this moment however, that John once again said something that as it would turn out, would be indicative of his own fate.

“You get what you give.”

In a way, that quote could be considered a play on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But that’s not what John was planning to do. Just a week prior, John and Dan seemed to bristle when Angelina suggested voting out Christian, their fellow Brochacho. But when Mike suggested the same thing a week later, neither John or Dan had a problem going Goliath strong. But it may not have been as much about so-called party lines and more about the fact that Christian is a strong player with a big social game and that makes him a threat. Of course, John didn’t know about Christian’s inter-tribe alliance, something that changed the tide in this tribal council vote.

Meanwhile, John’s own alliance led to his undoing. After Davie played his idol for Christian, which is sure to earn him big points among the Davids going forward, Angelina essentially forced Dan to do the same for her. That meant that all votes for Angelina and all votes for Christian were null and void. It also meant that the Davids plan to split their votes was about to be revealed as having worked perfectly. And the thing is, John could have been safe if he had just stayed true to the Brochachos and played the vote just a little bit better. If John and Dan had agreed to vote Angelina out, knowing that no one on the Davids has any allegiances to her, they could have swung the vote. Christian would have known they weren’t actually voting for him and the Davids would have had no reason to split their vote. It would have been 7-5 in favor of sending Angelina home and for the most part, everyone would have gotten what they wanted.

But instead, Christian joined with Davie and Nick, and Dan wasted his idol on someone who wasn’t even in danger of being eliminated. John’s closest allies in the game had to make choices and one of them, that being Dan (remember, Mike told Nick about Dan having an idol), was seemingly manipulated into a decision that got perhaps his best and strongest ally in the game sent home.

And in John’s own words, episode eight proved to be a #BrochacoBlindside after all. Ironically enough though, the Brochacho John was originally referring to in Christian, was the only one of the three who wasn’t actually blindsided by the vote.

Just goes to show, in life and in Survivor, karma really is a bitch. But at least John can look on the bright side. At least he was able to fill the comptroller position in Slamtown.

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