Surviving Barstool Episode 4 Recap: You Should Venmo @Gracekomalley

This episode brought me back to my emo roots. Rarely have I ever felt seen as a person on reality TV, but tonight Grace O’Malley won America’s hearts by being absolutely devastated.

I know I’m not supposed to lead the recap blog with the results of the elimination, but there’s honestly not much to discuss from a gameplay standpoint that happened on the 2nd to last episode of Surviving Barstool. We are watching Steven Cheah outwit 7 other people for $10,000 in a game comprised of strategy, mental fortitude, and backstabbing.

It unfortunately has not been that hard. Grace is a shell of herself, which coincidentally seems to be when she creates the best content. It’s inspirational really. She is torn up about crossing Caroline, who she has peripherally known for about a month.

Steven Cheah is just a little bit less torn up. No dirt on his hands as far as he’s concerned. He told Caroline to her face she was going home, just like he did Kontent Kim before her. His entire strategy is being honest and upfront about every thing he’s doing, which has never once worked on any reality competition show before this. But if anyone can pull this off it’s unflappable Cheah.

First thing in the morning Jeff D Lowe is acting a little sketchy, which Cheah takes as a signal to focus in a little bit more on the his mess of a desk. Jeff D Lowe and the D is for ‘desk is a dump’. He ‘finds’ the immunity ring on the last day it can be used tied to the back of random Vegas Golden Knights memorabilia at Jeff D Lowe’s desk. Was this a push by production to find the immunity ring since it would be embarrassing for Tommy to have created the scavenger hunt with hard clues that no one found? Or is Steven Cheah just that good? Those are your 2 choices.

Steven Cheah decides to announce to the entire group that he found the immunity ring since and bravely tells everyone out of respect he will throw the challenge. This is probably his most degrading move yet.

In future iterations of Surviving Barstool I do wish we went to a Survivor format of one reward challenge and one immunity challenge. If ever placed in the position to make these programming decisions I would include this element. Prize could be like a guest appearance by Nick on your podcast, Jersey Jerry’s cream colored shorts, or a Madden code from Pete.

That being said this challenge was well done. The contestants traveled to the basement of Barstool’s office which looked actually kind of clean, comparatively. They had to navigate a maze of Mattress Firm mattresses using a flashlight to memorize letters written on the back which spelled out a phrase.

Anyone that attended a highlighter frat party between 2004-2011 would have dominated, but in the end Eddie won when he revealed the well known phrase “Stars Mudie” as the secret password.

Job well done, Eddie. Now Eddie and his biggest alliance member Cheah are both safe and into the final 4 before the vote even happens. I’m not sure how Grace didn’t see that flipping on Caroline was writing her own Surviving Barstool suicide note both literally and figuratively. The time to flip the vote against the guys was last night, or the night before, or the night before, and there wasn’t much for Grace to do. But there were moves left on the table.

Pitching to Eddie and Jackie that Rudy is the biggest threat in a final vote would have been the first play. Eddie has enough scruples to realize that. Jackie already wanted to flip on the guys. I cannot tell you how bad we, the viewing public, deserved to see a Steven Cheah blindside. It would have been a hail mary but it’s a play at least.

After that I would have worked on getting Cheah to give someone else the immunity ring and then vote him out. It would take a lot of statistical research and would need to somehow be translated into NFL terms, but I think you just might be able to use a creative roster management tactic to convince him. Have him give it to Grace, sell him on the idea that she’ll vote Rudy but really she takes out Cheah. It was like needing 50 points from your star player in a crucial playoff win, and Grace was James Harden.

Leading up to the vote Grace is having a tough time and her extreme insecurity is so relatable it’s endearing. She’s the heart and soul of season 2, the easiest to root for by far.

If you aren’t going to win the money Grace at least had a few iconic TV moments. The BOSTOM pump up speech from Chickenfry, the poem with her venmo, it was all beautifully done by Grace.

Heading into the finale it really is anyone’s game. My money might be on Eddie just because he’s flying under the radar the most. Steven Cheah may just have hypnotized everyone into giving him $10,000 and if so, he deserves it.


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