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Survivor – Alliance Breakdown

It had to come to an end eventually, and the breakdown of this season’s dominant alliance on Survivor made for a good episode.

Blocked

redemption islandThe “Truel” was a showdown among Tina, Laura and Vytas.

I thought it would be a tight race, since the challenge was puzzle-based. All three of the contestants seemed like pretty good puzzle-solvers. Players had to get four blocks through a net, and then stack them in a Rubik’s Cube kind of way so that each side had four different symbols.

Tina fell behind from the start, and was still getting her blocks through the net when Laura and Vytas set to work on the puzzle. Laura nailed it, and then she started instructing Tina on how to complete her puzzle.

On the one hand, I hated this. I generally don’t like that the players can even see one another’s completed puzzles in these challenges, and I wish it were against the rules to offer advice. But, it’s not. And given that it’s not against the rules, it was smart for Laura to help Tina along. After all, she’ll be easier to beat in future challenges than Vytas. Especially an endurance challenge, given that he’s Mr. Yoga. With Laura’s help, Tina finished the challenge a split second before Vytas.

vytas3I’m sad to see Vytas go. He was a strong player who I think could have gone further with better luck. I’d like to see him play again. My husband had Vytas in the office pool too, so it’s too bad that he’s eliminated.

Betrayals

Back at camp, the backstabbing and betraying began. Tyson first warned everyone that Katie is a big threat when it comes to getting jury votes, so the plan was to vote for her. But Hayden and Caleb were plotting behind his back, thinking the time was right to make their big move.

I definitely think Hayden and Caleb needed to take Tyson out, but I wonder why they didn’t try to do it last week? Laura would have been an additional vote. Were they that intimidated by the Laura/Ciera combo? I would have wanted to use that to my advantage.

haydenHayden and Caleb had Katie’s vote, of course, because she’s the outsider. They also thought they’d have Ciera’s vote, but she immediately went running to Tyson to tell him the plan. Why did she think she’d be better off with Tyson, Gervase and Monica for an alliance? They’re all veteran players who knew and trusted one another before the game even began. If I were Ciera, I’d rather play with the newbies from here on out.

Thanks to Ciera’s tattling, a new plan was formed: Tyson, Gervase, Monica and Ciera would vote for Caleb. However, thanks to Ciera’s shifty standoffishness, by morning Caleb and Hayden suspected that she’d bailed on them.

Bucket of BADASS

tribeThis week’s challenge was simple, but one of my favorites. Players had to hold onto a rope attached to a bucket containing 25% of their weight. I like how the percentage evens out the playing field a little. (Though, 25% of Ciera’s weight is basically nothing.) There was also a twist! Players could choose to compete, or eat delicious barbecue.

tyson3 - CopyI always have strong feelings on this. I like to think that I’d play, and I respect players who compete. I also think it’s usually a poor strategic move to eat, because you’re showing your hand – you feel safe and now everyone knows it! Three of the seven players chose to eat: Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. I can excuse Ciera’s decision because, come on. Homegirl can’t win anything and DEFINITELY wasn’t going to win this one. But Tyson and Gervase? Poor, gentleman, poor. It’s just too cocky.

Katie was out of the challenge first, and after about 20 minutes Caleb let his bucket drop too. He couldn’t take the pain on his hands any longer. As we saw later, it really did some damage to players. Eventually Hayden’s fell as well, which meant Monica won her THIRD individual immunity challenge this season. What a killer! I am very impressed. I have Monica in the office pool so of course I’m rooting for her, but I cheer for her on an emotional level as well. Her strategy has been pretty OK – nothing special, but acceptable – but her challenge performances have been fantastic this season. Right now, I’m hoping she wins.

Scramblin’ Men

Back at camp, Hayden and Caleb had basically figured out that Ciera betrayed them. But why didn’t they have a plan B? The best they could come up with was to approach Tyson and tell him that Ciera was playing both groups against one another.

Frankly, the boys’ plan worked better than I thought it would. But if I were them, I might have tried approaching Monica instead. I would have argued that she would not beat Tyson in the finals, and that her alliance mates were so arrogant that they stuffed their faces while she won all the challenges. It would have been a long shot, for sure, but maybe still easier than convincing Tyson to take out his swing vote.

I actually thought that maybe Tyson had fallen for the boys’ play – after all, he never totally trusted Ciera. It came down to either Ciera or Caleb, but I thought Tyson’s best play was to vote out Caleb.

After the votes were cast, Tyson played his Hidden Immunity Idol. (He couldn’t find it in his backpack, which was pretty funny.) Now see, that’s just silly. If Tyson had won the Immunity Challenge, he wouldn’t have needed to waste his Idol. But we’ll never know if he could have won, because he didn’t play! I’m curious to see if any of Tyson’s alliance-mates will be pissed to find out that he had the Idol.

So, Caleb was voted out. Like I said, I was a bit surprised but I think it was Tyson’s best move. Was it Ciera’s best move? I don’t think so. How long before someone finally topples the puppetmaster?

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