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Survivor – Time to do the Survivor Shuffle

I’m back from vacation! And I’m married! And I’m still pretty tired, so I’ll try to keep this recap brief. The tribes were shaken up on Survivor this week, which changed the dynamic of the alliances formed thus far quite a bit.

I like the game to be exciting, but I kind of hate when they do this. The new tribes aren’t exactly even. But, first things first…

Culled-pepper

I can’t be the only one who laughed out loud when Probst brought up the idea of Ciera taking her mother’s place on Redemption Island, right? The poor girl couldn’t win a playground game of tag, let alone a Truel. And Laura knew she had a chance.

redemption island

John, Brad and Laura face off.

The challenge was to untie bags of tiles from a balance beam, and then arrange those tiles in numerical order. I immediately knew Brad would be out – he doesn’t seem like he’s great with numbers. Laura killed it and easily came in first, John finished second. Brad Culpepper is outta the game! Which means, Aras’s strategy worked. It worked, I suppose, as long as you think Monica having her husband in the game was a threat. Brad saw himself more as an anchor weighing her down, and said “Sail away, little boat!” or something like that. How poetic. Go throw your buff in the fire.

Laura gave Vytas the Hidden Immunity Idol clue, and he immediately threw it in the fire. BORING. Survivor really screwed up this time. Publicly giving someone an advantage in the game is too obviously threatening, and so the HII has become completely obsolete. Yet another reason why Redemption Island is a terrible facet of the game.

Tribal Shuffle

After Brad’s exit, the tribes were shuffled. The new teams are:

Yellow: Vytas, Katie, Tina, Monica, Kat, Laura B.
Red: Aras, Gervase, Tyson, Caleb, Hayden, Ciera.

So there’s a lone woman and a lone man. Both of them would be targets, but Ciera much more so as she’s not needed to win challenges. Tina and Katie were the only loved ones who ended up on the same tribe, and while that didn’t enter into this week’s strategy, I expect it will come up at some point. It was also interesting that the Aras/Gervase/Tyson alliance stayed together, given that at the beginning of the episode Tyson and Gervase discussed when the right time will be to topple Aras from his kingpin throne.

new tribe

Vytas and ladies.

At the new camps, Vytas immediately went to work building relationships by telling everyone about his sad history as an addict. Tyson immediately went to work figuring out how to eat all the coconuts while still appearing to be a helpful, fair tribemate. I love both players in different ways.

Sink or Swim

immunity

Gervase! In water!

Nothing about the Immunity/Reward challenge went as I expected. It was a two-parter. First, players swam out two at a time to retrieve traps of puzzle pieces. When the Red Tribe put Gervase in the water, I said “What? Gervase can’t swim!” But he can! Gervase swam MUCH better than he did in the first challenge of the season. Has he been practicing? Did Tyson (a very good swimmer AND his alliance mate) help him? I want to know!

Next, Laura B. and Tina totally blew it and forgot to bring the trap back with them. How do you screw up that bad? Like, why did they think they were in the water? Healthy exercise? Oh man. Tina had her chance to make it all up in the puzzle, when she and Monica faced off against Aras and Tyson. The boys struggled, and it looked like the Yellow Tribe was making their comeback! But after submitting TWO incorrect answers, the guys got it. The Red Tribe won immunity and a picnic, and I was left surprised. Gervase can swim and Tina blew a challenge. Is this bizarro Survivor?

Patience, Grasshopper

Back at camp, the women had all agreed to stick together and vote out their lone male tribemate. On the one hand, I understood the strategy. The odds are low that Vytas would be loyal to them, and not his fellas back on the other tribe. On the other hand, they could use Vytas in challenges to help them stick together.

The problem is, suggesting to vote out one of your own is always bound to ruffle feathers. And that’s just what happened. Kat suggested voting out Monica, because Monica’s constant strategy talk bugs her. I didn’t even have time to panic (I have Monica in the office pool) because immediately after Kat went to Tina with her plan, Tina turned around and told Monica. Kat really mishandled the situation. She always thinks she’s more in the center of an alliance than she actually is. The true Veterans’ alliance had been Aras, Tyson, Gervase, Monica and Tina. Kat was on the outside, but she didn’t know it. So she underestimated the closeness of Tina and Monica.

As soon as Monica heard that Kat had thrown her name into the mix, she wanted Kat taken out. Fine, I get it. I would want that too. But I don’t know why Monica went to confront Kat about it. What good would that do? Of course Kat would lie when confronted. And if she’d owned up to it, would that change anything? Just vote her out and wash your hands of her!

Going into Tribal Council, Tina said she wanted to stick to the plan to eliminate Vytas, but it was really 50/50. At Tribal Council, Kat came across as desperate and backpedaling, but Vytas was calm and consistent. Not that I think it really mattered, minds are almost always already made up. The rest of the tribe unanimously voted out Kat. She asked for it – it was the wrong time to turn on one of her own.

I think this vote was very telling. We saw that Vytas can make friends quickly and knows how to plead a case for himself. We also saw that Monica has a lot of say in the tribe, because she is obviously the one who convinced Tina to go along with voting out Kat. Together, they probably convinced the rest of the tribe. I’m interested to see how far Tina and Monica will get together, or if one of them turns on the other first.

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