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"The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
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VerucaSalt 1578 desperate attention whore postings
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09-13-13, 12:04 PM (EST)
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"The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"

I am only just realizing how convoluted this season may end up being with the twists involved. When I heard the concept of loved ones playing against returning players I was actually very impressed that Survivor managed to tweak their premise once again and in a very interesting manner.

Returning players have always been an interesting experiment since we have seen time and time again that regardless the new players should know to boot them immediately, they always manage to let at least one slide by as evidenced by those “vets” who have won with new players.

This time we have added issues. They are not on the same tribe as new players and it's their loved ones on the other tribe.

The vets are also in a quandary since they could use the other vets as a safety net but they certainly want their loved one to stick around. One also has to consider that if they form an alliance with another member of their tribe, they are potentially forming an alliance with that person’s loved one and what if that person is a huge threat?

Unlike last season, I was very happy with most of the returning players that were cast and my “bias” may interfere in how I think they may do. There is no question a couple of the returning players were cast due to their personalities and I will not be surprised if we see a lot of these people even if they are short term.

Naturally, this thread welcomes the view from an editing standpoint and those posting in here have always been very respectful regarding the omission of sourced information and after all these seasons, let me again thank everyone for respecting the “unspoiled” editing eye.

From my understanding, RI will play a large role and immediately upon the start of the game. In addition, (please correct me if I am wrong as fellow posters provide me with the information since I don’t wish to read outside information) it appears that a loved one can trade places with whomever goes to RI and they take their place in the tribe. This is certainly another wrench thrown in as you are possibly protecting your loved one, jeopardizing yourself, potentially creating new alliances if you go to your loved ones tribe, etc.

The HII is also back and I only hope that they make them a little more difficult to find since they appear to be ripe for the taking these past few seasons and it will be interesting to see if that person who gets the clue from RI shares it with their tribe, the other tribe or perhaps nobody.

All of these nuances could lead to an extremely topsy turpsy season that will either be very exciting or quite potentially a train wreck. Time will certainly tell. Based on the tribes and the players on each, certain members have the potential to go the distance. However, with a merger and loved ones and RI, it could be anyone’s game.


Aras Baskauskas
Age: 31
Previous Season: Panama
I frankly never expected to see Aras again and he is a player I am looking forward to seeing if only due to his absence all these seasons. That being said, strong males are worrisome at any merger and strong males who were winners are even more worrisome. There are quite a few players that will work extra hard to NOT let a prior winner win.

Candice Woodcock Cody
Age: 30
Previous Season: Cook Islands, Heroes vs Villains
I’ve always liked Candice and felt she was significantly underrated. With some of the players on the returning tribe, her presence may be overlooked that she could do fairly well. However, her husband will probably be viewed as a threat and that may cause a problem for Candice. Considering they are also husband and wife, should one of them get sent to RI, it will be interesting to see if they “fall on their sword” for the other and that could cause a dynamic that is potentially negative or positive.

Colton Cumbie
Age: 22
Previous Season: One World
Ah, Colton! By sheer virtue of his behavior in One World, I am of the mindset that he is a short term player. Despite the fact he is probably no real threat to anyway, his polarizing attitude would certainly put off quite a few of these contestants. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I would suggest we may see a lot of him but for a short time.

Gervase Peterson
Age: 43
Previous Season: Borneo
Another player I am very pleased to see and with his personality as well as being far removed from the recent seasons, I have no doubt Gervase can do rather well this season. He was very engaging and may be viewed as an “icon.” I don’t necessarily see him trading places with his niece either. There really isn’t anyone on this tribe that I see having any immediate issue with Gervase. However, we may not see any real editing push for Gervase for a couple of episodes even if he is long term.

Kat Edorsson
Age: 23
Previous Season: One World
Kat made an indelible impression on One World and she is joined by two of her cast mates on her tribe so their interactions should be interesting in terms of whether a ready made alliance is created. Kat was engaging but I won’t be surprised if she comes off as irritating. With Hayden as her counterpart, there may be some thought to his swapping places for her if she goes to RI. I don’t necessarily see her leaving early but with this group, she may not fare well long term.

Laura Morett
Age: 43
Previous Season: Survivor Samoa
The Mom in Laura may certainly wish to trade places with her daughter if she is sent to RI but this tribe may just wish to see Laura sent packing. I’m not sure how she will fare with this group but it is refreshing that she, Monica and Tina are mature women and there are more of them! In this group, and I may be wrong as frankly most of her season was so Russell centric that every other player I tend to forget, she may fare the worst of the three mature ladies if I recall her personality.

Monica Culpepper
Age: 42
Previous Season: One World
With her husband being the counterpart, I would imagine he would also potentially fall on his sword should Monica have to go to RI. Knowing Colton and Kat may provide her some assistance and I think Monica should get along pretty well with the rest of the tribe. Contestants such as Monica and Laura’s edit should be fairly clear early on to see if they have the legs for a long term edit. The issue with her and frankly any contestant that has a counterpart who would swap with them to RI, is that it could be detrimental to any contestant so any pre speculation before their edit is shown is very speculative.

Rupert Boneham
Age: 49
Previous Seasons: Pearl Islands, All-Stars, Heroes vs Villains
Oh Rupert, I’m a little bothered that he decided to come back once again and frankly I would not be surprised if the other contestants felt that way as well. Rupert received a loving edit in PI (understandably so) but since that time, the real Rupert stood up and there was definitely tarnish there. There is NO question he would swap places with his Wife and unless these people are fishaholics I don’t see him being long term whatsoever.

Tina Wesson
Age: 52
Previous Season: Survivor Australian Outback, All-Stars
I am excited to see Tina back as well and although she has a ready made target on her being a prior winner, that didn’t stop Sandra. I would suspect Tina will also be viewed as a well regarded “vet” of the game and she should be able to get along rather well with most of her tribe mates. I don’t necessarily know she would trade places with her daughter (I feel the husband/wife dynamic will be more utilized in terms of RI as a general mindset although I suspect that we may see some curve balls depending upon the circumstances

Tyson Apostol
Age: 34
Previous Seasons: Tocantins, Heroes vs Villains
I actually always liked Tyson and am glad to see him back as well. He and Gervase could end up being quite a fun pair and I don’t see any real reason that he should go anytime soon. Would he go to RI for his girlfriend? With Tyson, I’m not sure he would but that remains to be seen. I would suggest that a prior winner in Aras or a contestant such as Rupert would be on the chopping block well before Tyson and Colton’s personality is certainly more abrasive than Tyson’s ever was so I don’t see any real danger for him early on


Vytas Baskauskas
Age: 33
Occupation: Yoga Instructor/Math Professor
Brother of Aras Baskauskas
Other than the threat of being a strong male, we have no way of knowing how Vytas may do but being tied to Aras may be problematic for Vytas. If he was smart, he should hitch his wagon to Tina’s daughter so the prior winners’ relatives stick together.

John Cody
Age: 30
Husband of Candice Woodcock
Other than the fact that I would imagine John switching places with Candice should she go to RI, there is nothing to determine an early problem for John. However, there is no question that every Husband would want to be chivalrous and that may set both Husband and Wife in a dangerous position

Caleb Bankston
Age: 26
Occupation: Post Office Manager
Boyfriend of Colton Cumbie
If Caleb is anything like Colton, he may be in for an early boot but the jury is out on this well and there is nothing that would make me think Colton would swap with Caleb if he got to RI

Marissa Peterson
Age: 21
Niece of Gervase Peterson
If Marissa is anything like Gervase, she may blend in nicely and get along well with the majority.

Hayden Moss
Age: 26
Boyfriend of Kat Edorsson
Hayden, a winner of Big Brother and now trying his hand at Survivor. Hayden is a sure fire bet to be a merge threat but may be an asset early on. However, should Kat face RI, he may be a boyfriend to take her place believing he could win at RI and his plans go awry

Ciera Morett Eastin
Age: 24
Daughter of Laura Morett
Depending on the dynamics, Ciera may not have anything to be concerned about but like with everyone else, it is going to be very difficult to speculate with all the twists this season

Brad Culpepper
Age: 44
Husband of Monica Culpepper
There is no question that Brad also would switch with Monica should she end up on RI so with that caveat, his plans could be turned upside down. Other than that, I would assume someone will know what his former profession is. Would that be a positive or negative for him?

Laura Boneham
Age: 44
Wife of Rupert Boneham
Laura is almost as famous as Rupert and if strategy is implemented to get Rupert to RI, would Laura be a victim on her tribe? In this group, she may also have problems if physically she can’t hold her own with the others since we know costing your tribe a challenge is an easy reason to boot someone

Katie Collins
Age: 25
Daughter of Tina Wesson
Again, will a former winner’s relative be targeted due to that reason or are all bets off and it doesn’t have any factor this season? She, like the other younger ladies may blend in and get along well with everyone and a few episodes should reflect that

Rachel Foulger
Age: 33
Girlfriend of Tyson Apostol
No reason to suspect Rachel will initially do poorly but once again, the dynamics of this season with the twists make it hard to foresee who may go initially. Only as their edits develop, will it be easier to determine.

Enjoy the opening and get to editing and naturally feel free to enlighten with all the great observations. This may be a very tricky editing season and the initial views on these contestants are solely based on typical Survivor premise.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... b1whois 09-13-13 1
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... PepeLePew13 09-13-13 2
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 09-14-13 3
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... tribephyl 09-15-13 4
       RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 09-15-13 5
       RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... dabo 09-17-13 7
           RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... television 09-20-13 9
               RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... jbug 10-10-13 34
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... kingfish 09-17-13 6
 Week 1 observations dabo 09-20-13 8
 Quick Thoughts Flowerpower 09-21-13 10
   RE: Quick Thoughts michel 09-21-13 12
       RE: Quick Thoughts Flowerpower 09-21-13 13
 Epiosode 1: This is Nuts michel 09-21-13 11
   RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts Flowerpower 09-21-13 14
       RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts michel 09-22-13 15
           RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts Flowerpower 09-22-13 16
       RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts MinnesotaMarathon 10-10-13 35
           RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts michel 10-15-13 43
 eppy 2 discussion starts here... b1whois 09-26-13 17
 Episode 2 - Slow and Steady michel 09-28-13 18
   RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady jobgirl 09-30-13 19
   RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady Flowerpower 10-01-13 20
       RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady michel 10-01-13 21
           RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady Flowerpower 10-02-13 22
 Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colto... michel 10-05-13 23
   RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... suzzee 10-07-13 24
       RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... michel 10-07-13 25
   RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... Flowerpower 10-07-13 26
       RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... michel 10-07-13 27
           RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... Flowerpower 10-08-13 28
               RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... CTgirl 10-08-13 29
                   RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... michel 10-08-13 30
                       RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... dabo 10-08-13 31
                       RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing C... Flowerpower 10-09-13 32
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... jbug 10-10-13 33
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... television 10-10-13 36
 Episode 4 - Connections: michel 10-12-13 37
   RE: Episode 4 - Connections: Flowerpower 10-15-13 38
       RE: Episode 4 - Connections: michel 10-15-13 40
           RE: Episode 4 - Connections: PepeLePew13 10-15-13 41
               RE: Episode 4 - Connections: michel 10-15-13 42
                   RE: Episode 4 - Connections: Flowerpower 10-16-13 45
   RE: Episode 4 - Connections: suzzee 10-15-13 39
   RE: Episode 4 - Connections: dabo 10-15-13 44
       RE: Episode 4 - Connections: Flowerpower 10-16-13 46
 Episode 5 - Threats and Assets michel 10-19-13 47
   RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets Flowerpower 10-22-13 48
       RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets michel 10-23-13 49
           RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets Flowerpower 10-23-13 50
 Episode 6 - Earning Trust: michel 10-26-13 51
   RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust: Flowerpower 10-29-13 52
       RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust: michel 10-29-13 53
           RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust: Flowerpower 10-29-13 54
 Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number ... michel 11-02-13 55
   RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Num... suzzee 11-02-13 56
   RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Num... mangrove 11-03-13 57
       RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Num... michel 11-03-13 58
       RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Num... Flowerpower 11-05-13 62
   RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Num... Flowerpower 11-03-13 60
 Ep 7 thoughts... Flowerpower 11-03-13 59
   RE: Ep 7 thoughts... michel 11-04-13 61
 Episode 8 Observations Deitaphobia 11-07-13 63
   RE: Episode 8 Observations television 11-07-13 64
       Well ... Georjanna 11-07-13 65
 Episode 8: For Smart Players: Nothi... michel 11-09-13 66
   RE: Episode 8: For Smart Players: N... Flowerpower 11-13-13 67
 Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To... michel 11-16-13 68
   RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Ge... mangrove 11-17-13 71
       RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Ge... michel 11-18-13 73
   RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Ge... Flowerpower 11-17-13 72
       RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Ge... michel 11-18-13 74
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... Tyrone Slothrop 11-16-13 69
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 11-17-13 70
 Episode 10 - Making Moves michel 11-23-13 75
   RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves jobgirl 11-25-13 76
   RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves suzzee 11-25-13 77
   RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves Flowerpower 11-26-13 78
       RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves michel 11-26-13 79
       RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves bbaper 11-26-13 80
 Episode11 - Mom Power: michel 11-30-13 81
   RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: tribephyl 12-01-13 82
       RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: michel 12-01-13 83
           RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: tribephyl 12-03-13 86
               RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: michel 12-03-13 87
   RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: CTgirl 12-02-13 84
   RE: Episode11 - Mom Power: suzzee 12-02-13 85
 Episode 12 - Pure Poetry michel 12-07-13 88
   RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry mimo 12-07-13 89
       RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry michel 12-07-13 90
           RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry jobgirl 12-07-13 91
   RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry suzzee 12-09-13 92
       RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry michel 12-09-13 93
   RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry CTgirl 12-10-13 94
       RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry michel 12-10-13 95
   RE: Episode 12 - Pure Poetry Flowerpower 12-10-13 96
 Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: michel 12-14-13 97
   RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: Flowerpower 12-15-13 98
       RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: suzzee 12-15-13 100
       RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: PepeLePew13 12-15-13 101
   RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: suzzee 12-15-13 99
       RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: michel 12-15-13 102
           RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: PepeLePew13 12-15-13 103
               RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: Flowerpower 12-22-13 104
                   RE: Episode 13 - The Lap Dog: michel 12-23-13 105
                       Jump the Shark suzzee 12-24-13 106
                           RE: Jump the Shark michel 12-24-13 107
                               RE: Jump the Shark suzzee 12-27-13 108

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b1whois 108 desperate attention whore postings
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09-13-13, 08:03 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
LAST EDITED ON 09-13-13 AT 08:04 PM (EST)

this is OT, but i am struck by the difference in ages between the two tribes...

LOVE YOU VERUCA SALT!!! there, now my post is kinda on-topic!

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PepeLePew13 24941 desperate attention whore postings
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09-13-13, 09:45 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
*lays out fruit and cheese platter for VS*

Well done as usual, my friend!

I have some thoughts, but will come back and post them later when I get a chance to sit down for an extended period.

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09-14-13, 07:44 PM (EST)
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3. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
Hello Veruca, it's nice to see you back.

I had a chance to do a roundtable with the bloggers at Rob has a Wsbsite so if you or any of the other RTVW posters are interested, you can read our takes on the twists and the cast.

You have it right regarding twists and Jiffy has said that the idols should be hidden better than the last few times. Like you said, those twists are convoluted and, in my book, they will turn out to be dumb ideas. For example, Laura Boneham should go first simply because she's already lived on the island before and the other newbies haven't. For the returning players, Colton may get the first boot but I suspect the mutineer, Candice, will die first. After her previous betrayals, no one will trust Mrs Cody.

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09-15-13, 04:29 AM (EST)
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4. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
After her previous betrayals, no one will trust Mrs Cody.

That is definitely a huge reason for getting rid of her early.
To add to that, Jiffy had stated in an interview that Candice and John were both a last-minute replacement team. The calendar he gave was...
Start date -2: Call is placed to Candice and John that they are needed.
Start date -1: John and Candice arrive at Philippine filming site. Check into Pre-Game Sequester.
Day 0: Couples stay the night out under the stars.
Day 1: Couples are called in to "officially" start the game. They are split into tribes. 1 person from each tribe is immediately "voted" out and sent to Redemption.

I believe this last minute change may also have worked against Candice making ANY inroads during pre-game sequester. (But it also speaks to her level of likability at Reality Events as well.)
I know their time to interact during pre-game sequester is next to nil, but I know also that they still attempt to do so non-verbally. Both Candice and John did not have this time to spend "eyeing" the other people.

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09-15-13, 11:19 AM (EST)
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5. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
I heard the same thing and that it was RC and her father that were removed due to medical concerns. Replacing RC's father, who had to be in his fifties at least, with John really helped the newbies physically so the Galang may want to weaken the newbies by forcing John to the arena.
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09-17-13, 01:56 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
I'm having a bit of trouble with this official story. While the other parts of it seem okay, how would two doctors (Candice and John) on staff be able to just drop everything at a moment's notice and take six weeks out of their lives. They had to have arranged their vacation time in advance.
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09-20-13, 11:14 AM (EST)
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9. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
I'd imagine that if I were a reserve for Survivor I'd line up my vacation time and if I couldn't go, I'd just take a vacation, no?

Either way, it was really interesting to read between the lines at the initial vote... I know peripherally from previous seasons that there's a fairly tight Survivor alumni community, and from things like Corinne's post-game comments last season or Tom Westman's experience on HvV it seems like if you're not into parlaying your fame on Survivor into being part of the Survivor Social Club, you're on the outs. Seems like Laura and Candice are on the bottom of that totem pole, which is surprising because Candice has played twice.

Anyone else have any insight or spec into that dynamic? I know as far back as All-Stars there were pre-game alliances (Kathy and Lex were politicking from what I remember), but it seemed like there was some sort of pre-game 'if there's an early vote we're getting x' talk going on there for the votes to only be Laura, Laura and Candice.

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10-10-13, 10:34 AM (EST)
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34. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
I was thinking about how many of the Survivor alum get together often enough.
I would think that the married & partnered Survivors would have spouses and partners at some of these events. And that would mean that some of the vets and maybe some of the newbies would have met Brad Culpepper prior to this season?

Personally, I think Candice's reaction to Brad's heavy handed playing was over the top. She was just pissed that her John didn't step up & take the leader and strongest position in the tribe.

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09-17-13, 01:20 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
Fishaholics Unite!

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09-20-13, 00:46 AM (EST)
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8. "Week 1 observations"
The Blood in BvW seems to have meant your relative/loved one is your Blood regardless of the connection. Water is everyone else, including your own tribemates. Blood relationships are the same in Survivor27 terms regardless of whether there is any actual genetic connection: husband/wife is the same as parent/child is the same as boyfriend/girlfriend is the same as siblings is the same as gay SO/gay SO, and so on.

Week 1 hit us over the head with how the B changes the dynamics of the game. Rupert went to Rupert Island to keep his wife in the game (except that wouldn't have been possible if Rupert Island weren't in play). Marissa got the hotseat coz her uncle Gervase was all like trash talk, like that was her fault. Brad aka "Culpepper" made a poofah at the start of things wanting to protect his woman, and got the lion's share of attention scrambling to form his muscle alliance to make himself safe. New Colton tried but still couldn't help threatening to paddle Kat, and but then got all teary his Caleb might be voted out. I think he secretly wanted himself some paddling, shhhh...

That said, Caleb impressed me with his take on things; go along to get along, head in the game. Despite his choice in a significant other, this kid has potential.

Dynamics-wise, we had many a clear demonstration of why a tribe of returning players have a big advantage over a tribe of newbies, and why this never ever should be done again. Honestly, it's been done, I'm disappointed it is still being done. The returnees had their act together in camp from the first minute, but they also clearly understood that in the challenge the puzzle was the only really important thing. Critisize Gervase as much as you want for his performance, they all knew the puzzle was the important part. Gervase himself, I think, was the one who pointed that out.

I was genuinely excited at the prospect, a few months ago, of the tribes being half-and-half, something they've never done, but no actual originality in the Probst year will never happen, he prefers stunt twists and too many of them at a time at that.

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09-21-13, 10:33 AM (EST)
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10. "Quick Thoughts"
My dear Veruca! So happy to see your introduction to another season for editing the show. I would love your take some time on the changes the editors have taken through the years. I wonder if it took a bigger turn when EPMB took a step back? While the premise of the show didn't seem to change that much, it sure seems like Jiffy took it to a different level/direction. The way they constantly bring known "characters" back to the show, controversial or not, and almost force the editing to tell "their" story.

Regardless, so happy to see you here and I loved your assessments on the pre-show characters. Always so astute, thanks!

I wanted to jump in first without the long blow by blow that Michel does so well and note some of the things that really jumped out at me. First of all, I may be in the minority, but I am excited about the new twist, having family/significant others paired up together with returnees. It really will impact the dynamics in a big way. Changes everything regarding alliances. Will you show more allegiance to family/signif. others, or will you remain aligned with the new alliances that you have worked so hard to develop? I suppose that is the question, Blood vs Water?

Regarding the intro to the show, the family/signif. other couples were first introduced as couples. Gervase and Marissa got the first confessional. I noted that the confessionals with the "couples" were taken when they were together, or earlier/later, when they were separated. Each couple had their comments. Gervase is one of the first players who played and "he'll win this time", but Marissa says she is focusing on winning regardless....I wonder did they get the first confessional because Marissa is the first one out and it was because of her uncle's antics? Then came Hayden and Kat. Hayden and Kat got individual confessionals. Hayden noted that he has experience with winning the social game, albeit in a house, while Kat says, it's her Kat sounds like she just wants to beat Hayden, which I don't think is a good sign for her.

Then came Laura, the "mom" and Ciera, Rupert and Laura, her comments were it's always been about Rupert, then Rupert adds now it's Laura's it sounds like Rupert is already folding for Laura. Colton and Caleb, Colton will be the new Colton...not about winning the game for him, just how to play this one, also doesn't bode well for him, yet Caleb had an astute comment, he's worried about Colton's reputation and how it could impact his game.

Candice and John are 2 smart young doctors, and think they will be targets. Monica was the vet here, not Brad, but this time she has "ammunition", Brad. Is it all about Monica? Tina and Katy, mother and daughter, they love each other but want to beat each other. Tyson and Rachel. Tyson was disappointed twice but now thinks he's sitting better, Rachel notes that Survivor was all about Tyson, but now...

Finally Aras and Vytas. The last couple with the bang effect. Vytas was a loser drug addict, and Aras resented him. A modern day Kane and Abel story, sibling rivalry at the root, or the story of the season?

Next, we have the tribes voting off the first members, where Hayden got the first Probst question, and he answered it well, the last show he was on came with a nice, cozy house...the point that Probst likes to hammer home every season....this is harder than it looks.

At the end of the intro, Laura B and Candice get voted out. Rupert then exchanges places with her, against the advice of sage ole Tina. Throughout the remainder of the show, I feel that the loss of Rupert could be more than the Returnees tribe can overcome. Losing Rupert means losing a strong male, while already we know the strong males are aligning to win on the other tribe. If the males are in the majority on one tribe, and the males on the returnees tribe are already in the minority, what does that spell for Galang? Is the loss of Rupert the demise of Galang? Tina, Aras, and others all expressed regret and concern.

OTOH, poor Candice was blindsided by her tribe, and then once again by her own husband. Now she's left with Rupert and his plan to be lazy and spare all his energy so he can possibly win the challenges that are forthcoming.

On the loved ones tribe we get the alpha male, narrator, Brad. Brad comes up with the idea of having a strong alliance at the end, so a weak link, Cochran-type cannot win the game. Hayden, Caleb, and Vytas all seem to go along with a grain of salt, why not? John is good with it as well.

It comes out that Ciera was a teen age mother, but now is married and has a second child, but then Vytas confides that he used to be a heroin addict that robbed people everyday to support his habit. Vytas really had the huge disclosure, and all of his confessionals were to the point. In order to get people to trust me, I have to make some sincere revelations about myself. Every action he made had a valid and supporting rationale.

Then, when the meat-head alliance made the decision to take out either Katie or Marissa, we see Vytas confiding in each of the women regarding the decision to take out the other..."keeping his ties to the girls open". He's definitely playing the social game. So, Vytas, imo, is either going to be one heck of a journey player, OR, he could be our winner?

The other players that stood out to me in a very positive way:

Hayden: He didn't have many confessionals but he had a very strong positive presence. He and Kat were the number 2 confessionals of the show, and he got top billing over Kat, his confessional was first and it was very good. He said he had won a similiar social game once before and he knew how to do it, so he was best prepared to play this one....or something to that effect. A poignant confessional indeed. He's telling us his edge that will lead to his particular game.

Then, when Jiffy had them all gathered together, he singled out Hayden for the first question, and once again, Hayden underlined the point, that sleeping and playing in a warm cozy house was far easier than sleeping and playing in the wilds of Survivor.

When Jiffy gathered them all together at the challenge, and the loved one's tribe said that they too had fire, he was seen shaking his head, a bit telling. Not giving away the tribe, but not agreeing either. He got a specific shot from the editors.

He got a lot of shots when Jiffy said how well the loved ones were doing in the first part of the challenge, and the camera showed Hayden helping his other tribemates through the course. Later, when Marissa was recapping the challenge back at camp, she noted that she was guilty by association with the over-celebrating, in your face, Gervase. She also noted, "the guys did really great!", and when she said that, there was a shot of Hayden. Significant in my opinion.

But, the million dollar shot for me was when Brad and Vytas were talking about the difficulties of making fire, and Vytas or Brad ended with the sound bite, "Maybe lightening will strike something", then while he is saying this, there is a full screen shot of Hayden with a large rainbow over his head....! Very telling, perhaps, as lightening makes fire, fire is life, and there is a shot of Hayden!

He also was received the first question from Jiffy at TC....

So, to sum up my early assessments:

Returnees tribe:

*Rupert leaving the returnees tribe could be the beginning of the end for this tribe, despite their experience. Or at least that's what they want you to believe.
*The narrator of the returnees tribe is Monica. Her confessionals seemed to focus on the old Colton, and I think this signifies that his drama is coming imminently, as was noted in the preview for next week.
*Colton will once again be a drama queen and an earlier, premerge boot, but most likely will target someone before his own demise and I think that someone will be Kat. Noting how horrifically he treated her in the boat. Yet again, Monica pretty much threatened him not to play the way he had, she could be his first target?
*Kat is doomed, because all she wants to do is beat Hayden, not win the game.
*I think that Tina, Aras, Tyson and maybe Laura M will outlast the others on this tribe. (Maybe Laura B could, Rupert said, "now it's Laura's turn"??
*Tyson, while not having many confessionals had a strong presence in a very positive way. Starting fire and helping win the challenge, level headed, not causing drama.
*Laura and Tina had a very strong performance in the puzzle portion of the challenge, and we saw how pitted against them their own daughters were.
*Could one of the final players be Aras, who may possibly come head to head with his own brother for the win? That would make the story really come to fruition!

Loved Ones Tribe

I think, at this point, the strongest players to perhaps make end game are Hayden, Vytas, Caleb, and I think that Rachel will last flying under the radar perhaps.
*I don't see the women lasting on this tribe, perhaps the last one standing maybe Rachel. Katie is doomed, imo, and Ciera doesn't seem long term either. Both of their stories are about going head to head with their mothers, or proving something to them?
*Brad is the leader and the narrator, head of the meat head alliance. Alliances revealed do not succeed? Hayden was the one to call it out for what it was..."a bunch of meat heads". Brad would make a very nice merge boot.
*John's story may be all about the guilt he feels for not trading places with his wife. He may have already lost sight of the prize. I don't see him as winner.

I think the significant players in this game so far appear to be:

Hayden, Vytas, Caleb, Tyson, Aras, Tina, Laura B or Laura M, and if there is an under the radar player, maybe it's Rachel. Of these 9 players, I see Hayden and Vytas as top far. I could be way off, I don't have the best track record, but it's sure fun to really hash through the first episode!

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michel 10948 desperate attention whore postings
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09-21-13, 07:00 PM (EST)
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12. "RE: Quick Thoughts"
Very interesting read, FP.

I too saw that rainbow over Hayden but didn't make much of it. I'll have to look longer at the BB winner but i felt he was more about showing how Survivor is more difficult than BB. We'll see. I;m also less sold on Rachel since she had very little presence but maybe that's because I have a bias for the Wessons. I'd rather see Katie make the merge but maybe she is doomed like you say.

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09-21-13, 10:20 PM (EST)
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13. "RE: Quick Thoughts"
Thanks for the feedback, michel! It's all just an initial impression, and lord knows it could change. Rachel took the back seat and just seemed to fly under the radar more, and she wasn't on the line with the challenge loss at the puzzle. Definitely, she didn't do makes me think she either has no story at this point, to be developed later, or perhaps she just has no story...

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11. "Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
As Jeff described the season’s premise, we saw a few pairs of players as they were being brought to their respective destinations. Aras and Vytas, Brad and Monica, Tyson and Rachel, Kat and Hayden were the first four pair shown while Rupert and Laura were on screen when Jeff told us what the players didn’t know, that they would be playing against each other.
Indeed, the initial twist practical joke played out mostly at the Pirate’s expense.

The first player that Jeff introduced was Gervase, saying he was returning from the very first season
Gervase: “I’m one of the originals…This time, I’m going to win.”
Marissa was quick to shoot him down: “It’s cute that he thinks he’s going to win after 13 years.”

Jeff then went to Kat, saying that her instability cost her the game. He also used the time to present Hayden as the winner of Big Brother.
Hayden: “Big Brother is Survivor in a house. So, as far as training or preparation, I’m going to be more prepared than anybody else who hasn’t played this game.”
Kat: “Hayden has already won a show before. This is my time, my game.”
Maybe as a prelude to a story that will show us that Survivor is quite different, we heard Hayden saying: “This is nuts” as they entered the jungle and were “greeted” by an angry monkey.

Jeff then moved to Laura who had played like a mother to her tribe in Samoa and now she would have to split her time with her daughter, Cierra, and the game.
Cierra: “I think that our ability to balance each other out is going to benefit us.”
Laura: “She is my heart and nothing is harder than seeing somebody that you love suffer.”

Next came the “fan favorite” Rupert who never made it to the end.
Rupert: “I am returning to Survivor for my 4th time.”
Laura: “This has always been about Rupert.”
Rupert: “Now, it’s time for Laura.”

Jeff told us about Colton’s controversial statements, his mysterious illness and that he didn’t have many fans.
Colton: “I don’t know how people will respond to me. Last time, I played with a big ball of anger. My goal, besides winning, is to show a different side of me.”
Caleb: “I’m worried about Colton’s reputation because he pissed a lot of people off but I know a different Colton. This is going to be like a redemption for him.”

Jeff then presented Candice who is now a doctor and so his her husband.
Candice: “We are two people who have been very successful and it could be something that people perceive as a threat.”
John: “Absolutely. We are young and athletic so we are going to have a big target on our back.”

Monica was presented as a former NFL wife who played the game for herself but must now share the spotlight with her famous husband.
Monica: “Normally, I am Brad’s wife but, when it comes to Survivor, I am the wily veteran here.”
Brad: “I am going to play second fiddle to Monica. I am the young rookie.”
Monica: “I am going to win and, this time, I brought some ammunition.”

Tina has her sights set on a second title but her daughter Katie has plans of her own.
Tina: “I’ve told Katie that our love transcends this game but our family is very competitive.”
Katie: “There can only be one winner and there are two of us and that poses a very difficult situation. I would love to beat my mother at her own game.”

Jeff reminded us how Tyson had been blindsided in Tocantins and had voted himself out in Heroes versus Villains. “Now, with girlfriend Rachel, he hopes to redeem himself.”
Tyson: “I’ve been disappointed by Survivor twice but this time, I feel like I am in a pretty good spot. In a game like this, I think the loved ones aren’t going to be prepared and I am going to slit their throats.”
Rachel: “Survivor was always Tyson’s game. I never thought in a million years that I would be out here. With the loved one season, it’s going to be a game changer. It’s going to be crazy out here.”
(As she said that, we saw Tyson carrying her to shore on his back which could symbolize her game)

Aras was presented as the likable winner of Exile Island and is playing the game with his brother Vytas who has a much darker past.
Vytas: “I was a drug addict. Heroin definitely led to my arrest. I spent a year in LA county jail. Aras still has a lot of resentment against me.”
Aras: “My brother was pretty abusive when we were younger and that inspired me to beat him in things I couldn’t beat him. I’m not sure going on Survivor made my brother envious but winning it certainly did.”

It was nice to have an introduction to the 20 players, something that is rarely done anymore. If this is a sign of things to come, editing-wise, then maybe we will have a good story. For our purposes here, I noted that a few loved ones took precedent over the returning players: Hayden, Cierra and Vytas were the three to talk first. While it may mean nothing, it could be that their story overshadows that of their partner.
Hayden could have been given the lead only because of his notoriety but then Brad was only showed as Monica’s ammunition. If we look at the rest of the episode, it will come clear that Kat was merely an adjunct to the Big Brother winner.
Cierra’s words showed her naiveté and would probably apply more if they were on the Amazing race than Survivor. Since Laura cannot stand seeing her daughter suffer, can there be any doubt that she would take her place in redemption island?
We jumped in immediately in Vytas’ life story and that means one of two things: He’s an early boot or he has legs. Since the tribe’s dynamics puts him in a nice place, we are led to count him as a long term player and could very well turn out to be our Villain.

Gervase was put down quite brutally by his niece which foreshadowed what was about to happen.
Tina and Katie had a nice bond, symbolized by the close-up image of holding hands, but Tina reminded us of her competitive spirit and we would see more of that later on. We are told immediately that these two are out to play the game.
While Rupert’s “Now is time for Laura” prepared us for his decision to go to Redemption Island, we realized that Tyson won’t be playing for his girlfriend. Her remark that she never expected to be on Survivor could be telling us that she is totally unprepared.
Candice did have a big target on her back.
Finally, with Caleb mentioning Colton’s possible redemption, we have to expect to see the One World contestant going to that island soon.

As the pairs realized they’d spend a night in the jungle alone, it was funny to see how each was portrayed:
- Gervase asked Marissa for suggestions, something to take as meaning he hasn’t learned much.
- Kat suggested they shouldn’t be sleeping off the ground
- Colton just sat there which is how he mostly acted in One World.

As Jeff went on, we had more confessionals:
- Kat told us that the most important thing in her life was to beat Hayden.
- Gervase said Marissa was a threat and that he had to get rid of her at some point.
- Vytas: “I want to win the money, I want to win this game and I am going to beat Aras to do it.”

While Vytas mentions winning the game, it seems that these three had the wrong focus: Beating their loved one won’t be enough. There are 18 more players to beat.

Monica was on screen when Jeff mentioned the one million dollar prize.

As soon as the 10 pairs assembled, Jeff immediately went to Hayden so that he could tell us the jungle wasn’t like anything on Big Brother.
Then Jeff told them they would be playing against their loved ones, we saw a disappointed Tina, a troubled Colton, a wide-eyed Rachel, a stunned Laura Boneham and an uncertain Kat.
When Jeff asked if anyone was looking forward to competing against their loved ones, Monica, Candice, Marissa, Kat and Aras were the first to raise their hands followed by Katie who said “sorry mom”.
When Jeff asked Katie about it, she said she was surprised that her mom didn’t raise her hand.
Tina explained: “Competing is great. I think it’s going to be the hardest thing any of us do is to get to that point where the tribes come out and you see your loved one might not be there. I think it’s going to be sad for any of our loved ones to go home.”

Like Tina said, this season will come down to “Competing is great but it’s going to be sad for any of the loved ones to go home.” It figures that the winner will display compassion for the situation but also determination to play the game. Rupert and Brad would soon show too much compassion while others, including Tyson, Kat, Gervase and Vytas showed too little.
It was a nice editing decision to highlight Katie’s “sorry mom” after Tina’s earlier confessional where she mentioned their competitive nature. Add the fact that Tina realized immediately the difficulty of the situation and that she didn’t raise her hand that would show a lack of compassion and it seems we are once more in the presence of the Outback’s cold-blooded strategist, the one some called Benedict Tina.

Brad put his foot in his mouth when he said “If there is a challenge for a tarp and it’s raining every day, and we are going to win and she is on the other team, part of me is going to say: “I need her to have the tarp instead of me.”
Marissa was quick to tell him: “You better not be on my team thinking that.”

Brad (confessional): “I answered with my heart instead of my head and, all of a sudden, I got stares and looks from every person down the line. I’m thinking to myself: Oh! My God! First five seconds of the game; way to go Brad.”

Brad would soon make amends to his tribe for this comment but we saw members of Galang listening to him also. We saw Tyson, Colton, Kat and Gervase on screen as he talked, telling us they realized he’d do anything for Monica. They could find a way to blindside him even if he isn’t at Tribal Council.

Caleb had a confessional: “My heart sank because I know Colton was hoping to have me with him…It was definitely a wake-up call.”
Rachel (confessional): “It was sad but it’s a game and I can play it on my own too.”
Aras: “Vytas and I have such a competitive relationship that there is no way that, if I lose a challenge to my brother out here, that I am not going to hear about it for the rest of my life.”
Rupert: “Watching my wife walk to the other tribe, it was a little bit of a relief and little bit of sadness at the same time. I didn’t have to worry at all about writing my wife’s name down but I also can’t protect her.”

The first reaction we had when Jeff mentioned the double elimination came from Tina making it twice that her reaction was used first.
Hayden (who should have been prepared to expect the unexpected!) was shocked and said it was early to vote someone out.

Colton: “In true Jeff Probst style, he has to twist the knife…Remember me? I’m probably going to be the one.”

As expected, Laura received all the votes shown from Tadhana.
Galang was a little more divided and it seems that attending Survivor functions played a role (or more likely served as the alibi) but there wasn’t any surprise to see Candice get the majority of votes. The surprise was that Colton and Rupert were sparred, Laura receiving most of the minority votes.

Rupert: “Watching my wife get voted out of her tribe just about killed me. Why would they do that? It’s a smack against me, everyone of those scared newbies saying we have to stop Rupert.”
John: “Every time that I saw her name come up, I felt like I was getting kicked in the head. I wanted to do every thing that I could to vote out every single person that wrote her name down and I am never going to forget that.”

Jeff then announced the return of Redemption Island and the swap twist. Again, we weren’t surprised to see Rupert take Laura’s place. What was surprising was Tina’s attempt to change his mind.

Rupert: “To put myself in a position where I am not safe is killing me but I would rather have myself in this position than have my wife. Laura deserves to play the game.”
Tina: “I was really ticked when Rupert switched with Laura. I understand the emotion behind it but we were counting on Rupert. Rupert is a fantastic shelter builder (she was already out of Saboga when Rupert built the worst shelter in history!) he’s a fantastic fisherman. Right off the bat, he weakens our tribe.”

After talking it over, John told Jeff that Candice can beat Rupert so he stayed on Tadhana.

Rupert: “If I can battle my ##### off of Redemption Island and Laura is still there, you better watch out because we will be a hell of a team.”
John: “Watching Candice walk off was like having my heart torn out of my chest. The second I watched her walking off, I was like there is nothing that is going to be harder than not doing everything to save my wife’s butt in this game. Now, I have an opportunity to show these dumbasses how big a mistake they made.”

Will John have the opportunity to show them that they made a mistake? It could be the start of a long range story depending on how things evolve, if he ever meets up with Tina, Colton, Kat, Laura and Monica. I suspect Candice will meet up with a few of them on Redemption island and she will show them first hand their mistake.

Galang Day 1

The music, using lots of string instruments, was a theme befitting an adventure while a flock of bird flew overhead as the returning players reached their beach and hugged each other.
Gervase said that they would not be seeing Jeff at Tribal.
A woman (Monica?) joked “I’d much rather see Tyson running around naked” drawing general laughter.

Gervase: “It’s been 13 years since I’ve played Survivor. I think this is the longest layover anyone’s ever had. It’s going to be interesting to say the least. I know I’m up for it though. I was excited to see we had a box with supplies.” Just then Aras asked if they had flint, Tyson was quick to say that he saw how Boston Rob did it. “We can do it.” Gervase confessional continued: “I think Galang is a strong tribe just because we have returning players but Laura is not Galang. She is now but she didn’t start out that way. I wanted to play with Rupert, I didn’t want to play with Laura. If her ##### gotta go; goodbye!”

Rupert’s wife showed her inexperience when she tried to open a coconut. She had a confessional: “Joining the returning players’ tribe is very intimidating. All these people are the experts (Aras is shown at this time giving her advice) “I have a lot of pressure on my back. I have to show how tough I am and how valuable I am to the tribe.” Aras then told her that he wished Rupert was there. “I think there are expectations that I am like Rupert but I’m not.”

As they started on the shelter, everyone was impressed when Tyson chopped down some bamboo. They were even more impressed when, with Monica’s help, he got the fire started.

Laura M.: “Being experienced players, we know how important it is to have fire. Don’t worry about your shelter, don’t worry about anything else because, unless you have fire, we are dead in the water. Within 15 minutes, Tyson went out there and started a fire. It’s been non-stop: We have been boiling our water; our canteens are full. We’re eating our rice; morale is good. It’s amazing. We are really comfortable at this point.”

Monica was observing Colton acting like a newby when he went to work with a saw. She had a confessional: “I’ve played not once but twice and both times, Colton’s been out here. He was seen as one of the most vindictive, villainous, mean people to ever play the game.” We heard her telling him that he hurt her to death the last time. She wanted to bury the hatchet and move on. Her confessional continued: “I played with him before, he stabbed me in the back. I’m not going to have happen to me what happened to me before.” He told her she could trust him. They hugged. “As he changed? As he not? I don’t know. Does a zebra change its stripes? Am I once again going to be bamboozled? I don’t know.”

We had very little strategic discussions on Galang. Gervase is out to boot Rupert’s wife, Aras doesn’t really want her there and Monica is worried about Colton. Since they didn’t go to Tribal Council, the editors decided to keep the alliance talk under wraps but there had to be some. We know from Brad that Monica was going to be hitting the beach running but we didn’t see her talking about alliances. Will she find herself on the outside once more? Is her focus on Colton misguided?


Instead of a flock of birds, we had a school of fish greeting the newbies. While the birds were flying in formation, the fish gave the impression of confusion. Even the music was more hectic with percussion dominating the theme. That isn’t an encouraging sign for the newbies but was it only to set the table for this episode? Samoa’s Laura told us that a tribe shouldn’t think about the shelter first yet the newbies were working on the shelter. It seemed like a message telling the viewers that the newbies didn’t have the right priorities.

Brad: “I have lived Monica’s One World experience a thousand times but we are dropped on a beach and woh! There’s nothing here! There are some butterflies but here we go. This is how it’s going to start. So we’re all working hard around camp. The boys are making a shelter, the girls are weaving palm fronds. We have no veterans here so we are going off what our loved ones told us and basically, it was a bit shocking. We don’t know anything. I feel I could be in trouble: 5 minutes into the game, I made a huge blunder about not going 100% in order to potentially help my wife cause she’s now the enemy.”
Brad gathered everyone to tell them that they would have his blessing to vote him out if he wasn’t going 100% in challenges.

Marissa had a confessional: “Brad said he wasn’t going to throw a challenge for his wife but it wasn’t an apology exactly. He’s one that I will have to keep my eye on and keep him close cause it seems he could be a loose canon.”

Just as she said she was going to keep her eyes on him, she lost sight of him! She asked Katie “where are the guys?”
Brad and John were exploring the island and found a waterfall.

Brad had another confessional: “There’s one thing I learned from Monica. She said: “You play this game, you better hit the ground running”. You hit the ground running talking to people. You make connections; you need to get an alliance fast!”
So, he went to work, first with John, selling him the idea of having the five guys sticking together.

John (confessional): “The idea of having the five guys together stemmed from Brad. It’s not a surprise at all: The guy who played in the NFL Football wants to keep his locker room together. But, the more he talks about that kind of stuff and asserts himself as the leader, the more that could potentially end up biting him in the ##### later.”

Brad then went to the ex-Brigade member, Hayden, selling him the idea of the all-men’s alliance.Hayden thought it was gold.
Caleb was next and he thought it was genius. Brad even offered him the number 1 spot.

Caleb (confessional): “When Brad got me by myself, he was pretty much trying the buddy-buddy, the bromance-type thing. All guys to the end, blah-blah-blah.” We saw them shaking hands but Caleb went on: “I’m thinking: No, you’re trying to get yourself and your wife to the end and whoever she’s with. I’m not stupid. Whatever. I’ll agree to anything at this point with him because it’s going to shut him up.”

Vytas was the last to join and he was definitely up for it. Brad told him he feared the “John Cochrans” of Survivor: “Those are the people that win”.

Brad (confessional): “I got Caleb, I got John, I got Hayden, I got Vytas and I got me. That’s five. 4 in 9 equals out! No…OK…but 5 of 9 equals in!”
They laughed when Vytas said it was too easy.

As solid as this alliance could be, we already hear that there are cracks. The alliance shouldn’t have a very long life.

The shelter was coming along but not the fire.

Vytas: “There’s no flint and none of us know how to start a fire without flint. We can’t boil our water…I can feel the liquid leaving my body and I’m turning to sludge.”

The two guys talked to Cierra who told them about her family situation, saying that she had her first child when she was 16.

Cierra: “I was actually a teen mom…That was a huge game change for me and my mom. It was really a tough obstacle for us to get through. Embarrassing for my mom, probably.”

Vytas then told them about his jail experiences. Learning that his team mate was a drug addict shocked Brad.
Vytas went on: “My brother was the golden child…Straight-A student while I was the opposite…robbing people every day to get my fix”

Vytas (confessional): “My addiction impacted my family profoundly. Even my relationship with my brother to this day is still not fully mended. This is a great experience that I will have with my brother. The fact that we are on this together is pretty great. I think in a game where trust is the most important part, I wanted to share with my tribe my past. If you want somebody to trust you, you have to let them in a little bit. I don’t think people are going to think less of me. I don’t think people are going to see an ex-con that is conniving and a dope fiend that is willing to do whatever he can to get what he wants. I’ve got 14 years clean…I want to show that there is more to me than a yoga teacher. I think it will strengthen the bonds that I have with them and we can get further in this game.”

As he said that we saw the back of Brad’s head and his back, suggesting he could pay for trusting Vytas. This confessional is typical of Journey Players so it tells us that Vytas will stay in the game for a long time. He has to meet and play with Aras post-merge. The last part was shown with Vitas sitting on the beach watching a beautiful setting sun which tells us that the editors are investing us in his story. More than a simple journey player though, Vytas confessional also had strategic implications. He wants to bond with the others and he knows how to get their trusts. Add that with his stated desire to win this game and that he would do whatever he can to get it and we have a powerful player before us.

Galang Night 1

Colton was talking to the tribe by the fire.

Colton (confessional): “The last time I played this game, I had this mask on. I was rude…mean to everyone…It was all because I was insecure. I’m trying…to get them to understand me…When I was growing up, I was the sweetest kid in the world…I got tired of being called sissy and ##### and queer…I’m trying to change. I’m going in with positive thinking.”
He started to cry so Tina, Monica and Laura B. comforted him.

Monica (confessional): “For all of us to judge what decisions he makes is hard. We haven’t walked a mile in his shoes…If he’s changed: Wouldn’t that be a beautiful story? Then again; it’s Colton Cumbie.”

So, the editors decided to use some more airtime to redeem Colton and show that Monica is still focused almost exclusively on him. Revisiting this story so early makes it sound like a short term one.

Redemption Island Day 2

Candice was chopping a coconut thinking of Kat, Monica, Laura, Colton with each powerful chop!
Note that Tina’s name wasn’t heard.

Candice: “I definitely got my feelings hurt…I’m out for revenge…I’m trying to keep my mind focused…so that I can beat Rupert. Living with Rupert is extremely annoying to say the least. Rupert is either eating or sloshing around in the water.” We see her doing all the chores while Rupert remained seated in the ocean. “Rupert just enjoys the spoils. It’s infuriating.”

Rupert: “I am not going to do what I have done…One of the reasons why I have never an immunity challenge is that I kill myself going out fishing. This is more individual and, if I am going to beat Candice, I need every once of energy that I got. If Candice wants to kill herself…Great! I am not going to and I need to have in my head that I will eliminate her.”

Despite the nice helicopter shot, I have a feeling that this is the kiss of death for Rupert. Showing laziness is never good on Survivor. While Rupert is loved by many viewers, Candice has very few fans so, I take the fact that Candice looked more like the survivalist on Redemption Island as a sign that she will win the duel and eventually get rid of the four time player. Why else prop her up like this?

Tadhana Day 3 (already missing a day in camp!)

Brad and Rachel went to retrieve tree mail.
Brad told us in confessional how excited he was to get tree mail. “Until you’ve gotten tree mail, you haven’t really started the game.”

Galang had Tina and Colton retrieving the mail.

Laura had a confessional: “I feel great going into a challenge. The advantage we have…keep calm…anything can happen.”

Katie had a confessional for Tadhana: “Right away we are trying to think who’s the fastest swimmer, who’s good at sprinting, who’s good at puzzles.” Cierra told everyone that she knew her mom would do the puzzle but that she was better. Katie’s confessional went on: “My mom’s great at puzzles too so she’s probably on the puzzle. I’m on the puzzle so it’s going to be a mother-daughter duel.”
John thought it would be awesome if they were to beat their mothers.

Gervase was telling everyone that the puzzle would be key and indeed it was all that would matter.

Laura (confessional): “Puzzles are my strength and I have the experience of knowing: Think outside the box; how can we do this quicker.” Tina and Laura both knew that Katie and Cierra would be on the puzzle. Laura continued: “…As much as I love her, I am going to beat my daughter at this game. Sorry Cierra.”

I noted that, while Tina was determined to win the challenge, we didn’t hear her expressing her desire to beat Katie like the others did. We weren’t going to see anything that would hint at a lack of compassion from Tina, as if she already knew Katie would be in trouble. Laura was used to narrate the situation but, more than that, she was the one that talked about beating her daughter, choosing water over blood, thus going against the theme of the season.

The Challenge

Galang told Jeff that Tyson made fire. Laura told them it only took 15 minutes.
Brad said he didn’t know if they were telling the truth.
Tyson taunted them by asking “Do you guys not have fire?”
Brad lied: “We have fire.” Vytas even offered to share.

Hayden (confessional): “They probably have fire because they are experienced. We don’t because we’re a bunch of meat heads.”

Monica joined Laura and Tina on the puzzle while Caleb stayed with Katie and Cierra.
Tadhan had better teamwork over the obstacles, but while Brad and Hayden were the ones helping out, Jeff didn’t single them out.
“Tadhana continues to work together very well…John pulling Rachel, pulls Marissa over.”
“The returning players are struggling…Aras is last, on his own. Nobody helping Aras…Gervase having a really tough time in the water…Gervase can barely get up on the platform…Big lead for the new players…Gervase…really slowing his tribe down…Gervase…a horrible belly flop…Aras helping Gervase…
The returning players…don’t know how to paddle…”

An exasperated Colton yelled at Kat: “Shut up and paddle before I hit you with this ___ paddle.”
Galang reached the beach paddling backwards!

Tadhana had a huge advantage but then Galang’s women started on their puzzle and soon caught and overtook them.
Jeff noted that Katie was “trying to find her place…Katie struggling to get her pieces to fit. The women of Galang working together well…the advantage…is gone…The returning players are now in the lead…Absolute collapse at the puzzle stage for the new tribe. Two mothers schooling their daughters right now.”

Galang won immunity and Gervase lost his cool. Turning to Tadhana, he repeatedly yelled: “Don’t let that fool you” until Tyson got to him and brought him back to the group. Even Marissa gestured to tell her uncle that it was enough. Vytas simply said: “See you next time.”

After Jeff handed them the idol and flint, Colton started crying. Jeff asked if it was because he thought Caleb was in trouble or just for sending him to TC. Laura answered for him, saying it was a bitter-sweet moment, knowing their loved ones were in jeapardy.

Brad had the exit confessional: “That guy Gervase, for him to jump up and down kinda in your face; I was “Hey Bozo! Your loved one could go home. You’re cheering about that? You beat us. Great, but it’s like you are beating your own.”

Brad’s confessional continued once we saw them back in camp: “We lost the challenge and it stinks. I didn’t get to where I am in life by losing and I hate to lose.”
(Well, the early 90s Vikings and the late 90s Bucs weren’t exactly winning teams!)

With John, he told the puzzle makers not to get down about losing.

Katie (confessional): “After the challenge, my heart sank to the floor. It’s our first challenge and our first loss. I knew that I was part of why the team lost. I got creamed by my mother and the fact that the three of us, the puzzle people, were the reason that we didn’t pull through at the end, it makes me a little nervous because what are we going to judge the votes off of.”

When Vytas mentioned Gervase, Marissa was quick to disassociate herself from him by saying he was the loudest one.

Marissa had a confessional: “I do think the other tribe was celebrating too much…Yes you won but you are about to send one if us home…”

Vytas assembled the five guys to say they were in a great position.
The way the shot was presented, with Hayden joining the other four in the middle of the discussion, made me wonder if the Big Brother player is truly in that alliance.

Brad, John and Caleb continued the discussion at the water well, Brad saying he was happy Monica didn’t gloat so much. He then said he was “a little spoiled on Marissa right now because of the way Gervase acted.”

Brad (confessional): “Marissa; before the challenge, she was a little off the radar but there is a side of myself that saw Gervase jumping up and down..she’s going home. How do you like them apples?”

Not too bad how this worked out for Brad considering Marissa was the one that called him out originally.

Caleb then had a confessional: “With the puzzle, it was Cierra, Katie and me. Cierra jumped in, she was really helpful, it seemed like Katie was just the extra cook in the kitchen. I don’t want to see Katie go but if the majority’s in then I’m in with it.”

Vytas: “The girls probably know that the guys have bonded; we are not being subtle at all with these women. So it’s important for me to keep my alliances with the girls strong. I’m going to tell those girls which one the guys have decided which one will go first.” Note that Vytas said “alliances”, plural, which tells us he is a sneaky, devious player. He then told Rachel that Marissa was the target, he told Marissa it was Katie. His confessional continued: “Let’s be honest, in the end, it doesn’t matter whoever they choose to vote for because the guys have definitely bonded with each other. I mean, I feel bad for the girls but, at this point, it would be foolish to go against that.”

Brad gave us another confessional: “We are five guys strong. One of the girls has to go. It may be Marissa, it may be Katie, to me they are equal. The girls are both connected to the other tribe. We have to start thinking about who we vote out could potentially affect their tribe.”

Interesting hint that things could quickly turn against Brad if we go back to our earlier speculation.

Tribal Council

(Note that Katie was positioned in the “hot seat”, right in the middle of the group, while Marissa was at the extreme left.)

Jeff asked Hayden what had been the most difficult part of the first three days.
Hayden said it was making fire so Jeff mentioned their lie. Hayden admitted their bluff as Brad and Vytas nodded.
Jeff turned to Cierra who said that, despite her mother’s stories, “actually being out here is completely different. I’ve never been this hungry…”
Jeff pointed out they were only 3 days in.
Brad answered that it was frustrating not having fire.
Caleb said the season’s twist complicates thing because “(Colton) doesn’t know what’s going on here and I don’t know what’s going on there. We just have to trust each other that we are going to do the right thing.”
John told Jeff he had “a lot of guilt about this decision.” On the verge of tears, he said that he thought Candice must have felt like he had let her down.
Vytas gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder and John told Jeff that he wanted to keep the tribe strong because the other side wasn’t pulling any punches. He said that, by doing that, it had the advantage that Candice could kick that person’s butt.
Brad told Jeff he didn’t know why the others were celebrating so much. He mentioned that Gervase stood out.
Marissa was shaking her head because she expected him to be more mature and wiser.
Vytas said it added insult to injury. He said that, in previous seasons, teams don’t worry when the other side goes to TC but “tonight, that team is worrying.”
Marissa said she was guilty by association.
Jeff said it would be devastating to be voted out for something she didn’t do.
Marissa wanted to be judged on her own character and performance.
Katie admitted that the guys did really well on the first leg of the race but that the puzzle makers fell behind. “The fear is that, based off of the challenge, that’s something to base our votes off of so there is some fear.” She added that she wouldn’t be surprised if she was voted out.
Brad said they weren’t going only on the puzzle.

When Jeff snuffed her torch, Marissa gave her tribe a prolonged death stare. The camera showed us Rachel, Brad and Hayden’s discomfort while Vytas looked at the stars as if nothing important happened, as if he wasn’t the one that ate the canary.
Jeff noted that their family members taught them well on the art of the blindside but that they didn’t teach them everything since they were at TC.

The Story

If the premiere is any indication then this Blood versus Water twist will give us much more character development than we have seen in recent seasons. By the format itself, the viewers have to be given some information on family stories and the connection between players. It started with each player receiving an introduction and at least one confessional.
As for the story itself, it seemed that the theme of this episode was that “Love transcends this game… but we are competitive.” Most of the players talked about their desire to beat their loved ones in competition, only a few mentioned the consequences of a victory. The players that will thrive are those that will grasp the importance of the twists, mostly how one tribe’s decisions can affect the other side. Tadhana decided to hurt one person on the other side but maybe they would have been better served to eliminate someone that had a stronger connection with the other side.

The Characters

Falling in Love
These players received a lot of attention from the editors. While they will be the main characters early on, it makes it unlikely the winner will be in this group…but there are one or two exceptions.

Gervase: Many viewers were eager to see Gervase back in the game and now they are left wondering what happened to the guy that everyone loved in Borneo. Right away, we were told by his niece that he hasn’t learned much and we have to agree with her. I was expecting to see Gervase making an immediate alliance and maybe he did but it wasn’t seemed important to show. As far as we know, he is playing alone just like in season 1.

Colton: His redemption story started when he told us about his difficult childhood and when Caleb told us about his frailty. It ended when we heard him yelling at Kat during the challenge, threatening to hit her with the paddle. The editors may give him a few more good moments but we will see the old, the real, Colton soon enough. His redemption will be on the Island which awaits.

John: If the opening twist hurt Rupert’s game, it hurt John’s feelings. We heard his rage against the players that voted against Candice so that could set up a confrontation between them but will they ever meet? It could be that some of those that voted against Candice find themselves on Redemption island also and Candice can get her own revenge. Still, John vows to never forget and that puts him on a collision course with Laura and Tina, two players that seem to have the longevity to make the merge. John is in the male alliance but he isn’t sold on it, knowing that it’s only a tool for Brad to make it to the end with Monica. Much more than Rupert’s wife who has all the markings of a follower, this single player is now a free agent and could make surprising moves.

Monica: She was totally focused on Colton so it seems likely that she is missing something. While she thinks Brad could be her ammunition, he could turn out to be her downfall. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone’s life ended by friendly fire. As much as Brad needed to set the record straight with his tribe, Monica had to do it also yet she apparently didn’t sense the danger. That’s how one gets bamboozled.

Brad: He was all over our screen, from his faux-pas during the introductions to the formation of the 5 guys’ alliance and the decision in the end to boot Marissa. Of course, a former NFL player will be featured but the general feeling is that, despite is strong alliance, there are dangers looming around Brad. John and Caleb both voiced reservations about that alliance. Hayden didn’t seem too warm at the idea while Vytas has other alliances already. More importantly, the guys weren’t very subtle about their connection and that could be easily relayed to the other side. If Galang learns that Brad is leading an all-male alliance, they could strike him down by booting Monica. They also heard him saying that he’d do anything for her.

Vytas: He was the star of this episode: We got to hear his personal story, his conflicts with Aras and we also saw that he was deeply involved in the game, He is a member of the majority all-male alliance and he also has alliances with the girls. The scene that showed him alone on the beach was particularly powerful because he told us that they wouldn’t see him as a devious player. Vytas could become a delightful villain and the look he had at Tribal Council is the first sign. Hurting someone by blindsiding them won’t stop him from playing the game all out.

Caleb: Besides all the time spent on his relation with Colton, Caleb appeared to be a smart player. He isn’t fully into Brad’s alliance but he will go along for now and he wasn’t totally in agreement with the vote but he went with the majority. That’s a good plan for now and we were presented his strategy which is always a good sign. While he received less attention than Vytas, his chances to go long into the game are strong.

Let’s Stay Friends (…with benefits?)
These players had a good showing in the episode even if they didn’t have starring roles. We’d suspect that one will benefit from this start and that the winner will emerge from this group.

Laura B.: Rupert’s wife had to be shown because of the initial vote but we did hear how she will try to integrate the tribe even if it didn’t have to be shown. She may not be long for the game, as Gervase said, but as long as Rupert is on RI, Galang won’t want to vote her out. (That, by the way, is another weird consequence of these twists: Laura could outlast some players simply to keep Rupert happy) It will be interesting to see if she gets into an alliance on Galang or will simply be kept around to lure Rupert back into the fold. If she gets into an alliance and the tribe wins enough challenges then maybe Rupert’s words will prove right and it will be Laura’s time. Wouldn’t that be surprising?!

Cierra: She got the opportunity to tell us about her life story which is good but her story was partly about her mother and how that early pregnancy strained their relations. Since we heard that mom would do anything for Cierra then we can say that this served mostly to soften the image of Samoa’s tough woman.

Laura M.: She had a very complex edit: Her first confessional seemed to tell us that she would do everything for her daughter, that she didn’t want to see her suffering but then we heard her saying that she wanted to beat her during the challenge. For now, it seems that she could be Galang’s narrator, telling us about the fire, the shelter and the challenge. Her words also served to tell us that Tadhana had the wrong priorities. All in all, Laura seems to be in for the long haul.

Hayden: It wouldn’t be surprising if his original confidence about being well-prepared for the game served as a prelude to a story of struggles. I’d bet that production would love to show that Big Brother isn’t on the same level as Survivor, that it isn’t the equal to “Survivor in a house”. Hearing him saying “This is nuts” could be the start of that story arc but for now, Hayden had another, more interesting story: He is in the alliance of guys but doesn’t seem totally committed to it. They are, after all, meat heads. It seems Hayden is waiting to join Kat and the veterans to start playing the game. He could be in for a bad surprise.

Tyson: He clearly was on the side of the players that had no love to share for his opponents so that puts him at odds with the Theme of this episode. However, showing him as a true survivalist gives him legs in the story. He was a big part of building the shelter and his ability to make fire was noted nicely. We also heard that he learned from Boston Rob, something that could be a recurring theme like it was for Phillip. Still, Phillip didn’t last to the end. Tyson, once more, should be an interesting character, one to keep in mind.

Aras: As likable as Jeff finds him, Aras showed lack of social tact when he was the lone vote against Gervase and then telling Laura he’d prefer to have Rupert on the tribe instead of her. He had to know that “being a Redskins fan” wouldn’t get the majority votes so he should have tried to figure out how the others were thinking. At least, he repaired that initial affront by helping Gervase during the challenge. In the end, it was more problematic that his story seemed concentrated solely on beating Vytas. His athletic abilities and his easy going manners almost guarantee him a spot in the majority alliance but his mental game had its limitations and nothing here prepared us for an improvement.

Katie: As my pre-season pick, I wasn’t very optimistic going into Tribal Council. Normally, a player that gets called out by Jeff during a challenge isn’t the likely winner but there have been exceptions, Sandra and Chris to name two. Like Katie, Chris cost his team a challenge and was on the block but rallied to win in the end. Are we going to have a repeat of that story? It’s too early to tell. For the immediate future, the TC seating arrangements were interesting. Katie was the secondary target and they sat her right in the middle. They had to know she wasn’t really in trouble, that Marissa was getting all the votes but they made us worry about her, putting her front and center to get all her reactions. She could be in a stronger position within the tribe than we think. However, between Katie and Tina, it certainly felt that their respective portrayals favored mom over daughter. As Katie herself said: This is her mom’s game.

Tina: There were some interesting manipulations going on with Tina’s edit: She had first reaction shots to many of the twists and we heard Katie’s amplified “Sorry mom” when Jeff asked who wanted to beat their loved ones. She was also the first to note the main difficulty of this game: Watching the other tribe come out and seeing that your loved one wasn’t there anymore. Also, Candice mentioned the names of Kat, Laura, Monica and Colton when she was chopping the coconut in frustration but Tina was the first to vote against her and the editors didn’t let us hear her name.
This, more than ever, is a social game and Tina mastered the social game a long time ago. These new twists have many ramifications and it seems that Tadhana already missed an opportunity to affect the whole Galang tribe. I suspect that, if Tina has a say in it, Galang’s boots will hit Tadhana at its core.

Getting No Love
These players were only extras in the story even if they did get a confessional or two.

Kat: She was only an adjunct to Hayden’s story and while she told us she wanted to beat him, it’s doubtful that she will outlast him.

Rachel: Like Kat, Rachel only served to advance her loved one’s story. Her confessionals served only to set the stage for the upcoming events. She clearly wasn’t prepared to play this game and she wasn’t part of the story. She did have an alliance with Vytas though so maybe something could come of that, most likely her blindside.

Seeking redemption:
Being exiled, these players had to be shown.

Candice: While it was expected that she would be the early victim, it was surprising to see her getting a better edit on RI than Rupert. That suggests that she outlasts him.

Rupert: He is still as delusional, thinking that the newbies’ vote was a slap against him. Laura was the oldest woman and she had been on the show before so it had very little to do with him. His decision to take her place was idiotic and his laziness didn’t have to be shown so things aren’t looking good for the fan favorite.

Marissa: The first victim of the season’s twist, she was Brad’s main opponent so it would be interesting to see how she would fare if she is still there when either Monica or Brad get to RI. As unlikely as it is to happen, her confessionals about Brad kind of set it up. Could Rupert lose to both Candice and Marissa? That could be what the editors are telling us.

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09-21-13, 11:21 PM (EST)
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14. "RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
Hiya Michel! So happy to see you back in form and very excited to read your thorough take on things. You are certainly remarkable at all of this...

I also noted in the intro that some of the loved ones were given a confessional before their returnee counterpart as you, I do speculate that it may possibly mean that they have a meatier part to play in this season?

I LOVE your take on Vytas. Would love it if he turned out to be "our villain"!

It figures that the winner will display compassion for the situation but also determination to play the game. Rupert and Brad would soon show too much compassion while others, including Tyson, Kat, Gervase and Vytas showed too little.

WOW! Love the above statement, how astute!

Thanks for the thoughts, and I cannot wait to read more! What will be interesting is to see if the individuals require their loved ones to get to the end, or if they can do it with the new relationships that they cultivate. Will the isolated ones of the couple let other couples remain in the game? Should be quite interesting to watch it unfold.

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09-22-13, 12:23 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
Thank you, FP.

I am interested to see how the singletons will act, at least some of them. Rupert's wife will most likely just try to follow the older women on her tribe and she's lucky to have that many strong ones there. She could also benefit from the fact that the Returning players won't want to anger Rupert while he can still come back in the game. While she stupidly thought she was targeted to hurt Rupert, Laura could outlast a few veterans because of Rupert.

John could be an interesting player to follow and I suppose he would like to get in a position between two pairs but that is still far off. Do you know if he still has the opportunity to trade places with Candice or was it a one time offer? I suppose he could change his mind and save her at some point, especially after seeing a duel or two.

I thought you'd be interested to learn what evolved over at RHAP after I posted there: Vytas drew comparisons to 3 character from Lost! One saw him as Charlie, the recovering addict that wants to do the right thing. Another was reminded of Ben when Vytas had his carefree expression after Marissa's death glare and another still saw his sunset scene and was reminded of the Man in Black looking out at sea! Maybe we have to look for Kate!

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09-22-13, 01:20 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
LAST EDITED ON 09-24-13 AT 07:49 AM (EST)

I love RHAP, and I love that you are in the loop! I have got to pay more attention! What a wonderful choice he's made with you, michel. And, now the Lost comparisons...Love it!

Frankly, Vytas is a Charlie type, when Charlie was on the dark side, when he knocked out Sun and hooked up with Sawyer. I don't see him as the redeeming Charlie...ever. I suppose I see him as manipulative. But, we'll see! Fun stuff!


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10-10-13, 02:16 PM (EST)
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35. "RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
I haven’t posted for 2-3 seasons, but thought I’d start again. I wrote this after the first airing of Survivor BVW, but work pressures left me little time to post it. Although it is late, I hope it addes something to the discussion of animal imagery used in editing. The first segment animals I noted were:

- water/shore bird
- screeching monkey
- black-and-white water snake
- ants
- flock of birds
- school of fish

School of fish: Survivor presented a few predators that feed on fish, aka the water snake and shore-bird, so it’s not good to be a fish in this story. Thhe fish scene was adjacent to the newbies, so that may not bode well for them. The fish were disordered, darting here and there, not formed into “schools,” lacking discipline and focus.

This scene was matched by newbies’ confessionals about their loved ones’ Survivor experiences. Newbies focused on beating, showing up or taking care of their loved ones. Unfocused confusion indeed! This also suggests that only newbies who successfully get their “fish food” have a decent chance of making merge.

Flock of birds: Many animals shown are water-based, tree-based, or sand-based. The birds soar above them all – and in formation, too. If the purposeful flock of birds represents the returnees who looked up, it shows long-term focus (long-term flight), social bonding, purpose/focus, and intelligence/mental skills.

Air in astrology represents the mental state, with Air signs being both more social yet self-contained, able to decide on things with the head more so than with the heart. Perhaps some returnees will lead from the head, unlike Rupert, who leads – if he leads at all – from the heart. The V-formation suggests a long-term journey, so perhaps some returnees are in it for the long haul.

Now for the individual animals:
Ant colony: These creatures were associated with Tina. Organized, social, focused, ants will survive as a species for many millions of years longer than humans. This suggests Tina is long-term and will be focused and social. However: Ants can get stepped on a lot, or eaten by birds. Tina may get blindsided post-merge.

Black-and-white water snake: Who else could this be but Colton? Everything’s black-and-white with him, while other survivors are highlighted by colorful sunsets and rainbows. His “animal spirit” is in the water, while he’s on the land, so he is “out of his element.” Water in astrology signifies emotions and fluidity, “going with the flow.” His emotions could lead to an early demise, as surely as Rupert’s emotions led to his departure.

The well-padded (armored?) shore/water bird on the beach: This came up just before or after Monica. We know this bird is comfortable on the water, since its body is perpendicular to the head – good for floating. (Most birds have their head, body and tails in one angular line, perfect for flight.)

We know from Survivor One World that Monica is comfortable in actual water, social, and flexible. She was smart enough to get Cat unstuck during a challenge, and she made the first overtures to the men’s tribe to get help making fire. She is “in her element” in “the air, on land and sea.” (Shades of the US Marines!)

This shore bird is seen alone, watchful, resting. Monica’s alliances might not be there for her at critical moments, or might not matter as much to her as her own progress. Her main alliance, husband Brad, might not be there when she needs him, even though he talked about wanting her to have the tarp.

Monica’s burying her athletic skills in the first segment. Jeff had called her “the strongest player on her (second) tribe” in One World. This could come into play towards the end of the game, if she lasts beyond the big targets depart (Brad, John, Aras, Tyson, Hayden et al).

Screeching monkey with plantain: He/she was juxtaposed with one of the newbies’ “meathead alliance.” (I don’t have Hayden, Caleb, and John sorted out yet, so I’m not sure which one.) But the monkey “compares” lots of noise with gathering food. The newbies are noisy, but ineffective so far at food-gathering. They need flint, fishing gear, et al.

Monkeys – even the non-ape ones – are known for cleverness and high energy. However, the smaller monkeys are midways up in the food chain. They can prey on smaller animals but are themselves “snacks” for the larger animals. Food matters in this game, the monkey seems to screech. This suggests that few newbies may make the merge, but probably not the Final 3. Unlike chimps and apes, these smaller monkeys aren’t big enough nor smart enough to evade all of the traps. (Possible exception: whoever got the “warning” screeched out by the monkey.)

The monkey was the only land-based animal shown, but it was in the trees, halfway between the birds in the air and the ants on the ground (and fish and snakes in the water). This suggests that it is not part of the main story – the battle between birds and water creatures, between head and heart. The person it warned may not be in the main story either.

Signing off now, to read what you say. I always learn a lot!

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michel 10948 desperate attention whore postings
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10-15-13, 10:50 PM (EST)
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43. "RE: Epiosode 1: This is Nuts"
Very interesting post. I always like the interpretation of animal imagery.
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b1whois 108 desperate attention whore postings
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09-26-13, 07:21 PM (EST)
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17. "eppy 2 discussion starts here..."
so, i really admire the folks who do this analysis, but sadly, i have rarely have anything to offer. this week, however, i think that we can conclude that the editors chose not to show colton going after kat. we see kat wiping tears at one point and later someone (tyson?) says that colton went to far, but the actual tape of colton abusing kat was not shown? why?
i dont think it was to prop up colton's edit, since i cant imagine him lasting very long in the game at all. so it must have been to influence kat's edit. my guess is that they did not want us to sympathize with her. maybe she is the runner up?
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michel 10948 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-13, 04:23 PM (EST)
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18. "Episode 2 - Slow and Steady"
In his recap, Jeff said that 10 pairs of players, made up of 10 returning players and their loved ones, began the game together…
…but they soon found out they wouldn’t have their loved one to lean on… (Monica and Colton highlighted)
…making a complicated game even tougher. (Mrs Boneham’s shock was shown)
We heard Brad repeating his comment about letting Monica win the tarp and Marissa calling him out for it.

After saying their goodbyes, the new tribes were forced to vote out one of their own, drawing first blood in front of their loved ones.
Galang (sic!) voted out Rupert’s wife, Laura while Tadhana (re-sic) voted out John’s wife, Candice. (get your tribes straight, Probst!)
The game wasn’t over for Laura and Candice: Redemption Island was back in play and Blood versus Water was put to the ultimate test.
Rupert gave up his life in the game while John decided to let his wife fight her way off Redemption island.

At Galang, Colton was working on repairing his image.
We heard Monica saying that he was a villain and asking if zebras changed their stripes.
At Tadhana, Brad, the former NFL player, hit the ground running, putting together a majority alliance of men.

Galang got off to a slow start at the immunity challenge (We heard Jeff saying that Gervase was slowing his tribe) but when Katie struggled, they pulled off the victory. After Gervase’s excessive celebration, the men’s alliance targeted his niece, Marissa but Katie’s struggles at the challenge were hard to overlook.
At Tribal Council, the men chose vengeance over keeping the tribe strong by voting out Marissa.

Besides showing that Jeff isn’t completely into this season (!) it was interesting to note how much he talked about Katie’s struggles because she wouldn’t be a target in this episode. It only served to remind us of her presence and maybe set the stage for a comeback story.

Redemption Island – Night 3

Marissa arrived and needed to introduce herself to Candice and Rupert. Her confessional was placed here while the scene in camp continued with Marissa explaining the Gervase incident. Rupert had a confessional about his fear of seeing Laura get voted out and then we heard Candice saying that Marissa was really voted out because of her comment about Brad.
Marissa was pissed about being the first one but Candice corrected her, saying she was third.
It could mean nothing but since Rupert would soon be the first to leave, but I wonder if Marissa stays one more round and gets to throw her buff in the fire during episode 4. It would give double meaning to what we heard Candice saying and editors love to include sayings that have double meanings when they find them. Marissa’s elimination had been explained in the recap and didn’t really need another interpretation but Candice reached a different conclusion. That showed the viewers that she’s sharp.

Marissa (conf.): “…I came in thinking Katie was a go. No; Marissa was a go. People had the audacity to put a frowny face next to my name…I’m really pissed off.”
The scene ended with Rupert saying: “This is Redemption Island. Welcome here. It’s a bunch of people sitting, pissed off.”

Galang – Day 4.

The music was very joyous and light while an army of ants was making its way on a tree trunk. The ants have been predominant up to now and we will soon have a shot of a group of them tearing a large beetle apart. That suggests a group of players might tear up the strong ones before the season ends. Who are the ants? In this episode, the ants first appeared while we were in Galang but the group that quartered the beetle was shown during Tadhana’s scrambling scene and the strong practically have to be Brad and his alliance. If we are to speculate on the meaning, we’d say that Cierra and Katie will use the help of Galang’s alliance to bring down the all-male alliance.

Tyson, Laura M., Laura B., Kat, Tina and Aras were standing one in front of the other, massaging each other’s back.
Mrs Boneham in confessional: “As soon as Rupert was taken away and I was by myself, my heart just sunk. It’s been a very peaceful tribe as far as considerations for others, it’s been a blessing.”

Colton wasn’t enjoying the peace and he said so in confessional: “I though that this whole Zen, calm, yoga mentality would be appealing to me but it was for like 3 days. Now I’m over it.” We then hear him telling Monica that he came to play Survivor and she wisely told him that the game required patience, that it’s 39 days. Colton’s rant continued: “I don’t want to live with these people. I don’t want this to be the final 9. I love Caleb with every fiber of my being and I just need to get to him.”

Colton started telling conflicting stories: He first talked to Aras, Gervase and Tina, saying that Laura Morrett was throwing Tina under the bus. Aras didn’t want to hear it because they didn’t need to at that time. Colton said he didn’t care since he’d volunteer to go to TC. That really caught Aras and Tina’s attention. Gervase shut him up by saying they didn’t need to talk strategy. Aras’ confessional was inserted here and then we heard Tina telling Colton that she was ready to talk about anything except Survivor. For effect, the last part of Colton’s confessional was heard just before the commercial break.

Aras’ confessional: “I really thought that Colton had seen the way he played and he had changed but you can only fake it for so long. You come out here and you fake who you are for 4 days, 5 days but then the elements get to you and your true personality emerges.”

The end of Colton’s confessional: “Strategy? What strategy? We are a unit. We are unity, we are peace, we are Zen. We are stupid.”

It was fascinating to hear Monica telling Colton that Survivor required patience considering that just last week we heard she had told Brad to hit the ground running. We have Brad playing fast and Colton being impatient on one side, Monica showing restraint and Aras, Gervase and Tina calming the situation on the other. This gives us such contrasting game plays that we have to consider it a Theme for this story. Our first impression is that Brad and Colton’s approach is bad, that it is better to stay calm while playing the game. If that is the correct interpretation then Colton’s “We are stupid” was really addressed to himself and indirectly to Brad instead of Galang.

Tadhana – Day 4

Brad had a confessional while the camera showed us his fishing trip: “We feel great this morning. We’ve got flint last night. It was unfortunate that we had to lose a tribe member to get the flint but we got the flint. I showed the guys how to use the Hawaiian sling and we got some fish.”

Rachel also had a confessional: “I have a good feeling that I am more at risk in this game right now than Tyson is. I think alliances are just starting to form. I think there’s a lot more going on that what it looks like just at camp. I’m a girl in this tribe; I’m a minority. I’m living in a man’s world right now so that’s why my strategy is to really play it cool with the guys, be with the guys and try to work with them.”

While Cierra was watching, Rachel approached John and told him that she trusted him.

Cierra had a confessional: “The fact that Rachel is not strategizing with the girls at this point which, you kind of assume she would be closest with, is really fishy to me and I am 75 percent confident that Rachel and John have an alliance.” She told Katie about her suspicions, warning her to be careful about those two. Her confessional continued: “I definitely take it upon myself to let people know that John has an alliance in the tribe so it puts a big red flag on John which is great for me because the red flag is not on me.”

We could think that, by letting “people know that John has an alliance in the tribe”, Cierra was actually putting a red flag on herself: The people in John’s alliance could see Cierra as being too smart to keep around. However, the rest of the episode won’t be going that way so the conclusion to reach from this confessional is that Cierra is a smart observer.

Next, we had John bringing news that it was time for the whole tribe to go to the challenge arena.
John had a confessional: “This game is crazy! The whole tribe is going to Redemption Island. I hope to see Candice but it is going to be tough for me, emotionally. I’ve been wrestling with a lot of difficult feelings of guilt. If Candice looks at me and smiles and says she loves me, honestly, that would take this weight that is crushing my heart right now and it would throw it off.”

The Challenge:

Filing in first, Galang looked anxiously towards the entrance, towards Tadhana to see who would be missing. The camera focused on Tina and Laura who had seen their daughters lose the challenge. When Jeff said Marissa had been voted out, Aras patted Gervase on the back to console him just as a grinning Brad made his entrance. Tina was shown drying a tear and Jeff pointed out that 4 of them were crying. Monica and Laura said they were happy to see them safe.

Candice gave John a nice wink when she walked in and we saw his relief.
Jeff noted the long stare that Marissa gave her tribe. She told Jeff she didn’t think she should be there. She then told Gervase: “You burned the tribe with your celebration. You rubbed salt in their open wound and that’s why I’m here.”
Gervase turned around and simply said: “I am going to rub some more. I promise you that.”
The camera went immediately to Brad, making him Gervase’s direct target even if Marissa hadn’t mentioned him.
That whole exchange made Candice laugh.
Given the chance to swap, Gervase simply said: “Handle your biz.”

Jeff had just said that the challenge required speed and dexterity when he noticed that Rupert was throwing caution to the wind and blowing through the contraption.

Could this be another hint that going too fast isn’t good in this game? It certainly seemed to resonate with what we had heard before. When Rupert lost his first spool, Jeff even said it didn’t do any good to rush. Add John’s advice to go “slow and steady”, Gervase’s recommendation to “take your time” and we definitely have a recurring theme.

Rupert still managed to tie Candice at 7 but he lost his stack, opening the door to the two women which made Laura hide her face in her hands while Gervase, sitting right next to her, started laughing. When Marissa completed her stack, Rupert simply went for a last hug with Laura, telling her she will be fine. Rupert couldn’t believe he was the first one out. He didn’t regret his move: “I love Survivor” he said, “but I love my wife more.”
Candice gave the idol clue to John.

As they left, we heard John’s confessional: “I am so pumped! Candice kicked so much #####. I had those guilty feelings and she just took them off the table. She doesn’t hold it against me at all and I have a clue to the hidden immunity idol. This is like, incredible.”

We’re noticing that an investment is being made in Candice. The work ethic she showed in camp last week, the emotions expressed by John and the wink she gave him which was replayed in slow motion at the end of the scene as if we were watching Sports Center, were meant to have us root for Candice…at least for now. It could be that she will be the one to root for only until a bigger favorite gets sent to RI but it could also mean she outplays everyone there and comes back in the game. We just have to see if the investment continues to grow like it did with Matt.

Tadhana – Day 4

John received his tribe’s congratulations and he had a confessional: “I can’t explain the amount of pride and happiness I had in seeing Candice dominate. I want to have as many weak people around Candice as humanly possible (Cierra shown on screen right then) so, if both people out there suck and are weak in challenges, then I’m happy.”

Right then, Vytas had a new take on the elimination: “Who has the most likely chance to swap are the players who have played the game so who we want out of that tribe is their strongest players and who is most likely to switch that is strong?” Tyson was the answer so Vytas continued: “Exactly. For example, Rachel would be the next to go and Tyson would have a really tough time not switching.”
Immediately, we saw John’s shock.
John had one more confessional: “The selfish reason I have for not wanting to vote Rachel out is, if in fact Tyson does switch places with her then he’s going against Candice. I would rather have that not happen.”
He didn’t say that to the tribe and the talk went to the idol which he said he would use at the merge to get numbers.
Brad then had a confessional: “John is with us. I like the kid. I think he’s solid. I think it’s good for him to have the clue because getting the clue in front of everybody is a curse and a blessing. It’s a blessing because you have an opportunity to find the idol but it’s a curse in the sense that you have a target.”

After reading the clue alone, we heard from John again: “I have a decision point to make; there’s a fork in the road. Do I go this way and tell the guys in my alliance or do I find a way to run off in secret and find the immunity idol myself. I think I am going to be private about it, make sure that I am the only one that could find it.”

The intensity of the music suggested that this was the wrong direction for John.

Galang – Day 4

Mrs Boneham told everyone that she was “surprisingly OK. There is a sense of relief that I don’t have to worry about him…I’m not a target anymore; I’m not two, I am one.”
Colton told us his reaction in confessional: “I feel like I’m in middle school again. I mean, I don’t mind campfire side chats or whatever but that is all they want to do. Do you think this is a YMCA camping trip for a week where we want to improve ourselves? You know what? I want to improve myself by winning a million dollars.” That’s when he went to Gervase saying that Laura Morrett was a big threat and had to go first. He then told Monica that Tyson wanted to get rid of her. His confessional went on: “It’s not hard for me to twist the story and lie to someone to benefit me in this game.” So he told Tina that Gervase was on board to get rid of Aras. Colton added: “If I can get all this Zen out of here, I can run this show.”

Just then, we had an image of water splashing in Colton’s face, which could be a sign that he will be surprised because, right after that, Tina and Kat were heard comparing notes about Colton.

Kat in confessional: “I do not want to play against Colton. I can’t have him against me because he will turn on me. He loves that stuff. He thrives on that and it’s sick.”

We then had a argument between Colton and Kat about what Tina had told the ex-Salani member. Colton, wanting to know, went to get Tina and gave us a confessional that was presented in the meantime: “When I get angry, I turn into a raging ##### and hopefully, this camp will erupt into chaos. If there is one thing I know is that I can rule in chaos.” The trouble for Colton is that Tina didn’t say a word while others heard his rant.

Tina in confessional: “So this is what Survivor 27 looks like? There is just so much drama. You don’t want to deal with drama for 39 days.”

This was another reference to playing the game with calm. Staying out of the drama was the theme that led to Vee’s victory. In a season where “Cleopatra”, “McGyver”, the “Godfather”, the “General”, “Tinkerbell” and “Malcolm X” all stood out, Vee remained calm. Could we be revisiting the same story? I suppose it could be something similar but with a few twists added.

During one of those campfire chats, Colton addressed everyone: “Can I just say that…I am all for burying the hatchet but I cannot forge forward in a relationship with somebody...”
Aras, who was resting in Tyson’s arms, interrupted him saying: “It doesn’t matter to most of us. I know at least for me, for Gervase, for Laura, Monica, I want a peaceful camp and I want to win.”

Tyson in confessional: “That fight was awesome. The thing with Colton is I think he came out here wanting to be different than the person he was and he pretended to be for maybe a day and a half or something but now you look at him and he’s going to end up over-thinking himself out of the game probably.”
We heard someone saying that Tina was fine, telling us that Colton’s rant was directed at her also even if it was Kat that was shown crying.
Colton in confessional: “I hope we get to the immunity challenge tomorrow and we get slaughtered. These people need to experience Tribal Council and realize that this is a game. This isn’t National Lampoon’s horrible vacation.”

That’s pretty ironic considering most of “these people” have had more experience in Tribal Council than the guy that asked to be taken out of the game during One World.

Galang – Day 5

It started with Colton’s confessional: “I woke up this morning and everyone is being super sketchy. I don’t know why. I don’t know if the vibe has been thrown off or what exactly is going on.”

By the way the camera showed Tina looking at him, I’d suggest that Colton didn’t understand that the game can be played without drama or chaos and that it can be played at his expense.

He asked Monica if he was in trouble and she reassured him, adding that she would keep her ears open.
Monica had a confessional: “I like Colton but, for the first time in my life, I came to play for me. That Monica that is just going to sit in mediocrity, she died in Samoa.”
Just then, we saw the skin of a snake that had been shed, suggesting that, indeed, we were in front of a new Monica.

That’s when we saw Tyson talking to Aras, Gervase, Monica and Tina, saying that Colton’s whole game is to get people to turn on each other. He added that they shouldn’t listen to whatever he says about targeting any of them but that they should compare notes instead.
Monica told the group that Colton asked her if everyone was still on Kat or if they were on him.
Aras said that Colton was a bully but that they didn’t have to be afraid. He added that Colton was a gay Russell Hatnz.
Aras: “I saw a side of Colton that was nasty. What he did to Kat last night was bullying. If he did it to Kat, he can do it to Tyson, he can do it to Aras, to Gervase. So, at a certain point you say: I don’t want to play with that person.”
Aras then looked at his group, Gervase, Tyson, Monica and Tina and said: “This is it right here. This is the five to the end.”
Monica had another confessional: “A new alliance has formed and it is Tyson, Aras, Gervase, Tina and me and I feel really good about this alliance. Wisdom is experience and everybody in this alliance of 5 that I have, have had a lot of life experience.”

I also feel really good about this alliance. It used to be that alliances revealed don’t succeed but we’ve seen quite a few endure to the end lately. The fact that it includes all the players that are associated with the theme of playing the game calmly makes it even more promising.

The Immunity/Reward Challenge

As the tribes walked in, the camera focused on Cierra who gave a thumbs up to her mom Laura.

Let’s file this away as a possible important connection. Neither are in the main alliances as we have seen them so one of them could be sent to RI at one point or they could eventually join to flip the game.

The reward, as usual for episode 2, was fishing gear.
Kat was the designated cheerleader for Galang but we only saw her in the background a few times as she encouraged her team.
Although built as a team challenge, there were only two important players on each side. The barrel rollers had a role to play but it was marginal. It came down to the two women untying the knots, Katie and Laura, and the two guys that threw the balls, Hayden and Gervase. It was so evident that Jeff didn’t even mention Vytas, Brad, John, Tyson, Aras or Monica, the runners, except at the very end when we heard him say: “Brad nearly rolls over that barrel.”
Laura was slightly faster than Katie at first but Tadhana made up their deficit at the last station, giving Hayden a slight lead.
Even if it was very much like a Big Brother challenge and he had a 3-1 lead, Hayden lost to Gervase who had “a nice touch going” according to Jeff. With a 6-4 win, Gervase did get a chance to rub more salt in the Loved Ones’ wound, like he promised. He dedicated the win to Marissa, screaming for everyone to hear!

Hayden could only stare at the board and we saw Kat looking troubled.
Brad winked at Monica when Jeff gave her the idol.
The Returning players left with their reward and it was time for Hayden to wink at Kat.

There are quite a few winks and signals going on, players reassuring their loved ones that they are safe. Are any of those gestures significant? For now, I’d say that the wink Candice gave John, because it was replayed, and the thumbs up Cierra gave Laura, because it was out of the blue, are the most intriguing ones. The others were “in the moment” so they probably don’t have any long range implications.

Tadhana – Day 6

The large beetle didn’t notice the approaching army of ants.

Brad was furious against Gervase, asking if he could be as stupid as he looked and promising to body slam him out if they ever get a physical challenge.

Katie had a confessional: “We really needed this challenge. Not because of the fishing gear but we really needed the immunity idol. We don’t want to send anyone home. There’s 3 girls left. We have lots of guys, lots of brawn but there is only us three girls. The guys can pick us off if they wanted to. I’m hoping they keep me around. I don’t want to see the other girls go but there’s only 1 person who wins the game and I have to do what I have to do to win.”

As she said that, we saw the ants moving together. The ants could be symbolizing Katie’s drive to victory…or the guys decision to boot the girls because we saw them immediately after.

Brad was saying that “we both agree it has to be Rachel.”
Who is Brad’s second here? He seemed to be addressing Caleb, John and Hayden and since Vytas was the first to mention how the twist can help them eliminate Tyson through Rachel, it follows that Brad and Vytas are the “we” who agreed on Rachel.
Brad went on: “All things considered, the three girls are relatively even so the Tyson possibility of weakening their tribe kinda puts it over the edge.”
John started skating: “If Tyson doesn’t take her place then losing Rachel makes us weaker.”
Vytas said Tyson would still be weakened if he doesn’t swap.
John continued in his defense of Rachel.

John in confessional: “The consensus is Rachel because maybe Tyson will take Rachel’s spot…and thereby weaken their tribe. But, from a personal stand point, I don’t really want Rachel to go to Redemption Island and then have Tyson switching places with her because then Tyson is competing against Candice.”

Vytas’ confessional told us that John wasn’t handling things correctly: “Does John have more allegiance to the 5 guys or does John have more allegiance to Rachel? Doubts have arisen because of his extreme hesitancy to vote her out. This early in the game, to have doubts arise, is not a good thing.”

Something worse was happening to the beetle right then; it was being torn apart by a group of red ants. Note that Katie’s ants were black. Animal imagery can be fun and confusing at the same time. One thing for sure, the editors chose to include the beetle being torn apart right after Vytas expressed doubts in his alliance. It has to be a bad sign for the 5 guys. They probably won’t last as a group and the next scene went right back to Katie who chose the perfect words to make Vytas and Hayden doubt John even more.

Vytas was telling Katie that it was going to be Rachel, asking her for her thoughts.
Katie asked: “Have you talked to John about that. He’s not gonna get rid of her.”
Vytas could only agree: “He had a tough time with it.”
Katie said that she’d have a tough time believing he’d write her name down.
Hayden and Katie concluded that it didn’t matter what John did but then Katie reminded them of the idol: “What if he saves her?
Vytas was taken off guard but he quickly recovered, saying that they didn’t think he had found it yet. He told Katie that they would tell Rachel that the vote was against Cierra.

Cierra in confessional: “I’m freaked out. John told me that he was going to tell Rachel to vote me and don’t worry about it because we are all voting Rachel. That’s too sketchy for me.”

As the ants were carrying their prey, Katie talked to Cierra about what Vytas and Hayden had told her.
Cierra told Katie about her fear of being bounced by the idol.
Katie said she was concerned about that also, adding: “I told Vytas: Why don’t me a Cierra vote someone else.”
The two girls exclaimed: “John!”

John had a confessional while we followed him in his search for the idol: “This is not the vote I wanted to make. I didn’t want Rachel to go and I am disagreeing with the guys in my alliance about that. I don’t want my alliance not to trust me because I was very publicly given a clue to the hidden immunity idol. I haven’t found it yet but I don’t necessarily need them having feelings of doubt when it comes to my faith in the alliance.”

While Katie, Hayden and Cierra were having some rice, we saw John walking off towards the ocean. Cierra asked: “Where is John going?”
Hayden had a confessional: “John is hiding the idol clue, not filling everybody in. We all know he is looking for it. It makes you a little weary. Right now, John is with the 5 guys (he made quotation marks as he said that) but we will see how long he stays that way.”
John was in the ocean with Rachel and that made Hayden, Caleb and Vytas talk.
Vytas had an interview: “I don’t want to be the one that says let’s break up the five guys first but, to be honest, we should vote John. With his energy and resourcefulness, I can totally see that he could have the idol and if somebody starts to show signs that they are willing to do their own thing and go against the group then: Blindside him now.”

Tribal Council

As they entered Tribal Council the camera focused first on Cierra and Katie, then John, Vytas and Rachel came one after the other on our screen.
While it is easy to understand why John, Rachel and Vytas were shown as the ones to watch in this council, Cierra and Katie didn’t need to be shown. Their inclusion gives us a hint that we need to keep an eye on those two.

Jeff first looked at the tribe’s gender imbalance.
Cierra said that they see the men talking together and that it makes them feel vulnerable.
Hayden smiled at that while Brad looked uncomfortable.
Jeff noted Hayden’s smile and asked him about it.
Hayden made it clear that “the guys have bonded together.”
Interesting considering his Big Brother alliance, the Brigade, was successful mainly because it remained secret all along.
Jeff turned to Katie, asking her what could be done.
With a smile and a glance at Cierra, Katie simply said: “I think we are still trying to figure all this out.
That goes directly to the theme of being patient.
Jeff pointed out that John had a clue to the idol and asked Caleb if that put an X on his shoulder.
Caleb said that, historically, the idol does put a target on the one that has it.
Brad interrupted, saying that there is an assumption he already found it. He added that John had “to figure out if it is best to tell the whole tribe or not.”
There was a hint of a menace in Brad’s last sentence that had to make John feel uneasy but the topic changed to the upcoming Redemption Island challenge and that the booted player would be facing Candice.
John mentioned that there was also a twist: The loved one could take their place.
Hayden said that it was twisted, that they could weaken their tribe by their own vote.
The music’s crescendo showed that this answer pleased Jeff who pointed out that there were more layers to votes this season than they ever had.
(Personal Note: Just like a cake can have too much icing, more layers doesn’t mean better: It can make you sick)
It was already time to vote.
Rachel (who wasn’t heard saying a single word during TC) went first, John looked over in Brad’s direction but the ex-NFL player didn’t return the stare, bowing his head instead.

We saw that John went with the guys, voting against Rachel while Cierra was shown voting against John.
As the votes continued, we had another exchange of looks between John and Vytas this time.

Jeff first revealed two votes against John and the camera showed him looking at Vytas and Brad as if they were guilty even if we were shown that one vote was from Cierra and guessed that the other had to be from Katie.

After sending Rachel to Redemption Island, Jeff told Tadhana that they had to win the next challenge. Cierra, Brad and Katie were on screen at that moment, while Hayden appeared just before they stood to pick up their torches.

Arriving at RI, Rachel said she wasn’t surprised by the vote since the guys were dominating the tribe but she did tell Candice that the tribe split their votes and that John looked surprised. Her last words revealed what could happen at Tadhana: “It is a close tribe because they are all friends but I think it’s going to change now.”

The Story

We have been presented with two conflicting ways to play the game. Some want to play hard and fast while others want to be patient and avoid the drama. What’s the most fascinating aspect of this duality is that both come from advices given by Monica. She told Brad that he had to “hit the ground running” but she also told Colton that Survivor requires patience since it lasts 39 days.
Our impression of the first two episodes is that it is preferable to play calmly. We heard that Rupert was throwing caution to the wind and he was the first eliminated. Jeff was heard saying it didn’t do any good to rush so, while he was talking about the challenge, it resonated as a theme to the whole story.
Even the music suggests that Galang’s general approach is preferable. In episode 1, the music that accompanied Galang was adventurous while it was joyous in this episode. Tadhana has been accompanied by tense music even in their scenes before they knew they had a date with Jeff. Therefore, we will look at the players according to the pace that they have shown.

The Characters

Going Full Speed Ahead:
These players have either been scheming intently or they have been acting in a way that puts a target on their back

Brad: While he had some good moments, the fishing trip in particular, he continued to be seen as Tadhana’s ruler and the leader usually falls first. The bully is just below the surface as we see him smiling when Gervase saw that Marissa was voted out and we saw him avoiding John’s look at TC after making a veiled threat about the decision concerning the idol. As the head of the all-male alliance, the one that wants to eliminate the Cochrans and all the weak women, I see him being pictured by the big insect that was torn apart by the army of small ants. The only question is the timing.

Vytas: He is shown as a cold calculator, the one at the center of Tadhana’s main alliance. While he is going against the main theme of playing slow and steady, he still appears as a possibler winner because we see him as a smart player. It should be quite an episode when his intensity is confronted by Aras’ calm. That could be when the season’s outcome is determined.

John: It seems that John’s main problem is thinking too far ahead, making him worry about all the possibilities. That has caused his own alliance to doubt him which isn’t good this early. A better course of action would have been to open up about his reason to keep Rachel and to let the 4 guys know about the clue. An idol isn’t very good when everyone knows about it. While he is given a strong portrayal, showing us all his emotions, it seems that his confessionals serve more to build up Candice’s story than his own. It was her wink that relieved all his anxieties and, while her win gave him hope, she also gave him all the troubles that followed. Despite their present situation, Candice could outlast John. Wouldn’t that be a surprising result. It seems that John’s fate depends on what the guys think of his vote against Rachel. Will they see it as a sign of loyalty or will they feel that John didn’t have a choice?

Colton: He was talking about Galang when he uttered his “We are stupid” remark but he is the stupid one. He thought Galang wasn’t playing the game but they were already talking about eliminating him. Galang isn’t as stupid as Manono’s misfits, so they are more likely to give the boot to the bully than handing him the reins.

Gervase: Even if he’s in the group of players that are playing calmly and he told Marissa to take her time, Gervase is quickly putting a target on his back. The format of the season probably means there won’t be a swap so Gervase, being in the main alliance, should make it far. Wouldn’t it be a complete circle if the player with the most charm in season 1, the one that thought he could win this game on charm alone, becomes the goat of season 27? Now that would be a story!

Stuck in the Mud:
These players had a good start but haven’t done anything in episode 2 to follow up.

Hayden: While he still has a good presence, there seems to be something off about Hayden. The guy won Big Brother mostly because his alliance remained secret for 3 months but he had no problem letting everyone know about his new Brigade 6 days into this game. He also agrees to weaken Galang by voting out Rachel but he doesn’t realize that Galang’s reply would be to boot Kat. I was tempted to say it was a good sign that no one blamed him for the challenge loss but then he wasn’t given the opportunity to tell us how he felt about it either. The impression was more that it was forgotten than it was an attempt to preserve his good image.

Caleb: He only had one benign intervention during TC and that was interrupted by Brad. After a strong premiere, Caleb faded in this one. He certainly can turn it around but, for now, he appears to be only a number in an alliance that could be on the verge of collapse. His role is more about being Colton’s partner and that should soon come to the forefront. Nothing associated with Colton appears to be long term right now.

Laura B: While she could be irrelevant, Rupert’s wife still receives some nice moments. Seeing her in the row of people massaging each other’s back, it’s possible that Galang has another, secret, alliance with Tyson, Aras and Tina playing in both. For now though, I assume that Laura is mostly shown to appease Rupert’s army of fans, giving them hope that she will avenge their favorite. With Rupert out of the game, there is no reason for Galang to keep Laura except for her vote and that won’t be necessary if the alliance of 5 remains loyal. Her only hope right now is that Galang is up in numbers, that Colton is Colton and that Kat could be used to turn Tadhana’s strategy against them.

Can’t get the Engine Started
Like some Amazing racers that can’t start their car, these players can’t start their game.

Rachel: It was quite telling that Jeff didn’t even address her in her final Tribal Council. As we had seen in the first episode, Rachel was irrelevant to the story. Like quite a few before her, (Jenny in Cook Island and Michelle in Fiji come to mind) being the victim of a twist meant having a poor edit so that the viewers wouldn’t connect with her and be outraged that she was “robbed”. Since I’ve already said Marissa has to leave in episode 4 to finish 3rd and that Candice should last a while then it follows that Rachel loses this week.

Marissa: One more win and she will finish 3rd like Candice said.

Kat: She had to be considered the weakest if she was Galang’s first sit out. That isn’t a good sign if Galang decides to adopt Tadhana’s strategy. There is nothing in Kat’s edit suggesting that she will have an important role in this story but she still has time to find one.

Laura M.: We didn’t hear from the ex-Galu player and while she was in the barrel for the winning team, it seems her main scene was that exchange with Cierra at the challenge. It’s too early to make anything of that except that we were meant to remember their connection. It should play a part in the story at some point.

Going Slow and Steady
These players know that it’s a long game. The winner is likely found in this group.

Monica : She’s the one that gave Brad the advice to hit the ground running and told Colton to be patient because Survivor lasts 39 days. That makes her the fulcrum of the story, the one that will tip the outcome one way or the other. While she could be used by Galang to put Brad in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between his own game and hers, she appears to be safely ensconced in Galang’s main alliance…with Gervase! The Vytas-Aras conflict could decide the outcome of the game but it will be interesting to see how Monica and Galang handle the Gervase-Brad situation. Tina, Tyson and Aras could conceivably sacrifice Monica at some point so maybe that is why we saw them hanging with Kat and the Lauras.

Candice: Although her situation tells us she isn’t going to win, there is a story being built around Candice. It could be set up only to keep us interested in the arena challenge until an important player gets there but it feels more like a concerted effort to rehabilitate Candice. Instead of the love-sick Dumb Blonde that mutinied “only” to join Adam and that sealed the fate of the Heroes by flipping to the Villains, we see a strong, determined player that took her time and went slow and steady to win her first duel. I can see Candice lasting a long time on RI as her confidence builds with each win. I wonder if, after Rachel’s comment, she will say something to John to let him know that he should change his approach with the idol.

Cierra: She was shown as a smart player throughout this episode, as she was the first to notice the bond between Rachel and John. It appears that she could be in danger because Tadhana only has 2 women remaining but, as Rachel said, it’s going to change now. There is an interesting story growing around Cierra but it seems tilted more to her partner, Katie.

Katie: We heard her confessional where she said “I have to do what I have to do to win” and we took notice. Considering she was the one that confirmed the guys’ worries about John and Rachel and that she was shown coming up with the plan to split the votes then we are in the presence of a smart player that could go far. It was a good sign that she was the “girl in the barrel” for Tadhana because it meant she wasn’t afraid of stepping up and the tribe was willing to give her a second chance. Her subtle smile at Tribal Council when she told Jeff that we were still trying to figure things out fit marvelously in the theme of the story and that bodes very well for her.

Aras: With Tyson and Tina, Aras could be in the middle of two alliances on Galang; the one with Gervase and Monica that was revealed and the one with Kat and the Lauras that was suggested. Either way, the former winner is in a great position and his stance against Colton’s bullying tactics puts him in line with the theme of the story: Players don’t have to create drama and chaos by bullying people and Aras said it best: “I want a peaceful camp and I want to win.” This is also a possible winning quote so it is a great sign for Aras.

Tyson: His presence was so marginal that he could be placed in the “stuck in the mud” group but he was included in the new alliance and he had a confessional about Colton’s behavior so that keeps in with the players that made slow and steady progress in this story.

Tina: While her role was small in this episode, her intervention went directly to the theme of the story. Survivor has become quite the drama but you don’t need drama to last 39 days. With her inclusion in the alliance, Tina can take over just like she did in the Outback and even if she doesn’t want to talk about Survivor, I think everything she says is aimed at winning Survivor.

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09-30-13, 00:40 AM (EST)
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19. "RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady"
That was a marvelous analysis Michel. You see things that I don't see on my own but ring true for me when I read your post. Thank you for taking the time to do what you do - and to all those who post analysis of the editing. It makes viewing more enjoyable for us lurkers.
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10-01-13, 07:44 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady"
michel: Your apparent knack of identifying the themes are amazing to me and I love that you note the differences in way the players are choosing to play...out of the gate, running, or slow and will be interesting to note the approaches that get them to the end game, and if they maintain the pace or vary it along the way.

In prior seasons we have tested age with youth vs. maturity, sex with males vs. females, and with returning players, novelty vs. experience. This season is going to be really fun because in addition to the time tested variables, the blood vs. water element is adding a whole new dimension. We can already see that the losing tribe is targeting a member of their tribe strictly on what they anticipate the partner on the opposing tribe perhaps doing. Wow. So no longer is it about targeting the old, weak, misfit out of the tribe, but who will effect the strength on the other tribe. I can’t wait to see what kind of spin it puts on the jury!

I think the editing is telling us exactly how EPMB feels about opting to change places with a loved one that is voted out. Tina and someone else told Rupert is was not a good idea to take Laura’s place at RI, but he made the choice anyway. The first episode hit it over our heads time and again about what a poor decision it was...Tina, Aras, and others all mentioned it. In the intro, Jiffy noted it again, and Rupert gave up his spot, while John decided to let his wife fight her way off. In the episode we all saw what happened to Rupert with his choice, while John lasted another day and even resolved his guilt and agony over his decision, when Candice came out into the arena and greeted her husband with a smile and a WINK!

I think the producers have underlined that the only way to play is to stay "in" the game if you want to win. With the way this first conflict came to fruition, I would almost be surprised if any other couples opted to change places with their loved ones at all for the rest of the game.

Also, I noted in the recap by Jiffy, that Brad was mentioned “hitting the ground running” and getting all of the guys in an alliance together right off the bat. I love how Michel contrasted the theme between Monica and her husband, Brad. Brad is out of the gate fast, while Monica is far more calculating and patient. In the introduction episode, it was Monica’s first confessional that she has learned from her first time playing and now she has “ammunition” with Brad. Brad has commanded the leader role on his tribe, but we all know where that can lead. Will Brad serve as her smoke screen or will Brad as the leader spell trouble for Monica, down the road? So many options to consider with the new twist with loved ones this season!

In addition to the “hit the ground running” strategy and the “patience” approach, I don’t think we should underestimate the ability to adapt within the circumstances as well....waiting to feel out the environment before making a conscious effort to play one way or the other, and being able to change tactics as the circumstances dictate.

Later in the introduction, Jiffy noted despite Katie’s weakness in solving the puzzle after talking smack about beating her mother, she was spared because Marissa was a bigger target because of over the top celebrating, Gervase. Then we hear the real reason uttered by Candice, that he wanted you out because you called him out in front of the whole group noting you didn’t want him on your tribe if he was sympathetic to the other tribe. My response was, “Bingo, she is exactly right”. So, Candice hit the nail on the head, and her experience proves valuable.

Because Jiffy called Katie out as the weak point in her tribe, despite them targeting Marissa. I can’t help but to wonder if their overlooking their weaknesses could lead to the demise of the Tadhanna tribe?

Candice on RI also proved by winning the RI challenge that doing the work at camp to sustain your survival pays dividends, while resting on your lazy laurels does not. Candice, imo, is looking good regarding her current longevity at RI. I hope it continues, but it will be interesting as time and personnel come and go.

I have to agree with michel when he also notes that Jiffy called out the wrong tribe names in the intro....what the heck was that?

After the Intro we start at Camp Galang where we see that the old Colton has risen again, and that he’s wrecking havoc trying to pit one player against the other, and utterly causing chaos. But, wise ole, past winner, Aras has got his can fake who you are at the start but then the real you emerges....

At Tadhanna, Brad notes how strong they are now since he knows how to use the sling and catch fish, while Rachel gets the confessional about feeling vulnerable about being a woman in the all boys tribe. Her strategy is to bond with them to win them over, and she starts with John. Clever Cierra is on to them, however, and goes around telling everyone that John and Rachel have bonded and are a threat, so they will be bigger targets than herself.

Regarding Brad and the weak Katie. Brad’s whole rationale in forming the meat head alliance was to have a strong, worthy player win, not a weak, “Cochran-type”. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Katie, the weak link in the first challenge who should/could have been the first boot is overlooked enough to be the last Tadhanna standing? Ha!

John reveals his rationale for keeping the clue to himself, he wants a weaker player to go to RI, and wants to avoid sending strong ones there to protect Candice. But Brad tells us that he wants John to find the HII to make their alliance stronger...

At Galang, Laura B. tells her tribe that she is kind of relieved that Rupert is gone as now she doesn’t have to worry about him any longer. She’s astute, this takes heat off of her. Colton is still pitting one against the other and wants to lose the challenge. The next day, Monica tells us that this time she is playing for “me”. So, she is telling us that this time she is making a change and employing a different Monica?

Immediately we see Tyson, Monica, Aras, Gervase, Tina together and Tyson tells them that this game does not have to be about fear, while Aras adds, Colton is the gay RussHell Hantz, he bullied Kat, and if he did it to her, he can do it to all of us, we don’t have to play with him! And, the “Five to the end” Alliance is born, and Monica gets the confessional about it, that she feels really good with a lot of people with a lot of life experience. Makes me think Monica may indeed be sitting pretty among these 5!

With the challenge I noted that because Hayden didn’t best Gervase that Kat was concerned that Hayden would be a target. There was a lot of non verbal communication that is certainly new to the show with all of the winks, looks etc. A whole new dimension is added. And, as we find out later, it no longer matters if you are the weakest in the challenge, because that is suddenly off the table, apparently. Now, it’s how do I effect a negative change in the other tribe by voting out someone loved by them in our tribe...

When Tadhana gets back to camp, Brad has the first words about how he can’t wait to body slam Gervase. Makes me think if when they merge, one of them will last, the other won’t, perhaps.

Then we have thoughts from John regarding not voting out Rachel because Tyson may go in her place and he doesn’t want strong Tyson up against Candice, so off he goes to find the idol. Then Hayden and Vytas note John going after the idol on his own, and they entertain cutting him loose.

Votes at TC: John votes Cierra, Cierra and Katie vote John, the others all vote Rachel. Well, they will know that John is not with them at this point, which spells major trouble for John, if he doesn’t find the idol. Foreshadowing the demise of the Meat Head Alliance, or at least by one...

The major things I took away from this episode were that Rupert made an impulsive and unwise decision when he traded places with his wife to go to RI. He also employed the wrong strategy in being lazy and conserving his energy. Candice made the right moves, and John made the right decisions and he also ended up with a prize, the HII clue, and a clean conscience. But, for a clever boy, he’s making the wrong move with what he’s doing with his clue. If I were him, I would employ the group to find it, but insist on being the keeper of the idol, to be used to benefit the majority of them. Why does he go against the grain so blatantly? For me, this foreshadows his demise. Now, it would be really interesting to see what happens at RI if Candice goes up against her husband there!

Clearly, playing with loved ones in the game is severely effecting how one plays the game!

Additionally, we can all see that Colton from One World has returned. He’s a bully with a capital “B”, and he told us he loves Caleb with all of his being and has to get back to him...Colton is not long for this game. After the episode, I thought he will be the first boot from the Galang tribe, but now we know that he will QUIT the Galang tribe before he can even get the chance to be booted.

I also get the feeling that Tyson is coming into the spotlight, in that they targeted Rachel to get at Tyson. How will he handle it? I am convinced that he will not trade places, even before I see the previews.

Thanks for all your perspectives, michel. Amazing as always!

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10-01-13, 09:05 PM (EST)
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21. "RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady"
Thank you, jobgirl and FP.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts, FP. While I'm not as sure as you that Colton will quit, I'd say that, after being told by Aras that no one is buying his crap, Colton will see that he painted himself in a corner. I see him asking to go to RI and then begging Caleb to take his place so that he can try to takeover the reigns in the newbie tribe. If I were to analyze Colton, I'd say that he is less interested in winning Survivor than using the opportunity it gives him to bully his way to the top.

As for Monica, the fact that we heard her saying "my alliance" made me think that she isn't sitting pretty, that she could be in danger. Tina, I feel, would rather have Laura in the Final 5 alliance since they both have daughters there and Monica is too close to Brad the Tyrant. It wouldn't be the first time that Tina pulled a switcheroo on her own alliance.

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10-02-13, 06:56 AM (EST)
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22. "RE: Episode 2 - Slow and Steady"
Nice thoughts on Monica, michel. You may be right, you were about Rachel.

Makes sense. If the other tribe doesn't get rid of Brad, he will definitely be trouble down the road for Monica.

It also appears that she is narrating moreso than Laura M. If it continues that could be another hint that she won't make it to the end-game...?

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10-05-13, 03:44 PM (EST)
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23. "Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Previously on Survivor, we were told that Candice and Marissa beat Rupert at the first challenge.
Candice gave her husband John the first clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol but, while John focused on the clue, his men’s alliance focused on eliminating his ally, Rachel, hoping to weaken the Galang tribe.
<We heard Vytas explaining the plan to force Tyson’s hand>

Meanwhile, at Galang, the entire tribe was in a Zen state of mind but Colton was dead set on upsetting the peace and everyone began to notice.
<We saw Aras, Tina and Gervase doubting his words and Aras saying he had been faking it>

At the immunity challenge, Tadhana lost for the second time in a row and the game was getting personal but, at Tribal Council, they didn’t lose sight of their plan, voting Rachel and hoping Tyson would take her spot.

This is as straightforward a recap as I can remember. Usually, Jeff gives a new slant on what we saw but here, it’s just the facts. Maybe the importance is in what wasn’t said: Jeff didn’t say a word about Galang’s “Don’t say a word” alliance. Since we weren’t reminded of the 5 players that formed it, we can suppose that the 5 won’t make it all together to the end. The only important events in Galang were their Zen attitude, how it affected Colton and how some people reacted to it.

We’re Not Playing Colton’s Game

Galang – Day 7

Whenever we don’t go to the tribe returning from Tribal Council at the start of the episode, it gives us an indication on the “Tribe of Interest”, the tribe that likely contains the winner. Of course, this time we have a tribe of returning players facing off against rookies so that in itself influences airtime but the scene we were about to see was just about ordinary camp life, showing nothing new. Colton’s isolation had already been set up in the recap so I feel the importance is in the people around him.

The tribe was discussing Tyson’s cupcake belt buckle but Colton wanted to figure out who should sit out at the next challenge. He was told it was much too early for that.

Colton, in confessional: “No one wants to talk strategy…I’m so frustrated. Apparently, that’s threatening to people and that’s why they’re scared of me.”

Notice how Colton’s last sentence sounds a lot like something Rupert would say, thinking people actually see him as a threat. Besides Monica and Kat, we’ve seen that Galang considers him more like a joke. Colton and Rupert are opposite ends of the spectrum but their conceit connects them much like a snake biting its tail.

Colton asked Aras if he was in danger.
Aras said he was, adding that things could change, that someone could do something stupid.

Aras: “Colton is poisoning everyone’s mind. He doesn’t get this game. He thinks this game is about creating chaos so he may have dug his grave.”

This is a clear indication that playing the game too fast means you don’t understand the game.

Colton: “Unless you have people who are willing to roll with you, there isn’t a lot you can do.”

The Challenge Arena:

Tyson looked disgusted when Jeff said that Rachel had been voted out.
He reacted by saying: “It’s not a bad move. They must have assumed that I will highly consider switching places with her, pulling me off the tribe and making it easier for them to win because they are having a hard time right now.”
Rachel said that was exactly what happened, adding: “Brad is running this game right now and everyone is falling under his spell.”
Tyson let it up to Rachel and she said he had a better chance of winning the game than her. “Stay with your tribe; they need you.”
After telling Jeff that he was staying, Tyson stood to address Tadhana: “You better watch out because if any of you see me in Redemption Island, none of you stand a chance in hell.” Then, to Brad, he said: “You may be big but that’s the worse thing in this game.”
Brad replied: “You cheer after you win but we have to vote out one of your Loved Ones. You haven’t had the difficult conversations that we’ve had. Nobody’s been voted out over there so don’t throw arrows at us.”
Monica looked uneasy during this exchange.
Marissa said they voted out two strong people saying that was why they are losing.
Brad said they were playing Survivor and there was more to it than that.
Marissa replied: ‘You rat, Culpepper.”
Gervase intervened, telling his niece to tone it down and focus on what she had to do.

That’s when Colton started crying, saying he didn’t want to be there.
Jeff said: “You’re quitting again?”
Colton said he didn’t care about this tribe.
Jeff pointed out he was costing the tribe one member. He described it as a “very selfish move.” Jeff went as far as saying that Colton had feigned the appendicitis the first time and was quitting a second time.
Colton said he was turning into the One World Colton because his back was against the wall.
Tyson replied that the change occurred before his back was against the wall.
Tina pointed out: “The fact of the matter Jeff is that Colton is having a hard time because we are not playing Colton’s game. Now he knows he cannot win this game.”

Jeff made the call, saying that Colton was officially out of the game. Turning to Caleb, the host observed that it had to be disappointing.
Caleb said he didn’t understand, that Colton loved the game.
Jeff said that many like to watch the adventure but that didn’t mean they should get off the couch. “Colton is a guy who never should have gotten off the couch.”

As an aside: We’ve been saying that for a while now Jeff but you don’t listen. Just like Coton turns into a quitter when things don’t go his way, Jeff turns ugly when he’s proven wrong…unless he’s passing a message to someone in casting. We can’t forget that Jeff called Colton compelling so he can be held responsible for this fiasco.

For our purposes, we can ask one question: Why wasn’t Colton ignored like Purple Kelly? Was he really that good for ratings? I will venture that the reason we saw so much of him wasn’t because they wanted to give him a story but because of the story it gave the people that opposed him, namely Aras, Tyson and Tina. As she said, they aren’t playing Colton’s game, a game of chaos but they are playing a social game, the game of Survivor.
Colton felt they weren’t playing the game but we know they were. It was a far more quiet game but it was much more effective. Colton had it backwards: Survivor isn’t about finding people willing to scheme with you, it’s about truly working with people so that they will want to play with you. Only Misfits have a need for a guy that sits on his ass all day.

After sending the quitter to the boat, Jeff finally turned to the challenge.
As expected, Candice won, getting it on the first try and easily finishing ahead of the other two women. With panic setting in, it took them more than 45 minutes to get it right, Marissa finishing first. Tyson gave Rachel a hug and asked if she had fun while she was there. She said yes. Candice gave the second clue to John, telling to do what he had to do with it.

The challenge for second place reminded me a lot of the “thrilling” fire challenge between Becky and Sundra. I really don’t know what is the interest of watching two losers compete. It certainly doesn’t serve the story. My prediction that Marissa will finish third is still looking good! That would mean Candice and John will have some time alone together on RI. Want to bet they’ll make us cringe by renaming it Honeymoon Island?

Galang – Day 7

Tina consoled Tyson about Rachel’s defeat. He said he was OK.

Tyson gave an interview: “It was hard to see Rachel at Redemption Island. I knew she was going to be there because it’s the only move that made sense. Now, I have to get all the way to the end or I will regret not stepping in for Rachel. I think I made the right decision. When she lost, I hugged her and asked if she had fun and she said she did so for me that was enough because it is a game you know. Too many people take it too seriously and it shouldn’t be. It ruins their lives and makes them angry. A good example of that is Colton.”

While he was probably also thinking of Coach and Hantz, Tyson’s confessional opens the door for him to make it to the end but not as our winner. Through his own words, the editors have given us a preview of his story: He’s starting a journey to avenge Rachel and he will have fun along the way. The part of the confessional that we heard tells us that will be all he gets because, for him, it’s enough. Unwittingly, Tyson has set his own goal, his own journey and it falls short of victory. Note that this confessional tells us that Tyson is also considering moves that make sense, that affect the other tribe. The only two options that would make sense are Kat and Monica.

Interestingly, Kat, someone who should know him better than most, was the one asking why Colton quit.
It was Laura B. and Aras, who knew him far less, that had to explain that no one wanted to talk strategy with him.
Monica said she couldn’t believe all the crap said about her husband so Gervase and Aras gave her a hug.

Tyson in confessional: “Right now, being here with Monica is a little weird. I mean, who wouldn’t be bothered by that? I know her husband was the main reason why Rachel was voted out but he doesn’t know how to play the game. All he is doing is creating a larger target on his back.”

This could be a signal that we have been waiting for: Despite being in the alliance of 5, Monica could be on the way out. It would explain why Jeff didn’t mention them in his recap.

Tadhana – Day 7

Brad asked the tribe if he was being a tyrant. He added: “In the past, you vote somebody out, their dirty laundry goes away with him but now you vote somebody out and their dirty laundry comes back at you.”
John was seen on screen when he said that and we know Brad is going to be hit hard by John’s bag of laundry.

Brad (confessional): “In Redemption Island, we walk in and, all of a sudden, wham! Tyson starts blaming me for getting rid of his girl and then Marissa directed some vulgarities towards me about me being some king pin leader over here and I’m ruling the roost and making all the decisions. I am but I’m making everyone else feel that decisions are being made as a group, not by me. So, I’m not worried about me at all.”

Judging by what everyone else feels and says, Brad isn’t making them feel that they are part of the decisions. This was a perfect set up for a blindside. It didn’t happen this time but something bad is going to happen to Culpepper.

Just then, John was telling Hayden how much he liked Brad’s ability to lead a team and that they were in the best position possible. Right after, John went into the woods to read his new clue.

John: “Candice kicked ass again at the duel which was great for me because I got another clue to the immunity idol. It’s sort of a double edge sword because everyone is going to assume that I found it. I’m going to have a target on my back whether I find it or not. Originally, I wasn’t going to tell anybody about the clue but I like Brad a lot and I didn’t want him to think that I was being shady so that he starts being paranoid about our alliance.”

John told Brad about the second clue. Brad asked if he wanted them to look for it together. John said he was worried about the other guys seeing them go off looking for the idol. “They will know that you and I are tight.”

Brad: “At this point, I’ve got such a good relationship with John, he actually told me the clue to the immunity idol. I wanted to help him find it but John said we probably shouldn’t go together because it’s going to seem too obvious. I’m thinking hum…I don’t know what this really means. Does he trust me or not? This is going to be a litmus test for John and I. Is John with me? Is he my guy or is he not? If he doesn’t trust me, I don’t know if I can trust him.”

Note how quickly Brad went from talking about his good relationship with John to doubting his motives. As for understanding the game, Brad should realize that he shouldn’t trust anyone including John, whether or not John trusts him. The scramble before Tribal Council will show us that no one trusts Brad.

Galang – Day 8

The tree mail message wasn’t as cryptic as usual. It told everyone they would be wrestling against their loved ones. As Monica read it, we saw that Tina and Aras were quite enthusiastic about the idea. Aras told everyone he wanted to take on Vytas.

Aras (conf.): “This is huge because my brother has been a bully in my life to put it really simply. When I was a kid, my brother never looked out for me. It’s always been; mom’s not looking so if he could get a punch in, he was going to take it. This is a chance for us to compete on an even playing field.”

In Tadhana, they were asking Brad for advice and he told them to stay low, to stay in balance.

Vytas had a confessional that echoed the one given by Aras: “I can’t say that I was a great older brother to Aras but the truth is he’s always been a little more athletic, a little stronger, a little bigger than me. He got best body in high school, college scholarship to play basketball. He’s the golden child. He always wins. Won Survivor, won a million dollars. Finally, for once, can I win please? This is my chance; I got to beat him at something.”

The repetition of this rivalry puts Vytas’ story on a slippery slope. Knowing that he is about to lose the challenge to his brother, we are lead to the conclusion that he won’t beat Aras at anything.

The Challenge

Monica sat out for Galang
The first match was between Gervase and Culpepper, Jeff announcing it as a match everyone was waiting to see. It was a good battle early but the NFL player prevailed.
Laura B. hit Katie hard but she fought back which made Tina laugh. Soon, Laura found herself behind Katie and pushed her right off the platform.
Aras and John had a good match up but Candice’s husband won.
Kat then went against Cierra and the One World veteran beat the rookie easily with one push.
Hayden faced Tyson and beat him with one big push. Feeling his shoulder pop, Tyson needed medical help. He told us: “When Hayden hit me, I knew that I had hurt myself. I couldn’t move it at all and I thought my whole game is screwed.”

Tina faced off against her daughter. Jeff said it was one of the best match-ups. Katie had Tina on the run but she wasn’t going down. In the end, Tina pushed Katie off the platform. The camera showed Brad’s displeasure.

Tied 3-3, Aras faced his brother Vytas. Jeff stopped to ask about this sibling rivalry. Vytas said that Aras had always been afraid of him. Aras, after saying he felt a little bit like he was 7 again, went on to say (and this was subtitled to make sure we wouldn’t miss it): “I’d like to take the bully and put him in the water.” Aras had his older brother down but gave him a chance to get back up. Vytas used the break to deliver a sneak attack on Aras. Jeff called it one of the biggest unsportsmanlike move. Tadhana was shown cheering him on but Aras quickly recovered and he pushed Vytas in. Asked how he felt, Aras said he felt bad because he loves Vytas more than anyone. He didn’t want to fight him but he was proud to have beaten him. Vytas replied: “He beat me. I’m proud for him.”

I feel the editing of this segment told us that Vytas won’t win this season. Showing the sneak attack, which Jeff called unsportsmanlike, and the title of bully put Vytas in the role of the antagonist, the player that will create the biggest obstacle on the road to someone else’s victory.
At the same time, showing the loud yet premature cheer from Tadhana felt like a death blow to their story also. Remember how, unanimously, they said they wouldn’t celebrate in the face of their Loved Ones. Here, they cheered for what Vytas himself called a cheap shot. From this, we can predict that Tadhana will not make a comeback. While a member or two could still find their way to the end, it will be through an alliance with those players that know how to play the game.

The challenge came down to Cierra facing off against her mother, Laura, who was having trouble fighting her “baby”. Cierra said she wouldn’t be hurt so they went at it. Laura had a bit more trouble than Kat but she beat Cierra, winning immunity and reward for Galang. Laura went to Cierra, asking her if she was angry. She said she wasn’t.

John gave us a confessional: “Cierra last to her mom. They are a team of mothers and grand mothers. Very, very frustrating.”

To viewers at home, that confessional was inserted in the “I’m the boot even if I don’t know it” spot.

Tadhana – Day 8

John did some second guessing: “We should have had Vytas going against Tyson.”
Vytas said he got clobbered by his brother.

Vytas in confessional: “I knew, going into that challenge, that if it was going to be me against Aras, that the cards were stacked against me. I wanted to go against him in the hopes that the balance or something… not only did he win but he won even after I gave him a little bit of a cheap shot.”

The guys went away from camp to talk. John pointed out that Katie couldn’t beat her 60 year old mother.
John had a confessional: “Tadhana lost 3 straight immunity challenges and it’s so frustrating. We have these two girls who I like very much but, if we are going to win challenges, we can’t have people giggling and laughing as we are losing. I mean, it’s completely asinine.” Back to the group discussion, John pointed out that Katie has been the cook while Cierra has done nothing in challenges and in camp.
Hayden and Brad agreed. Culpepper added that he wanted to be done with it and simply enjoy the afternoon. John’s confessional continued: “We have the 5 guys alliance so I’m not too worried about tonight. It’s going to be Cierra going home but you have to be careful because it’s Survivor. I have two clues to a hidden immunity idol and if I can find the thing, I can really put myself in a good position.”

We saw him walking away from the other guys and Brad used the moment to tell the others: “John is a strong player. He needs to go. John can reconnect with Candice and we can’t afford to have those two back in the game.”

Brad had an interview: “Coming back from the challenge, my whole perspective changed (was it in part because John questioned the way Brad made up the team’s line-up?) That’s when the light bulb went bing! Here’s the deal: I am running the tribe right now but John’s wife, Candice, is kicking it at Redemption Island. Let’s say she gets back into the game and we go into a merge and they’re reconnected, Brad doesn’t control John anymore. Candice controls John and I’m just kicked to the curve and I’m second fiddle.”

This is another example of playing too fast: The merge is at least a few eliminations away and Candice many wins away from returning to the game so Brad didn’t have to worry so suddenly.

Hayden also had a confessional: “We were sticking to the five guy alliance but then, all of a sudden, Brad’s like: Boom! We have to get rid of John right now. I was kinda shocked. It’s been five guys since day one and, if we are going to vote one out now, it could be like opening Pandora’s box. It really could build distrust moving forward.”

With John on the way out, Brad and Vytas having roles as bullies, Katie and Cierra being outside the alliance and Caleb being unimportant after Colton’s exit, someone has to be the “Tadhana 5” narrator so we are left with the less than eloquent Hayden. Although, Hayden will soon find a role himself…

Hayden, Caleb and Vytas were shown standing next to Katie and Cierra while Brad told them that they were voting against John. He added: “Here is the brutal truth: If it’s not John, it’s gotta be one of you guys. I may vote you (pointing to Cierra) so that if John gets back in the game, I can maybe pull him back in.”
The familiar rattling sound told us that Brad was making a mistake.
Vytas was quick to tell us about it in confessional: “Brad mentions that he wants to be the one guy that doesn’t vote for John. I’m just not down with it. If we are going to make a move like this, we have to suck it up and do it and say we all did it together. Brad doesn’t want to be the bad guy even if he orchestrated it all but he wants us to do all the dirty work which makes Brad a big target in my eyes just to see that level of sheistiness.”

Back in the shelter, Cierra told the guys that she was worried about the idol. Hayden and Vytas suggested they could vote Brad since it was his call. Katie could just imagine how that would look.

Cierra (solo): “I feel like in every Tribal Council so far, I’ve been on the chopping block so, if the boys are willing to vote out Brad, I would definitely do the same. I always said anybody but me. I don’t care who it is.”

This is a nice confessional for Cierra but her character has already been damaged by the inclusion of John’s remark. We were told that she does nothing around camp and in challenges so her long term prospects are bleak. She may get a similar story to the one Eliza was given: The endangered player that surprisingly outlasted many but that didn’t win in the end.

Hayden had another confessional before TC: “There is a lot of stuff going on. Brad thinks John is a threat but now I’m starting to think that Brad is equally dangerous. Tonight is a huge decision for us and I don’t know what’s going to happen but one thing for sure: It’s going to be a big blindside.”

Note that Hayden wasn’t wearing the same shorts during this confessional than the ones he had walking to TC. We have to wonder what else happened between the time he recorded his interview and the time he left for TC. What we can say however is that Hayden, beyond having received the role of narrator, has also been put in the camp of the players acting too quickly.

Tribal Council.

Jeff started by asking if the guys had talked about the women losing the challenge.
John said it was about match-ups. “Everyone has to win their match-up.”
Turning to Katie, Jeff pointed out she lost to Tina for the second challenge.
Katie could only agree but she added there were only two women on the team so they had to go in several times. She said it was frustrating.
Cierra told Jeff it was rough, that they could have won the thing if she or Katie had just won one. She felt like she had let her team down.
Caleb told Jeff that it was probably going to be another girl going.
Jeff asked Vytas if it was a male alliance.
We saw Cierra turning to Vytas, suggesting she was curious to hear that particular answer.
Vytas said it wasn’t as rudimentary as men versus women, that trust was the currency of the game. “Trust and information. Anything somebody says adds to the information we have about that person.”
The camera showed Brad’s discomfort at hearing this. We also saw Hayden and Caleb listening intently.
Brad said he was concerned about what Vytas said because he gets blamed every time they go to Redemption Island.
When Jeff asked John about getting the second clue, we heard the rattling sound again and the camera focused on Vytas and his cold stare.
John said that it put a target on his back but Candice was hoping he put himself in a good position.
Vytas told Jeff that he was happy someone in his alliance had the clue but happier that it wasn’t him.
Picking up on what Hayden said, Jeff pointed out that John hadn’t shared the clues.
Hayden said he questioned John a little bit.
Brad said that there had to be lies because there will only be one winner.
That first drew a small smile from Katie, a big cymbal crash for the music editor and sideways glances from Hayden and Vytas while Cierra had a concerned look.

While Katie went to vote, we saw John looking towards Brad as if trying to guess what he was thinking.
Even if we didn’t see Cierra’s parchment, we heard her say that she was voting for someone she considered a big threat to her.
Katie and Cierra exchanged big smiles when John brought his torch to Jeff.

Jeff sent them back to camp after saying their votes seemed to be aimed at looking to the future but that they are weakening their tribe.

The Story

I don’t know if it was shown in some areas but my local broadcaster cut the end while John was talking about being blindsided. I didn’t get to see everyone as they cast their votes. Was Jeff sneaky enough to keep two votes against Brad secret? I have to assume that all 6 players voted against John but if anyone knows how the 2 missing votes went, I’d really like to know.

The story comes down to those who play Colton’s game and those who play the social game. While it’s quite presumptuous to say that some players are eliminated, it feels like many fell out of contention in this episode. The story can still have a surprising twist but, to borrow from Todd, there are quite a few players that are on the little bike, pedaling fast to catch up to the front runners:

The Characters

The Agents of Chaos
These players have been shown playing fast, creating chaotic situations. It leaves them well out of contention for the big prize.

Brad: The cymbals and rattling sounds keep telling us that Brad is making mistakes, his allies don’t trust him anymore, the people at Redemption Island keep bashing him and the big blindside is all set up. The fall of the tyrant should come soon.

Vytas: His approach has more subtlety than Brad so he should be more successful but his role as Villain has been clearly set up. Vytas is smart but he is playing too fast, targeting Brad already and letting everyone see that he isn’t shy about using dirty tactics. We can see that he gets the game but that the losing street is putting him in an impossible situation. He will need new allies after the merge but even is brother wants to beat him.

Hayden: He took on the role of narrator for Tadhana this week once it became obvious the more eloquent John wasn’t in the alliance anymore. As the narrator within the alliance, Hayden should last to the merge and his challenge abilities were evident especially when John said they should have put him against Aras instead of Tyson.

The Bystanders
These players have marginal roles. One or two can still emerge but it would need a big change in the way their story is being presented.

Marissa: If she is to finish third then she will lose the next RI challenge.

John: Will he outlast Candice? I feel that there has been an investment in Candice, making her look like the one that should return to the game. John has been shown making too many mistakes to be considered seriously. We will have to wait to see if one gets the better role now that they are together.

Candice: Her challenge abilities have already influenced the game, making Brad paranoid about her return to the game. Coupled with the rejection she felt from Galang we see that there are big questions surrounding what Candice would do after returning. It would
be quite a waste to leave them unanswered but does it means she returns?.

Caleb: His role has shrunk so much that we have to place him with the other outsiders. We only heard Caleb’s reaction to Colton’s cowardly move when it happened. It wasn’t revisited in camp, in confessional or during Tribal Council where Caleb’s role was reduced to telling Jeff about the decoy boot. Nothing to indicate that Caleb himself has an important role to play.

Kat: For someone that has often been maligned as a weak challenge performer, you would expect some nice words after she won her combat against Katie so easily but we heard nothing. That means her role isn’t about to grow. Kat has no story this season so she should leave quietly. She should be one of the boot options when Tyson pushes Galang to make a move that makes sense.

Monica: The good thing about Monica’s story is that she isn’t making a big fuss over the way Brad is being treated. Maybe it was cut out of the show but she didn’t join the argument Brad was having at the challenge arena. To her tribe, she seems to be distancing herself as much as she can even if she lets it be known that it hurts. For our purposes though, what interests us is that she wasn’t given the opportunity to let us know what she will do about it. She must realize that Brad is hurting her game more than helping it so she must have told an interviewer that she has to switch strategy, to be prepared to vote against him if needed or at least to let everyone know she will let him fight his own battles. That interview didn’t make the episode.

Laura Morrett: It seems that the compassionate side of Laura is winning over the competitive side. That’s what her first confessional had suggested but her eagerness to match wits with her daughter in the first puzzle had confused us for a while. This time there was no confusion as her tears told us she cannot willingly see her daughter lose. She would certainly go to the arena in her place and, unless Cierra really becomes another Eliza, there are too many eliminations left before the merge to expect that Cierra will stave off elimination until then.

Cierra: Hearing her adopting Sandra’s strategy could be a good sign for her but we also heard that she does nothing in camp and challenges. Letting us know about her laziness isn’t a good sign for someone that has such a little role. We’ve seen her potential but we still need to see her more in action, making something happen.

Katie: She didn’t have a confessional in this episode which has to cast doubts on her chances but this was such a bad episode for Tadhana in general that maybe the small role that Jeff gave her during Tribal Council was enough. We know that she is frustrated with the way her tribe has been playing but we’d need to hear what she plans to do about it. That’s what her story needs for us to put her back into contention. She needs to show us that she can change the game.

Playing Smart:

Laura: The quiet Mrs Boneham is a sharp and welcomed contrast to her overbearing husband. Unfortunately, that also means she is much less interesting. She was the first to explain to Kat why Colton quit which puts her in the group of people who have understood the game. She seems to have made her way nicely in the Galang tribe and even contributed to their latest win. Galang has a nice numerical advantage at present so that means there is no need to eliminate her as a challenge weakness since they can simply sit her out if needed. Likewise, it wouldn’t make sense to vote her out if Galang wants to affect Tadhana. The only thing that prevents us from considering that this is really Laura’s time is her limited role.

Gervase: After a difficult start, Gervase’s story is slowly realigning with the main themes of the season. He intervened to stop Marissa’s rant against Brad and told her to focus on her task. In essence, that told us that he had his head in the game. He was also there to tell us that Colton’s game was the wrong way to play so we have to put him in this group. His first episodes leaves him well out of contention though but maybe not out of the final three.

Tyson: His great confessional about Rachel and his exchange with Brad set Tyson on a Journey edit. Unfortunately, more than his shoulder, this type of edit screwed his game. We will get to follow him on his mission to avenge Rachel and he will have a fun ride playing this game but, if some take the game too seriously, we’ve seen Tyson not taking it seriously enough.

Tina: Hearing her tell Jeff that Colton wasn’t playing the right way told us that she’s always understood this game as well if not better than everybody. Her attitude towards the challenge was the opposite of what we saw from Laura: She was enjoying going against her daughter. Still, the way it was presented, with Katie asking her mother not to make her laugh, let the viewers know that they love each other.
On a personal note, I enjoyed hearing Katie’s “don’t make me laugh” comment immensely considering how many posters over the years have laughed at the idea of Tina being considered a great winner. If she makes it to the end as I expect then that should put an end to those laughs.

Aras: Before we give the title to Tina though, we have to consider the other previous winner, the one that has been described as the golden child. This was a great episode for Aras and it started with his words to Colton. Even if there was a bit of condescension in them, it told us that he understood the game. While he was less vocal than Tyson and Tina when it came time to explain Colton’s decision to Jeff, we had seen enough to let us know that he shared those views. He was also there to console Monica after she expressed surprise at Brad’s treatment. His combat with Vytas was the highlight of the evening and it was probably only the first round. A bigger combat should present itself after the merge and we are told to expect another victory for Aras…unless something weird happens. With that reservation, we still have to say that Aras is distancing himself from the other contenders and could very well be the Sole Survivor.

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10-07-13, 12:02 PM (EST)
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24. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Good analysis Michael, yes I read all the posts above and I'm enjoying seeing the game through your eyes, mine are grainy & tired. A couple of things I can comment on are:

Unless you have people to roll with you... from Colton makes me want to see if that turns out to be true in the next few episodes. It looks like Cullpepper will be rolling alone and he's the type to assume everyone is with him & he'll roll right on out of there.

I agree that editing hasn't given Monica much commenting on his position but I get the feeling she's enjoying watching Brad messing up his game. Monica was one of the returnees that had made a point of saying that Survivor is her game. I would bet there have been conversations at home where Brad told her what she should have or have not done in her season.

On another Brad momentregarding TC voting: You haven’t had the difficult conversations that we’ve had. I had one of those mental "seriously, he did not just say that" thoughts because he'd said that to the returnees, like they haven't been through a few tough ones.

I should be watched....closely.

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10-07-13, 05:28 PM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Thank you Suzzee and good point about Brad's "tough decisions" comment. It's a lot like Colton saying his tribe mates had not gone to TC.

About Brad telling Monica how to play, it's certainly possible but the edit told us that Brad is following Monica's advice. He hasn't told us that he saw where she failed and wants to do better. The edit also told us that Monica is counting on Brad's help. We'll see how it turns out.

I feel Galang would be wise to send her to RI. Of course, it would expose them to her dirty laundry but they could do some damage control before going to the arena.

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10-07-13, 06:14 PM (EST)
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26. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
I love your take on things, michel, and it's great to see that we don't always see things the same way. My take is a little different, which gives me pause, because I do think you are far superior in all things editing...but anyway, here was my take....

I agree that the recap was very straight forward. And, as you noted, usually the segment that follows the intro does involve the previous TC events from the night before, and when it doesn't it usually signifies the more dominant tribe. However, this week I felt that Colton continues down the same path as he was on in One World as noted in the intro had to be underlined again as it was moments before his quit. So, at Galang, in the middle of their joking around regarding the cupcake belt buckle, Colton asks who will be the sit out, and he's put off once again. So he goes in confessional and let's us know that no one loves to talk strategy, and he loves to, and that's why they are so threatened by him. (I agree, Colton and Rupert are egotists!) Then we see him go to Aras and ask if he is in trouble and we have their exchange, and Aras says, no worries, you never know what someone else will do...This exchange gave me pause, as perhaps this could be foreshadowing that Aras will do something that trumps what the boot target does, and get voted out because of it. At least I think it could be a red flag for Aras. We already know that Colton's days are numbered.

Then at RI, Tyson sees that Rachel is out, and he's not surprised. Rachel calls out Brad, and Tyson calls him out...Mr. which Brad snaps back that they are making the tough decisions (nice observation Suzzee, that Brad is telling that to a tribe full of people that have had plenty of tough decisions as they have all played the game before!)...then, as noted above, Marissa calls him out as well saying that Brad has voted out two strong people, and goes off on him, and Gervase is the one that calls her out telling her to "tone it down and focus on what you need to do"....I found this a little ironic as Gervase going over the top is what helped get Marissa to RI in the first place.

So, Colton goes on to quit, and finally Jiffy calls him out for what he was and what he is...a selfish person.

I felt that they had to cut to Galang post intro because Colton's quit was imminent. I thought that mentioning Colton in the intro, and then going to his camp and watching the events underlines him as a quitter. It also gave Tyson and Tina validation as well on their comments regarding Colton at RI.

Back at Galang after the RI, Monica said that it was tough hearing the Culpepper name take a beating, but Tyson got the very meaty confessionals. In my humble opinion Tyson's stock went way up with this episode...While he did not have alot of confessionals in the first few episodes, he got a big bump right here. I don't know if his arc will continue full tilt, OR, it could die down again, as his loved one is no longer in the drama.

Here are Tyson's first confessionals, as michel noted above:

Now, I have to get all the way to the end or I will regret not stepping in for Rachel. I think I made the right decision. When she lost, I hugged her and asked if she had fun and she said she did so for me that was enough because it is a game you know. Too many people take it too seriously and it shouldn’t be. It ruins their lives and makes them angry. A good example of that is Colton.

Tyson starts out with a million dollar quote, now he has to go all the way or he will regret not stepping in for her! Aras validates his decision, telling him he made the right decision...always good to have other players validate your actions. Then he has a very perceptive observation about how some people take it too seriously and it ruins lives and makes them angry, and Colton was one of those.

I can definitely understand michel's thoughts on the above confessional, but I didn't think it was so telling. I found it perceptive and astute, and if he can keep his head in the game while enjoying it as a game, he could land on top. I also love that Tyson showed emotion, which he really has not done in the past, and thus this may represent a more mature Tyson, one that has learned from previous seasons. I think this bodes well for him.

Tyson also wisely noted that all Brad was doing was placing a larger target on his back. Tyson's confessionals were all meaty and went to the dynamics of the action, which I think is a very good sign for his, my impression was that Tyson is indeed going deep into this game, deeper than in seasons past, perhaps.

I am totally on board with all of michel's assessments of Brad and his take on the events at Tadhana post RI. Brad is controlling everything, and they all know it. Then we have the exchange with John, giving Brad the clue, but then telling him not to look for it now because it would cast doubt on them together. Brad tells us that he doesn't know if he can trust him or not.

Then, at Galang, Aras got the confessional about going against the Bully, Vytas, which led in nicely to their epic contest at the challenge.

At the challenge, Tyson gets hurt at the hands of Hayden. When Tyson told Jiffy that he was hurt, I couldn't help but to notice Hayden's reaction shot...he was upset. Then, to cap it off Tyson had a confessional inserted that noted "he thought his whole game was screwed, as he sits there in a sling...This makes me take notice as well, now with an injury, there is doubt cast upon Tyson's longevity....hmmmm?

Next, we had the Vytas vs. Aras round, where we all saw Aras step away to let Vytas up, and then he used that to get a cheap shot in, but Aras still won the round. Aras noted that he loved him, he didn't want to fight him, but he was proud that he won....Good over bad...I agree with michel that Vytas is the antagonist, at least for Aras, and maybe for others? I also wonder whether these two are the journey players...are they here to play the game and win the million, or are they here to resolve their sibling rivalry that has plagued them their entire lives? I am not so sure.

After the challenge, we are at Tadhana where Vytas talks about his take on the round with his brother. Next we see the guys discussing the boot target and John says that we can't have giggling as we lose the challenge, but Katie cooks the meals while Cierra does nothing. He's confident in his alliance, so he goes off to continue to look for the HI.

As soon as he goes, Brad is all hot to boot John, he doesn't trust him and he's worried he'll reconnect with Candice and lose control of him. Then we see Brad tell the girls, if we don't vote for John, it will be one of you, and I may vote for you, so I can pull him back in if he gets back in the game...definitely a bad move. I agree that Brad is all over the place with his game, and he is the polar opposite of patient, that the other tribe told us is required to win the game. But, regarding Hayden's confessional:

We were sticking to the five guy alliance but then, all of a sudden, Brad’s like: Boom! We have to get rid of John right now. I was kinda shocked. It’s been five guys since day one and, if we are going to vote one out now, it could be like opening Pandora’s box. It really could build distrust moving forward.

I thought this was a very astute observation and remarks from Hayden, which I think bodes well for him. He's aware that Brad is playing too fast, and in a social game like Survivor, Hayden notes that this is a bad move noting it will build distrust moving forward. I also thought his follow up confessional was also very perceptive and realistic...There is a lot of stuff going on. Brad thinks John is a threat but now I’m starting to think that Brad is equally dangerous. Tonight is a huge decision for us and I don’t know what’s going to happen but one thing for sure: It’s going to be a big blindside.

I don't really see it as evidence that Hayden is playing too fast at all, but that he's aware that Brad is and furthermore he doesn't agree with it. I thought Hayden's wise confessionals were dead on, and I thought it was good for his stock in this season. We'll see!

Basically, the confessionals at Galang were from Colton, Tyson, and Aras. Colton because he was about to quit and it was his swan song, Tyson, because his loved one was voted out and then lost the RI challenge, and again because he was hurt at the challenge, and finally Aras, who was setting up the rivalry with his brother. The rest of the confessionals, the bulk, came from the Tadhana tribe where all the action was for the episode. John and Brad at the heart of it.

This episode, imo, is screaming that Brad is not long for the game. Everyone on Galang holds him responsible for the outing of their loved ones, and notes that he is a huge target, while his own tribe already notes that he is becoming more dangerous.

But, I can't help but remember the words that Jiffy uttered as they left TC...Well based on tonights blindside, it appears that you are voting people out based on the future. It also appears that your tribe is getting weaker...

When, not if, they vote Brad out, it will still weaken their tribe in their only hope an early merge?


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10-07-13, 07:49 PM (EST)
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27. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Thank you FP and don't underestimate your own skills. I love reading your perspective.

As for our differences, they are minor:

- I also see Tyson having longevity but being voted out at F4 because he'd be a jury threat. His quote isn't exactly a winning quote as he mentions "going to the end". Of course i could be splitting hair here. (It wouldn't be the first time!)

- Regarding Aras, I heard a winning quote from him when he told the tribe in episode 2: "I feel I want a peaceful camp and I want to win.”

- Of course, they could both be on a journey and someone else could win! Tina is hitting all the themes as I see them, Cierra has good confessionals and Katie has the army of ants!

- With Hayden, I liked his first confessional but it was straight narration: The 5 guys are together but suddenly Brad wants to make a move which is bad.
Then, in his second confessional, he is acting like Brad: He isn't sticking with the guys he wants Brad gone but then he votes against John.
In other words, what started as a decision between John OR Brad is turning into a vote against John AND Brad. That can't be good for Tadhana and a guy like Hayden needs the numbers. Kat won't be much help post merge. An early merge is good for Cierra and Katie more than Hayden.

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10-08-13, 07:40 AM (EST)
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28. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Yes, it's fun to contemplate late game players and then to identify people that embody the theme of the show. Tina is definitely in cruise mode. She's not getting many confessionals but she has a strong presence, ex. at the first RI challenge when she cried with relief that her loved one was still there, again at RI challenge when she spoke up about Colton and his sour grapes, then when they returned to camp and she comforted Tyson on the removal of his loved one. Tina is definitely playing to the new variable of blood vs water!

I am leaning toward Tyson and Tina becoming late game players, but I am not convinced that Aras and Vytas are not just wrapped up in each other.

Regarding Hayden, yes, as a big strong male, on the losing tribe, he'll be in serious trouble at merge. But, the thing that strikes me about Hayden is his ability to see the events occurring at Tadhana clearly, and then making moves that require adaptation. He's employing successful strategies from prior seasons, which, while it may not embody the theme of this season, is still keeping him in the game on a losing tribe.

Regarding his first confessional, yes it was straight narration of the events, but with his additional comment that it was like opening pandora's box, it's going to promote distrust moving forward...he put his 2 cents on what he thought of the events.

His second confessional about identifying Brad as equally dangerous does give me some pause, but only because Jiffy stated at the end, that they are voting out people based on future events, but they are still weakening their tribe. A Brad boot will indeed weaken their challenge tribe as well.

I agree though, there is a lot of doubt regarding his chances of making it to end game player at this point!

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10-08-13, 09:35 AM (EST)
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29. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Hi FloPo and Michel - great reading as always!

I am not analyzing Survivor closely this season but I do want to put my two cents worth out there regarding Vytas and Aras. My reaction to their editing is that their story is all wrapped up in each other. It's almost getting heavy handed in my mind - they've talked about their rivalry every week. I think editing is making more of their rivalry than they need to. They are getting good edits which make me think they'll go deep but they are on a journey together and the end of the story could be over which one gets voted out first. I wouldn't even be surprised to see Vytas outlast Aras by a week or two. End of their story is that they are equals now (well kind of, in the Survivor world! ) I am really looking forward to seeing them reconnect at the merge and see how/if they work together! Theirs is one of the best blood vs. water stories out there.

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10-08-13, 05:39 PM (EST)
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30. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
CTGirl! Hello there. You could be right about Aras but i feel he has enough story outside of Vytas to consider him a top contender. He was quite vocal with Colton and he's a major force in the "calm camp" theme which really translate to playing the social game.

I don't want to put write this outside this thread because I don't want to be answered by someone who knows the outcome already but episode 4's title: "One Armed Dude and Three Moms" would make for great Final 4 foreshadowing! I supposed Hayden or Vytas says it and I wonder if it's: "I'm glad we didn't lose again to a tribe with One armed dude and three moms" or if it's: "How can we lose again to a one armed dude..." Either way, we'll have to question if it's telling us that Tyson and three moms are in the F4. The trouble is that there are 4 moms on the tribe...

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31. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
Politically, whoever on Tadhanna says it should probably say it out of earshot of Brad. Unless it is Brad who says it. Laura M and Tina both have daughters on Tadhanna, and Brad has probably said something about his kids (while his wife Monica is on the other tribe). No one in Tadhanna had enough time with Laura B to get to know her or if if she and Rupert have kids of their own outside their outreach charitable work, Rupert's Kids.

Just to explain the three mothers comment. No idea if it comes before or after a challenge even.

For that matter, Ciera is a mother, what difference does it make?

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10-09-13, 07:09 AM (EST)
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32. "RE: Episode 3 - We're Not Playing Colton's Game "
"One Armed Dude and Three Moms" would make for great Final 4 foreshadowing!

See! That's what I love about you, michel! That you catch stuff like that! Wouldn't that be amazing, if that was the F4! We will have to file that away for the end game!

I do think it refers to a statement made by either Hayden or Vytas in reference to being beaten yet again! But, even Brad could possibly say it as well...

As for who they are specifically referring to:

Tyson, Laura M, Laura B, and Monica. But, I don't think it has to be taken literally to still be foreshadowing to one of the other moms...Tina.

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10-10-13, 10:24 AM (EST)
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33. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
How did I miss this thread?

John switching places with Candice should she go to RI
surprised, huh

If Caleb is anything like Colton
luckily for him, he is not

If Marissa is anything like Gervase unfortunately for her, she was not.

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36. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
Well, I'm no expert with the level of detailed analysis like a Michel or a FloPo. But I have some thoughts:

- The showing of the Tyson-Gervase coconut conspiracy was certainly comic relief, but played a broader role in showing their complicity with one another. It also served as a launchpad for Tyson to talk about more relevant end-game fare, namely that they're both unattached to loved ones and therefore less dangerous to be in an alliance with than, say, Aras.

- This is counterpointed with what seems to be some main storylines re: relationships. Aras-Vytas rivalry has been fleshed out, but this is the first time it's been explicitly pointed out that they'll be dangerous allies post-merge. Will the Laura/Ciera and Tina/Katie relationships be similarly tossed overboard? I don't consider any of those folks safe until their loved ones are eliminated.

- Brad and Monica's relationship has been defined interestingly, as one of her watching him get lambasted at every opportunity. What they're teasing for next week would be interesting if it happened - the irony of her sacrificing her game for him after saying it's her game in the first episode, AND after him saying publicly that he'd probably try less hard against her if he felt like she needed something. It would be ironic, and in keeping with the characterization of them both in this season, if she offered to sacrifice herself for him and he took it up.

- It's interesting that Marissa's ouster was framed in terms of Gervase causing it, and Rachel's ouster was framed in terms of Tyson causing it. Again, it would be ironic if those two made it to the end after people eliminated their loved ones early trying to get revenge on them or trying to get them to sacrifice themselves. The reveal of the Coconut Complicity makes me think that they get to the end.

- More from that - it's interesting a) that the coconut thing was also an example of them duping their tribemates completely - no one suspects it was them, just like no one suspects that this event draws them closer. And b) I noted that Tyson got the first and third confessionals in that exchange. Gervase got the middle one, but Tyson was clearly put in the narrator's/driver's seat.

- contrast that with Caleb; he made a great, astute, surprising move that was given its props by Brad saying he was thinking of getting rid of Caleb, but was not built up as him being a mastermind. When they left for tribal I was like 'what is going on? They didn't really set up boot choices well'. Part of that was necessity, as his move was made at tribal, but the fact that he didn't say something like 'I just may pull something out at tribal' made him look more like an agent of chaos than a clever mastermind. Seems like he's temporarily placing himself in the capatin's seat of an already sinking ship.

- of course, he is supported by the emerging theme of 'don't trust anyone with a built-in ally'. I thought it was interesting that they exposed Brad's strategy as 'keep those around with loved ones to show the other tribe we can work with them', even though he was probably really going to vote Ciera. As Brad is set up as a lesson in how not to play this game, it seems to set up a big theme of the season as the opposite of what he was advocating, namely to make alliances with individuals untied to others. But if Caleb gets a position in that, it seems like it will be as a lesser partner. Gervase and Tyson were portrayed in a much more sterling light.

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10-12-13, 02:19 PM (EST)
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37. "Episode 4 - Connections:"
Hello Jbug and television. Nice to see you here.

Jeff reminded us that the returning players were competing against their Loved Ones and at Redemption Island, it was clear that the game was taking its toll on everyone. Brad, the leader of Tadhana, took most of the blame, while Colton took the easy way out, quitting on the game and his tribe mates for the second time.
When Candice won her second “duel” in a row, she gave another clue to her husband John and he shared it with his closest ally Brad.

Meanwhile at Galang, a majority alliance was forming.
<We saw Aras, Gervase, Tyson, Monica and Tina at the water well and heard Monica’s confessional once more>

At the immunity challenge, Tyson injured his shoulder but it didn’t stop Galang from winning immunity for the third time in a row.

Facing another Tribal Council, Tadhana’s play was to take out the weak…
<We heard John saying: “Cierra hasn’t done anything in any challenge”.>
…but Brad called an audible.
<Hayden’s confessional about Pandora’s box was repeated.>
At Tribal Council, Tadhana sided with Brad sending John to Redemption Island to battle his wife.

Note that we didn’t hear that Brad was mentioned as a possible boot. Either the editors wanted us to forget he was a target to enhance tonight’s outcome or, more likely, they wanted to paint him even more as the villain, the bully that went after “poor” John. None of John’s mistakes, his shadiness, was mentioned. That augurs well for the Codys. In Galang, we did hear about the 5 person alliance so we have to adjust our thoughts on them. It now seems more possible that these 5 stick together for a while.


Redemption Island – Night 8

The violins were playing a nervous melody when John approached the shelter.
Candice was surprised to see John.
John (solo): “I’m completely shocked. No clue that that was coming tonight. Brad told me that we were close. I sort of believed him, sort of didn’t but he reassured me enough that I felt comfortable that it wasn’t going to be me tonight.”

Candice told John that he was too trusting for this game. She then gave us a confessional: “I wish I could have been there to give him more pointers, to keep him on his toes. He’s so trusting and I love that about him but it doesn’t help you win Survivor.”
As the scene ended with John and Candice in an embrace, we heard her say (subtitled on our screens) “I wanted to be here without you the whole time.”

Inserting this confessional is a hint that Candice will outlast John because it portrays her as the better Player. We also heard her talk about being there the whole time so it reinforces our idea that she makes it to the last challenge.

Tadhana – Night 8

The tribe was talking about TC and we heard Brad talking about John: “He’s not a good liar but I hooked him in from day 1. I told him, you’re my guy. You know; he’s military.”
That line fits well in the building of a Villain. While Jeff had called it an audible, Brad himself makes it sound completely premeditated.

Brad (solo): “We blindsided John, tonight. I spearheaded this, thinking of the future. If it was Survivor 26 or Survivor 25, we’d have stayed 5 guys all the way through but this is Survivor 27: Loved Ones. John had no connections on the other side. (The cameras focused on Hayden and Caleb as Brad was saying this) We need to think about connections so that when there is a merge, the couples can become a unified power.”

Brad explained the difference of this season to his tribe, that it wasn’t Tadhana versus Galang, it was some (meaning the couples) against others (the singles).
Caleb understood the threat and had a confessional: “Brad said it does make sense to keep people around that do have a loved one. I’m a little bit more vulnerable because I have no loved one. Everybody left on this tribe has a loved one except for me. Who knows what’s going to happen but I could definitely see myself in trouble.”

We started to hear more from Caleb in this episode and we saw that he was very aware of his predicament. We will have to consider his new role very carefully but let’s give him a chance to tell us more before we decide on this new Caleb.

The Challenge Arena

Once more, the smiling Tina was at the center of our picture when Jeff mentioned who had been voted out of Tadhana.
Candice showed Brad the finger as soon as she walked in. She told Jeff that she was upset seeing John on RI. She wanted to see someone she could hate like Brad on RI. While Monica looked troubled, Candice and Brad exchanged a long stare as we went to the first break.

The battle between Candice and Brad is so nicely set up that it suggests those two will stay on RI together for a while at least, probably up to the deciding challenge.

The staring contest lasted through the commercial break (!) until Candice told Brad to look away.
Asked about these reactions, Monica told Jeff that there wasn’t only one person voting.
Candice interrupted Monica to say that Brad has been silencing the women.
John told that all the votes had been Brad’s idea, adding: “He’s lied to me all the time. He is not someone to be trusted...You should start thinking about knocking the king off his throne.”

Getting to the challenge, John led it all the way and finished first.
Marissa, despite advice from Gervase, lost her lead over Candice. Jeff noted that Candice was “always calm…unless she’s yelling at Culpepper.” (Another hint at their confrontations) Jeff noted Marissa’s frustration over the puzzle comparing it to Candice’s methodical approach.
Marissa left in tears, Gervase said he was impressed and that she gave him more energy to get through the game. Marissa left without giving us her final words.
When John was asked to decide who should get the clue, Candice, with a tint of bitterness, said: “Let’s give it to Monica.”
Jeff asked John if Candice always tells him what to do. He said she did but that he doesn’t always listen. He did this time, saying it only put a target on his back.
Jeff asked if he was trying to take a Culpepper down but John shrugged it off, saying it wasn’t personal.
Brad told Monica to put it in the fire and she did, saying she wasn’t interested in it, that her tribe wasn’t interested in it.
Aras had a confessional: “Everybody recognizes at this point that, when you get that immunity idol clue; target’s on your back. Monica, very smartly, burned it.”
Jeff was shocked, saying it was the first time that this has ever happened.
Monica had a confessional: “Why not? Why not just throw it away? I’m in a good position over here but it worries me that constantly, when I go to duels, people are so aggressive towards my husband.”

To those who think John will let Candice win over him at some point, this challenge indicates otherwise. He saw that Marissa was in second place so he had to worry about Candice’s result. If he had wanted to save her, he could have waited to the last moment before placing his last piece, waited until he was sure Candice had Marissa beaten. She’ll have to win it for herself…and she should.
As for the people in the game, it augurs well for Monica that we heard Aras endorsing her decision. It was a move that could have easily been painted as dumb just by showing someone’s facial reaction. Monica could have deflected the target by sharing the clue with the whole tribe and certainly someone on the tribe must have said something along those lines. We only heard that she made the smart move by throwing it away so we have to assume she will not regret it the way Marcus must have regretted throwing away an idol. That time, we had heard Sugar saying it was dumb to throw away immunity.

Redemption Island – Day 9

We saw the married couple going out to catch fish.
John had a confessional: “The silver lining is…I came out to play with Candice. In a weird way, I should thank Brad and the rest of my tribe for giving me a chance to hang out with my wife on this beautiful beach and still be in this game and, all I have to do is win duels and get back in.”
Candice pointed out that she caught more fish than John.
She then had a confessional: “This will be a fun story to tell the kids one day. In the end, if he wins: Fabulous. If I win: Fabulous.”
The scene ended with the famous helicopter shot, while Candice was heard saying: “I guess we have to take what we can get.”

Interesting choice to insert this scene since we’ve rarely gone to visit RI in other episodes. Certainly, it was a unique opportunity to show a married couple together on a “deserted” island but there could be a deeper significance. John, while he speaks about winning duels and getting back in the game, is more focused on being with Candice. I will venture a prediction and say that, like most “honeymoons” and vacations, it will be short. I expect John to lose next week.

Candice, on the other hand, just became a “Player on a Journey” when we heard her say that this will be a fun story to tell the kids one day. The inclusion of that line can only have two meanings: Either the editors wanted to twist the knife in when she heard it replayed at home or they wanted to remind her that it was indeed a fun story with a good ending. Since they went to the trouble of showing her looking almost like Ozzy while spearfishing, I think the intent is for a feel good story, not an ironic one. But will it be a fabulous ending? Probably not since we also heard her saying that they have to take what they can get. It would seem that the most she can get is a ticket to return to the game.

Galang – Day 9

Monica talked to her tribe about Brad. She then had a confessional: “Is there ever going to be a duel where my husband isn’t verbally accosted by a bunch of people that don’t even know him?” Monica commented on Candice flipping Brad the bird and Aras, once more, was on her side, saying it was hard to watch. Monica’s confessional continued: “Leaders have followers so, if that’s the case, someone is buying what he’s selling. Brad is the strongest one out here. If he makes it to the merge, I won’t believe it.”
Gervase explained that he wasn’t mad at Brad for eliminating Marissa, that it only meant they were playing the game but he wanted Monica to realize that, in the game of Survivor, Brad was being devious.
We heard a confessional from Gervase: “I guess you don’t want to believe that your loved one is the one that is the “bad guy”, quote, unquote, that is getting rid of people but somebody has to be over there. One of our loved ones is running the show. I know it’s not mine so it’s somebody else’s.”

To the viewers, this scene probably served to distance Monica from the actions of her husband. We are shown someone that is keeping her poise despite the emotions displayed at the challenge arena, someone that is accepted by her tribe.

Tadhana – Day 9

Caleb noted the irony of Candice pointing that Monica did what Brad said after she had told John what to do with the clue.
It led to a confessional by Brad: “Today was a rough day. I wasn’t expecting Candice to be so, hum, personal. Everyone just assumes that if someone is voted off the island that I am the Grand Poobah. It’s kinda natural for me to lead my family and I have become leader of this group. Looking ahead, should we lose the next challenge, Caleb is unconnected and I’m ready to send a message to the other side that we want to play ball with you guys and get some connections over there because we have connections here. It also takes some heat off me at Redemption Island. If Caleb rolls out there on the arena floor, nobody is going to be screaming at me.”
Brad seems to forget that Caleb would have a reason to scream at him! He’s always missing something.

Cierra pointed out that the other tribe was mad about the vote no matter who they vote out.
Brad replied that they weren’t mad at her, they were mad at him.

When Brad went fishing, Vytas, Hayden and Caleb talked. Hayden said that even Brad shanked John they needed to keep him “just so, when we do make it to the merge, it takes the heat off of us.”
Caleb gave us a confessional: “Brad; he is public enemy number one. We’ve seen that every time we’ve been to Redemption Island. If we do lose and we go to Tribal Council, it’s going to be one of the girls going out. I think me, Hayden and Vytas are pretty solid. Brad is the bottom guy on the totem pole.”

Note that Caleb had identified Brad as the low man on the totem pole and that he had Vytas and Hayden’s trust. We’ll have to remember this after when analyzing his actions at Tribal Council.

Galang – Day 10

We saw Tyson getting in the hammock and people telling him to rest.
Tyson (solo): “I hurt my shoulder at the immunity challenge. Every day, it gets a little bit better but I do like to play it up a little bit because I then have to do less work around camp. Hopefully, that also keeps them in sympathy with me.”
With the two Lauras out in the canoe, Tyson told Gervase to follow him. The cartoon-like melody introduced the sneakiness of the next scene: Tyson and Gervase went to a coconut grove.
Tyson: “Me and Gervase, we have a cool thing going now where we’ll sneak off and drink a couple of coconuts. We’ve been opening them in a different way so that people wouldn’t recognize that we’ve been chopping them and we would really like to keep eating those coconuts. I can’t wait until they bring all those coconuts down and examine each and everyone of them.”
Gervase said they were the “coconut bandits”.
It was Laura B and Monica that found the coconuts and, with Gervase acting concerned, they realized that the coconuts all had cuts in them.
Gervase had a confessional: “Rupert’s Laura cannot get coconuts off the brain. I thought our cover was blown right there and then. I’m like: How are we going to explain that one off? Then Monica is like: It’s probably a crab. Thank you, Monica. So far so good: Operation Coconut is still running smooth. If everybody knew about it, somebody is going to get pissed so I’m keeping this to ourselves. Me and Tyson! Who would have thought?”

You just know that Tyson and Gervase will be called on this by Jeff at the reunion. This is the kind of snippet that Probst uses to ask the players fooled, here Laura B and Monica, how they felt seeing this at home. It could also mean that either Tyson or Gervase or both make it to the Final 3 and they get drilled by the jury if Operation Coconut gets uncovered before the end. Looking at the picture taken from the end of this scene:

I even wonder if we’ve just been told the Final three because when Gervase said “Me and Tyson! Who would have thought?” Monica was standing right between the two. That would be her spot if those three wind up facing the jury. Gervase, Tyson and Monica! Who would have thought?!

Tyson in confessional: “I’m definitely with Gervase right now. If that lasts through to the finals, so be it. It would certainly be in Gervase’s best interest to stick with me as well because we both lost our Loved One in the game. Aras still has his and, if Vytas makes it to the merge, he will work with Vytas. They are obviously the strongest cumulatively so having them both I think is a huge danger.”

This really ties in to a Tyson, Gervase, Monica Final 3 because Monica is about to lose her Loved One also. She’d be the perfect accomplice for the Coconut Bandits. Galang’s three singles could team up and they’d need only one pair to control the vote soon after the merge. Add the fact that Gervase sees Monica as being gullible and they have another good reason to work with her. For Aras, I think it wasn’t very good that we heard Tyson targeting him and that Aras was simply shown lying in the hammock, oblivious to the threat. Is it telling us that he won’t see it coming?

The Challenge

When Jeff grabbed the idol from Monica, we heard Tyson say: “You can just leave it here, Jeff” and we saw Brad’s reaction.
When Jeff showed the reward of tea, coffee and pastries, I was hoping they’d have included some Duh-Ree-Toes for Tina.
The tribe asked Tyson if he was OK and, since he was, Tina and Kat told Jeff they’d be sitting out which prompted Jeff to ask: “Tyson, with your arm in a sling, you feel you’re more helpful in what is clearly going to be a strenuous challenge than Tina or Kat.”
Tyson said he could do it. In confessional, we heard him add: “My shoulder does still hurt but it is getting better every day. The thing is; I’m better than most everybody on my tribe with just one arm so, I want to win.”

This could be the winner’s quote, the missing link in Tyson’s 3 stints on Survivor: A desire to win.

Once again, Galang had all sorts of problems rowing the boat and Tadhana had an early lead.
Hayden and Brad retrieved the crates for Tadhana and they were matched by Laura B and Monica. Jeff noted that Laura released her first crate in record time and he also said the Culpeppers were dominating this challenge.
Tadhana had the lead all the way to the fifth crate when their boat capsized, enabling Galang to reach shore first.
Tadhana had a very small lead after building the staircase but then it was time for the puzzle and a confrontation between Cierra and her mother. Tyson and Vytas, the other two on the puzzle, looked mostly like observers because we only heard Cierra and Laura’s voices.
Laura finished first, telling Tyson to take the key and release the flag.
Laura looked over at Cierra who got a hug from Katie. In response, Cierra gestured an “I don’t know” sign.

Laura in confessional: “I want Cierra to succeed because you want your kids to succeed so bad and you want them to win and yet I have a tribe of people that are counting on me as well. I knew she couldn’t beat me and she could be going home.”

We expect that Laura will be featured heavily when the tribes meet next. An absence of confessional from Laura would definitely tell us she isn’t important to the story of the season but even a simple “I’m so relieved to see her there” won’t be enough. We need to hear Laura talk about more than her daughter if we are to consider her as someone that will have an impact.

Tadhana – Day 10

Hayden delivered a confessional: “Unbelievable. We haven’t won yet. I mean; we suck. It’s so disheartening too because, clearly, we are bigger, stronger more athletic team but today, we lost to a one armed dude and three moms. That’s brutal. Brutal!”

It would also be brutal if everyone gets beaten in the end by a one armed dude and three moms. What a nice foreshadowing quote that was chosen as the episode’s title. More interestingly, it ties in with Tyson making it to the end even if Hayden forgot to mention his Coconut Bandit ally.

After this, we saw Vytas, Hayden and Caleb walk away from the shelter and calling out to Brad to join them.
Cierra commented on this in confessional: “After a loss, there’s always a routine: The guys will go “get water” which is code for go strategize against the girls and then the girls make rice which is code for how do we save our asses. Today though was interesting…” Her confessional was cut so that we could see what she was about to describe: Brad staying behind to tell them they had to vote against Caleb, that they were safe. He asked if they believed him. Cierra said she believed him because he hadn’t lied to her yet. Cierra, back in confessional, then explained: “Brad said: “I am voting Caleb.” So then I’m like OK: Brad could be telling the truth or he might not be but I am going to act like I believe him. I sat there and said: Yes, I believe you 100 percent but really do I?”

This is one of my favorite confessionals ever. Simple, funny and strategic all at once. This made me realize one thing: When we praised Vytas in the premiere about his tactic to gain trust, Cierra did the same thing. She even did it first but we mostly brushed over it because we fell in love with Vytas. Let’s not dismiss Cierra as a player yet.

At the water well, we heard Vytas saying he loved Cierra but that she was worthless in the puzzle.
Caleb had a confessional: “That’s the second puzzle that Cierra has not been that strong on. Hayden, Vytas and myself were all on board with voting for Cierra. That’s why we went to discuss and then, when Brad never showed up behind us, that got us thinking what kind of stunt could Brad be working on because we all went to the well and Brad stayed behind with the two girls. It was a little fishy. He just got rid of John so, as easy as it went down from 5 guys to 4 guys, it could just as easily go down to three guys.”

Brad’s talk with the guys started oddly, the camera focusing on his hand which was behind his back. It was as if the editors wanted us to see that he didn’t have his fingers crossed so that he was about to tell the truth. Like I said: Odd.
Nevertheless, he told the guys that he had the girls convinced it was Caleb. They agreed on Cierra.

Caleb’s confessional continued: “While I don’t trust Brad 100 percent, I feel confident in Hayden and Vytas that they are going to have my back. So, Cierra sounds good to me.”

Note that just before Tribal Council, Caleb is still with the guys and wants Cierra gone.

We heard another confessional from Brad as the tribe left for its date with Probst: “As the de facto leader over here, I have to make some decisions. (The sound quality changed as if this confessional was spliced together) “I talked to the girls and they are obviously in for voting off Caleb but Cierra was terrible in the challenge. Getting rid of her is going to make the tribe stronger. Going beyond the love connections and everything else, I also want to make the tribe strong so I’m not worried about Redemption Island and the heat I will take. I’m sure that tomorrow, when Cierra shows up, I’ll take heat from her mom but it doesn’t matter: Cierra’s going home.”

Brad was telling the truth to the guys but he was wrong about the source of the heat he will receive on Redemption Island. He will have to worry as a player instead of a spectator. The editors love irony and that confessional was about as ironic as it gets.

Tribal Council

Brad said he didn’t think the game would unfold this way but that they lost two challenges because of puzzles, pointing the finger directly at Cierra.
Cierra told Jeff that she wasn’t about to follow his invitation by simply tell her tribe to vote her out.
That made Vytas smile.
Jeff then turned to Brad and asked about Redemption Island and the grief he received.
Brad said it was unfair because the other tribe had no way to know it wasn’t true and that you had to play differently in a game like this one where you have Loved Ones on the other side.
The camera showed that Caleb heard what Brad was saying.
If Caleb hadn’t then Jeff made it clear that Brad was saying it would be great to vote out someone without a Loved One.
Being caught, Brad couldn’t answer that immediately so he scratched his beard before finally saying yes.
Caleb smiled at that while Vytas and Hayden seemed taken aback.
Caleb told Jeff that he had felt that pressure, that he loved the blindside but didn’t want to be the butt of it. He added: “I was fine being the goat…I’m feeling like the calf led to slaughter. I’m obviously the low man on the totem pole…”
Brad interrupted, saying: “No, no…I wasn’t campaigning against you.”
Hayden conceded that they had cracks and that it was hard to regain someone’s trust once you distrust that person.
Caleb told Jeff that he trusted Hayden and Vytas but that Brad was one the fence. Then, quite directly, he turned to Cierra and said: “I want you to go home but I’m going to write Brad’s name down.”
The tribe’s reaction was immediate: Brad looked disgusted while Katie had to hide the huge smile on her face. Vytas was shaking his head in disbelief while Hayden didn’t know where to look.
Cierra said she was in shock and that everyone should be worried.
Brad said he wasn’t writing Caleb’s name.
Vytas, in disbelief, wanted confirmation so he asked Caleb if he was indeed writing Brad’s name.
Caleb confirmed it, adding that the ball was in their court.
Cierra couldn’t stop laughing.
Asked by Brad, Vytas said he wasn’t going to do write his name.

Jeff couldn’t contain his excitement any longer so he sent them to vote.
We saw Caleb’s vote for Brad saying: “You mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
Brad’s vote against Cierra was shown.
Finally we saw Vytas and Hayden hesitating before voting.
The vote ended in a tie between Cierra and Brad.
On the re-vote, the camera lingered on Hayden as he hesitated, started writing Cierra, crossed it out, hesitated some more and then made his choice but it wasn’t shown then.
It was odd that the editors made us think Hayden was changing his vote considering we saw that the crossed out parchment was a vote against Cierra, proving that it was Vytas who actually changed his vote.

Brad left after telling everyone he wasn’t mad at them. To Jeff he said he will try to get back to the game but figured RI wouldn’t be fun.
Cierra could only ask what just happened.
Jeff said that it was one of the most shocking votes and one of the biggest shifts in power to happen at Tribal council. He added that, hopefully, it was exactly what this tribe needed.

Redemption Island

When Brad arrived, waving an imaginary white flag, Candice had a confessional: “I was dead asleep and I hear the sweetest voice I ever wanted to hear on Redemption Island. Brad Culpepper! Now I have my chance to put him out of the game for good.”

The Story.

I remember another episode 4 Tribal Council that saw a tie vote turn into a big shift in power and it starred Katie’s mom, Tina. Nice parallel and I wonder if Katie had anything to do with it, maybe telling Caleb that Brad had campaigned against him. All we had was her satisfied look after it was all over and Cierra asking what had just happened, suggesting she didn’t have anything to do with it.
As for the bigger picture, the game and the story is coming down to connections, who is counting on them and who is making new ones. This episode gave us hints about the long term players, the ones that will make it to the final episode. We heard that the “Coconut Bandits” could make it to the end. We also heard that a “One armed Dude and three moms” shouldn’t be underestimated, that they can beat a group of strong players. Tyson and Monica are in both groups so we have to consider them as good candidates to face the jury.

The Players:

The Disconnected Ones

Kat and Laura B.: It isn’t about having a Love One on the other side. These two have no connection to the story. While Rupert’s wife still had a few moments, especially when Jeff underlined her challenge performance, it is quite distasteful to see how the editors neglect Kat. Her strategy was to talk less and no one can say she’s talking too much this time but she still has confessionals that we could hear. Unfortunately, we are losing her funny quotes.

Players On RI:

John: His time with Candice shouldn’t last too long.

Brad: It would be surprising to see him exit after only one challenge, His confrontation with Candice should be the focus of the next few episodes.

Candice: Let’s make this clear: A huge character like Brad is sent to Redemption Island but CANDICE gets the confessional to comment on the new situation and setting the stage for their confrontation. With all the investment made in Candice’s story, it stands to reason that she will indeed knock him out of the game for good. The scene we had of Candice and John on RI is another indication that Candice will return to the game to give a happy ending to the story they will tell their kids. It’s even possible that Candice will not be U-turned at the first occasion like the other RI returnees but she will have a hard time finding a foot-hold in the game. Everyone will be scared of keeping someone that will have won so many challenges.

The Loved Ones:

Katie: Episode 4 of the Outback flipped the Ogakor alliance by eliminating Mitchell after a tied vote while episode 4 of Blood versus Water flipped the Tadhana alliance by eliminating Brad after a tied vote. Did Katie play a hidden role like her mother did in the first big shift of power to happen at Tribal Council? Unfortunately, all we have are some reaction shots but the editors hadn’t given Tina much credit either. Even if her position in the game improved, there was nothing in this episode that promoted Katie’s story so we have to keep the previous hints on the back burner and consider the possibility that they weren’t as meaningful as we first thought. We’ll revisit Katie’s role when she gives us more information.

Laura M.: Once more, her role is limited to the conflict between competing against her daughter and playing her own game. It would be a promising story if we were more invested in it but we never hear from Laura in camp and with her tribe mates. If it wasn’t for her performance in the challenges she would be as disconnected as Kat and Laura B. There is still time for Laura to get a bigger role but, right now, it seems she only serves Cierra’s story.

Cierra: All the confessionals about the girls trying to save their asses are given to Cierra instead of Katie much like Alina had the confessionals instead of Kelly B after every attack by NaOnka. Does it only mean that Cierra outlasts Katie like Alina outlasted Kelly or is there more to it? It was interesting to hear that the code for the girls saving themselves was making rice when we had heard that Katie was the one doing the cooking, not Cierra. The repetition of Cierra’s uselessness in challenges is troubling for her chances to make it to the end so let’s just say we are confused about the two Tadhana girls. We are told (even by her mother!) that Cierra can’t beat anyone but she is still there. This episode’s title told us not to underestimate one armed dudes AND mothers so let’s not forget that Cierra is a mother herself. A scenario that would follow the edit up to now would be for Cierra to finally get voted out of Tadhana at some point before the merge and Laura to take her spot. When her mother gets eliminated by Candice, Cierra gets “adopted” by Tyson and Gervase as someone left without connections.

The Three Guys:
: He was given a new role after simply being Colton’s boyfriend but I don’t think it will serve him well. I’d even suggest that he was given Colton’s own role as the agent of Chaos. We had heard Caleb saying with confidence that Hayden and Vytas were with him and that Brad was low man on the totem pole but suddenly, under Jeff’s prodding, he sees himself as the low man on the totem pole and drops what can only be described as a bomb during Tribal Council. He forced Vytas and Hayden’s hand and he didn’t even protect his relation with Cierra because he said he wanted her gone. When we consider the Theme of this season, we have to say that Caleb played much too hard much too fast and he should pay for it.

Vytas: Were the editors protecting Vytas when they showed Hayden hesitating? It was almost as if they wanted us to think that Hayden was the one that went against Brad, exploding the tribe. Vytas probably changed his vote because of the threat of the purple rock so it will be interesting to see how he relates to the new “Big Kahuna.

Hayden: The events went by too fast for the Big Brother winner and his expressions and interventions at Tribal Council showed he didn’t know what to do. While he still has a connection on the other side, Kat’s role is so meaningless that we can say that Hayden won’t have her help after the merge.

The Alliance of Five:

Tina: At the time of the merge in the Outback, a famous poster named Tapewatcher told us that Tina would win because of the way she had been edited in the premiere. He called it “the dog that didn’t bark” because, despite her nice role leading up to the merge, she had been the only player without a confessional in the premiere. Could the editors be turning this upside down: Tina had a good premiere but nothing since. I fell for that when I thought Mike Skupin was edited as “the Phoenix rising from the ashes” in the Philippines so I’ll wait for some evidence this time. All we get from Tina are her expressions when Jeff introduces the new Tadhana. It’s not much but at least she is connected to the alliance of 5 in Galang.

Aras: While his story looked promising last week, it took the back seat this time. Aras only served to comment on Monica, first about her decision to burn the clue and then to say it was hard to watch how Candice treated Brad. His role has been mostly about comforting the people on his tribe but we haven’t really seen him playing the game at all. What we did see was Tyson putting a target on Aras while he rested on the hammock, oblivious to the danger. We will have to take a step back and wait for more clues before we can determine his longevity in the game.

Monica: The episode showed that Monica was well accepted by her tribe despite Brad’s behavior. We had imagined that Galang would want to weaken Brad by voting her out but he is the one that was sent to Redemption Island so she could soon take on a new role: Someone without a Loved One, joining Tyson and Gervase. This could open the road to the Final 3 for her…unless Brad makes her fight his battle. I think that the preview was misdirection. They always are.

Gervase : We are getting more and more hints that Gervase could wind up facing the jury. The words we heard him say when he said goodbye to his niece about how she gave him more energy to get through the game were probably aired because they’ll come true. Him and Tyson would be an unexpected duo and it would be even more funny to see the charming Gervase getting the goat treatment. Most of the jury will have plenty of things to say against Gervase and we are getting more and more hints that he will have to give answers at the end.

Tyson: What we saw as a Journey edit turned much more strategic this week. Not only did we hear Tyson fooling his alliance twice, first about his injury and then about the coconuts but we also heard him talk about his alliance to the end with Gervase, the target he put on Aras and his desire to win. I’d prefer it if we had heard him say his injury could serve to make him look less threatening in challenges instead of hearing that it permits him to slack on the camp work but it still serves to present him as a smart, opportunistic player. He is the common element in the two Final groupings that were foreshadowed in this episode: He is one of the Coconut Bandits and he is the One Armed Dude that, with 3 mothers, that won the challenge even if they were going against stronger opponents. This bodes well for Tyson to make at least the Final 6 and he has to be considered a top contender.

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10-15-13, 07:22 AM (EST)
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38. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-15-13 AT 07:26 AM (EST)

Hello everyone, great spec and observations in here! I went through an entire blow by blow with my take, and at the end of the post, something happened and it disappeared....ugh. Back to the drawing board...

Basically, I am on board with both Television and michel this week. Between the two of you, you really encompassed it all, thank you so much!

I agree that the previously on Survivor summation noted that this game was difficult because it pitted them against their loved ones, and we note the heat on Brad, and then Colton taking the easy way out. We also are reminded of the 5 man/woman alliance at Galang, and then Hayden noting the Pandora's Box comparison and the boot being John.

We see John come to RI and meet up with Candice. Then we get Brad and his summation of events at the TC, and his rationale, which, imo, is the direct theme of this episode, and it's going to play out the rest of the season...John had no connections on the other side. (The cameras focused on Hayden and Caleb as Brad was saying this) We need to think about connections so that when there is a merge, the couples can become a unified power.

So, Brad has targeted singles in the game, people that have no connections. Notice that michel noted that the cameras focused on Hayden and Caleb while Brad said this....we already know that Caleb is a single in this game, but the fact that Hayden is seen as well at this time makes me believe that Hayden WILL soon be a single in this game as well. It's classic foreshadowing.

We can already see that since Brad is targeting singles, that Caleb will most likely be his target this episode. Furthermore, Caleb sees it too...

Brad said it does make sense to keep people around that do have a loved one. I’m a little bit more vulnerable because I have no loved one. Everybody left on this tribe has a loved one except for me. Who knows what’s going to happen but I could definitely see myself in trouble.

Then we go to the RI challenge where Brad bears the brunt of Candice's fury, and Monica is alarmed at the confrontation with Brad. Marissa ends up losing. Clearly the conflict between Candice and Brad is on the rise, and I see it coming to a head soon, perhaps on RI, when they are physically competing against each other. Marissa walks the walk.

Monica gets and disposes of the clue, while Aras in confessional notes it was a good move. I am not so convinced however as I recall it wasn't such a good move for Marcus to throw away the II. We'll see.

Following the challenge, we get a glimpse of life on RI with just Candice and her husband, John. I totally agree here, that John noting the silver lining is content to just be there with his wife, which says he will not reach end game, imo. Same can be said for Candice when she notes that it will be a fun adventure to share with the kids some day...clearly, not good end game signs for either of them.

Back at Camp Galang, Monica complains about how difficult it is when they all blame her husband, while Gervase has an astute statement that it's sad that one of their loved ones must be running the show over there, but he knows it is not his...another pointer for playing the game as a single...the actions of your loved one will no longer affect your game in any way. Chalk another point up for the singles.

Next at Tadhang, Brad gives us a rationale for targeting Caleb next...he's a single and he wants to send a message to the others at Galang that he wants to play ball and get the connections back...This sets up the conflict of the episode and likely of the season. Whether to rely mostly on your loved one connection or to make new social connections with individuals. Brad is representing staying bound to your loved one connections while Caleb is representing playing with the new bonds that form with individuals. Blood vs. water, in a nut shell.

When Brad left to fish, Hayden again makes a good point, as long as Brad is around, he's a bigger target. But, we all know this is a different season and the loved ones theme is wrecking havoc on the traditional game. Then Caleb has another confessional noting that despite everything, he, Hayden and Vytas are good and that Brad is low man on the totem pole and that one of the girls will be going. Famous last words.

Meanwhile at Galang we get a funny egocentric confessional from Tyson regarding his hurt shoulder and how he likes to milk it for sympathy and to get out of work...reminds me of the old Tyson! Then we see the Coconut conspiracy with Gervase and I agree with Television and michel on this...they are having fun, playing the game, deceiving the others, but most importantly they are bonding together, aligning, and excluding the other power couple, Aras and Vytas. Tyson tells us, I’m definitely with Gervase right now. If that lasts through to the finals, so be it. It would certainly be in Gervase’s best interest to stick with me as well because we both lost our Loved One in the game. Aras still has his and, if Vytas makes it to the merge, he will work with Vytas. They are obviously the strongest cumulatively so having them both I think is a huge danger. Tyson gets it. A very interesting reveal and it also goes to the theme of the episode...playing the game as singles against/opposing those playing the game with loved ones.

We are getting down to the core question of the season, blood vs water?

Furthermore, Gervase and Tyson are getting meaty confessionals that are telling the dynamics within the tribes, which I think also bodes well for both of them.

Michel has an interesting spec on Monica, I am not so convinced, but the fact that Brad is headed for RI, may move Monica up a notch....for when or if she becomes a single in the game, then would she bond more with Tyson and Gervase? I don't know? I don't know if Brad will leave the game as he is quite a challenge threat and could possibly re-enter at some point.

I also agree that Aras' and Vytas' stock may be going down a bit in this episode. It can't be a good thing that someone with meaty confessionals is targeting you before merge. Tyson is looking steps ahead, while Aras, as michel noted, is relaxing on the hammock.

At the challenge Tyson did note his superiority despite his shoulder, and noted that he wanted to win. I agree, this is a good sign from Tyson. They have the challenge and they are neck in neck, yet the Galang's start to build the blocks first, but the Tadhana's gain ground so it comes down to the puzzle where Cierra chokes again leading to Laura's confessional.

I want Cierra to succeed because you want your kids to succeed so bad and you want them to win and yet I have a tribe of people that are counting on me as well. I knew she couldn’t beat me and she could be going home.

Laura M has yet another confessional wrapped up in the agony of wanting her child to succeed, but now she is pondering that she wants her to succeed, and possibly at the expense of her tribe? This is Laura's main conflict, and I'm afraid, appears to be Laura M's entire story, which bodes very poorly for her. She is so wrapped up with beating her daughter and so afraid that if she continues to do it, her daughter will be toast. This is foreshadowing something that Laura is going to do to save her daughter. Her tribe will see her true motives. She is not keeping her eye on the prize and is playing for the wrong reason, and as long as she IS a couple with her loved one, she will not have a chance of winning this game. Laura is sacrificing her second chance in the game because she is too worried about the failure of her daughter.

I would love it if the title of the episode foreshadowed the final four of this season...A one armed dude and 3 moms! Ha! We will have to revisit this at the end as well!

Then the 3 guys go off together and call for Brad to join them, but he insists on talking with the girls first, suggesting Caleb. Cierra got a meaty confessional when she told us about the post challenge loss routine...I'd say this bodes well for her stock! She's onto Brad, and she's onto them all.

Before leaving for TC we get a confessional from Caleb and then one from Brad, seemingly they are both on the same page. This was the prelude to the dramatic TC that followed...

At TC, Jiffy gets out something from Brad that Brad shouldn't have revealed. Jeff made it clear that Brad was saying it would be great to vote out someone without a Loved One. Caleb turns it around, and there is a tie vote, and a revote, and we see that Hayden was the one that stayed to the plan, albeit conflicted. I don't know how that bodes for him in the future. Time will tell. Brad is out.

This episode was all about pitting singles without a loved one left in the game against those with loved ones left in the game. Brad represented the couples, while Caleb represented the singles. Caleb won. Let's see if we will be able to extrapolate this conflict resolution all the way to the end...

Those that had their stock rise with this episode: Tyson, Gervase, Caleb, Cierra, possibly Hayden (foreshadowed to be single), possibly Monica, Laura B (not heard from but very visible in the challenge and a known single without a loved one in the game). While Tyson, Gervase, Caleb, and Laura B are all currently single, I am willing to bet that Monica, Hayden, and Cierra will also be playing this game soon as a single.

Those that had their stock fall a bit this episode: John, Candice, Brad, Aras, Vytas, Laura M, Kat (by default...Hayden seen as possibly being a single does NOT bode well for Kat)

Under the radar: Tina, Katie

I will say that Tina being under the radar, imo, bodes better for her. She and possibly her daughter could tip the scale as to which side fares better than the other. Time will tell.

Interesting take on Caleb, with him playing too hard, too fast. I like it! And, Television, I loved your notice of Gervase and Tyson being framed for the ouster of Marrissa and Rachel, and wouldn't it be something if the "others" ended up forcing their union all the way to the end....

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10-15-13, 10:17 PM (EST)
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40. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
Very interesting observations, FP. I especially liked the way you interpreted the camera shot of Hayden and how much you stressed the blood connections against the new connections. I really wonder if Hayden can work with Caleb after the TC bomb even if they both wind up singles. Hayden, I feel, would want to keep working with the connected ones. Can the alliance of 5 survive now that the numbers have shifted from a majority of connected players to a majority of single players?

There is a back-and-forth going at RHAP over what I wrote Caleb told Cierra. Do you (or anyone else) hear him say "I want you to go home" or "I don't want you to go home." I listened to it 20 times at least and I still don't hear a "DON'T".

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10-15-13, 10:20 PM (EST)
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41. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
The captions had "don't" in there.
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10-15-13, 10:37 PM (EST)
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42. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
Thank you very much, Pepe. It wasn't subtitled so that helps. Are captions always reliable though?
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10-16-13, 07:02 AM (EST)
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45. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-16-13 AT 07:08 AM (EST)

Are captions always reliable though?

Hahahahahaha! Sorry, I found this funny! Captions may be reliable on some shows, but definitely not on this one!

Regardless, I distinctly remember this exchange at TC, and I only heard it once. I thought he said, "I don't want you to go home"...fwiw. I will go back and listen to it again though...

Regarding your thoughts on what Hayden will do next. Interesting. With the editing of the episode last week, I just thought it very telling that Hayden and Caleb were both noted in the shot when Brad made that confessional. It just seemed like the line was drawn in the sand in the episode and it was recognized on both tribes, by Brad and Caleb, and then by Tyson.

I didn't get a take on how Hayden will proceed however, going along with Caleb or not. Just that he would be a single soon. I can't help but to wonder if the singles on Tadhana will join up with the singles on Galang come merge time, or will they stick together as a tribe first? If Tyson plays like Boston Rob, he should opt to keep his tribe strong and take out the Tadhangs. But, this is a new twist and they may have to adapt their strategy...

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10-15-13, 08:35 AM (EST)
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39. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
Great read Michel! Loved your take on the episode.

Tadhana may be playing too far ahead of themselves. They talk about the merge but by sending Brad out both weaken themselves and forget that keeping bigger targets around protects someone from an easy vote out later. Galang, through Candice, is dictating the vote without even being at TC. I wonder what discussions are being held at Galang about the eventual returnee.

Tyson's comments about his sore shoulder issue are really brilliant, he's on a tribe with the moms and nothing makes a mother feel better than taking care of a "kid", it is something that is automatic and makes them feel comfortable and protective in this roll. Then he has Gervase in a tight buddy grip. He is in a really sweet spot right now.

Ooooo, come a little closer, you look tasty...

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10-15-13, 11:31 PM (EST)
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44. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
Just a note re. Hayden. So far all of his confessionals (with the exception of the intro secton in ep. 1 before he was separated from Kat) have been after Tadhana lost the IC. It is as if they want to remind us there is a Hayden, though he is taking it slow at this stage of the game.
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46. "RE: Episode 4 - Connections:"
So far all of his confessionals (with the exception of the intro secton in ep. 1 before he was separated from Kat) have been after Tadhana lost the IC. It is as if they want to remind us there is a Hayden, though he is taking it slow at this stage of the game.

Yes, but Hayden has had astute comments and he's not agreed with the progression of events and he's warned us, and most likely them. In an alliance of 5 going after one of your own is not wise and promotes mistrust within the group, and Jiffy has warned practically after every TC that they don't seem to be eliminating the weak, therefore they are not strengthening their tribe. I see Hayden agreeing with Jiffy. And, it was very obvious with his conflicting vote last week that he's the only trustworthy one there, it seems?

But, as a winner of Big Brother, he's got to know how the numbers work...

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47. "Episode 5 - Threats and Assets"
In the recap, Jeff said that the returning players were in control of the game and that they were led by a majority alliance of 5.
Their only worry was knowing their loved ones were being voted out.
At Redemption Island, Brad Culpepper was taking all the blame
<We heard Monica saying she didn’t believe Brad would make it to the merge>

For the Loved Ones, things went from bad to worse…when they lost their 4th immunity challenge in a row.
<We heard Laura saying that she wants Ciera to succeed but that she has a tribe counting on her.>

Facing another Tribal Council, the men planned to take out one of the girls…
<Ciera’s name was mentioned>
…but Caleb caught wind of another plan.

At Tribal Council, Caleb took the game into his own hands…
…convincing Tadhana to take out their leader, Brad.
<The camera focused on Caleb and Ciera when Jeff mentioned the big power shift>

If the returning players’ only worry is seeing their loved ones voted out then we can say they don’t have many obstacles on their road to the end. The narrative, the animal imagery and the choice of music still point to an end game domination by the original Galangs. However, note that we were reminded that Laura M. was committed to her tribe, already suggesting that this vote might not have been their best decision.

For Tadhana, it was a pretty straightforward narrative and, while it suggested that Caleb had more time to plan his move (he was shown in camp when he caught wind of another plan, not at TC), the first scene of this episode would tell us exactly what happened and how the players reacted to the move.

Threats and Assets

Tadhana – Night 10

We witnessed the tribe’s shock and Ciera gave us the first confessional: “What the heck! Tribal was unreal.” (The image briefly switched to Katie asking Vytas if he was upset. He said no, that it was Brad’s time) Ciera’s confessional continued: “Now I see that Hayden and Vytas had no clue that Caleb was going to do that. So, if I can get Caleb to switch over with me and Katie then me and Katie have the numbers. Either way, I am happy to be here another day.”

Ciera’s story continues to grow and we see a player thinking ahead even if this episode will not put her in danger. That is excellent for her longevity, especially considering how this episode will turn out. The viewers are already being told that Ciera can indeed fly on her own despite mom’s worries.

After telling the group that he hadn’t planned the move, that the situation just festered, Caleb gave us a confessional: “Going into Tribal Council I didn’t feel good about Brad anymore. I’d never trust him again so I just brought it out.”
Hayden told everyone that he had been blown away and then he had an interview: “Caleb pulled a fast one and, in doing so, screwed me and Vytas. I don’t know if that means that he’s now with the girls and Vytas and I are on the outs. I have no clue where I stand right now in the tribe.”

Caleb’s “I just brought it out” tells us once more that he acted on impulse, a sign of playing fast. Hayden’s confessional tells us that the guys have lost trust in Caleb and goes back to his comment in the last TC: “It’s really hard to regain someone’s trust once you distrust that person.” I’d worry in Caleb’s place.

Redemption Island

We first heard a new confessional from Brad: “Caleb made a good move. Kudos to him. He knows the game. I guess he learned a little bit from Colton. I was a little nervous…I blindsided John and Candice had choice words the last time I saw her.”
After that, we saw a repeat of last week’s final scene: Brad raising the white flag and Candice telling us about the sweetest voice.
They added a confessional by John who first remarked derisively about the five guys alliance. His confessional: “I was expecting to see Brad at some point. People try…to make bold moves and sometimes it bites them in the ass. It looks like it did bite Brad in the ass so I feel a little bit of vindication there.”

Candice had another confessional: “Brad said no hard feelings but his wife voted me out on day 1 and he voted John out when John trusted him so I have no love for him. Brad can say all he wants but, in this game, it’s kill or be killed and he’s on our island now. I have my chance to put him out of the game for good.”

Galang – Night 10

Laura was giving a nice massage to Aras.
We heard her confessional in voice-over: “In this game, you need to get a group of people that you trust and you need to get people to like you. That’s what I am trying to do in this game. I like Aras and we like being around each other because we can just calm each other. I hope that Aras has the same feeling and the same trust in me that I have in him.”

Aras had his confessional: “I think Laura M, thinks that she is playing me by cuddling up next to me which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not thinking: Go ahead and flirt with me and now I’m going to treat you in my alliance. Right now, essentially, my core alliance is me, Monica, Tina, Tyson, Gervase. So, that’s three people that aren’t in the five: Kat, Laura B. and Laura M. I think Laura M. she’s smart, she’s perceptive, I think she knows that she’s on the outs so she’s doing whatever she can to get herself in the good graces of the people she thinks will help her get further in the game.”

If Laura didn’t read Aras right, we can say the same about Aras. Nothing in her confessional was threatening or sounded like she had ulterior motives. We cab say with certainty that Aras had a vote in his pocket if he wanted it. In a scene evoking memories of Sugar hounding Colby in HvV, I wonder if Aras will regret booting Laura. Colby and Aras…two guys who preferred their moms over women that were offering themselves to them!

Meanwhile, observing the scene, Laura B. was resting alone by the fireplace while we heard her confessional which started in voice-over: “Ha! Nighttime at camp. All of the veterans on the tribe have this unspoken bond: They’ve all done Survivor before. I have not. I’m still slowly getting to know everyone. I don’t have that total emotional connection that they all have and I still do kinda feel like the outsider, the new girl in town. Makes this game very difficult.”

I suggest that Rupert’s wife presence in this scene was mostly to set up the questions regarding the episode’s boot. Contrary to what we have seen from Katie and Ciera, I didn’t sense any longevity associated with the precarious role given to Mrs Boneham. The episode’s outcome looked more like a “wait until next time” for her than the start of an underdog story.

The Challenge

Even before Jeff offered, Monica asked Brad if he wanted her to take his place.
Macho Brad had none of it: “I’m going to battle, I’ll get back.”
Brad then addressed Galang: “I’m not here because I’m a jerk.”
Monica told Brad that her tribe knew that.
Jeff then pointed out that the negative energy thrown his way came from Candice. Jeff found it funny because Candice hadn’t spent a second at either camp.
Candice defended herself by saying that she was simply repeating things that had been said to her.
<The rattling sound inserted here was my first clue that I had been wrong about Candice’s story>
Monica told Candice that it was a good lesson to learn because she had hurt her feelings.
Not backing down, Candice said her feelings were also hurt when Monica wrote her name on day 1.

The most surprising part of the challenge was hearing Galang, starting with Kat, giving advice to Brad and cheering him on.
Candice was off to a quick start, Jeff (erroneously) saying that she owned Redemption island arena, that no one had beaten her.
(What about her husband last week?)
Candice slowed down towards the end of the bridge so John and Brad started on the puzzle before her.
John proved once again that he should have been doing puzzles for Tadhana as he finished first quite easily.
In what appeared as a nail biting finish, Brad stayed alive giving great joy to Galang while Tadhana sat in silence.

Candice told Jeff that this was the hardest moment for her. John felt miserable. They hugged and she threw her buff in the fire.

Last week, I wrote: “The inclusion of that line (a fun story to tell the kids) can only have two meanings: Either the editors wanted to twist the knife in the wound when Candice heard it replayed at home or they wanted to remind her that it was indeed a fun story with a good ending.”
I obviously chose the wrong alternative! The thing with being wrong though is that it offers us a surprise as gift. It seems that the complex story built around the Codys was meant for John, not Candice. At the risk of being wrong again, I will say, like Monica, that I don’t believe Brad will make it to the merge. Granted, we had a change of narrative with Brad getting somewhat of a redemption by being cheered by Galang and, more importantly, by Jeff when he took his defense by accusing Candice of repeating malicious gossip without even knowing Brad. However, we won’t forget that Brad was the bully, the one that gloated over taking John in on day one and then just throwing him away. The story is set up for John to get his revenge…I think!

In a repeat of last week, John gave the clue to Monica who put it in the fire, saying it wasn’t good.
The camera closed in on Hayden as he observed the burning clue, undoubtedly telling us that he’d like a clue or two.

Anyone want to bet that the tribal switch suggested by the previews was a last minute idea, the result of the strategy used for the idol clue. Production had to feel that Galang was too comfortable so they decided to screw with them. It would be much riskier to throw away the clue after a tribe shuffle.


Monica was thanking her tribe for the support given to Brad.
Tina said she would be very surprised if he didn’t come back in the game.

Monica had a confessional: “Today was probably the most demoralized I’ve been out here. I didn’t think Brad would be there but he will be fine, He’ll pull himself up by his bootstraps and he’ll come off Redemption Island and we can meet up and scramble our way to the end.”

Tina also gave us a confessional: “Brad and Monica are a very tight couple and that’s very threatening.” The two women were seen at the water well where Monica assured Tina that whatever happened with Brad wouldn’t affect their situation. Tina’s confessional continued: “I think Monica realizes she doesn’t have her guy out here as a back-up anymore so I think she’d going to step up her game play a little bit. I can’t say I 100% trust Monica. She’s either going to be a big threat or she is going to be a great asset. I just haven’t determined which one of those she is yet.”

This confessional shows us Tina’s deep understanding of people and that she is taking her time to evaluate her allies, not playing too fast. Unlike others, she isn’t ready to give her trust to Monica and knows it can go two ways. Unfortunately for Tina, we’ve already had hints that single players will be dangerous to those with a partner. Tina seems to think that Monica is only a threat if she is with Brad but she could be more dangerous on her own. Hearing that she will either be a threat or an asset suggests that Monica will be the key to the season. Like Dawn in Caramoan, Lisa in Philippines and maybe even Kim in One World, whichever side Monica chooses will be the winning side.

Tadhana – Day 11

Ciera had another confessional: “The game of Survivor has so many layers to it. There’s the basic layer of having to survive: Having to find food, having to find shelter, dealing with the heat. I haven’t brushed my teeth but, on top of that, having injuries. Scrapes on our legs. I’m covered in bug bites. I’ve never had so many, on my face, on my neck, on my back. We’re beat up. I don’t know if it can get any worse. At this point, we are losing, at this point our bodies are disintegrating. We’ve had it rough.”

Katie was having problems with her feet: “From wearing my shoes all the time, I got tenia which is like athlete’s foot. It burns and you get little sores and they can be very painful when you walk.”

Ciera commented on Katie’s feet: “I feel like she could break her toes off. They are red, they are crusty. Her toe nails are falling off.”
Vytas also added his comments: “It’s not something I choose to look at, it sickens me a little bit but I feel bad for the girl. We’re all licking our wounds, our egos are a little bit bruised from all this losing and, if we keep losing, how do I align myself at this point? How is this going to shake out and how do I make sure I come out on the other side as unscathed as possible.” Vytas then was seen with Caleb resting in the boat out as sea. Vytas said he loved Ciera’s spunk to which Caleb said he felt like she was his little sister. Vytas’ confessional continued: “There is no point in this game where anybody will ever be 100% with Caleb after what he did. Somebody that can turn on a dime like that, as Caleb did in Tribal Council, voting out Brad, is somebody that you have to really finesse and make sure that they feel OK emotionally. I can read people pretty well but I can’t get a read on Caleb, this quiet woodsman from Alabama. It’s important right now that I ensure Caleb is still with me so of course I’m trying to be nice to Caleb.”

It was Caleb’s turn to have a confessional: “After blindsiding Brad, I am in a position to where I can swing to the girls or I can swing to the guys. Do I feel powerful now? I think the word I heard is Big Kahuna! I think I hold a lot of power with my vote. It’s good to be the swing vote.”

This was a very interesting overview on the psychology of Tadhana. The easiest one to analyze is Caleb and the juxtaposition of his confessional on top of Vytas’ comments suggests that “Pride cometh before a fall”.
For Katie, we see that she is stuck in the moment, thinking only about (with?) her feet. While it can make us sympathize with her, it doesn’t give her any longevity.
Ciera has much more complexity, narrating the events but also transposing it in the whole context of the game of Survivor. Add the fact that both Vytas and Caleb made positive comments about her (Vytas loves her spunk while Caleb thinks of her as a sister) we can say that Ciera will go far in the game.
Vytas is even more interesting and his confessional takes us to the question of the merge. Hearing him say that he is trying to figure a way to come out of it unscathed suggests that it won’t be easy. Either he will manage the merge (or the swap) to his advantage or it will be his destruction. If he does manage to get to the “other side” unscathed then we will have to consider him as a possible winner again.
Hayden wasn’t shown in this scene.

Tadhana – Day 13

Vytas was doing yoga on a hill.
It was a beautiful scene, quite serene and the music, with a lot of flutes sounding new age, spiritual, really set the mood.
Vytas: “Since we voted Brad, it’s been so peaceful. It’s just a different energy around camp. I like hearing nature, I like enjoying this lagoon and Brad, a lot of the noise he came with, kinda polluted it. Just enjoying this peace and quiet is great, man! I’m never been anywhere more beautiful.”

The whole group was then seen on top of Vytas’ hill and Hayden was heard saying that he wanted to see the team chemistry without Brad. Vytas said the losing streak had to end. He went on to say that they could win if they tried their best.

Ciera had the last confessional: “I am so nervous going into the challenge. If we lose the challenge today and I have to come back here, it’s scramble time again because every single week I haven’t stopped (?) and this is my last shot. To win this next challenge would be sweet and perfect timing for us. Perfect timing.”

Once more Vytas and Ciera stand out in Tadhana. Devoting a scene to Vytas doing his yoga reminded us of Coach and we know how important he was to the story each time he played. It never ended well for Coach though so this could be Vytas’s swan song, the beginning of the end of his story arc. The way the sibling rivalry has been set up, we expect Vytas and Aras to meet so if he is eliminated, it should be after the merge but the swap could also be fatal.
Ciera, on the other, hand, reinforced her own underdog story in an episode where she wouldn’t be in danger. Her edit reminds me a lot of Erinn, the hairstylist that admitted being out of place in Tocantins. Like Erinn, Ciera’s nice role could be explained by being the last Tadhana standing.

The Challenge.

Once more we saw a wink exchanged between Ciera and Laura.
Asked who was sitting out, Kat said she wasn’t sitting out so Monica and the two Lauras went to the bench.
Before the challenge started we heard Laura M and Monica saying they hated sitting out.
Gervase first went against Caleb who won it with his first toss.
Tyson took on Hayden and while we did see that the shoulder was bothering Tyson, he won it on his second toss.
Next, Katie beat Kat even if she almost came out of her bikini bottom during the slide!
The smiling Brothers Baskauskas faced off once more and this time Vytas won giving Tadhana a 3-1 lead.
Tina raced Ciera and showed that the returning players hadn’t said their last word.
Caleb scored a second point for Tadhana as he defeated Tyson this time.
Hayden got his revenge when he scored the winning point over Gervase.
They showed restraint in their celebration but it wasn’t noted by Jeff.
Of course, they chose the steaks over fishing gear even if Jeff seemed to disapprove.


Laura B. had a confessional as soon as we rejoined the tribe in camp: “This is my first Tribal Council but these guys have experienced it so there’s the nerves, first of all of going to Tribal Council and then the nerves of Oh! My God! It could be me. The first tribe ousted me right away and who’s to say this tribe won’t too. My strategy is just being very aware, keeping my eyes open all the time: Who is with who? What is going on? Try to mix it up.”

We saw her standing next to Tina and Kat, the two women that had participated in the challenge. Tyson was also nearby. Laura told Kat: “Your sweet friends were kind of bitching about you doing the challenge.”
Tina deflected the accusation by saying that nobody likes sitting out of a challenge.

Kat had a confessional: “Laura B., like what are you talking about? I looked to my left, I looked to Tyson; he’s baffled. When you know someone is at the bottom, all you can do is accommodate their conversation, make them feel better. She’s at the bottom so she’s going to say whatever she wants to say.”

Tyson then gave us a confessional: “We have the core alliance of me, Aras, Gervase, Tina and Monica and we are a solid five. Kat also feels like she’s in that alliance of five (we see Kat just then talking to her One World partner, Monica suggesting why she feels that way) and Laura Morrett has no clue what alliance is going on. (Laura is shown resting in the hammock, humming, which stressed her blindness) Right now, the plan is to vote out someone that everyone is super annoyed with and that’s Laura B.”

Hearing that Laura B. is super annoying isn’t the way to set up a likable underdog story. She had a reprieve but the story points to her not escaping her second Tribal Council.

Laura and Aras were next seen out in the boat, trying to catch fish. Laura asked Aras about the vote. Aras simply said: “Laura B, is the easy one.” Laura M. readily agreed.

Laura had a confessional: “Aras is the one that I completely, explicitly trust in this game. We don’t talk a lot of strategy, we don’t need to. Drop a name, tell me who it is and let’s go, let’s do this.”

As if in response, Aras gave us a confessional: “Laura B. is a very easy vote out. Everyone feels uncomfortable with her but, right now, easy votes are often the dumbest votes in this game. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean that we should do it.” We saw the army of ants again when Aras talked to Tyson. Tyson said he was thinking about voting out Laura B. Aras countered by saying: “If we put Laura M. on Redemption Island, she might beat Brad which would make Monica an asset for us.” Aras’s confessional continued: “Right now, Monica has got her husband on Redemption Arena and if Brad should lose…and not come back in this game, she’s a wonderful asset to have; she has nowhere to go. Laura M, is great in challenges, she’s great in puzzles. If she goes to Redemption Arena and knocks out Brad then Monica is ours so Laura M. seems like the best choice right now.”

The two guys tried selling the idea to Monica who hesitated.
Monica (solo): “Laura Morrett’s name is being thrown around. Could she beat Brad at Redemption Island? That’s my worry. It’s an odd position that I am in. Laura B. would be an easy win at Redemption Island for Brad. Laura M. she’s going to be a challenge.”

Before going to TC, Aras had the last confessional: “Tonight, I want Laura M. to go home but it’s not only my decision; it’s the tribe’s decision. People on my tribe know that I am playing the game. And the more I try to manipulate a vote, the more danger I put myself in.”

This was a very interesting segment especially in what wasn’t shown: How much did Aras have to do to sell the boot to the rest of the tribe? We saw him manipulating only Tyson and Monica but what about Gervase, Tina and Kat? We can also wonder if Aras miscalculated, missing the fact that Monica would be playing as a single, with the singles, without Brad.

Tribal Council

As Galang entered Tribal Council, the camera focused on Laura B. right before we saw a snake uncoiling to attack. Was it to suggest that Laura B. should have been the target? It’s fun imagining that it was.

Jeff first turned to his oldest “friend” Gervase, saying the game had changed a lot since he had played. Tina was shown nodding.
Gervase said: “It’s crazy that I am back here again, in front of this fire, in front of you…I came into this game expecting to play a certain way…but that is gone. These people make moves. They are wheeling and dealing from day 1.”
Tina said: “I remember thinking on day 5 that I had played more in five days than I played my entire season in Australia. It’s going that quickly. And the Blood versus Water thing? If you are playing this game just you then you can play balls to the walls but it’s not just you.”
Monica said the stakes were higher now when she gets to a duel and people are wondering who will have power at the merge, who will be playing as a team of two.
Aras said that he was letting Vytas do what Vytas needs to do and that he didn’t know if there was space for him in this tribe or not. He added: “I have to shore up all these relationships.”
Laura M, agreed: “There’s a time when I have to cut the apron strings and say: Ciera, you got to fly on your own. It sounds very cold but right now, this is our blood.”
Gervase was asked if Laura’s actions, beating her daughter in challenges, proved her loyalty to this tribe.
Gervase said that Laura and Ciera were close and that it was threatening.
Probst bluntly asked Laura B.: “Do you belong out here?”
Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, I really enjoy Probst’s prodding. Laura M also seemed to like the question.
Laura B said she felt very much a part of this tribe and the decision making process.
Kat’s expression, representing the audience’s point of view, was in disagreement.
Monica agreed though, saying that Laura had been with them since day 1.
Jeff said that was what people say before a blindside.
Mrs Boneham’s confidence wasn’t shaken.
Laura M added another thing: “She hasn’t been to tribal Council before so she hasn’t felt the sting of you putting our torch out and saying the game is over. That is still stinging in everyone of us.”
Jeff really liked that so he ended the discussion on that note and sent to vote.
Tyson turned towards Aras as if asking if the plan had changed but Aras was stone-faced.
We saw the two Lauras voting, both saying there was only room for one Laura on the island.
Guess what that made me realize? Look for the answer in Laura’s character analysis.
Laura M. winked at Aras when he came back from the voting booth.
It wasn’t long before she realized she had been duped. She looked shocked when she went to grab her torch and only Kat looked upset.
Laura never looked back on her tribe, never said a word.

Jeff sent them back to camp with this thought: “I would expect nothing less from a group of returning players than a blindside straight out of the gate and it illustrates that you can never predict what is going to happen next.”

The Story

The game is really boiling down to the theme of Blood versus Water and the players’ struggle to identify the threats from the assets. Some are already playing as “water” pairs, newly formed pairs coming out of the circumstances of the game. Will these pairs turn out to be bigger threats than the “Blood” pairs that haven’t had a chance to play together yet? “This is our Blood now” said Laura Morrett and maybe it will stay that way for some. Aras tried to turn Monica into an asset but she was already solidly into his alliance. Could his action turn her into a threat? She likely won’t be playing as a team of two anymore which means she’d be a better ally for the Coconut Bandits. Outside of RI, there are only three pairs left but 6 votes, at the merge, represent a very solid bloc if they stand together. Shouldn’t Aras and Tina try to shore up their relationships with Kat? They are lucky that she feels part of the alliance but how long will that last?

The Characters

Laura B.: She isn’t a factor in this game and, like Jeff said, she really doesn’t belong in any category. We heard that she is super annoying so no one will want to play with her. While that would make her a super goat to drag to the end, she has no longevity signs associated with her edit in the way that Sherri had in Caramoan, never mind Phillip in RI who succeeded Clay and Dreamz as the king of the end-game goat clues. The mention that there wasn’t enough room for two Lauras on the island made me think that there will indeed be two Lauras soon on Redemption Island which means Morett has to survive at least one week.

John, Brad and Laura Morrett: The three players on Redemption Island are getting close to the returning point. Monica doesn’t believe that Brad will make the merge and, while it could be misdirection, we have to agree with her. Through the story he shared with Candice, John seems to have a role to play down the line while Laura has to stay at least one more week in order to have two Lauras on Redemption Island!
The eventual returning player is most likely one of these three so it’s interesting to note that John is the hardest one to categorize. Who would he join? We know that Brad would join Monica and Galang who smartly cheered him on. Laura would undoubtedly side with Ciera and be a threat to Galang who so unceremoniously sent her away. John is almost a total free agent even if he would feel more comfortable with Vytas, Caleb and Hayden than anyone else. Would he trust them though? It’s highly unlikely but where else could he go? Ciera and Katie? Maybe, but they’d be trying to fit in a new alliance themselves.

Threats or Assets?

Kat: This was the first episode in which Kat played a role. She obviously didn’t like the way the vote turned out but it seems she went along. Does that mean that Aras had to manipulate her to get her to vote against Morrett? Will that make Kat distrust Aras? Nearing the merge, she could soon find herself part of a team of two but will the "Blood" pairs "coagulate"? Fortunately, Vytas trusts Hayden but we all know that Vytas does is own thing and that may or may not include Aras.

Katie: She has two pairs to rely on: One Blood with mom Tina. One Water with Ciera. Will she bring them together or will she have to choose between the two? It’s unfortunate that we haven’t heard her thoughts on the game but Katie seems trapped in the moment. The merge, her rescue vessel, is closely approaching. If she makes it then she’d suddenly find herself in a much safer environment because she clearly isn’t a threat. She could be an asset to two opposing sides but there is nothing to make us think she will play a key role in the outcome of the game. Maybe we will see that Katie, unlike Ciera, hasn’t cut the apron strings and will simply side with Tina.

Caleb: A possible asset for Ciera and Katie, a definite threat to Vytas and Hayden, the Big Kahuna would be a good person to eliminate. Swinging between two sides has often been a way to bring those two sides to agree on eliminating the threat. We were told that no one will be able to trust Caleb in the future just before we heard him say that it’s good to be the swing vote. Caleb should have talked to Big Tom before starting the game!

Hayden: He forms a solid pair with Vytas while his Loved One connection with Kat hasn’t factored in any storyline up to now. Still, Hayden felt uncomfortable after the last Tribal Council so, if he doesn’t turn Ciera and Katie against Caleb, he will need to make new bonds and Kat thinks she is inside Galang’s main alliance. Could her naivety hurt Hayden’s game? Will he trust the people that Kat trusts and will they, like true veterans, turn that against him? Hayden has had a consistent, nice guy edit but he wasn’t heard during Tadhana’s character scene so is he really important to the whole story? Note that Hayden’s best confessionals happened just before TC so that could be the extent of his role. Once Tadhana stops to exist, maybe he will be the one sent to RI. The strong guy often leaves around merge time.

Gervase: He was mostly used to comment on the evolution of the game in his first Tribal Council in 13 years. I was almost hoping to hear him ask Jeff about the treasure chest that was missing on the set! I said pre-season that we should soon know about Gervase’s longevity by noting if he was part of the main alliance and he has fulfilled that requirement so I see Gervase going to the end. Being someone that enjoys irony a lot, I’m happy to see that Gervase could be heading for the Finals as the goat instead of the one that everyone likes. His relative absence in the first episode where Galang had to be wheeling and dealing doesn’t bode well for his winning possibilities but doesn’t hurt his chances of sitting in front of the jury. The Coconut Bandit is certainly an asset for Tyson and still an unknown threat to Aras and Tina.

Monica: She is playing a pivotal role in this story and it’s interesting that, from the start, we saw that she had the most solid bond out of the 10 pairs. Brad immediately talked about helping her by throwing challenges and Monica offered to switch places with Brad. Like Tina said, Brad and Monica are a very tight couple but it seems that Monica will soon be a single player. Aras thought that would make her an asset but Tyson is already counting on using single players to create numbers against the pairs. It would be very easy for Tyson to turn Monica against Aras by simply explaining why Aras targeted Laura Morrett. We would see the full fury of a woman scorned. Like I wrote above, it feels like Monica will play a key role in the outcome of the season. In her solid alliance of 5, Aras and Tina still have partners on the other side but the Coconut Bandits are singles. Will she, like Dawn and Lisa, be the enabler that will open the door to someone else’s victory or will she, like Kim, find the best option for herself? Right now, I see her more as the enabler because she hasn’t given us any end-game talk or even a simple winner’s quote.

Wheeling and Dealing:

Ciera: In actuality, Ciera hasn’t done much to save herself. We saw that it was Brad that pointed the target on Marissa and John, Vytas that planned for Rachel’s elimination and Caleb that turned the table on Brad but we still hear Ciera saying that she is fighting hard to save herself after every challenge and we heard that she has spunk. Her edit is perfect for the role of likable underdog and she should grow into a nice end-game player. Her story seems to lend itself more to be the last Tadhana standing than winner though because Galang is still dominating the game. We would need to connect a lot more with her for Ciera to become an acceptable winner. For one thing, we’d have to hear her wheeling and dealing before Tribal Council instead of just hearing her alluding to it.

Vytas: He has a very nice role to play this season but it would be very surprising to see him come out on the other side unscathed. He will probably be forced to sacrifice some of his bonds and then he will be left without recourse when the veterans take over. We heard John, on Redemption Island, mock the alliance of 5 guys so I don’t expect any of them to last to the very end but Vytas has received the biggest editorial investment so he should be the last of the 5 voted out. He is still a strong contender but his precarious position makes us back away from his chances to win at least for now.

Tina: Both her confessional and her Tribal Council intervention went directly to the theme of the season and the episode. She was the one wondering about Monica’s status as threat or asset and she told Jeff how much having a Loved One on the other side complicates what used to be an individual game. That tells us that Tina will be there for the long term. It seems that Tina needs “Blood” to beat “Water” though. Monica, Gervase and Tyson represent unknown threats right now and they could overtake the game. The story, up to now, has favored those that have been ready to break the Loved Ones connections, the ones that have made new connections but that would make for an incomplete story. I doubt that we are being told that Survivor is a game in which Loved Ones has no role to play so the pairs must certainly have their moment. The main question is how will the alliance of 5 react when joined by Vytas and Katie? Tina will certainly have a role to play at that moment and maybe it’s good that we know she loves Katie but is more interested in the competition. Tina could be the one to turn to the “Water” pairs, the Coconut Bandits and start playing the game individually before Katie gets the boot.

Tyson: He was the one shown talking to Aras when the vote was decided and we heard his appraisal of the whole tribe. His role as the “Coconut Bandit”, the single guy that wants to use the other singles to take over power from the pairs, is still unknown from his close allies so he can be a huge threat to the “Blood” connections. It will be quite interesting to see how he relates to Monica when Brad gets eliminated. Will he throw Aras under the bus? Will they wait for the right time to dethrone “King Aras”? With Gervase and Monica, he would be well served to let the King sit pretty for a while after the merge but will he be patient? Patience hasn’t been Tyson’s modus operandi in Survivor.

Aras: The question we have to ask is: Was Aras portrayed as a smart player or one that made a big mistake? I know many will see him as the smart player but then why were we shown that Laura trusted him completely? He had a vote in pocket and the episode told us that he simply threw it away. His reasons were questionable considering that John has shown greater skills at challenges than Brad. Did they need to send Laura there? It probably worried Kat unnecessarily and maybe it showed Gervase and Tina that he is there to play the game a bit too much. However, if Laura did beat Brad. like the “no room for two Lauras” comments suggested, then the move made by Aras looks great. Is he our winner? If Laura Morrett had been given a bigger role, I would have said that she was treated like a “Victim”, a player that had no chance to win against her tormentor, so that would look bad for Aras but Laura wasn’t edited to be well liked by the audience. Still, she played a big part in the “Blood versus Water” theme, the mom that had to let go of her daughter, a daughter that looked tragically frail but had spunk. I doubt that Aras won’t have to pay for dismissing an ally, one that would have fit in better in his alliance than any of the singles player.

So, it seems that the top contenders are Monica, Tina, Tyson and Aras but which will win? It's interesting that we can't really say yet even if I favor Tyson. Even Ciera and Vytas have roles that could carry them to victory but they are trailing far behind the top contenders in my mind. The merge looms just around the corner and it would be good to make a decision at that time so the next episodes will be crucial.

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Flowerpower 7262 desperate attention whore postings
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10-22-13, 10:02 PM (EST)
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48. "RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets"
LAST EDITED ON 10-23-13 AT 07:05 AM (EST)

Wow, Michel! That was certainly a stellar assessment of the events, dynamics and characters of the season. I have to say there is not much that I disagree with. Well done! I love it, and look forward to more! I did have a few additional thoughts, comments and observations as well.

The recap first started with underlining that the returning players were in control of the game and they were led by a majority of five, as we heard Aras say, "Five to the end!". Interesting to note that this was emphasized and spelled out 2 more times in this episode when Aras first noted his alliance, “me, Monica, Tina, Tyson and Gervase”, then later Tyson noted who the alliance was for him...”me, Aras, Gervase, Tina, and Monica".

But, the ONLY thing they have to worry about is watching their loved ones go home. This is telling, I agree, it sure looks as this is foreshadowing that a returnee will win.

Later, at RI we see Jiffy get defensive of Brad, noting that he gets "all" the blame when we hear him then say that things go from bad to worse as the Loved One's continue to NOT vote out the weakest link, Cierra, as it's emphasized that once more she sucked at the puzzle and let her mom beat her once again and landed in their 4th TC. The editors place all the blame on losing the challenges on her shoulders, the weakest link, yet, she continues to stay in the game while the stronger, Culpepper, are voted out.

Then we hear a confessional from Laura wanting Ciera to succeed but she is with a new group of people that are depending on me as well. This confessional is important and it cuts to the core of this episode.

The next scene in the recap noted Jiffy saying, the men planned to take out one of the girls, and we hear Vytas say, "I love Cierra, but she was worthless in that puzzle". But, Caleb caught wind of another plan, (we see Brad tell the girls that it's a no brainer). At TC, Caleb took the game into his own hands convincing Tadhana to vote out their leader, Brad. Jiffy ends the TC by noting that was one of the biggest shifts of power he has ever seen at TC. 13 remain...

At Camp Tadhana, we see them settle down and rehash the events, and we do see a snake! Immediately we see Caleb tell them he didn't mean to back them into a corner. Cierra does get a great confessional, and she let's us know that Vytas and Hayden were totally off guard and planning to vote her out when the tables turned. She asks Vytas if he was upset, and he does damage control and makes sure to tell her that he turned with the 2nd vote.

I constantly am amazed at how well and how hard Vytas is playing this game. He seems to be cultivating relationships with everyone, and he plays them well. He is very present in the game. If I had to catagorize him I would put him in with the group that is playing hard and fast, fwiw.

Cierra goes on with her confessional, So, If I can get Caleb to switch over to me and Katie, me and Katie have the numbers....when she says this the camera is focused on Hayden sitting right between Katie and Cierra....then she goes on to say, but either way, I am happy to be here another day.

With the spotlight on Hayden sitting right between the two girls, I have a feeling that it won't be Caleb that gives them numbers, but possibly Hayden. Or, perhaps Hayden will crush this plan somehow?

Then, we see Katie putting on her sock, noting how unbelievable that was, and hear someone say, "touchee". Then they ask if Caleb had it planned, and he notes it just festered and we get Caleb's conf: You know going into TC, I really don't feel good about Brad anymore, I'll never trust him again, so I just brought it out, and we get Vytas' remark, "It's a huge move, bro!", and Hayden's, "I don't even know what to say, I'm just blown away." Hayden then has a confessional: Caleb pulled a fast one and in doing so screwed me and Vytas. (See Caleb and then we see Hayden next to Cierra, and he says, "Crazy, crazy". He continues on in the confessional, I don't know if that means he's with the girls and Vytas and I are on the outs, I have no idea where I stand right now in the tribe....

And Vytas has the last words of the segment to Cierra: You never know what happens in this game, huh?, and Cierra responds, "You really don't!"

Vytas, imo, as I have stated before, is really playing this game. He is quick on his feet and tries to stay in the good graces of all of the peeps playing the game. Hayden, otoh, has a much slower or perhaps reserved reaction to the events at TC. He's a calculated thinker, it appears to me. And, I suppose that he is the more calculated, strategic player that is not quick to make premature moves. Will Hayden be left behind?

We then go to RI where Brad has a confessionals acknowledging Caleb's big move, and now he's nervous to meet up with John and Candice. He does it in an apologetic manner, waving the white flag, and admits "he didn't want it to end this way". Candice is happy he's there, while John is shocked, and feels a bit vindicated. Brad is just happy he won't be able to get abused at RI anymore....and I think, or will he?

Candice has the end confessional, on Survivor it's kill or be killed and he's on our island she will have her chance to put him out of the game for good....

Interesting choice of words from Candice, and, I did feel that after their little shout out to their RI paradise being something to savor with each other and something good to tell the kids later, spelled doom for both of them. I don't see either John or Candice making it back to the game...fwiw.

Next the camera cuts to night time at Galang. A very interesting shot to note occurs. We see them come back and Tyson goes to make fire, and they all CHEER as he makes the fire and he then stands illuminated by the roar of the fire against the black back drop of the night....we all know that fire is symbolic of life in this game, and Tyson resurrects it and is bathed in it!

Then we hear Aras oohing and ahhing as Laura M is straddling him from behind while giving him a very intense back/body rub. Then we see Laura B off to the side alone. Aras: Laura M, are you feeling knots anywhere?. Then an interesting camera focus on her wedding band as he asks this!!! Laura M responds, Yes, everywhere...

Laura M conf: In this game of Survivor, you need a group of people that you trust and you need to get people to like you. And, that's what I am trying to do.

See her massaging Aras' temples, and Aras says: "Thank you so much, this is so needed."

Laura M conf. continued: I like Aras and we like being around each other because we can just calm each other. I hope Aras has the same feeling and trust in me that I have in him.
Aras: "That feels so good!"
Laura to Aras: "Nice lats, nice shoulders"

Aras conf: I think Laura thinks she's playing me by cuddling up next to me. Couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not thinking, OK, thanks for flirting with me, now I'm gonna go ahead and keep you in my Alliance...

See Aras then tell her: "Oh thanks, it's just what I needed!"

Aras conf con'd: Right now essentially my core alliance is me, Monica, Tina, Tyson, and Gervase. They show Monica and Tina relaxing asleep, lying down, then a GREAT shot of Tyson and Gervase illuminated by the fire together, as Aras is seen much smaller behind them in the shelter...

I just get the feeling that Tyson and Gervase are going to outlast Aras in this game.

Aras continues: "There are 3 not in the 5: Kat, Larua B, and Laura M. I think Laura M, she's smart, perceptive, I think she knows that she's on the outs so she's doing whatever she can to get herself in the good graces of the people that can get her further int he game.." We continue to see Laura M ALL over Aras, massaging away...

Aras says to Laura M: Where'd you learn how to do this Laura?
Laura: I've been married for 20 years, matter of factly! I am reminded of how the first shots of the massage sequence began with a zoom in of her wedding band!

Next Laura B is shown all alone on the ground and has her confessional: Ahhh, night time at camp...all of the vets on this tribe have this unspoken bond, they've all done Survivor before, I have not.

Laura is isolating herself here, acknowledging that she is different, on the outs...NOT GOOD, imo. She continues, I'm still slowly getting to know everyone, then turns to Gervase and tells him that she has a blankie, blanket space, but he declines and says that he's we see her trying but not making the bonds she needs to, while Laura M on the other hand, is massaging away at Aras, and it appears that she is making a bond.

Laura B notes, I don't have that total emotional connection that they all have and I still feel like that outsider, that girl in town(?), it makes this game very difficult. Then we see her sleeping all by her lonesome outside of the shelter on the ground, but it's interesting because at the same time we can also see that Monica is also sleeping by herself outside of the shelter.

Then we see Laura M snuggling up to Aras.

So we see the two Laura's trying to bond in different ways. Is Laura B's entire conflict about how to integrate into the group? I don't see her as a long term player. The two Laura’s employ different strategies to get to where they want to go and are already set up as the boot choices.

On RI, Brad was voted out and we see Laura B reach over and stroke Monica's shoulder when she recognizes that Brad was the boot, as Laura M smiles and waves to Cierra. See Monica wipe tears and say, she's so sorry and offer to take his spot. He says she is never going to take his spot that he'll battle back, and he's not a jerk, and these guys already know it, Monica notes that her tribe knows it as well. WE have the duel and I also note how hard Kat is cheering for Brad to win. Candice loses and it's the hardest part, John feels really like a schmuck...these two are not destined to win the game, imo. Either of them, but I think that John is very good at puzzles -

When Galang returns to camp Monica thanks her tribe, and then notes that she knows that Brad will fight hard and work to get back and then they will scramble there way to the end together, then she assured Tina that what ever happens, it won't affect them, and then Tina's very astute confessional regarding now that Monica realizes her man isn't here to back her up, so she's either going to be an asset or a threat and she hasn't determined which one yet...very wise Tina. I loved that Tina notes this and I think it is a good sign for her longevity! And, michel is right when he noted that Tina is calculating and strategic and not playing fast and recklessly as perhaps some others are.

Next, we cut to Tadhana, and Cierra has a meaty confessional about the layers of the game of food, no shelter, no toothbrush, injuries and bug bites. Then she goes on to note Katie's rough feet and toenails. Vytas adds his two cents, then goes on to remark: if we keep losing, how do I align myself at this point? How is this going to shake out and how do I make sure I come out on the other side as unscathed as possible. Next we see him out in the boat with Caleb and he's smoozing Caleb...we then hear Vytas say that he loves Cierra, she’s such a spunky little girl....This is quite contradictory to what he implied last week right before writing her name down....”I love Cierra but she sucks at puzzles”... Now he is spinning it in a different way, to stay alive. I am reminded that Vytas says whatever he has to say or do to stay alive in this game, and I think he's darn good at it!

Caleb adds that he feels like she is like his little sister. Vytas in conf: There is no point in this game where anybody will ever be 100% with Caleb after what he did. Somebody that can turn on a dime like that, as Caleb did in Tribal Council, voting out Brad, is somebody that you have to really finesse and make sure that they feel OK emotionally. This makes me suspect that he's had a talk with Hayden and is seeing eye to eye with him, yet we see Vytas adapting and changing to stay ahead in the game, when we do not see Hayden. Bodes well for Vytas, imo. Vytas goes on...I can read people pretty well but I can’t get a read on Caleb, this quiet woodsman from Alabama. It’s important right now that I ensure Caleb is still with me so of course I’m trying to be nice to Caleb. And we see Vytas smoozing with Caleb as he has noted he will in his confessional. I think Vytas is on top of it!

Then Caleb has his confessional: After blindsiding Brad, I am in a position to where I can swing to the girls or I can swing to the guys. Do I feel powerful now? I think the word I heard is Big Kahuna! I think I hold a lot of power with my vote. It’s good to be the swing vote.

The kiss of death for me. Caleb is being extremely arrogant and I think it will spell his demise. We all know what happens to swing voters and self-proclaimed "big Kahuna's!"

We then cut to Vytas doing yoga on the mountain top as it overlooks the expanse of the ocean, with the accompanying music and undertones as well. And, his confessional: Since we voted Brad, it’s been so peaceful. It’s just a different energy around camp. I like hearing nature, I like enjoying this lagoon and Brad, a lot of the noise he came with, kinda polluted it. Just enjoying this peace and quiet is great, man! I’m never been anywhere more beautiful.

WOW, this really reminds me most of Earl as they climbed to the summit in Fiji, and he had his king of the island moment. I can't help but wonder if the adaptable, quick on his feet, intensely focused Vytas may just have a shot at winning the whole thing? He sure did have a stellar first episode showing him working hard on relationships with all the members of his tribe! But, michel brings up a good point as well, he could be the "coach" character, the one that does the yoga in the scenic spotlights of Survivor. Regardless, both made it all the way to the end!

Then, we see all of the tribe on top of the mountain, while Hayden is heard wondering about the team chemistry post Brad, and Vytas says they need to win, then Cierra worries that if they lose she could be in trouble again. To win THIS challenge would just be sweet and perfect timing! Cut to Challenge...

When Jiffy takes back the idol, we see Cierra in the shot. Tadhana finally wins the challenge, and Hayden finally pulls one out and beats Gervase. Things I noted at the challenge, when Hayden first lost to Tyson, we see Kat cheering and jumping up and down. (I am reminded what she said in confessional in the first episode that she just wanted to beat him...) The two brothers go up against each other, Aras says at the top of the slides, this is awesome! Vytas wins. When Caleb beats Tyson, we hear Cierra say, “Caleb, you are the best, man!” as she high fives him! When they win, a really big group hug, and we hear Cierra say, “thank-you, Jesus!”
They choose the steak dinners.... Jiffy reminds them they are choosing to feed themselves tonight instead of feeding themselves for the rest of the game, underlining a bad decision.

Back at Galang, Aras is still thinking about the steaks...and we have Laura B worrying about her first TC, and it could be me. Then she starts trouble with Kat, and Kat recognizes that she is at the bottom.

Then we get Tyson’s confessional about his alliance of five, his alliance is “me, Aras, Gervase, Tina, and Monica...we are a solid alliance of five, and Kat, she thinks she’s in that alliance of 5. So, we can vote out someone who’s really annoying, and that’s Laura B.

Then we see Aras and Laura M out on the boat. We don’t talk alot of strategy, let’s do it, Laura B. Done. Then Aras talks about how easy votes can be dumb votes. Then we see him talking Tyson into it...If Brad should lose on RI, Monica would be a wonderful asset to have, if Brad is out, Monica is ours.

I can’t help notice that Aras uses the same terminology that Tina used in her earlier confessional when they talk about Monica being an “asset” to them. It makes me think that Tina and Aras reached an earlier consensus and are both directing the boot, but Tina is not shown at all instigating this, while Aras is doing all the dirty work. It also tells me that Tina and Aras are closer together than Aras and Tyson. Aras also notes as they leave for TC that he has to be careful because people know that I am playing this game, so the more I try to manipulate the vote, the more danger I put myself in.

We see Laura M proceed to be blindsided at TC, and she leaves without a word. I have a feeling with her demise at the hands of her tribe, that they have not seen the last of her. So far, I like Laura M’s chance of returning to the game over anyone currently on RI.

So, with this episode we have some characters whose stock is rising: Tina, Tyson, Gervase, (Note that Tyson has some confessionals but I don't think that Gervase had any, but I count the shots of them seen together and in such good light as a good sign!), Cierra, and Vytas.

Those who cannot be counted out yet...Aras, Hayden, Monica, Laura M.

And finally those who I don't think have much stock: Laura B, Kat, Caleb, Katie, John, Brad

PS. I love that you are thinking ahead, michel.That you noted that clearly Aras will get the blame for plotting the demise of Brad via Laura M which will indeed turn Monica into a threat to Aras. Should Laura M make it back into the game she will also put the blame solely on Aras' well-massaged shoulders as well. This was exactly what he was hoping to avoid. I also think that confessional that Laura M had at the beginning of the show was key, she wanted Cierra to succeed but she was with a new group of people now. This spells out that Aras indeed made a critical mistake, imo. I don't think he will outlast this season, fwiw. Furthermore, the confessional that Aras had about being careful not to play too hard and manipulate the vote too much will indeed come to fruition, could he have spelled his own demise?

**I came back to read what I had written and decided I had just realized something. To me, this episode really sets up a nice parallel between Vytas and Aras playing along with Hayden and Tina. Vytas and Aras are playing and smoozing (Caleb and Laura M) and it appears that they have had conversations previously conspiring with Hayden and Tina. Vytas and Aras are the outfront guys, the ones that are doing the dirty work, while I suspect Hayden and Tina appear to be the silent partners, pushing the buttons and planting the so-called seeds? A nice contrast! Also interesting to note that Tina and Hayden have both WON their games. I have to question, who's playing who? Food for thought.

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michel 10948 desperate attention whore postings
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10-23-13, 05:15 PM (EST)
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49. "RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets"
It's great to read your thoughts, FP! You always help me see things a little differently, put some things more in focus or make me have some scary, scary thoughts...

The picture you featured:

That could very well be a preview of Tyson and Gervase sitting on stumps and facing the jury BUT...there is an empty space between the two. So, is that when Gervase remembers Laura B's offer and gets her to sit next to him? I wrote that Laura didn't have much end game hints but that could have been right in front of us.

Like you said, we saw how the 2 Lauras tried to bond and while Mrs Boneham seemed much more gauche, she is the one that "succeeded". Morrett is out and Rupert's Laura is still there. I fear that it could be Laura's time. Fortunately, she is super annoying so she wouldn't get the votes. I'm thinking she could be that F3 goat.

On less scary notes, I really liked your Aras/Vytas - Tina/Hayden parallel. The swap may help us see how members of each pair deal with the other.

You are right, that scene of Vytas doing Yoga was great and he could be Earl. His role is really hard to pin down, isn't it? Part Villain, part hero; I really wonder where he's heading. Interesting how the most complete edit isn't the most visible one for once.

The next scene of Tadhana sitting on Vytas' hill is a good sign for the tribe and we shouldn't dismiss them even if it seems a returning player will win. It will probably turn out to be the last image we have of Original Tadhana because tonight's episode will most likely start in Galang and we could then go immediately to RI. If this was our last look at Tadhana then it was meant to tell us that despite their near Ulonging they weren't that bad a group of people. Since Vytas and Cierra had confessionals during that last scene we do have to consider that their stock is rising.

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Flowerpower 7262 desperate attention whore postings
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10-23-13, 07:33 PM (EST)
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50. "RE: Episode 5 - Threats and Assets"
OMG, michel....You make a good point about Laura Boneham becoming quite a nice goat to take to the end. Her story really took a different turn this week with them pointing out how annoying she was. I'm not quite ready to count Laura M out yet though either. And, if she gets back, it will be interesting to see how she settles back in to the mix...

I am thoroughly enjoying this twist on the season so far, and I look forward to the thread next week!

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10-26-13, 03:08 PM (EST)
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51. "Episode 6 - Earning Trust:"
Previously on Survivor, the returning players had dominated their loved ones…
<Tyson forcefully chopping a coconut, Monica, Aras and Laura shown first and then we saw the Tadhana 5 on top of the hill with Ciera telling us that they were beat up>
…sending them to Tribal Council week after week.
But, after 13 days, the Loved Ones finally won a challenge.

Back at camp, Laura B was the easy target but Aras had bigger plans.
<We heard Aras’ plan for beating Brad and turning Monica into an asset>

At Tribal Council, Galang went with Aras and took out one of their strongest competitors hoping Laura M can beat Brad at Redemption Island’s next “duel”.

Will Galang get back to winning (Camera straight on Aras) or will voting out Laura M backfire?

t’s rare that a recap asks such a direct question. So rare that we have to presume that it will backfire. After all Galang didn’t get back to winning and, considering their line-up, they probably won’t next time either. But Aras is now on Tadhana so the question isn’t precise. The move would backfire if it turns against him, not Galang.

Earning Trust

Galang – Night 13

A woman asked Laura about her first Tribal Council. Laura said she was sad that someone left but glad it wasn’t her.

Laura in confessional: “I’m back! I’m back home. It wasn’t me. My name was written but but we all had a unanimous vote to vote out Laura M tonight. Rupert gave up his game to let me play. He’s going to be so proud of me.”

Kat asked if Laura M. looked at anyone.
Aras told her: “She looked me dead in the eye like: “You’re a jerk”. Why did I look at her? I wanted to see her expression. I was curious.”

Aras (solo): “Laura M. looked me dead in the eye when she realized it was her. She was very angry. I’ve got my fingers crossed that she will take the noble approach to Redemption Arena but, unfortunately, Redemption Arena has become the place to besmirch people’s character. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m the ringleader and that’s never a good thing. You never want to be at the top. I don’t know how to get out of that position. I’m in it, put one foot in front of the other, thread carefully I suppose.”

Just then, a snake was shown, suggesting Aras will find it difficult to move forward.His fears about RI won’t materialize since we didn’t hear Laura besmirching his character but the glances exchanged showed that it wasn’t over.

Galang – Day 14

The next morning, the snake was awake along with Tyson and Gervase who were talking about Aras, Tyson asking if Gervase would write his name down if they lost again before Aras could team up with Vytas. The two were on the same page.

Tyson gave a confessional: “I really do like Aras, he’s a great guy, he’s funny. He’s a little out there on his Zen-type beliefs because I just have zero beliefs except for magic. I believe in magic; it’s awesome.” (Aras is seen meditating) “But, people like Aras. They do. That’s the tricky part: When to dethrone King Aras?”

It really comes down to whether or not Tyson will be successful. Editing can go equally well in the two opposite directions. Some viewers will say that Tyson is too sure of himself so he’ll fail. Others will feel that Tyson is shown as the mastermind so he’ll succeed. Which is it? Let’s listen to some more of the story before deciding.

Gervase (solo): “Right now, Aras is the leader here, he’s kinda running the show. Tyson has brought up some good points that we may only have one more challenge left before this merger” (Ha! Merger! It’s too bad that the original noun has been dropped for “merge”.) “That’s going to be our last chance to get rid of Aras.”

Since they didn’t get rid of Aras in this episode, it seems that they missed their last chance. Perversely, it makes me think that they will succeed!

After Tyson told him they were in this together, Gervase went on: “I absolutely screwed up in my season being a chess piece and that won’t happen this time. Just to be looked at as a player who played it twice but didn’t play; it would kill me more than anything. I think the power couple here is my and Tyson.”

The Coconut Bandits continue to play a big role in this story. We are following along as they have fun with this game. Gervase’s honest assessment of his first season leads us to believe that he will find a way to show that he can play this game. There are no greater moves for a chess piece than to “kill” the king.

Challenge Arena

Ciera shed some tears when she realized that her mom had been voted out.
Jeff commented meanly that Ciera, the rookie, survived 4 Tribal Councils but that Laura didn’t survive one.
Ciera told him that she had a weird feeling all day. “I kinda knew.”
Laura wasn’t surprised that her baby felt it beforehand.
When Jeff presented the possibility of switching places, Laura was quick to interrupt: “There’s no way she’s swapping with me. No way in hell…I got this.”

The challenge consisted of putting in order tiles numbered 1 to 100. That’s right: On Survivor solving puzzles is now reduced to being able to count to 100. I guess they really wanted to give Brad a shot! Unfortunately for him, they forgot to remove the balance beam and that’s where Laura won it.

I noticed that every time Ciera said: “Good job, Mom” or Jeff praised Laura, the camera showed a unhappy Aras. I wonder if he was starting to realize that there was a flaw in his strategy: If Laura beats Brad, Laura could reenter the game and we know how she’d vote! In fact, her confidence now has me thinking that she will reenter the game. It’s weird to think that considering how meager her role had been up to now but she could grow into the role of returning player easily with one or two more scenes showing her determination.

Jeff asked Brad how Survivor compared to the NFL. We only heard Brad say that he had more of an advantage in Football.
His answer was cut probably because he was going to point to flaws in this game.

To Monica, Brad quite nicely said: “I came on here as a shield but, through my fault or no fault of my own, I probably became an anchor. You’re free; wind’s blowin’. Sail.”

As he left, Monica gave us a confessional: “I’m going to have to do this all by myself. Now, that I don’t have Brad anymore to soften whatever blows or to help me out or to have my back, I have to think about me. That’s it.”

Asked to give out the clue, Laura looked hard at Aras and told Jeff to give it to Vytas. Like Monica before him, Vytas threw the clue in the fire.

That tells us that, contrary to some suggestions last week, the clue is tossed in the fire because it is given publicly, not because of the different mentalities of old-school and new school players. I’m even more convinced now that the tribal swap was a last minute addition. By burning the clues, the players showed they felt secure but a swap makes everyone feel a little less secure.
If this is true then we have to marvel once more at how a “random” distribution managed to get such a desired result: Vytas must have irked production by once more burning their clue so he wound up in the most precarious position of all. I’m not saying that it was rigged because I have no idea how Probst could have pulled it off but I am saying that he has to be a magician. (Unlike Tyson, I don’t believe in magic: There’s always a trick but we simply don’t see it.)

When Jeff announced the swap, we saw Tina’s smile, Laura’s shock and an eagle took flight.
Is this the first time we see that eagle? If so then it would mean that the swap is a signal: Someone’s game is taking off. But which player? Is it Monica who gave the confessional about doing it on her own? Or is it Tina who saw the swap bring her daughter back?

Jeff approached the tribes with the new buffs but Tyson said: “Can I take mine last, Jeff? I’ll let fate decide where I’m at.”
Jeff said: “Sure, Tyson. Tyson wants to go last. Tyson will let fate decide.”

Isn’t that a great quote to put on the air if Tyson turns out to be the winner? He trusted fate and it will bring him victory. But then, Tyson has no beliefs. This would make him a believer!

Galang’s new line-up consisted of Tina, Monica, Laura, Kat, Katie and Vytas while Tadhana had Ciera, Caleb, Hayden, Tyson, Aras and Gervase.
Asked about being the only Tadhana woman, Ciera said: “It can either be a really great thing or a really bad thing. We’ll find out.”

Because of her substantial role up to now, I think it is safe to say that this was a good thing for Ciera but just how good?

Katie was excited to be with her mom, to have Vytas with her and to meet the other tribe members. Vytas said that, being a ladies’ man, this was the perfect place for him.

Aras had a confessional inserted just when everyone was leaving: “I’ve worked really hard for the first 14 days of this game and a tribe switch puts all that in jeopardy. I hope I have enough people on my side with this switch that I am not on the chopping block.”

It’s quite interesting to note that not a word was said about Brad’s elimination. Aras just witnessed his move paying off because Laura eliminated Brad just like he wanted. I’ll suggest that we didn’t hear about the plan’s success because it won’t work in the long run. It will backfire and Aras will come to regret sending Laura to Redemption Island when she comes back and contributes to his elimination. If Aras was our winner then this would have been one of his key moves so we probably would have been reminded that he got just what he was looking for.

We went first to Tadhana which suggest that the “Tribe of Interest” may have changed, that the winner is now on the red tribe’s beach.

The old Galang players were impressed with the shelter and the beach.
Caleb had a confessional: “Coming back from Redemption Island with three new tribe mates is a little different. You don’t know what to expect. Now, it’s three, three. It evens the playing field over here. If we were to lose a challenge and go to Tribal Council, are we three going to stick together? Are they going to stick together? What information are they going to give you about what went on over there? How much information are we going to share about what went on over here?”

Gervase also gave us a confessional: “As soon as we got here, we started to do some fishing to find out what was going on in their tribe. I don’t know if Tadhana realized that that was what we were doing but they started giving up the goods.”

It was then Tyson’s turn: “Hayden and Caleb gave the clue to the hidden immunity idol to me. Is it because they are just new guys here or they haven’t played the game before? I don’t know. Stupid will be stupid.”

Putting these three confessionals back-to-back isn’t very good for Caleb: He knew giving up information was dangerous but Gervase told us he did so anyway. Tyson even named him specifically before calling them stupid.
I was particularly impressed by Tyson’s wording: Hayden and Caleb revealed the clue to everyone, not just Tyson. Showing the part of Tyson’s confessional where he says they gave HIM the clue could be a hint that he will find the idol. In fact, this confessional could have been given later on; AFTER he actually finds the idol. Picture Tyson with the idol in his pocket and asked by the interviewer how he found it? Tyson would say: “Hayden and Caleb gave the clue to the hidden immunity idol to ME” just like he did now. At that moment, there would be no need to say “gave the clue…to US” because he’d be the one that found it. There’s also another thing: Tyson was wearing his buff on his head when he heard about the clue but he had it tied around his left leg when he gave the confessional. Granted, it doesn’t take time to take off the buff but it could very well be that the confessional was given at an entirely different time. We’ll see, but it looks good for Tyson to come up with that idol in the next episode.

It was time for lunch and Hayden had this to say in confessional: “Three big dudes show up at our house and they start going through the cupboards…eating our food. At the back of my mind, I’m saying: That’s my stuff, dude. I want to smack their hands and say: Find your own food. You can’t do that.”

Tyson had a counter confessional which was accompanied with music well suited for his mischievous behavior: “There are social faux-pas to the game of Survivor and one of them is eating more food than everybody else. If you come in and act like everybody cracks open a coconut whenever they want, everybody just eats a banana whenever they want, it doesn’t have to be fair. It’s definitely a goal to eat and steal as much food as I can from this tribe and I’m going to keep on eating that food till it’s gone. You do have to do a certain amount of work or appear to be working so that people just don’t paint you as the lazy guy. I don’t think I am painted as a lazy guy yet because, after I crack open a coconut and drink half of it, I pass it around to the other 5 people to share. So, that’s kind of generous of me to do.”

Hayden didn’t look amused when Tyson told everyone that he would hit the food like a one-man wrecking ball.

We are certainly getting into Tyson’s head and seeing the game from his perspective. Some will say that he is too visible to be the winner, that he is simply a distraction, used for his entertainment value. I see more to it than that because we heard Tyson say that people fail when they take this game too seriously. Also, while Hayden didn’t like what he saw, he never mentioned Tyson specifically. He was unhappy because of the invasion of the “three big dudes”.

Galang – Day 14

After the hugs, Tina had a confessional: “Oh! My goodness. It’s so wonderful to have Katie. This is a dream come true. That first night, I thought this might be the only night that she and I spend together and here we are together again. To be able to play this game with her and us play as a team is just wonderful. Now you switch: I’ve been playing water, now I can play “Blood”.”

Vytas also had a confessional: “I was really disappointed with what happened. I came from a place where I was pretty much in control of my destiny to a place where I have zero control. You can say that 2 of us came into a group of 4 but it isn’t that simple because one of us that came over is the daughter of one of the four. If you count Katie with Tina, there’s me and there’s five girls. I’m the odd man out.”

Right then, Monica was telling Kat and Tina to have the original Galangs stick together. This led to a confessional by Kat: “I’m in an alliance with Tina Monica, Laura B. and Katie but Monica will not stop strategizing and she is driving me crazy. When you have an alliance, don’t over-strategize. All that does is put heat on your back. You want to learn how to play Survivor? Shut it!”

The irony here is that Kat will soon be the one that over-strategizes and puts heat on her own back. Contrary to what we saw in Tadhana, the Galang scene served mostly to set up the upcoming boot. Since we will be returning to that same story later, we have to look carefully at Tina’s confessional because it was the only one that extends past this episode. If Tina is now starting to play “Blood”, we can say that it won’t start very well for her. Will she get her focus back?

Tadhana – Day 14

We got back to them just in time for another meal. Tyson was joking around, saying that Aras always does whatever he wants and that he isn’t with him.

In confessional, Tyson explained his tactic: “Before the tribe swap, Gervase and I had decided that getting rid of Aras might be a wise move so now I make it look like he is bossing everybody around taking charge and doing whatever he wants. You know, I will apologize for him constantly. I was like sorry about Aras. He kind of doesn’t know, he is socially unaware and make sure people know that, between him and I, he’s the one in charge. I came out here to play and I have to use my brain so hopefully the target will be a bit smaller on me and maybe a little bit larger on Aras. I have to do everything I can to get to day 39.”

To which school of thought do you adhere? Either you see that Tyson is too big for his britches and is heading for a fall or you feel that Tyson is doing everything he can to make it to day 39. It could swing either way but I note that Aras wasn’t given a confessional to say how he feels about Tadhana. His story remained stuck at the challenge arena and it left when Laura made her exit. I seems the editors are telling us that Aras will be left behind and are encouraging us to board Tyson’s bandwagon.

Galang – Day 16 (It seems nothing happened on day 15)

The birds were flying in a group again but there was one lone Blue Heron also taking flight just when Kat was attempting to say a prayer before a meal.

Vytas (who has to be represented by that Heron) in confessional: “It’s me and five women on the new Galang tribe. There’s not a lot of play for me coming in here. Basically, these women have bonded and so I’m at the mercy of them. I don’t know that much about women but I do know that when I am a little bit vulnerable with women, it goes a long way. So me, opening up and letting them know a little bit about my past could keep me around.”

Vytas is really in Chris’ position after the merger in Vanuatu. He is certainly less abrasive about his ability to fool women than Chris but no less effective.

Laura told us what she thought of Vytas; story: “Hearing Vytas admit that he had a really hard time with his heroin addiction was very powerful. That’s a neat part of a man that can share his emotions and his feelings. It reminds me of Rupert. I love Vytas, I feel connected to him already but I’ve got to keep my heart out of it. I like him a lot but Vytas and Aras, you know, could take this whole game.”

Most of the viewers that don’t think Tyson is the winner will have Vytas as their choice. He does have a compelling story and, just like in the first episode, he showed us that he masters the ability to gain trust. This episode came down to the theme so it is very tempting to see Vytas as the eventual winner. However, note that the editors chose a rookie to tell us that, as much as she likes Vytas, she knows she has to keep her heart out of it. That should tell us that Vytas’ act won’t fool veterans like Tyson, Gervase, Tina and Monica. I feel like he will make a deep run but will end up short of the finals.

The Challenge

The team composition alone told us that Tadhana would have a big advantage during the race to retrieve puzzle pieces but that advantage was multiplied when, on the first leg, Tina and Laura B “forgot the most important part of this challenge.” It was a “huge catastrophe” but Tina and Monica made a big comeback during the puzzle. Tyson and Aras took a long time on it, opening the door for Galang who thought they had it but they weren’t right. Tina and Monica made corrections and celebrated a second time but they still didn’t have it right. When Tyson put in the last piece, Jeff made the call: “Tadhana wins immunity.”

Like I said above, if this serves as an indication on how Tina plays “Blood”, we have to predict that she will blindsided at some point. The look she gave to the puzzle when Jeff said it was wrong was the same we’d see if Jeff turns over a parchment to eliminate her.

Galang – Scrambling before Tribal Council

The eagle was flying high again but the clouds were coming in, the waves looked dangerous and we heard a sorrowful chant.

Vytas gave a confessional: “On the inside, I am so frustrated with Tina and Laura B. I would have never made a mistake like that. I should have gone first, something should have happened different but I can’t act out on that.” We heard Tina’s apology and Vytas added: “It took everything in me to not let them know how I actually felt about the mistake they made because being the man in the midst of only women, whatever they choose to do is going to go down. If I go home because they want me to go home; there’s nothing I can do.”

Tina’s apology: “If it’s me tonight, I don’t blame you, if it’s somebody else, I feel horrible guilt because I feel partly responsible…”

Next we saw Monica and Vytas going into the ocean while we heard Kat giving a confessional: “We are going to eliminate Vytas tonight but, the more I think about it, what we need to do is take out the person that won’t stop talking. Monica can’t stop talking. Every single time I catch her, she is always strategizing. When you look like you are over-strategizing in front of your alliance that’s when you get in trouble and I am about to kick you out of this game if you don’t stop talking.”

Tending the fire, Kat asked for Tina’s opinion. Tina said she wanted to keep the girls strong. Kat was all for it except “sometimes Monica makes me really worried and I feel we should vote out Monica instead of Vytas.”

Tina told Kat that she was worried because it could be all guys on the other side.
In confessional, Tina said: “We all know why it’s a good idea to stay with the plan, with all the girls stick together and get rid of the guy. Well Kat’s already want to switch that up and send Monica home. So, Kat’s loyalty isn’t as strong and that is information that needs to be out there for everybody to know.”

With Vytas present, Tina told Monica that Kat wanted her out.

Monica (solo): “I was totally on board that it would be Vytas but if I’m hearing that Kat is gunning for me, I need to do what’s best for Monica.” Monica asked Kat about her conversation with Tina. Kat denied everything. The confessional continued: “I know that my name’s been thrown out there, I asked her to tell me the truth and she won’t. If somebody is gunning for me…it doesn’t make sense to keep them around.”

Kat had a confessional to say she knew her back was up against the wall.

Monica had another confessional: “I teach my kids: Do onto others as you would want them to do onto you but, on Survivor I figured it out: It’s do onto others before they do onto you.”
She went to everyone about eliminating Kat.
Tina had the last confessional before TC: “We have to make a decision tonight: Who does it make sense to send, Kat or Vytas? I think it’s a good idea to stay with the plan which is to vote for Vytas but Kat’s loyalty? I’m not so sure about that. Who should go? Honestly, it is a coin toss , it is 50/50.”

It was a pretty straightforward set-up for the vote with very little manipulation. The only interesting moment came from Laura B. who said she was happy it wasn’t her when Kat told her to vote against Vytas. Besides that moment and the two players that received votes, the important players were once again Monica and Tina. The way it was presented, Tina gathered the information and Monica acted on it.

Tribal Council.

Asked about the switch and who didn’t get along, Kat said that she and Monica had a talk that didn’t go as well as she thought it would.
Monica said the conversation was about trust issues.
Kat was already trying to change the inevitable, saying she loved these girls and wanted to stay together after the merge.
Vytas told Jeff that Kat was going to write his name down but he had good relationships with everyone.
Kat said she had all the girls’ back and that she wanted to stay.
Vytas told Jeff it was obvious that Kat had made some mistakes in building trust but that hadn’t made any.
Tina told Jeff that it was more difficult for her because of Katie. She added: “I have to make my decision based on what I feel is going to get me further tonight and possibly in the future.”
Vytas said all he could do is be himself and hope they like it.
Asked for her “final words”, Kat said she loved them all.

Despite one vote against “Vetus”, Kat was sent to enjoy the ambiance at Redemption Island.

Jeff ended it by saying: “You don’t get trust by asking for it, you got to earn it. If you want to win this game and you haven’t started earning trust, you better get to it right now.”

The Story

Since Jeff put it so directly in his final words to the players, we have to assume that the winner is being presented as a player that earned trust or is working hard to get it. Can we separate the players into those that have shown that they’ve earned trust and those that haven’t? We don’t have the best position to know exactly what is going on in the game on such a deep level but the story has given us a lot of material to use.

Besides that theme, we have an extremely interesting situation that I’m not sure everyone sees: Despite constantly hearing that the returning players have dominated their Loved Ones, we are now down to 5 returning players facing off against 6 Loved Ones!!! Of course, that excludes Redemption Island but it’s fascinating how the choice of words can obscure such an evidence. The main problem for the Loved Ones is that two of their own have become pawns to the Veterans but still, if the Veterans continue to dominate the game this way then there won’t be any of them left at the end! To paraphrase a famous saying: A veteran is a wolf to a veteran.

The Characters

The Redemption Island Crew
One challenge loss away from elimination, it’s not really necessary to get too deeply involved in these players’ roles at this time.
We feel confident in saying that Kat won’t have any impact besides making us laugh (I loved her line about people not making the merger being undatable!) but it gets trickier after that. John’s story seemed promising but then we had this whole new storyline involving Laura, Ciera and Aras. There seems enough substance to this new story to make us think it will have a payoff somewhere down the line. That only happens if Laura reenters the game. Her confidence will be something to consider when she does.
(By the way, there were no hints of a merger happening this week so maybe we will go down to ten before it happens. If we do then we could have two players returning to the game. That would avoid the immediate U-turn for at least one of them. We’ll see what happens.)

These players have big Trust Issues

- Caleb: He was only used to set up the new Tadhana scene yet that was enough for us to hear that he is a stupid player. We won’t forget that Vytas told us that no one will trust Caleb 100% from now on so we can say that he won’t make it to the end.

- Aras: We heard Ciera say that she knew her mother had been the player eliminated from Galang so it isn’t a stretch to assume she understood that Aras was responsible for it when Laura looked hard at him and gave the clue to Vytas. Aras lost a lot of the hard earned trust he had worked to gain for the first 14 days. Like he said, people now know that he is playing the game so that should also mean a loss of trust from his former allies. Aras didn’t give us a confessional after arriving at Tadhana so we feel like his story was stuck in the past. We saw that Tyson and Gervase are already on his case, planning to dethrone him and Tyson told us exactly how he will do it.
Aras either has one of the biggest underdog stories shaping up or King Aras will have a big fall. Which side do you favor? I have to go for the fall because we didn’t hear any of his future plans, only the futile hope of avoiding the chopping block. We heard that one player already thinks he’s a jerk but Laura didn’t air her dirty laundry at RI. We have to expect it will come back to haunt him at some point.

- Monica: Her issues weren’t as blatant as the first two but Kat told us that Monica was acting like an untrustworthy player. On the surface, Kat was right to say that when you have an alliance and a plan then talking to everyone sows distrust. Going to talk to Vytas in the ocean could only serve one of two purposes from Kat’s perspective: Either Monica was making new plans or she was being friendly in an attempt to put the blame on others.
This is the episode where Monica said “I’m going to have to do this all by myself” and she proceeded to put a target on her back. At least she was successful in getting rid of the player that put the target there but these things leave marks and what Kat felt, the others saw also.

- Hayden: Who trusts Hayden? Not Ciera because he voted against her. Certainly not any of the three big dudes because he did nothing to be friendly. We saw his angry expressions when they helped themselves to his food so, while we have no idea if they saw it too, the editing suggests strong frictions between them. Of course, Hayden still has Vytas but Vytas is making new plans, trying to get out of it unscathed. We were left with the impression that Vytas wouldn’t hesitate one second about sacrificing Hayden if it secured his position in the game.
While Hayden didn’t make big mistakes that would have cost him the trust of all the others, we always see him one step removed from the group, suggesting he is not really melting in. It was even apparent in the first few episodes when the 5 guys were solid. At the time it suggested he’d betray the men’s alliance but now we see it meant he was unable to give trust which is the best way to earn trust.

Trusted…like the good pawns they are

- Laura: She is starting to get a role as the one using Vecepia’s “anyone but me” strategy. From episode 1, we heard Laura say that she has to get people to accept her. That means she has been working to earn trust and she has succeeded enough that she has outlasted three veterans now. I am truly scared that her remark to Gervase (where she reminded him that she has an open spot right besides her) will pay off: When it comes to filling the third spot in front of the jury, Gervase will remember her offer and get her to come alongside. Gervase doesn’t want to be someone’s pawn again but I’m sure Laura wouldn’t mind if it means a seat in the F3.

- Katie: It’s never a good sign when a young adult goes back to live with mom and it sure didn’t help Katie’s story this week. I’ll wait to see if a showmance evolves but, sticking to this episode, it’s evident that Katie serves only as a second vote for Tina. If she does make the F3 it could only be with Tina and/or Vytas and she’d obviously lose to both so let’s disregard her.

The Trusted Players.
These are our Contenders for the Title of Sole Survivor.

- Tina: It is quite evident that everyone likes Tina and trusts her. That’s why she was part of the 5 person alliance from the start and that’s why Kat felt she could tell her about her plans regarding Monica. She is Galang’s Dawn with no emotional baggage. Actually, she was without emotional baggage because it felt like Katie’s “return home” changed all that. Tina was fine playing “water” but playing “Blood” is proving problematic. Her intervention at Tribal Council was almost off-topic and could have warned her allies not to trust her anymore. She still has a good place in Galang because Monica felt safe enough to come to her in order to reverse Kat’s plan but I feel that we will see the same shocked expression she gave Jeff at the challenge in a future Tribal Council.

- Gervase: There is obviously trust and complicity between Gervase and Tyson and it should serve him well. Since Tyson is presented as the schemer, it’s possible that Gervase will be the “Amber” to Tyson’s “Rob” except for the fact that Gervase doesn’t want to be seen as the chess piece but as the player. That wish could attract more blame than praise because it wouldn’t be as expected coming from him as it would coming from Tyson.

-Ciera: By necessity, the apron has been cut and Ciera has to play without Laura at least for now. Like Vytas in episode one, she found a way to get some trust by telling her life story and we heard that she is well liked and has spunk, good signs for her chances to win it all. Getting this close to the merger, it seems like she is safe in the new Tadhana line-up. First of all, they will be the favorites to win any type of challenge that Jeff brings up and, even if they lose, she should avoid the vote because of the impending “War of the Big Dudes”. Veterans are already cannibalizing each other and that won’t stop with a merger. If it really turns out that man is a wolf to man than this little fox could just win the whole thing.

- Vytas: What an interesting character he turned out to be. His predicament reminded us of Chris in Vanuatu and he managed to outlast one woman. Will he do like Chris and use that one break to crush the women’s alliance? It seems that he won’t be able to survive a second Tribal Council because there are no cracks in the 4 remaining women. At least not yet. Will Galang get back to winning? That was Jeff’s question at the start of the episode and Galang lost. They seem destined to lose again but stranger things have happened. Many players voted out just before the merge received great edits (BJ, Amy, Dan) so it could explain Vytas’ importance. If he does make the merger, we will have to rethink the way we are reading this story because he does have the right stuff.

-Tyson: The game is being presented from Tyson’s point of view much like it was with Boston Rob or JT. There is certainly the possibility that Tyson is due for a big fall but we are being encouraged to jump on his bandwagon. Not only do we follow his strategy but we also hear about the fun he is having in the game much like we heard about Rob’s “Royal Treatment: game. The Coconut Bandits’ capers are presented in such a way as to make us enjoy the ride. Before the season started, I said that Tyson’s main problem playing Survivor was is lack of focus: He falls in love with the Villain’s character so much that he forgets the real goal. Are we seeing the same thing here? I don’t think so because we heard him say he will do anything to make it to day 39. Who could beat him if he makes it there?
Of all the contenders, I have to say that Tyson looks like the one that will be Sole Survivor.

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10-29-13, 03:29 PM (EST)
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52. "RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-29-13 AT 03:33 PM (EST)

The recap posed a question...

From day one, the returnees dominated the Loved Ones, sending them to TC week after week, but after 13 days the LO's finally won a challenge. Back at camp Laura B was the easy target, but Aras had bigger plans, and wanted Laura M. Galang went with Laura M hoping she could beat Brad at RI. Will Galang get back to winning or will voting out Laura M backfire?

We know that at the end of the show that Galang did NOT get back to winning, therefore since the question was posed as an either/or scenario, I presume that voting out Laura M will indeed backfire. When it does backfire, it will backfire solely on Aras, as he gets ALL the credit for the boot of Laura M...(no sign of Tina even though it appeared to me last week that she had indeed conspired with Aras regarding his boot choice. We didn't see Tina doing anything to lobby for a Laura M boot, only Aras.)

At Galang, Laura B has the first confessional and it's about how happy she was that it wasn't her, noting how proud Rupert will be of her. If this is all she wants, Rupert's pride in her, then she's acheived it and she can go now. Not a good sign for Laura B.

Then Aras notes that Laura did look at him, and he realizes that she was very angry, and that he realizes that it appears that he is the ringleader. He notes that at RI it seems that people besmirch others character...he knows that he's in trouble if Laura M comes back and I think this is classic foreshadowing. I believe that Laura M will come back...and, I agree, the snake lurking after the confessional is an exclamation point to his fears.

Then the next morning at Galang we cut to the snake himself...Tyson, and his partner in crime, Garvase. Tyson and Gervase have gone to the beach to conspire and Tyson notes that they will soon be merging, wondering if they will only have one more TC before the merge. If so, it would be a good time to consider getting Aras out. He tells him that while he really likes Aras, if he makes it past the merge he'll reunite with his brother, Vytas, then consider me a big threat. He is pointing out that his first loyalty will be to his brother. Gervase agrees.

Tyson then in confessional notes how well Aras is liked, and that the tricky part is when to dethrone him...

Then we see the snake again....Tyson is the snake that will foil Aras' game?

I think this confessional shows great game play on Tyson's part. Clearly you can see that Tyson is the thinker, and the strategizer. He is playing the game hard, yet we see how much fun he's having along the way. I just can't help but compare him to a Boston Rob type of character. Boston Rob had fun on every season he played, and his tribe had fun right along with him, but he's always thinking and he's not taking his eye off the prize. I think this bodes very well for Tyson and by aligning with him, Gervase.

Gervase had an enlightening confessional noting that he thinks the new power couple is he and Tyson, and I agree. He also noted how he was just a "chess peice" in his first season and that he really wants to play this time....this is a great sign, shows that he's learned and matured and will now adjust his game to get to the end. Tyson and Gervase are setting themselves up to go head to head with Aras and Vytas. Note that we do not see any thoughts from Aras or Vytas on getting back together with their loved one and moving forward from there. So, it makes me think that when the two pairs meet up, and I believe that they will, or it seems to me that they most likely will, that Aras and Vytas may be blindsided. But, moving further, while the couple will be blindsided, will the remaining single of the pair learn and adapt, and will Tyson and Gervase underestimate the power of one? Food for thought.

Cut to RI and the Tadhana tribe when they first notice that Laura M was voted out. We see Vytas, the social schmoozer and most likely to win Mr. Congeniality, reach over and squeeze Cierra's shoulder.

We see Laura M mouth, "I love you" as she walks past Cierra. Jiffy calls out Cierra lasting after 4 TC's and outlasting her mother, Cierra notes she had a bad feeling, and then Jiffy offers that swap and Laura responds, NO way you are swapping, baby, I got this!

I can't help but to notice that Laura M and Cierra have such a tight bond as well, and that if they get reunited, they would be a power couple as well, perhaps? One that is not quite so blatant...

Jiffy goes on to explain the challenge and during the challenge we have lots of cheers. I agree that Aras was shown when Jiffy praised Laura, but it validates that Aras' rationale was dead on. He chose to boot Laura M in the hopes that she could beat Brad, and she does so efficiently and effectively, but I agree, it's like it is dawning on him that this is going to lead to another problem down the road that will indeed spell trouble for him. So, as michel noted early in the season when you compare those that are playing too hard, too fast in comparison with those that are playing cautiously and calculatingly, Aras is shown to be playing the game too quickly and not thinking through all of the ramifications of his actions, in contrast to Tyson and Gervase who are thinking steps ahead....

Brad had a nice goodbye, setting Monica free which was immediately followed with Monica's confessional that now she is on her own and must just think about me. Solidly she is now with the singles...? Then Laura give the clue to Vytas who promptly goes to burn it...

We have the swap and Tyson tells Jiffy that he wants to draw last because he wants to let fate determine where he will be. Jiffy repeats this statement, and they draw...Interesting that Tyson said it, and Jiffy repeated it, underlining letting fate determine the outcome....hmmmm?

We see that Katie is now with her mother, while Vytas is the odd man out, but since he fancies himself a ladies man, he never skips a beat. Again, I repeat, Vytas is on top of the social game, imo.

Cierra is asked a similar question as she is the only woman left at Tadhana, and she answers matter of factly, it either is or it isn't...I am beginning to see Cierra as the master pawn in this game. And, I must admit, she's really getting good at it!

I also feel with Jiffy calling these two out as the most in danger as being the lone male and female on their respective tribes that this is MISDIRECTON...I think both of them will survive at least until the merge, fwiw.

Aras has the last confessional: I have worked really hard the first 14 days, I hope I have enough people on my side so I am not on the chopping block.

Leaving us thinking that Aras could just indeed be on the chopping block soon, question is, how soon. Clearly, his story arc is underway! It's not a matter of if he will be booted, it's just a matter of when at this point.

Cut to Aras and company arriving at Camp Tadhana...

Welcome to Tadhana guys! See a lizard...This ain't bad, it looks real good, we sleep on the beach, this is way cooler than ours, says Tyson. Caleb says, this evens the playing field, we are 3- 3 if we go to TC will they stick together, will we? Tyson, Aras, and Gervase.. ask all about the dynamics, what was really going on in their tribe, Gervase says, I don't know if they knew we were fishing, but Caleb and Cierra gave us everything...The Tadhana tribe just told them EVERYTHING...I was shocked how naiive the old Tadhana's were....boy, the returnees looked so far above the old Tadhana's regarding how to play this game.

We even hear them telling them what the HII clue said, I can't believe it and I agree with Tyson, who got the confessional:

Hayden and Caleb gave the clue to the hidden immunity idol to me. Is it because they are just new guys here or they haven’t played the game before? I don’t know. Stupid will be stupid.

I agree with michel that this confessional bodes very well for Tyson and finding the HII! Still couldn't believe that they did that, and clearly it made them look "stupid", which bodes poorly for them, or at least for "Hayden and Caleb". I love that you noted they gave the clue to "me"...I agree, sounds like it could be a confessional from the future!

Then we get the confessionals from Hayden expressing how frustrating it is that he has to sit there and watch those "three big dudes" eating all of his "stuff"....and that he cannot do anything about it.

I think if Hayden doesn't start paying attention to those three big dudes they are going to take the whole game away from him...

Tyson tells us about the one faux pas regarding survivor is to not eat too much food, but he's eating as much as he can...making it look like he's working and sharing. An inside eye into Tyson's train of thought...

At Galang we see them arrive and they all hug. Tina has conf:this is so wonderful to have Katie, to be able to play with her as a team, it's just wonderful, I've been playing water and now I can play blood

In contrast to the elation that Tina feels regarding her now playing with her daughter we get a confessional from Vytas who is very disappointed with the new tribes...
I am so disappointed, I was in a place with every thing under control now I am the odd man out...

Next we see Monica and Kat talking then we get a confessional from Kat about how she wants Monica to stop talking so much and over-strategizing and to just shut it, or else!

Then over at Tadhana, we hear Cierra ask the guys if they are hungry. We get a very meaty confessional from Tyson: Before the tribe swap me and Gervase thought getting rid of Aras may be a good move, but now, we make sure people know that between him and I, he is the one in charge...I am out here to play and I have to use my brain, hopefully it will take the target off of me and put it on Aras, I have to do every thing I can to make it 39 days.

Another quote that could possibly be taken as a serious end game quote. I agree.

Cut to commercial, then Galang. We hear Kat blessing something or another. Then we get Vytas' take on the situation, and it's a very accurate one...

It's me and 5 women, these women have bonded so I am at their mercy...I don't know that much about women, but I am a little bit vulnerable with I will open up and tell them about my past and he tells them about his jail time, he was so scared.

Then we get a confessional from Laura B: Hearing Vytas admit that he had a hard time with the Heroin addiction, is so wonderful. That's a neat part of a man that can share his emotions, reminds me of Rupert.

Vytas continues talking to them, when I got out and started getting clean, Aras had so much resentment because I wasn't there, I had abandoned him, and so for the last 13 yrs it's us trying to get our relationship back, Aras is so good, physically amazing, he's wonderful...they say don't sell yourself short. So Vytas is working his social magic on all the women and doing it so well.

BUT, there is one women there that sees right through Vytas...Laura B says, I like Vytas alot, but Vytas and Aras could take this whole game. So, now that Laura is on to them, will Vytas work his magic and turn the tables on her?

Next we cut to the challenge, Jiffy explains it. On his go we see Aras and Gervase race out to retrieve their fish trap along with Tina and Laura B. Tina and Laura B don't retrieve it, and return and have to go back and do it again costing the team gravely. While Laura B was there and accountable, interesting that Tina received the blame from Jiffy, (Tina would love to make up for the huge, costly mistake she made at the beginning!) and she accepted all the blame on return to the tribe. Also interesting to note that Jiffy called out Gervase, doing better than on day one, which shows Gervase is adapting and growing with his game, boding well for him. Jiffy made sure to call out that Vytas had made up alot of ground, focusing on his worth to the all girl tribe.

At the puzzle portion the girls thought they had the right puzzle twice, but they were wrong, while the boys plugged away and won it. I was personally shocked that the women really almost won the thing! Perhaps the message is don't discount the women!

As Jiffy notes the winners we see Tina and Kat...someone will be voted out and sent to RI, see Vytas first, then Kat and Katie.. Interesting that Kat was seen twice...

When they return back to Galang:

Vytas: On the inside I am so frustrated with Tina and Laura b, I should have gone first, but I can't act out on that...

Tina tells them, it was my fault, I understand if it's me going home...thank you for your mercy and your grace

Vytas in conf: because being a man in the midst of all these women, there is nothing that I can do..

But, Vytas is working his we have the Kat vs Monica conflict. Kat asks Tina if they could consider voting out Monica, and Tina wants to stick with the plan, the other tribe could be all guys. But, now she can't trust Kat's loyalty. Tina tells Monica, Monica goes to Kat to ask her about it, Kat denies, denies, denies, so Monica must do what she has to do, and that's to eliminate Kat. Vytas' magic is worthy, imo.

Jiffy's final words: You don’t get trust by asking for it, you got to earn it. If you want to win this game and you haven’t started earning trust, you better get to it right now.

So who has earned trust or who is working hard to earn it in this game so far:

Tyson, Gervase, Tina, and Vytas.

Who has blatantly been untrustworthy? Aras, Caleb

All others in the middle: Cierra, Katie, Hayden, Laura B, and I choose to put Monica here...while Kat didn't trust her, and you point out that others in the tribe probably had some doubts as well, but Monica was firmly with Tina regarding getting Vytas out, but pointed out that Kat was the disloyal one, and noting that if she is willing to go against the group now, how can we trust her later...And, couple this with her confessional that she must do it alone now...

Hayden to me is a lost soul. He doesn't know who to trust, and it was he that pointed out that Brad was untrustworthy by wanting to get a male alliance mate out before the women as this promoted distrust moving forward. But, he was true to his word and in the end voted Cierra, which gets him no where...

Great assessments as always, michel. I agree, Tyson indeed looks to have the inside edit at this point in the game. Gervase will also be with him, but it will be interesting to see who else makes it? Tina? Vytas?

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10-29-13, 08:39 PM (EST)
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53. "RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust:"
Great comments, FP. We are both on Aras leaving early...I hope we are right but I cannot help but feel that there is too much doubt put on his chances. If Monica and Tina kept Vytas, it's probably because they want to team up with him and Vytas. Tina couldn't afford to boot Vytas because that would have made her part of the only pair left intact. I'm pretty sure that was what she was talking about when she made that heedless comment at TC.

As soon as I start thinking that Aras could possibly Outlast Tyson and Gervase, I read your quote where Vytas says he abandoned Aras and think that is exactly how it will happen: After the merge, Vytas could very well abandon Aras once more.

The pre-merge has been very predictable but it's fun to see that it can go in many different directions from now on.

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54. "RE: Episode 6 - Earning Trust:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-29-13 AT 10:13 PM (EST)

If Monica and Tina kept Vytas, it's probably because they want to team up with him and Vytas. Tina couldn't afford to boot Vytas because that would have made her part of the only pair left intact.

You raise some good points, michel. I was certain that once Vytas got over to Galang with Tina and Monica that they would tell are safe with us, Aras is our core alliance, but we saw nothing of that at all. I don't know if we saw what Kat saw, from her vantage point, or if it really didn't go on that way. I have to admit that I was very perplexed.

One thing is for certain, Aras' arc is in full swing. With Gervase and Tyson seemingly as the "power couple", certainly there is great doubt as to the longevity of Aras' game. And, now Tyson is working his new tribe hard, and they are votes in his pocket, whereas Tina and Monica and Katie by default will most likely not choose to vote out Aras. Tyson has 5 sure votes against Aras. Aras has Tina, Monica, Katie, Vytas. Laura B is the crap shoot.

It will be really interesting when it goes down. Perhaps Vytas will see that he and Aras have to be "dealt" with, and so he figures he would rather be the one that stays, rather than the one that goes, so he indeed flips...I don't know, but it is interesting spec.

Clearly, next week the Galang's will go back to TC, so more than likely the merge will come next. We can't forget if Laura M comes back into the mix at the merge, than she will more than likely tell Monica that Aras was the mastermind in her boot and his sole purpose was to prevent Brad from coming back in. Then Monica would be likely to flip? Laura M playing with Cierra and company will be fun to watch...I am sure that Aras will try to fluff over the boot any way that he can. If Aras can navigate his way to the end from here, I would definitely award him as sole survivor!

The preview vidcaps are touting the brothers...

Announcer: And...two brothers on opposite tribes.
Aras <camera confessional>: We have a really dominate position in the game.
Tyson: They've been the most dangerous couple in the game since day one.
Announcer: Will this power duo be the next casualty?

I can't help but think this immediate blurb is misdirection, but it is indeed spelling out a soon to be resolved conflict, imo.

**ETA: Just saw a new commercial that is touting brother against brother, Aras vs. Vytas. Their conflict was the entire commercial, Vytas got the last words....I have to beat him at something....Not a good sign at all for one of them. I would bet this conflict may come to fruition not this week but possibly next at the rate they are exploiting it/them!

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55. "Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
Once more, Jeff told us that the Returning players were in control of the game but a surprise switch shook things up, leaving Ciera as the only woman on Tadhana and Vytas the only man on Galang.

On the new Tadhana, Tyson and Gervase went to work on tarnishing Aras’ image.
<Gervase: “Way to cut away the shade, Aras.”
Tyson: “You’re just digging yourself in deeper, Aras.”>

While at the new Galang, the plan was obvious…
<Monica to Kat: “It would be, maybe, Vytas?”
Kat: “Vytas because he is not a girl.”>
..but after Galang lost the immunity challenge, Kat was caught turning on her alliance.
<Monica: “If Kat’s gunning for me, I have to do what’s best for Monica.”>

At Tribal Council, she made one final plea but in the end, her betrayal was too much to overlook.

The recap reminded us that Ciera and Vytas are important to the story. However, it was quite noticeable that Vytas’ social game wasn’t featured. The vote was totally presented as being Kat’s own fault while Vytas finding a way to the women’s hearts didn’t play a role despite what we saw last week. Of course, it could be that the recap didn’t want to make Vytas appear too safe for tonight’s vote but it still feels that an opportunity was missed to underline Vytas’ social skills.
On Tadhana, two things were remarkable: Jeff distributed the blame evenly between Gervase and Tyson. Last week, the confessionals showed that Tyson was much more actively working on tarnishing Aras’ image but now it appears more like a shared mission. Also, there is the choice of words. “Went to work” is a much more positive way to describe Tyson and Gervase’s actions than what we could have heard. Jeff could have said “used dirty tactics to hurt Aras” or maybe “took cheap shots at Aras”. The viewers are left to consider that Tyson and Gervase are playing smartly and within the “ethics” of the game.

Looking Out For Number One.

Redemption Island – Night 16

The initial segment was entirely devoted to Kat. Since she’s no longer part of the game, it’s pointless to look at the way she was edited. We can almost jump ahead to the challenge because none of this affected the story of Survivor.

I’ll just point out that the first thing Kat was heard saying when she approached RI’s shelter was: “At least I didn’t cry”. Then, the next morning while sitting on the beach, she cried in front of all the viewers. She shed more tears at the arena.
Kat did have the episode’s title quote when she said “Vytas swooped in for the kill.”

Hayden told Jeff that his relation with Kat was more important than the game…but he didn’t take her place. They agreed he had a better chance of winning the game and Kat said that no one had a bad thing to say about Hayden, that he is a good player and an honorable person.
(Those are actually things that make someone a threat on Survivor!)

I noted that Tyson and Monica joined Hayden in encouraging Kat.
Aras offered some comfort to Ciera who was the only one pulling for her mom.
John had no fans so he received only timid “golf claps” when he won.
Laura started looking at John’s completed puzzle, upsetting Kat who accused her of cheating. Jeff corrected her, saying that looking over was perfectly fine.
All the women of Galang then told Kat to look over at Laura’s puzzle, trying to help her win. Gervase started describing the shape of the pieces that Kat needed.
There wasn’t a single clap accompanying Laura’s finish; we only saw Ciera’s relief.

John told Jeff to give the clue to Monica and she put it in the fire once more.

I wonder if there was really no applause when Laura finished her puzzle or if the sound was simply turned off. It seems that there had to be some claps even if they weren’t heartfelt. It reinforces our impression that Laura will return to the game because it gives no indication on how Laura will be received. From our perspective, everyone except Ciera is against her. However, with Kat gone, Hayden, Tyson and Gervase shouldn’t have a problem getting her on their side and she should prove useful in their fight against Aras.

Tadhana – Day 17

We saw Tyson giving a hug to Hayden, saying that he had been there himself.
Hayden’s confessional started here. In camp, we saw Tyson telling everyone that it was harder than they figured but they just had to win and go in with huge numbers.
Aras added: “I know Vytas will come with us.”

Hayden’s confessional: “I feel responsible…I feel guilt and responsible because Kat is a little naïve sometimes…I was in a position to help her but I didn’t do it…With Kat being gone, you do feel a little bit of relief because I can play my game. I don’t have to worry about somebody else; I’m only looking out for me now. I can play a little bit more cut-throat if I have to. I think it can strengthen my relationship with this tribe because the majority of the tribe over here, they don’t have loved ones. It’s one more thing that we all have in common. Except Aras.”

When Hayden said he only had to look out for himself, the camera showed a close-up of Aras who, contrary to Hayden, is looking at playing with his Loved One. I really think that is why we heard Vytas’ story a few times: Vytas abandoned Aras once before so maybe he will abandon him in this game also. Making things worse, this was the moment that showed Aras going out on his own to meditate, leaving the single players alone to conspire.

Despite the sunny day, the editors inserted the image of clouds moving in before we joined Aras on the hill where he was meditating and giving a confessional in voice-over: “I couldn’t have asked for a better situation when I came here than to have two of the people that I was really, really tight with, Gervase and Tyson, to come on over to this side. Obviously, Vytas is my core partner at the end of the day. When we get back together, I feel we have a really dominant position in the game. I just need to let go, listen, be intuitive and I will be guided to the right places. Every day when I meditate, I visualize Jeff’s voice saying: The winner of Survivor - Blood versus Water: Aras. I do my best to just trust that I am being taken care of.”

This confessional ended once more with the image of clouds superimposing themselves on Aras’ face. Maybe he is visualizing Jeff at the reunion but, symbolically, his vision is clouded. We were going to hear how Tadhana planned to “take care” of Aras so letting us hear right at this moment that Aras considers that Vytas is his core partner validates Tyson’s words.

Tyson: “Are you guys ready for this? We could be going to merge by tomorrow and I don’t know whose name you hear most out of Aras’ mouth? Maybe you can guess: His brother. All he wants to do is get to Vytas. That’s a problem for me. They have been the most dangerous couple in the game since day 1 and they are one of the only couples still left in the game. (a rattling sound was heard just then and Ciera was shown) We have to take out Aras or Vytas sooner than later.”
Gervase reinforced the idea: “His final 4 already has two spots taken: Him and Vytas. There are only two other spots in the Final 4.”
Tyson: “The merge is going to happen soon. If we stick together, we can get to the end; no problem. I’m telling you know: I will stick with all you guys to the Final 5, 100%. My word.”

Ciera had a confessional: “I was really shocked that it was Tyson that proposed the plan. He seemed very close with Aras. But, on the same hand; Tyson’s smart. Something right now we all have in common is that we know we can trust each other because we don’t have anyone over there that we trust more.”

Tyson then asked if everyone was cool with the five so that they could have smooth sailing.
Caleb and Hayden both said they were solid with that.
Tyson concluded: “We have to have each other’s back. I am very happy.”

Tyson in confessional: “Aras was playing a good game at first but everyone else is recognizing his main motivation right now which is get to Vytas and then take control of the game. Meditate all day long if that’s what you need. I think he is getting really comfortable (the camera showed Aras deep in thoughts, looking indeed very comfortable) that plays right in to my game plan.”

We are right back to the same question we had last week: Do you think that Aras is painted as the underdog that will prevail or is Tyson going to outlast Aras? I think that we now have all the material we need to say that Tyson will succeed. Aras isn’t shown as a smart player anymore, going off on his own and hoping others will take care of him. Instead, we have lots of moments for Tyson to explain his whole strategy and no one contradicts him, no one says: “That idiot, Tyson.” When we heard the rattling sound after Tyson mentioned one of the last couples left and we saw Ciera, I was expecting Ciera to say something like: “if Tyson is going after couples, I have to worry because I want mom to make it back”. On the contrary, we heard her praising his intellect. We don’t hear Caleb or Hayden in rebuttal confessionals. The viewers could think that they aren’t afraid of Aras giving Vytas a spot in the F4 because Caleb and Hayden are part of Vytas’ Final 3 but we heard them say that they are solid with Tyson’s F5. If viewers thought that Aras was in good shape because all the doubts were being placed on him, now the picture has gotten clearer: The doubts are actually on Tyson’s plan working because Aras and Vytas are staying in the game and will both make the merger.

Galang- Day 18

We are halfway through the episode and this is our first look at this tribe. The kooky melody even showed that this scene wasn’t to be taken too seriously. New Galang is probably not the victor’s tribe.

Vytas and Katie were waking up on the beach which made Tina very happy.
(If I heard it right, Tina said: “Good morning, princess” so it was funny to hear Vytas’ manly voice answering: “Good morning to you too!”)

Tina had a confessional: “Even though he’s not part of our alliance, I’ve really come to like Vytas. He’s been through the school of hard knocks and lots of time when people get knocked down, they pick themselves back up and they are a whole new person. I would be honored if he took an interest in Katie just because he seems like a straight up guy. However the guy that gets Katie is going to have to hit her over the head with a club and drag her into his cave because Katie is not a very flirtatious girl. But, one can dream: I am ready for grand-babies.”

Matchmaking? Is this really the Outback’s Benedict Tina? No it isn’t because this Tina is playing “Blood” not “Water”, messing up the goal of her game completely.

Vytas had a confessional: “The tribe swap was tough being the one guy with a bunch of girls but yoga has taught me a lot about dealing with the feminine energy…I have a feeling I have an idea of what’s going to help ingratiate me in the tribe more. In my experience, women love a bad boy but what they like even more than a bad boy is a newly reformed bad boy. I am putting forward the part of me that I want these women to see. I’m a likable person, I am a trustworthy guy. It’s all very calculated but it’s working.”

He was telling Tina and Monica that he had trouble with the dishonesty of the game, that he was such a trusting person.
Laura (solo): “Vytas: He’s a wonderful man…Coming into this game, one of my insecurities was my social game…I’m kind of a quiet girl that’s slowly coming out of my shell and I am coming more at peace with where I am in the game. I like Vytas but he is a threat so I am willing to stick with the girls if that is what the consensus is.”

I think that beyond setting up the vote, we are being told that Vytas underestimates the women. He thinks he knows how to fool them into trusting him but we keep seeing that he isn’t really succeeding. He is still their target and, while he will stay safe once more, we saw that it wasn’t through his own actions. Like Kat before her, Laura will soon get herself voted out.

Galang – Day 18

We saw the army of ants once more.

Katie and Tina brought in tree mail which led to a confessional by Vytas: “Going into a challenge with two women in their forties, one woman in her fifties against a tribe of five strong dudes and a girl is tough. We are underdogs no matter how the cookie crumbles in this case. I’m not getting my hopes too high.”

This goes back to the “One armed dude and three mothers” episode where we figured that the players shouldn’t underestimate the women. Vytas was talking about the challenge but maybe we should interpret his words another way: He shouldn’t get his hopes of winning the game too high.

Tina asked the women what would happen if they lost. They agreed it would have to be Vytas so they had to win.
Laura pretty much repeated her previous confessional while Tina was seen behind a cloud of smoke which, on Survivor, often pictures a player lost in the fogs of war.

The Challenge

Ciera sat out for Tadhana

Some comments to consider:
“Caleb trying to get out, he’s tied up behind Monica. Vytas has got his brother Aras tied up. Monica is blocking Aras, she’s not letting him through. Aras cannot get through. Vytas has gotten him tied up.”
“Tina falls short again, in the dirt.”
In the end, it was very close between Tina and Tyson but the one armed dude won it for Tadhana.

If any of Jeff’s words can be seen as foreshadowing the end game then the least we can say is that it doesn’t look good for Caleb and Aras, who will be all tied up, or Tina who will fall short.

We finally had a reward scene and it showed Tadhana racing towards the picnic table.
Hayden had a confessional: “I started off the game with a four game losing streak in challenges and that sucked. Now, we’re on a roll. Tadhana can’t be stopped right now. I feel great and the future is bright.”

After telling everyone that they can do whatever they want, Tyson had a confessional: “I didn’t need this reward at all. I don’t think I’ve gone to bed hungry one night since I’ve been here. We’ve been eating rice like crazy. I’ve convinced everyone that eating maximum amounts of rice is the proper strategy and everyone seems to just agree. I’m a three time veteran of this game so of course what I say is going to be right.”

Their thoughts turned to the other tribe, Tyson saying he didn’t know who was in charge because the Kat vote baffled him. Hayden thought Vytas was safe but admitted he was wrong when he thought that Kat was safe.

It was probably not the best thing to hear that Tyson isn’t suffering from the rigors of the game but it showed that he even had a strategy when it came to food. We certainly see that it has been working so what he says has to be considered right.


The five of them were huddled when Laura turned to Vytas and said: “I respect you so much…but we’ve decided the four girls that you are the next one to go.”
She went to give him a hug as if that would be comforting. Even Katie was rolling her eyes at such a rookie mistake. Laura went on to say that he was a threat but he was so wonderful that a blindside wouldn’t be fair.
She should have realized that no one was jumping in to confirm the decision or even offering words of comfort to Vytas.

Laura had a confessional: “Vytas is the odd man out…It was really hard for me but I feel that I did take the bull by the horn by taking more of a leadership position in the tribe. I may have put a target on my back but, hopefully, I’ll get some respect out of this and the women will look up to me a little.”

We saw Monica going to the well with Katie and heard her confessional: “I am flabbergasted. Ha! Ha! I mean, Survivor 101: Don’t you meet with your alliance before you make an executive decision to tell someone that they are going home? This morning, I felt like I could trust Laura B but now? I just don’t know. Blindsides are terrible and I’ve been a victim of one too but this game is built on trust.”

Tina also had a confessional: “The plan was to vote out Vytas. You know, we are getting down to the nutcracking…He’s a threat just because everyone seems to like him. However, Laura B is unpredictable and that makes me nervous.”

Vytas was in the ocean with Tina when he asked if it was his time. She told him that she didn’t think so, adding: “I think that it could be Laura B.”
After thanking Tina, Vytas had a confessional: “When Laura B told me it was my turn tonight, for a moment I thought that I was screwed but Tina is telling me that Laura is going home. It would be super easy for them to write my name down on the parchment tonight but I feel like I’ve done my due diligence when it comes to building trust with these women. It’s not going to be me tonight. Here’ the deal: It’s like a pride alliance: Females are in control but they always need an alpha male to keep around otherwise there is no future for the pride.”

It’s very interesting to hear the way Vytas phrased his position in the game considering the abundance of alpha males that will soon come together. Will the females retain control and if so, which male will they choose? Are we back to one dude and three moms going to the end? If so, I suspect it won’t be Vytas who is already a target but Tyson. Due diligence would have required one more step from Vytas: He should have taken onto account that Laura was right, that he was their target up to that moment. The women didn’t base their vote on trust but on predictability.

Hearing her mom talk about the repercussions of both choices, Katie had a long overdue confessional: “Tonight, we have to make a tough decision. In my head, I think it’s very smart if we get rid of Vytas because, at some point, you have to think long term and if he makes it to the final Tribal Council, it would be difficult to beat him. But, at the same time, Laura B, she’s sort of the wild card. She makes these decisions without consulting anyone and, to keep someone like that? That could hit the fan and explode right back in my face. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen but whatever goes down, it’s not going to be pretty.”

Katie talking about Vytas making the Final TC will encourage his fans and it opens the possibility that he outlasts many of the other alpha males but it’s much too early to consider it as a clear indication that he makes it to the end. We even heard Katie say that they will be thinking long term “at some point” so we are still confident in our assessment that this is only a reprieve for Vytas.

Tribal Council

If Laura had been to enough of these, she’d realize immediately that she was in the hot seat instead of Vytas. Production is so predictable.

Immediately, Laura told Jeff that they are four girls in the tribe so she took it upon herself to let Vytas know he was going.
Vytas said it was discouraging to hear but he was trustworthy. “To get that kind of news? It didn’t feel good.”
Monica agreed with Jeff that it was risky to let someone know, adding we “might want to talk about it first.”
Katie told Jeff she agreed with Monica and that they were all taken aback.
Vytas defended his cause by saying: “It doesn’t matter how many girls you have. It matters how many trustworthy people you have.”
Tina told Jeff that Vytas was a lot like his brother, that he reeked of honesty and sincerity. She added: “Could they be fooling you? Absolutely. This is Survivor. But, if you were going on instinct, that’s what you would feel.”
Vytas told Jeff that his story would come down to the swap if he was voted out, that Aras would still be proud of him but bummed that he was out.
Laura told Jeff that a reason she wanted to vote for Vytas is because of his bond with Aras who won before.
<That seemed to set alarms in Tina’s mind>
Laura told Jeff that her story would be mostly of trying to fit in, letting people know who she is.
Tina said she does like making friends, that it is part of the joy she takes out of a hard game.
Before Jeff sent them to vote, Vytas said the vote should come down to trust.

We heard Vytas voting confessional: “It was a neat speech you gave to me but it should have been switched around.”

Vytas was laughing when Laura made the walk of shame.
Jeff’s last word was a hard reminder: “Every time you open your mouth, you risk saying something that will get you voted out.”

The Story

Despite all the twists introduced this season, we have been constantly reminded that this is still the same game. Playing too hard, too fast has proven to be wrong while making solid alliances and earning trust have worked very well. While we wondered for a while if the theme would favor players playing with their Loved Ones, the point was clearly made that Survivor is an individual game, that it is easier to make the cut-throat decisions playing only for yourself.
What if they are wrong? The premiere left us with the impression that players had to balance compassion with competition. That theme doesn’t exactly fit with a season ending by telling us that Survivor is truly an individual game.
Looking back at the premiere, the three rookies that we noticed talking before their partners, Hayden, Ciera and Vytas, have indeed grown into big roles. That tells us we shouldn’t forget about the hints we picked up in that first episode.
One thing is sure: The Veterans will need all their tricks to come out on top despite the fact that they have dominated the game so far.

The Characters

We now know that the player returning to the game will be either one of the Lauras or John. On a side note, it was fun to see that we were right, that there would have to be a place for two Lauras on Redemption Island! Letting us hear them both have the same reflexion while voting for each other meant that they had to join up again. There really wasn’t any other way it could have come down. Now, truly, there is only place for one Laura and, as it should always be, it will come down to determination…mostly. We’ve seen this challenge before (Was production hoping that Candice would make it here? She did well twice before in this same challenge.) As Yul explained, elephants don’t climb on trees so holding on to a pole favors someone light with small feet. It makes us feel good about our prediction that Laura Morrett will make it back even if we didn’t see her (or John) on RI this week.
Laura Boneham’s last words told us that she won’t align with the women so that could be a set-up for her return but it seems too little too late. Hearing her say at TC that Rupert will be proud of her sounded like her last chapter was already written.

Tina: By showing her playing matchmaker instead of Survivor, we should say that Tina has lost all chances of winning the game but her story could still be about adapting to these new circumstances. Playing “blood” has distracted her but she is in such a safe position right now that there is time to show us how she will evolve into someone that can handle this new type of game. If the morale of the season isn’t that Survivor is an individual game then Tina really stands out as the player that is conflicted between compassion and the competition. If the females regain control of the game after the merger we know she will have adapted but will she win or will she celebrate too early? The images of that challenge could come back to haunt her.

Caleb: While he was the star of one episode, Caleb has reversed to anonymity. We have nothing to add to our previous assessment because the story doesn’t include him anymore. Just like we heard in the challenge, Caleb’s story is boxed in.

Katie: A simple tag-along, at least she had a confessional but it told us that a showmance isn’t in the works because she wanted to vote against Vytas. It was a bit disappointing to hear that Ciera didn’t even mention Katie when she talked about having no one on the other side that she trusts more. Still, if the women do regain control, we should see the two Tadhana women reunite.

Aras: “I do my best to just trust that I am being taken care of.” That is probably the worst quote possible for someone that had been playing well enough to be considered for the win. Letting us hear that Vytas is his core partner even excused Tyson and Gervase, legitimizing their plan to boot him before the most dangerous couple in the game unite. The editing had prepared us for this reunion but now we know for sure that it will happen. Therefore, the doubts weren’t on Aras chances but rather on whether or not Tyson and Gervase can succeed. On the surface, we hear that Aras and Vytas will now dominate the game, that it is too late to stop them but there is much more brewing below the surface.

Vytas: His wonderful story continues and it should get him many votes for fan favorite (although fans of Big Brother will be stuffing the box for Hayden) but can it get him the win? While everyone loves Vytas and we are reminded that he would be a huge threat, we see that Vytas is much too sure of himself. While he talks a big game, saying he knows how to ingratiate himself with women, we immediately hear the same women say that they still want to vote him out. Vytas sees himself as the alpha male that will guide the pride to a good future but his own pride blinds him to the fact that he isn’t trusted. He said that the vote should be based on trustworthiness but Tina’s words to Jeff showed that they are well aware that his honesty and sincerity are only a ruse.
Jeff’s final words always have importance (and if they don’t, the editors make sure it seems like they do!) so it should be remembered that Vytas keeps talking too much at Tribal Council. Kat and Laura didn’t stand a chance so his interventions sounded a lot like overkill. At the very least, it told everyone that he is very eloquent so he shouldn’t be given a chance to make it to the end.

Ciera: Her edit is really remarkable because it can go in so many different directions. Will she simply be a follower in Tyson’s 5? Will her spunk lead her to new allies? Will she convince Katie to leave her mother so that they can use the rookies’ numbers against the veterans? Will she get her mom in Tyson’s 5?

So many things are left unsaid, the most notable one being that she hasn’t given us a confessional about her mother being on Redemption Island. We did hear her talk about it with Jeff in the arena and the swap overshadowed her own situation once she returned to the game but it still felt like something was missing. Laura won’t want to go with Aras but Ciera might tell her that Tyson is gunning for couples. Their safest option could be the Galang women where Ciera would rejoin Katie and Laura can come to terms with Tina and Monica who had nothing to do with her elimination. Yet, we hear nothing of these possibilities. Maybe Ciera’s mom doesn’t return to the game but it feels more like building the suspense, making us wonder where they will go? The most likely scenario is that Laura joins Tyson’s five for at least one vote. If so then Aras is in real trouble.

Gervase: He is simply the passenger sitting besides Tyson, the player with his hands on the wheel. Not only that but he is already getting part of the blame for working against Aras. We heard him give a real solid argument in favor of Tyson’s proposal so he is still a factor in the story. That argument was about the Final 4 so Gervase clearly has the end game in mind which tells us he should make it there.

Hayden: His first confessional went directly to the theme of the season and how Survivor is still best played individually. The thing about Hayden though is that we never hear his plan. His second confessional at the reward was only narration about the tribe’s situation. While receiving the narrator role indicates that he isn’t in immediate danger, it gives him no end game connections. There was a perfect occasion to let us in on his thoughts when Gervase said that Aras already had one spot taken in his Final 4. Hayden must have talked about this in a confessional but it wasn’t considered useful to the story.

Monica: She is the one that talked most often about looking out for what is best for Monica. Does that make her the top candidate? Some will say yes but we heard that she has trust issues. She booted Kat and Laura because she didn’t trust them but their confessionals told us that they were much less dangerous than Vytas. We have to conclude that Monica will look in the wrong direction, that her trust issue will guide her to players that aren’t going to help her.

Tyson: He is clearly given the role of mastermind this season. We hear his thoughts and the players tell us that he is smart so there is no doubt that Tyson will make it deep into the game. But will he win? In this season about Loved Ones, shouldn’t the player gunning to eliminate the couples be considered the Villain instead of the Winner? Shouldn’t the winner be presented as someone showing some compassion?

To this argument, I will say that we were reminded in this episode that Tyson is playing for Rachel. We saw him go to Hayden to say he understood, having been there himself.

Rachel's elimination was not only a way to weaken Galang because Tyson was one of their strongest but also a way to weaken Tyson personally like Vytas pointed out at the time. In the compassion versus competition theme, Tyson doesn’t fit because of circumstances that have nothing to do with editing. It’s still quite remarkable that we heard Tyson’s motivation came from Rachel’s elimination. Motivation was the one thing lacking from his previous incarnations where he didn’t take the game and his rivals seriously. This time, we heard him say: “It was hard to see Rachel at Redemption Island...Now, I have to get all the way to the end…” That was his Survivor moment and we will certainly see a clip of that confessional played back when Tyson rushes to Rachel for the victory hug.

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11-02-13, 07:16 PM (EST)
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56. "RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
I love-love-love reading your insights Michel! I am liking Tyson's chances this season and wonder if it's experience or a very nice edit either way he's working it.

I was musing while I should have been working, now that they've merged and if I were a savvy veteran I would know that there would have to be an all veteran finale and preferably veterans without a family member on the jury to keep the jury from awarding a newbie the prize and/or assuring an even playing field by not wanting to have a built in vote out there either.

I see the veterans weeding out the newbies one by one from here on. It certainly would not do to have one newbie to attract all those newbie jury votes. I think the finale will be all veterans and all without pocket votes on the jury.

As of now I think Tina & Katie will vote as Tina decides so maybe Benedict Tina may make an appearance after all and may protect Katie but will sacrifice her if it becomes necessary to make Katie a jury vote. I agree that Tina seems to be more interested in grandchildren and that was one of the most bizarre comments I've ever heard from anyone.

Aras & Vytas may be in the same situation, either one left at the end stands a good chance of winning with one guaranteed vote on the jury. They both look good to go to the jury with one following the other as I see the other veterans not wanting either of them at the finale.

I feel that Laura M has the best chance at returning from RI, I think Laura B's story is done and I don't think she has the physical stamina to hang on, as for John, it would be tough for any average size man, this challenge favors the lightweights.

I should be watched....closely.

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11-03-13, 02:03 PM (EST)
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57. "RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
LAST EDITED ON 11-03-13 AT 02:04 PM (EST)

I'm a longtime lurker and huge fan of these postings - michel, your insights are consistently interesting and thoughtful.

I decided to post now because I think we're seeing this season pretty differently. I think you may be given a little more credit than I am to what's happening early in the game. We're still pre-merge. The merge is always a huge shakeup, but this year it seems likely to complicate drastically the concepts of trust that drive this game.

Tyson is playing hard, though it's not being presented that he's playing too hard. I think you're right that so far he has been named the mastermind; he's clearly a smart, strategic player, and other players recognize that. He's also a jerk. He milked his injury so he didn't have to work, he and Gervase stole coconuts, he takes more than "his share" of food, he is tarnishing King Aras (who I think has been show to be a trusting "good guy" who could end up getting screwed). It's unclear how much the other players are picking up on this. Ciera flagged that he was tarnishing Aras' image, saying it surprised her because she thought they were close. This could be read to mean she's seeing an opening to work with Tyson, but it could also mean she's raising a red flag on whether she wants to get close to him. We know he's smart, but so far he's been more tricky than savvy, and I don't know if tricky is really what Survivor goes for in portraying a winner.

The gameplay has been largely the same as previous seasons, but the emphasis on trust so far leads me to think this will be the biggest issue going forward. I don't know what that means for Aras, who may see himself painted as untrustworthy by Laura M. upon her return (though how much that will matter is also unclear, as she came across as creepy/weirdly sexual toward him and I don't know if the audience "blames" him for what he engineered). It's interesting to me that Aras and Vytas are getting mounds of attention as a threatening duo, considering there's at least one other pair remaining in Katie and Tina. Does that mean K&T won't have as big an impact on the end game? Maybe, but I don't think so. The way I'm reading it is that Tyson is focusing on breaking up A&V to the extent that he may miss the real threat in K&T. I may be wrong here but I don't think he's framing it as taking out couples who are threats (seriously, who's targeting Katie right now) but rather taking out A&V as a strong duo in their own right.

This brings me back to the original question: how much credence can we give to what's happening now as indicative of what will happen on Day 39? It's not too early for Tyson to be playing this hard, but there will be enormous factors he can't control. You read Aras saying he has to trust he is taken care of as a failure of clear strategic vision. I agree with that, but I think the flipside is that Tyson is throwing away someone who trusts him. I don't think that is being made clear yet, but I also don't think the editors would want it to be clear at this point. When Aras orchestrated Laura M.'s boot, we heard him saying that he didn't know why she thought they were close. There was no legitimacy to their relationship: she was just giving him a massage, and he thought it was nice but weird.

Tyson and Aras have been strategic partners since the early game. In considering their relationship, I'm coming back to Jeff's quote from the end of Episode 6: "You don’t get trust by asking for it, you got to earn it. If you want to win this game and you haven’t started earning trust, you better get to it right now." What kind of trust is Tyson earning by gunning for Aras? It seems likely he could earn trust among the new/partnerless players by showing them he is on their side. I just think that there are some for whom this move will be more a betrayal that saps trust than a smart move to win it.

Specifically, I'm thinking of Tina. She pretty clearly understands this game in a deep way. She told us a few episodes ago she didn't know whether Monica would be a huge threat or a huge asset. This episode, she succinctly stated that Laura B. is unpredictable, and that's scary. I think reading her saying she wants grandbabies as her head being out of the game is a little bit black and white - taken more broadly, that statement was one of her letting Vytas into her trusted fold. She's been measured in her approach to decisionmaking, which may lead her to seem a little bit more behind the scenes. But since the beginning she's been a driving force in this game, and I think her approach - keeping things in perspective, building a circle of trust over time - seems more likely to succeed in a season which is probably going to get very messy very soon.

But as I said earlier, it may be too soon to tell.

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11-03-13, 02:41 PM (EST)
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58. "RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
Welcome aboard, Mangrove. It's always nice to hear from the long time lurkers.

Thank you for the kind words and for your sobering thoughts. There is nothing that would please me more to be wrong about Tyson if it means that Tina comes out on top. You are right in saying that Tyson is playing hard too soon so I will be looking for that shake-up at the merger.

I hope you stick around and continue posting because that was quite an interesting first post.

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11-05-13, 02:19 PM (EST)
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62. "RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
I pretty much agree with everything that suzzee is saying, speculating on the further progression of the game. But, I don't know if Vytas will go directly after his brother. Having Vytas left in the game to rely on his own resources could be a very good thing for his game, after all, he's made it this far as the "odd" man out. Eventually though, the other alphas will indeed want to eliminate him. Not only is he a threat physically, but also socially. He has ingratiated his way into Tina/Monica/Katie's circle, and we know he's aligned previously with Hayden/Caleb/Cierra, and through Cierra perhaps Laura M. So, if Aras does get targeted and booted soon, Vytas apparently may have some options.

Hi Mangrove, nice to read your thoughts as well and I agree with most of your assessments as well. I feel that Tyson is the star of the show so far, at least of the returnees, while Vytas is shining bright from the Loved Ones perspective. I think they both are long term players and stars of the season. Tyson has been shown to make friends and has gotten himself in the primary alliance at old Galang, and he's positioned himself very nicely on nuGalang as well. He and Gervase have plotted now about the threat that they perceive Aras and Vytas to be. They are painting the target and the potential blindside. We see Aras meditating about his position in the game, trusting that he will be taken care of, while we see Tyson and Gervase leading the charge to oust him.

You are right, this is going to be a critical time in the game for everyone and what happens now will affect the rest of the game. I agree with your logic, if Tyson and Aras have been strategic partners since early game, if you boot them now, as Hayden said, turning on your own alliance sooner rather than later promotes distrust moving can anyone trust him later? Tina will indeed be just as blindsided as Aras, but is this too little too late. I think she has appeared complacent and I agree, I totally saw the grandbabies confessional as a signal that Vytas has indeed worked his magic with Tina.

Additionally, we see Tyson making a new final 5 with the nuGalangs, then in the preview for next week we see him vowing something to Monica. This is going to be a major issue for Tyson later. But, I am not saying he's not going to be the sole survivor, I am saying that getting rid of his nemesis now, will only paint the target on his back much larger, and that is something that Tyson said he did NOT want to do. This indeed creates doubt as to his longevity, but that is something that the editors love to do, cast doubt as to the winner.

I also have to add that Gervase is in the better position because he is Tyson's number 2. Tyson, as the leader and the one that proposes the plan will be given credit for the blindside, good or bad. May help or hurt him in the eyes of the jury. But, one thing is for sure, it places the target more firmly on his back, and as long as Tyson remains in the game, Gervase has someone that is more threatening than himself. It's a good place for Gervase to be, imo.

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11-03-13, 11:16 PM (EST)
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60. "RE: Episode 7 - Looking Out For Number One"
Michel: Great catch on how Vytas' social skills were overlooked in the intro...I totally missed that. His social skills have just been so much in our faces from day one, it's almost overkill. And, then we have Vytas hitting us and them over the head with how the game is all about trust, and how he is such a trusting person...ugh. But, in the end, he remains, EVEN though they acknowledge him as a threat. Seems to me their priorities are skewed, so I question if Vytas will not only outwit, but indeed outlast.

I agree with the shared blame on tarnishing Aras' image, and I agree the wording was positive for them as well. I also agree that Kat exposed a little too much of Hayden on RI, being a great guy, etc. I cringed when I heard her say this...

Love how you saw that clouds that were superimposed on Aras on the mountaintop...and yes, hearing Aras admit that Vytas was his core alliance did indeed validate Tyson's and Gervase's assessment. It was validated once more when Tyson asked everyone who's name you hear Aras speak of the most...his brother.

Then you note that while Vytas is convinced he knows how to ingratiate his way with the women, really he is just lucky, because the women always have bigger issues with one of their own, first Kat, then Laura B. I don't know, this is the delimma. His antics seem to be working to me, they see Vytas as less of a threat then someone else, or they find him more trusting than someone else. Either way, he persists. It will really be intriguing to see what course he takes next week, and how will Aras play it as well? Aras, from his vantage point, has his original alliance with Tyson, Gervase, Tina and Monica, but now through the swap and through Vytas is tied to Hayden, Caleb, and Cierra. Aras will most likely want to target the RI returnee at first, as it seems they may be the ONLY one that Aras doesn't think he has an alliance with!

Loved your comments on the story and your thoughts regarding how the game is the same, an individual game.

I also loved this...

Looking back at the premiere, the three rookies that we noticed talking before their partners, Hayden, Ciera and Vytas, have indeed grown into big roles. That tells us we shouldn’t forget about the hints we picked up in that first episode.
One thing is sure: The Veterans will need all their tricks to come out on top despite the fact that they have dominated the game so far.

Great assessments regarding the couples at the beginning of the game! I, too noticed the order of the confessionals in the couples as well, I predict these loved ones may just out last their returning counterparts. I also cannot dismiss Vytas' starring and stellar role in that first episode.

But, Tyson really is in the drivers seat but the question remains, can he pull a Boston Rob and stay there?

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11-03-13, 10:36 PM (EST)
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59. "Ep 7 thoughts..."
LAST EDITED ON 11-03-13 AT 10:44 PM (EST)

Before I sink my teeth into michel's assessment of the editing, ep 7, and the thoughts of others, I thought I would post my take on things...sorry for the redundancy!

Previously on Survivor: In the battle of blood vs water, the returnees had control of the game, but see Jeff say: We are going to draw for new tribes...when a surprise twist shook things up leaving Cierra as the only woman on Tadhana and Vytas as the only man on Galang. Vytas: It’s me and 5 girls, I’m the odd man out. At Tadhana, Tyson and Gervase got to work on tarnishing Aras’ image, see: Way to cut away the shade, Aras..., you're just digging yourself in deeper, Aras. Tyson in conf:Maybe the target on me will be a little bit smaller, and a little bit larger on Aras. While at the nuGalang, the plan was obvious...Monica to Tina: Vytas?, Because he’s not a girl. At the IC, Tadhana wins! After Galang lost the IC, Kat was caught turning on her alliance. Kat to Tina: I feel like we should vote out Monica instead of Vytas...Monica in conf: If Kat is gunning for me, I need to do what’s best for Monica! At TC, she (Kat), made one final plea (to Monica), Monica, you know I will always have your back...Monica to Kat: Kat, there is nothing more that I want to do than to trust you. But in the end, her betrayal was too much to overlook. (showing Monica places Monica in the drivers seat here) Eleven are left, who will be voted out tonight...?

The way Jeff arranged the intro was telling for us. He first said that the returnees were in control of the game, BUT, then they mixed things up with the twist. He called out Vytas and Cierra as the two that were the odd people out, therefore, it appears to make them significant to the story. He then adds that Tyson and Gervase got to work on tarnishing Aras’ image, pointing out that Tyson’s motive was to make a larger target on Aras, and less on him. Interesting to note that the reason Vytas was targeted was “because he’s not a girl”, yet in the end, that was the exact argument that Vytas gave at TC! It went like this: Kat went home because she wasn’t trustworthy, it doesn’t matter how many girls you have, it matters how many are trustworthy.

So, in the end, Kat went home because she wasn't trustworthy. This issue with trust is being forced down our throats, it seems, and especially by Vytas. More on this later.

Monica had a nice role in the intro as well, and she gets the credit for orchestrating the Kat boot, which was validated in the intro as well, placing her perhaps in the drivers seat at nuGalang. (Which answers Tyson's question later, when he is perplexed at the IC/Reward fried chicken picnic when he can't figure out who is in control at nuGalang.)

Back at RI: Kat approaches bragging that at least she didn’t cry...

So at Tribal I got eliminated, apparently we had an issue with trust. Monica was feeling a little bit on the outs and so was Laura B. It was a perfect place for Vytas to kind of swoop in for the kill and here I am.

Laura M: come over here Kat and tell us what happened!

Well, I had an over-strategizer, which was Monica, (Laura M is listening intently), a social x*%$#!, which was Laura B, I had a women who had a target on her back for being a million dollar winner, and then her daughter who’s a tag along, (see Laura M smiling while John buries his head in his hands/pillow.) And, I have the one guy in an all women’s tribe and then they all flip on me...Laura M smiling away at the news of it all! There are things that I wish I could take back, but I am not out yet, I still have alot left in me (see Laura M when she says that she is not out yet...I think Laura M will thwart Kat’s staying in the game...) and I am going to do everything that I can to make sure that I win however many duels that I have to stay here. See all three of them laying down in the shelter, “the thing I’m more worried about is I feel like Hayden is gonna be so disappointed, no one wants to date somebody that doesn’t make the merge"...see Laura smile at this, and hear John say, “Oh, come on!” Then see Kat scratching her head! With the segment ending this way it’s not only funny, but plain and simple, if Kat is more worried about Hayden being disappointed and dumping her then she has no way of winning her way back into the game!

Sun rising and hear Kat crying, alone on beach about not playing the right way, she knows she is still here but will Hayden be embarrassed that she didn’t play harder, as she fondles the necklace that they both wear. “He’s going to be so upset, I don’t want him to be ashamed of me, because I really care about him, but it’s going to be really hard without him because we are like a team, he’s my best friend. I just hope that I can go into the duel and that I can win", see them leaving for the duel, "and Hayden will be by my side still. "

Cut to RI: Tadhana comes in first, see Kat is voted out at last TC. Aras turns and pats Hayden on the knee with Cierra...they enter the arena, see Hayden, and Kat asks for a hug, crying, she apologizes, I am so sorry...he comforts her. Jiffy calls them out, Kat you grab Hayden about being sorry, sorry you got voted out? Yes, I feel he’ll be disappointed and I feel that I let him down. Jiffy calls out to Hayden, “She’s worried about your relationship and that you might see her differently since she got voted out”...Hayden: That’s not the case, our relationship is gonna be fine, I’m not gonna be any differently. she is more important to me than even this game.Jiffy: Really? Hayden: It is! Yes...Jiffy: Then I am going to challenge you on that because one of the things in this arena that you can do is to switch places with her... Cut to commercial.

Kat wants to switch and is eager to switch because she can't even spell, but Hayden asks her, "think about what is best for us LONG TERM" Kat agree to stay, because Hayden will be with her "long term". Kat can leave happily now...

Jiffy explains the challenge, building the fire puzzle, simple in concept more difficult to execute.

Loser out of this game for good, see Kat, and then Hayden wiping tears away...

Alot of focus on Hayden, alot of cheering for Kat from Tadhana members, Tyson, Gervase, “stay calm”...let’s go, okay Kat you got it...same puzzle Cochran won in the fianl IC, good job mom, Cierra says, they help her with the puzzle, Hayden working hard to get Kat back in this...Laura looking at John’s puzzle, Kat calls her a cheater...Here Monica say, good job. ..Aras comforts Cierra with an arm around her....

John wins, survives, Laura is starting to pull away, Kat falling out of this, see Hayden put his hands over his head, Laura stays alive, see Cierra and Hayden, Laura goes and kisses and hugs Kat, see Cierra smile. John, 4 duels you have survived. Kat is crying,,,

Say good bye to Hayden! “You aren’t going to break up with me are you?” And they kiss and hug, see John laughing and shake his head...

Hayden: I love you...take care of him, as she waves goodbye...

John gives Monica the clue, she says no disrespect, but she feels it’s poison in the game, and throws it in the fire...they head out and you see Cierra smiling and then Hayden as they leave.

Cut to nuTadhana: They all arrive and are consoling Hayden...Tyson says he’s sorry and that he has been there before. In conf: He feels responsible, could have changed places with her at Redemption and I didn’t... I feel guilty and responsible because Kat is a little naiive sometimes, doesn’t know which way is up and I ‘m the one that helps her. I was in a position to help her but I didn’t do it, I could have, not something that I am proud of...

I also like that Tyson is sympathetic toward Hayden, and he is indeed playing the social game. Tyson continues...

Back with the group: they are all consoling...Hayden: It’s weird...we all know that this is a game, but it’s not that easy..Tyson says it’s way harder than everybody thought it would be Aras: We got each other..let’s win, go in with huge numbers. I know that Vytas will come with us, let’s ball!

Note that Aras is including Vytas in with their new group...

Hayden needs validation: So we pull Vytas back over here...then knock them out one at a time?

Hayden’s confessional continued: With Kat being gone, you do feel a little bit of a relief, I can play my game I don’t have to worry about anybody else, I am only looking out for me now, so I can play a little more cut throat if I have to, in fact I think it could strengthen my relationship with this tribe because the majority of this tribe, they don’t have a loved one, it’s kind of one more thing that we have in common, except Aras...

Hayden is echoing Tyson's sentiments...have they been talking, or perhaps it's just obvious to them all!

Aras asks, Anybody want to go up for a little walk and some meditation? Tyson heard, No, I’m going to take a nap, good luck bro...

Aras at the top of the mountain doing a meditation yoga pose...I couldn’t have asked for a better situation when I came here to have 2 of the people that I was really really tight with Gervase and Tyson, come on over to this side and obviously Vytas is my core partner at the end of the day. So, when we get back together I feel like we have a real dominate position in the game. I just need to let go, listen and be intuitive and I will be guided to the right everyday when I meditate I try to visualize Jeff’s voice saying “winner of Survivor Blood vs Water”, Aras, and I do my best to just trust that I am taken care of. See him meditating over the water, on the beach, on the mountain.

Aras, Aras, of all people should know better than to relax and trust that you will be taken care of. We see him doing just that, removing himself from the tribe, isolating himself, relaxing, and trusting. Just what his brother Vytas says is the most important thing, trust. Here Aras is trusting, but have his friends earned Aras' trust. Aras is a little too relaxed and too trusting when it's not warranted and this I am afraid will be his fatal flaw. And, in a social game, it's never good to go off by yourself. Aras is ripe for a MAJOR blindside, imo.

Back at Camp: All of the Tadhana less Aras are talking in the shelter and Tyson begins:

Are you guys ready for this? We are gonna go to the merge tomorrow. And, I don’t know whose name you hear most out of Aras’ mouth, maybe you can guess, his brother..His brother. All he wants to do is to get to Vytas, and that’s a problem for me...they’ve been the most dangerous couple in the game since day 1 and they’re one of the only couples left in the game.We have to take out Vytas or Aras sooner rather than later.

Gervase: His final 4 already has 2 spots taken, him and Vytas... there is only 2 other spots in the F4. Tyson continues...Merge is going to happen and it will happen soon, if we stick together we can get to the end, no problem, and I am telling you guys right now I will stick with all of you guys to final 5, 100% my word!

Cierra gets the conf:

I was really shocked that it was Tyson that proposed the plan. He seemed very close with Aras. On the same hand, Tyson’s smart. One thing right now that we all have in common is we know we can trust each other because we don’t have anyone over there that we trust more.

This gives me pause as I believe that Cierra just may have someone that she trusts more come back into the game later...

Tyson continues...Is everybody cool with that? Us 5, and then it’s smooth sailing...
Us 5...

Then Tyson goes around to everyone, To Caleb: Happy? To Hayden: Happy? Solid, To Tyson: Happy? We have to have each others backs...Caleb asks Tyson: Are you happy? I’m very happy!

Tyson in confessional: I thought Aras was playing a good game at first, but everyone is recognizing his main motivation is to get to Vytas and then take control of the game. Meditate all day long if that’s what you need, I think he’s getting really comfortable and that plays right into my game plan...

We are certainly seeing the game now through Tyson’s point of view. It is like he is almost the villain spinning the web and setting the trap for the naiive little trusting, Aras. But, Cierra does tell us, he's smart!. By calling out the problem at hand and making a pact to go to the end with his peers, Tyson is taking the leader role. We all know that taking the leadership role is indeed dangerous and often puts a target on your own back. Very few people have been able to pull of being the leader,...naturally Boston Rob comes to my mind, and Tom from Palau. However, Tyson told us in the introduction that he hopes to paint a large target on Aras’ back and a smaller one on his back. So, if he gets rid of Aras, what will happen to the target on his own back? He is forgetting that as long as there is a bigger target than you in the game, you are in a safer position. A doubt has been cast, at least for me, that Tyson can make it to the end. But, doubt, as we have seen in the past may be a good thing.

dramatic music playing...and we cut to Vytas working it as the odd man out...

Cut to Galang: Mornin’ Boo, high 5, Tina: morning princess, mornin to you too
Tina asks: How did you sleep? Vytas replies: I slept great...I was so tired...
Tina continues on in conf: Even though he’s not part of our alliance he’s been to the school of hard knocks and lots of times when people get knocked down and they pick themselves up, they are a whole new person.

Laura B comes up and tells Vytas and Katie: You two look like a happy couple you know camping out on the beach...
Tina continues on in conf: I would be honored if he took an interest in Katie, however, the guy that gets Katie is gonna have to knock her over the head and drag her into his cave because she’s not a very flirtacious girl...But, one can dream, I’m ready for grand babies.

I found this excerpt to be interesting. Tina, the sage, seen but not heard, previous winner of this game is commenting on her daughter, Katie, the not very flirtacious girl that she wants married off so she can have grandbabies...hmmmm. I found this curious. To me, this scene speaks volumes for Vytas. Has he got not only Katie under his thumb, but mama Tina too? Boy, he has worked trust to an entire new level...This scene is excellent for Vytas, not so much for Tina!

Next, we see all of them in the hammock and Tina asks: What is the hardest aspect of this game?, to Vytas. That’s easy, the dishonesty. Vytas in conf: the tribe swap was tough, being 1 guy with a bunch of girls, but yoga has helped me and taught me to deal with the feminine energy and with girls and women so I kinda feel like I have an idea of what is going to ingratiate me with them...

Vytas continues on in the hammock: I am such a trusting person, I once had this women walk into my yoga class, and asked me to borrow a 100 bucks. I was taken aback at first but then I thought I want the world to be a place where you trust first, then if somebody breaks it, then you don’t trust, so sure, here’s 100 bucks...

He continues on in conf:In my experience women love a bad boy, but what they even like more than a bad boy is a newly reformed bad I am putting forward the parts of me that I want these women to see. I am a likeable person, I am a trustworthy guy, it’s all very calculated, but, it’s working...

Vytas is telling us his story, his strategy, and he's even monitoring his progress. We have insight into his thoughts, motivations, strategy, just as we have a glimpse into Tyson's. Frankly, I think Vytas is a real contender in this game. He is the master of the social game and now has even Tina schmoozed...Add in, Vytas!

But, there is one girl at nuGalang that isn't buying every thing Vytas is selling...but, first Laura B tells us that she has grown in this game....

Laura B says, We are so glad that you are here. Vytas replies, me too...

Laura B in conf: : Vytas, he’s a wonderful man that can share his emotions and feelings and I have learned alot from Vytas. Just feeling more open to people I am feeling less guarded, I am feeling more like myself, coming into this game my insecurities were my social game...I was raised on a farm and I am kind of a quiet girl that’s slowly coming out of my shell...I am so grateful, I want to enjoy every moment. We see her with Vytas.

So, that’s why I love Vytas, but I have to keep my heart out of it because he is a threat, because I will stick with the girls, because I have to do what will get me further in this game.

Galang Day 18: Tree mail, Katie reads it, about being chained..we are all chained together doing something

Vytas conf: Going into a physical challenge with 2 women that are 40 , 1 in her 50’s, against of 5 strong dudes and a girl will be tough, I am not getting my hopes too high.

I am in agreement that Vytas has the social aspect of this game down to a T! And, he is realistic and his assessments are dead on!

He leaves and the women talk...Tina starts: the next one will be Vytas, we have been together too long, since the beginning, are you ok with that? Laura: No, but yes, she starts to cry...we have to be, Monica says, this is the part you hate...Laura says, I don’t want him to go...I got emotional if we lose Vytas is the one to go...Monica says, I don’t want anybody to go, let’s just win and we don’t have to let anybody go...cut to IC...

Again we see that the women are fickle. They settle on Vytas, then he seemingly works his magic and someone else goes...

Challenge: Guys all shake their heads they are ready for the challenge, 4 members chained together at the ankle, 2 will have their hand chained to a coil, must unwrap from the coil and go and collect bags in the obstacle course, take to end table and make bolos and throw over a bar, first to get 3 wins...

Playing for fried chicken, corn on the cob, ice tea etc. Cierra sits out, see the Idol...

Jiffy's comments: Gervase and Hayden whip through the coils...and boys establish a rhythm, Tadhana going very quickly, interesting when all 8 are working to untangle puzzle peices and trying to stay out of each others way...Tadhana is working on their 4th, Hayden finally has his fourth...Galang once again in last. 8 people working on their bags, once have them must get past the other people...Monica is blocking Aras, he goes right between her legs... This symbolizes to me that Monica will dominate over Aras! Tina and Tyson have the bags, untying, very close, assemble bolos take chain and connect them, both working very quickly, Tyson has all of them, gotta land 3...Tyson lands his first one for Tadhana, just misses, Tina scores for Galang, Tyson misses, tina misses, Tyson scores for Tadhana needs just one more, Tina has to pick it up, Tyson could do it right here, just misses, Tina lands her 2nd, Tyson can win it right here, just misses, Tina goes high and misses, and Tyson, Tadhana wins immunity and reward! Gervase and then Aras jump on him, they all hug...Cierra grabs the idol, along with nice afternoon, chicken, biscuits, corn, no TC. As the guys leave they call out to the other tribe, love you guys, thank you Jeff!

Always fun to note Jiffy's comments. It would be interesting if Tina was the 3rd person in between 2 others at the final tribal council, and "just missing" out on the prize. Tina, as a previous winner, would make a nice goat too, perhaps? Food for thought.

Someone going home tonight, see Laura B, then Vytas, then Laura B then Vytas...

Post challenge:

See the Tadhana’s approaching the picnic tables set up on the beach...they see it and start to run toward it, someone says who wants to say the prayer, and Tyson says no time right now...Hayden quickly says one and they dig in..Hayden: it’s a miracle, we got so lucky with the tribe swap, Tyson: you guys conf: Hayden: I started off the game with a 4 game losing streak with challenges, and that sucked and now we are on a roll, Tadhana can’t be stopped. it feels great and looking forward, now the future looks bright! Not a bad sign to get the confessional in the midst of reward. I agree this is straight narration and cuts to his previous bleak status to now he's got hope for a future with Tyson and Gervase. If Tyson knocks the three originial Tadhana's out prematurely, is he a villain?

We see them at the table again, Cierra; you are gonna be full,Tyson: no im not, I was but now I’m not. Caleb asks if anyone would be offended if he took the ice out of the ice tea, and Tyson says, do it, we are all equal partners in this Caleb, so you can do whatever you least that’s the way I have been approaching everything, Aras adds:plus we came to your camp and ate all your food...Tyson jokes, “i’m a one man wrecking ball”...ha ha

Tyson in conf: I didn’t need this reward at all, I don’t think I have gone to bed hungry one night since Ive been here, I have convinced everyone that eating maximum amts of rice is the proper strategy and everyone just seems to agree, cause I am a three time veteran so of course what I say is going to be right...

Is this arrogance from Tyson? Or, just pure Tyson?

then back to them eating: Tyson asks, what do you think is going on with the other tribe, like who’s in control, like the Kat vote baffled me...Hayden: me too, I think Vytas is safe, but then again I thought Kat was safe too...Tyson: well we are all safe!

Tyson is playing dumb here, imo. He knows that Kat and Laura B were the odd women out in their original alliance, yet he doesn't let on to his new tribemates. When he asks this question, who is in control at nuGalang, I think it's Monica, as she received the credit for the Kat boot in the introduction to the episode. But, Tina is still hidden, as she was in Australia, so she cannot be dismissed lightly.

Cut to Galang: Well, we all tried hard, says Vytas, and they gather and Laura begins, Vytas (hear almost spirtual music...I respect you so much, I have already cried about this, we have decided, us 4 girls that you are going to go, she goes to hug him, and he asks why, and she says because you and your brother are such a threat, and you have brought alot of calm to this tribe..your brothers won before, you are such an amazing man, and I don’t think a blindside is fair, be at peace knowing, (unfortunately someone has to go home and Vytas is the odd man out), I don’t think back stabbing is a nice thing, it was just eating me alive and it just came out...

Vytas: you have to write somebodies name down...

Laura: I did take the bull by the horns, by taking a more leadership position in the tribe and maybe the women will look up to me a little bit...

We have the loyalty here and I hope it sticks...(to Monica)

Monica and Katie walk off, Monica: OMG, that is the survivor moment of all time I am flabbergasted! Survivor 101, don’t you meet with your alliance before you make an executive decision before you meet with someone and tell them that they are going home. Blindsides are terrible and I have been a victim of one too but, it’s all based on trust...the golden rule of Survivor is trust, is it or is it not? Katie.

So Monica is falling for Vytas and his TRUST mantra and now she doesn't trust Laura B...

Tina adds in confessional: this AM I felt like i could trust Laura B, and now I just don’t know...The plan was to vote out Vytas, we are getting down to the nut cracking, he’s a threat, and everybody seems to like him, however Laura B is unpredictable, and that makes me nervous.

So, while Vytas is trustworthy and trusting, Laura B is not someone you can't trust and unpredictable, therefore untrustworthy.

Vytas and Tina in the water and Vytas asks is it my time to go tonight? I don’t think so, it could be Laura B...Vytas: thank you! I appreciate that, I trust you girls 100% Vytas continues in conf: For a moment when Laura B told me, I thought I was screwed but Tina told me that Laura was going home. it would be super easy for them to write my name down tonight, but I feel like I have done my due diligence, when it comes to building trust with these women...It’s not going to be me going home tonight.

Vytas is dead on right, he's done more than his due diligence, and we have seen him working his magic since DAY 1.

See him telling the girls they shouldn’t be seen, but if they are seen together, just tell her that I was saying my goodbyes. in Conf: Here’s the deal, the females are in control but they always need one alpha male to take care of the pride!

This does sound kind of arrogant, but we see that it works. He has worked hard to be trustworthy, likable, a worker, someone they can depend on , and the ladies indeed seem to be buying it hook, line and sinker. But, will he stick with the ladies later, or will he switch over to his brother and his "bros", Hayden and Caleb? That is the main question and it will be very interesting to see how Vytas plays out the rest of his game. And, how will Vytas react if his bros vote out his bro?

Tina says to Katie, I don’t know what to do..that is my big delimma, there’s repercussions both ways, as they ponder the boot choice...

Katie: In my head, It would be smart to vote off Vytas, because at some point you have to think long term and if he makes it to the final TC, it would be difficult to beat him, see Katie and Vytas together in the hammock, and hear Vytas: of course there is a little bit of fear but I trust you guys... Katie continues: at the same time, Laura B, makes these decisions without consulting anyone, and to keep someone like that it could explode and hit me right in the I don’t know what is going to happen but whatever goes down, it’s not going to be pretty...

Katie considers Vytas a threat, but must have considered Laura B more of a threat? Doesn't appear to me like she is playing this all. Or, is she vocalizing Tina's thoughts? If so, Tina is very disappointing this season. Tina has made some very wise observations and I feel she has a heavy presence behind the scenes, but I don't know if Vytas has schmoozed her too, or not? This episode makes me feel that Vytas has weaseled his way in to her good graces, so far.

Tina is praying for Laura B and for Vytas...they go to TC...

see a snake, the snake signifies that the best laid plans, voting out the threat, Vytas, will not come to fruition and that Laura will be walking the walk.

Laura B after the challenge what happened when you got back to camp?...obvious that there are 4 girls and one man so I told him it’s him going home. It was discouraging I have been open and trustworthy so it didn’t feel good
Monica: before you blow the cover we might want to talk about it first
Katie: I wish we could’ve talked about it first
Vytas: The last TC Kat went home because she wasn’t trustworthy, it doesn’t matter how many girls you have it matters how many are trustworthy. This statement by Vytas negates voting him out because "he's NOT a girl", as Monica asked Tina in the introduction.
Tina says, Vytas is so much like his brother, their honesty and their sincerity, they reek of it, could they be fooling us, absolutely this is Survivor, but going on instinct, absolutely

This statement by Tina also makes me feel that she is solid with Aras, and as Vytas is the same way, she's therefore solid with him too. She knows this is Survivor, but she's apparently trusting them. I see Tina buying the Vytas act, fwiw.

Vytas says, I was in a position that I was moving forward and then there was the swap. I think Aras will be proud of me and pretty bummed that I am gone, our relationship has suffered through the years and there are a few more steps that we need to really grow that much closer together..

Laura says, yes, that is one of the reasons I wanted to vote for V, Aras has won before they are a huge threat in this game. A reason why Tina may have sided with Vytas and not Laura B, as she has also won this game before.

Laura says, that she has grown in the game, Rupert will be proud of me, I have been in his shadow for a while and I am coming into my own out here and it feels good....I have broken out of a shell and I have put my self in a vulnerable position.

And there you have it, Laura's game is over, Rupert's proud, and she's grown.

Tina says that some people don’t come out here to make friends, but I enjoy the friends.

Vytas says judge on what we have done, not on our story, everyone here has a story...


See Laura, Vytas, Monica...reads votes, see Vytas then Laura, then Tina...Monica, then first vote, Vytas..Laura b, see tina then Katie, then Laura, then Laura is out. Vytas is smirking...Vytas smiling, bye guys, they wave and Monica mouths bye...tonights Tribal illustrates one of the trickiest parts of this game, everytime you open your mouth you risk saying something that can get you voted out...good night.

How I see it moving forward:

Vytas, imo, is moving up. He has a plan, he's working it, and we see it working. His stock is on the rise. In a game that is about "trust", he is convincing everyone around him that he can be trusted. He is very capable of outwitting, but will he outlast?

Gervase: HIs stock is steady...he is with Tyson, but Tyson is far more out in front. Tyson and Gervase may be using Aras as a "bigger target", but Gervase may be using Tyson as his "bigger" target....

Monica: Stock rising. She was given credit, and named as the one in control of the Kat boot, and we heard Tyson say that he doesn't know who is control at nuGalang. Clearly, it seems to be Monica.

Tyson: Yes, the story is being told from Tyson's point of view. He prepares them for the merge and he proposes an F5 to the end. The question is, can he be trusted in a game where trust is everything? We know that Tyson told us himself earlier in the game that his alliance was Aras, Gervase, Monica, and Tina. NOW, we see him propose a final 5 with Gervase, Hayden, Caleb, and Cierra. Something has got to give. He is going to throw alliance mates under the bus and it's just a matter of time.

Yes, Tyson does seem the one to be in control, but this week, as the demise of Aras gets closer and closer, I think imminent, I fear that Tyson is not thinking ahead. In the episode introduction Tyson told us the reason to tarnish Aras' image was so maybe the target on me will be a little bit smaller, and a little bit larger on Aras. Doesn't he realize if he removes that bigger target in the game that the target on his back then becomes BIGGER? This could be the doubt cast on Tyson to win the game that all winners need, or not.

Cierra: She had a meaty confessional about how she'll trust the people she's with because there is no one on the other tribe that she trusts more in the game, but yet, I get the feeling that Laura M will indeed be back in the game and what will that mean for Cierra?

Tina through her own frivolous confessional, or indirectly through Katie's confessional I think is buying into Vytas' charade. I believe her stock is going down. Or, could she be considered a goat to take along to the end?

Aras, imo, is a sitting meditator, or shall I say, a sitting duck who in a game of trust is trusting too much.

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michel 10948 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

11-04-13, 09:17 PM (EST)
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61. "RE: Ep 7 thoughts..."
Interesting that you see Tyson's stock dropping while I see Vytas not getting the women's trust as much as he thinks he is. It's often easier to see who doesn't win than picking the winner so could we both be right on the player falling and wrong on the player rising?

I've looked back at the episode and what struck me most was Vytas' reference to the pride alliance. He went on to say that the females need an alpha males in order to have a future which sounds extremely paternalistic. It's even worse this season when we have a ton of alpha males making the merge. What if the story is about to change and the women prove him completely wrong? If, as expected, Laura M returns then the women would need 1 man to gain majority. After hearing that quote, it would be quite ironic if they turned to the least alpha of the males: Caleb. Katie and Ciera have reason to like him more than any of the others so, if Tyson goes after Aras, if Aras goes after Hayden, if the alphas all kill themselves, we could wind up with 5 women and Caleb.
Remember Brad's dumb line about having an alliance of 4 guys and a gay? It would be funny to see his face if it ends with 5 girls and a gay. It would also be the vengeance of "the Cochrans and the weak women".

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Deitaphobia 6 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "American Cancer Society Spokesperson"

11-07-13, 09:34 AM (EST)
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63. "Episode 8 Observations"
Tyson had a quote about how with the merge, the game changes. He said you now need to start playing hard. A contrast to the earlier theme of needing to play slow. Aras was shown taking it easy, going with the easy boot, which he said was a bad idea right before the Laura vote.

Tyson also had another winning quote with his Hidden Idol = Win. Although, at this point, it almost seems like to much. Is there a point at which the constant indicators of a Tyson win become misdirection for someone else?

Redemption Island is still in play, and I don't think the brothers' story is over. They most likely will face off on RI. The winner of that head to head is the odds on favorite to re-enter the game. They've invested a lot in Vytas. I think he'll still be a factor down the road.

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64. "RE: Episode 8 Observations"
We're being hit over the head with Tyson, for sure, but to me it feels like a 'hitting on all cylinders' kind of Boston Rob way rather than a 'pride cometh before the fall' way. Even the more subtle elements are in his favour - I particularly noticed the contrast of him in a confessional saying about Monica almost exactly what Kat said ('shut up' vs. 'shut it'), but playing it completely different than Kat did (ie. keeping it to himself and trying his patience rather than letting off steam to an alliance mate making them think you're unpredictable).
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65. "Well ..."
If we're not being spoon-fed why he won, then we're certainly being shoveled why he should have ...
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66. "Episode 8: For Smart Players: Nothing Changed"
In Galang, the women were in control, leaving Vytas, the only male of the tribe, on the outside looking in.
Over at Tadhana, Aras thought he was in control…But Tyson was pulling the strings, gathering idol information and putting together a majority alliance of 5.
<We heard Ciera’s confessional about trusting each other more than anyone on the other side which was juxtaposed with Jeff’s immunity challenge call: “Tyson does it! Tadhana wins.”>

After Galang lost immunity, Laura B revealed the women’s plan, hoping to spare Vytas’ feelings and, in the end, she got her wish saving Vytas’ feelings by getting herself voted out.

Once more, Vytas’s social game wasn’t brought up. He was saved because Laura got herself voted out, not because of anything he did. That’s how Jeff spun the story. At Tadhana, it was clear that Tyson would find the idol because gathering information about it took precedent over forming the alliance. There too, we were quick to see that Aras was in real difficulty. The previews weren’t misdirection; he was going to be blindsided. So, if it is this straightforward, shall we say that Tyson does it, wins Sole Survivor? Maybe but other players are still in the running.

For Smart Players: Nothing Changed.

Galang – Night 18

Vytas told the women that he felt a lot of trust in this group: “This is my five and I am speaking for Aras too.”
It was funny to hear one of the women say: “How lucky are we” but the pronoun used at the end was partly drowned, creating the impression that she was saying Vytas was lucky.
Monica wanted to know if Aras had Gervase with him 100%. Tina and Vytas told her yes.
Vytas (solo): “The merge is coming soon. At this point, it’s five together, no matter what. We are standing firm. We are standing for a way to play this game: We are going to be moral, we are going to be honest even if it means our death. That’s not how I feel but that is what I am rapping about.”
Talking to the group, Tina said: “I think that Monica, at this point, had to do more to stick her neck out than Gervase has. So, when we get down to 5 and 6, we would put her in that 5 spot instead of the 6 spot.” Vytas was in total agreement with that while Monica thanked Tina, saying it meant a lot coming from her.
In confessional, Monica told us what she really thought of the offer: “We just got back from Tribal Council and Tina makes an announcement tonight that OK, great! We really appreciate everything you are doing Monica and you’re number 5. If we merge, it’s going to be difficult when people come to me with an offer better than five.”

I was floored to hear Tina’s remark. Outback Tina’s main quality had been to keep the picking order secret, at times surprising even Colby, her closest ally. We were certainly right in saying that “playing Blood” was going to hurt Tina but we didn’t expect it would be this bad.

Redemption Island.

Again, with two people leaving, very little of the next few scenes really mattered but we have to keep the following in mind:
- Laura B.: “It’s a hugely, horrible, non-strategic move to get rid of me and keep Vytas. I think it’s ridiculous… I think it’s a huge mistake for those girls to leave Vytas in the game. The merge could be tomorrow and here’s Vytas joining his brother, joining all those guys. They are going to take out the girls. It’s ridiculous.”
- John and Laura M. agreed that it would have been smart to eliminate Vytas.
- Laura Morrett had the last confessional before going to the challenge arena: “I’ll either go home today, my game is going to be over or I am going back in it. No second place is good enough anymore. I have to win it. This is it and it’s just hard but I told my daughter I’d come back for you. I have to win this challenge to get back to her.”
- After an attempt to create drama by going to commercial, we heard a confessional from Ciera: “I have mixed feelings about my mom coming back in the game. My mom obviously created relationships over there that weren’t that strong so it could really ruin my game if she came back.”
- After giving out new buffs to everyone, signaling the merger, Laura was given the opportunity to keep the clue herself but, like the others, she chose to burn it. Jeff looked disappointed when she tossed it in.

Before going to the next break, we had a confessional from Aras: “As it stands now, my strategy is to go Galang strong which would be the original Galang: Me, Gervase, Tyson, Monica, Tina plus Vytas and Katie. That’s 7. There’s 11 left in the game so we have a distinct advantage.”

If Laura B. story has any meaning for the future, if it wasn’t only about coming out of her shell and making Rupert proud, then that puts a terrible mark on Tina and Monica’s strategic abilities moving forward. We are told they made a huge mistake, that they made no sense and the confessional that Aras delivered proved it.
As for Laura M., her words reminded us of Sabrina in One World who, early on, said “no one remembers second place”. We figured it meant she’d wind up in the second place she dreaded but we don’t think Laura’s quote will bring her the same success. Her game is focused on Ciera so the quote should apply to her daughter, opening up the possibility that Ciera will fight it out all the way to the end where “no second place is good enough anymore.”

Merged Tribe – Day 19

Hayden had the merger confessional: “We hit the beach, we have a picnic; the merge feast…I’m stuffing my face but the whole time I am thinking: OK. What can I do here to make sure that I stay in the numbers? We have the five solid: Me, Caleb, Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. Now I am thinking: Is Laura M. going to come with Ciera or is Laura M. going to try to pull Ciera to make three pairs? It could be Laura M/Ciera, Aras/Vytas and Katie with Tina. Everything can hinge on Ciera. It’s a long game but once the merge happens then the game starts. This is when Survivor really becomes Survivor.”

This confessional is more than just narration and it is very good to include it in Hayden’s story but note that he didn’t do anything to make things go his way. We didn’t even hear him talk to Ciera even if he said it hinged on her. I feel the confessional was used more for its general content than for an Hayden-specific story line. If the game starts at the merger then we can say that it isn’t too early anymore to make a big move. No one can be accused of playing too hard, too fast anymore.

We then saw Laura laughing, telling Monica that she could have hung on forever. In the background, we also saw one of the Coconut Bandits, Gervase, bringing coconuts to everyone.
Laura in confessional: “For the first time in 19 days, I get to play with my daughter. My game plan is for the couples to stick together because that is 6 right there. I do have to talk to Ciera. I have a lot of work to do. I’m still here and I’m not giving up.”

When Ciera and Laura went for a walk to the beach, Tyson and Gervase looked on with Gervase saying: “It all comes down to Laura M.. Ciera will work on her.” Tyson agreed saying they’d have to keep in touch with them.
Ciera had a confessional by the beach: “Playing with your Loved One and making it to the merge, I feel so blessed but then there is also the fact that my mom caused some rifts and had some enemies clearly because they voted her out and all shifted. With my mom coming back in the game, it could really hurt me.”
She told her mom that she was in an alliance with Hayden and Caleb which pleased mom but then added: “This is where it gets sketchy. You make it a little sketchy and here’s why: This alliance formed around people without Loved Ones. It’s me, Hayden, Caleb, Tyson and Gervase and we promised each other final 5 but don’t talk strategy with anybody. No one. So here’s the thing: Aras is the next to go.”
Ciera had another confessional on top of the hills. It was from a totally different spot than the previous one (it suggests that this strategy talk needed more than one session): “I want to make sure my mom is on board and really understands how we are going to play it. I feel like I am the teacher, you know, teaching my mom the ways, the ways of this tribe.”
Laura also had a confessional: “Me and Ciera are the people that are going to decide the fate of either the couples or the fate of the singles. Who would have thought that I was on Redemption Island thinking the game was over and now I am in a power position in this game of who’s gonna go home.”
Ciera had a last piece of advice: “Just don’t play hard.”

Ciera is clearly on a coming-of-age story and one has to wonder how far it will take her. Laura’s story is completely wrapped up in her daughter’s and their exchange enabled us to see the child spreading her wings and taking flight. The comparison to the Katie/Tina relationship shines even more light on Ciera.

Tyson went for a walk and gave us a confessional: “You have to act fast come merge time so now the only factor in the game is finding out where the immunity idols are. When the tribe swap happened, Hayden gave me all the info he knew about the HII. I’m pretty sure it’s at the giant tree on the way to the waterfall.” After finding the idol, Tyson told us: “I’m definitely not sharing this with anybody else. If it becomes my advantage to share it with somebody in my alliance to keep them in the game and put somebody else out then that is something that I will definitely do but, right now, nobody needs to know I have it... I never had an idol before and I also never won the show before so do those correlate or directly with one another? Probably not but at least it’s a little more advantage.”

The music was quite rhythmic throughout his search, growing in intensity when he found the idol. It even sounded a bit like a victory anthem when he ended his confessional. Nothing here suggests that this idol will be wasted, that Tyson suddenly became too confident. You don’t need to have looked at Survivor editing for very long to see that there is a good chance that Tyson’s story can lead him to victory. Myself, I picked up on a small but interesting detail: The use of the plural when Tyson talked about finding the idols. We have no idea if he’ll have the opportunity to return to Galang’s beach to look for the other one but we should expect to see him with two idols at some point.

It was then time to see the reunion of the Brothers Baskauskas, Vytas telling Aras that he made it by the skin of his teeth.
Vytas (solo): “I’m so stoked to be playing with Aras. He’s my brother and I love him and I want to go deep in this game with him.”
Vytas was happy to have a solid 6 and Aras added that they had Tyson as their 7th, that they needed to keep him around and that he couldn’t go on an immunity run because he had a broken arm.
Vytas in confessional: “We laid out our plan for the 7: Tina, Monica, Aras, Gervase and Tyson, myself and Katie. So, seven of us. 4 and 7 is a majority.”
Aras told Vytas that Laura was the scariest person in the game.
Aras had a confessional: “Getting rid of Laura is not just because she was on Redemption Island and she’s coming back in. Getting rid of Laura is the safest play because everyone feels uncomfortable with her. It would be an easy vote.”
Just then, Vytas said: “If people were smart, they would mobilize against us right away and be like, alright, these brothers are ___ going to the end, but they are not going to.”
Vytas in confessional: “Blood versus Water should really, in the end, be called: Vytas versus Aras because we would have to be pretty stupid at this point not to get to the end.”

There is so much material to analyze in this scene that I consider it editing gold.

- Let’s start with the funniest part: Aras calling Laura the easy vote. I remember that he first went after Laura because she wasn’t the easy vote. The easy vote then had been Mrs Boneham but he remarked that the easy vote wasn't always the smart vote. We remarked that he had made a huge mistake going after someone that trusted him and showing that he was playing hard too early. This time, he wanted to go for the easy vote which was the other Laura...and it got him booted instead because NOW it was time to go for the smart vote. It was even funnier considering Laura was, at first, considering going with the couples. It’s doubtful that Aras could have gotten Laura to pull her daughter into a pairs’ alliance but he didn’t even seem to consider the possibility.
- The next nugget was found when Vytas said that “Blood versus Water” should be called Aras versus Vytas. I totally expect to see Vytas join Aras on Redemption Island and the two brothers should stay there challenge after challenge up to the very end. Since Vytas has received more care in his edit, I expect he will come out on top. Unless…
- Tyson beats him! The most interesting piece of information in that segment was Aras’ remark that Tyson couldn’t go on a run because of his “broken arm”. The inclusion of that remark could have a very interesting pay-off in one of two ways: Either Vytas returns to the game but gets eliminated when Tyson, who had been on a run, beats him for the final immunity, or Tyson eventually gets voted out and starts his challenge run on Redemption Island. The foreshadowing is that Tyson will win a key challenge and that foreshadowing goes all the way back to Rachel’s elimination when we heard Tyson say “You better watch out because if any of you see me in Redemption Island, none of you stand a chance in hell.”
- Vytas himself jinxed the brothers chances when he said: “these brothers are ___ going to the end, but they are not going to.” He was talking about the other players who won’t be stopping the brothers but the way it came out, it foreshadowed that the brothers aren’t going to make it to the end.

The scene ended with Aras saying they could both win a Final 3 against anybody. Vytas agreed.

Merged Tribe – Night 19

Monica and Tyson went out of camp to talk. She said that they told her that she was fifth. Tyson told her what he had set up…at least in part.
Tyson in confessional: “I didn’t tell Monica about the plan to get Aras out / because you have to show her a little love, you have to show her some respect / just to solidify the numbers.” (Note the two dashes I put at the start of the confessional. They denote sharp breaks in sound indicating that this confessional was mostly spliced together. It was quite intriguing that the part between the two dashes is done with Tyson seen talking to the camera while the rest is in voice-over. What did Tyson really say? We have no idea). Contradictorily, we heard Tyson in fact telling Monica about the plan to get Aras out first and then to pluck them one by one. Then the confessional continued: “She just likes to repeat the same idea over and over again. I don’t want to be rude to her because I want to keep her close. At some point, you have to be like: Monica; shut up.” We saw Monica asking if he was s u r e that Gervase was with him. We then had the rest of Tyson’s confessional: “I’m like; give me a rusty spoon so I can dig both my eyeballs out and then try to jam it through my eye socket into my brain. It’s taking all my patience, all of it.”
They agreed they were going to the end together.

While I should be thrilled that the Final three of Tyson, Gervase and Monica which I predicted well before the swap, is coming together but it worries me instead. This confessional is quite disturbing for Tyson’s future. It suggests that Tyson won’t be able to keep Monica close because he will be rude to her at some point. Up to now, everyone that has stood in Monica’s way has gone to Redemption Island so this scene could be telling us that Tyson winds up there. Monica has been given a big role in the whole Blood versus Water theme. Her dilemma started the moment Brad said he’d throw a challenge to save her and it ramped up when everyone showed hatred for her husband at the challenge arena. Kat and Laura both left because Monica couldn’t trust them. The story of the season could be how Monica navigated through all these hurdles so what happens if she thinks that Tyson is in her way? Monica was given a confessional just then and it showed that Tyson hadn’t quite convinced her.

Monica (solo): “If Tyson would just say: I am 100% with you; I would probably jump in bed with the whole idea and just relax but then again it is Survivor so how can you relax?” I’m not sure. I’m in a big predicament.”

Tyson’s whole game depends on whether or not the upcoming vote proved to Monica that he was 100% with her. If he can’t keep her trust, he will wind up on Redemption Island. However, even that shouldn’t be considered the end of his game as we saw above.

The Immunity Challenge.

Monica was eliminated first, missing the second item. Caleb and Katie followed her on the next item. Katie went to the bench whispering “Loser” to herself but the musical note stretched out as if to include Caleb and Monica in the same bar.
Tyson, Tina and Hayden also left before the end of the first round.
When Laura left at the beginning of the second round, we saw Vytas smile. Ciera left on the next item while Gervase lasted a couple more.
It ended in a duel between brothers. Jeff even underlined that this lifelong competition was continuing on Survivor. Vytas won immunity.

Kasama – Day 21

Did you notice that Jeff doesn’t even bother asking the merged tribe’s name anymore? We have heard plenty of dumb names but this one means “companion” in Tagalog so someone did their homework.

As soon as we arrived back in camp, Vytas received congratulations, a woman saying: “The battle of the brothers, once again.”
Vytas had a confessional: “If you need immunity in this game, you already made a few mistakes and I’m making sure that I don’t go into a challenge needing immunity. I didn’t need immunity today but I needed to beat my brother so I’m happy. Moving forward, the biggest threats in this game are Aras and I. We’ve got this beach on lock and I’d be surprised if anybody has the guts to do anything about it.”

Vytas, it seems, didn’t realize that just winning immunity, especially competing with Aras all the way to the last round, was a mistake in itself. They were considered physical threats but now they showed they were up for the mental challenges as well. Tyson was already showing that he had the guts to do something about it so Vytas, unknowingly, gave him a compliment.

Having learned how to protect himself from an idol, Aras implemented a split vote strategy, that he presented to everyone he thought was on board: The girls would vote for Ciera, the guys for Laura.
Aras then had a confessional: “Right now, we have nine pieces working somewhat in unison. Everyone thinks they are with us. (Caleb and Hayden shown listening to the plan in silence) All the boys are voting for Laura M. Tina, Monica and Katie voting for Ciera in case Laura M has the hidden immunity idol. It gets flushed and Ciera goes home and, if not, then Laura M goes home.”

When Aras asked Katie if she was OK voting against Ciera, Katie said: “It’s a game, #####.”
We never considered Katie as a contender but this comment really killed whatever chances she still had. The viewers see her being mean to the one person that was her only friend for a long time so they won’t be sorry when Ciera turns the table on her and abandons her.

Laura was concerned about Aras having an idol but Ciera tried to calm her down.
Ciera gave us a confessional: “In my every day life, I’m my mom’s biggest cheer leader: Go mom! Go mom! That’s my natural instinct but my game side is saying: “OK Laura, think about what you are doing. It’s so weird! It’s the weirdest thing; I’ve never felt it before. It’s a struggle, I want to listen to my mom, do what my mom says but on the same hand, I am here to play my game.”

We saw Gervase on the beach with Caleb collecting big logs.
Gervase: (solo) “It’s funny because Aras has a plan which is the men are all going to vote for Laura and the girls are going to vote for Ciera. The plan with Tyson is that me, Tyson, Monica, Hayden, Caleb, Ciera and Laura M. vote for Aras. It just starts to get a little tricky now because I am not so sure that everyone is on the same page because people can say one thing in your face but, behind your back, they could say whatever else. I just can’t wait to see how it all it shakes out. I think I have an idea on how it’s going to fall out but I could be totally wrong which is still the crazy part about this game.”

While the confessional was going on, we saw Tyson meeting Gervase half-way back from the beach and grabbing one of the two heavy looking logs that the ex-pagong member was carrying. Why was this scene included? To simply tell us that Tyson’s arm isn’t broken like Aras said? Is it to show that Tyson and Gervase will share the blame just like they shared the load? If so, should we expect that the other member of the F3 will beat them? Is Tyson pictured as taking credit away from Gervase? Or did they simply have 10 seconds of airtime to fill?
For Gervase, it was important to have a confessional in this important episode but, like Hayden’s, it is partly narration.

Tribal Council

Jeff first turned to Tyson, drawing a picture of the situation. “We have the original tribal lines, we have the new tribal lines from the switch and, on top of all of this, there’s Blood versus Water. In this case. Three pairs of true blood.”
Tyson agreed, adding: “I’m sure the couples want to work together as far as they can. If my brother were here, I’d want to work with him as long as I could.”
<Aras nodded his agreement>
Aras pointed out that 6 people had to come together. “Vytas and I can’t just trust each other…We have to find 4 other people we really trust…”
Jeff turned to Hayden, practically suggesting that Laura, having just returned from Redemption Island, should be the first one voted out.
Hayden answered: “In past season, you come off redemption, you tend to head right back.” When he added that he’s assuming all the pairs are working together, that they could all be swing votes, Ciera rolled her eyes.
When Jeff told Katie that she could go to the singles’ side with her mom and form a majority, Katie said she didn’t want to over-complicate things.
Jeff asked Tyson if Katie’s answer meant that it was game over for the individuals if Laura and Ciera went with them.
Tyson said he felt threatened by the 6 of them. He added that there were 6 guys and 5 girls so “in the end, it’s who you trust the most…There’s a lot of different ways you can cut the pie and I hope to get the largest portion of the pie.”
That made Laura, Ciera, Jeff, Aras and presumably everyone else laugh.
Laura told Jeff she felt like the kid that’s been home sick with the chicken pox for the last 2 weeks. “You come to the school and nobody wants to play with you. The advantage of having a Loved One here is that a lot of stuff I can filter through Ciera. She’s a great social player.”
Ciera told Jeff that it was a reversal, that she had to tell her mom to relax. “Just calm down because you are freaking me out.”
Asked what will be different after the vote, Gervase answered: “I think for the smart players: Nothing. For those that aren’t: A lot.” He told Jeff that the key was to stay calm and be ready for the changes.
It was time to vote.

We saw Katie holding up her vote against Ciera: “We’ve been friends since the beginning but I am sorry.”
Gervase held up the parchment with Aras’s name and said: “This is my power move in this game. I love you like a brother but it’s how it is.”
Aras gave us his reason for voting against Laura: “I voted you out once, I might as well vote you out twice.”

Aras and Tina were shown smiling ever so lightly when no one stepped forward with an idol.
While he hadn’t been surprised to see two votes against Aras, Vytas showed concern when a third vote appeared while Tina started looking around, already trying to assign blame. The scales fell from Aras’ eyes when he saw the 4th vote against him. He gave a quick hug to his brother. Ciera and Tyson smiled. Vytas and Tina looked at each other when Jeff read the determining vote. Aras got his torch and simply said: “Well played guys. Well played.” The camera went directly to Tyson at that moment.

Jeff ended the “festivities” by saying: “Although there were questions coming into Tribal Council, there’s certainly a little clarity now that it’s over.”
Vytas’ expression showed that he didn’t see things that clearly yet.
The last image we had from inside the council area was Vytas passing in front of Tyson, a target in his shooting gallery.

The Story

In previous episodes, we already had many indications that playing this season differently than before was a bad idea. Brad had been the most vocal about needing new tactics for this season but those new tactics got him swiftly booted. We heard Tina say that she would be playing “Blood” from now on and she has been making mistakes after mistakes since. Despite these indications, we were worried by the numbers, knowing that the pairs would have the advantage at the merger so we had to consider that the pairs could make a comeback. Now, we feel much more confident that, like Gervase said, nothing changed for the smart players despite all the twists.

We’ve made the case for Tyson’s win but this episode gave us other players to consider. Let’s see what case the editors have made for some of them.

The Characters.

Katie: If there is one player that we can clearly eliminate, it is Katie. She called Ciera a ##### which only served to legitimize the upcoming retaliation from her “best friend” and she called herself a loser. Case closed.

Aras: Being out at Redemption Island makes it hard for him to have a chance but we feel that he will make a run. It should be Aras versus Vytas out at Redemption Island but it feels like he will fall short, that Vytas will eventually win, abandoning him there.

Laura: Her role is limited to serve her daughter’s coming-of-age story. We even heard Ciera say that she worries about her mom ruining her game so Laura could fall victim to her daughter’s power move. Nothing would prove loyalty to an alliance more than voting out your own mother. If this happens, we will know that this season was all about Survivor being an individual game, not one for pairs of true blood.

The Case for Vytas: His edit puts him on a direct course to Redemption Island where we expect him to have a lot of success. The investment in his character has been too important to see him lose after one or two rounds. I suspect he will eventually return from RI unless Tyson meets him there. Hayden and Caleb could still come to his rescue as well as his new status as a single player but it would be foolish to align with a player that would have 3 sure votes on the jury. It would also be dumb to leave him in the game if Aras can come back. His chances are really slim.

The Case for Tina: The only thing we saw from Tina in this crucial episode was the social game faux pas she made with Monica. She didn’t intervene at Tribal Council and looked ready to assign blame when she realized the game had changed, putting her in the camp of the players that weren’t smart. It is getting late for Tina to turn her story arc around, to regain control of the game but Monica’s volatility could serve her well and we will have to keep an eye on her if she outlasts her daughter, forcing her to play an individual game again.

The Case for Caleb: Normally, having no confessionals in the merge episode should be considered a death-kiss from the editors but I won’t go so far in his case. I am quite impressed that he has been able to fade from sight after calling himself the “Big Kahuna”. I also noted that we heard Tyson mentioning only Hayden’s name when he said who told him about the idol clues. Caleb had been just as foolish but he didn’t receive as much blame. We know that the “Big Kahuna” line didn’t make it on the air for nothing, that he will emerge once again and influence another key vote but will it be enough? I feel his biggest opportunity lies with the war of the “alpha males” in which he could join an alliance of women. Tyson said that there were 6 guys against 5 women but that is already changing. However, if he does go to the end with the women, we have to remember that the editors, using Katie’s words, called him a loser. His role is so small that it would make for a bad story if he were to emerge as the winner.

The Case for Hayden: His biggest chance of going deep into the game is that no one is talking about him, saying that he is a dangerous player. His biggest problem for winning the game is that no one is talking about him, saying that he is a good player. OK, Kat did say it before she left but I’m talking about players in the game so that it would give him ties to the end There’s also the recap that reminded us that he gave Tyson all he needed to find an idol that he couldn’t find. While his confessionals are slightly more than straight narration, there isn’t enough substance to them. He has no future being one of Tyson’s follower but we have heard about no other ties, hooks in his story that would bring him to the end on his own merit.

The Case for Gervase: A Final 3 of Gervase, Monica and Tyson is coming more into focus. Gervase was the key player for both sides and Monica’s main concern whichever way she turned. How will that play out for the jury? He will almost certainly have to answer for his power move but will he be able to share the blame with the others or will he see Tyson take away the larger portion of the pie? Symbolically, that’s what the log carrying scene represented but knowing that it was a symbol doesn’t tell us how to interpret it. In my opinion, Tyson went out to get the log so, symbolically, it was something he wanted, not something that fell on his shoulders. Gervase, it seems, just handed the game to Tyson.

The Case for Monica: Much of the episode was devoted to Monica’s decision. She didn’t want to be fifth with Galang but she wasn’t sure she should jump in bed with Tyson. Did the vote show her that Tyson was a good partner or did Aras’ removal make her position in the Galang’s alliance more attractive? After all the moves she has already made, it seems unlikely that Tyson will be her last bed partner but she can share blame with him and Gervase while flipping back would make everyone blame her. She is a volatile player so she could eventually send Tyson to Redemption Island but her nervousness could also turn Tyson and Gervase against her. Still, they are each other’s best rivals in the end, three original Galang 5 members that turned on their alliance. What are her chances? I think it was very detrimental to her story that this episode wasn’t really portrayed as her decision, that we heard it actually hinged on Ciera. Let’s not forget that Katie indirectly called her a Loser.

The Case for Ciera: Her coming-of-age journey had been envisioned when her mother was sent to Redemption Island but it really took center stage when mom returned to the game. Ciera called her mother by her first name so, despite both the mother/daughter and veteran/rookie relation, Ciera considers her mother as an equal and, in this game, she has to teach her the ropes. Hearing Ciera say that her mother could ruin her game went directly to the heart of this season’s theme. Ciera, like the others, has compassion for her Loved One but she could turn out to be the only one that will actually vote to break that bond. Who could have predicted that at the start of the season? Ciera seemed really dependent on her mother, the veteran, but now she is hampered by her. We’ve heard her strategy, we’ve heard that she has spunk and we’ve heard that she is a great social player.
In short, Ciera has most of the ingredients to be the winner. The only thing missing is an end-game connection. How does she get to the F3? It’s possible that her journey ends short of the finals, that her great story only means she is the last rookie standing but the volatility observed inside the foreshadowed Final 3 gives her an opening. Her quiet game could fool her opponents, make them think she cannot win jury votes but she would be a formidable opponent, a sure winner if she does make it.

The Case Against Tyson: He could be heading to Redemption Island because he didn’t commit 100% to Monica and she is very difficult when it comes to choosing her bed partner. Hearing him say that Monica needs to shut up sends up all sorts of alarms. We know that Monica won’t go quietly, that she is looking out for what is best for her and she may find a bed more to her liking. The move against Aras should tie the 3 original Galang members together as partner in crimes but this is Survivor and strange things happens. Let’s not forget that Tyson’s first goal when joining Tadhana was to make the target on Aras larger, reducing the one on his own back. Now that Aras isn’t a target anymore, we have to say that Tyson’s target has gotten suddenly bigger. In this episode, we heard Ciera telling Laura not to play too hard. Did it apply to Tyson also and, if so, did he play too hard by going after Aras so early?

The Case for Tyson: Let’s look at the case against him and see if the edit refutes those arguments:
- It’s possible that Tyson gets voted out but we’ve heard him say that he will be a tremendous opponent if he gets on RI and we heard that Aras doesn’t think he can win so it seems that Tyson will win a key challenge, either the one to return from RI or the Final IC to assure his place in the F3.
- While he could get a lot of blame from jurors, we’ve seen Tyson’s social game when he sympathized with Hayden after Kat’s elimination and when he gained trust of alliances on both sides. Aras said the move was well played so he shouldn’t hold it against him.
- As for playing too hard, the episode started with Laura B. telling us how ridiculous it was to spare one of the brothers so we are told that this move didn’t come too early. In fact, Vytas even said that they should mobilize against them and that’s just what Tyson did.

Tyson, Sole Survivor? He has a good case.

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11-13-13, 08:58 PM (EST)
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67. "RE: Episode 8: For Smart Players: Nothing Changed"
So sorry that I am so late to the party this week! I agree with so much of what Michel went over. The women are in control at Galang, while Aras thought he was in control is definitely setting up the entire story for the evening. Vytas stays while Aras most likely goes.

Agree that Tina divulging to Monica her place in the pecking order was purely ludicrous! Tina made the fatal error and is deserving of her fate in the game.

I really admired your thoughts on Hayden's confessional at the merge, very astute. I agree, while Hayden is perceptive, we don't see him acting on his thoughts/observations...troubling.

Agree on Cierra being in the drivers seat and that Laura is secondary to her, and may soon be a liability to her. Very interesting to contrast them with Tina and Katie. Clearly, Cierra is far more significant to the story.

Congratulations, michel, you called Tyson finding the idol WEEKS ago! Well done! Very fun. Tyson is playing a game that reminds me of Robfadda. He's in the drivers seat all the way. Now, can he stay there? Now, I missed him talking about 2 idols...very interesting indeed and great to pick it up! Nice that he ended the confessional with what some could consider a million dollar quote as well!

Great observations regarding Aras' and Vytas' conversation. Interesting how right off the bat Vytas admits, if these other players were smart they would target us right away! And, then as you noted Aras, wanted to go for the "easy vote", Laura, when last time he wanted to go for the smart vote, NOT the easy vote. Fickle Aras. Also, I love that you noted Tyson commenting on if any of you see me on RI, you don't stand a chance in HeLL! They end with the arrogant comment that they could be anyone in a final 3.

I couldn't agree more. Vytas is going to be headed to RI and soon. But, he is a STAR of this season so I fully expect him to outlast his brother, and maybe returned to the show, unless as you note, Tyson goes there and then wins his way back! I love all this spec on the foreshadowing!

Love the spec on Monica and Tyson as well. Monica is an enigma to me. I certainly see her more as a goat. She does seem to dwell on things and need constant re-affirmation...she could indeed spell trouble for Tyson down the road, as you suggest. She indeed seems far more likely to be foreshadowed to make the end game.

Regarding immunity, wow. The brothers rivalry with each other trumps everything in this game. So, will this foreshadow a long time spent doing just that on RI...I think you may be right about them being together for a long time there.

I agree about the Katie comment. This shows that she was unable to form any kind of loyalty to someone that wasn't her blood relative in the game. And, in a game that appears to be favoring singles, she'll be toast soon!

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11-16-13, 03:49 PM (EST)
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68. "Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To The End"
LAST EDITED ON 11-17-13 AT 11:13 AM (EST)

The Recap

Jeff told us that the Returning players and the Loved Ones were finally reunited.
<Hayden: “This is were Survivor really becomes Survivor.”>
Back at camp, Tyson found the Hidden Immunity Idol…
<”I’m definitely not sharing this with anybody else.”>
…and two pairs of Loved Ones, Aras and Vytas and Tina and Katie, thought they were sitting pretty…
<Aras: “And Tyson’s our 7th.”>
…but that was far from the truth.
<Tyson to Monica: “You are with us. We take Aras out first.”>
At Tribal Council, Aras was the victim of a vicious blindside.
<Aras: “Well played guys. Well played.” Tina shown shaking her head while Tyson smiled.>

This sums up nicely our dilemma regarding Tyson’s edit. On one hand, he is clearly presented as the mastermind of the season, the one that not only is able to find the immunity idol but who is able to turn the table on two powerful ex-winners and their Loved Ones. We are even reminded that his move is completely justified because Aras thought he had the game in hand and he was putting Tyson in 7th place. Yet, on the other, Jeff used the word “vicious” to describe the move and Tyson was seen smiling at his victim. Jeff could have called it a huge blindside but an adjective like “vicious” used to be reserved for Villains. The same used to apply to the satisfied smile after a vote. So which is it? This episode, I feel, will answer that question.

I would have titled this episode:

It Isn’t Easy To Get To The End.

Kasama – Night 21

Vytas: “That was a great move. As a fan of the show…Aras did not see that coming and neither did I. Congratulations, that was awesome.”
Tyson, hugging Vytas, said: “I loved Aras too, we all did.”

Vytas in confessional: “Aras, Tina, Katie and I got blindsided. I want to get… vengeance is going to be mine at some point. I want to see how bad I can get you.”
(We saw him with Tyson while the last was heard in voice-over.)

Whenever we hear someone say that he is a fan of the show, I feel we are being told that they represent the audience’s conscience, expressing the way the viewers should feel. The night’s first hint tells us we should find that the “vicious blindside” was awesome. With Vytas out before the end of the episode, we have to wonder what his vengeance pledge meant. It could be that he won’t vote for Tyson or it was used to put doubt in Tyson’s direction.

Tina couldn’t keep her mouth shut: “Bravo to you, that was a great move. Monica and Tyson, you won the battle but you didn’t win the war because you have 5 jury votes that you will never get for flipping.”
Tyson replied: “You, Vytas and Katie pushed us out.”
Everyone told Tina that they had an alliance with Aras. Tyson added: “There was one person that was flipping on everybody and he’s out of the game right now. You accuse me of something that I am not guilty of.”

Tyson in confessional: “Survivor’s broken my heart twice and I think that tonight I fell back in love. I knew Aras wasn’t going to take me to the end. And I knew Tina had prioritized Katie in front of me so for her to come out and say that you should be ashamed of yourself because that’s not the way I play the game, I’m like: Tina, if everybody played the game the way you do, I would win 100% of the time.”

It’s interesting that Gervase got away unscathed from his big move. Tina thought that Gervase was still with them because she thought there were 5 votes against Tyson and Monica. Even later on, we’d see Tina pat Gervase on the knee before leaving for Redemption Island. She’ll come to realize that Tyson and Gervase are together but the viewers are told that Gervase isn’t blamed for the “vicious blindside”. That will lead many to say that Gervase will win the jury vote. He might but let’s wait before we crown him because there are better hints later on. Even now, note how Tyson was allowed to explain his move not only to the tribe and to the viewers. Like him, many of us have had our hearts broken by lame seasons but we sometimes fall back in love. The scene where Tina was complaining about a blindside made me wonder what Bitchell, Scerri and Lamber said while watching the episode.

The next morning, Tina was alone with Katie, saying it didn’t look good for the home team. She added: “You’ve got to figure your game because I’ve got a much, much bigger target on me. Don’t feel like you have to pull me into anything.”

Katie (solo): “My mom mentioned that I need to have a game plan because, if tribal happens and I’m a sitting duck, it’s not going to be pretty. She told me to try and build my own individual alliances and talk to people and sell my vote. How do I sell myself when I have my mom on the line? The idea of blood versus water, it’s hard trying to sell myself without throwing my loved one under the bus and that’s the kind of issue I’m faced with. I don’t really know how to say keep me instead of her.”

The familiar Survivor horn blew just then, making it sound more than just the show’s score. It was as if it underlined the theme for the season: “How to say: Keep me instead of my Loved One.” While we see that Katie wasn’t able to come up with a game plan of her own and got only a temporary reprieve by winning immunity, we have been prepared to see Ciera doing just that. With this kind of set-up, it seems logical to expect that Ciera’s decision to boot her mother will be presented as a good decision, something that will enable her to go further than expected. It won’t be presented like Aras’ vote against Laura, where we saw he got rid of someone that wasn’t threatening him and would have been loyal. I expect we will see that Ciera is forced to throw her mother under the bus to save her own skin.

The 1st Immunity Challenge. – A Classic

Some fun comments:
- “Aww fudge” from Gervase when Vytas joined Tyson and Monica into round 2
- “Ciera has given up.”
- After seeing the pig intestines, Tyson asked: “How are they prepared?”
- Monica: “I can do this, come on Monica.”
- Jeff: “It isn’t easy to get to the end of Survivor, it isn’t easy to get a shot at a million dollar. You’re earning it right now.” (That was said right after Tyson was seen spitting out most of the beautifully prepared intestines, Monica was seen choking while Hayden was coughing up. It was also right before someone was heard saying: “Good job, Gerv.”)
- That led Jeff to say: “Gervase, surprising everybody; he could barely do this thirteen years ago in the first season. Here he is still competing, still alive.”
- We never saw Tyson eating after he spit up the intestines. He most likely gave up but it wasn’t shown and Jeff didn’t comment on it.

The last round was a Gervase-special!
- Gervase said: “This is season one. You know I can’t do this.”
- Someone answered: “You gotta go for it” while another added: “You gotta.”
- Jeff: “Come on Gervase. Change history right here. Fight through it, Culpepper.”
Gervase gave a valiant effort. “Culpepper” won and it was the first time Jeff gave the preferential “last name” treatment to a woman. After winning and giving Probst a “Bob Barker” hug, Monica turned to Gervase and said: “This has been a dream of mine for a long time. Thanks for helping me.”

The most interesting editing choice was that a round was skipped. The previews had prepared us for the following scenario:
Round 1: 5 dreamteamers attempt mealworms. 3 advance.
Round 2: 5 dreamteamers attempt mealworms. 3 advance.
Round 3: 6 DTs attempt pig intestine. 3 advance.
Round 4: 3 DTs attempt cow eyeball. 2 advance.
Round 5: 2 DTs attempt witchetty grub. 1 wins.
So Round 4 wasn’t shown (Monica confirmed that it took place) and the third place finisher of Round 3 was simply ignored. Jeff’s comment “2 people from this round are moving on” was heard in voice-over before round 3 so it was taken from the following round. From the other previews we figured that either Hayden or Caleb was the 3rd finalist so ignoring one of them tells us that person can’t be our winner. But which one?! The way we saw it, that round came down to Gervase and Vytas but we saw Vytas spitting out his last bite in disgust so he obviously wasn’t the third place finisher. We had a shot of a disgusted Hayden turning away from the table when Jeff announced the players moving on. At that time, Caleb was seen in the background still facing the table, expressionless, probably already focusing on the next round. Caleb was most likely the 3rd player that moved on. Therefore, this line of reasoning tells us that Caleb won’t win.*

I believe the editing of the challenge also tells us who wins. This will be a lengthy explanation but, while the recaps are often the best guides we have to determine a winner, the way some challenges are edited can also be very telling. If you remember, we were able to confirm our impression that Natalie was going to win Samoa when she wasn’t shown refusing to drink her gross milkshake. The first immunity victory by the women in One World also confirmed that Kim would win because it was her voice that guided Sabrina to finish the puzzle.
What’s great about this challenge is that it practically tells us that Gervase and Monica will make it to the end. Gervase will indeed surprise everybody because not only couldn’t eat grub 13 years ago but he couldn’t play the game either. “It isn’t easy to get to the end of Survivor, it isn’t easy to get a shot at a million dollar. You’re earning it right now” Jeff was heard saying just when Monica and Gervase won their second round, sending them to the “finals”. Why was a round cut? In part it was to save time, yes, but enough time could have been saved in each round. I believe the round was skipped because it was simply perfect to have Monica and Gervase going directly to the final round, symbolizing that they will be in the finale. They didn’t need to include that 4th round where Caleb would have simply stood in the way. It seems more and more likely that Caleb will be the doormat so why give him a nice moment? Long forgotten is the Big Kahuna so we can put that scenario to rest.

The questions are: Will either Monica or Gervase win or will the 3rd member of the F3 win it all? Who will be that 3rd member?
Even without taking into account that no one seems to like Monica, I don’t think she’ll win. Culpepper will get to the end and fulfill that dream of hers but, like we saw just when Jeff talked about earning the million, she will choke. I expect she will have a difficult FTC performance.
Gervase could have changed history but he fell short and we even heard him say he couldn’t do “this”. I believe he won’t be able to do “that” either, “that” being winning the jury vote. We heard all this foreshadowing because that’s exactly what will happen: Gervase will finish second again at the end.

So, who is the 3rd member of the F3, the one that will get the win? Not Ciera because Jeff told us that she “has given up”. That picture could have been cut out and I have no doubt we wouldn’t have seen the eventual winner in a scene where she simply gave up. (Sandra notwithstanding. No one is like Sandra.)
What’s more interesting is that someone did give up but wasn’t shown and Jeff didn’t tell us about it: Tyson will win the game and the way this challenge was edited is the best hint we’ve had up to now. I should rest my case and stop writing!

Kasama – Day 22

Tyson, standing in front of the group of 7, asked about Tribal Council. Laura answered: “Guys are doing Vytas, girls are doing Katie.” Hayden and Caleb were shown simply listening in silence as two of their ex-tribe mates were being sentenced to “death row”.

The “doormat” treatment is given to both ex-Tadhana men but Hayden still gets some confessionals. That means he will probably show more fight than Caleb in the end. If Caleb outlasts other members of Tadhana it will be because he is dragged along much like Nicaragua Dan or So Pathetic Cowboy Rick.

Laura had a confessional: “Tonight, the plan is 4 votes Vytas’ way, three votes Katie’s way. As of right now, we don’t know if anyone’s found the hidden immunity idol. Vytas may have it, Tina may have it, Katie may have it.”

Tyson also had a confessional: “I wasn’t the one that came up with the idea to split the votes. Laura M was like: If there is an idol out there, we need to split the votes. It’s one of those things where it’s like do I tell them I have the idol so we don’t have to worry about splitting votes? Or, is that going to make me too big of a target? I don’t want to tell people that I have the idol so I have to kinda roll with it.” (Monica was shown when he said the last sentence.)

We continue to see Laura playing hard despite her daughter’s warning. Those confessionals set up her elimination which should happen soon.
On the other hand, with every new confessional, Tyson tells us that it isn’t easy to get to the end of Survivor. He is well aware of all the dangers looming and he keeps telling us what he plans to do about them. That way, the viewers will be able to say he earned the million dollar check and the title of Sole Survivor. Jeff said the title had to be earned and does anyone believe that Katie, for example, has done anything to earn it? I fear the same can be said of Caleb, Hayden and Ciera who were all saved by the tribal swap and haven’t been shown doing much since. Monica earned that immunity win but has she done anything else? Some will say that she booted Laura and Kat but that was called a terrible strategy. Saving Vytas put her in a bad situation but Tyson came to her rescue after the merge. Has Gervase earned it? This is a tricky one and maybe he is worthy just because he’s learned so much since season one. But why are we hearing the game from Tyson’s perspective?

Vytas came back from the ocean and was very direct: “How was the talk? Which one of us is next?”
Tyson spoke up: “Only time will tell.”
Vytas (solo) “I knew I needed to win immunity. It’s a little bit low to beg for my position on the tribe but I have no other play. Just another 2 days in this game could lead to another 12 days in this game, could lead to a million dollars.”
Vytas asked Hayden to give it to him straight adding: “You owe me that.”
Hayden answered that he was going to be honest so he said: “It’s going to be you or Katie.”
Vytas pleaded: “Hopefully 4 will go to Katie. Give me one more, man.”
Vytas ended his confessional saying he’d vote against Katie and, just then, she joined the guys. Of course, Vytas told Katie: “I’m not turning on you girls.”

What a great villain we could have had in Vytas. I feel they softened his edit somewhat in order to make him likable, preparing him for an eventual return. I’d have preferred to see the villain right here and now.

Katie had a confessional of her own: “I’m in a very tight jam. I don’t know what alliance people have right now. My mom told me that I have to do what’s best for me so I need to figure out a different game plan, one that includes just me or me and my mother.”

Another confessional telling us that Katie is only talk, that she isn’t doing a thing to earn her way to the end. I’m almost tempted to write that her bark is worse than her bite. I’d be amazed if the editors thought of linking her in this way to the “dog that didn’t bark” edit her mother received in her original season. Now that would be far-fetched.

Monica also had a confessional: “I am getting nervous. Seven of us made a pact that we would split the votes between Gervase and Katie…I am not really quite sure what’s happening or who’s saying what or who is driving the boat but why the sudden scramble? It makes me feel very uncomfortable.”

After hearing Monica’s paranoia, Laura had a confessional: “Monica is asking why everybody’s scattering around? What the hell does she care for? She has the necklace around. You are not going home and that just goes to show you what kind of paranoid person Monica is.”

With Caleb apparently listening, Vytas pleaded with Tyson to put only 3 votes on him which would break another pair. He added that he would give him his jury vote at the end if he kept him one more round.

Tyson had a confessional: “Vytas made some valid points but the main concern for me right now is: If the girls wise up they could perhaps form an all-girl alliance. Sending a girl home would keep Vytas here and still keep the guys in the strong majority. So, my list, optimally right now, would be to have Katie go next.” Huddling everyone, he asked if they should vote Katie out but Ciera countered: “If we are solid, it doesn’t matter which order they go. Tyson’s confessional continued: “This is where it gets dangerous for someone like me because I don’t want to come like the lynchpin or the decision maker. I want everyone to feel that their input is what matters and not just mine. I have to be very careful about this vote tonight.”

Could booting Vytas be seen as a mistake for Tyson? We just heard him say that Vytas had a valid point and booting him may have cost Tyson a jury vote. Fortunately, we had another Tribal Council in this episode so we didn’t have to worry about this question: Booting Vytas immediately didn’t matter because, just like Ciera said, the order didn’t matter. That little exchange told us that Tyson has a solid bunch of followers.
By the way, the editors let us hear Vytas talking to Tyson about his jury vote. That is another huge hint that Tyson makes the F3 and wins. It may even be the proof most will accept. Vytas probably threatened to take away his jury votes to others or at least to Gervase but that wasn’t included because it wasn’t needed. Jean Robert told us after China that he had threatened Amanda the same way he did Todd but we heard his threat to Todd in episode 1, not the one he made Amanda because the doubts had to be around Todd. The same applies here.

Tribal Council

Jeff asked Tina to explain what happened after Aras was voted out.
Tina said she should have kept her mouth shut but she “called out Tyson and Monica.”
Vytas said he was happy that Tina spoke out because he was feeling it. He added: “F___ you, you vote out my brother. I’m gonna ___ you up man. How dare you? I’m my brother’s keeper and I’m going to do my best to get you back. I couldn’t say that then.”
<Tyson, Hayden, Gervase and Jeff were surprised by these words.>
Jeff pointed out: “But you just said it!”
Vytas stumbled for a few seconds before recovering and saying it was a natural reaction.
Gervase said he understood his anger.
Vytas went on to say that it was a great move. He gave them credit for using Monica’s paranoia: “She fell for it right away. You just tell her that she is a doormat, she’s like: I don’t want to be a doormat, I’m with you.”
Monica countered saying: “Wow…I think you flopped on my husband and my husband’s gone but I stuck my neck out for your brother and for Tina and the people in my alliance to get you there.”
Vytas replied: “You were getting yourself further at the same time. This “Monica the Benevolent” thing is over, it is to win a million dollars. When we left Galang, we had a bond…You broke that trust.”
Katie agreed with Jeff that it was either herself, her mom or Vytas, adding she was going to look for the cracks.
<She now sounds like Palau’s Gregg waiting to make his move against Tom>
Vytas tried to sell that the girls could have the numbers. “If I go tonight, the women would behoove themselves to rally and I think Tyson and Gervase have the most power in their alliance right now and those are the guys these girls should get out.”
<Tyson looked at Gervase as if saying let’s get him.>

Jeff sent them to vote.
We saw Monica voting against Vytas, saying it was for Brad.
There was one vote for Katie, one for Tyson (Thai Sun) that seemed to come from Vytas himself. (At least the camera showed Vytas smiling when Jeff revealed that vote) and five votes for Vytas.
Vytas left without saying a word.
Jeff said the bad news for Tina and Katie was that they were on the bottom. The bad news for everybody else was that they had nothing to lose.

This first part lasted well over the hour’s half-way point, showing that most of the important events had already taken place, that nothing was going to change in the last portion of the show. But, we had to get through it anyway…

Kasama – Night 22

Monica had a confessional: “I was told to vote Katie but, with the pressure that I had been given by Vytas and the vitriol attack that I had been given by him at Tribal, I chose to write down Vytas.”
She told everyone that she said “What, up, Brad” when she voted Vytas.
That didn’t go well with Gervase who had a confessional: “Monica at Tribal Council decided to switch her vote. She was supposed to vote for Katie but she decided to vote for Vytas. If anything happened and that was the reason why Tyson got voted out, I got voted out or anybody else in my alliance, I would have lost it. It’s simple: Don’t rock the boat. Moves like that make me say: Let’s get rid of Monica next. One more straw and the camel’s back will be broke.”

It’s strange that Monica was the only one to get blamed. Did Laura convince them that she voted for Katie? Could they be that gullible, believing that Jeff would have kept that vote a secret? I wouldn’t be surprised if Gervase included Laura in his rant, first saying something like: “I expected it from Laura but not from Monica. Monica decided to switch her vote…”

Redemption Island – Day 23

Like Jacob and the Man in Black, Aras and Vytas talked about life and death on the beach.
Vytas: “You’re the one that got us out of the game.”
Aras: “There was no way I could have seen it.”
Vytas: “There were signs.” (His confessional was inserted here.)
Aras replied: “I’m still in this game, bro. I don’t know if you know that? So are you.”
Vytas: “It’s different. We are not actually in the game.”
Aras: “We’re in the f___ing game.”
Vytas: “It’s purgatory.” (How many times do the producers have to say that it wasn’t purgatory…oops; wrong show!)
Aras: “It’s not purgatory… If I wasn’t in the game, I’d be eating a cheeseburger…I’m going to come back and win the game. Or I won’t.”
<Vytas burped right then as if he had eaten too many cheeseburgers!>
(Aras’ confessional was then heard.)
Vytas said: “You’re not going to beat me out at Redemption. I’m the one that’s gonna get out.”
Aras: “That would be great: If you get out of Redemption, I will be just as happy as if I get out of Redemption.”
Vytas: “I can’t say the same for you. I’m sorry.”

Vytas’ confessional that was inserted above: “I think Aras is responsible for getting me here because he said he was good. I’m not going to bring anybody in an alliance with my brother and say we are 100% if we are not 100%. He made that mistake and now I am here just by guilt by association.”

Aras: “My brother has a lot of negative energy and I have a much more positive energy. I love him no matter what but best things don’t come when you’re pessimistic. They come when you’re open in your life.”

Very interesting portrayal of the two brothers. Up to that point, I believed that Vytas would outlast Aras but this scene made me change my mind. Aras is the positive one. Note that Vytas doesn’t even consider his own mistake: He didn’t even try to bring Caleb and Hayden to his side for at least a few votes. That’s what got him sent to RI. (It would amuse me greatly to hear that Vytas’ burp was deliberately included to symbolize that he will be eating cheeseburgers soon!)

Showing that nothing important happened in camp, Day 23 was skipped. We were already at Day 24 and the Immunity Challenge.

It certainly wasn’t as interesting, editing-wise, as the first.
Monica, Cierra, Tina, Gervase, Laura and Caleb dropped out in order, leaving Katie, Hayden and Tyson.
Tina kept encouraging Katie even if she had to know it meant she’d be voted out.
Tyson and Hayden dropped their coins back-to-back which meant Katie won immunity.
Tina looked genuinely happy.

Katie had a confessional: “Winning immunity felt like winning the lottery but right now, we don’t have an alliance. It’s just me and my mom.”
<Still no cracks..>
The two talked by the beach, Tina saying she had 5 hours to find that idol.
<What about the cracks?>
Tyson told Hayden and Caleb that they would have to hang out with Tina so they followed her.
Tina, in confessional, confirmed that Katie knew part of the clue, that the idol was in the direction of fresh water. She even ended up at the right tree.
<Strange that Hayden and Caleb didn’t seem to recognize the serpentine tree from the clues. Are they that dense?>
The guys lost her for a while which gave us a confessional from Caleb: “We head out and we lose her. We lost her on the waterfall trail. What the heck, she did give the slip on us.”
Tyson also had a confessional: “The idea was that a few people would follow Tina around in case she found the idol but we don’t have to. I could go to everybody and say: I have the Hidden Immunity Idol, we can just take naps but then I become a target. So, today, we have to baby-sit Tina all the time. She looked in the right spot but it was gone because I moved it to a safe place.”
Unable to continue her search secretly, Tina wound up in a Mexican stand-off and just sat there.
<Why not use the time to… I don’t know…look for cracks? Anyway, wouldn’t it have been better to stroll back in camp with a huge smile?>

Finally, everyone was back in camp where Monica asked what happens if Tina has the idol.
Laura said they’d simply split the votes.
Monica replied: “Split the votes between? If she finds the idol and her daughter is immune…”

Monica had another panicked confessional: “I’m not sure what’s happening. We’ll just split the votes… between who? Somebody’s gonna go home so the question is: Could it be me?”

Tyson also had a confessional: “Tonight, it’s more complicated than I thought it was going to be. The thing is we can’t split the votes because then Monica feels like she’s on the bottom and she’s a real wild card that girl. You never know what’s she’s going to do and that makes her dangerous.”

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Tyson is once more telling us he is earning his way to the end.

Tyson and Gervase talked about Monica’s paranoia which they said she had reason to be because she went renegade on the Vytas vote.
Gervase had a confessional: “Loose canons will always shoot off and, when they do, 9 times out of 10, they are going to sink something you are riding on. I wouldn’t mind voting Monica out and keeping Tina and Katie for another day.”
Gervase and Hayden agreed a split vote would have to include Monica.
Hayden had a confessional: “Monica is on the outs because we can’t trust her. So, even if Tina does not have the idol, we could cut our ties and say sorry Monica, we have to cut you loose.”

Another example of Hayden talking but doing nothing. He’s happy to be Tyson’s doormat. What this tells us is that Hayden is confident in his position in the pecking order. He won’t rock the boat because he doesn’t see himself being on the bottom.

Tribal Council

By process of elimination, Jeff said it was all on Tina.
Tina said she tried to find the immunity idol but that it was hysterical to see she had babysitters all day. “They followed me everywhere so I had to pull a fast one and go and hide.”
<Monica looked distressed hearing that>
Jeff said: “you did have time free of your captors.”
Tina, coyly, replied: “Twice today.”
<That gave Monica more pain.>
Asked about finding a crack, Tina said it couldn’t be all 7 in the final three. She added: “Poor Monica. Guess what? You’re on the bottom.”
Monica said she was working inside the alliance of seven. She added: “I have relationships with people from day 1. Hopefully those relationships will pull through and we’ll see where we stand.”
<Laura and Caleb smiled when they heard Monica say she had relations. Laura even rolled her eyes.>
Challenged by Tina, Monica hesitated, which pleased Tina but then she said: “Whether or not I am on the bottom, it’s clear and apparent that Tyson and Gervase are together, that Hayden and Caleb are together and that both sets of mothers and daughters are together. So, do I sometimes feel like I am number 7? Sure.”
<Tyson nodded at that>
Tina even added that “Monica is always the last one told who to vote for because she talks way too much and it makes people scared to death.”
Gervase said that talking too much makes someone an instant liability. “I don’t like wild cards because they can ruin everything (snapping his fingers) just like that. I like to know what my hand looks like all the time.”
Jeff tried to save Tina by saying they could get her out any time they wanted.
Monica answered: “Sure, you always have that little bit of doubt. Even today, everybody said we are going to vote Tina tonight and I said has anybody thought if Tina has the idol? The response was “well, we’ll split votes. I said: If she plays the idol and one has the necklace, who are we splitting votes with? Then, it was Oh! Yeah, you’re right.,,It could very well meant that I’m on the bottom.”
Hayden said they looked at all the scenarios and concluded that maybe they should split the votes and take out the bottom.
Monica said: “That is a really silly plan because I am extremely trustworthy and I have not made a deal with a single person here or asked for one in return. I don’t know how you could ask for a better player.”
<Laura really rolled her eyes then.>
Tina explained the strategy of keeping her: “They need to know that to lose Monica tonight would not be that crucial as far as numbers are concerned. They were going to plan a blindside on somebody but they didn’t want to do it unless they absolutely had to. The only way to insure a blindside tonight would be if I found the idol. So, maybe I have, maybe I haven’t. We’ll just have to see.”
<Tyson didn’t look happy then.>

We saw Katie voting against Monica while Monica voted for Tina.
When asked for the idol, Tina bluffed but we only saw Hayden and Laura looking anxious before she told Jeff she wished she had it but didn’t.
Tyson received another vote so mother and daughter didn’t vote alike which is weird. They found the crack and it was between them!
Tina left, patting Gervase on the knee and kissing Katie. She thanked everyone and said she’d see them the following day.
Jeff told Katie that the alliance of 7 wasn’t as tight as it seemed. “You just need to find your way in.”

Redemption Island.

Tina had a confessional: “It’s nice having redemption island because I’ve got a second shot. I’m going up against two very tough competitors but everybody has a chance.”
Vytas also had a confessional: “I’m just really happy we can give Tina a hug and send home tomorrow.”

That last scene made me think that Vytas doesn’t even outlast Tina!

The Story.

It’s rare that Jeff pushes a theme so forcefully so I was very pleased to see how his words were used during the challenge. Viewers are often left with the impression that the winner didn’t have to do a lot to get to the end but with Jeff’s words, we can be sure that this season’s winner will have been shown earning it, fighting through tough circumstances to get that title of Sole Survivor. So, let’s look once more at the players to see which are fighting to earn it.

The Characters

The 3 Redemption Island residents would certainly be earning it if they get to the end, needing to survive many challenges. As a purist, I always say that anyone who has been voted out doesn’t deserve the title but that isn’t production’s opinion and their’s is the one that counts. We still have to consider them as contenders but they aren’t really part of the story.

Although he looked like a great contender for a long time, Vytas has lost most of his plumage lately. In recaps, he was never credited for saving himself while he was on Galang and he was very arrogant when he talked about being unbeatable in the F3. Now, we even heard his brother saying he was too negative to have something good happen. Technically, Vytas has those 2 extra days in the game that he wanted in order to turn them into 12 days and the million dollars. That is the lifeline his backers will be holding but we have to consider that Vytas considers that he isn’t in the game anymore.

Aras has the positive energy to have good things go his way but does he have the will? His quote: ‘I’m going to come back and win the game. Or I won’t” isn’t exactly a model of determination. He could very well get half his wish and simply come back. He was presented as being totally oblivious to the threats around him so we have to question if winning his way back would be enough to portray him as a worthy winner.

Tina is facing two tough competitors but RI has been the land of puzzles so we can’t count her out. Still, her story pretty much ended when she started playing Blood, messing her game up completely.

Katie: While her mother’s edit in Australia was dubbed “the dog that didn’t bark” we hear Katie barking but she certainly isn’t very loud. Yet, even that unimpressive bark is still worse than her bite. It’s funny to note that she attended all but 1 pre-merge Tribal Councils but no one even thinks of comparing her to Denise or even Samoa’s Natalie. The editors didn’t want us to think of her as a true survivor.

Laura: She is certainly playing hard and being the first Redemption Island returning player to make it to the end would certainly show that winning the game wasn’t easy. She’s set a nice record for a RI returning player by lasting 3 Tribal Councils without immunity but she went against her daughter’s advice of not playing hard. Laura, like Monica, most likely switched her vote for Vytas during the first TC so, while we didn’t hear about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was also considered a loose cannon.

Caleb and Hayden: They are poster boys for not earning it. The tribe was talking about eliminating their former closest ally and they just sat silently, two bumps on a log. With Laura’s plan to split votes, Hayden and Caleb could have joined Tina, Vytas and Katie to form the new majority but we see that they are confident of their position in Tyson’s alliance. Hayden said it was time to start playing Survivor. His fans are still waiting to see him turn the key in the ignition. Of course, there's still that rainbow image from episode 1 but I feel it was telling us that Hayden had to be lucky to find the pot of gold at the end of Big Brother instead of saying he was going to win this show.
As for Caleb, it’s strange that his boat scene with Vytas amounted to nothing more than two guys wasting…I mean spending time on a fishing boat. The Big Kahuna sounds more and more like one of those tall fisherman’s tale.

Ciera: If Ciera finds herself in the Final 3, she could certainly make a case that it wasn’t easy to get to the end of Survivor. She was in danger in all the Tadhana Tribal Councils before the swap and she’s now a member of the last pair standing which means she has a big target on her back. She will probably also be the only player to vote against her loved one which no one would have expected before the season started. It was one of Jeff’s big questions and she will demonstrate that it could be done, that it should be done when the time is right. Yet, despite that hard road and her great edit, there’s very little the viewers saw of her game. She witnessed the game more than she played it. Then Jeff’s comment that she gave up during the IC made it on the air, killing her story. No more can she be seen as the spunky little girl that fought hard. I expect she will be voted out just before the end, the last Tadhana standing.

Monica: Has Survivor been hard for Monica? Absolutely. We’ve heard her telling us it was hard the moment she saw Colton land on the same beach. Would she have earned her victory? Jeff calling her Culpepper tells us he thinks so and we have to agree. She saw threats and she acted to get rid of them. Her paranoia really serves to blind Hayden and Caleb to their true position in the alliance. I don’t know if it’s an act, if Tyson and Monica agreed to make her appear to be at the bottom but I really doubt that she is really at the bottom. Tyson and Monica are together or else she would have already voted against him. So, is Monica the winner? I think she will choke instead. Her big moves have been called bad strategy and her paranoia makes her appear to be a bad player despite her claim that she is the best player there. That poor choice of words could cost Monica many votes. She should have said that having made no deals made her the ideal partner, not the best player.

Gervase: He’s certainly played just as hard as Tyson and proved he can change history. Hatch, in fear of a women’s alliance, seriously considered aligning with Gervase at some point during Borneo’s end game but realized he couldn’t give the man from Pagong the smallest hope of making it to the end because Gervase would charm the jury into giving him the money. So, in effect, we have been waiting 13 years to see what Gervase would do in front of a jury! Can he win the votes? Of course he could. Right now, we have to say that he is the one that is most likely to win them all! Tina said Tyson and Monica lost all those votes. Vytas promised his vote to Tyson if he kept him around but Tyson wound up rejecting the offer. Gervase is a shoe in to win…so, at the risk of missing a Denise or a JT again, I will say he won’t win. Denise and JT were shoe ins to get the votes but there were lot of doubts surrounding their chances to make it to the end. We’ve seen Gervase as a member of the Final 3 ever since the Coconut Bandits scene was presented so where would be the suspense? Of course, Survivor isn’t always about the suspense so…we could be saying "good job Gerv" ourselves.

Tyson: This is where we find the suspense though. From the moment Rachel was voted out, Tyson showed a resolve that we hadn’t seen in him before and he tells us about all the dangers that lurk in every new situation and how he will have to deal with them. Most of the time, (Hatch, Brian, Chris, Tom, Yul, Earl and many others) the editors reserve that treatment to the winner, especially in a season where a theme of needing to earn the title has surfaced. It could be objected that Guatemala had a theme of deserving players and that Rafe was the one that exposed his strategy but let’s not forget that Danni was always mentioned as a deserving player.
There are questions on Tyson’s chances of making it to the end and even more on his ability to get enough votes so it won’t be easy and he will have to earn it. That should satisfy Jeff’s theme.

*I've been told that Vytas was the 3rd participant in that missing round so scratch the part where Caleb is completely eliminated. He's only unofficially eliminated!

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11-17-13, 03:57 PM (EST)
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71. "RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To The End"
Interesting thoughts as always, michel. I hope the editors do a good job stirring doubt because right now they're slamming us over the head with Tyson. Seems like Gerv is getting a more likeable treatment but it's pretty clear that Tyson is running the show.

Maybe because it seems pretty obvious that Tyson is going to win, I'm a little more curious about how you think the editors will justify it. I didn't come away from the challenge with the same conclusive sense that you did - he was being kind of a snarky little ##### about the food. Kind of funny, mostly just annoying and pretty casual about the importance of winning immunity. I don't think Jeff failing to comment on his giving up absolves him of anything.

That's not to say his edit isn't the most complete of anyone out there. Ciera has a semi-interesting "young upstart" edit, but it seems pretty forced given how lame she was in the challenges in the first half and how meek she seems in general. I think for her to recover from her chance recovery in the early game, we'd need to hear more clearly how scrappy she is and how she's actually quite smart/a fighter. We hear her correcting her mom and trying to give her game advice, but let's not forget that her mom has been shown to be pretty bad at this game. We'd need a little more of a fighter; spunky seems insufficient compared to scrappy. Her tears in the preview for next episode don't seem to bode well for the fighter we need.

Gervase is a good guy, too. He has made a lot of moves in this game and come out relatively unscathed. The logic for Tina (and accordingly Aras, Vytas, and Katie) supporting him over Tyson or Monica will probably be exposed as wrong in time - do you think he would try to play innocent at final tribal? So I think for now he's OK but if he doesn't establish himself as a player in his own right - aside from Tyson, in a distinctive style that's well-defined and strategic - we have a problem.

Which brings us to Tyson, who by now is clearly our star. He continues to be obnoxious and snarky, and the editors don't seem to be doing much to counteract that. Could that be because he has the chops to back it up? Maybe he's a winner who so obviously ran the tables on everyone else that there's no question he should win (as indicated by his "100% line" toward Tina, who came across as petty and out of the loop). Or maybe he gets a little softer toward the end - maybe we hear more about how he needs to do this for Rachel (which I think would totally be BS given his ruthless approach to the game but could still be effective).

Maybe at some point Gervase wises up and starts to subvert Tyson. Or, possibly, the apparent targeting of Laura M comes to bite him in the #####. It's hard to say which way the editors will go, but I think we're at the point in the game where "what?" is no longer as interesting a question as "why?"

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11-18-13, 08:28 PM (EST)
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73. "RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To The End"
LAST EDITED ON 11-18-13 AT 08:31 PM (EST)

Thank you for the feedback, mangrove.
As for Tyson, I never talked about absolution. Survivor is an evil game and the editors know that most viewers like a snarky mastermind.
I just meant that a camera shot of Tyson just standing there and Jeff mentioning that he quit would have been very detrimental to the image of a worthy winner. Up to now, I think the editors have shown that Tyson is the one playing the best game so I think they just have to continue with the same pattern and his win would be completely justified. We have been following his strategy every step of the way.

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11-17-13, 05:26 PM (EST)
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72. "RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To The End"
Hats off, michel! Another STELLAR assessment of the editing for this episode. I love how it appears to be unravelling. Here are a few comments of my own.

You and I are on the same wave length with the introduction this week.

We are merged! After they merged they were all reunited. Hayden declared: This is where it becomes Survivor! Tyson found the HI, not sharing it with any one else. Aras and Vytas counted their 7, but it was far from the truth and at TC, Aras was the victim of a vicous blindside, 10 left, who will be next?

This told me that Aras and Vytas were not well informed as they should have been, painting Tyson as the clever outwitter. Tyson choosing to not share the HII with anyone else also makes me think that he is playing a smart game. Aras being the "victim" of a "vicious" blindside did give me pause, however. Aras being a victim indeed portrays his attacker as the "villain". But, is it just to create doubt or no?

Seemingly when they arrived back at camp and Vytas had his confessional: That was a great move. As a fan of the show…Aras did not see that coming and neither did I. Congratulations, that was awesome.

I found that this was reinforcement for Tyson and company for outwitting Vytas and Aras. And, as they had appeared so arrogant in the week before. Also, it's funny how these things pan out. Vytas attempted to bribe Tyson with his jury vote. While Tyson stayed firm, I can see Vytas voting Tyson in the end regardless, and pointing to this "vicious" blindside as the reason. If we were the strongest pair in the game, hats off to the orchestrater, Tyson.

Regarding the vengeance comment by Vytas: vengeance is going to be mine at some point. I want to see how bad I can get you.

I believe that Vytas will stay in the game and set out to seek vengeance. This could be foreshadowing his longevity on RI. Everyone voted him off with the exception of Tina, Katie, and Aras so he could go up against all of the future boots on RI and beat them, exacting his revenge.

I particularly loved how Tyson navigated his way through the Tina "attack"...magnificently! He had them all admitting that they all had a final alliance with Aras, and that the only one guilty of flipping was Aras who was now out of the game! He looked like a master at this point, to me!

Regarding Tina informing Katie that she needs to have her own game plan, I agree, Katie not coming up with anything doesn't bode well for her. And, I also agree that Cierra has been far more one of the meatier characters of this season and I fully expect her to have a plan once she gets in the position that Katie now finds herself, and I also agree, it will get her further in the game.

Very interesting take on the comments at the IC. I agree that Gervase's story could pan out very similarly to the way this IC performance did. He definitely improved immensely from his first season with the gross food, and as he has with his game this season. But, will he narrowly fall short, as he did in this challenge?

I also noted how there was no bashing from Jiffy when Tyson failed to advance, it was almost like it was deleted out of the editing. This could bode well for him in the end.

Interesting comments on the deleted round! And, very interesting that you narrowed it down to Caleb, scratch that, Vytas.

Regarding Hayden and Caleb. I agree, they both feel now that they are not on the bottom, and therefore they are content. IMO, they have dwindled down to being tools, specifically for Tyson and Gervase. They really don't appear to have any story or game of their own, they are there to serve Tyson's story specifically, imo. Disappointing for me as I had a lot of hope for Hayden. Clearly, the editing has not favored either of these characters.

When Vytas said that he would vote Katie, then he turned around and said: “I’m not turning on you girls.” Actually, in the end, I don't think that he did vote for Katie, he voted for "Thai-sun". Therefore, he turned out not to be the villain.

In the end, Vytas was gone, but I think he made a great play to stay, and I still have hope that Vytas will be around for a long while to come...

Upon returning from TC, Monica reveals that she decided to vote Vytas as payback...specifically noted by Gervase. I wasn't aware that Laura had voted Vytas as well? Must have missed that ...

LOVED your Jacob and Man in Black analogy....sigh! I found that interchange quite amusing. Vytas calls out Aras point blank and serves him up for the blame, while Vytas tries to put a positive spin on it and even notes that if Vytas is the one returned to the game he will be just as happy. Vytas replies that he can't say the same.

I definitely found this to be an interesting exchange. I still look at it as Vytas is game on, serious and keeping his focus and all his energy for the game, while Aras appears to be a little too calm and not bothered. Vytas seems hungrier to me, and I think that Vytas will outlast Aras. It will be interesting to see which way it goes.

Katie winning the IC once again underlines that the person who is the hungriest for the win often succeeds, and that anything is possible in this game of Survivor. Katie won her challenge, and now is fulfilled however, so I wouldn't be surprised at all that the moment she let's her guard down, she'll be toast. The question is, will she let it down as soon as her mother is gone?

Tina went in search of the idol, and Monica goes haywire with paranoia worrying that she is on the bottom. Wow, Monica is really frenzied this season. Gervase, Hayden, Tyson all admit that it would be nice to vote her out. I loved Tyson's confessional about how she is a tricky one because you never know what she is gonna do and that's what makes her dangerous. Could Monica be the downfall of Tyson later in the me some pause. He does however recognize her as dangerous.

My favorite part of this episode occurred at TC when Tina tried as hard as she could to press all of Monica's buttons, and boy did she succeed. I loved that Monica called out all the couples, Tyson and Gervase, Hayden and Caleb, and the mothers and daughters. Can't wait to see if there is any fallout from this...Monica, at this point will either be voted out soon, or make it to the end game as the goat. By the goat I mean that it seems that no one likes her...she's got a big mouth, she's paranoid, you never know what she will do, she's dangerous, etc.

Michel, I loved your take on the remaining players at the end, and I must say that I am sold! Well done!

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11-18-13, 08:46 PM (EST)
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74. "RE: Episode 9 - It Isn't Easy To Get To The End"
I really enjoyed that exchange between Vytas and Aras because it reminded me of that first scene with the brothers on Lost. When Aras said: "I'm sorry but I can't say the same about you" it almost sounded like: "Do you know how much I want to kill you right now?"!!

We should have a bet on the result of the RI challenge.

I said Laura voted for Vytas because we only saw 1 vote against Katie. Jeff always reveals the significant votes to create drama and Pepe's voting chart in Kingfish's thread supports it.

The thing about Tina's exchange with Monica is that it came much too late. Instead of sitting around by the idol tree, Tina could have been working her magic in camp. I think that Monica and Tyson are tighter than we've seen, wouldn't even be surprised if they talked about making it seem like she is at the bottom to fool the newbies. Tina and Katie had to work on Laura, Ciera, Hayden and Caleb but it was as if they never even talked. So frustrating on so many levels, especially for all of us who had been saying for 12 years that Tina was a very smart player.

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11-16-13, 07:01 PM (EST)
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69. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
LAST EDITED ON 11-16-13 AT 07:03 PM (EST)

I should rest my case and stop writing!

No! Please! Your episode commentaries have come to be an eagerly awaited and anticipated part of each Survivor season. If there were no Michel analyses forthcoming—even just for the remainder of Blood vs. Water—my enjoyment of the show would be at least halved...

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11-17-13, 11:15 AM (EST)
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70. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Blood v. Water"
Thank you, Tyrone and welcome aboard. Don't worry though, I don't think I'd be able to stop...
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11-23-13, 04:54 PM (EST)
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75. "Episode 10 - Making Moves"
The Recap

In Blood versus Water, having a loved one seemed to be a blessing…but it was turning out to be a curse. Tyson’s alliance held all the power and they were taking out Aras’ couples alliance one by one. When Tina was voted out, her daughter Katie was left alone on the bottom. Laura and Ciera were the only loved ones left in the game.

Besides setting up the boot by reminding us of the last couple standing, we heard about Tyson’s alliance. The wording was less harmful for Tyson’s future than if Jeff had said “Tyson held all the power…”. It gives him credit for turning the game around at Aras’ expense but it doesn’t single him out as the villain. There’s also Jeff’s choice of words regarding Laura and Ciera which were said to be the only ones left in the game. Just last week, Aras and Vytas had an argument about Redemption Island being part of the game. Was Jeff taking sides, telling us that being on RI meant you weren’t part of the game? It would be surprising considering how much he loves the stupid twist but we have to keep it in mind. If it isn’t part of the game than we can say the returning player won’t win.
I would have titled this episode:

Making Moves

Kasama – Night 24

Tyson was seen hugging Katie just before she had a confessional: “It was horrible, seeing my mom go. This (pointing at her face) is a sign of defeat…The seven of them are so engrossed in their own alliance, they are not budging. If I don’t figure something out tonight…then I’m doomed.”

We didn’t need to hear Katie say that she was a sign of defeat because we already considered that her story was dead but it was interesting that we were shown Tyson hugging her. She never showed anger after her mother’s elimination but we still saw Tyson showing her empathy just like he did with Vytas at the beginning of the last episode. There are two schools of thoughts regarding that choice of edit. Either the editors are telling us that Tyson’s social game will win it for him OR it is setting the stage for the jury to jump on him “à bras raccourcis” . The jurors could have a field day, saying: “The nerve you had, hugging us after ripping our hearts out.” Which will it be? I’ve said I think Tyson will win the jury over but I certainly cannot be sure. One thing that is now certain though is that Tyson will be there to answer for his actions. Why else show him connecting with future jury members if he wouldn’t be fielding their questions?

While we saw mother and daughter rejoicing on the beach, Ciera gave us a voice-over confessional: “Me and my mom are the last ones here but a loved one is going to be a huge target eventually. So, moving forward is going to be difficult.” To her mom, Ciera said it would have to be either Katie or Monica going next.

Kasama – Day 25

The two women were together again, Laura saying that their two votes held a lot of power. Ciera once more told her to play it cool: “Let Tyson do everything. Just avoid any strategy conversations with anyone. Anyone. Stay low. Let Tyson do the work, cling to the women. Be a girl’s girl.”

Ciera’s confessional, that started in voice over the previous night, continued: “One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is a role reversal, one that I never thought, coming into this game, would happen. I thought I was going to listen to my mom, do what my mom says and I think I have proven to be the better player. I’ve had to go to way more Tribal Councils than my mom so far and I’ve lasted and she went in her first one, she gets voted out.”

Laura gave her views: “It is a little unnatural feeling to follow my daughter’s lead but I totally trust her judgment. I’m trusting my daughter’s discernment and judgment and that’s an amazing gift that this game has given me.”

Ciera added to her confessional: “I wonder how long my mom will keep listening to me and taking my advice. I love her and I want to go as far as I can with my mom but, on the same hand, if my mom needs to go in order for me to win the game, then she needs to go because I have a better shot of winning than she does.”

While the first part of her confessional was simply the words of a player on a coming-of-age story which has been Ciera’s role ever since her mother was voted out the first time, the second contained a direct winner’s quote. Note how editing softened that quote from what we had heard in the previews where it was simply: “My mom needs to go”. Just letting us hear the “if” changes our perception. Ciera isn’t seen as cold-hearted in this version but she doesn’t sound as certain either. It made it sound like Ciera voted against her mom in order to go along with the group instead of doing it for her own game.

The Challenge Arena

- In addition to Katie, we saw Monica and Laura cheering for Tina, prompting Aras to say: “What about me, Laura?”
- Hayden encouraged Vytas who “started out slow but is picking up the pace.”
- Jeff: “You can get all the way to the end and still drop in a hole…”
- Gervase was rooting for Aras, telling him to take his time.
- Tina got her ball in the center piece first but made a bad move and fell back through the hole guarding the entrance.
- Vytas won the duel and Tina finished second.
- Tyson was silent throughout the challenge but we saw him repressing a smile when Jeff announced that Aras was out of the game.

Jeff went back to the sumo at sea challenge where Vytas tried to take advantage of Aras’ noble gesture. Vytas said: “That first challenge was a lot of old s*** coming up for me and for him. That cheap shot stuff; I will never do that again.”
Aras added: “This experience has made it better. I hope we can live to a ripe old age together and have stories with our grandchildren about the experience we had out here when we got blindsided by Gervase.” Vytas and Gervase smiled at that while Aras added: “I didn’t win the million dollars but we got a lot closer and that’s worth more than any money in the world.” Vytas nodded his agreement. Aras left saying he had no hard feelings to the remaining players.

Vytas said he planned to win a few challenges and gave the clue to Katie who held on to it. Katie had a confessional: “I knew I was going to take the clue and keep it. My biggest concern is finding that immunity idol to keep me around for as long as possible. I’m not going to go down without fighting as well just like my mom did.”

I’m sure everyone noticed that Aras mentioned Gervase and only Gervase when he talked about his blindside. That’s a very good sign for Gervase because Aras didn’t show any anger when he talked about it. We were right to think that Tina wouldn’t be the one going home this week even if we were wrong to think she’d beat, Vytas, the “Man in Black”. It’s true that the “Man in Black” outlasted Jacob in Lost but it didn’t end well for him. Will the parallel continue?

Kasama – Day 25

Katie had another confessional after getting back in camp: “I was so proud of my mom today. It was kind of intimidating to see her with Aras and Vytas. They are two big strong guys but she did great and I’m thrilled beyond belief that she is still in it. I’m now solo in this game so it worries me that I could be going home at any minute. I am not in a strong alliance but I have some friends on Redemption Island luckily and they gave me the clue which I really needed to insure my spot here in the game…This is a great clue and I think I know exactly where it is.”

I’ll say it was a great clue, anything better would have included the idol itself wrapped up in that small cylinder.

Back in camp, Monica proposed hiding all the tools so that Katie couldn’t use them to dig. Ciera said they couldn’t grab the idol from her but they could find it before she did. Laura agreed, saying they could dig right next to her.
None of the four guys looked worried, being too busy eating but only Tyson had a reason to be calm as he told us in confessional: “Now that Katie has an immunity idol clue, it doesn’t worry me at all because I officially have the immunity idol and Katie is pretty much a non-factor. The only thing I am thinking about is how to make my next move. I think a lot of people are OK with making moves as long as they are not the bad guy so I’m going to have to take another one for the team; be the bad guy again.” Tyson joined Hayden and Caleb in the ocean, saying he had it figured out. Caleb was eager to hear it. Tyson spelled it out: “Us four guys vote Laura so that she doesn’t see it coming and that Ciera doesn’t have to vote for her mom.” Tyson’s confessional continued: “The safe bet right now is to take Laura out before she gets further in the game and then collaborates with someone with her daughter because then there are two votes that you are worrying about instead of just one.” He told the guys that Laura could eliminate a few people on RI and they’d have Ciera so that they could “do Katie and Monica.”

Did Tyson make a mistake when he considered that Katie was a non-factor? It could very well be because Katie could give the original Tadhana an insurmountable edge. This is where we have to rely on the editing because, if editing analysis has any worth, we’d have to say that Katie truly is a non-factor. We have seen her ineptitude at finding a crack so it should follow that she won’t be a big factor moving forward.

Hayden had a confessional: “Right now, I really feel like Tyson has my back. I think I can trust him. Do I want to get rid of Laura? Make a big move now or stick with what we have been doing? It’s not easy because you have to thread carefully out here. One mistake can cost you a million dollars.”
The scene ended with Tyson saying: “If we make this move, we are home free.”

It’s funny to note that Hayden considers eliminating Laura being a big move! This is the guy that the previews present as the one that will turn on Tyson! That should be all we need to know that the plan will fail. Turning on Tyson at final 7 could prove to be the mistake that costs Hayden the million dollars.

Tyson took off his shirt for the ladies while Ciera, who seemed to be just sitting and listening, had a very insightful confessional: “I’m in this alliance of seven but there are four guys in our alliance right now and it’s going to be so easy for them to just get rid of me or my mom because we are the only couple in the group. If I go with my mom right now and say let’s try to get to the end, it’s not going to happen. She’ll be voted out and I’m going to go next. It’s a conversation that I have to have soon and it’s so hard for me. It’s like a total, like my heart is being tugged because nobody wants to do that. I love my mom and I don’t want her to think that I don’t want her to succeed in the game but I want to succeed in the game.” Taking it step by step, Ciera explained their options to Laura. Ciera said that she would be final 3 if Laura wasn’t in the game. Laura asked if she would win. Ciera said she’d have a better shot of winning than her. Ciera’s confessional went on: “I’ve definitely had tough conversations with my mom…when I got pregnant…and you learn that your mom loves you no matter what…I think what’s important for me in this conversation is to be honest. I’m going to have to tell her: You don’t stand a shot. You don’t and I do.” Ciera told her mom that if she wins immunity at Final 6 then she goes home and Laura goes home right after. The confessional ended with a teary-eyed Ciera saying: “I don’t want to have to vote my mom out, I came into this and wanted to go to the end with my mom but it won’t happen. It’s not practical. I get one shot at this; one shot and I don’t want to mess it up.”

Laura also had tears when she gave her confessional: “The amazing part to what’s happening to us here on the island is that our relationship is morphing…Now, I’m trusting her decisions. She has the courage now to say…this is what I am going to do…and, by the way, I might have to vote you out of that million dollars. The fact that my daughter has the courage to say that to me shows that she has grown as a woman, that she is no longer this little girl which ultimately for me (Laura poignantly chokes up and starts to cry) makes me proud. I wanted this game to teach my daughter how strong she is…As an individual player in the game, oh no, that is going to cut my chances but as a mother, I was like, good girl!”

The music really underlined the sadness of the scene. From the beginning, Ciera’s story outshined Laura’s and this episode explained the editors’ choice. Even if Laura survived Redemption Island once, it was more important for us to root for her daughter’s coming-of-age story. I’d be surprised if Ciera got voted out one episode after her mother.

Kasama – Day 26

It was dawn when Katie sneaked out to find the idol but Laura was on her trail.

Katie gave us a confessional: “They are going to have to start eating each other eventually. There are seven of them and they are going to start fighting and hopefully, I have either a necklace or the idol to keep me around and I can get in a solid alliance and go from there.”

Laura explained her move: “If Katie finds the idol, it could be me…I have to tail Katie all morning long and go find that idol.”
The chase was on and Laura caught up. Katie went on to add: “I’m digging in all the wrong places so she doesn’t know exactly where it is.”

The people in camp joked about the chase before Tyson had another confessional: “Right now, it’s a shifting game partly because people assume that there’s an hidden immunity idol out there also because I am the biggest threat in the game. I’m like the big bad wolf almost. People don’t like me; they like me just fine here but the second I vote them out, they hate me. So, I need to get Ciera on board about voting her mom out.”

Wisely, he told Ciera: “I am not voting your mom but Hayden and Caleb are voting your mom and it’s going to happen.”
Ciera answered that she was OK with her mom not being in the game.

Ciera had a confessional: “I told Tyson that I would be OK voting my mom out and honestly, eventually, down the road, I would be OK voting my mom out but honestly, I have no idea what I am going to do at this point.”
Tyson told Ciera that he had her back.

This scene showed us that Tyson has mastered this game. He knows how to talk to people and set future moves all at once. Telling Ciera that he has her back while Hayden and Caleb are gunning for Laura should pay him back nicely soon. Laura told Ciera that she would have to consider who she could beat if she makes it to the F3 so it follows that Ciera will choose the “big bad wolf” who has her back over Hayden, the wonderful guy that everyone likes but the one that voted against her instead of Brad. Tyson knows that he is the villain, the one the jury doesn’t like which is the complete opposite of Russel who was convinced the jury would hand him the money. That means Tyson is already thinking about the case he will present to the jury

The Challenge.

Hayden, Caleb and Gervase were the first to go, showing that this challenge might not be best suited for the heavier guys. Ciera, Katie and Laura followed in close succession leaving Tyson and Monica. That’s when Jeff reminded everyone of Tyson’s torn rotator cuff. Tyson (possibly figuring that he had to make it look like he was still injured!) let go right after, which meant Monica had her second win.
When the food reward was revealed, Monica asked Jeff: “How about I have none and they have it all?” She explained that they were her family. Jeff asked Caleb if it was a gesture of good fate or a political move. Caleb said it was a bit of both but that since Monica was a mom, it must come from the heart. With burgers in their mouth (or two hot dogs at once like Tyson) they thanked Monica.

Kasama – Day 26

Getting back to camp, everyone thanked Monica but they were soon more interesting in the snake that had crawled into their shelter.

No one had a confessional about Monica’s grand gesture so it seems that it won’t ever be brought back up later. Monica won’t be voted out for being too nice and the jury won’t give her the million simply because of her gesture.
It was funny that Tyson was on screen when someone yelled “Snake!”

Ciera had a confessional: “My mom is the biggest target here. I don’t want to see my mom go and the bad part is, I don’t have the luxury of time.”
Ciera had a talk with Katie, saying she had to trust her. She told Katie that Monica, Gervase and Tyson were voting for her mom and that they wanted her to vote against her mom.
Katie replied: “I’m still playing the idol just to be safe.”
Ciera asked: “Did you find it?”
Katie bluffed: “Yeah.”
Ciera bluffed herself, raising the pot: “No, you didn’t.”
Katie: “Yes I did.”
Ciera: “I know you didn’t.”
Katie: “How?”
Ciera: “I have it…Don’t tell anybody, they can’t know that I, that we have it.”
Katie: “You stole my idol.”

Ciera had a confessional: “I’ve never been put in this situation before where I really have to lie to somebody like that but it worked. She just folded her cards right away. I would have stuck it out a lot longer but she folded. She’s like: “You stole my idol right from underneath me. Where was it?” I’m thinking this was easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought why not Katie? We have a good shot because I know Katie doesn’t have the idol and that’s something we can use. So now I’m throwing Katie’s name out there to see if anybody will bite at this point.”

The most surprising part about Katie falling for Ciera’s bluff is that she had to believe Ciera kept it secret from her mom but was still ready to tell her. Katie had been chased by Laura just a few hours before so she knew that Laura thought the idol was still out there. Why would Katie believe that Ciera would tell her but not her mom? It’s also nice to note Ciera’s words: She told Katie that “they can’t know that WE have it.” Lying can be addictive and once the first lie worked, Ciera felt she could double up and fool Katie into thinking they were working together. I think she will fool Hayden just as well.

Ciera talked with Laura about the possibility to save her for another week by telling everyone that Katie didn’t have the idol.
After Tyson reminded Ciera that the Tadhana five were still together, Ciera told them she knew 100% that Katie didn’t have the idol, that she told her she didn’t have it. Ciera admitted she lied which seemed to please Tyson who wanted to know more. Ciera answered: “She told me she had the idol so I said no you don’t. She said yes I do so I went: You can’t have it because I have it. She went: You found it?” Ciera wanted to have at least a split the vote between Katie and her mom. Tyson asked everyone what they thought. Hayden said he was fine with it as long as it wasn’t him.

Hayden in confessional: “I don’t think Katie has the idol. In fact, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t. So, making the easier move seems like the safer move.”

Ciera had a confessional: “My options are really simple: Send my own mother to Redemption Island or stick my neck totally out and ruin all my relationships that I’ve built just to have my mom go home anyway and for me to follow her at the next Tribal. I’m trying to determine right now where do I go?”

Right then we saw the group playing a game that seemed to consist of picking the black rock from a bowl and Tyson noticed how happy Ciera was.

Tyson’s confessional: “It was so perfect, we had it until we told Ciera that we were voting her mom. That was the mistake. Ciera, smarter than we thought originally, is making moves as well and so, it’s a little tricky but it’s got to be Laura. Letting the couple get farther in the game is too dangerous. They could swing everything with just one vote. I need to get the votes back on Laura and get them to stick with the plan and vote Laura out.”
This confessional showed that Tyson read more about Ciera’s game than just guessing that she picked the black rock

We saw Tyson go to Monica first then Gervase (who had no idea who to vote for), Hayden and Caleb.
Caleb had a confessional: “The whole time I was whatever, whatever but I think Katie needs to go next. She doesn’t have the idol and I think that if she kinda floated all the way to the end, she is dangerous to be sitting next to. I think Katie needs to go sooner rather than later.”

Tribal Council

As soon as Jeff said they would bring in the first member of the jury, the camera showed us Tyson which is another hint that he will be answering jury questions.
When Aras walked in, we first had a camera shot of Katie, Gervase and a smiling Monica. The shot switched to Tyson who had a troubled look on his face and ended up with Laura who, it seems is destined to join Aras soon.
Katie told Jeff that it still felt like it was her turn but she was hoping for that idol clue.
Caleb said anything was possible with the idol: “It’s a bunch of maybes. You just have to plan ahead.
<Tyson was seen during this, a zing sound underlining his predicament about the idol>
Tyson acknowledged the problem of having a mother-daughter pair still in the game because they would swing the same way. “From day one we’ve been looking at that and I don’t think it’s changed on day 26.”
<It was Ciera’s turn to look troubled>
Caleb said Ciera and Laura were different than Tina and Katie “because Laura wants this just as bad as Ciera does.”
Hayden partly agreed that this pair wasn’t as dangerous. However, he added that “the bond they have is way stronger than the bond any of us have.”
To show she could be an asset instead of a liability, Laura turned directly to Tyson saying: “You get one of us, you get two votes…You pick up another buddy and we’re on to final 4.”
Katie objected: “But, you want to get to the final 2 with you’re loved one so that is sort of a threat…Having a loved one here probably isn’t the best route anyway.”
Laura said sending a loved one home means they will be lobbying for the jury votes. “If I’m here, you will not have that influence on the jury.” She then went back to her experience in Samoa: “Problems come in when you get your alliance and people start bailing early on the alliance and the next thing you know the top three are people that weren’t even in the alliance and everybody else is sitting over there going: What the heck did we do wrong?”
Caleb said the vote was between Katie and splitting the pairs. He added: “You’ve got 4 girls, 4 guys. You’ve got 4 original Galang, 4 original Tadhana. It could swing either way.”
Jeff liked that so much that he ended the “festivities”, sending them to vote.

It seemed to dawn on Laura that it was her turn to go only on the third vote. We saw Ciera starting to cry on the 4th vote and the 5th vote even included mom in parentheses, showing everyone that daughter had voted against mother.
The two hugged, Ciera apologized, Laura said it was okay.

Jeff observed that they had no more pairs, adding: “We are left with 7 individuals in a game where there is only one winner.”

The Story

Besides the melodramatic exchanges between Cierra and her mother which I, reluctantly admit, found touching , this episode was about making moves. For the first time, Laura’s memories about Samoa opened the door to an all rookie Final 3. Galang have been in control from the start so who else could wind up on the jury wondering what they did wrong? That being said, we have to favor the players that have been given links to the end game from the start most of which are the same that have made moves in this episode.
It seems a good time to point out that the Blood versus Water theme may have had some good moments but, in the end, Survivor is still the same individual game that it always was. We’ve known since at least Marquesas that pairs had to be split so what was really new here?

The Characters.

The Immobile Ones:

Laura: Her story has been so closely tied to Aras that I wouldn’t be surprised to see her join him as the second jury member.

Tina: It was interesting to hear Caleb say that Laura and Ciera were more competitive than Tina and Katie. It told us that Tina had lost her competitive edge when she started playing with Katie. Now that she is fighting for herself, she could do well…as long as the challenges aren’t physical.

Vytas: His story is pretty much over now that he has outlasted Aras. Will he be the one that makes it back into the game? We’ve heard him say that being on RI isn’t part of the game so he won’t win even if he makes it back.

Katie: She is a non-factor. She was so happy to have Ciera offer her a lifeline that she was blinded to the fact that Laura didn’t know about Ciera’s “idol” and she didn’t even consider using the information against Ciera. The idol has been considered cursed so why didn’t she try to throw Ciera under the bus after she heard her say she had the idol?

Caleb: Take the only confessional he’s had in a while and replace the pronoun “she” for “he” and Katie’s name with Caleb’s own and you get: “I think that if he kinda floated all the way to the end, he is dangerous to be sitting next to. I think Caleb needs to go sooner rather than later.” It’s funny that Caleb doesn’t see that his words apply to him just as well as Katie. Then again, there are no mirrors on the island.

Hayden: He hasn’t made a move because he has been afraid that one mistake will cost him the million dollars. Will he succeed now that he is poised to make the biggest move possible? The story prepares us to see that it will cost him the game instead. If the rookies do fool the veterans then Hayden has to be considered a front runner for the win but his story has been so neglected that it is hard to consider him in that role.

Gervase: He had one good and one bad moment in this episode. It was good to hear Aras say that he was blindsided by Gervase. It tells us that his contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed. It was bad to hear him completely unaware of how the vote should go before Tyson told them it had to be Laura. The camera work during TC tied Gervase once more to the F3 with Tyson and Monica but will it work out for Gervase if he only has one move to present?

Making Moves:

Ciera: Before the season started, Jeff’s biggest question was: Could you vote against your loved one? As fans, we wondered which ones would dare doing it and I’m sure no one thought Ciera would be the only one to do so. Will it work out for her? Her coming-of-age story culminated with that vote so it could mark the end of her game. She displayed a bit of arrogance when she said she proved to be a better player than her mom and Tyson certainly noticed that she was making moves. She completely outwitted Katie but that could come back to bite her. Many think that Ciera could see her game end because she will wind up between two alliances, however that would mean that she would follow her mom right out the game. Ciera worked hard to avoid just that and the edit has been kind enough to her to say it won’t happen…at least not yet. We heard Tyson say that he has Ciera’s back so she could very well choose to go with him instead of Hayden who never had her back.

Monica: Her move to feed the tribe really shows her as the tribe’s mom, the only parental presence left so it would be surprising if she doesn’t make the F3. Her big move, her sacrifice, was hardly mentioned when they got back to camp and didn’t even come up at Tribal Council. That’s not very good for her.

Tyson: The “Big Bad Wolf”, the “Coconut Bandit”! The epithets haven’t been lacking in describing Tyson. Even the editors joined in when they put him on screen at the same time that they close-captioned someone saying “Snake”. The way he talked about Ciera suddenly making moves, being smarter than they thought, reminded me of Todd identifying Jean Robert as a rival, as the schemer that had to be voted out. During the whole season Tyson has been shown being one step ahead of everyone so it would follow that he would find a way to thwart an attempt to blindside him.
The snake was indeed in the shelter and will have to face the jury. Can he win? The fact that he is well aware that he is seen as the big bad wolf tells us that he already has a case to present to the jury. Will the jury accept his arguments? Aras represents the jury right now and he hasn’t shown any bitterness.

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11-25-13, 02:00 AM (EST)
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76. "RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves"
Thank you Michel. As always, I enjoyed reading your take on the editing and the way each person in shown.

I don't often see what you do for myself as I watch but this week was the exception. When Hayden said that one mistake can cost the million, I immediately thought that he'd unwittingly shared his fate with us.

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11-25-13, 03:21 PM (EST)
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77. "RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves"
That’s a very good sign for Gervase because Aras didn’t show any anger when he talked about it.

Good point to note, the edit shows that Aras didn't show anger but his Ponderosa video suggests that he was. He said he cooled off while at RI and had a better perspective once he'd been at Ponderosa for awhile. Usually we get to see the reaction of the buff burner and while Aras' story was all about he and Vytas this season the lack of finger pointing gives Gervase the nod this time.

I’ll say it was a great clue, anything better would have included the idol itself wrapped up in that small cylinder.

All season the smart players were getting rid of the clue as soon as it was possible. Katie keeping it, this late in the game was a dumb move. Her logic for keeping it and the rest of the idol hunt shown drives home the point that idol clues aren't worth anything. The fact that she's not even being targeted for it makes the clues and searching a non issue. The person that figures out that the clues are worthless should start wondering who already could have it.

Tyson took off his shirt for the ladies

Tyson seems to be playing Tyson of Tocantins, slightly off center and entertaining, is that why he was sliding off the radar so easily. He's been a bit of a goof off for them but his confessionals are telling the audience that he's got his head in the game.

I'm getting the impression that Tyson has got Gervase in tow for the end, anyone else feel that way?

Jeff observed that they had no more pairs, adding: “We are left with 7 individuals in a game where there is only one winner.

And with that comment, Jeff dismissed the all male or female and all Galang or Tadhana alliances. I'm still feeling that all the rookie tribe will be out of the F3 though I don't feel like an all rookie alliance has enough "right stuff" to pull it off. Hayden & Caleb are counting on the boys alliance instead of rookies Katie & Ciera who are OK to go (as long as it isn't Hayden). There aren't any rookie strategy talks to speak of that I can remember.

All in all Michel, another fine dissection of this weeks show. The next couple of boots should be entertaining.

I should be watched....closely.

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11-26-13, 08:59 AM (EST)
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78. "RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves"
The intro told us about the couples and the remaining couple...In Blood versus Water, having a loved one seemed to be a blessing…but it was turning out to be a curse. Tyson’s alliance held all the power and they were taking out Aras’ couples alliance one by one. When Tina was voted out, her daughter Katie was left alone on the bottom. Laura and Ciera were the only loved ones left in the game.

So, setting us up for the last couple to be split up, Laura and Cierra. This whole episode for me was indeed a coming of age for Cierra. I feel that Laura was here to enable Cierra's story. With Laura gone, I suspect that Cierra will indeed follow soon. Unfortunately her coming of age landed her on Tyson's radar, when he had the astute confessional that she is making moves of her own and was apparently smarter than they thought. Not good for Cierra, as Tyson is clearly driving this bus.

Regarding Aras and Vytas, I wasn't surprised that Aras was the loser. He just seemed too laid back and confident, while I looked at Vytas as keeping his focus and his eye on the prize.

I also feel that Vytas is truly one of the stars of the show, so I would be surprised if he left immediately after Aras. But, the story of Cain and Abel making amends is done, so he could be soon?

Yes, I was surprised that they really skipped over Monica's gesture, so clearly it won't be important to the story. Too bad for Monica. But, interesting that both Monica and Tyson were the 2 at the end. To me, the challenge winners are often the folks that need or WANT the game the most. Monica and Tyson both are very focused and intense. Gervase seems content to hook his wagon to the back of Tyson's.

A few other thoughts that jumped out at me this episode:
Regarding Hayden and his confessional about Tyson...right now I trust Tyson, and I think he has my back...I think I can trust him, get rid of Laura M, it's not easy, one mistake could cost you a million dollars.

This was an alarming statement and it spells Hayden's demise for me. This is Survivor and you cannot trust anyone. I think Hayden will fall because he trusted Tyson, and the mistake will indeed cost him the million.

The second confessional similar to the previous one was uttered by Caleb right before they left for TC. And, I do think that having the last confessional right before TC is never a good thing, as I think Michel has pointed out in the past. Caleb had the confessional, The whole time I was whatever, whatever but I think Katie needs to go next. She doesn’t have the idol and I think that if she kinda floated all the way to the end, she is dangerous to be sitting next to. I think Katie needs to go sooner rather than later.

For me this is clear foreshadowing that Katie will outlast Caleb, and that if she had gone, Caleb may have lived to see another day, perhaps?

Then there was Jiffy's final statement after TC: We are left with 7 individuals in a game where there is only one winner.

This ties in very nicely with the introduction of this episode, when he noted that the loved one couples were all gone with the exception of Laura and Cierra. The entire episode I thought of the statement that Hayden had made when they merged regarding how the real game of Survivor starts now. Well, I feel like now that the loved one couples are gone it's time to get after the real couples, as Monica named them at a prior TC...Tyson/Gervase, Hayden/Caleb, Katie/Cierra? And, since Jiffy named Tyson's alliance as the one having all the "power", then I would suspect the next boot to be one of Hayden/Caleb/Cierra/Katie. The writing is on the wall.

Also interesting to note that Monica is not in a couple, she's in a triplet. But, I can't help but to wonder if Hayden, Caleb, Cierra, and Katie DON'T see it. They keep dismissing her, and Cierra even noted in her strategy talks to Laura M that Monica would be the first to go, on the bottom. I have to say that I have been pretty disappointed in the Tadhana game, or lack of game. Or, then again, maybe the editing is just making them appear stupid. And, the editing is leading us down the story path, so apparently, or perhaps blatantly, it's screaming that a Tadhana will not win this game. But, then again, we figured that out very quickly, imo.

Great assessments and insight Michel and Suzzee! I couldn't agree more! Thanks so much...

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11-26-13, 08:38 PM (EST)
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79. "RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves"
As interesting as ever, FP.

I never made it a rule that the last confessional before TC wasn't a good sign. It always depends on the content. What I have said is that the last confessional before TC often serves to keep the suspense of the vote result. Therefore, it often shows the hesitancy of the person giving the confessional. I was able to say that Ian and Stephen wouldn't win because they always looked too hesitant.

I liked your approach that Katie could outlast Caleb. I won't be sure that my read of the story is good until Caleb goes. He's my "wild card" because I can't figure the reason why we heard that he was the Big Kahuna. Will he ever become that Big Kahuna or was it left in just to show how inept he's turned out to be? Did you see that insider clip where he says he doesn't talk much to people because he is afraid of forgetting what he's told them? How dumb can one be? You have to talk to people to keep them happy.

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11-26-13, 08:47 PM (EST)
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80. "RE: Episode 10 - Making Moves"
I have been wondering why Ciera and Vytas have been getting such a great edit this season. I had thought is must be because they are going to make it to the final. Then it occurred to me that their great edit is because of their Blood vs Water story. Ciera voting out her mother, Vytas the dark horse trying to over come the good brother. As people have been saying their story is over, the can go any time now.

This leads me to a few observations on how to win a Blood vs Water season. There are two paths to take:

a) Take 3 pairs to the final 6.

b) Make sure your loved one is not on the jury. A pair is dangerous after merge. One is bound to get voted off. The remaining one needs to have a very strong alliance, because everyone knows where the vote of the loved one on the jury will go.

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11-30-13, 05:06 PM (EST)
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81. "Episode11 - Mom Power:"
The Recap

After 26 days, two things were certain : Katie was alone at the bottom and Ciera and Laura were the last pair left in the game. Ciera’s alliance, the Tadhana 5 , came up with a plan to break up her and her mom. Fortunately for them, Ciera was on board but the pressure of voting out her mom was taking its toll. At Tribal Council, Ciera made the toughest and most emotional vote of the season; voting out her mom, sending her back to Redemption Island.

It’s strange that Jeff didn’t mention that Ciera tricked Katie into revealing she didn’t have the idol and trying to turn the game on her instead of her mom. It was such a smart move that it would have been a good occasion to enhance Ciera’s appeal. It seems that wasn’t a goal, that we only needed to know that Ciera is a ruthless player who may or may not have made the best decision since it was taking its toll on her. This episode was going to show that she almost outsmarted herself. Besides the episode’s big vote, this episode was also about:

Mom Power

Kasama – Night 26

After showing us a snake (Tyson?) the camera showed us the tribe consoling Ciera who said she was okay, that she was part of the decision also.
Once more, Tyson was the only one shown giving Ciera a hug. Others had to comfort her also but Tyson was the only one shown.

Katie had a confessional: “It looks like everyone, including Ciera, voted for her mom. I’m surprised Ciera chose water over blood (Tyson shown) but Ciera has a plan and I don’t think her mom was really part of it.”

Next, we heard from Ciera: “It was really rough. It was not easy having to write my mom’s name down but I have proven 100% that I am trustworthy. Looking forward, I hope people take me seriously in the game and I hope they want to work with me.”

With everyone sitting by the fire, Tyson said: “Ciera, I appreciate what you did tonight. I know that nobody had to put a vote down that was as hard for you.”

Tyson then had a confessional: “Ciera writing her mom’s name down was the hardest voting position in the game so far. By doing that, she has shown a bit of loyalty but at the same time, it makes me a little scared of her. I can see that she is playing the game pretty hard. I think she is underestimated by a lot of people and she is going to be dangerous.”

During the voice over portion of the challenge, the camera showed us a smiling Ciera and a pensive Tyson, suggesting that he was judging her, trying to find another tell. We can skip Katie’s confessional which was simply narration. The one that Ciera gave us was more interesting because it showed that she completely misjudged the results of her action. She was hoping that it would show loyalty and that it would help her to be taken seriously. Her old Tadhana ally realized that she wasn’t loyal while being taken seriously put her on Tyson’s radar. His confessional, once more, told us that he understood exactly what was going on in the tribe. He’d soon fall a step behind but Tribal Council showed he was quick to recover.

Redemption Island - Night 26

Tina told Vytas that she was both nervous and excited that Katie could be the one joining them.
As Laura approached the island’s shelter, she yelled out “Mom” fooling Tina into thinking it was indeed Katie. When she finally realized the joke, Tina gave the “other mom” a big hug.

Tina’s next morning confessional was shown: “I hear a little voice going mom and I’m like: It’s Katie but no! it was Laura M. back once again to Redemption Island.”
Laura explained Ciera’s vote to the other two and then told us she had a hard time defining how that vote made her feel. Ultimately, she was proud of her because it showed she was playing the game.
In the end, Laura said that the vote was stupid because Monica is winning all the challenges while Tyson was flying under the radar.
Vytas agreed, adding: “Tyson is so running it. Why is nobody voting him out?”

Vytas’ old allies would soon try to vote Tyson out but they’d realize it wasn’t that easy. This confessional though was a good way to put doubts on Tyson’s chances which is always a good thing.

The Challenge Arena.

When the players walked into the arena, we were shown Tyson taking a long look at the set up, analyzing the challenge.

Tina walked in, greeted by a wave from Katie to whom she winked in return. Laura’s entrance was much sadder. To underline it, the music changed, from a tune that had plenty of percussion to a piano playing a plaintive melody. Ciera being unable to look at her until Jeff asked how her mom felt about the vote. Laura said she was proud of Ciera which light up and made her smile. She added: “We knew, at some point that one of us would have to vote the other one out. I didn’t think it was going to be so soon but it’s okay: I’ll come back.”

By winning another challenge, Laura made quite a case for herself coming back. She then proceeded to help Tina with her puzzle, telling her how to arrange her squares while turning her puzzle around so that Vytas couldn’t copy it. It worked. As Jeff said: The two moms stuck together, making sure Vytas wouldn’t advance. The two daughters were holding hand, happy for their moms.
Despite his anger towards Laura, Vytas left gracefully, bowing to the remaining players and jokingly saying: “Namaste, bitches!”

Laura gave the clue to Ciera who promptly burned it, probably irritating our host by doing so.

This challenge showed once more that we shouldn’t underestimate “Mom Power”. Laura borrowed a page from Boston Rob in the Amazing race, finding a way to use strategy where no one else had thought of it before. That may come in handy down the line because Tina could help her if she ever finishes first. Will one of the moms prevail and make it back into the game? They could because they should be able to handle Caleb but what if Ciera Tyson finds herself on Red I? Will Laura compete against her? Probably not. What if Tyson finds himself on RI? The editing of the players’ entrance into the arena showed Tyson analyzing the challenge’s set up, suggesting he may have to win a few of these in order to win the game. We’d soon have two more clues that Tyson’s game could be heading to Red I.

Kasama – Day 27

The tribe talked about the moms’ power.
Tyson had a confessional: “With 7 people in the game right now, the next vote and the vote after that are going to be the most important. I have to get passed this next vote so the wisest thing I can do right now from my perspective is to keep everybody against Katie.”

He told Hayden, Caleb and Gervase that Katie was very dangerous because she had 3 jury votes already. They all agreed.

Hayden had a confessional: “We have the five person alliance: Me, Caleb, Tyson, Gervase, Ciera and we can continue along the course of that five by voting out Katie but you do not want to be the guy that waited too long to make a move and got blindsided yourself. That’s what you don’t want to be.” Hayden talked to Caleb, saying they were in the middle and that it wouldn’t be up to them if they didn’t make a move. He added: “In all honesty, I feel like Tyson is going to beat us in the end. He’s been in control the whole game.” His confessional continued: “Tyson’s got a hell of a resume to preach to the jury when we get there so we are thinking that, maybe before we get to the Final 5, we’ll have to pick off somebody and that somebody’s gonna be Tyson.”

Caleb went to Katie, telling her she was safe because they were taking out Tyson.
Katie gave us a confessional: “I've been in the bottom the past few Tribals. It wasn’t looking good for me. I felt like one of these hermit crabs that walk along the beach and have to transition from home to home. When you don’t have a shell, it’s terrifying because there’s predators. Now I feel like I found some sort of a shell. My best option moving forward is to work with my original Tadhana members again and get rid of Tyson. So, I feel like my options are looking better.”

Ciera was then approached by the two guys who told her the plan to go after Tyson. Ciera said that was smart and added: “Us three, the Final 3?” They agreed.

Ciera had a confessional: “Caleb said he wanted to make a big move and that he wanted Tyson gone and that really throws me off because I feel like these people who haven’t played the game before are so willing to flip and flop on each other. It’s too sketchy for me to invest in them so I told Hayden and Caleb what they wanted to hear but I don’t want to work with people like that.”

Finally we have our answer for Caleb’s “Big Kahuna” scene. As we thought, Vytas was right and it would hurt Caleb in the end. Flipping on Brad would cause people to distrust him. Ciera saw him as being too sketchy which is quite ironic considering that Caleb’s first flip saved her. Brad must have been laughing when he saw that scene play out on TV.

Ciera joined Tyson in the jungle and told him that Hayden and Caleb were ready for a big move and wanted to vote him out. Ciera added: “I promise you this: I am voting however you’re voting from here on out…I have your back 100%.”
Tyson replied: “I have yours and I told you that from day 1.” He added: “I trust Gervase and Monica will go with us because I’ve shown her more love than anybody else has. That’s 4: We got it and we’re flipping it on Hayden and Caleb.”

Tyson had a confessional: “I was hoping to make it to 6 before I made my move and really locked the game down but I may have to lock it down earlier. I trust Monica and I trust Gervase. Ciera is the major wild card here. I hope that Ciera is telling the truth but, in the end, it makes more sense for me to go in that direction anyways because I need Caleb and Hayden out and the sooner the better.”

We now have our second hint that Tyson could be heading for Redemption Island. By talking about hoping to make it to 6, Tyson opened the door for us to envision that it will be as far as he will make it before being voted out. As we say, that could be where “Les Athéniens s’atteignirent”, where his power, having reached its zenith, starts to crumble quickly. It seems that he is making the same mistake Aras made by trusting Gervase and Monica too much. What if it turns out that one of them is the wild card instead of Ciera?

Kasama – Night 28

Tyson told Gervase about Ciera’s warning, saying the guys were planning to vote him out. Gervase asked if they should vote for Caleb. Tyson said: “Yes, because he is so likable, he’s the clear shot at the million.”

Gervase had a confessional: “Ciera said that Hayden and Caleb are targeting Tyson and they are going to try to vote him out. So, now we’re thinking: OK! We’ve got to get rid of them. Two days ago, the four guys, we had control of the game but now we are all plotting on each other and it makes me nervous but as long as Ciera sticks with us, we should be good. Hayden and Caleb started stirring the pot and they got sloppy. When you break your alliance like that, the gloves come off so it’s going to get real dirty and ugly.”

Look at how this confessional parallels Laura’s quote at the last TC: “Problems come in when you get your alliance and people start bailing early on the alliance and the next thing you know the top three are people that weren’t even in the alliance and everybody else is sitting over there going: What the heck did we do wrong?” Gervase’s confessional combines so well with Laura’s remark that I’m starting to wonder if we have three women sitting in front of the jury. It would also refute Vytas’ pride alliance confessional by showing the women didn’t need an alpha male and it would validate the “Three moms” part of the title to episode 4. Could we have a Monica, Ciera, Laura/Tina Final 3? Or maybe either Laura or Tina goes against Ciera and Tyson in the final Redemption Island challenge? We can’t dismiss those possibilities when so many loose ends connect so nicely.

Kasama – Day 29

Hayden and Caleb were looking at Ciera when she asked Tyson to go get tree mail with her.

We know that production tells the players when to get tree mail and they even choose who goes to get it so it seems that Ciera was told to ask Tyson. (Note that we didn’t see Ciera asking Tyson nor did we see Tyson answering so it could have been entirely dubbed in.) This little tree mail expedition gave the editors a good way to introduce Hayden’s worries about Ciera.

Caleb realized that Ciera walked by without saying a word. Hayden concurred saying she won’t look at him in the eye.
After picking up “tree” mail (It wasn’t in a tree but in an old chest. Habits are hard to break. Personally, I like the way they do it in the French version of Survivor where the message comes in a bottle!) Ciera asked if they were still good on Caleb because she was getting a weird vibe. Tyson reassured her. They high-fived and said: “Straight to the finals.”

Ciera in confessional: “I’m so glad that I didn’t go with Hayden and Caleb. It feels like I made the right decision and I trust Tyson because Tyson knows: A) They’re gunning for him and B) I saved him and C) He doesn’t want to be sitting next to them in the end anyways. So, it feels like I’m in a pretty good spot come next tribal.”

Hayden in confessional: “This morning, I see Tyson and Ciera run into the woods and then I started thinking what if Ciera tells Tyson: Hey! Those guys are going to blindside you. I started to get paranoid because I realized that if Ciera flipped, we could be in big trouble here.”
Hayden told Katie about his doubts and she then gave us a confessional: “I thought voting Tyson was the best option and that it was going to be smooth sailing but now that there is suspicion about Ciera there may have to be a Plan B. At this point, it’s all up in the air and no one is safe so this challenge is huge and, if Ciera doesn’t win immunity, she could be in trouble.”

The Challenge

Tyson, Gervase and Ciera chose the black rock meaning they wanted to eat instead of fighting for immunity.
Tyson was the one we heard talking to Jeff, taunting the competitors and throwing his bones in the bushes. He was also heard burping loudly a few times.
Monica told Jeff that she wanted to show that their mom was just as tough as their dad. She told Jeff: “Show the kids more than one bad-ass lives in our house.”
Hayden realized that they were “going to be here a while.”
Jeff asked if it bugged him that some chose to eat (Tyson was shown with a huge hunk of meat just then.) Hayden answered: “If I lose this challenge then I will be a little bit upset.” Tyson asked: “At us?” Hayden didn’t answer.
Katie was the first to lose her bucket.
Caleb also told Jeff he was irritated by the people eating. Jeff added some salt to the wound saying: “They are having a good time, they are laughing saying “Perform for me, show me blood bring more meat” just as Tyson and Gervase were playing tug-o-war with a loaf of bread in their mouth.
When Caleb dropped out, Jeff said: “He definitely showed he’s worthy but fell short.”
Seeing that their target wasn’t going to win immunity, Tyson turned to Gervase and Ciera to say: “We’re good.”
Jeff said that Hayden was sending a signal to Monica: “You are not going to get this without working for it.”
When Jeff said that Monica was looking good, Ciera agreed by saying: “It’s mom power.”
It wasn’t long after that Monica won her third individual immunity and accepted it by saying: “Peace out.”

It’s always interesting how the editors portray the players who choose to eat. The Casaya players that declined to compete were made to look stupid but none of them won. The editors were much kinder to Todd and JT when they chose to eat. This time, the message was clear: Tyson, Gervase and Ciera have definitely not shown they were worthy. We could argue that Tyson was shown playing the mind games and it could be excused in many ways but the cold hard facts is that Jeff repeatedly talked about the need to work for it. The only way Tyson can now be worthy of winning this game, in Jeff’s eye, is if he wins a few challenges. The bar has been set and so this brings us to the third hint that Tyson will wind up on Redemption Island: Winning the challenges there, returning to the game and then winning immunity would be the way to overcome the stain left by the way this challenge was presented. If he doesn’t then, like Jeff said once the challenge was over: “That’s it, you’re done.”

Kasama – Day 29

Tyson and Ciera told the group that the food was good.
Hayden had a confessional: “I don’t want to be the guy that gets blindsided and goes home so I want to compete. Tyson, Gervase and Ciera all chose to eat and that’s kind of telling. They obviously feel very comfortable and, if the three of them feel that good, maybe they’re all working together to get rid of one of us. I’m in a predicament: I could be on a sinking ship so now I’m kinda back-pedaling. We got to scramble and make a new plan.”

Hayden talked to Caleb, saying that Ciera had already flipped. He suggested asking Tyson directly if he was planning on blindsiding one of them. The plan was to have everybody vote against Ciera.

Hayden asked Tyson if he was trying to get one of them because that was how it felt. Tyson said he was under the same impression, that they were out to get him. He added: “Ciera pinned that on you guys.” Hayden lied, saying he was only saying that because he thought Tyson went after them first but that wasn’t what he wanted to do. Tyson told them he was skeptical of what Ciera had told him.

Tyson gave a confessional: “Hayden and Caleb pulled me aside and they were like: Ciera is playing both sides. When I think about it, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t she? She seems like a smart enough girl and I know she’s a good liar. In her mind, she’s probably thinking; by pinning the guys against each other, she can stick around a little longer and that was a smart move on her part. Now, I’m feeling that she is too sneaky and too smart and too deceiving to be in the game anymore.” The three guys shook hands on voting against Ciera before Tyson continued his confessional: “The problem is: I don’t trust Hayden and Caleb either. Who knows? They could be trying to make me feel comfortable and then pow: I get hit with a heart-breaker. So, I might have to play my hidden immunity idol. It’s that little bit of added insurance in case something screwy happens.”

Hayden and Caleb agreed that they believed Tyson which led to Caleb’s confessional: “Tyson’s telling us that he’s still with us but I’m not sure I buy it 100%. Hayden feels a lot more comfortable with it than I do. I’m still thinking is he playing us? Is he planning something?” Ciera was shown as if she had been sleeping the whole time so Katie went to wake her up before we heard the end of Caleb’s confessional: “In the game of Survivor anything can go wrong but hopefully everybody’s on board and Ciera’s going home tonight. She should have picked a side and stuck with it.”

The audience could say that had Caleb stuck with the side he had picked pre-merge then Ciera wouldn’t be there to trouble him. It is quite interesting though that Ciera was shown sleeping the whole time her fate was being discussed. It doesn’t paint her in a very good light.

Tyson told Gervase the Hayden and Caleb came to him with all the information about the blindsides. Tyson asked: “Who do we vote out? Ciera or Caleb? It sounded logical what they said: Teenage mom, hell-raiser, she can look you in the eyes and lie better than anybody.”

Gervase agreed and gave us his interview: “All of a sudden, everything is blown to pieces. If somebody is lying in this, it’s either Hayden and Caleb or it’s Ciera. One of them is lying. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to trust. At these times, it just comes out to your gut and that’s scary because, if you put your trust in the wrong person, you are going home.”

Tribal Council

Jeff went straight to the challenge, saying it showed there wasn’t harmony in the alliance of 7.
Hayden agreed saying it showed who felt comfortable and who didn’t. Hayden went on to say he was jealous of Tyson, Gervase and Ciera.
<Tyson looked over at the jurors who looked less than impressed.>
Caleb told Jeff he wasn’t surprised by any of the three people that sat out, not even Ciera because “she probably feels comfortable and she likes to eat.”
Ciera explained herself by saying she looked at the challenge and didn’t think she could win. “I’d rather not play and eat than lose and not eat.”
<The cymbals told us that was a wrong answer.>
Tyson said: “I was a little surprised that more people weren’t eating. I mean, I feel comfortable with the alliances I’ve made and I hope they would feel comfortable with me. Even though all my alliance wasn’t there, I tried to enjoy the food as best I could, which was a lot.”
<The jury didn’t looked pleased at that either.>
Gervase was asked about trust. He said: “I trust people in my alliance…I’m hoping they keep their word…”
Jeff noted that he looked right at Hayden when he said that. Hayden told Jeff that he hoped Gervase realized that he’s been paranoid at times. Turning to Gervase himself, he added: “We trust one another.”
Jeff then turned to Ciera saying it didn’t look good for her if the two guys trust each other.
Ciera said it made her feel like crap, that there could be an underlying message.
Tyson told Jeff he comes in to TC “hoping for the best but expecting the worst.”
Caleb told Jeff he was expecting that there would be a blindside.
Ciera said she would be shocked to be voted out because she was 100% honest with her alliance.

It was time to vote and we saw the jury winking at Caleb as he walked by, telling us that Tyson was right to say he was very likable.
When Jeff asked for the hidden immunity idol, Tyson asked him to wait a second as he went through his bag. Showing that he wasn’t quite as comfortable with his alliance as he had said, Tyson played his idol. We saw Gervase, Monica and Ciera smile while the jury looked a little more impressed.
After snuffing Caleb’s trust, Jeff said: “With an idol and a blindside in the same Tribal Council, the decisions you make about who to trust from this point out will determine who makes it to the end. There is no room for error.”
Tyson winked at Gervase who nodded in agreement.

Redemption Island
Caleb told us that he was surprised, that he expected that Ciera would be voted out.
He told Laura and Tina that Ciera flipped on them which seemed to please the moms.

The Story

This season has finally given us one good episode. Up to now, the whole game had been determined by Aras’ pre-game alliance (Consider Vytas being sparred while in Galang for example) and Tyson’s decision to knock him off his throne. Even that power move had played out so slowly over the course of several episodes that it lost most of its appeal. I feel this was the first episode worthy of the title Survivor.

In a season where one episode was titled “One-Armed Dude and Three Moms”, it was very interesting to see that all the moms left in the game had huge roles to play…as did the “One-Armed Coconut Bandit”! We even heard Ciera talking about Mom Power and it certainly looks like the moms will continue to shape the events of this season, both in the actual game and in Purgatory.

How does it play out? Do we have 3 moms in the Final3? Like we wrote above, Gervase’s confessional opened the door wide for that possibility. Having three moms sitting in front of the jury would force all the guys sitting on the jury to look at each other and wonder: “what the heck did we do wrong?”

On the other hand, we could have three moms on Redemption Island competing for the ticket back in the game. If so, how does the “One-Armed Dude” come in to play? Where does Gervase fit into all this? Can we consider Hayden as a finalist now that we’ve seen him playing the game?

That’s why I called this a real Survivor episode. As intended, it gave us more questions than answers. Now that is the best parallel to Lost we can have.

The Characters

The Case for Laura or Mom Power Part I: She has become a formidable force out on Purgatory Island but she still has a long way to go before she has a chance to return to the game. For now, her power is being used to eliminate the big guys that get voted out. We expect that she will be there when Jeff announces that the winner will return to the game. She could succeed but her lack of story outside of Purgatory tells us that she has no future in the “real game.”

Tina and Caleb: They don’t have the stories that make us think they will return to the game. Tina’s story went down the drain with the swap and she hasn’t recovered. At most, her role could turn out to be helping Laura in a challenge where she struggles. Caleb’s story ended in that canoe with Vytas after which he called himself the “Big Kahuna”. His story was about scheming, not winning challenges so we figured he’d get eliminated from Purgatory the moment Jeff snuffed his torch. (It seems the promotional department knew we’d figure as much.)

The Case for Katie: We couldn’t even make a case for her back in episode 8 but now, as viewers, we could be tempted to say that she’d make a good goat to take to the end. Poor Katie doesn’t even have that role because the guys agreed she has 3 votes all sown up already and they wanted her out. Never has an under-the-radar type player been on so many radars! It was amusing that, as soon as things started looking better for her, they turned bad again. Her only chance right now is that there will be a fight between Tyson and Hayden but that will only save her for 1 round.

The Case for Hayden: When we wrote the case for him after episode 8, we pointed out that no one was talking about him, saying he was a threat to win the game. That was both his best hope to make it far and the biggest clue he wasn’t our winner. We saw how the first served him well in this episode when Tyson and Gervase decided that Caleb’s likability made him the bigger threat. Now, unfortunately for him, Hayden is fully exposed. However, not being seen as a threat could help him find a crack. His edit is finally getting some substance but this isn’t the time when winning edits are forged, this is the time for confusion edits, where some players are given better roles to muddy the waters. Soon, Hayden will find himself in a position where he would need to run the tables but, this season, the challenges have been dominated by the women.

The case for Ciera: The “little mom” played a big role in this episode, playing both sides against each other. We were right to figure that her edit was too good for her to leave right after her mother, the thing she feared the most and worked so hard to avoid. Unfortunately, the editors showed her sleeping when the tide turned against her, when Hayden almost repaired the damage she had caused. She should have seen it coming and kept an eye on those two to counter any peace talks. Instead, she has put her trust completely in Tyson’s hands so she better hope he comes out on top in his conflict with the Big Brother winner. What was good for her story is that we finally heard her talk about the Final 3, making a fake deal with Hayden and Caleb and saying she is in with Tyson to the end. We maintain that it is Ciera, not Katie, that has enough votes sown up, that she’d win against almost anyone. We still see her as the Final 4 elimination, the last original Tadhana standing.

The Case for Gervase: The pot was stirred much too early to his liking but that could be the best thing for Gervase. Besides his vote against Aras, he can now point to a second move, claiming that he was just as much part of the decision to go after Caleb than Tyson. Hayden’s power-play could also serve Gervase’s game. It certainly presents him with a way out of Tyson’s shadow. Of course, that could simply put him in Hayden’s shadow. He’d need a second plan to get rid of the other big guy, putting us that much closer to an all mom Final 3! One thing seems certain: Since he wasn’t told about the idol, Gervase must not trust Tyson as much anymore and that means the whole game could be blown wide open.

The Case for Tyson: Despite winning the battle against Hayden and Caleb, our “One-Armed Coconut Bandit” had a terrible episode. We feel that this was a Pyrrhic victory on every possible level. The most evident cost was the waste of the idol which would have been quite useful at Final 6, the episode where even he said would be key, the episode where he would lock it down.
On a game level, it was probably even more costly because he talked so vigorously about having confidence in his alliance. You don’t do that when you are about to play your idol which shows you don’t have confidence in your alliance after all. Gervase was seen smiling when Tyson was looking through his bag for that idol but that smile could have been masking anger about not being trusted enough to know that Tyson had the idol. Even if Gervase wasn’t angry at the time, he has three days to ruminate what can certainly be seen as an affront.
Worse of all, editing-wise, we had three big hints that Tyson is heading for Purgatory:
- The camera showed him looking intently at the challenge set-up, suggesting he will have to study one for real at some point.
- We heard Tyson say: “I was hoping to make it to 6 before I made my move and really locked the game down…” When players talk about numbers like this, it’s usually a hint that it will be exactly where they wind up. Tyson doesn’t have the game locked down, he doesn’t have his idol and we are now at 6. The suggestion becomes obvious: Tyson is truly in trouble.
- Tyson needs to redeem himself after being shown acting so grossly and being so confident during the immunity challenge. He will have to work for it and, in production’s mind, nothing would show his determination more than going to Purgatory and coming back to win the whole thing. Many viewers would say the opposite, that being voted out of the game is the very thing that makes him unworthy but that is not how production sees it or wants us to see it.

Can Tyson still be our winner? It’s much too late for me to change my mind but let’s just say that I am less confident about my position. He certainly can still win the battle against Hayden but then we have to look at how the jury reacted to him during TC and it wasn’t good. It seems he actually needs to win some challenges to prove his worth. Returning from RI and making it to the end could be his road to victory. The only thing that makes that likely was his quote when he saw Rachel in the arena, when he said people will be sorry if he ever gets to RI.

The Case for Monica or Mom Power Part II: If Tyson didn’t tell Gervase about the idol, can we assume he didn’t tell him about his deal with Monica? Gervase wanted to get rid of Monica after she switched her vote when Vytas was sent packing. Now, Gervase must realize that Monica is very close to Tyson since he didn’t even worry that she could be in on Hayden’s plan. Monica’s winning streak must be creating a good impression on the jury so it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Gervase say he doesn’t want to be the sap that helps her attain her dream once more. What happens if Gervase goes to Tyson with a plan to get rid of Monica? That could increase the doubts between the two Coconut Bandits and save Monica at the same time. Her best chance to win the game would be by going up against non-schemers like Katie. It would be tough for her to beat someone who could claim to have Outwitted the competition but she is certainly Outplaying them all. Her immunity challenge streak would even sit well against Laura if she wins all the RI challenges and makes her way to the end.

PS, After saying that Aras played the part of Jacob and Vytas the Man in Black, I could add more Lost parallels:

- Laura is Rousseau, the bad-ass mother wanting to be reunited with her daughter.

- Ciera, of course, then becomes Alex and, like her, she is the resourceful girl that plays both sides.

- Hayden and Katie are the Others.

- Monica has to be Kate, the strong woman that makes it all the way to the end.

- Gervase would be Sawyer, the charmer that tries to stay out of the action, spend his time resting on the beach, but gets sucked in anyway.

- Finally, that would leave Tyson in Jack’s role: The leader that doesn’t always make the right decision.

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12-01-13, 05:18 AM (EST)
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82. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
- Hayden and Katie are the Others.

May I suggest perhaps...the Tailies?
Nathan and Libby?

No, I know.
Paulo and Nikki

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12-01-13, 12:16 PM (EST)
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83. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
I put them as Others simply because in a Rookie vs Veterans seasons the newbies always feel like "the others" but I like the suggestion of Nathan and Libby.

PS. I thought of Nikki for Katie but she lasted too long. Rachel would fit more with Nikki: Here today, gone tomorrow.

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12-03-13, 04:28 AM (EST)
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86. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
I often ponder a Survivor: LOST Season 2.
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12-03-13, 09:01 AM (EST)
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87. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
I'd certainly be up for it.
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12-02-13, 10:57 AM (EST)
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84. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
As always, great thoughts michel! I love reading everyone's insights. And I especially loved your Lost references!
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85. "RE: Episode11 - Mom Power:"
Another gem Michel, well done.

The “One-Armed Coconut Bandit's” girlfriend.

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88. "Episode 12 - Pure Poetry "
The Recap

After Laura was voted out, no couples were left and the game was on.
Caleb and Hayden saw a chance to blindside their biggest threat.
<Hayden’s confessional: “Tyson’s got a hell of a résumé to preach to the jury.”>
But after Ciera revealed their plan, Tyson was ready to fight fire with fire.
Facing Tribal Council, Caleb and Hayden feared their plan was falling apart…
<Tyson talking to the two guys: “Ciera