Would you be able to vote out a loved one in a game for a million dollars? That question gets put to the test on this week’s Survivor: Blood vs. Water.
Previously on Survivor: Blood vs. Water: The tribes merged and the first order of business was to get rid of Aras and Vytas. Check and check. Now that one pair had been dispatched, the alliance of seven — Tyson, Gervase, Hayden, Caleb, Monica, Laura and Ciera — set their sights on eliminating half of the Katie/Tina pair. Katie won Immunity, Tina couldn’t find the Hidden Immunity Idol (Tyson has it), and the winner of Survivor: The Australian Outback was sent to Redemption Island.
Kasama, Night 24. Katie knows she is number 8 out of 8 in the tribe. At the same time, having her partner voted out does take some of the heat off of her temporarily. Ciera knows how that goes, as she interviews that having her mom around is a bit of an anchor. The next day, we see Ciera reiterating her strategy following the merge: lay low, don’t talk strategy, and follow Tyson’s lead. In a newer interview, Ciera believes she has a better chance of winning the game than her mom does. Given the edit she has had this season, I think Ciera has a strong chance of winning this game.
Tina, Vytas and Aras arrive in the arena. There isn’t much ceremony and Tina says she does not expect or want Katie to tag in for her in the duel. Oh yeah, I forgot that was an option. Anyway, this is another two-part challenge: the players have to use a grappling hook to snag three bags, each holding a ball, then navigate one of those balls through a Labyrinth-like gameboard. The first player to get the ball to rest in the center of the board wins an HII clue to give away and the last player joins the jury. Tina dominates this challenge, using only four tosses of the grappling hook to snag the three bags. Aras and Vytas are neck-and-neck in the hooking, but Vytas finishes first. Tina is almost through the maze before Aras has even started. The mechanism for moving the board are two overhead pulleys which need to be handled delicately. Tina makes the best faces as she urges her ball past the pitfalls. Unfortunately, she over-compensates when trying to land the ball in the central divot, falling into a hole and having to start over. This gives Vytas the opportunity to complete the challenge first. Aras doesn’t seem to ever get comfortable with maneuvering (as evidenced by his presence on Redemption Island — BOOM!) and Tina is able to overtake him in her second attempt at the maze. Tina lands in the middle, sending the winner of Survivor: Panama to the Jury House.
Probst tries to get the brothers to work through their baggage because he misses his talk show, but it will probably take some time outside of the game to make any real progress. Aras leaves and Vytas is given the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol to hand to one of the eight active players. He gives the clue to Katie, who decides to hang on to it rather than burn it. Smart move, since that is pretty much her only remaining card to play. The tribe gets dismissed.
Back at camp, Katie announces she is going to the bathroom. Everyone is like “yeah, have fun with the clue.” Keep in mind this is clue number 10 or 11 and most season they would be up to their third or fourth Idol at this point. Instead, this clue has a lengthy prose description, a detailed drawing of the tree with the braided vine, and a GIANT red arrow pointing out exactly where the Idol would be had Tyson not dug it up already. I’m guessing the next clue would have been “hand this to the camera operator, who will walk you to the location and dig it up for you.” While Katie wanders through the woods, Tyson chats with Caleb and Hayden about having the guys vote out Laura so Ciera won’t be in the awkward position of voting out her own mother.
Meanwhile, Ciera and Laura are having a long-term strategy session. Ciera plays out several different scenarios with her mom, but none of them result in long-term viability for either of them. Laura acknowledges her only chance of making it to the Final 3 would be to win every Immunity Challenge from here on in, but then Ciera would get voted out. The odds of both of them making it to the end are nigh impossible, and Ciera probably has a better shot with the jury than Laura ever would. It’s sad, but Laura is too much of a liability for Ciera.
Katie wakes up before dawn the next day to resume her search for the Idol. Laura follows her to keep tabs and possibly stumble onto the Idol herself. Meanwhile, Tyson loops Ciera into what he plans on doing with the guys regarding the vote. As he starts to apologize, Ciera interrupts to say she is fine with her mom getting the boot.
This week’s challenge is the standard leaning back until your arms give out test. Along with Immunity, the winner will get a feast of burgers and hot dogs. Guys with big chests are at a major disadvantage in a challenge like this, so it is no surprise that Hayden is the first out, quickly followed by Caleb. Eventually it comes down to Tyson and Monica. Probst reminds us that Tyson has a rotator cuff injury, so good on him for lasting this long. He’s no match for Monica, who is in the zone.
After putting the necklace on her, Probst shows Monica the food and asks her to invite one other contestant to join in the gorging. Monica asks if it would be okay if she sat out so everyone else can eat. Probst asks Caleb if this is politicking or a genuine gesture. Caleb says it’s probably a case of both, but hey, food is food. Whatevs, my pre-show pick is still in the game and that’s all I care about.
Everyone thanks Monica when they return to Kasama as a snake slithers through the shelter. Someone spots the snake, which is unusual with the animal metaphors. Ciera and Katie hang out in the hammock and talk about the HII. Katie says she has the Idol but Ciera calls her bluff, saying Katie can’t have the Idol because she has it. Katie cops to bluffing instantly. Ciera uses this new information to pitch a new voting strategy to Tyson and company: split the vote between Katie and Laura and get rid of Katie. If something weird happens (Katie actually has an Idol or there’s a tie), Ciera is still okay with her mom getting the boot. Tyson takes the new plan under consideration, but then interviews that Ciera and Laura are proving to be much cagier than he realized, so they need to be split up now. Caleb has a different take, interviewing that he doesn’t want Katie floating to the end of the game.
The main topic of Tribal is whether or not a twosome as close as Ciera and Laura is a benefit or a liability. Laura believes it is a benefit since those are two votes for others to align with and there isn’t as much jury influencing if they aren’t split apart. We see Ciera making her trademark “PLEASE STOP TALKING” face as Laura speaks. When it comes down to the vote, there’s one for Katie and the rest are for Laura. The last vote Probst reveals reads “Laura (mom).” Ciera is a baller.
Next week on Survivor: Blood vs. Water: Blindsiding Tyson is becoming an attractive option.