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Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 6 – Living La Vetus Loco

See what I did there with the title? Who’s impressed? A little Ricky Martin. Making fun of Kitten. It’s all good. If only there was something else to mock in this episode…wait, don’t worry, I’ll think of it.

Apologies for the lateness – it’s been a trying time in the life of this blogger. I’m sure I’ll share soon. But for now, just accept it. I haven’t even watched Top Chef in its entirety yet. So, for fans of both of my columns – I’m sure there’s at least one! – the chefs should be up sometime this weekend.

But for now…Survivor BvW has turned the page to the next stage of the game. Drop your buffs. It’s time to shuffle!

After the Truel, before the tribes are sent back, Probst drops the bomb on them – they are randomly selecting new tribes. Tyson amuses me by asking to pick last – let fate decide. By the way, this was a great Tyson episode. Tyson 3.0 has been as good as Coach 3.0 so far. Let’s see how long it lasts. Clearly, the Show is looking for having the dynamic of family members playing with each other. The pairs remaining – not including RI folks – Katie/Tina, Aras/Vytas, Kitten/Hayden. The Show got one pair to play together – Katie/Tina. I am sure they wanted the brothers or the romantic couple for dramatic reasons – but they got the mom/daughter.

The problem is with the switch…it is almost, just almost, a gender battle now. One tribe is all women+Vytas, and the other is all men+Ciera. That puts both Vytas and Ciera in a tough, tough position. One was tested already…and Vytas did a great job with it. The amazing thing to me is that while all of the talk was centered on Vytas and Kitten on that tribe during the scheming, not one person brought up Tina or Katie. For a season that has had tons of creative strategizing based on these built in pairs, the first moment we had one of those pairs reunited…no one seemed to care!

Oh! Time to mock! Not only was Tina not targeted for having her daughter with her, but she was not targeted for her incredibly boneheaded move at the challenge. There have been bad challenge performances in the past. Seriously bad ones. Too many to count. One of my favorites was Jamie cutting the rope in Guatemala. But rarely do we see someone so badly screw up the rules the way Tina and Laura did in the first task.

The Challenge – the tribes have to swim out and open a roped gate and retrieve a lobster trap filled with puzzle pieces. Three different pairs go out to do this. Once they have done this, two people assemble a vertical puzzle. Simple, right? You’d be wrong.

First out, Gervase/Aras and Tina/Laura. Smart pairing Aras with Gervase – as we learned in the first challenge, Gervase needs him in the water. He wants him in the water. They do well here. Meanwhile, the ladies open the gate and start swimming back. No lobster trap. Probst instinctively calls to them, but then stops. He can’t really influence things. The tribe is screaming at them to go back. But both women are swimming, heads down, and can’t hear a thing. Amazingly, they get back to the beach and Tina still seems confused by what happened. Meanwhile, Tyson and Caleb are already getting the 2nd one. Hayden and Ciera get the third as Monica/Vytas were getting the 2nd trap. Incredibly, Tina and Monica furiously work on the puzzle and catch up to Aras and Tyson. In fact, not once, but twice(!), Tina calls for Probst. They are not correct. There is much hysterical premature cheering. Aras and Tyson finish it – and Tina has a very poor challenge under her belt.

But no consequences.

Vytas was behind the 8-ball from the start. The ladies were targeting him – very easy vote that way. He was up against Tina, Monica, Kitten and Laura – who have been playing together from the start – and he came over with Tina’s daughter. His only plays were these – realize that Laura was a bit of an outsider before and exploit it, focus on the Tina/Katie pair and break it up, or do what he did…watch for an opening and pry it open. He wisely opened up about his past – a group of women, especially three moms, would completely embrace that kind of vulnerability. He was correct.

Then he got his opportunity. Kitten provided it. I suspected Kitten wasn’t going to be a factor this season. She was getting a very quiet edit, especially for someone who was such a personality in her first time around. I knew she was not going far – so when they started showing her getting in trouble, I was pretty sure she was done. Kitten didn’t leave well enough alone and went after her old One World tribesmate Monica. It seems Monica’s been one of those chatty constant schemers this season. What’s hysterical there is two-fold – first, that’s what they complained about with Colton, and second, Kitten is complaining about someone being too chatty?!? Kitten? Wow.

The problem for Kitten was that she went to Tina with this, and she apparently had no idea how close Tina and Monica were. It makes you wonder if the alliance with the guys is going to survive the tribe switch. It also makes you wonder whether or not the alliance will include Katie and Vytas as well. That could be our Final Seven, folks. Tina went to Monica, who then instantly confronted Kitten, whose pants instantly caught fire. Monica knew she was lying, and at Tribal, it spiraled downhill for Kitten. Her only play was tears and begging – and that rarely works. This is the second time she’s been blindsided and second time she reacted with fits of crying. Not that there’s anything wrong with crying – but for getting voted out of a reality show twice? C’mon.

What was telling with Kitten’s continued immaturity was her reaction on RI as she joined John and Samoa Laura. She is worried about disappointing Hayden because, and I quote, “who wants to date someone who didn’t make the merge.” Whoa. That’s the level of depth in reality show relationships these days? Hayden won Big Brother and is likely to finish ahead of her on Survivor, and that makes her unattractive to him?!? Wow. Kitten really puts great weight behind reality TV. Note to Kitten – it’s really not that cool. No one outside of this circle of fans, viewers and contestants have any idea who you or Hayden are. If you guys make each other happy…your talents on Survivor will not matter. Although, he will probably tease you about it until the day you die. Or breakup. Because sometimes til death do you part is not something that happens.

And so Kitten goes to RI and is likely not going to be there for very long. With 11 contestants now in tribes, There is likely going to be a merge after the next Truel. Twelve has been the go-to merge number in recent seasons with the Final Three and nine-person jury. Nothing is set in stone, of course, but it is very likely this will be the last Truel pre-merge. If my suspicions are correct, the power alliance will be Tyson/Gervase/Aras/Tina/Monica/Vytas/Katie. That leaves Hayden, Caleb, Ciera, Laura and either John/Samoa Laura/Kitten on the outside looking in. The question will be – can the five figure out a way into that alliance? Can they identify that they are in the minority before it’s too late? And can they fashion a makeshift alliance and flip two to come over. Or force a 6-6 tie. We already know that Vytas doesn’t want to draw rocks.

This is a daunting task – but on Survivor, anything is possible. We’ve seen it for years.

Truel – Now for the actual elimination challenge. John, Culpy and Samoa Laura enter the arena. Ciera claims to have felt her mother’s vote out last night. If so, that’s pretty cool. I wonder if she can see dead people too. Probably not.

The three are presented with a challenge involving a balance beam, bags of puzzle pieces and a tile challenge. I won’t call it a puzzle because they had to place tiles from 1-100 in order. Not exactly a puzzle. I instantly predicted a win for Samoa Laura. First of all, balance beam challenges always favor the smaller people – often women. Second, she’s a great puzzler – even “puzzles” like this one. Needless to say, she absolutely rocked the challenge. Win for Laura and another three days on RI.

John and Culpy were left to battle for survival. John had some serious balance beam issues – falling at one point and landing on it in such a way that would make Candice really unhappy. Down the stretch John held a lead of about five or six tiles on Culpy and held on to claim second place. That means the end of Culpy. Rarely has there been a Survivor who so dominated a season early with their personality and yet fail to make the merge. How much of this was Culpy’s personality and how much of it was Probst’s and the show’s obsession with the Alpha Male…well, hard to say. Nevertheless, he’s out.

At least he figured out a way past the burning of the buffs at RI – he tore his in half, burned it and kept a souvenier. Smart.

I assume we’ll be getting to the merge next week. It’ll be interesting. Halfway home, and we have one interesting season of Survivor on our hands.

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