Ok – it bears repeating. Anyone out there remotely think that Ciera would be such a power player when this season began? I sure didn’t as the show began to unfold, but I did predict her for Final Four as the season began (my Final Three were Caleb, Katie and Vytas – for the record). But she was barely surviving those early votes and now here she is a major factor in the end game of this season.
Ciera found herself in a very interesting situation. The Unloved Alliance only had Katie lingering in the game at this point. So, at the Final Seven we had a key turning point in the season – Katie’s vote becomes the fourth vote in a majority coalition. The question would be if someone would have the initiative to make the necessary move. And the answer came quickly – someone would.
The men of the Unloved seemed to be in charge – a sausage Final Four waiting to happen – but Hayden started to have doubts. He wondered whether or not he needed to make a move on Tyson before it became too late. I get that. I do question his reasoning though – and it goes into the whole thing with Ciera later on. We are watching Tyson enjoying a hero edit – but in the moment, I wonder if it is that clear. The question, which must have been going through all of their minds in the moment, is whether or not Tyson would be the one they want to sit next to. It is hard to say – he certainly did a lot of betraying. He is Tyson, so he likely irritated some of them. He didn’t really win any kind of challenge for the most part. It must be curious to them what the Tyson dynamic will be.
Hayden clearly thought he would have trouble beating him, while Ciera clearly thought she could.
To be honest – not really sure which one is right. I think Hayden underestimated his likability. He would have had a fighting chance against any combination of the men. But it would have been close. He probably envisioned a better chance matched up with Caleb and Ciera at the end. He also probably realized that he hadn’t made any power moves. His talking points in the Final Tribal would only be likability. That wouldn’t be enough. He had to make a move.
Caleb too. His only move so far was the coup against Culpy. That too would not be enough to sell to a jury – unless he was with Hayden and Ciera. So, a new alliance with Ciera and Katie would benefit them more than one with the returning players.
As for Ciera, I think she realized that sitting in the Finals against these two likable dudes would bode badly. Put her with one of them and Katie – with Katie’s mom and the brothers on the jury – and she’d lose as well. She must have believed that sitting with Tyson and Gervase – who betrayed half the jury – would be her best shot. She also got a little lucky as Tyson got spooked at Tribal and needlessly burned his Hidden Immunity Idol. Now that HII is back in play, and perhaps no one will burn the clue at the next Truel.
And honestly, I think both Hayden and Ciera were correct in their moves. Sometimes you can lose and still be right. And to Hayden’s benefit – he lost, but didn’t completely lose as Caleb took the fall first.
And they all must know that if Monica is sitting in front of the jury she’s going to win. But they have to manage to beat her in a challenge first.
So, with six left we have the Tyson/Gervase/Ciera/Monica combination in the drivers seat. One would assume Hayden is next to go, barring immunity, with Katie as the backup choice. The two of them will likely be battling each other for survival…unless, something really interesting takes place. I wonder if the previews indicating a Gervase/Tyson split could be more than the usual misdirection. I wonder if Gervase sees that he is moving right along into potentially joining the Zero Vote Club if he finishes the season as Tyson’s right hand man. Next week’s episode could be boring. Or it could really be epic.
The other interesting thing that I noticed in this episode was the dynamic at the Truel. With Vytas taking on two moms – Tina and Laura – one was going to be ousted. The challenge involved a puzzle, so I instantly realized Laura was going to win and the other two would clash for survival. I was correct. Laura stayed with Vytas in the rope tube portion of the challenge to free up the puzzle boxes, and smoked him in the puzzle creation.
Vytas did was has been done a bazillion times on this show – he tried to copy off of her final puzzle. She began to spin it around to prevent him from doing so – and then went a step further. She began telling Tina how to solve it. Was that out of annoyance for his copying? I don’t think so. I think Laura is still playing the game. Vytas is a threat. He is a threat to her on RI in future truels, and he’s a threat to her daughter if he re-enters the game. She saw an opportunity and took it. I have no issue with his moves to copy – it’s in the rules – and I have no issue with her choice to gang up on him. I even have no issue with his choice to give her the cold shoulder after she caused him to lose by one second. In the moment, he was pissed.
Mom strength and mom power is sometimes infinitely stronger than anything else in the world. Probst called it the moms ganging up on the single guy. I don’t think that was the dynamic – I think it was Laura playing Survivor hard. But, really, don’t mess with moms. They’ll win every time.
So the brothers are both out and are tank top buddies on the jury. Tina, Laura and Caleb will clash in the truel next week. There are three truels left before re-entry, and wouldn’t that Final Five dynamic be interesting if Laura returns again?