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Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 13 – I Wanna Rock!

This week is late. I know. But better late than never. One thing you will not be seeing in this column this week – anything mean about Tina or Katie. Their family has been through too much this week to be mocked.

But what did happen this week was pure madness. Madness, I say! There is one thing that cannot be denied about this simply excellent season – these are some really bold players. This Tribal Council proved it – Hayden made a relentless argument. Ciera chose to roll the dice on a risky strategy. And Tyson went over the cliff without hesitating – risking what has been an excellent game so far and seemingly not worrying about it.

Another thing I took from this Tribal Council – Gervase is not going to win this season.

But let’s focus on the primary event of this episode. Unlike John from Samoa, and Cochran from South Pacific, no one from this crew was afraid of the randomness of the Survivor tiebreaker. Six players entered Tribal Council – four in an alliance – and in the course of the discussion, that alliance broke. Hayden played whatever card he could – and I say Hayden because Katie didn’t get any substantial screen time during this event. His best card? Showing former teammate Ciera that she is going to finish fourth – and will never be presenting to the jury. She is the bottom rung of her alliance – and deep down…she knew it.

Hayden played that well. Even if he was trying not to “rustle feathers.” What came from that misuse of the English language was hysterical. As the debate over who is going to be one step closer to the million-dollar prize raged on, Hayden and Tyson waged a battle over the proper way of saying “ruffle feathers.” That was my favorite part of a crazy episode – not the rocks, but the battle over grammar that preceded it.

I was beginning to wonder about him. I had written down my question if there had ever been someone who got this far in the game, with this kind of pedigree, with this kind of potential, who did nothing at all in their season. I have been disappointed with Hayden to this point – and yet he’s still there. Still alive. And he just came very, very close to winning this game with this move.

Because if this worked – he would have held the majority alliance with the two daughters. And Ciera would have few allies on the jury, and Katie would have no argument to make about any moves made in the game. Hayden would have won this game if Tyson had pulled the rock.

Now, as for the rocks. I have said it before – I hate this rule. I don’t like random things like picking rocks out of a bag deciding someone’s fate on Survivor. This game is too hard, too grueling and too important for these contestants. There has to be a better way to break these ties than something so arbitrary. If we make fire at the Final Four – why not here? What about an impromptu challenge? That would all be better. And I get why the two receiving votes gain immunity – it makes the others have motivation to avoid the tie vote – but I don’t like that the two targets of the vote are given the free pass.

While the drama was stellar, think about how horrible it would have been for us, the viewers, to watch Tyson play such a great game this season and have it ruined by a random selection of rocks. Now if his alliance turns on him, or something else caused him to get voted out – that’s different. But it would have been as big of a show-based tragedy as has unfolded in 27 seasons. That’s strictly show-related – obviously what happened this week to Tina and Katie is real life, as have others in the past. I would much rather see excellent game play either be rewarded or beaten with equally good game play than see it defeated by colored rocks and the pure luck.

So, we have the Final Five – with a Tyson/Gervase/Monica combination in the position of power. Tyson is the clear leader of the group – but could be victim of bitter jury when push comes to shove. Monica is his clear threat to his game – her social game as mom and her physical prowess is a real tough argument to beat for a guy who has betrayed a bunch of jury members. Tyson and Gervase would be wise to sub in Ciera at the Final Four into the final three in hopes that she’s angered just as many of the jury members as they have.

I discount Gervase because, as Hayden correctly stated, he has not done any big move that Tyson wasn’t the ringleader of in the first place. The laughter on the jury when Gervase was making his boasts during Tribal was a tell tale sign that he may soon become the latest member of the Zero Vote Club. That, and when he called the jury “losers” at the truel.

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