Category Archives: Survivor

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 9 – Two Obvious Boots For The Price of One

So, yeah, I am not a fan of the Double Tribal episodes, but you already know that. If feels to me like a poor way of whittling down a large cast in 13 episodes where no one was forced to leave the game for injury. And it also feels like there was nothing going on during those days on the island.

But mostly it’s usually an excuse to lump together two eliminations that fall into two categories – they were really obvious, or they involved people who barely got an edit. That’s what we had this week.

Spoiler alert – The Unloved is still a thing. And Vytas and Tina are chilling on RI with Aras. A winner, his brother and another winner. And one will be out for good next week. And how weird was it…nobody was eliminated from the game this week. How amazingly boring!

But of course, for anyone who has watched 27 seasons of Survivor…that was no spoiler. You’d have to be crazy not to see this coming. I mean, sure, the editing did their best to make us think that the Unloved were going to turn on Monica, but there was no real logic to such a move with Vytas and Tina still hanging around. The Unloved did the right thing – get rid of your threats before excising the bottom of your alliance.

And make no mistake about it – the Unloved control this game. The core crew – Tyson, Gervase, Hayden, Caleb and Ciera – would have to really stumble badly to mess this up. Monica, Laura and Katie are not going to make waves – especially, based on next week’s previews, if Ciera is willing to betray her own mother. Man, this young lady came to P. L. A. Y. The interesting thing about the Core Five – I really think all five of them have a real chance of winning a jury vote. This is turning out to be a truly fascinating season.

Also fascinating – the drama from the first Immunity Challenge. We had an old fashioned Survivor disgusting food challenge. First up – two groups of five eating 40 live mealworms. They are trying mealworm shooters – which would be the worst Happy Hour special in the history of Happy Hour specials. Vytas has his fall to the ground, forcing him to pick up his half chewed worms and eat them off the ground. Of course, at this point, how much more gross can you get? Amazingly, Vytas and Monica finish after Tyson and move on.

Even more amazing – Gervase advanced out of the next round. Gervase. One of the most classic horrible gross eaters the show has ever had. Amazingly, Boston Rob is one of them – it’s his Kryptonite. But on Season 1, Gervase was just horrid at this and lost the face off against Stacey on live grubs. He still smacks himself in the head to get psyched up – but here, he finishes just after Hayden and just ahead of Caleb to advance. It helped them that Ciera quit and Tina essentially spit hers out.

Next – three ounces of pig intestines. Tyson – remaining on fire – asks how they are prepared. Snerk. However, I guess not good enough for him as he struggles badly. Monica and Gervase advance to the Finals – with Gervase edging Vytas. As learned on Facebook and Twitter, from both Monica and Gervase, there was a deleted course to this Evil Top Chef challenge – cow eyeballs. Regardless, Gervase has a chance for redemption.

With grubs. Ouch. Nice move, Show. He tries hard, but Monica pulls it out. Impressive. Probst even calls her Culpepper. Awww. Has he EVER voluntarily called a woman by her last name on the show? Dawson asked for him to it – mainly out of looooooooveeeeee for him.

Vytas tries. He tries to put it on Katie – don’t let there be too many women around. Don’t let there be two pairs left. Smart. He even offers Tyson his jury vote for three more days. Amusingly, Monica forgets she has immunity and gets super paranoid as Vytas scrambles and thinks she’s going. Laura has to remind her about the necklace. Lady, you just ate worms, guts, eyes and grubs for that. How can you forget that so soon?!?!

Vytas knows he is doomed, but goes out swinging against Monica, kind of unexpectedly. He tells her she’s last in the Unloved – probably correct – and that she was duped by Tyson. He presumably doesn’t realize that Tina essentially blew that one with Monica. She goes back to her husband’s vote out and calls him to blame for that. That was actually Caleb, but yes, Vytas cast the deciding vote. Anyway, he’s sent to RI to join his brother. It’s shame, he has game. I expect to see him back at some point.

The interesting thing to me is how Monica likely sealed her fate as the seventh wheel. She was so made at Vytas that she voted for him. The plan was for Ciera, Monica and Laura to vote for Katie, and Tyson, Gervase, Caleb and Hayden to vote for Vytas. Presumably, three votes could be sent at someone in the Unloved – probably Tyson. Or Thai Son. By flipping, she left Katie with two votes. If Vytas had an idol – possible, the second one was never found, but no one really knows that – and played it, that’s three on Tyson and two on Katie. That’s EXACTLY how Tyson voted himself out of Heroes vs. Villains. He flipped from a close split vote and got burned. If he got booted AGAIN for this dynamic, he would have flipped out.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 8 – Power Plays And The Largest Piece of Pie

Again, sorry for lateness. Explanations all in due time. It’s just been rather busy.

Which is a shame, because this episode rocked. Almost every season my favorite episode is the merge episode. It’s not only a moment that marks the turning point in the game, but it is also the moment where the moves come fast and furious and there is inevitably someone who is getting blindsided.

This episode marked the coming of age of Tyson 3.0, who has essentially wrested control of this game. For now. And it made me wonder about something. And I know what you are going to say, if you are going to praise Boston Rob for the 8 millionth time, you guys should just get a room already. I know. My man love for Boston Rob is well documented on these pages – and as a Yankee fan, trust me, it kills me. But once again, the best player in the history of Survivor may have his fingerprints on another player’s game.

Taking his last two appearances on the show – Heroes vs. Villains and Redemption Island – and seeing the players he played with, what do we have? Coach 3.0 on South Pacific was light years beyond anything he showed in his first two seasons. When Phillip and Andrea came on the second Fans vs. Favorites they were different strategic players. And now we have Tyson 3.0. He was Rob’s right hand man on HvV, until Tyson got duped by Russell and managed to vote himself out of the game. And ruin Rob’s game in the process. But other than that, he spent all that time with Rob. And I wonder how much has rubbed off.

Because this Tyson is a different player. Not every three-timer improves – think Russell, who had only one kind of game to play and that got old over time. Think Colby, whose third game was pathetic. Think Rupert who still can’t make strategic moves four times in. Tyson found himself in what appears to have been a pre-game alliance, which if he stuck with it, would at best earn him fifth or sixth place. And he could have done that, and it would have been his best finish yet. And he could go on the reality show appearance circuit and brag over those who never got that far. But he didn’t.

He spearheaded a new alliance, one forged by the actual goings-on of the game they were playing. Thanks to the tribal shifts, and the early vote outs, he found himself on a tribe with four others whose loved ones were voted out. And the idea struck him – let’s join together. It was a brilliant move. Along with Gervase, Caleb, Ciera and Hayden, they were targeting the power couples – Aras/Vytas, and presumably Tina/Katie. And the smartest move of all the smart moves would be to take out the only one of that crew to have won and never lost. Aras.

Aras was a better winner on Exile Island than I give him credit for – because I felt Terry and Cirie dominated that season. But his social game is impressive, and he’s a real physical threat. And now here he is at the merge, reunited with his brother, and strongly aligned with the mother-daughter. And he thinks he is home free. It makes me absolutely certain that Mrs. Rupert’s exit last week was not for reasons we witnessed – it was because Tina was saving Vytas for her alliance with Aras. The Yoga Man was a huge threat this season and Tyson wisely saw that to be true.

And credit to Gervase, who hasn’t played this game for 12 years, and the version he played was very different. He never made a power move that season, mainly because no one other than Hatch and his alliance understood exactly what they were playing. But here was Gervase presented with a choice – this new logical alliance, or the first one he was in. And I believe he chose wisely. That man now has a real good chance of winning this thing if he plays his cards well.

Tina wisely saw this to be an issue, asking Vytas early in the episode if Aras had Gervase locked down. He didn’t. Then she turned around and made a rookie mistake – telling Monica that she had moved up to fifth in the alliance, ahead of Gervase and Tyson. Never. Ever. Say that. To someone. Monica wisely read between the lines – she was fifth place if she stayed where she was.

Ironically, this season only, that fifth position is a rather good one for her to be in. She’d be with two couples. She just needs to pick one, vote with them and make the Final Three. Assuming, of course, there is a final three. And I’m not sure about that. We have 11 players left – it’s either a F3 with eight on the jury, or F2 with an odd number of jury members. But I get where she was – traditionally, you don’t want to be told that. And it burned Tina because Monica is a logical add to the Unloved Alliance.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 7 – A Classic Episode Of Survivor…

…a classic filler episode that is.

Wow. Yawn.

First, folks. Halloween trumps blogging. As does work. And that’s what happened since the episode aired. Thankfully it wasn’t as if this episode warranted much blogging. I mean we spent about a third of the time of the episode in the Truel. And it wasn’t as if anything interesting was going on.

What was going on? The worst reality show fan fiction ever written. Big Brother Winner and Survivor Crazy Person start dating and join forces on another season of Survivor. Awwww. However, like many contestants on these shows, the two of them are either actors already, or worse, people who think they can act and desperately want to prove it.

What was the drama here? Kitten was concerned that her early exit would lead to Hayden breaking up with her. Not exactly Romeo and Juliet level of drama. So she says she was proud not to cry – and then she cried. It sure made me nostalgic for community theater. Kitten kept up the drama upon entering RI Arena. You could almost visibly see the wheels turning in Hayden’s face – do I cry? What do I say? Reality Bot 9000 cannot compute.

Kitten essentially tells her boyfriend that if the roles were reversed she would take his place at the arena. Needless to say…he does not agree. Again, you can see the wheels turning. How to convince her otherwise? He asks her a question for which he already knew the answer – who had a better chance of winning?

Obviously it is Hayden. First of all, he’s not standing in RI Arena about to take on a doctor and a puzzle queen at a puzzle. Second of all, Kitten really never had much of a chance anyway. She has no strategic skills and was obviously not well placed in an alliance. If they switched, she would wind up among a tribe of men and Ciera. Why would they keep her?

Needless to say, Kitten stood no chance. Especially with the fact that Laura could just look at John’s completed puzzle and copy it. Kitten was doomed from the start and then had a bad luck of the draw. I think anyone who watches this show closely knew Kitten wasn’t going to make it far – for a returning player who received so much attention the first time around to receive barely any…you knew she was pre-jury.

The rest of the episode…well…we had a challenge. Yeah. That challenge led to some weird goings on before Tribal Council. For the second time, the show chose to use interviews of Mrs. Rupert that were recorded during the first three days. She’s wearing a red buff on her wrist. Were there really no other good interviews of her?

We were led to believe that her telling Vytas that he was going home ruined the trust the rest of the tribe had for her. Because she spoke out of turn. In a nice way. I don’t buy it. I think she’s always been on the outs. I think Vytas did a good job in getting in with the women. I think they like having a guy around – especially if needed at challenges. I think that Tina and Aras may have had a pre-alliance of winners. I think Laura was doomed the minute Rupert swapped with her. She does not have the social skills or strategic skills to overcome the deep hole she was placed into.
That was it. A very slow, quiet pre-merge episode.

The most interesting thing that occurred – in my opinion – was the beginning of what may be a new power alliance. I thought Tyson and Gervase were part of that winner-alliance with Tina and Aras. But perhaps not. Interestingly, Tyson seems to have moved against them. His plan is a good one – there are six people in their tribe, and five of them have had a loved one voted out. Just Aras has not. It’s a smart play by Tyson – the only wrinkle is if Ciera and her mom get reunited after the next Truel. But he could decide to ignore this for a moment and take the free sixth person. Deal with Samoa Laura later.

So, Tyson’s Alliance of The Lonely, plus the Truel winner puts them at six. The foursome of Aras, Tina and family have Monica. That does it. That’s a 6-5 merge advantage. They take them out one by one, turn on the Moretts at some point if Laura is back, and we could see a Tyson, Gervase, Caleb and, well, what do you know, Hayden grouping at the end.

I guess they were right. Hayden does have a better chance at winning.

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.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 5 – So Much For My Happy Ending

Things we learned on this week’s Survivor episode:

• Some massages that look amazing have no happy endings. (sorry about that – but how can that joke be resisted?)
• Survivor may cause leprosy.
• The Blood vs. Water twist has opened up an insane amount of nuance to the show.
• Sometimes the editors need to tone it down to make things less obvious.

So, we finally have the Family tribe winning a challenge. Interestingly, their first win comes immediately after Culpy’s departure. In fact, in the RI teaser at the end of the episode, Culpy (I think) was incredulous that the Faves lost a challenge. Sometimes you need the brawn to win Survivor challenges, but sometimes you need a positive energy in the tribe. I know that sounds very New Agey, but it’s true. Take out the contributing factor to the unrest and things become easier to do. With Culpy out, the remaining five bonded somewhat and went on to finally earning a victory.

I was positive they were going to win that challenge. In fact, I wrote it in my notes in the first 10 minutes of the show. This was during Sexy Massage Time. We have gotten very little coverage of the Faves this season – as they keep winning, the drama levels have been low. But all of a sudden we see Samoa Laura giving Aras possibly the sexiest massage ever shown on television. I mean, I was getting uncomfortable watching it. I heard funk music playing in the back of my brain. And that came with some talk about strategy from Aras, and Mrs. Rupert. I started to question the editing here.

It became super obvious when we went over to the Family and got the scars from the show. Ciera is riddled with bug bites. Others have scrapes and bruises. But worst of all, Katie has some form of trench foot (I got that at Woodstock 94 – so I know it sucks. Of course, my friend got crabs at the festival, so it could have been a lot worse) or something on her feet. Her toes are swollen and burning. And then we get a comment from her which sends chills down my spine, “I lost a toenail.” Ewwwwwwww. Good heavens. Katie is turning into a leper or perhaps a zombie. With all of these injuries, I felt the editing was setting up the Family for a heroic victory.
This was even more clear when Vytas was doing yoga on the Cliffside. Afterwards the team sat up on that majestic overlook and talked about winning. I was certain of their victory at this point. And that’s exactly what happened.

The other thing that didn’t surprise me was the Laura Decision. While logic was dictating that Mrs. Rupert was the choice – as she was an outsider that was struggling fitting in, and as Aras said, she was the easy vote – the editing was showing me that Samoa Laura was the target. First, we got the amazing erotic massage at the beginning of the episode. Then, more telling, was the shot of the Lauras and Monica sitting out the challenge. Why show us the three of them on the bench with SL and Monica bitching about Kitten participating and them sitting? Unless it mattered later.

Aras chose to employ a similar strategy to the Rachel Vote Off. The Family sent her to RI to entice Tyson to take her place – unique Blood vs. Water strategy. Aras looked over at RI and saw his alliance-mate’s husband – burly Culpy. His logic – put the bigger threat to beating him and eliminating him on RI so that Monica is forced to stay strong in Aras’ alliance. Interesting. Sending Samoa Laura there puts a strong puzzle solver on RI and gives the Culpy ousting more of a chance. Assuming it’s a puzzle challenge, of course. And as we saw this week – Dr. Cody and Culpy are not that bad at puzzles. As Monica pointed out, Culpy ain’t just a dumb jock – he’s a lawyer.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 4 – “What just happened?”

The title this week was spoken by Ciera after the votes were tallied and the Family Tribe just took part in one of the wackiest and incredible blindsides/power plays in the history of this show. I have said it before, I’ll say it again, it is amazing that so many seasons into this show that they can still have new and unique things happen. It is why the show still works and thrives when so many other reality shows have faltered over time.

Also incredible…somehow the Survivor Gods have tapped into doing what I want them to do. I had enough of Candice – she is voted out immediately (although I am beginning to regret that). Rupert was back…again. He makes a moronic choice and gets to be the first one eliminated for good. Tired of Colton’s antics? He quits. Now, if only something could happen to Culpy…

BOOM! All of a sudden, Colton’s inclusion this season makes all the sense in the world. He wasn’t included to feature himself…we needed Colton so we could meet Caleb. Surely, Caleb sees something in Colton that none of us do – but now we can all see what Colton sees in Caleb. What a bold move – and what a perfect move. The question remains…is this a one-shot deal, or can he make a lasting impression. The promos for next week bode badly, but for this week – he is awesome.

Let’s start with the ever-changing strategy of Culpy. If you recall, the main excuse he gave for shanking – or Johnning – his key alliance mate last week was his fears that John and Candice would link up in the event that Candice made it all the way through the truels and re-entered the game at the merge. The logic to that is, of course, strained – first she would have to win many truels, then she’d have to not be the same target most RI winners have been, then she’d have to prove to be a poor alliance mate. Because where would Candice have to go – to the tribe that voted her out immediately? Or would she provide another number to the Five Guys alliance?
Doesn’t matter, because Culpy was viewing this through jealous eyes – he couldn’t lose his waterfall buddy. Plus, John’s mangling of the idol clues led to the breaking of Five Guys. NOW, however, Culpy is claiming that maybe it’s a good thing to keep those with loved ones and oust those without…because he can’t keep taking crap at the RI arena for the vote outs. The only one this applies to is Caleb. And he knows it.

After losing the challenge – again – Culpy does not follow the Four Guys Alliance into the woods to “gather firewood,” but instead lingers behind with Ciera and Katie and tells them that he is going after Caleb, not them. They are skeptical, but hopeful. The boys? They notice Culpy is lagging behind. The fallout from the John vote is starting to take hold – they no longer trust Culpy because once you turn on one alliance member, anyone could be next.

Tribal started off slowly, but after Culpy implied that he would be open to a plan to vote out singles, Caleb speaks up. (Keep in mind, much of this seemed rather chopped together, just like most Tribal Councils. I am dubious that Caleb’s move happened exactly as we witnessed) He knows Culpy is working against him and he tells Ciera that he doesn’t want her to go home. He is now going to vote for Culpy and invites them to join him. They do.

Before we discuss what happened next, a word on the voting rules. In the event of a tie, at this stage in the game, we have a re-vote. Those tied don’t vote again, but the rest do. If it remains tied, there is no fire-making challenge. We have Purple Rock Madness. And this nugget, which could explain away Cochran’s South Pacific flipping, is the key element. Those receiving votes are immune in the Rock Pull – the rest of them are at risk. That means for our purposes this week – Culpy and Ciera would be immune, and Caleb, Vytas, Hayden and Katie would have a 25% chance of elimination. That is a huge risk for them to take.

Hayden considered it for a while before deciding that he could live with the rocks. However, Vytas was not so keen on that, so he turned on Culpy and sent him to Cody Island. Now, the Family Tribe has become interesting. Five Guys is now Three Guys. The women are now players potentially. In fact, a Caleb and the Women alliance is not all that out of the question. Hayden seems the most likely to be in trouble at the next vote – even if he was essentially correct in thinking having Culpy around is a good move to keep the heat off the others. Up is down, and down is up.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 3 – “F U Brad Culpepper!!”

My favorite part about the quote I used as the episode title was that Marissa chose to curse Culpy out by using his full name. Think about every time you have ever flipped the bird to someone and cursed them out in such a manner. Have you ever used the person’s full name? I don’t think I ever have. It’s just awkward to say it that way. And the icing on this delicious vulgarity cake? Gervase telling her to settle down. Him NOT settling down is the reason she’s in this mess in the first place!

Also a good thing about that whole display – and from the upcoming clash with Candice next week – it is making Culpy either a huge target for an upcoming vote out, or at the bare minimum means the dude ain’t gonna win this game, even if he makes it to the end. I’d feel badly for Monica, who should be rather uncomfortable through all of that conflict, but she must know how he is. Survivor doesn’t change who you are, it reveals some uncomfortable truths about yourself that can only come out of starvation, exhaustion and anxiety. This is Culpy – like it or not.

Also, this is Colton. I didn’t want to lead with Colton because it is just another way of attracting attention to him, but clearly, that was a big part of this episode. The big reveal, to me at least, was that Colton apparently faked or exaggerated his condition that got him pulled from One World. That’s incredible. If true, that would make him a two-time quitter on this show – and that’s pretty sad. I am not sure I could handle Survivor – I know my own physical and mental limitations. This show looks incredibly hard, and virtually anyone and everyone who has done the show before has come away from it saying it’s about 100x harder than it looks. I get it. I can almost forgive the first quit – no matter how weasel-like it is to fake an injury on Survivor, when so many others have gotten hurt and had to be dragged off the show. Heck, Swan almost died and didn’t want to leave.

But the second quit? You knew what you were getting into, Colton. This ain’t no surprise anymore. He claims in interviews online today that he chose to do this to make it easier for Caleb to go far. I call BS on that. Not sure how it helps Caleb – not having the loved one in the game does remove that complication, but does that really do much to help at all? If he got voted out and sent to RI and Caleb wanted to replace him…just say no to him. That simple. There is no logic to this except that Colton didn’t want to get voted out of Survivor. Each time. He is a trivia question now, and that probably makes him very happy.

Meanwhile, Probst was on fire. Now, part of this is the long-standing critique of Probst – he loves the jock, Type-A, bro, alpha male dudes and has moderate to little patience for any other man. Colton is clearly not his type. However, Probst also has NO patience whatsoever for anyone who wastes his time on Survivor – and who takes the place of thousands of others who would be like Swan – dying to get on this show, and willing to die to stay on the show. Probst’s take down of Colton was epic.

He called Colton selfish. He told him that a lot of fans of the show should stay on the couch and watch – and he was one of them. Tyson tells Colton he turned into the old Colton right away before his back was against the wall. Tina said he was quitting because he knew he couldn’t win and the tribe wasn’t playing his games. Probst put blame on the show too – they brought back a quitter and they got a quitter. That give me an idea for a new season – bring back all of the quitters and pit them against the gamers. Get Osten, Purple Kelly, Colton, etc. Put them against people that had to get dragged out from injury or scrambled hard to survive votes, etc. Or better yet – pit the quitters against players who applied a bazillion times and never got in, like Troyzan did. Or pit them against all people voted out first. Come on, show, it writes itself!

So Colton is gone. Amazing that the returning tribe hasn’t lost a challenge yet, but two returning players are gone. Neither of whom were actually voted out. Joining Colton and Rupert in sequester is Tyson’s girlfriend Rachel, who lost the truel. I’ll miss her and her gorgeous eyes, even if she barely said two words this season.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 2 – National Lampoon’s Horrible Vacation

No, Chevy Chase has not found a job after he managed to piss off everyone at Community, the title this week comes from the gay Russell Hantz (according to Aras). Colton is rough to watch – and he often has more stinkers than good lines – but occasionally he manages to squeeze off a good one. And kudos to Aras, who wasn’t ever funny during Exile Island for giving us both the mental image of a gay Russell Hantz, and the mental image of Russell’s head exploding upon being remotely considered gay. No, this line was all about Colton showing that, no, he managed to learn nothing from the last time. He cannot play a different game. He is Russell Hantz – except not successful at Survivor.

Colton decided that his tribe is too nice for his own enjoyment. So he set out to sow discord. He would spread lies about everyone to everyone else. Later, when Kat – who actually was trying to work with him – was talking to him about this and something Tina said, Colton threw a fit and confronted Tina and Kat in night vision with this bit of drama. Tina’s had enough. So the next day she ropes in a five-person alliance with Aras, Gervase, Monica and Tyson. Colton was bitching about too many massage lines and not enough game play…well, you got yourself some game play. Now, he, Kat, and both Lauras are on the outs with this tribe.

Meanwhile, the family team decides that Rachel and her gorgeous eyes will be the next target of the “Five Guys” alliance. Ironic, to have an alliance on a show featuring starvation to share the name with the greasiest, most awesome burger chain in the land. It was clear that a woman would be next, but the selection of Rachel is interesting. Vytas came up with the concept – and it is an interesting one. Vote out someone on your own tribe with the hopes that a strong loved one on the other side will Pull a Rupert and take their place. In the case of Five Guys, you vote out one of your women and you put Tina, Laura or Tyson on the spot. Which is more beneficial to you? Clearly, the chance of Tyson making a dumb mistake is intriguing. It’s not like the guy ever voted himself out of the game before, right?

On RI, Marissa joins Rupert and Candice and fills them in on how much she hates the frowny face votes. Awww L – and about how she got voted out because of Gervase’s taunting. Candice rightfully points out that while Gervase was the excuse, it was her comments to Culpy at the very beginning that got her voted out. She embarrassed him in front of everyone, and he didn’t forget. Good for you, Dr. Candice. Just for that, I’ll root for you in the duel.

Er, the Truel. Because a duel implies two people. Truel is a made up word, for a made up thing. Interesting to see many of the people begin to cry immediately as both tribes filter in to watch the Truel. That’s a good change on RI from the first two times it was used. Candice winks at John to make him realize that she’s fine, while Marissa stares down her old tribe and calls them out for what they did. Gervase sees this as a sign that perhaps he should mend his taunting ways. And when I say that, I mean he did the exact opposite. He vows to rub it in even more going forward. He also chooses not to Pull A Rupert and switch.

The challenge is to use a long grabber thingy that you often see in dollar stores and grab a spool. You move it along a series of wires and stack at the end of the wires on a platform. You do this 10 times without spilling it all and you complete the challenge. First two survive, winner earns an immunity idol clue to be given to anyone they want. Last place, and you’re out. Rupert drops his first one instantly. However, he recovers and he and Candice take the lead and are tied after stacking eight. As Candice places her ninth, Rupert poorly stacks his and the whole thing goes over. The cut away is of Laura looking sad, and Gervase laughing next to her. Laughing! Next to the dude’s wife! This man is in desperate need of tact lessons.

So, Candice finishes, and basically drops the mike. Marissa is on her last one as Rupert is only just getting back to half a stack, and she finishes. Holy crap – Rupert is gone! I only had two episodes to deal with his act! So, Rupert becomes the only person to get eliminated pre-finals – other than for injury, breakdown, or family emergency – without receiving a single vote. Actually, there were two. Paschal and the Purple Rock. Rupert’s insanely bad strategy backfires – stunningly – and he’s the first to go. He’s the anti-Boston Rob. The other four-timer had his worst performance the first time out, before dominating two seasons, winning one of them, and only bowing out early the other time because Tyson’s an idiot. Rupert? Bad strategy each time, or lack of any strategy at all. He will always go down as an all-time fan favorite, but not here. If we can just ditch Colton, and maybe Culpy, early on…well, this could get to be fun.

Survivor 27: Blood vs. Water – Ep 1 – Don’t Let That Fool You!

Season 27 begins – a season with more twists than a Chubby Checker biopic. With more unexpected developments than an episode of Breaking Bad. And with the promise of some new unexpected dynamic between contestants – possibly the most in a long time. It is hard to predict what we see as the weeks go on, mainly because the contestants have so many new things to consider – they likely had all of their pre-show plans tossed out of the window.

Perhaps not all of them – upon reading some other blogs this morning, there seems to be the ongoing trend of returning Survivors building alliances before the cameras begin rolling. We saw allusions made to that in the Boston Rob/Lex classic rivalry the first time the show employed this dynamic. We essentially saw it last season with Cochran/Dawn. So, to some on this season, while the twists have made their plans more difficult, they may have been able to salvage some of it by keeping some of their pre-show plans alive. The question is – did their loved ones stick together as well?

Anyway, let’s just get the twists out of the way. This season, as previously stated, we have a returning Survivor and a loved one. They arrive in 10 pairs and spend their first night by themselves on a portion of beach with no supplies. How nice. And how utterly boring it turns out. The show agrees and edits this sequence into a quick montage. The pairs join Probst on the beach and instantly learn that they will not be paired up into five groups of loved ones for each tribe. Instead, we are basically getting Fans vs. Favorites III. The returning Survivors vs. the new Survivors. Next twist – each group is kicking someone out right now. Next twist – they are not actually departing, but heading to the Return of Redemption Island. Next twist – the loved one can switch with the first boots and take their place on RI, while their loved one takes their place on a tribe where they are in a clear minority. All of this in the first several minutes. Way to turn into Basil Exposition, Probst!

So, what came of this whirlwind of changes from the start? Well, the family tribe kicked out Rupert’s wife. Why? No real idea why – other than perhaps they wanted to throw Rupert off his game. Their mistake – Rupert has no game. Never did. And he proves it when Probst asks him about switching places. He moves forward before Probst can tell him the consequences – Laura is now going to be with a tribe of returning players with a gigantic, tie-dyed target on her back. But at this point, his ego can’t backtrack from the heroic gesture he has already made. By taking her place, he has likely doomed both of them. Now he has to not lose many duels to come back, and she has to quickly integrate herself into a tribe where she is a clear cut first vote. The likeliest scenario is that either he’s gone quickly, or they will wind up dueling each other before long. So, five minutes in and Rupert has already screwed up strategically. That was a friggin record.

The favorites voted Candice out of the tribe to start with and while I thought at the time that it was due to her incredibly untrustworthy first two forays into the game, it was likely something simpler and a lot dumber. Originally, RC and her dad were supposed to be on the show, but her dad failed a medical test at the last minute. That meant that Candice and John were flown in at the very last minute to play. They got no backstage interactions, and were just party crashers to this group. Interesting though that John was spared – likely due to him being a big guy. Also interesting – John had the where-with-all to NOT do anything stupid and switch places with her. So, he is actually in good standing on his tribe, while she will try to dig out of the hole she’s been placed in. Also, ALSO interesting – Candice and Rupert played together for many days in Heroes vs. Villains, and so it seems, Candice hates him. For a moment, my distaste for her is lifted just a teeny bit for that. Unfortunately for her, she is doing all of the RI chores while he finally smartens up and rests his bones for the duel.

I was very surprised to see the Faves elect to go in this direction and take her out rather than instantly toss Colton onto the trash heap. It’s as if they didn’t watch One World. Actually, they probably didn’t. Not many did. At least Kat and Monica should have kicked him to the curb. Instead, arguably the most horrid player in the show’s history gets to stay. And if you recall, while he was a cancer to the tribe, he was also fairly useless in challenges and at camp. That does not seem to have changed – based solely on his paddling problems and his method of sawing bamboo…with the saw aimed directly for his crotch. I was hoping we would have very little Colton, and was bracing myself to having to endure another season of The Rupert Show. At least, so it seems, that will be reversed.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Preview – We Are Family. I’ve Got All My Survivors And Me

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.

Season 27 is kicking off this week, and we are continuing the recent trend of returning players. And why not? It works. As you know, this is the eighth, um, ninth season to incorporate returning players…er…wait a minute. This is exactly the start of my preview of last season. At this point…I think I can open every season with this intro.

Last season, the streak of returning players dominating continued – Guatemala, Micronesia, Redemption Island, South Pacific, Philippines, and Caramoan. All had returning players either winning or in the finals. All of them. This season, we have 10 more returning players, including the show’s second four-time player. And a brand new twist coupled with the return of an old twist. That’s double twisting. Or more.

Let’s get into the details of this season.

First, usually the game lasts 39 days. Only once has it not – way back in Season 2 when it went 42. Why only that one time? Because that group almost starved to death. Now, in Season 27 we have added one more day to the tally. A 40-day game. They have added Day Zero the game. What is Day Zero? Well, it ties into the second twist.

Second, the 10 returning players are not coming by themselves. They are each bringing along a family member, or significant other. On that first day, each pair will be sent to 10 separate locations to spend the night. Then they meet up with Probst and the rest of the pairs.

Third, they learn that instead of playing with their loved ones…they’ll be against them. All the faves are on one tribe (Galang) and the family on the other (Tadhana). Boom.

Fourth, at that meeting, each side votes someone out. Double boom! Those two will be sent to Redemption Island. Welcome back, RI. Um, not sure if I am welcoming it back. I still like the vote out being final. But nevertheless, we are back with the Island. But there’s more…

Fifth, the loved one can volunteer to switch places with the RI castaway. That option exists not only at this first moment, but during the duels. So, if a puzzle challenge pops up, the loved one who is better at puzzles could jump in to save their loved one.

Another twist – the person who finishes first in the duel not only survives, but earns a clue to a Hidden Immunity Idol. They could give it to whomever they want. That means their loved one, or their alliance. Interesting.