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Survivor Know-It-Alls Recap Blood vs Water Episode 4

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It was a quiet night on Survivor so Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach will have to find something, anything to- PSYCH, JUST KIDDING, Brad Culpepper has been voted out and here to break it down are the Survivor Know It Alls!

Culpepper Sacked: Caleb’s Power Play

Tonight saw a big power shift as Caleb seemingly hail mary’d a plan to save himself and vote out Brad Culpepper instead. Rob didn’t see it coming and neither did Stephen, who thought it was most likely that Caleb or Ciera would go home. Stephen says most of this surprise is because the idea of getting rid of Brad wasn’t brought up at camp like it was last week (when of course, it didn’t happen). Rob says tonight’s events seemed to clarify that Ciera was actually the target and Brad was lying to her, and Caleb was not really in any danger of going home. In fact, Jeff’s question to Brad seemed to actually turn on the light bulb in his head about getting rid of Caleb rather than trying to get him to admit that he was planning to get rid of Caleb. Rob says this seemed like Jeff trying to throw Caleb under the bus and asks Stephen if this was a smart long-term move for Caleb’s game. Stephen doesn’t think so – considering Tadhana is such a losing tribe already, he thinks voting out one of their strongest players and keeping the weak Ciera in the game is not going to save them from tribal council in the weeks going forward. Rob says there are similarities between Caleb and John’s game in that both went rogue and created distrust between them and their alliance that could have easily been avoided.

At the re-vote, Vytas was ultimately the one to switch his vote rather than Hayden, and Rob and Stephen debate whether this was smart move to avoid the purple rock, or if they saw a Cochran 1.0 style move tonight. Stephen thinks it was a good move considering getting rid of Brad is not decimating Vytas’s alliance in the way that Cochran was completely screwing over the Savaii tribe – he still has Hayden and Caleb, plus Aras on the other tribe. Stephen notes that he has been impressed with Hayden’s gameplay, but being somewhat unfamiliar with his Big Brother seasons he asks Rob to assess whether Hayden being the odd vote out might hurt him. Rob compares Hayden to Ethan Zohn, who once said that nobody likes the coach but everyone likes the assistant coach. Rob thinks that Hayden is very much able to be a beta male and fly under the radar, and doesn’t believe voting for Ciera will play a major role if he is voted out next week.

Finally, Rob and Stephen write the eulogy for the legend that was Brad Culpepper. Rob says that Brad’s plans on paper seemed good, but he always undercut them by telling everyone that he was constantly lying to the person voted out and planning to screw them over. Earlier in the week, Rob compared Brad to a combination of Boston Rob before he learned how to play Survivor, and Russell Hantz after he lost his mind, and Stephen can’t really argue with this description.

Smart Move to Burn the Idol Clue?

Candice and John Cody decided to give the immunity idol clue John won to Monica Culpepper, and at Brad’s insistence, she burned it immediately. Stephen is considering giving the Fishy to the Culpeppers for this move alone, though Rob thinks maybe just the tail or the eyes is more appropriate. At first glance, Rob thought maybe Monica should have kept it and shared with her alliance in a sort of reverse John Cody move. He and Stephen both agree though that the thought of someone having an idol or a clue in any way makes him or her a target, so it’s best to just not have any drama that comes from a clue in any way. The Know It Alls also realize that Galang is so anti-strategy that it was probably the wrong tribe for a player to try and share a clue with. Rob points out that this also creates problems with who you don’t share the clue with. He initially wondered if it would have been a good idea to give the clue to Brad in order to make him a target, but he understands why the potential for Brad to actually find the idol wasn’t worth that risk.

Brad’s Prospects at Redemption Island

Rob wants to start referring to Redemption Island as “red eye” (“Red-I”?) So who is going home next week at red eye? Rob thinks it will be John Cody because he wants it the least, but Stephen says points out that was the puzzle master on the Tadhana tribe. Stephen is confused as to why Candice is so mad at Brad Culpepper considering they technically never met, and Rob argues that Candice and Marissa became good friends on Redemption Island and Marissa told her about all of the things he did to piss her off. Brad voting out John was the last straw for Candice, and everything sort of fell into place in her mind about him at that point. Stephen once again points out how he hates that bitter losers have such an impact on Redemption Island seasons, similar to how he feels Ponderosa is a flaw in Survivor.


Gervase and Tyson teamed up tonight to become the coconut bandits of the Galang tribe. Rob asks Stephen if Tyson ever stole the coconuts in Tocantins, and now Stephen is starting to wonder. Tyson wasn’t around on the merged tribe long enough for him to notice if it did happen. The Know It Alls point out that with Marissa and Rachel now gone, Gervase and Tyson have sort of become each other’s loved ones. As a result, Rob wonders if maybe Vytas being voted out on Tadhana would be the best thing to happen to Aras. He says that if both make it to the merge, there’s no way Aras and Vytas will both be together very long anyway because they’re such strong players. Stephen questions Rob’s impartiality towards RHAP Mount Rushmore inductee Odd-us, but agrees that he is probably one of the top players in the game right now.

Viewer Questions

Can anybody on Galang take an idol clue now that Monica has set a precedent? Have the #CoconutBandits created a rift in the Arson alliance, or are people just keeping their options open? Has Stephen changed his mind on whether or not there will be a tribe swap soon? And is Tyson taking pages from the Gervase season 1 playbook? The answer to these questions and more on Survivor Know It Alls!

Voting is now open for the 2013 Podcast Awards. You can help keep Rob as the reigning champion and let Nicole finally be married to a podcast award winner with a full head of hair! Nominate RHAP in the entertainment category now at!

Special Thanks to Brendan Noel for recapping tonight’s show

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Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach aka The Know-It-Alls Recap Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 4:  One Armed Dude and Three Moms

The Survivor Know-It-Alls weigh in on Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 4

Rob Cesternino

Rob Cesternino is a two-time Survivor player and reality TV aficionado. Rob gives his thoughts on his favorite Reality TV shows as the host of "Rob Has a Podcast" More From Rob Cesternino »

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  • tonyh33

    I feel bad for Marissa. I think on any other season she’d have been in a much better position. She was a fighter and a character…I’m sad to see her go so soon and never really get much of a chance.

    • damnbueno

      She’s a little too quick-tempered for Survivor. She’s much too willing to publicly confront others.

      • Tammy L. Nelson

        That makes some of the best contestants. Sandra comes to mind.

        I guess what Marissa lacked, is that underground sneak that Sandra is so good at.

        • damnbueno

          Exactly. Sandra also is supremely aware of when NOT to speak up. I don’t think Marissa knows that.

          A perfect example is how easily she called out Brad on day 1. The smarter tactic would have been to have private, one-on-one conversations with the rest of the tribe. Doing that (which is probably how Sandra would have done it) could have put the target on Brad without him becoming suspicious.

          That’s how Sandra got rid of Trish in Pearl Islands, and Burton (the 2nd time).

    • JRHane

      I think you’re right. She is a strong character, did well in challenges and duels. Plus, as Jeff tends to say, “there aren’t a lot of strong/memorable females”. We brought back first boot Francesca, and now Monica just so they could have her husband. I wouldn’t be too terribly shocked to see her back sometime, with or without Gervase. Not saying it will happen for sure, but it wouldn’t be the worst choice for a returnee.

  • Mike

    Well, that was one heck of a move by Caleb on so many different levels. First and foremost, it was a chess move. I think even Caleb knew Brad was writing Ciera’s name down at that tribal council. But the tribe is terrible at challenges, so they’re likely going to be back there next week, and this was his last chance to have the pieces to make the move, because Caleb WOULD have gone at the next one. Secondly, just from a technique standpoint it was very impressive. Brad had a lot of control over that tribe, and to get someone out like that, you really need to go deep, and springing it that close to the vote just didn’t give Brad any time to mount a counter attack and was one of the few ways to really get that done. Maybe it still works if he just pulls Ciera and Katie aside at camp, but it works nearly 100% of the time doing it the way he did it. Look at Hayden’s reaction. I’m of the opinion that Hayden is one of the 10 best reality players on either show of all time and he looked genuinely Bum-Puzzled when Caleb put Brad on blast, and at the re-vote could barely make up his mind. Interesting to know that there is at least one genuinely talented Survivor player in that relationship.

    • damnbueno

      Caleb is in a tough spot now. If he appears to be the indecisive swing vote, or is playing the guys against the women, the four of them could make it easy on themselves and get rid of Caleb.

      Doing that would have zero repercussions from the Galang tribe, and would pretty much sign his death notice because the one returning from R.I. with no allies has little chance of winning the million.

      • Mike

        I agree with that logic wholeheartedly, but he would have been in that exact same position next week if he doesn’t make the move, but with no way to control the situation. He can certainly play himself out of the strong position he has placed himself in, but as of now, he took himself from a weak position to a strong one and that’s what matters.

        • damnbueno

          I’m not following you.

          If Caleb had not spoke up, Ciera would probably have been booted, and the next vote would likely come down to Caleb vs Katie. How would Caleb be a swing vote in that scenario?

          His position now is certainly stronger than it would be if they’d booted Ciera, but with Brad still playing “alpha male,” I think Caleb would be the 4th strongest (or influential?) in the tribe.

          Vytas and Hayden had shown more ability to influence the voting than Caleb or Katie before Brad was booted.

          • Mike

            Sorry, let me try to explain. By exact same position, I was referring to him being at substantial risk of going home. If Ciera goes here, Caleb likely goes next, and Caleb no longer has the pieces to pull off the gambit he did last night to save himself from that fate. Now, he can actually have a degree of control over this next vote if he plays his cards right. I’m saying he has about a 20% chance to go next week after what he did, and about an 80% chance to go next week if he does nothing. He can still punt this, as Christy, Tijuana, etc. did before him (although to be fair to Caleb, Caleb actively put himself in this spot, those 2 fell into that spot because of Fairplay and Rob C.) but doing it this way means him going next week comes down to his own prowess at the game. He has control over what happens. If he plays right, he’s safe, if he plays wrong, he goes. Under the other scenario, he just goes and has nothing he can do about it.
            Aside: I don’t think there’s really any chance Katie would have gone next week if the status quo is maintained. Vytas is very smart. He likely knows that Tina and Aras are working together. Given that they are down big, they need loved ones to swap to their side if they are going to win, and those 2 are likely a package deal. If Katie stays, it’s much more likely that at the merge, Vytas thinks he can create a Culpeppers/Wessons/Baskauskas’ alliance to ride out, and then drag the corpse of Brad Culpepper along with Aras to the final 3 and likely win the game.

          • damnbueno

            Ok, I see what you’re saying now.

            However, Caleb really wasn’t at risk at this vote. The guys were going after Ciera all the way. Since nobody was targeting him this time, I’m not so sure he was as obvious a target at the next vote. I think at best it would have come down to Caleb vs Katie, with the guys trusting Caleb more.

            Maybe Brad follows through and targets Caleb, but the John vote showed Brad’s mind is easily changed. Brad went after John because of the Idol clue, which Caleb wouldn’t have.

            I think Christy and Tijuana DID create their own exits. They both failed to give a reassuring “yes” when asked to commit. They both tried to hold the other players hostage before committing. Christy’s failure to tell Rob she’d help him is what prompted him to go to Jenna & Heidi, whom he knew were mad at him.

            Penner did the same thing at the Philippines final 6.

            This is why its so important for Caleb to appear decisive and supportive to whichever side he wants to stick with. He needs to decide NOW which side he wants to play with, and make sure they have zero reason to doubt him. If he pulls it off, maybe the other four won’t conspire to boot Caleb instead.

          • Mike

            “I think even Caleb knew Brad was writing Ciera’s name down at that tribal council.”
            – My first post.

            I wasn’t saying Caleb was at risk here, which is why I think it was an astute chess move. He was safe here, but nearly dead to rights at the next one, so it’s better to make the move now while he still has the pieces he needs, rather than waiting until it’s too late. (See: Tom and Ian in Palau. Ian and Tom were both safe at that vote, but were dead at the next one if Gregg stays at 6 and Caryn goes)

            As for Fairplay and Rob C., I meant that the Tijuana and Christy fell backwards into the swing vote spot through no fault of their own, and then screwed up royally. Caleb purposefully put himself in this position, which to my mind, makes it more likely that he, unlike them, has thought out his next move. That was all I was saying.

          • damnbueno

            Ahh, ok. Time will tell if Caleb knew what he was doing, or merely reacted to Brad’s agonizingly long pause when asked if he’d boot Caleb.

  • Alex

    I think that this is the start of Caleb’s story.

    • Dave L

      And the reason that he was not part of the story earlier with Colton. He has a better arc, and we are meant to like the guy for defeating the evil one, but if he was associated with Colton we wouldn’t have.

  • Alex

    WHY would you have somebody like Abi-Maria as a podcast guest? Why not have somebody who is a popular person, a skilled player, or a charismatic speaker. It’s infuriating when you consider that people like Ace Gordon, Jeff Kent, Mike Skupin, Ozzy, Brenden, Marcus Lehmen, Natalie Bolton, Earl Cole, Terry Dietz, Rafe Judkins, Danni Boatright, Ian Rosenburger, Andrew Savage, Brian Heidik, Paschal, and Sue Hawk haven’t ever been guests. I mean, if you’re putting people like Abi-Maria on the podcast, why not have Ashley Underwood, or Naonka Mixen, or Alicia Rosa?

    P.S. Can you PLEASE get Terry Dietz on the Podcast this season? I would love to have him on, I want to see what his take on his rival Aras is.

    • Mike

      I’m not super excited about the prospect of Abi Maria, but I’d certainly rather have her than most of these stiffs (Heidik, Danni, Earl, and Rafe aside).

      • Tammy L. Nelson

        I’m not either. She was incredibly unlikeable, and didn’t have clue one on how to play the game. I think I will skip it. Sorry

    • Misael Maldonado

      Terry wants nolting to do with Survivor, he’s been asked many times,but he always says no.

      • Justin

        Yeah, I’d be shocked if Terry has ever given Aras a second thought after Exile Island ended. if there is one person from Exile Island who I imagine has anything of interest to say about Aras it would be Cirie, because I believe he gets credited for some of the things she did.

        I am excited for Abi. She was great in her exit interview with Rob after Philippines and she might poke the RC bear a bit, which is always fun because many people in the Survivor community really dislike RC for behind-the-scenes reasons.

        • yesimsquidward

          Haha! I wonder what she has to say about RC getting pulled out of the season last-minute.

    • Hey Alex, if you’d like to take over as the guest booker for RHAP, let me know. The truth is there are a lot of factors that go into finding people to spend an hour talking Survivor with me which include:

      1. BIGGEST FACTOR – People’s schedule
      2. If a person even wants to talk about Survivor any more (believe it or not, some people and may not even be watching the show anymore)
      3. Whether I think a person would be an interesting / entertaining guest.

      Sorry that Abi is not your cup of tea but I’ve gotten lots of tweets and comments from people who are excited to hear from her.

      • LosPollosHermanos

        I am excited to hear from Abi. Always great to have a new person.

        Have no idea why people would complain.

      • tonyh33

        I’m also excited to hear from Abi. I think we only got to see one side of her personality when she was on Survivor. I’m always interested in hearing from someone new.

      • Alex

        Well…fair enough, you’ve brought up a lot of good points that I hadn’t considered before. But is there any chance of any of the people that I suggested being asked to be podcast guests sometime?

        By the way, congratulations on your son!! You and Nicole must be so happy.

        • Morty

          I groaned when I heard Abi-Maria also, but I do appreciate the difficulty of Rob’s gig when it comes to getting someone to come on and talk about TV for an hour or more.

          That said, I’ll listen anyway. There have been a few times when I came away pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised by a guest. Maybe this will be one of those times…

  • Brian Nangle

    Tyson’s comment was really interesting to me. Would anyone get rid of someone in their own alliance because they are afraid of that person getting together with their loved one after the merge?

    • I wonder how far along Tyson is thinking. Maybe he’s thinking about the Final 5 as opposed to sooner than that.

  • Misael Maldonado

    When Brad “tried’ to help John during the puzzle, that’s when he gave his game away.

    • The whole “I can get him to trust me again” made it seem like Brad is too much of a manipulator.

      • damnbueno

        Brad is a much better manipulator in his mind than he is in the game.

  • BobbyKe

    GREAT move for Caleb. He gets rid of the ring leader of the tribe, he himself becomes the ringleader & Caleb doesn’t have a target on him like Brad did. He has numerous options now with Hayden/Vytas & Ciera/Katie. He has strong bonds with both sides, so it’s his decision if they go to tribal again who to take out.

    Obviously they don’t care one bit about challenges (and lets be honest, the challenges don’t mean that much in the first place) so if he feels he trust the girls more, he can go with them. Ciera is trustworthy & has done good bonding with the boys aswell as Katie. Ciera has utilizes a strong social game very well to counteract her being poor in challenges. She’s taken advantage of how abrasive Brad is by being likable & trustworthy, the opposite of what Brad was

    Nobody is going to vote Caleb out before the merge now & once they get to the merge, anybody with a loved one (Aras/Vytas, Tina/Katie, Laura M/Ciera, Hayden/Kat & Monica/Brad) will be targeted. Caleb has bought himself short & long term safety & this was his only chance to do so

    Continued Below

    • BobbyKe

      I think he could side with girls now because if he really trusted Hayden/Vytas, he could just bide himself time & get Brad later as the other 2 boys didn’t want to go after him. Everybody needs him now which is the best position to be in. Amazing that neither of you really see the advantages Caleb gained with this. He’s locked solid not only until the merge, he’s solid minimum 2-3 votes after the merge

      Brad telling Caleb he was the “decoy” boot is HORRIBLE gameplay. There’s no benefit to having a decoy boot, you have the numbers 4 v 2 & just vote Ciera out, who Ciera & Katie vote for doesn’t matter, but you plant the seed that Caleb is 4th in the group & make him very worried (rightfully so). Caleb doesn’t want to stick with an alliance if he’s given reason to believe he’s the 4th option. Brad completely overplayed by unnecessarily telling Ciera & Katie to vote out Caleb. Stephen complimenting Brad on horrible gameplay is insane to me

      Caleb 100% deserves the fishy for easily the best move of the season so far. He’s golden right now

      • Mary Carmen

        Yeah.. I couldn’t figure out why he did that re: the “decoy” boot. That just was stupid.

    • damnbueno

      I don’t know about that.

      If Caleb appears to be indecisive, or waffles between the women and men, the other four could just pull a Rob C. and say “Let’s make it easy on everyone and vote out Caleb.”

      There’s a long line of indecisive swing votes who thought they were in charge only to get booted instead — Christy (Amazon), Tijuana (Pearl Islands), Dolly (Vanuatu). Even Penner in Philippines got himself booted because he failed to give a reassuring response when he was in a swing position.

      • BobbyKe

        I don’t think Caleb is indecisive. I think he made the move because he already knows which side (boys or girls) he’s join if they go to tribal again. Plus both sides think they’re with him. Caleb doesn’t seem like the type to make this move without having a plan afterwards. Either side he goes with works for him. I’m under the assumption that he saved Ciera because he’d rather work with her

        • damnbueno

          Whoever he sides with, he’d better appear to be 100% solid with them.

          If he can sell himself well to both sides, THEN he’s got the power. But if they talk to each other, he’s a dead man walking if he doesn’t emphatically commit to one side — and FAST.

          • Mike Magas

            The trailer makes me think he screws that part up though.

          • BobbyKe

            You really think relying on things the previews show is a good idea? The previews are notoriously over dramatized making things seem much bigger then they actually are

          • Mike Magas

            Agreed, call it a gut feeling though

          • Trixie02

            He reminded me of Colton in that scene.

          • damnbueno

            I never trust the trailers. In fact, I’m at the point where I believe anything that is hinted in the trailer is pretty much a guarantee that it WON’T happen.

            The trailer hinted Tyson would switch with Rachel too.

            This week’s trailer hints Monica switches with Brad. I’d bet it doesn’t happen.

          • Mike Magas

            i didnt get that vibe from Tyson on the preview really.

            I actually called it he wouldn’t switch he was just saying he was determined really because the line made no sense if he changed.

            “You are all dead now or screwed” (whatever it was) doesn’t suggest hes going to redemption. thats what they want thats not screwing them

          • Morty

            I’ve never been more sure of anything gleaned from a preview than I am that Brad will NOT switch with Monica. It will NOT happen. Big Bad Brad will not allow his weak woman, little fillie to take his place in the dock!

  • Tim Sears

    Love the #coconutbandits

    • Mike

      Gervase is just Survivor Gold. After seeing him be this awesome as a character once again, it’s even more shocking that this is the first time they’ve brought him back.

  • Legionwrex

    And they said this season was going to suck….

    P.S. Do you feel good about your spoilers now, Survivor Sucksters?

    • Well, I don’t know what this means… but let’s not poke the spoiler bear, okay? Thanks!

      • Legionwrex

        Sorry. I was referring to a spoiler being proven false actually, but I’ll just drop it.

        • No worries. I just don’t want people to come in with the correct info.

  • Jon K.

    I love how Candice fancies herself as some strategic genius, when she strategized herself out of the game IN THE EXACT SAME WAY the last two times she played.

    • damnbueno

      My thoughts exactly. If I’m any one of the other players, I have zero fear of Candice outsmarting anyone.

      • Tammy L. Nelson

        Candice is notoriously flaky. I wouldn’t trust her for a second.

        • Mike Magas

          with her husband though she might limit the flakiness. Candice is a weird case, has some good points that could make a good player and some serious failings.

          • damnbueno

            John hasn’t proven to be a good strategist so far either.

            The way he handled his Idol clues was simply horrible.

          • Mike Magas

            oh i dont mean strategically, i mean emotionally

            her issue isnt lack of brain power, its over thinking, nervousness, John may be able to calm her

          • damnbueno

            That’s true.

            Then they could make calm, horrible decisions together.

    • JRHane

      I’ll agree she’s kind of untrustworthy, but how did she strategize herself out THIS time. She was an 11th hour replacement contestant and was voted out Day 1 due to unfamiliarity.

      • Jon K.

        She didn’t. But the fact she thinks of herself as some strategic maven is, going by past records, kinda funny.

    • Michel Trudeau

      Candice is a smart player.
      In CI, she had talked to Nate and knew that Raro was being led by Adam and Nate so she had an agreement with Sundra to flip to Raro after the merge and form the F5 with the two guys and Parvati. They were tied 6-6 so the mutiny was a great occasion to change the game and get an 8-4 advantage even before the merge. It was a great plan and it failed only because Sundra got cold feet, Aitu won two challenges that got 3 Raros out and Penner flipped back to Yul. Yul admitted that he was taken by surprise and had no idea that Candice was plotting to flip against him so she outwitted him at the time.

      In HvV, she was at the bottom of the Heroes’ pecking order so flipping to RussHell wasn’t bad, sort of an Hail Mary move. It could have gotten her to the Final 3 if RussHell understood the concept of GOAT.

      • Jon K.

        If your “great plan” hinges on Sundra publicly renouncing her own tribe, in a situation where there is no time to properly strategize and consider all possible options, then it is probably not that great of a plan.

        In HvV, Sandra was making overtures about switching to the Heroes, and Candice can’t possibly think that she is above Parvati and Danielle in the pecking order.

      • damnbueno

        “Candice is a smart player.”

        Said by someone who isn’t quite aware of how, in a monumentally, embarrassingly bad way, she killed her own game twice.

        Candice is at best an average player. Every good decision she makes is cancelled out by a bad one.

  • damnbueno

    So Brad continues his string of horrible decisions.

    First, he hints he might throw a challenge so his wife can have a tarp, telling his tribe he might not be trustworthy.

    Then he aggressively seeks the role of strategic leader — an alpha male role that rarely produces the game’s winner.

    Then he targets Marissa, even though Katie, Ciera and Caleb are obvious easy targets for screwing up the challenge, sending a message to the other tribe that the rookies’ voting decisions are personal instead of based on strength or weakness.

    Then after taking heat for booting Marissa, Brad doesn’t learn from his mistake, and boots Rachel for non-challenge reasons, angering Tyson. And along the way he lets it slip to his 5 guys alliance that he’s simultaneously trying to stay on Katie and Ciera’s good side.

    Then with two people on R.I. furious with him, he promptly angers the 3rd by voting out her husband — which also loses John’s support — meaning none of the 3 on R.I. will work with Brad after returning from R.I. He also erodes the trust he’d built with Hayden, Vytas and Caleb by indicating he has no problem turning on someone who trusts him.

    He engages in verbal fights with members of the other tribe at each duel, further eroding any chance that they’ll work with him later on.

    We don’t know if he looked for it, but he quite obviously didn’t find the Idol, despite knowing how much heat he was taking, and being the only one who got the info from the clue.

    Then in the move that got him booted, he got totally suckered in by Jeff Probst’s Tribal Council questioning. When Probst asked if he could be targeting Caleb, he should have answered immediately with a “No, I trust Caleb.” By pausing — for however many hours he did it — he gave everyone on the tribe a reason to think he’d go after them too. Then he answered “Yes.” It sure as hell got under Caleb’s skin.

    The whole time, Brad was dumbfounded as to why he was taking so much heat, which indicates he isn’t at all in touch with how the other players perceive him — which is often a kiss of death in Survivor. Brad also isn’t thinking about the implications of his decisions and actions.

    And it was Brad who was standing up on the wrong side of the boat when it tipped over, dumping their crates in the water in this week’s Immunity Challenge.

    Telling Caleb he was the “decoy” wasn’t very smart either. That could have been strike two in the “Don’t trust Brad” thought in Caleb’s mind.

    Unless he makes a historic comeback, Brad might take the title of “Worst Survivor Player Ever,” because everything he has done in the game so far has ended up hurting him.

    Has Brad made any good decisions yet?

    • Mike Magas

      I agree with most of what you said here, though at the risk of defending Brad, the idea to boot Rachel to get to Tyson was Vytas’ not Brad’s. You could say he didn’t stop it but if we’re criticizing him for trying to be the leader and be forceful we can’t really also blame him for not being that.

      I think Brad had some good ideas, not ALL. The John vote off was bad for example, but his plan on paper makes some sense just his execution was quite bad.

      Not the worst ever but one of the crappier execution this season.

      • damnbueno

        Yes it was Vytas who came up with the “boot Rachel” idea, but Brad didn’t see why it was a bad plan and endorsed it. A smarter player would have made a different move.

        • Mike Magas

          yes but that could be seen as pushy, being the leader and being too aggressive things we are saying were bad.

          Again im not trying to defend him, his execution of more or less every idea he had sucked but to fault him for not doing what we said he shouldn’t is a bit hypocritical

          • damnbueno

            It depends on what approach Brad used.

            More often than not, Brad used the Terry Deitz “You should do this because you’d be stupid if you didn’t” approach.

            Its much more effective to use the Cirie/Rob C. “This move works in your favor because…” approach.

            I don’t think Brad has it in him to use a subtle approach. His biggest problem is that he THINKS he’s subtle.

          • Mike Magas

            i dont see that working either. the few times brad tried to play that game (and he did a few times) it was terrible. Like it or not, and several survivors winners have said it, to win and do a good job you have to be you and play to your strengths, you can’t fake it.

            If it’s a skill you don’t have, its a lot more likely to blow up in your face.

          • damnbueno

            That’s why the #1 trait you have to have to be good at survivor is an accurate self-profile. You have to know what you can and can’t do well long before the game starts.

            You also have to be able to get an accurate snapshot of how the other players feel about you and each other.

            Brad is woefully bad in both of those areas.

          • Mike Magas

            Thats my exact point though, if your strenght isn’t that and it clearly isn’t dont do it.

        • susan appleby

          Also, brad clearly took the heat for that vote out of Rachel. Just because it wasn’t his idea doesn’t mean he can’t get blamed because he ran with it. He obviously had no respect for the strengths that Marissa and Rachael could have brought to the game.

          • damnbueno

            If Brad had a more accurate picture of how others perceived him, he probably wouldn’t have endorsed the plan to boot Rachel.

            Brad should have learned from the Marissa vote that the rookies needed to provide some kind of justification for their voting that the Veterans could swallow — like Katie, Ciera & Caleb screwing up the 1st puzzle.

            But yes, Brad had no regard for the strength of the women on his tribe. And that’s a huge part of why they keep losing.

    • Mike

      To also briefly defend Brad I will just say this. To me, if you have agency over votes within a tribe at a certain point, which Brad did for the first couple (I know Hayden and Vytas were the power in that alliance, but like Phillip last season, at a certain point, if you keep doing what a person wants you to do, whether you say they’re a puppet or not, they’re still getting their way every week) that puts you above “worst of all time” status, because you’ve at least displayed A skill at survivor. There are plenty of people that have played that have a 0 in every category of Survivor skill. At least Brad has displayed one skill conducive to success in the game.

      • damnbueno

        I credit Brad with booting Marissa, which does confirm he could influence the voting.

        But I credit Vytas with influencing the decision to boot Rachel. He spoke up about that plan with the guys long before Brad asked anyone to vote for her.

        I’m not sure that Brad has displayed skill conducive to success in Survivor. He hasn’t had any yet. I’d say he’s displayed skill to manipulate one Tribal Council vote. And his idea to tell Monica to burn the Idol clue was also very smart.

        Brad may not be the “worst ever,” but he could easily crack the top 10 before he’s done. I think we can already say with confidence that he has already lost potential jury votes from Gervase, Candice and John.

        • Mike

          What about booting John? I’d say that was down to Brad. Obviously it was a terrible decision to do so, both in hindsight and at the time, but I’m merely saying the fact that he could influence at least 2 votes is better than lots of people that have played the game who are terrible socially, have no control over the voting, are bad in challenges, make bad decisions which way to vote, etc. In 400+ contestants, there are some REALLY bad ones. Brad may be bottom 50, but there are people just actively bad at everything, like my personal choice for the WOAT, Leif. Not to mention “Francesqua,” Roxy, and Semhar, just among recent vintage.

          • damnbueno

            Yes, Brad also gets credit for booting John. I missed that one. But he also gets the heat for that bad decision because it greatly contributed to getting himself booted.

            My mind isn’t made up about where Brad sits on the “WOAT” list, but he’s working his way downward with every word he utters.

            Leif was at least smart enough to join an alliance, which is something Roxy, Wanda & John (Palau) couldn’t do.

            I tend to rank WOAT candidates by the actions they take that harms their game. Yes, Leif was ill-equipped to play, but did he ever shoot himself in the foot like Katie in Palau or Abi-Maria or NaOnka did? Those ladies wanted to make a career of chasing away Jury votes. Is Leif worse than Chicken or any of the notorious quitters?

          • Mike

            My problem with Leif is he just didn’t even understand the game on the most basic level. I suppose others didn’t as well, but he lasted long enough that it became more apparent how little he understood of the game the longer he was dragged along. I guess you can argue he did join an alliance, so there’s that.

            As for shooting yourself in the foot, he does dodge that criteria, but for me, that’s more of a Big Brother criteria than a Survivor one for how I judge worst of all time, because Survivor is more of an active, offensive game (shorter time frame, more ability to control the game due to pure vote rather than 2 people nominated for eviction based on the choice of one semi-random person per week) and Big Brother a passive, defensive game where the key to being good is just not making mistakes.

          • damnbueno

            There have been enough passive Survivor winners (Ethan, Amber, Danni, Aras, Bob, Natalie, Fabio, Sophie) to say you don’t have to be aggressive to win it though.

          • Mike

            I’m looking at passive a little bit differently than you if you include Danni and Sophie in that group. Sophie actively shut Albert’s schemes down pretty aggressively from the merge onward. That’s not passive to me. Danni aggressively courted Steph and Rafe after she used the auction to keep herself alive and through her charm and personality managed to convince Steph and Rafe to make two consecutive errors that let her win final immunity and win the game. Even if Rafe and Steph controlled the making of the decision, Danni convinced them to make it.

            I’m not saying aggressiveness is a necessary element, merely that having control in Survivor does have a level of importance, and people who just can not rally anything, are likely in some trouble more often than not. Fabio and Bob did win in the Big Brother “let everyone else kill themselves” fashion, but in many of those cases, like Amber, Aras, Natalie, and Ethan, while they weren’t aggressive, they were joined at the hip to someone that was, and that’s why they made the end. If Rob, Cirie, Russell, and Lex are worse at the game, those 4 don’t get any money. Congrats to them on the million, but that’s not the most reliable strategy to consistent success on Survivor. If you as an individual want to have a higher percentage chance to do well, you need to be able to influence the flow of the game. If you look at it through the scope of x winners were passive vs. x winners were aggressive, the percentage is likely about 40% passive, 60% aggressive, so aggressiveness seems like no big deal. But that’s not the only metric. What about all the passive, no agency, go with the flow non-winners? If you look at the success rate of all players that were passive and all players that were aggressive, those percentages go down a whole lot, because most survivor players are passive and go with the flow.

          • damnbueno

            Yeah, we have different definitions for sure.

            I consider Albert thinking up and trying to enact his plans to be aggressive. Sophie turning them down is more uncooperative to me. It was also strategic in that she was trying to preserve her final 3.

            I didn’t think Danni was aggressive with Steph and Rafe at all. She merely saw an opportunity and took it. She found herself on a reward with Steph and picked her brain a bit. She found a vulnerability in Steph’s paranoia, then later exploited it by hinting Judd might be going after “strong” players. Danni didn’t even say Steph’s name, she let Steph decide for herself that Judd considered her the “strong” one to target. To me that was very subtle manipulation. To me, “aggressive” would have been if Danni did like Colton would have, and said “Judd told me he wanted you gone because you’re so strong.”

            Then after Cyndi’s brain fart with the Car reward, Danni found herself left behind at camp with Rafe. She took advantage and made friends with him, which led to their final 2 deal.

            Once again, I think we’re splitting hairs on a topic we pretty much agree on.

            I think Rob C. and Cirie had an aggressive game plan, but presented it in a very subtle, passive fashion that enabled them to stay on everyone’s good side.

          • Mike

            I see what you’re saying. For the sake of clarity, instead of aggressive, a better way to put it would be actively influencing votes. The methodology doesn’t matter, but being able to influence votes is an important skill. And in most cases, being completely unable to do so is not conducive to victory unless you have someone else to do it for you, so someone like Brad, that is bad at most parts of the game, but could at least influence a couple votes, for me, immediately vaults ahead of the Semhars and Leifs of the world.

          • damnbueno

            I think having the ability to influence the votes is the MOST important skill to have — if you can do it in a way that doesn’t hurt your end game. Specifically, I mean if you can do it without drawing the wrath of those voted out (or their partners) while simultaneously being able to take credit for it at Jury questioning if it helps you get the million dollar votes.

            Brad couldn’t do it without taking so much heat he’d lose Jury votes. I don’t think he has a prayer of getting a Jury vote from Gervase, Candice or John, should any of them make it to the Jury. I also think he blew any chance at Marissa and Rachel’s votes.

            Brad pointed the gun at his toes the second he opened his mouth. He kept shooting as the game progressed.

            Semhar did the same thing by bragging how well she could shoot coconuts, then pretty much quitting during that challenge and saying “I’m tired.” She made it worse by claiming Jim made the tribe look weak, and following that move by being camp lazy.

            But Leif didn’t do anything that can be connected to his removal aside from not socializing better. I can’t really say he shot himself in the foot because he never looked for a gun. He pretty much just waited and hoped other players would carry him along, which to a large degree is how Amber, Natalie and Fabio won the game. Chase, Neleh, Susie and Clay all came 1 vote short of winning by using that method too.

            Granted, those players knew more about the game than Leif did, and all of them had a better social game. And Leif would do horribly under Jury questioning. But even at that, can we say he had zero chance to beat Alicia and Tarzan if they wound up as the final 3? Or even Christina?

            Can we really say Leif’s approach was THAT bad?

            Is Leif really worse than Osten, who consciously chose to start playing a game that required him to be outdoors for 39 days — dressed only in his underwear???

      • susan appleby

        It isn’t agency if people are just going along with your suggestions so that you are the player with the biggest target on their back. None of those guys used Brad for anything more than a shield.

    • Trixie02

      He told Monica to burn the clue. That was brilliant.

      • damnbueno

        That was very smart, but Brad only thought of it because he wanted to boot John for having the clue.

        And I think Monica was smart enough to do it anyway. If she didn’t, she would have been smart enough to share the clue with the entire tribe.

        Another smart move would have been to read the clue out loud for everyone in the game, THEN burn it. That way you’d still have a chance to find the Idol without anyone knowing you’ve got it.

        • susan appleby

          This also emphasizes how stupid he was for voting out John. Candice would have given them the clue. His tribe desperately needs the idol because this season is unpredictable.

        • Trixie02

          I really don’t think Monica would think of it. All I have to go by is her performance in One World and her questioning whether to trust Colton. Not a good track record.

          Brad reminds me of a little kid who has to blurt out answers to show what he knows.

      • susan appleby

        Why is that brilliant? It benefits only his tribe, who have already turned on him. He should have done something to help ingratiate himself with the other group. If his wife finds the idol, she can save herself . Why wouldn’t he want her or her tribe to have it. And he exposed how he doesn’t support an alliance with his wife and Candice.
        Also he made his life on redemption island even more difficult.

        • Trixie02

          Monica would become a target. Surely, her alliance had to at least question the liability of keeping her since Brad is being called out. Gervase and Tyson lost their loved ones to Brad according to RI news.

          Burning the clue sent a message to Candice and John that they are out of the game. Brad felt safe and was up until tribal began. He knew the clue to the idol already.

        • JRHane

          If Monica keeps the clue, even if she tells her tribe the clue as well, and says it’s “for the alliance”, they’ll all be thinking in the back of their minds that if Brad makes the merge, it’s no longer an alliance Idol, but a Culpepper Idol. All it does is put heat on Monica.

          • susan appleby

            I am willing to guarantee that not a single player is worried about Brad coming back into the game, other than to take him as the goat no one will vote for. Brad is toast.

            Monica has a great social game and she won’t bungle the clue like John. With an immunity idol her kumbaya alliance would almost certainly be the final 5 if they decided to stick together.

            If for no other reason than if they have an idol, the other tribe doesn’t have it.

            Lets watch this play out and see how her alliance would fare if they needed an idol. I think they should have agreed that they would stick together just like any other tribe and forget the loved ones for now. An idol won’t target her much more than Brads stupid behavior has already done. I think you guys are underestimating the idol and overestimating the alliance shifts post merge. There is literally no one left in this game that I can’t see turning on a loved one if they sense they have a chance to win. Maybe Laura M.

    • Jouni Knuutinen

      I find it hard to give that title to anyone who manages to form an alliance around himself and lead it at least to some extent. He was in a great spot in his tribe until he decided to backstab John. So no, he’s not the worst ever and I’m already looking forward to his second season ;).

      • Michel Trudeau

        Since the show is called Survivor, the worst player ever has to be Melissa McNulty.

      • damnbueno

        Good call on that one. I think Brad is a cinch to play again.

  • LosPollosHermanos

    Rob –

    Boston rob getting rid of Matt E in episode 2 was VERY different than Brad getting rid of John.

    John’s closest ally was Brad. John was worried about weeks down the line when Candice – MAY- come back and Brad would only be John’s SECOND closest ally. Never mind that every one else has that threat of being reunited with their loved one too.

    Matt was much closer to Andrea and the girls than he was to Boston Rob.

    The decision to boot John never made sense and never will. It pretty much set off a series of events that led to his ouster too.

    I don’t know why you and Stephen think it was a good move at all.

    • Mike Magas

      largely agree, I thought the John boot was good for the girls and only the girls. Like I think it was Hayden said, you opened Pandora’s box.

    • Mike

      I’m especially shocked that Stephen thinks it was good, I feel like Rob has been a little off his game strategically this season given the Tyson should switch with Rachel thing that never made sense for Tyson, but Stephen always seems to be on point and I think he’s way off on this one. In addition to what you mentioned, I think we also saw part of the reason why it was bad tonight. Once a person in the five gets voted out, it becomes much easier for the alliance to fracture because it diminishes trust within the alliance once it becomes clear that they will turn on one of their own. This is one of the reasons why Kim, wisely, did not consider voting off Kat on One World when she cost them that challenge and Nina and Monica wanted her out. As long as Kim kept the five girls 100% solid, they would stay that way and never turn on each other. Once you turn on one, it becomes a heck of a lot easier to do it again.

      • susan appleby

        I agree. I’m surprised by some of the analysis. It seems like classic over thinking of what should be simple strategy. Keep the tribe strong to the merge and create a solid numerical alliance within the tribe. Brad blew both these things by worrying about the other tribe. Maybe Rob and Steve are just trying to be nice? Maybe the loved one twist is causing them to over think and they a

    • Stephen Fishbach

      Wait, I don’t think that was a good idea. DId I say it was? I’ve always said voting John was a bad idea. I wrote a whole blog last week about how terrible it was.

  • Tammy L. Nelson

    The most sincere and loving congratulations on the birth of your son!

    Dominic is a great name, and all my best to both of you.

  • mcatp

    They might not have lost the immunity challenge if John could have done that puzzle.

  • David Mansfield

    Whilst a little farfetched perhaps do you think that it’s possible they switch the tribes in say 1 or 2 episodes time with the catch being that at ‘Red Eye’ they have a Truel the person who comes last is eliminated whilst the first and second placed individuals get to go on tribes where they also break open an egg or are just given a buff at random or whatever way they decide to do the switcheroo this year. Also apolgies if I missed it but was the Cesty ‘award’ given this week?

  • stimpy

    The biggest problem with letting bitter vote-offs air their dirty laundry at redeye is that it disincentivizes a lot of types of gameplay that are the most interesting. If you know that you may get called out for making a move, you’re more likely to not make it and just go with the easy move, which means we’re probably going to see fewer big moves in the future.

    • Kevin Wong

      That didn’t really stop Brad, to be honest.

      I think Brad’s a bit of a front runner so IMO the best comparison for Brad would be Russell… Swan. Looks pretty good when things are going his way, but not so much as the leader of a losing tribe.

      Also, is it weird that despite Brad’s NFL pedigree I heard more wrestling references than football references?

      • sue

        Russell Swans tribe was the dominant tribe . Am I misunderstanding your comment ? Hantz tribe was the losing tribe .

        • Kevin Wong

          Russell Swan was on the dominant tribe first go-around, losing tribe the second time out.

          Basically, I think Brad would come off a lot better if he were leading a tribe and they were winning everything. But they’re not winning, so it’s like he was trying to solidify his position on a sinking ship by pushing everyone else down.

          • sue

            Ok ,got it .

          • Mike Magas

            Thats every alpha leader though, when you win you look good (as long as you have some awareness) when you loose you don’t

            the comparison to swan is apt just you could make that comparison to every alpha male leader in survivor history.

    • finsburysghost

      Never liked Redemption.
      puts focus of episodes on players who have voted out..
      even worse that this format nearly strips the outwit part of game away.

    • susan appleby

      Maybe. But there are still ways to make moves by stealth. Look at Brad taking the heat for a seed planted by Vytas to vote out Tyson. There are plenty of ways to have influence in subtle ways.

      And if your tribe is winning there is no need to make moves. When your tribe is losing every challenge you should focus on what will help you get farther in the game. It had to be a hard call for Hayden to choose which person was better for him. Caleb decided based on Brads big mouth. Vytas decided after Caleb said he was voting for Brad because he has somewhat of an alliance with the girls. Hayden had to choose based what was best for him. He knew Caleb and Katie were voting Brad.

  • Xavier Frawley

    I don’t get why there is so much Brad Culpepper hate flying around survivor fans/ social media.

    Is he the best player ever? Definitely not

    But he certainly made the game interesting and at least he was trying to play game, which is much better than the people that coat tail ride and float through.

    Also big respect for his classy exit.

    • Kevin Wong

      Well, the editing set him up as the first half villain, and most viewers (who I’m guessing to not listen to RHaP – but should) will not look past the editing.

      Brad’s exit validated Gervase’s comment to Monica about how there was Brad and Survivor Brad. Brad is not necessarily a bad guy, although I do understand that he’s an attorney. Survivor Brad is a guy who was trying to play the game and as it turns out it did not have the right strategy for this season. If he gets back in, we’ll see if he can adjust.

      • sue

        Question ,if Brad gets back in won’t he still have a target on his back ? Gervase ,Tyson ,Caleb . With the newbies blaming him for everything at RI, hasn’t this kind of poisoned the well against him ?

        • Kevin Wong

          If he comes back after the merge it becomes a question of eliminating him because he’s a challenge threat or keeping him because people did not like his game play.

        • Dave L

          It really depends on the dynamics at the time he gets back in. It’s really not possible for him to be a winner, based on the editing and sour musical notes he gets. He’s certainly done little to make friends, but if he could hop into a Monica alliance, anything is possible. However I don’t think Monica is in a good position herself.

      • damnbueno

        I don’t buy the “Editing made him look bad” angle for one simple reason — the Editors’ job doesn’t start until AFTER the game is played.

        The Editors didn’t make Brad decide to boot Marissa & Rachel for non-challenge reasons.

        The Editors didn’t make Brad decide to break up his alliance long before he had to.

        The Editors didn’t make Rachel, Marissa and John tell Candice that Brad was leading the decisions.

        The Editors didn’t make Marissa yell “F*** you Brad Culpepper.”

        The Editors didn’t make Candice angry enough at Brad that she’d flip him off before a duel.

        And the Editors don’t control how we react to seeing these things either.

        The Editors can only show us what Brad makes available to them. If he doesn’t get so obsessed with controlling things, they can’t show him being obsessed with controlling things. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did the Editors make you use the word “Villain” to describe him, or did you get that from a different source? I don’t recall them flashing the word “Villain” across his face at all.

        I don’t consider Brad to be a villain, he’s just incredibly bad at the social and strategic aspects of Survivor. He’s just a horrible player.

        • Mike Magas

          I think you;re misreading what Kevin said here. He isn’t (to me anyways) saying Brad didn’t give them ammo just that they do tell a story they omit what doesn’t fit include what does.

          Not that he didn’t do these things.

          • damnbueno

            Do you think Brad did anything to make his tribe feel warm and fuzzy about him?

            I usually refer to a quote from Heather — one of the cast members from Season 1 of “The Real World,” recognized as the first reality show.

            “They used what you gave them to use. Now you want to say ‘That wasn’t me?’ Well yes it really was you, that’s who you were in that moment. Don’t blame the Editors for showing it to people.”

            If I misread Kevin’s intent, perhaps he’ll clarify.

          • Mike Magas

            Oh he certainly did everything that made us dislike him.

            There may have been some good moments, though clearly outweighted by the negative.

            Just saying you jumped down Kevin’s throat a bit hard.

          • damnbueno

            Context is always hard to pick up on in print.

            From my perspective, I was just sharing an opinion, not jumping down his throat.

          • Kevin Wong

            First off, not taking offense here. Both you guys are bringing it – I like it.

            Personally I’ve always found it a bit hard to condense things down to 2-3 coherent paragraphs and that will always lead to a bit of back and forth.

            OK, so I do think there was some warm and fuzzy about Brad. He was probably was trying to make camp life comfortable as far as food and accommodations go, so there’s that. Also he’s probably not strategizing and saying stupid stuff 24/7, so maybe he’s a social guy, but we don’t get to see it.

            But did he say and do everything we see on screen? Most definitely. But it’s a microcosm of what happens over 2-3 days, so clearly we’re not seeing everything that goes on. What I’m saying is that if the producers chose to give Brad a hero edit, I’m pretty sure they could do so.

            Finally, the editors did not have a giant neon sign that flashed “villain” when Brad was on screen, but I don’t recall Colton ever getting that giant neon sign either (aside: I would love to see a Pop-Up Video-style version of the show. Because THAT would have a giant neon sign saying Colton was a heel, and would likely slag Rupert). But they do craft a storyline and they do try and steer you into thinking that x is more of a hero and y is more of a villain.

            So to your point – editing did not make Brad look bad as they had footage with Brad making himself look bad. But they made him look like a villain.

          • damnbueno

            I’m glad you weren’t offended. I acknowledge I can have an acid tongue at times, but its never my intent to offend.

            I’ve worked with some Editors on reality programs. I used to do some voiceover work.

            Editors try to sift through countless hours of footage to tell a story that has already been told. Its not their job to show every facet of each player’s personality. If they did that, each episode would be 3 hours long. Their job is to tell the story of how the game unfolds.

            Each player’s role — be it hero, villain, goofball, whatever — is defined by the PLAYERS, not the editors.

            The majority of those playing this season chose to place Brad in an unflattering light. This season, Marissa, Rachel, Tyson, Gervase, John and Candice have all treated Brad like a villain. And Brad retaliated. It was the PLAYERS who defined Brad as a villain. And Brad kept giving them reasons to continue, even though he wasn’t aware he was doing it.

            So since that is what actually happened, why would the editors go out of their way to delete the “villainous” actions he took, and instead show images that contradict how the other players feel about him? If they did that, they wouldn’t be telling the story of what actually happened.

            Katie very well might love Brad to death because he builds a fire that keeps her warm, or catches fish for her. It didn’t stop her from voting him out did it? If Brad had any non-villainous actions that had an affect on how the game unfolded, I’m reasonably confident those actions would be shown.

            They could have deleted Brad’s attempt to shake Caleb’s hand couldn’t they? I thought that was a very classy move on Brad’s part. They could also have opted not to show Monica defending him at the Galang tribe, or Gervase saying “they’re only seeing ‘Brad from Survivor.'” If the Editors only wanted him to be perceived as a villain, they wouldn’t have shown these parts.

            In Nicaragua, Fabio was shown tripping and falling several times in the first few days. That was most likely included because being a loveable goofball is part of the reason he won the game. Its entirely possible NaOnka tripped and fell as much as Fabio. But if that happened, it had zero affect on how the other players perceived her. So why show it?

            Everyone’s role in the game is defined, enhanced and finalized BEFORE the editors put anything together. Marissa, Gervase, Rachel, Tyson, Candice, John and Caleb made Brad look like a villain, not the Editors.

            All the Editors did was show it to us. And after they did, we as viewers chose to interpret it however we wanted to.

          • Kevin Wong

            Nah, you were strong with your points, but I don’t think you came off as angry or anything.

            And I thought they were excellent points, but I think you missed mine.

            My initial response was pointing out that editing chose Brad as the first half villain. (I probably chose too strong a word in villain, so I’m gonna say bad guy from here on out.) And because of that, casual viewers would decide that this is what he is – a Bad Guy.

            And then I think we went off on a tangent. But, to be honest, an interesting one.

            As you note, Brad did enough things and contestants are irked enough at him that this is an easy call. Editing in this case tightens things up. Could you say that the contestants have defined him in this role? Admittedly, yes.

            But this is where I think we disagree. My contention remains that the editors (and perhaps I’m incorrect in saying editors. It’s probably the production and writing team, but I’m going to use editors as an all-encompassing term for this post) decided, based on their data, that Brad was, at least until now, going to be the Bad Guy. And thus they’ve crafted a narrative based on available data to make the casual viewer think that.

            So I don’t think that they want the casual viewers to interpret Brad as the Bad Guy, I think they want casual viewers to KNOW that he is the guy they’re supposed to root against. We who are perhaps too invested in this show may dig deeper and enjoy the complexity we find, but for the casual viewer they keep things a little more simple.

          • damnbueno

            Ok, I get what you’re saying now, and I only really disagree with one word of your post.

            You said “My contention remains that the editors… decided……that Brad was going to be the Bad Guy.”

            “decided” is the word I disagree with.

            I’m saying the Editors didn’t decide what Brad’s role would be, Brad and the other players did.

            The Editors — and more specifically the music editors — probably “enhanced” the image for Brad that was determined by the players. He gets the “Bad guy” music more often than anyone else.

            The Editors simply can’t make the “decision” to cast someone as a villain. Suppose they wanted Tina to be the villain. It just wouldn’t be possible because she doesn’t do villainous things, and the other players don’t describe her as such either.

    • susan appleby

      I can tell you why I hate him as a survivor player. He had no consistent strategy. He at no point seemed to consider who was best for his tribe so the could win challenges. He was way too focused on the other tribe and lost focus on his own tribe.

      1. Voting out Maridsa immediately weakened his team and his only stared reason was to upset the other tribe. Well, if you win a challenge, they can’t celebrate. Also marissa seemed great in challenges and they could win with her.

      2. Voting out Rachel was stupid for the same reason. Focus on the other tribe. It also weakened them significantly. He also burned any possible post merge alliance with Tyson. So stupid.

      3. Voting out on member of a solid alliance is incredibly stupid. Hayden should have stopped it. Also, seriously weakened his team for no gain. And it sowed the seed of his own demise by showing he wouldn’t stick with his alliance.

      • Mike Magas

        number 2 to be fair was Vytas’ idea

        • susan appleby

          But that was smart of Vytas to plant the seed and let Brad run with it. A stronger leader would have seen that as potentially hurting their tribe.

          I’m convinced that Vytas had another reason altogether to vote out Rachael which was his hidden alliance with Katie and Ciera. I don’t believe he was so threatened by Tyson that he wanted to get Tyson out. I think Vytas was acting to protect the girls for some reason. This last episode, where he flips with Caleb, shows he had a bond with those two girls.

          • Mike Magas

            Or that he’s avoiding a purple rock. Frankly the fact he didn’t jump on board with the idea to vote out Brad I think proves the alliance theory with the girls is weaker than we thought for sure.

            I’m just saying we say he’s too forceful and too leader oriented yet the one time he steps back, doesn’t force, doesn’t lead, we still want to hang him. It’s pretty hypocritical really.

          • damnbueno

            Vytas’ first vote was for Ciera. That seems to contradict the idea that he’s got an alliance with her.

    • Dave L

      His exit wasn’t classy. It was the exit of a tough guy that got beat by “2 weak girls and a gay guy”. He just is arrogant and doesn’t care.
      As far as hate…well I don’t know how many people hate him, but he certainly made sexist and homophobic comments, he’s a millionaire lawyer, and there is really little positive to say about him.

      • susan appleby

        I agree. He didn’t even credit their huge move at tribal.

  • masbond84

    What a great episode! I have predicted Brad leaving, but him leaving like that, never would I have expected it. By Caleb of all people. Anyway, loving the podcast. I think Brad just doesn’t think too much before he comments. And it really bites him in the ass. Good for him though leaving in that manner. Can’t wait for next Redemption island challenge.

  • susan appleby

    I disagree with the love for Brad on this podcast. Not only was his strategy completely inconsistent and self- destructive , but he had no social game. From his first moments on the island he blurted out stupid comments and could not control his own mouth. The only justification for his strategy would have been to destroy his tribe to help his wife and any post-merge alliances by getting out strong players. But he never said that was his intention.

    His delusion and complete lack of self- awareness was pointed out to him, yet he continued to believe he had a stealth method of controlling the tribe.

    I blame him for the losses of the tribe because he never once considered what was best for the tribe. He seemed to even not understand that just being a strong athlete was insufficient for winning challenges or Survivor. His comment about weak women and Cochran showed he had no grip on the basics of the game. You can’t power your way through Survivor. He was too enamored with himself to see what he should have been doing.

    • Dave L

      This is also pretty good evidence as to why sports players should not be considered role models or heroes. I’m sure tens of thousands of kids looked up to Brad as a hero. But take off the helmet, and all that’s left is a delusional homophobic sexist guy. Then his “it’s all OK guys” routine at the end struck me as the bully shaking your hand at your 20 year reunion saying “it was all in good fun.” I have no doubt that Brad considered Caleb a weak member of his alliance because he was gay, and probably didn’t think the two other tough guys would ever see it differently.

  • Eric Christopherson

    Rob mentioned the challenge record of the returnees tribe in these types of seasons and said it was heavily in favor of the returning players. Here are the records, pre-tribe swap, in the three seasons with this type of format:

    Micronesia: Favorites – 2 wins, 2 loses
    Caramoan: Favorites – 3 wins, 2 loses (1 of those “loses” was the forfeit to “vote out” Brandon)
    Blood vs. Water: Returnees: 4 wins, 0 loses (so far)

    Overall Record: 9 wins, 4 loses.

    This is a pretty good record for the returning players, although the first time they did this format it was really close.

    • damnbueno

      Are you considering the members swaps in both FvF seasons?

      Can you really call the Malcolm, Reynold, Andrea, Sherri tribe “Favorites?”

      Wouldn’t that make last season’s Faves 3-2 instead of 4-2? Matt was booted after the swap.

      But I totally agree that returning players dominate rookies.

      • Eric Christopherson

        I’m considering only the challenges that took place before the tribe swap in each season. In Micronesia that was episode 5 and the first person voted out after the swap was Joel. In Caramoan that was episode 6 and the first person voted out was Matt. (I did initially think it was 4-2 last season, because I forgot that both Shamar and Laura went home in the same episode. That was my mistake.)

        • damnbueno

          That’s what I mean.

          Only 5 challenges were played before the swap in Caramoan, not 6.

          1st episode/Immunity challenge — Fans won — Francesca booted.
          2nd episode/challenge — Faves won — Allie booted
          3rd episode/challenge — Faves won — Hope booted
          4th episode NO CHALLENGE – Shamar medevac
          4th episode, 4th challenge — Faves won — Laura booted
          5th episode 5th challenge — Fans win in a forfeit — Brandon booted
          6th episode — Members swap results in mixed tribes.

          THEN Matt is booted after Cochran’s suggestion.

          Since two people left in episode 4, and the swap happened in episode 6, they only ran 5 challenges in the first 5 episodes, not 6.

          The Faves went 3-2 against the all-fans tribe, not 4-2.

          I see now you have edited your previous comment a couple of hours after first posting it.

  • Tony S

    I was entertained enough by Brad. He was always going to go down easily. His plan to get rid of John was really dumb, reasons mentioned last week. John was his best ally that entrusted him enough to give clues to the immunity idol. Did Brad really have to loudly brag about getting rid of John? Then brags that he could still get John to like him at RI? As if he could give himself a bigger target?

    I’m a little surprised no one mentioned that Caleb most likely already had this play in mind before tribal (and not actually at/during tribal) as a possible play, but he needed Brad to look dumb to do it (I know, not that hard). Highly advanced play. So Caleb gets to make this grand gesture and didn’t have to look like the bad guy or the one defecting, he can just say it was Brad’s fault. Should be expected that Vytas would never go purple rocks, and would switch on the revote.

  • JRHane

    Here’s a real wacky hypothetical, that includes next episode preview spoilers. Monica offers to switch with Brad. If he takes her offer, and then she loses on RI, that makes Brad the 4th person without a loved one. So, would Tyson and Gervase consider taking in Brad, for a few reasons?

    1) It would be an unlikely alliance, which if kept secret could go deep into the game.
    2) They could use him simply as a decoy. It’s already been said, as long as Brad’s in the game it takes heat off of them.
    3) To help them beat players like Aras, Vytas, Hayden, and potentially John in post-merge challenges. Unlike Brad, they’re all athletic and likable and are dangerous end-game threats.
    4) To send back to RI post-merge for the same reason as option 3.

    • MikeyC

      They absolutely will not make a true alliance with him.. Is it possible that they use him for a tribal council or two to help them make moves? Sure.. But is that really an alliance?

      I do not see them making a deal with him to go deep in the game.. A pawn for a few more days? Perhaps, but not deep into the game..

      • susan appleby

        Agreed. He turned on his own alliance when it wasn’t even under pressure. The guy is done other than as a pawn. I doubt they would use him for that even because he can’t control his mouth.

        I’m happy to rate him as one of the worst players ever.

      • JRHane

        I definitely agree that would be the more likely option. Whether Monica switches or he gets back in via RI, I don’t think it’s out of the question. We saw in Tocantins/HvV with Coach that Tyson’s good at stroking big egos and likes to try to hide behind them, even if it’s just a ploy.

    • susan appleby

      Brad will never in a million years let his wife take his place and fight his battles. She will offer out of love, just like Tyson did. But brad sees that his role is to protect Monuca because he is the man. He will never go for it.
      Plus the practical matter that Monica could actually win this game and to take her out would be stupid.

  • MikeyC

    Great move by Vytas, poor move by Hayden.. You have ZERO to gain from the purple rock.. Cochran’s situation was different because it was a real “us vs them” thing and his side had a mathematical advantage..

    In this case, a tie has 1 positive outcome (Katie going home), 1 dreadful outcome (you go home), and 2 other bad outcomes (ally or potential ally go home)

    You already have hesitation about Brad.. He is absolutely not worth the risk you take to protect him and there is nothing to gain by creating a tie vote..

  • August Bortz Jr.

    i would like to see a brad culpepper and jeff kent season

    • BogDa

      I’d love to see a season where they set people up with their real life rivals. Some what like the Big Brother X-factor and BB8 enemies twist.

    • Homertownee

      NO MORE SEASONS OF TWO RETURNEES!!!! Please. The BR vs. Russell season was THE WORST.

  • BogDa

    It is seriously lame that Stephan would give the Fischy to Brad and Monica instead of Caleb when Caleb saved himself and his game and got out his biggest adversary. Give me a break. He turned the whole game upside down and it deserves to be recognized.

    People always make the mistake of leaving the person in the game who is a danger to them. Frankly what Caleb did is similar to what Boston Rob did to Rob. And what Boston Rob did to Francesca and Kristina and Matt. BR moves immediately to take out his biggest threats right away. This game is complicated, so Caleb might not come out on top, but I think it is smart to target your enemies. He’s now in the majority with Katie and Ceira.

    Monica burning the clue was such a no brainer. Especially when Candace openly made it clear she was doing it to target Monica.

    Could we be heading for a season with NO immunity idols!!!! That would be truly amazing. They are completely useless if everyone know you have it. What a stupid move on the part of the producers.

    • August Bortz Jr.

      Caleb hardly turned the game upside down. Brad and Hayden were their biggest physical players and if you haven’t realized the family members are still down in the numbers. Caleb was really short sided and I this rob and Stephen said it perfectly this week you could’ve got rid of your weakest link in cierra and still had the numbers over brad. Sadly unless they have a tribe switch up I doubt this tribe will be the returnees.

      • BogDa

        Brad openly says that unattached players are a threat at Tribal. The only unattached player on the team is Caleb. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing which is what we always complain about with most players, Caleb struck out. From his perspective, he probably thought he was going to be blindsided. He wasn’t this time around, but after tonight he couldn’t have gotten rid of Brad. This was the only oppertunity to take out his biggest threat on the team.

        If he had voted Ceira, and they lost the following challenge, then Brad would probably have targeted Caleb since we saw his plotting against him.

        The tribe is going to lose all the challenges. There is no point keeping strong guys if they are not resulting in wins. You might as well just vote out whoever you want at this point and hope the merge is coming soon.

  • Homertownee

    Brad’s big mistake was breaking up his alliance too early last week. He should have rode that alliance a little longer. Boston Rob got away with it, but he had total control of his alliance + others and used the move to install fear in his alliance. Brad’s alliance is not that strong and the move caused a loss of confidence in the alliance, not fear.

  • Homertownee

    Question for the experts: Why would a tribe forego getting an immunity idol just prior to the merge? Isn’t that just foreshadowing that this season that after the merge there will be no loyalty to the original tribes, but rather will be a quick assembling of alliances with friends and friends of loved ones?

    • damnbueno

      The Veterans playing this season know full well that when other players suspect you have an Idol, or even a clue to the Idol, they want to get rid of you.

      Even those who are in an alliance with someone who has an Idol realize that more often than not, the Idol holder will NOT share it with them.

      Todd broke that mold in China when he gave an Idol (and access to a 2nd Idol) to James. To date, Todd is the only one to give away an Idol and win the game (Tina, Aras and Jenna all gave away an Immunity and won the game too).

      If you can get an Idol without anyone else knowing about it, you’ll probably be in good shape if you can figure out when to use it. Yul used his to flip Jonathan’s vote and take control of the game. Boston Rob and Kim used them defensively — if they had the Idol, they knew nobody else did, and they could vote out whomever they wanted. How they used their Idols definitely helped them win. Others like Earl & Sandra had a social game that was so good they never needed to play their Idols because nobody ever targeted them.

      But Gary, Terry, Yau-Man, Amanda, Abi-Maria, and Malcolm could only buy themselves a few extra days with their Idols, and many other Idol holders never even used them at all. Russell was probably the most aggressive with using his Idols, but he still couldn’t use them to get the million.

      But if anyone knows you have an Idol (or a clue), the safest thing to do is to assume someone in the game will try to flush it out. Otherwise you could end up like those (Ozzy, Andrea, Erik in Samoa, James and others) who’ve been blindsided while holding an Idol.

      Brad found out John had two Idol clues. Since John didn’t share them with his entire alliance, Brad lost trust in him, and got him voted out.

      So when Candice gave the next clue to Monica, Brad wanted to make sure the same thing didn’t happen to her, so he told her to burn the clue without even reading it. Doing so prevented Monica from becoming the biggest target on her tribe. Monica spared herself the grief of wondering when to look for, or play her Idol if she found it.

      Also, none of the players know exactly when the merge will come. It has happened with as many as 12 players, and as few as 9.

      • Homertownee

        Great points and information! I think this season differs greatly from other seasons in that the initial tribe is worthless and the veterans are trying to build an alliance that will be doubled in the merge, when the veterans tell their loved ones to join their alliance.

        There really is no reason to vote off people whose loved one is gone, except that they are the wild cards and you need someone to sacrifice.

        The initial tribes this season are just temporary groups. After the merge an alliance of veterans, doubled by their loved ones, will be very strong and kill off all the others. Then it will be interesting.

  • Homertownee

    Question for the strong fans: What portion of people returning from Redemption Island are immediately voted out at the next tribal council?

    I think RI returnees should get immunity for one tribal council, or better, get an idol.

    • Kyle Faber

      Matt and Andrea both went out at their first tribals back. Ozzy won the first immunity challenge both times he went back in and then went out at his second councils.

      • Homertownee

        Great information! The problem with RI is that they are away from everybody and will just be the easy vote when they return.

    • damnbueno

      The first time they let players who’d been voted out return to the game was in Pearl Islands.

      Burton and Lill returned to the game as representatives of he Outcasts tribe.
      Both were given immunity for the first trip to Tribal Council so they’d have a chance to assimilate their way back into the game.

      Burton made it to 5th until Sandra got him voted out, and Lill lost to Sandra in the finals.

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