SurvivorSurvivor: Blood vs Water

Survivor: Pairs Must Go

The Recap


In Blood versus Water, having a loved one seemed to be a blessing…but it was turning out to be a curse. Tyson’s alliance held all the power and they were taking out Aras’ couples alliance one by one. When Tina was voted out, her daughter Katie was left alone on the bottom. Laura and Ciera were the only loved ones left in the game.


Besides setting up the boot by reminding us of the last couple standing, we heard about Tyson’s alliance. The wording was less harmful for Tyson’s future than if Jeff had said “Tyson held all the power…”.  It gives him credit for turning the game around at Aras’ expense but it doesn’t single him out as the villain.  There’s also Jeff’s choice of words regarding Laura and Ciera which were said to be the only ones left in the game. Just last week, Aras and Vytas had an argument about Redemption Island being part of the game. Was Jeff taking sides, telling us that being on RI meant you weren’t part of the game?  It would be surprising considering how much he loves the stupid twist but we have to keep it in mind.  If it isn’t part of the game than we can say the returning player won’t win. 


I would have titled this episode:


                                                          Making Moves


Kasama – Night 24


e10-tyson Tyson was seen hugging Katie just before she had a confessional.[/caption]

Tyson was seen hugging Katie just before she had a confessional: “It was horrible, seeing my mom go. This (pointing at her face) is a sign of defeat…The seven of them are so engrossed in their own alliance, they are not budging. If I don’t figure something out tonight…then I’m doomed.”


We didn’t need to hear Katie say that she was a sign of defeat because we already considered that her story was dead but it was interesting that we were shown Tyson hugging her.  She never showed anger after her mother’s elimination but we still saw Tyson showing her empathy just like he did with Vytas at the beginning of the last episode. There are two schools of thoughts regarding that choice of edit. Either the editors are telling us that Tyson’s social game will win it for him OR it is setting the stage for the jury to jump on him “à bras raccourcis”. The jurors could have a field day, saying: “The nerve you had, hugging us after ripping our hearts out.” Which will it be?  I’ve said I think Tyson will win the jury over but I certainly cannot be sure.  One thing that is now certain though is that Tyson will be there to answer for his actions. Why else show him connecting with future jury members if he wouldn’t be fielding their questions?  


While we saw mother and daughter rejoicing on the beach, Ciera gave us a voice-over confessional: “Me and my mom are the last ones here but a loved one is going to be a huge target eventually. So, moving forward is going to be difficult.” To her mom, Ciera said it would have to be either Katie or Monica going next.


Kasama – Day 25


The two women were together again, Laura saying that their two votes held a lot of power. Ciera once more told her to play it cool: “Let Tyson do everything. Just avoid any strategy conversations with anyone. Anyone. Stay low. Let Tyson do the work, cling to the women. Be a girl’s girl.”


Ciera’s confessional, that started in voice over the previous night, continued: “One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is a role reversal, one that I never thought, coming into this game, would happen. I thought I was going to listen to my mom, do what my mom says and I think I have proven to be the better player. I’ve had to go to way more Tribal Councils than my mom so far and I’ve lasted and she went in her first one, she gets voted out.”


Laura gave her views: “It is a little unnatural feeling to follow my daughter’s lead but I totally trust her judgment. I’m trusting my daughter’s discernment and judgment and that’s an amazing gift that this game has given me.”


Ciera added to her confessional: “I wonder how long my mom will keep listening to me and taking my advice. I love her and I want to go as far as I can with my mom but, on the same hand, if my mom needs to go in order for me to win the game, then she needs to go because I have a better shot of winning than she does.”


While the first part of her confessional was simply the words of a player on a coming-of-age story which has been Ciera’s role ever since her mother was voted out the first time, the second contained a direct winner’s quote.  Note how editing softened that quote from what we had heard in the previews where it was simply: “My mom needs to go”. Just letting us hear the “if” changes our perception.  Ciera isn’t seen as cold-hearted in this version but she doesn’t sound as certain either.   It made it sound like Ciera voted against her mom in order to go along with the group instead of doing it for her own game.



The Challenge Arena



Tina got her ball in the center piece first.


–         In addition to Katie, we saw Monica and Laura cheering for Tina, prompting Aras to say: “What about me, Laura?”

–         Hayden encouraged Vytas who “started out slow but is picking up the pace.”

–         Jeff: “You can get all the way to the end and still drop in a hole…”

–         Gervase was rooting for Aras, telling him to take his time.

–          Tina got her ball in the center piece first but made a bad move and fell back through the hole guarding the entrance.

–         Vytas won the duel and Tina finished second.

–         Tyson was silent throughout the challenge but we saw him repressing a smile when Jeff announced that Aras was out of the game.


Jeff went back to the sumo at sea challenge where Vytas tried to take advantage of Aras’ noble gesture. Vytas said: “That first challenge was a lot of old s*** coming up for me and for him. That cheap shot stuff; I will never do that again.”

Aras added: “This experience has made it better. I hope we can live to a ripe old age together and have stories with our grandchildren about the experience we had out here when we got blindsided by Gervase.”  Vytas and Gervase smiled at that while Aras added: “I didn’t win the million dollars but we got a lot closer and that’s worth more than any money in the world.” Vytas nodded his agreement. Aras left saying he had no hard feelings to the remaining players.


Vytas said he planned to win a few challenges and gave the clue to Katie who held on to it. Katie had a confessional: “I knew I was going to take the clue and keep it. My biggest concern is finding that immunity idol to keep me around for as long as possible. I’m not going to go down without fighting as well just like my mom did.”


I’m sure everyone noticed that Aras mentioned Gervase and only Gervase when he talked about his blindside. That’s a very good sign for Gervase because Aras didn’t show any anger when he talked about it.  We were right to think that Tina wouldn’t be the one going home this week even if we were wrong to think she’d beat, Vytas, the “Man in Black”. It’s true that the “Man in Black” outlasted Jacob in Lost but it didn’t end well for him.   Will the parallel continue?


Kasama – Day 25


Katie had another confessional after getting back in camp: “I was so proud of my mom today. It was kind of intimidating to see her with Aras and Vytas. They are two big strong guys but she did great and I’m thrilled beyond belief that she is still in it. I’m now solo in this game so it worries me that I could be going home at any minute. I am not in a strong alliance but I have some friends on Redemption Island luckily and they gave me the clue which I really needed to insure my spot here in the game…This is a great clue and I think I know exactly where it is.”


I’ll say it was a great clue, anything better would have included the idol itself wrapped up in that small cylinder.


Back in camp, Monica proposed hiding all the tools so that Katie couldn’t use them to dig. Ciera said they couldn’t grab the idol from her but they could find it before she did. Laura agreed, saying they could dig right next to her.

None of the four guys looked worried, being too busy eating but only Tyson had a reason to be calm as he told us in confessional: “Now that Katie has an immunity idol clue, it doesn’t worry me at all because I officially have the immunity idol and Katie is pretty much a non-factor. The only thing I am thinking about is how to make my next move. I think a lot of people are OK with making moves as long as they are not the bad guy so I’m going to have to take another one for the team; be the bad guy again.” Tyson joined Hayden and Caleb in the ocean, saying he had it figured out.  Caleb was eager to hear it.  Tyson spelled it out: “Us four guys vote Laura so that she doesn’t see it coming and that Ciera doesn’t have to vote for her mom.”  Tyson’s confessional continued: “The safe bet right now is to take Laura out before she gets further in the game and then collaborates with someone with her daughter because then there are two votes that you are worrying about instead of just one.” He told the guys that Laura could eliminate a few people on RI and they’d have Ciera so that they could “do Katie and Monica.”


Did Tyson make a mistake when he considered that Katie was a non-factor? It could very well be because Katie could give the original Tadhana an insurmountable edge.  This is where we have to rely on the editing because, if editing analysis has any worth, we’d have to say that Katie truly is a non-factor.  We have seen her ineptitude at finding a crack so it should follow that she won’t be a big factor moving forward. 


Hayden had a confessional: “Right now, I really feel like Tyson has my back. I think I can trust him. Do I want to get rid of Laura? Make a big move now or stick with what we have been doing? It’s not easy because you have to thread carefully out here. One mistake can cost you a million dollars.”

The scene ended with Tyson saying: “If we make this move, we are home free.”


It’s funny to note that Hayden considers eliminating Laura being a big move!  This is the guy that the previews present as the one that will turn on Tyson!  That should be all we need to know that the plan will fail. Turning on Tyson at final 7 could prove to be the mistake that costs Hayden the million dollars. 


Tyson took off his shirt for the ladies while Ciera, who seemed to be just sitting and listening, had a very insightful confessional: “I’m in this alliance of seven but there are four guys in our alliance right now and it’s going to be so easy for them to just get rid of me or my mom because we are the only couple in the group. If I go with my mom right now and say let’s try to get to the end, it’s not going to happen. She’ll be voted out and I’m going to go next. It’s a conversation that I have to have soon and it’s so hard for me. It’s like a total, like my heart is being tugged because nobody wants to do that. I love my mom and I don’t want her to think that I don’t want her to succeed in the game but I want to succeed in the game.” Taking it step by step, Ciera explained their options to Laura. Ciera said that she would be final 3 if Laura wasn’t in the game. Laura asked if she would win. Ciera said she’d have a better shot of winning than her. Ciera’s confessional went on: “I’ve definitely had tough conversations with my mom…when I got pregnant…and you learn that your mom loves you no matter what…I think what’s important for me in this conversation is to be honest. I’m going to have to tell her: You don’t stand a shot. You don’t and I do.” Ciera told her mom that if she wins immunity at Final 6 then she goes home and Laura goes home right after. The confessional ended with a teary-eyed Ciera saying: “I don’t want to have to vote my mom out, I came into this and wanted to go to the end with my mom but it won’t happen. It’s not practical. I get one shot at this; one shot and I don’t want to mess it up.”


Laura also had tears when she gave her confessional: “The amazing part to what’s happening to us here on the island is that our relationship is morphing…Now, I’m trusting her decisions. She has the courage now to say…this is what I am going to do…and, by the way, I might have to vote you out of that million dollars. The fact that my daughter has the courage to say that to me shows that she has grown as a woman, that she is no longer this little girl which ultimately for me (Laura poignantly chokes up and starts to cry) makes me proud. I wanted this game to teach my daughter how strong she is…As an individual player in the game, oh no, that is going to cut my chances but as a mother, I was like, good girl!”


The music really underlined the sadness of the scene.  From the beginning, Ciera’s story outshined Laura’s and this episode explained the editors’ choice.  Even if Laura survived Redemption Island once, it was more important for us to root for her daughter’s coming-of-age story. I’d be surprised if Ciera got voted out one episode after her mother.


Kasama – Day 26


It was dawn when Katie sneaked out to find the idol but Laura was on her trail.


Katie gave us a confessional: “They are going to have to start eating each other eventually. There are seven of them and they are going to start fighting and hopefully, I have either a necklace or the idol to keep me around and I can get in a solid alliance and go from there.”


Laura explained her move: “If Katie finds the idol, it could be me…I have to tail Katie all morning long and go find that idol.”

The chase was on and Laura caught up. Katie went on to add: “I’m digging in all the wrong places so she doesn’t know exactly where it is.”


The people in camp joked about the chase before Tyson had another confessional: “Right now, it’s a shifting game partly because people assume that there’s an hidden immunity idol out there also because I am the biggest threat in the game. I’m like the big bad wolf almost. People don’t like me; they like me just fine here but the second I vote them out, they hate me. So, I need to get Ciera on board about voting her mom out.”



“I am not voting your mom.”

Wisely, he told Ciera: “ but Hayden and Caleb are voting your mom and it’s going to happen.”

Ciera answered that she was OK with her mom not being in the game.


Ciera had a confessional: “I told Tyson that I would be OK voting my mom out and honestly, eventually, down the road, I would be OK voting my mom out but honestly, I have no idea what I am going to do at this point.”

Tyson told Ciera that he had her back.


This scene shows us that Tyson has mastered this game. He knows how to talk to people and set future moves all at once. Telling Ciera that he has her back while Hayden and Caleb are gunning for Laura should pay him back nicely soon.  Laura told Ciera that she would have to consider who she could beat if she makes it to the F3 so it follows that Ciera will choose the “big bad wolf” who has her back over Hayden, the wonderful guy that everyone likes but the one that voted against her instead of Brad.  Tyson knows that he is the villain, the one the jury doesn’t like which is the complete opposite of Russel who was convinced the jury would hand him the money.  That means Tyson is already thinking about the case he will present to the jury


The Challenge.


Hayden, Caleb and Gervase were the first to go, showing that this challenge might not be best suited for the heavier guys. Ciera, Katie and Laura followed in close succession leaving Tyson and Monica.  That’s when Jeff reminded everyone of Tyson’s torn rotator cuff. Tyson (possibly figuring that he had to make it look like he was still injured!) let go right after, which meant Monica had her second win.

When the food reward was revealed, Monica asked Jeff: “How about I have none and they have it all?” She explained that they were her family. Jeff asked Caleb if it was a gesture of good fate or a political move. Caleb said it was a bit of both but that since Monica was a mom, it must come from the heart. With burgers in their mouth (or two hot dogs at once like Tyson) they thanked Monica.


Kasama – Day 26


Getting back to camp, everyone thanked Monica but they were soon more interesting in the snake that had crawled into their shelter.


No one had a confessional about Monica’s grand gesture so it seems that it won’t ever be brought back up later. Monica won’t be voted out for being too nice and the jury won’t give her the million simply because of her gesture.

It was funny that Tyson was on screen when someone yelled “Snake!”


Ciera had a confessional: “My mom is the biggest target here. I don’t want to see my mom go and the bad part is, I don’t have the luxury of time.”

Ciera had a talk with Katie, saying she had to trust her. She told Katie that Monica, Gervase and Tyson were voting for her mom and that they wanted her to vote against her mom.

Katie replied: “I’m still playing the idol just to be safe.”

Ciera asked: “Did you find it?”

Katie bluffed: “Yeah.”

Ciera bluffed herself, raising the pot: “No, you didn’t.”

Katie: “Yes I did.”

Ciera: “I know you didn’t.”

Katie: “How?”

Ciera: “I have it…Don’t tell anybody, they can’t know that I, that we have it.”

Katie: “You stole my idol.”


Ciera had a confessional: “I’ve never been put in this situation before where I really have to lie to somebody like that  but it worked. She just folded her cards right away. I would have stuck it out a lot longer but she folded. She’s like: “You stole my idol right from underneath me. Where was it?” I’m thinking this was easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought why not Katie? We have a good shot because I know Katie doesn’t have the idol and that’s something we can use. So now I’m throwing Katie’s name out there to see if anybody will bite at this point.”


The most surprising part about Katie falling for Ciera’s bluff is that she had to believe Ciera kept it secret from her mom but was still ready to tell her. Katie had been chased by Laura just a few hours before so she knew that Laura thought the idol was still out there. Why would Katie believe that Ciera would tell her but not her mom? It’s also nice to note Ciera’s words: She told Katie that “they can’t know that we have it.” Lying can be addictive and once the first lie worked, Ciera felt she could double up and fool Katie into thinking they were working together.   I think she will fool Hayden just as well.


Ciera talked with Laura about the possibility to save her for another week by telling everyone that Katie didn’t have the idol.

After Tyson reminded Ciera that the Tadhana five were still together, Ciera told them she knew 100% that Katie didn’t have the idol, that she told her she didn’t have it. Ciera admitted she lied which seemed to please Tyson who wanted to know more. Ciera answered: “She told me she had the idol so I said no you don’t. She said yes I do so I went: You can’t have it because I have it. She went: You found it?” Ciera wanted to have at least a split the vote between Katie and her mom. Tyson asked everyone what they thought. Hayden said he was fine with it as long as it wasn’t him.


Hayden in confessional: “I don’t think Katie has the idol. In fact, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t. So, making the easier move seems like the safer move.”


Ciera had a confessional: “My options are really simple: Send my own mother to Redemption Island or stick my neck totally out and ruin all my relationships that I’ve built just to have my mom go home anyway and for me to follow her at the next Tribal. I’m trying to determine right now where do I go?”


Right then we saw the group playing a game that seemed to consist of picking the black rock from a bowl and Tyson noticed how happy Ciera was.


Tyson’s confessional: “It was so perfect, we had it until we told Ciera that we were voting her mom. That was the mistake. Ciera, smarter than we thought originally, is making moves as well and so, it’s a little tricky but it’s got to be Laura. Letting the couple get farther in the game is too dangerous. They could swing everything with just one vote. I need to get the votes back on Laura and get them to stick with the plan and vote Laura out.”

We saw Tyson go to Monica first then Gervase (who had no idea who to vote for), Hayden and Caleb.


This confessional showed that Tyson read more about Ciera’s game than just having picked the black rock


Caleb had a confessional: “The whole time I was whatever, whatever but I think Katie needs to go next. She doesn’t have the idol and I think that if she kinda floated all the way to the end, she is dangerous to be sitting next to. I think Katie needs to go sooner rather than later.”


Tribal Council



The first member of our jury.

When Aras walked in, we first had a camera shot of Katie, Gervase and a smiling Monica. The shot switched to Tyson who had a troubled look on his face and ended up with Laura who, it seems is destined to join Aras soon.


Katie told Jeff that it still felt like it was her turn but she was hoping for that idol clue.

Caleb said anything was possible with the idol: “It’s a bunch of maybes. You just have to plan ahead.

<Tyson was seen during this, a zing sound underlining his predicament about the idol>

Tyson acknowledged the problem of having a mother-daughter pair still in the game because they would swing the same way. “From day one we’ve been looking at that and I don’t think it’s changed on day 26.”

<It was Ciera’s turn to look troubled>

Caleb said Ciera and Laura were different than Tina and Katie “because Laura wants this just as bad as Ciera does.”

Hayden partly agreed that this pair wasn’t as dangerous. However, he added that “the bond they have is way stronger than the bond any of us have.”

To show she could be an asset instead of a liability, Laura turned directly to Tyson saying: “You get one of us, you get two votes…You pick up another buddy and we’re on to final 4.”

Katie objected: “But, you want to get to the final 2 with you’re loved one so that is sort of a threat…Having a loved one here probably isn’t the best route anyway.”

Laura said sending a loved one home means they will be lobbying for the jury votes. “If I’m here, you will not have that influence on the jury.” She then went back to her experience in Samoa: “Problems come in when you get your alliance and people start bailing early on the alliance and the next thing you know the top three are people that weren’t even in the alliance and everybody else is sitting over there going: What the heck did we do wrong?”

Caleb said the vote was between Katie and splitting the pairs. He added: “You’ve got 4 girls, 4 guys. You’ve got 4 original Galang, 4 original Tadhana. It could swing either way.”

Jeff liked that so much that he ended the “festivities”, sending them to vote.


It seemed to dawn on Laura that it was her turn to go only on the third vote. We saw Ciera starting to cry on the 4th vote and the 5th vote even included mom in parentheses, showing everyone that daughter had voted against mother.

The two hugged, Ciera apologized, Laura said it was okay.


Jeff observed that they had no more pairs, adding: “We are left with 7 individuals in a game where there is only one winner.”


The Story


Besides the melodramatic exchanges between Cierra and her mother which I, reluctantly admit, found touching , this episode was about making moves. For the first time, Laura’s memories about Samoa opened the door to an all rookie Final 3. Galang have been in control from the start so who else could wind up on the jury wondering what they did wrong?  That being said, we have to favor the players that have been given links to the end game from the start most of which are the same that have made moves in this episode.

It seems a good time to point out that the Blood versus Water theme may have had some good moments but, in the end, Survivor is still the same individual game that it always was.  We’ve known since at least Marquesas that pairs had to be split so what was really new here?


The Characters.


The Immobile Ones:


Laura: Her story has been so closely tied to Aras that I wouldn’t be surprised to see her join him as the second jury member.


Tina: It was interesting to hear Caleb say that Laura and Ciera were more competitive than Tina and Katie.  It told us that Tina had lost her competitive edge when she started playing with Katie. Now that she is fighting for herself, she could do well…as long as the challenges aren’t physical.



His story is pretty much over now that he has outlasted Aras.

Vytas: His story is pretty much over now that he has outlasted Aras. Will he be the one that makes it back into the game? We’ve heard him say that being on RI isn’t part of the game so he won’t win even if he makes it back.


Katie: She is a non-factor.  She was so happy to have Ciera offer her a lifeline that she was blinded to the fact that Laura didn’t know about Ciera’s “idol” and she didn’t even consider using the information against Ciera. The idol has been considered cursed so why didn’t she try to throw Ciera under the bus after she heard her say she had the idol?


Caleb: Take the only confessional he’s had in a while and replace the pronoun “she” for “he” and Katie’s name with Caleb’s own and you get: “I think that if he kinda floated all the way to the end, he is dangerous to be sitting next to. I think Caleb needs to go sooner rather than later.” It’s funny that Caleb doesn’t see that his words apply to him just as well as Katie. Then again, there are no mirrors on the island.


Hayden: He hasn’t made a move because he has been afraid that one mistake will cost him the million dollars. Will he succeed now that he is poised to make the biggest move possible?  The story prepares us to see that it will cost him the game instead.  If the rookies do fool the veterans then Hayden has to be considered a front runner for the win but his story has been so neglected that it is hard to consider him in that role.


Gervase: He had one good and one bad moment in this episode. It was good to hear Aras say that he was blindsided by Gervase. It tells us that his contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed. It was bad to hear him completely unaware of how the vote should go before Tyson told them it had to be Laura. The camera work during TC tied Gervase once more to the F3 with Tyson and Monica but will it work out for Gervase if he only has one move to present?


Making Moves:


Ciera: Before the season started, Jeff’s biggest question was: Could you vote against your loved one? As fans, we wondered which ones would dare doing it and I’m sure no one thought Ciera would be the only one to do so.  Will it work out for her? Her coming-of-age story culminated with that vote so it could mark the end of her game.  She displayed a bit of arrogance when she said she proved to be a better player than her mom and Tyson certainly noticed that she was making moves.  She completely outwitted Katie but that could come back to bite her.   Many think that Ciera could see her game end because she will wind up between two alliances, however that would mean that she would follow her mom right out the game. Ciera worked hard to avoid just that and the edit has been kind enough to her to say it won’t happen…at least not yet.  We heard Tyson say that he has Ciera’s back so she could very well choose to go with him instead of Hayden who never had her back.


Monica: Her move to feed the tribe really shows her as the tribe’s mom, the only parental presence left so it would be surprising if she doesn’t make the F3. Her big move, her sacrifice, was hardly mentioned when they got back to camp and didn’t even come up at Tribal Council. That’s not very good for her.



The Big Bad Wolf

Tyson: The “Big Bad Wolf”, the “Coconut Bandit”! The epithets haven’t been lacking in describing Tyson. Even the editors joined in when they put him on screen at the same time that they close-captioned someone saying “Snake”. The way he talked about Ciera suddenly making moves, being smarter than they thought, reminded me of Todd identifying Jean Robert as a rival, as the schemer that had to be voted out. During the whole season Tyson has been shown being one step ahead of everyone so it would follow that he would find a way to thwart an attempt to blindside him.

The snake was indeed in the shelter and will have to face the jury. Can he win? The fact that he is well aware that he is seen as the big bad wolf tells us that he already has a case to present to the jury. Will the jury accept his arguments? Aras represents the jury right now and he hasn’t shown any bitterness.

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