SurvivorSurvivor: Blood vs Water

Who Will Be The Next King? – 11/09/13

In Galang, the women were in control, leaving Vytas, the only male of the tribe, on the outside looking in.

Over at Tadhana, Aras thought he was in control…But Tyson was pulling the strings, gathering idol information and putting together a majority alliance of 5.

<We heard Ciera’s confessional about trusting each other more than anyone on the other side which was juxtaposed with Jeff’s immunity challenge call: “Tyson does it! Tadhana wins.”>


After Galang lost immunity, Laura B revealed the women’s plan, hoping to spare Vytas’ feelings and, in the end, she got her wish saving Vytas’ feelings by getting herself voted out.


Once more, Vytas’s social game wasn’t brought up. He was saved because Laura got herself voted out, not because of anything he did. That’s how Jeff spun the story. At Tadhana, it was clear that Tyson would find the idol because gathering information about it took precedent over forming the alliance. There too, we were quick to see that Aras was in real difficulty. The previews weren’t misdirection; he was going to be blindsided. So, if it is this straightforward, shall we say that Tyson does it, wins Sole Survivor? Maybe but other players are still in the running. 


For the Smart Players; Nothing Changed.


Galang – Night 18


e7-vytas Feeling the women’s trust.[/caption]

Vytas told the women that he felt a lot of trust in this group: “This is my five and I am speaking for Aras too.”

It was funny to hear one of the women say: “How lucky are we” but the pronoun used at the end was partly drowned, creating the impression that she was saying Vytas was lucky.

Monica wanted to know if Aras had Gervase with him 100%. Tina and Vytas told her yes.

Vytas (solo): “The merge is coming soon. At this point, it’s five together, no matter what. We are standing firm. We are standing for a way to play this game: We are going to be moral, we are going to be honest even if it means our death. That’s not how I feel but that is what I am rapping about.”

Talking to the group, Tina said: “I think that Monica, at this point, had to do more to stick her neck out than Gervase has. So, when we get down to 5 and 6, we would put her in that 5 spot instead of the 6 spot.” Vytas was in total agreement with that while Monica thanked Tina, saying it meant a  lot coming from her.

In confessional, Monica told us what she really thought of the offer: “We just got back from Tribal Council and Tina makes an announcement tonight that OK, great! We really appreciate everything you are doing Monica and you’re number 5. If we merge, it’s going to be difficult when people come to me with an offer better than five.”


I was floored to hear Tina’s remark. Outback Tina’s main quality had been to keep the picking order secret, at times surprising even Colby, her closest ally. We were certainly right in saying that “playing Blood” was going to hurt Tina but we didn’t expect it would be this bad.


Redemption Island.


Again, with two people leaving, very little of the next few scenes really mattered but we have to keep the following in mind:

–         Laura B.: “It’s a hugely, horrible, non-strategic move to get rid of me and keep Vytas. I think it’s ridiculous… I think it’s a huge mistake for those girls to leave Vytas in the game. The merge could be tomorrow and here’s Vytas joining his brother, joining all those guys. They are going to take out the girls. It’s ridiculous.”

–         John and Laura M. agreed that it would have been smart to eliminate Vytas.

–         Laura Morrett had the last confessional before going to the challenge arena: “I’ll either go home today, my game is going to be over or I am going back in it. No second place is good enough anymore. I have to win it. This is it and it’s just hard but I told my daughter I’d come back for you. I have to win this challenge to get back to her.”

–         After an attempt to create drama by going to commercial, we heard a confessional from Ciera: “I have mixed feelings about my mom coming back in the game. My mom obviously created relationships over there that weren’t that strong so it could really ruin my game if she came back.”

–         After giving out new buffs to everyone, signaling the merger, Laura was given the opportunity to keep the clue herself but, like the others, she chose to burn it. Jeff looked disappointed when she tossed it in.


Before going to the next break, we had a confessional from Aras: “As it stands now, my strategy is to go Galang strong which would be the original Galang: Me, Gervase, Tyson, Monica, Tina plus Vytas and Katie. That’s 7. There’s 11 left in the game so we have a distinct advantage.”


If Laura B. story has any meaning for the future, if it wasn’t only about coming out of her shell and making Rupert proud, then that puts a terrible mark on Tina and Monica’s strategic abilities moving forward. We are told they made a huge mistake, that they made no sense and the confessional that Aras delivered proved it.

As for Laura M., her words reminded us of Sabrina in One World who, early on, said “no one remembers second place”. We figured it meant she’d wind up in the second place she dreaded but we don’t think Laura’s quote will bring her the same success. Her game is focused on Ciera so the quote should apply to her daughter, opening up the possibility that Ciera will fight it out all the way to the end where “no second place is good enough anymore.” 


Merged Tribe – Day 19


Hayden had the merger confessional: “We hit the beach, we have a pcinic; the merge feast…I’m stuffing my face but the whole time I am thinking: OK. What can I do here to make sure that I stay in the numbers? We have the five solid: Me, Caleb, Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. Now I am thinking: Is Laura M. going to come with Ciera or is Laura M. going to try to pull Ciera to make three pairs? It could be Laura M/Ciera, Aras/Vytas and Katie with Tina. Everything can hinge on Ciera. It’s a long game but once the merge happens then the game starts. This is when Survivor really becomes Survivor.”


This confessional is more than just narration and it is very good to include it in Hayden’s story but note that he didn’t do anything to make things go his way. We didn’t even hear him talk to Ciera even if he said it hinged on her. I feel the confessional was used more for its general content than for an Hayden-specific story line. If the game starts at the merger then we can say that it isn’t too early anymore to make a big move. No one can be accused of playing too hard, too fast anymore.


We then saw Laura laughing, telling Monica that she could have hung on forever. In the background, we also saw one of the Coconut Bandits, Gervase, bringing coconuts to everyone.

Laura in confessional: “For the first time in 19 days, I get to play with my daughter. My game plan is for the couples to stick together because that is 6 right there. I do have to talk to Ciera. I have a lot of work to do. I’m still here and I’m not giving up.”


When Ciera and Laura went for a walk to the beach, Tyson and Gervase looked on with Gervase saying: “It all comes down to Laura M.. Ciera will work on her.” Tyson agreed saying they’d have to keep in touch with them.

Ciera had a confessional by the beach: “Playing with your Loved One and making it to the merge, I feel so blessed but then there is also the fact that my mom caused some rifts and had some enemies clearly because they voted her out and all shifted. With my mom coming back in the game, it could really hurt me.”

She told her mom that she was in an alliance with Hayden and Caleb which pleased mom but then added: “This is where it gets sketchy. You make it a little sketchy and here’s why: This alliance formed around people without Loved Ones. It’s me, Hayden, Caleb, Tyson and Gervase and we promised each other final 5 but don’t talk strategy with anybody. No one. So here’s the thing: Aras is the next to go.”

Ciera had another confessional on top of the hills. It was from a totally different spot than the previous one (it suggests that this strategy talk needed more than one session): “I want to make sure my mom is on board and really understands how we are going to play it. I feel like I am the teacher, you know, teaching my mom the ways, the ways of this tribe.”

Laura also had a confessional: “Me and Ciera are the people that are going to decide the fate of either the couples or the fate of the singles. Who would have thought that I was on Redemption Island thinking the game was over and now I am in a power position in this game of who’s gonna go home.”

Ciera had a last piece of advice: “Just don’t play hard.”



A coming of age story.


Tyson went for a walk and gave us a confessional: “You have to act fast come merge time so now the only factor in the game is finding out where the immunity idols are. When the tribe swap happened, Hayden gave me all the info he knew about the HII. I’m pretty sure it’s at the giant tree on the way to the waterfall.” After finding the idol, Tyson told us: “I’m definitely not sharing this with anybody else. If it becomes my advantage to share it with somebody in my alliance to keep them in the game and put somebody else out then that is something that I will definitely do but, right now, nobody needs to know I have it… I never had an idol before and I also never won the show before so do those correlate or directly with one another? Probably not but at least it’s a little more advantage.”


The music was quite rhythmic throughout his search, growing in intensity when he found the idol. It even sounded a bit like a victory anthem when he ended his confessional. Nothing here suggests that this idol will be wasted, that Tyson suddenly became too confident. You don’t need to have looked at Survivor editing for very long to see that there is a good chance that Tyson’s story can lead him to victory. Myself, I picked up on a small but interesting detail: The use of the plural when Tyson talked about finding the idols. We have no idea if he’ll have the opportunity to return to Galang’s beach to look for the other one but we should expect to see him with two idols at some point.


It was then time to see the reunion of the Brothers Baskauskas, Vytas telling Aras that he made it by the skin of his teeth.

Vytas (solo): “I’m so stoked to be playing with Aras. He’s my brother and I love him and I want to go deep in this game with him.”

Vytas was happy to have a solid 6 and Aras added that they had Tyson as their 7th, that they needed to keep him around and that he couldn’t go on an immunity run because he had a broken arm.

Vytas in confessional: “We laid out our plan for the 7: Tina, Monica, Aras, Gervase and Tyson, myself and Katie. So, seven of us. 4 and 7 is a majority.”

Aras told Vytas that Laura was the scariest person in the game.

Aras had a confessional: “Getting rid of Laura is not just because she was on Redemption Island and she’s coming back in. Getting rid of Laura is the safest play because everyone feels uncomfortable with her. It would be an easy vote.”

Just then, Vytas said: “If people were smart, they would mobilize against us right away and be like, alright, these brothers are ___ going to the end, but they are not going to.”

Vytas in confessional: “Blood versus Water should really, in the end, be called: Vytas versus Aras because we would have to be pretty stupid at this point not to get to the end.”


There is so much material to analyze in this scene that I consider it editing gold.


– Let’s start with the funniest part: Aras calling Laura the easy vote. I remember that he first went after Laura because she wasn’t the easy vote. The easy vote then had been Mrs Boneham but he remarked that the easy vote wasn’t always the smart vote. We remarked that he had made a huge mistake going after someone that trusted him and showing that he was playing hard too early. This time, he wanted to go for the easy vote which was the other Laura…and it got him booted instead because NOW it was time to go for the smart vote.  It was even funnier considering Laura was, at first, considering going with the couples. It’s doubtful that Aras could have gotten Laura to pull her daughter into a pairs’ alliance but he didn’t even seem to consider the possibility.

– The next nugget was found when Vytas said that “Blood versus Water” should be called Aras versus Vytas. I totally expect to see Vytas join Aras on Redemption Island and the two brothers should stay there challenge after challenge up to the very end. Since Vytas has received more care in his edit, I expect he will come out on top. Unless…

– Tyson beats him! The most interesting piece of information in that segment was Aras’ remark that Tyson couldn’t go on a run because of his “broken arm”. The inclusion of that remark could have a very interesting pay-off in one of two ways: Either Vytas returns to the game but gets eliminated when Tyson, who had been on a run, beats him for the final immunity, or Tyson eventually gets voted out and starts his challenge run on Redemption Island. The foreshadowing is that Tyson will win a key challenge and that foreshadowing goes all the way back to Rachel’s elimination when we heard Tyson say “You better watch out because if any of you see me in Redemption Island, none of you stand a chance in hell.”

– Vytas himself jinxed the brothers chances when he said: “these brothers are ___ going to the end, but they are not going to.” He was talking about the other players who won’t be stopping the brothers but the way it came out, it foreshadowed that the brothers aren’t going to make it to the end.


The scene ended with Aras saying they could both win a Final 3 against anybody. Vytas agreed.


Merged Tribe – Night 19


Monica and Tyson went out of camp to talk. She said that they told her that she was fifth. Tyson told her what he had set up…at least in part.

Tyson in confessional: “I didn’t tell Monica about the plan to get Aras out / because you have to show her a little love, you have to show her some respect / just to solidify the numbers.” (Note the two dashes I put at the start of the confessional. They denote sharp breaks in sound indicating that this confessional was mostly spliced together. It was quite intriguing that the part between the two dashes is done with Tyson seen talking to the camera while the rest is in voice-over. What did Tyson really say? We have no idea).  Contradictorily, we heard Tyson in fact telling Monica about the plan to get Aras out first and then to pluck them one by one. Then the confessional continued: “She just likes to repeat the same idea over and over again. I don’t want to be rude to her because I want to keep her close. At some point, you have to be like: Monica; shut up.” We saw Monica asking if he was s u r e  that Gervase was with him. We then had the rest of Tyson’s confessional: “I’m like; give me a rusty spoon so I can dig both my eyeballs out and then try to jam it through my eye socket into my brain. It’s taking all my patience, all of it.”

They agreed they were going to the end together.


While I should be thrilled that the Final three of Tyson, Gervase and Monica which I predicted well before the swap, is coming together but it worries me instead. This confessional is quite disturbing for Tyson’s future. It suggests that Tyson won’t be able to keep Monica close because he will be rude to her at some point. Up to now, everyone that has stood in Monica’s way has gone to Redemption Island so this scene could be telling us that Tyson winds up there.  Monica has been given a big role in the whole Blood versus Water theme. Her dilemma started the moment Brad said he’d throw a challenge to save her and it ramped up when everyone showed hatred for her husband at the challenge arena. Kat and Laura both left because Monica couldn’t trust them. The story of the season could be how Monica navigated through all these hurdles so what happens if she thinks that Tyson is in her way? Monica was given a confessional just then and it showed that Tyson hadn’t quite convinced her.


Monica (solo): “If Tyson would just say: I am 100% with you; I would probably jump in bed with the whole idea and just relax but then again it is Survivor so how can you relax?” I’m not sure. I’m in a big predicament.”


Tyson’s whole game depends on whether or not the upcoming vote proved to Monica that he was 100% with her. If he can’t keep her trust, he will wind up on Redemption Island. However, even that shouldn’t be considered the end of his game as we saw above.


The Immunity Challenge.


Monica was eliminated first, missing the second item. Caleb and Katie followed her on the next item. Katie went to the bench whispering “Loser” to herself but the musical note stretched out as if to include Caleb and Monica in the same bar.

Tyson, Tina and Hayden also left before the end of the first round.

When Laura left at the beginning of the second round, we saw Vytas smile. Ciera left on the next item while Gervase lasted a couple more.

It ended in a duel between brothers. Jeff even underlined that this lifelong competition was continuing on Survivor. Vytas won immunity.


Kasama – Day 21


Did you notice that Jeff doesn’t even bother asking the merged tribe’s name anymore? We have heard plenty of dumb names but this one means “companion” in Tagalog so someone did their homework.


As soon as we arrived back in camp, Vytas received congratulations, a woman saying: “The battle of the brothers, once again.”

Vytas had a confessional: “If you need immunity in this game, you already made a few mistakes and I’m making sure that I don’t go into a challenge needing immunity. I didn’t need immunity today but I needed to beat my brother so I’m happy. Moving forward, the biggest threats in this game are Aras and I. We’ve got this beach on lock and I’d be surprised if anybody has the guts to do anything about it.”


Vytas, it seems, didn’t realize that just winning immunity, especially competing with Aras all the way to the last round, was a mistake in itself. They were considered physical threats but now they showed they were up for the mental challenges as well. Tyson was already showing that he had the guts to do something about it so Vytas, unknowingly, gave him a compliment.


Having learned how to protect himself from an idol, Aras implemented a split vote strategy, that he presented to everyone he thought was on board: The girls would vote for Ciera, the guys for Laura.

Aras then had a confessional: “Right now, we have nine pieces working somewhat in unison. Everyone thinks they are with us. (Caleb and Hayden shown listening to the plan in silence) All the boys are voting for Laura M. Tina, Monica and Katie voting for Ciera in case Laura M has the hidden immunity idol. It gets flushed and Ciera goes home and, if not, then Laura M goes home.”


When Aras asked Katie if she was OK voting against Ciera, Katie said: “It’s a game, bitch.”

We never considered Katie as a contender but this comment really killed whatever chances she still had. The viewers see her being mean to the one person that was her only friend for a long time so they won’t be sorry when Ciera turns the table on her and abandons her.



Concerned about the hidden immunity idol.

Laura was concerned about Aras having an idol but Ciera tried to calm her down.

Ciera gave us a confessional: “In my every day life, I’m my mom’s biggest cheer leader: Go mom! Go mom! That’s my natural instinct but my game side is saying: “OK Laura, think about what you are doing. It’s so weird! It’s the weirdest thing; I’ve never felt it before. It’s a struggle, I want to listen to my mom, do what my mom says but on the same hand, I am here to play my game.”


While we saw him on the beach with Caleb collecting big logs, we heard a confessional from Gervase: “It’s funny because Aras has a plan which is the men are all going to vote for Laura and the girls are going to vote for Ciera. The plan with Tyson is that me, Tyson, Monica, Hayden, Caleb, Ciera and Laura M. vote for Aras. It just starts to get a little tricky now because I am not so sure that everyone is on the same page because people can say one thing in your face but, behind your back, they could say whatever else. I just can’t wait to see how it all it shakes out. I think I have an idea on how it’s going to fall out but I could be totally wrong which is still the crazy part about this game.”


While the confessional was going on, we saw Tyson meeting Gervase half-way back from the beach and grabbing one of the two heavy looking logs that the ex-pagong member was carrying. Why was this scene included? To simply tell us that Tyson’s arm isn’t broken like Aras said? Is it to show that Tyson and Gervase will share the blame just like they shared the load? If so, should we expect that the other member of the F3 will beat them? Is Tyson pictured as taking credit away from Gervase? Or did they simply have 10 seconds of airtime to fill?

For Gervase, it was important to have a confessional in this important episode but, like Hayden’s, it is partly narration.


Tribal Council 

Jeff first turned to Tyson, drawing a picture of the situation. “We have the original tribal lines, we have the new tribal lines from the switch and, on top of all of this, there’s Blood versus Water. In this case. Three pairs of true blood.”

Tyson agreed, adding: “I’m sure the couples want to work together as far as they can. If my brother were here, I’d want to work with him as long as I could.”

<Aras nodded his agreement>

Aras pointed out that 6 people had to come together. “Vytas and I can’t just trust each other…We have to find 4 other people we really trust…”

Jeff turned to Hayden, practically suggesting that Laura, having just returned from Redemption Island, should be the first one voted out.

Hayden answered: “In past season, you come off redemption, you tend to head right back.” When he added that he’s assuming all the pairs are working together, that they could all be swing votes, Ciera rolled her eyes.

When Jeff told Katie that she could go to the singles’ side with her mom and form a majority, Katie said she didn’t want to over-complicate things.

Jeff asked Tyson if Katie’s answer meant that it was game over for the individuals if Laura and Ciera went with them.

Tyson said he felt threatened by the 6 of them. He added that there were 6 guys and 5 girls so “in the end, it’s who you trust the most…There’s a lot of different ways you can cut the pie and I hope to get the largest portion of the pie.”

That made Laura, Ciera, Jeff, Aras and presumably everyone else laugh.

Laura told Jeff she felt like the kid that’s been home sick with the chicken pox for the last 2 weeks. “You come to the school and nobody wants to play with you. The advantage of having a Loved One here is that a lot of stuff I can flter through Ciera. She’s a great social player.”

Ciera told Jeff that it was a reversal, that she had to tell her mom to relax. “Just calm down because you are freaking me out.”

Asked what will be different after the vote, Gervase answered: “I think for the smart players: Nothing. For those that aren’t: A lot.” He told Jeff that the key was to stay calm and be ready for the changes.

It was time to vote.


We saw Katie holding up her vote against Ciera: “We’ve been friends since the beginning but I am sorry.”

Gervase held up the parchment with Aras’s name and said: “This is my power move in this game. I love you like a brother but it’s how it is.”

Aras gave us his reason for voting against Laura: “I voted you out once, I might as well vote you out twice.”


Aras and Tina were shown smiling ever so lightly when no one stepped forward with an idol.

While he hadn’t been surprised to see two votes against Aras, Vytas showed concern when a third vote appeared while Tina started looking around, already trying to assign blame.  The scales fell from Aras’ eyes when he saw the 4th vote against him. He gave a quick hug to his brother. Ciera and Tyson smiled. Vytas and Tina looked at each other when Jeff read the determining vote. Aras got his torch and simply said: “Well played guys. Well played.” The camera went directly to Tyson at that moment.


Jeff ended the “festivities” by saying: “Although there were questions coming into Tribal Council, there’s certainly a little clarity now that it’s over.”

Vytas’ expression showed that he didn’t see things that clearly yet.

The last image we had from inside the council area was Vytas passing in front of Tyson, a target in his shooting gallery.


The Story


In previous episodes, we already had many indications that playing this season differently than before was a bad idea. Brad had been the most vocal about needing new tactics for this season but those new tactics got him swiftly booted. We heard Tina say that she would be playing “Blood” from now on and she has been making mistakes after mistakes since. Despite these indications, we were worried by the numbers, knowing that the pairs would have the advantage at the merger so we had to consider that the pairs could make a comeback.  Now, we feel much more confident that, like Gervase said, nothing changed for the smart players despite all the twists.


We’ve made the case for Tyson’s win but this episode gave us other players to consider. Let’s see what case the editors have made for some of them.


The Characters.



Where is her game?

Katie: If there is one player that we can clearly eliminate, it is Katie. She called Ciera a bitch which only served to legitimize the upcoming retaliation from her “best friend” and she called herself a loser. Case closed.


Aras: Being out at Redemption Island makes it hard for him to have a chance but we feel that he will make a run. It should be Aras versus Vytas out at Redemption Island but it feels like he will fall short, that Vytas will eventually win, abandoning him there.


Laura: Her role is limited to serve her daughter’s coming-of-age story. We even heard Ciera say that she worries about her mom ruining her game so Laura could fall victim to her daughter’s power move. Nothing would prove loyalty to an alliance more than voting out your own mother. If this happens, we will know that this season was all about Survivor being an individual game, not one for pairs of true blood.


The Case for Vytas: His edit puts him on a direct course to Redemption Island where we expect him to have a lot of success. The investment in his character has been too important to see him lose after one or two rounds. I suspect he will eventually return from RI unless Tyson meets him there. Hayden and Caleb could still come to his rescue as well as his new status as a single player but it would be foolish to align with a player that would have 3 sure votes on the jury. It would also be dumb to leave him in the game if Aras can come back. His chances are really slim.


The Case for Tina: The only thing we saw from Tina in this crucial episode was the social game faux pas she made with Monica. She didn’t intervene at Tribal Council and looked ready to assign blame when she realized the game had changed, putting her in the camp of the players that weren’t smart. It is getting late for Tina to turn her story arc around, to regain control of the game  but Monica’s volatility could serve her well and we will have to keep an eye on her if she outlasts her daughter, forcing her to play an individual game again.


The Case for Caleb: Normally, having no confessionals in the merge episode should be considered a death-kiss from the editors but I won’t go so far in his case. I am quite impressed that he has been able to fade from sight after calling himself the “Big Kahuna”. I also noted that we heard Tyson mentioning only Hayden’s name when he said who told him about the idol clues. Caleb had been just as foolish but he didn’t receive as much blame. We know that the “Big Kahuna” line didn’t make it on the air for nothing, that he will emerge once again and influence another key vote but will it be enough? I feel his biggest opportunity lies with the war of the “alpha males” in which he could join an alliance of women. Tyson said that there were 6 guys against 5 women but that is already changing. However, if he does go to the end with the women, we have to remember that the editors, using Katie’s words, called him a loser. His role is so small that it would make for a bad story if he were to emerge as the winner.


The Case for Hayden: His biggest chance of going deep into the game is that no one is talking about him, saying that he is a dangerous player. His biggest problem for winning the game is that no one is talking about him, saying that he is a good player. OK, Kat did say it before she left but I’m talking about players in the game so that it would give him ties to the end  There’s also the recap that reminded us that he gave Tyson all he needed to find an idol that he couldn’t find. While his confessionals are slightly more than straight narration, there isn’t enough substance to them. He has no future being one of Tyson’s follower but we have heard about no other ties, hooks in his story that would bring him to the end on his own merit.


The Case for Gervase: A Final 3 of Gervase, Monica and Tyson is coming more into focus. Gervase was the key player for both sides and Monica’s main concern whichever way she turned. How will that play out for the jury? He will almost certainly have to answer for his power move but will he be able to share the blame with the others or will he see Tyson take away the larger portion of the pie? Symbolically, that’s what the log carrying scene represented but knowing that it was a symbol doesn’t tell us how to interpret it.  In my opinion, Tyson went out to get the log so, symbolically, it was something he wanted, not something that fell on his shoulders. Gervase, it seems, just handed the game to Tyson.


The Case for Monica: Much of the episode was devoted to Monica’s decision. She didn’t want to be fifth with Galang but she wasn’t sure she should jump in bed with Tyson. Did the vote show her that Tyson was a good partner or did Aras’ removal make her position in the Galang’s alliance more attractive?  After all the moves she has already made, it seems unlikely that Tyson will be her last bed partner but she can share blame with him and Gervase while flipping back would make everyone blame her. She is a volatile player so she could eventually send Tyson to Redemption Island but her nervousness could also turn Tyson and Gervase against her. Still, they are each other’s best rivals in the end, three original Galang 5 members that turned on their alliance.  What are her chances? I think it was very detrimental to her story that this episode wasn’t really portrayed as her decision, that we heard it actually hinged on Ciera. Let’s not forget that Katie indirectly called her a Loser.


The Case for Ciera: Her coming-of-age journey had been envisioned when her mother was sent to Redemption Island but it really took center stage when mom returned to the game. Ciera called her mother by her first name so, despite both the mother/daughter and veteran/rookie relation, Ciera considers her mother as an equal and, in this game, she has to teach her the ropes.  Hearing Ciera say that her mother could ruin her game went directly to the heart of this season’s theme. Ciera, like the others, has compassion for her Loved One but she could turn out to be the only one that will actually vote to break that bond.  Who could have predicted that at the start of the season? Ciera seemed really dependent on her mother, the veteran, but now she is hampered by her. We’ve heard her strategy, we’ve heard that she has spunk and we’ve heard that she is a great social player.

In short, Ciera has most of the ingredients to be the winner. The only thing missing is an end-game connection. How does she get to the F3? It’s possible that her journey ends short of the finals, that her great story only means she is the last rookie standing but the volatility observed inside the foreshadowed Final 3 gives her an opening. Her quiet game could fool her opponents, make them think she cannot win jury votes but she would be a formidable opponent, a sure winner if she does make it.


The Case Against Tyson: He could be heading to Redemption Island because he didn’t commit 100% to Monica and she is very difficult when it comes to choosing her bed partner. Hearing him say that Monica needs to shut up sends up all sorts of alarms. We know that Monica won’t go quietly, that she is looking out for what is best for her and she may find a bed more to her liking. The move against Aras should tie the 3 original Galang members together as partner in crimes but this is Survivor and strange things happens. Let’s not forget that Tyson’s first goal when joining Tadhana was to make the target on Aras larger, reducing the one on his own back. Now that Aras isn’t a target anymore, we have to say that Tyson’s target has gotten suddenly bigger. In this episode, we heard Ciera telling Laura not to play too hard. Did it apply to Tyson also and, if so, did he play too hard by going after Aras so early?


The Case for Tyson: Let’s look at the case against him and see if the edit refutes those arguments:

–         It’s possible that Tyson gets voted out but we’ve heard him say that he will be a tremendous opponent if he gets on RI and we heard that Aras doesn’t think he can win so it seems that Tyson will win a key challenge, either the one to return from RI or the Final IC to assure his place in the F3.

–         While he could get a lot of blame from jurors, we’ve seen Tyson’s social game when he sympathized with Hayden after Kat’s elimination and when he gained trust of alliances on both sides. Aras said the move was well played so he shouldn’t hold it against him.

–         As for playing too hard, the episode started with Laura B. telling us how ridiculous it was to spare one of the brothers so we are told that this move didn’t come too early. In fact, Vytas even said that they should mobilize against them and that’s just what Tyson did.


Tyson, Sole Survivor? He has a good case.

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