Archive | October, 2013

“His final four has two spots taken”: Survivor Blood vs. Water October 30 2013 recap

30 Oct

Kat does a lot of crying at the beginning of this episode. Not only is she embarrassed about being voted out, she even thinks it will adversely affect her relationship with Hayden. As soon as she gets to the duel, she asks Hayden for a hug and says “I’m so sorry.”

Probst asks them if they want to switch places. Kat is all for it, especially because she has noticed the upcoming challenge is a puzzle. As stated previously, she’s not the cerebral type. But Hayden gently asks who has the better chance to win the game, and they both agree it’s him.

In the challenge, John finishes his puzzle first, and Laura from Samoa is second, though most of her success comes from just looking at John’s puzzle and copying it (I wish they wouldn’t let contestants do that). I was a bit puzzled to hear Gervase giving tips to Kat over his former tribemate Laura, but then I realized that he is now in a tribe with Hayden and certainly would like to be on the guy’s good side.

So now John has survived four duels in a row, Laura has survived two, and Kat is out of the game. Meanwhile, the clue to the immunity idol is once again given to Monica by John. Once again, to the horror of the producers no doubt, it gets thrown in the fire.

Back at camp, Hayden feels guilty for not switching places with Kat. However, in a way it’s liberating: “I can play a little bit more cutthroat if I have to.” Plus, now nobody on his tribe (Tyson, Gervase, Ciera, Caleb) has a loved one still on the other tribe… except Aras.

Aras tells the camera that thanks to having his buddies Tyson and Gervase and the chance to hook up with Vytas soon, he’s in a “dominant” position. Hmm, usually when that sort of statement is shown on camera, that person is the next one to go…

Tyson has noticed that Aras is sitting pretty, and talks to the other four while Aras is off meditating. Tyson says “All he wants to do is get to Vytas, that’s a problem for me.” Gervase feels the same way, and notes sagely about Aras, “His final four already has two spots taken.”

Over on the other tribe, which consists of Vytas and four women, Tina tells the camera that she’d be thrilled if her daughter Tina and Vytas were to hit it off. However, she notes that Vytas would have to hit Tina over the head with a club and drag her to his cave, as “Katie is not a very flirtatious girl.” Vytas is certainly continuing his campaign to make all of the women like him. He notes that “women love a bad boy,” but what they love even more is “a newly reformed bad boy.” These women are no exception, but they’re also not complete fools, so they seemingly agree that Vytas will be the next to go. And Laura Boneham gets emotional about the idea of Vytas going home!

The challenge is one I don’t recall seeing before. Four people have their legs chained together and have to move as one does in a three-legged race … if my calculations are correct this is therefore a five-legged race. The best part is that the teams have to cross each other’s paths multiple times and basically crawl over, around, or through each other. Then at the end they need to toss a bolo to win. Tyson pulls out the win for the “men’s tribe” (plus Ciera).

So the women and Vytas go back to their camp, and the very first thing that happens when they get back is that Laura Boneham tells Vytas all the women have decided he’s next to go! Seriously now. She must not be that good of a listener, as I can’t imagine that her hubby Rupert hasn’t told her 100 times that this is never done. From the expressions and body language of Tina, Katie, and Monica, it’s obvious that they’re not on board with this revelation, to say the least. Monica tells the camera “Don’t you meet with your alliance before you make an ‘executive decision’?” So now the women wonder if they can afford to be in an alliance with someone who is that unpredictable.  Not that they are totally blind to the danger of keeping Vytas around. Tina says of Aras and Vytas: “Their honesty and their sincerity, they reek of it.”

The incident is just about the sole topic of conversation as at tribal council, and Vytas takes the same tack as he did last week: the game is all about trust and he’s trustworthy. Later, that often-used phrase from The Bachelor, “put myself out there” is used by Laura about herself. She notes that she should get credit for making an effort to go against her sheltered ways, having been raised on a farm. Sheltered? Shy? Are she and Rupert really married?

In any case, Laura Boneham is voted out.

Favorites to win: 1) Vytas, 2) Gervase, 3) Tyson, 4) Aras, 5) Hayden, 6) Tina, 7) Caleb, 8) Monica, 9) Laura from Samoa, 10) John

No-chance list: Ciera, Katie, Laura Boneham.



“Stupid will be stupid”: Survivor Blood vs. Water October 23 2013 recap

23 Oct

Aras is worried as we begin the episode. He says that when Laura from Samoa saw it was she who was being voted out, she looked him “dead in the eye.” Aras is seen as the ringleader, and as a Survivor pro he knows that’s not the position you want.

Tyson and Gervase have Aras on their mind as well. They think Aras will join up with Vytas as soon as he gets the chance, and probably will see Tyson as the main threat when that happens. Gervase enjoys strategizing —  he realizes he was “a chess piece” the first time he played, and he wants to control his own fate this time. These two have both lost their loved ones in the game, but now see themselves as a “power couple of a different kind.”

Time for the duel. Laura from Samoa says there is no way she would consider letting Ciera switch places with her. “I got it,” she says. The challenge involves untying bags of puzzle pieces and arranging the numbers 1-100 in order. Laura finishes first and John is second, that means Brad is out of the game for good.

Laura then gets to choose who gets a clue to the hidden immunity idol. She gives it to… no, not her own daughter Ciera, but Vytas! Vytas throws it in the fire. I suppose Survivor will have to change the way they handle idol clues next season, as just having everyone chuck theirs in the fire each week is not very dramatic, to say the least!

As we knew from last week’s previews, it’s time for a tribe swap. The new tribes, chosen randomly, are:

Yellow: Monica, Tina, Katie, Laura Boneham, Kat, and Vytas.

Red: Gervase, Caleb, Aras, Tyson, Hayden, Ciera.

I would say the big winners in this swap are Laura Boneham (who nobody on her own tribe liked), Katie and Tina (the only pair of loved ones to be united here), plus Gervase, Tyson, and Aras whose alliance stays together.

The big losers are Vytas, (who loses his ally Hayden and quasi-ally Caleb), Hayden (for the same reason), and Ciera (who’s the only girl on her tribe and has lost her quasi-ally Katie).

The red tribe heads back to camp and the vets quiz the rookies about what has been going on. The rookies spill the beans about just about everything, including snatches of the idol clue! Not much time elapses before Tyson goes back to doing what he did at his old tribe, namely hogging food. Maybe I was slow to catch onto this, but: Tyson is a jerk!

At the girls’ tribe (well, it’s all women except for one lone guy in Vytas), Kat says that the women are all allied together, so she’s annoyed that her alliance-mate Monica can’t stop strategizing. Kat tells the camera: “You want to know how to play Survivor? Shut it!” (I know I said last week that Kat was awfully dense, but that might have been harsh, or at least she is wising up quickly.)

Vytas knows that he’s totally at the mercy of the women, so he tells some stories about his troubled past, thinking that women will fall for a guy who shows some vulnerability. And he turns out to be right!

Time for a challenge, the first phase of which involves diving underwater to free up fish traps, then swimming those traps over to shore. Laura Boneham and Tina take the first shift for the yellow tribe. They dive down to open the gate, but they just swim back without bringing the trap with them, and don’t hear their mates yelling out the mistake until they’re back at the beach! Now, on TV the briefings for these challenges are short, as Jeff Probst just rattles off all of the things that need to happen in a challenge, but I understand that in real life the tribes are walked through everything so there can be no misunderstandings. Be that as it may, these two ladies did misunderstand, and so Yellow is way behind from the start. However, in the puzzle phase, the Red team’s huge lead evaporates as Tyson and Aras just can’t get the puzzle. Yellow comes all the way back. They signal Probst that they’ve solved the puzzle, and jump around for joy! But Probst takes a look and says they have it wrong. The guys are still having problems, so Yellow fixes their puzzle, signals Probst again, and jumps for joy again, but they’re still wrong! Then the guys (Red) say they have it finished, and they’re right. All of this would’ve been more dramatic if the difference between the correct solution and wrong ones were obvious to the viewer, but it all just looks like a mishmash on screen. “Survivor” is usually not that sloppy.

When the losing Yellow tribe gets back to camp, Tina brings up the huge mistake by her and Laura. “If it’s me [going home] tonight I don’t blame ya,” Tina says. Though that’s perhaps a bit easier for her to say than for others, since she has won a million dollars on Survivor before! Kat has other plans, namely: “What we need to do is take out the person that won’t stop talking,” i.e. Monica. Kat broaches the subject to Tina, but that makes Mrs. Wesson see Kat as someone who isn’t loyal, and “that’s information that needs to be out there.” She tells Monica (with Vytas present), and Monica wastes no time confronting Kat (you can tell by this conversation that Monica is a mother). Monica thinks Kat should go. This comes up at Tribal Council as well, and Vytas, being on the chopping block himself, is quick to point out he has done nothing to cause distrust, while Kat can’t be trusted. When it’s time to vote, Kat is voted out. It seems an odd move, since she has nowhere else to go with her allegiances while Vytas certainly does! The ladies might come to regret this one.

At the end we see Kat join John and Laura at Redemption Island, and Kat wonders if this will hurt her relationship with Hayden. Classic line by her: “Who wants to date someone who doesn’t make the merge?”

Favorites to win: 1) Vytas, 2) Gervase, 3) Tyson, 4) Hayden, 5) Aras, 6) Tina, 7) Caleb, 8) Monica, 9) Kat, 10) Laura from Samoa, 11) John

No-chance list: Ciera, Katie, Laura Boneham.

“As unscathed as possible”: Survivor Blood vs. Water October 9 and 16 2013 recap

22 Oct

Our two-week recap begins with John arriving at the Redemption Island duel site along with Candice and Marissa. Candice on her husband John: “He’s so trusting and I love that about him, but it doesn’t help you win Survivor.” She says that for the duel she would have preferred “somebody I could hate, like Brad Culpepper.” You’ll recall Brad had just engineered a blindside of John on the previous episode. At least Culpepper is honest, telling John, “You made a wrong decision in trusting me.”

Marissa loses the duel, so Candice and John live to fight another day. Candice, having finished first, once again gets to choose who gets a clue to the hidden immunity idol. But of course she can’t give it to John, since he’s standing right next to her as someone not currently in a tribe. She chooses… Monica Culpepper? Brad, from the other side of the stands, says “take [the idol] down and put it in the fire,” which Monica does. Aras grimaces but later he tells the camera that this was a good move. Probst says this is the first time an idol has been destroyed like that.

Back at camp, we find that Tyson and Gervase have been sneaking away to clandestinely drink all of the milk out of the coconuts they can find. Hmm, if they got caught it would not be good, as we know how strongly Survivors feel about what little food they get… understandably!

At the challenge, the veterans win despite it being a fairly physical event. And despite it being physical and his having an injured arm, Tyson chooses not to sit out. Hayden can’t believe what happened: “We lost to a one-armed dude and three moms!”

Back at the loved ones’ camp, Brad wants the guys to powwow, yet when the bros head for the trees, Brad himself stays behind to chat with the three girls! Suspicious… The men agree that Ciera should be the one to go. But Caleb didn’t like the way Brad hung back initially. This comes out in the midst of Tribal Council when Caleb shockingly announces, “I’m gonna write Brad’s name down.” At this point I, the viewer, have no clue how this might turn out.

It’s a 3-3 tie between Brad and Ciera. Time to re-vote, and this time Brad and Ciera can’t participate. We see Hayden start to write Ciera and cross it out, only to put… Ciera again. As it turns out that’s the only vote for Ciera, and Brad is sent to Redemption Island. Before leaving, Brad goes to each and every person to assure them he’s not angry. After that politician-like moment, he leaves.

Notice that this tribe has just voted out their second most athletic player? On the bright side, this sets up a great duel for the next episode, with Brad taking on Candice and John!

The October 16 episode begins with Vytas telling the tribe he was the one that switched on the second vote (which we viewers already knew, since we saw it wasn’t Hayden). Vytas and Hayden wonder if Caleb is still with them anymore after his bold move from the other day.

Over at the veterans’ tribe, we see Laura (who I am calling Laura from Samoa to distinguish her from Rupert’s wife Laura Boneham) giving Aras a sexy massage. Hmm! She notes that she knows how to do this because “I’ve been married twenty years.” Tell you what, Laura may be 43 but she’s got sex appeal in my book.

Off to the duel, where it’s husband-and-wife John and Candice taking on Brad. Candice isn’t done talking about Brad, and Probst observes that it’s funny Candice is the one with the most to say about the goings-on in camp since she literally didn’t spend one minute in either camp, having been voted out of her tribe at the start of the first episode! However that’s all we’re going to see of Candice, since she comes in third and is eliminated. John, as the winner, gets to decide who gets an idol clue. He chooses Monica as Candice did last time, and once again Monica throws the clue into the fire.

Time for a look at life around camp, which is too bad because the aspect they focus on is everybody’s skin wounds and the disgusting bugs that crawl on them!

At the loved ones’ camp, Vytas thinks nobody will trust Caleb from here on out following his bold Tribal Council move. Meanwhile, Caleb is enjoying being the swing vote… will he side with Vytas and Hayden, or Ciera and Katie (Tina’s daughter)?  By the way, for all the talk we heard from Vytas about how Aras is the athlete in the family, Vytas can do handstands pretty easily. So he’s perhaps a bit more than a couch potato himself.

The challenge involves taking a waterslide and then doing a ring toss (wheee!), and the loved ones triumph for their first challenge win. Bad news for Laura Boneham, since she’s the only one in her group who’s not a returning player, and therefore a logical choice to be sent home. Once everyone returns to camp, Laura B. quickly talks some trash about the other girls to Kat, trying to start a bit of trouble. It’s not a bad idea to try and start some paranoia with Kat, since the girl is dumber than dirt, but even Kat isn’t falling for it. Tyson describes Laura B. as “someone that everyone is super-annoyed with.”

Aras has an idea. Laura from Samoa is pretty good in challenges, so if she were on Redemption Island she could potentially beat Brad. That would mean Monica, who right now is biding time in her alliance with Aras until she can rejoin Brad, would suddenly become a firm member of the alliance. Problem us, Monica doesn’t want Laura from Samoa to go, because she also thinks that Laura could possibly beat Brad!

This is the veterans’ very first tribal council of the season, and there’s a neat moment when Gervase and Tina comment on how much the game has changed since they first played (Season 1 and 2 respectively). Tina said there’s already been more gameplay this year than she had in her entire season.

Tribal Council ends with Laura from Samoa being sent to Redemption Island.

Favorites to win: Vytas, Caleb, Hayden, Aras

Not sure yet: John, Tina, Gervase, Kat, Laura from Samoa, Monica, Tyson

No-chance list: Ciera, Brad, Katie, Laura Boneham.

“A very selfish move”: Survivor Blood vs. Water October 2 2013 recap

3 Oct

The tribe of returning players isn’t much more stressed out than the Favorites on the last Fans vs. Favorites season. To use sports parlance, they’re letting the game come to them. All except Colton, that is — he’s bummed that nobody wants to talk strategy with him. Aras notes that Colton just doesn’t “get” Survivor — he thinks the game is all about creating chaos.

We don’t have to wait long for the tribes to head for Redemption Island. Tyson sees his girlfriend Rachel walk in and immediately assumes she was voted out of her tribe because the loved ones think he, Tyson, might opt to switch places with her, thereby weakening his own tribe. And if you saw the previous episode, you know that his assumption is 100% correct. Rachel doesn’t  want him to swap, noting that he has a better chance to win the game from his current position than she would (that’s also correct). Tyson then gets in some threats against the other tribe, Brad Culpepper in particular (a bit awkward since Mrs. Brad is in his own alliance).

But before we can get to the duel, Colton announces that he wants to quit. Jeff Probst wastes no time dubbing it “a very selfish move,” noting that this costs his tribe numbers in a game that’s all about numbers. You’ll recall that on “Survivor: One World,” Colton was medically evacuated while in possession of the hidden immunity idol, and when Probst said he could choose who to give the idol to, Colton said he’d just hold onto it! Probst now offers new information that I don’t think was ever confirmed before: namely that on that other season Colton never had appendicitis after all, and was just faking it. Probst says that watching adventure on TV is fun, but some people never should’ve gotten up off the couch, and Colton is one of them. “We brought a quitter back,” he notes with a look of disgust, talking 50% to Colton and 50% to producer Mark Burnett, I imagine.

Tribemates Tyson and Tina aren’t sad to see Colton go. Tina observes that Colton tried his usual intrigues and didn’t get anywhere, and “Now he knows he can’t win the game.” Meanwhile, Colton’s boyfriend Caleb over on the other tribe just seems mystified by the decision.

Probst isn’t done giving his opinion on frauds. He tells Colton he can leave and wait for the boat to pick him up, and he should hold onto his buff, because the honor of dropping one’s buff in the urn is reserved for people who can compete. Love it!  It’s a good thing Colton didn’t have to pass through a gauntlet of Survivor viewers on the way out, as much tarring and feathering might have taken place. Now, anyone who didn’t see Colton’s previous season on “Survivor: One World” might wonder what’s so bad about him. I would say to go to the source, but I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone watch the horrendous season that was “Survivor: One World.” Just take my word for it: he’s not a nice person.

After all of that, there is still a duel at hand, and it involves placing blocks along a course so they’ll fall domino-style, all the while having to step over “trip bars” that will knock over your blocks prematurely if you graze them. Candice easily comes in first (bagging a second immunity clue for John in the process), then more than 45 minutes pass as Marissa and Rachel keep battling. In the end, Rachel is eliminated.

The tribes retire to their respective camps but it’s not long before they find out that a mano-a-mano challenge is coming up. Aras is looking forward to facing off with Vytas: “My brother has been a bully in my life to put it really simply.” Meanwhile in the other camp Vytas is quick to note that his younger brother was the athletic “golden child” who could do no wrong. And of course the fact that Aras won Survivor Panama and pocketed a million dollars would tend to back up that assertion!

By the way, Vytas is casting gold. He’s very smart, he has a troubled past, he’s Aras’ brother, and he has a heavy-lidded, enigmatic look that makes for great TV.

The challenge is a classic duel that was memorably used in the Palau season: two people are on a floating platform armed with a piece of padding, and each tries to push the other off. They appear to have matched everyone up by size, as at least the first few rounds are fair fights. Tyson manages to somehow dislocate his shoulder the very first time he is touched by Hayden, and it remains to be seen how this will affect him the rest of the game.

So help me, in spite of myself I’m actually enjoying the “loved ones” format, or at least I did when Tina was matched up against her daughter Katie and the two gave each other huge smiles. They were enjoying each other and enjoying being in the game. A sweet moment.

The Favorites won once again (OK, I know they’re not officially known as the Favorites this season, but I’m just going to call them that), and the loved ones are fairly disgusted. The Favorites’ most athletic guy was hurt, and most of the rest of the tribe are middle-aged-and older women, how is this possible?

When the loved ones get back to camp, John proposes Ciera to be voted out, she’s the weakest and does the least. To which Brad replies, in so many words, “cool, we’re all set, so now none of us need to talk any strategy the rest of the day.” Any longtime Survivor viewer knows that’s nonsense. Sure enough, as soon as John is gone, Brad proposes a blindside of John. Not only does John have clues to an idol, but Mrs. John is proving to be quite the ace challenge competitor, and Brad is threatened by the idea of such a power couple. However he pushes it a bit too far, proposing that he, Brad, be the only one not to vote John, so that just in case it doesn’t work he can sell John on the fact that the old alliance is still hunky-dory. Vytas is no fool, and sees that Brad is trying to be the bad guy without appearing to be the bad guy.

There’s some talk of blindsiding Brad instead (why didn’t they?) but it comes to naught and John is sent to Redemption Island.

While it’s early, I suppose I should already take a look at who might win this thing.

Favorites: Vytas, Caleb, Hayden, Aras

Not sure yet: John, Marissa, Laura Boneham, Tina, Gervase, Kat, Laura from Samoa, Monica, Tyson

No-chance list: Ciera, Brad, Candice, Katie