“Smarter than we thought originally”: Survivor Blood vs. Water November 20 2013 recap

26 Nov

After a few preliminaries, this episode saw the first of the second round of Redemption Island duels, with Jeff Probst announcing that the loser of the duel would be the first jury member.

You’ll recall that at this point a player has the opportunity to switch with his or her loved one. Katie doesn’t seem too eager to volunteer, but it’s moot because Tina will have none of it. “No way Jose” is how she puts it.

The duel, or at least the last phase of it, involves manipulating ropes to angle a disc that has a maze on top of it, such that a ball gets to the center of the maze without falling through one of many holes in the disc. The challenge is about as exciting as such a challenge can be, and ultimately Vytas wins with Tina coming in second. That means Aras is out of the game. Probst asks Aras and Vytas if they have put their sibling rivalry aside, and it’s obvious that the answer is no. Before leaving, Aras tells all of the other players,”No hard feelings, guys. You outplayed me. Good job.” Of course, having won the game before, he can afford to be lower-key about it than some.

Vytas, as the winner, gets to decide who gets the clue to the hidden immunity idol, and he chooses Katie. Refreshingly, she doesn’t burn it.

Back at camp, Tyson wants the four guys to vote Laura, to make sure to break up the Laura/Ciera duo. But Ciera has also figured out that it would make sense for the guys to do this. Ciera takes her mother aside and says Laura might have to be willing to sacrifice her game to give Ciera the chance to win, and Ciera can’t talk about all of this to the camera without crying. However: I think Ciera’s premise that she has a better chance to win the game than Laura does is just plain wrong. After all, the whole reason Tyson and Co. are gunning for Laura is that they think she is a threat to win the game!

Katie is determined to use her clue to try and find the idol. She sneaks off at daybreak, but walks too slowly, enabling Laura to tail her and catch up with her.

Now comes an odd strategic move: Tyson takes Ciera aside and tells her he and his allies want to vote Laura. Why the heck did he do that, especially after having said earlier that he wanted this to be a sneak attack on Laura?

For the immunity challenge, it’s an endurance test that has the players standing on the edge of a bridge with only a knotted rope to hold onto. They have to gradually work down to lower and lower knots on the rope, making it harder and harder for their arms to hold on. Monica wins both immunity and a reward of hamburgers and hot dogs. Jeff Probst tells her she can choose one person to join her on the feast. Of course, this is an old “Survivor” trick to drive a wedge into an alliance by making a player choose sides. But instead, Monica says the immunity is reward enough and she wants all of the other players to have the food instead of her. A good strategic move, but given how skinny Monica looks it was obviously a very tough move to make!

So Laura and Katie seem to be the ones on the chopping block. Ciera tells Katie that everyone is targeting Laura. Remember these two were pals earlier in the season, though a few weeks back Katie voted for Ciera, telling one of her allies “It’s a game, bitch.” Anyway, the following conversation ensues (all of this is paraphrased):

Katie: Yep, I found the idol.

Ciera: You can’t have it because I have it.

Katie: No way, you have it? No wonder I didn’t find it.

Ciera, emboldened by the success of her lie, proceeds to tell everyone Katie definitely doesn’t have the idol, in an effort to swing votes away from Laura. However, her maneuvering has the opposite effect of what she wanted: Tyson realizes that if Ciera is suddenly playing so hard, it’s even more important than ever to break up the duo of her and Laura! “Ciera, smarter than we thought originally, is makin’ moves as well,” Tyson notes. He realizes his earlier conversation with Ciera was a mistake.

In the end, Laura is indeed voted out, with even Ciera voting for her.

By the way, this entire episode Gervase remained very low-key. I still think he’s positioning himself perfectly to be the winner.

Favorites to win: 1) Gervase, 2) Tyson, 3) Hayden, 4) Caleb, 5) Monica, 6) Vytas, 7) Laura, 8) Tina

No-chance list: Katie, Ciera.

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Aras (Vytas)

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