It has been four long months since Survivor has graced our television screens! I am more than ready to provide you with my weekly recaps that are full of witty banter and unbiased (sometimes) opinions. I want to preface this with the statement that I try my best not to stumble upon spoilers for upcoming seasons. I want my reviews to be as legitimate as possible. However, some things are hard to pass up. For example, you know it’s going to be a crazy season considering how many casting changes the season has gone through just hours before filming began. I have heard so many rumors regarding who was supposed to be on the show: RC, Danni Boatwright, Natalie Bolton, Rob Cesternino, and even Stephanie Valencia. Overall, I have mixed feelings with who producers have chosen to return, but maybe some people will surprise me. In addition, I wasn’t exactly sure what the premise of the season was going to be. Will the loved ones be on opposing tribes? I have heard that the people who are blood-related will be on one tribe, then the pairs who aren’t blood-related would be on the opposing tribe. Well, it appears that the former situation is correct.
The returning players will be on the yellow, “Galang,” tribe. These members include: Aras Baskauskas from Exile Island, Candice (Woodcock) Cody from Cook Islands and Heroes vs. Villains, Colton Cumbie from One World, Gervase Peterson from Borneo, Kat Edorsson from One World, Laura Morett from Samoa, Monica Culpepper from One World, Rupert Boneham from Pearl Islands, All-Stars, and Heroes vs. Villains, Tina Wesson from The Australian Outback and All-Stars, and Tyson Apostol from Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains.
The “loved ones” will be on the red, “Tadhana,” tribe. These members include: Brad Culpepper (Monica’s husband), Caleb Bankston (Colton’s fiance), Ciera Eastin (Laura M.’s daughter), Hayden Moss (Kat’s boyfriend, as well as Big Brother 12 winner), John Cody (Candice’s husband), Katie Collins (Tina’s daughter), Laura Boneham (Rupert’s wife), Marissa Peterson (Gervase’s niece), Rachel Foulger (Tyson’s girlfriend), and Vytas Baskauskas (Aras’ brother).
I made some pre-season predictions after I watched the two-minute videos that were posted to CBS’ website. I figured I would go ahead and share a few things with you. I cannot stand Brad Culpepper. He seems extremely arrogant. I definitely see him trying to be the leader of his tribe. There are a bunch of buff guys on his tribe, so it would not surprise me to see the guys vote off the weak women first. Tyson mentioned that he wants to try to get the loved ones to fight with each other. It will be interesting to see if he succeeds. I guess once a villain always a villain, right? Hayden already won Big Brother, so I think this will be his biggest downfall. There is no way that he will make it to the final three. As far as the returning players are concerned, I am ecstatic to see Tina play again. I think her biggest downfall will be her age. However, it has been ten years since we have seen her play the game. Some of the more recent faces will probably be bigger threats. For example, Candice has proven time and time again that she can’t be trusted. In addition, Colton is one of the most vile players we have ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see if his reputation causes his demise.
The season premiere of Survivor: Blood vs. Water begins right…..meow! Jeff immediately informs us that the couples will be dropped off together at ten separate locations in order to survive the first night together, without the drama of the game. I’m not sure these people have any idea what is going on.
The next morning, all of the couples meet Jeff on the beach. Jeff immediately calls out Hayden. He asks how Big Brother compares to Survivor. Hayden responds by saying that Big Brother is basically Survivor, except you’re in a huge house, and it’s not as physical. Probst, follows this up by informing the castaways that they will be competing against their loved ones. This is the first twist of the season. He asks Brad what it would be like to be competing against his wife. The brilliance that is Brad Culpepper basically states that he would throw a challenge in order to keep his wife on the opposing tribe. Freaking idiot! Then, we are presented with yet another twist. Each tribe must immediately vote someone out! What?! How fair is that? Laura B. get’s a vote from Brad, Hayden, Vytas, Caleb, and Ciera. Laura voted for Marissa. So, Rupert’s wife is the first person voted out of the Galang tribe. In return, Candice gets five votes (from Tina, Colton, Kat, Monica, and Laura). Laura gets three votes (from Tyson, Rupert, and Candice), while Gervase gets a vote from Aras. Candice is the first returning player voted out of the Tadhana tribe.
Jeff throws yet another twist. A third twist within the first twenty minutes of the episode? Jeff informs the castaways that Candice and Laura are not voted out of the game. Redemption Island is once again at play. So, the two of them will be the first contestants to face off in a duel to see who gets to remain in the game. Then (yes, twist number four), Jeff asks Rupert if he would like to take his wife’s spot. In return, she would take his spot in his tribe. He doesn’t think twice about defending his woman. Of course, John is going to take Candice’s spot or else he’s going to look like a bitch. Well, Candice says that she feels comfortable competing against Rupert, so John does not take her place. It will be amazing to see Rupert send Candice home considering how she betrayed him during Heroes vs. Villains.
We are taken to the Galang camp where Laura feels intimidated by being with the veterans. She has no idea what she’s doing, so they are trying to coach her on how to properly open up a coconut. So far, the team seems to be getting along perfectly fine; they even get a fire built within the first fifteen minutes. Well, there was no drama until Monica decides to confront Colton about the sins he committed against her in One World. They agree to talk about it later on in a more private setting.
Meanwhile, back at the loved ones camp, Brad tries to redeem himself by saying that he would go 100% at challenges. All of a sudden, he didn’t mean what he said about potentially throwing challenges in order to protect his wife. Well, he approached John about the possibility of creating a five-man alliance. John and Caleb pretty much tell him what he wants to hear. I definitely see him being the first new male voted out. Unlike the veterans’ tribe, the loved ones are having a hard time getting a fire started. It does allow them time to bond. Ciera opens up about her teen pregnancy. Cue the violin. This opens up the door for Vytas to tell about his dark past. He was a heroine addict, has overdosed, and even robbed people in order to get his fix. His purpose of exposing his vulnerabilities was to get people to trust him. CBS is definitely looking for a good story this time around.
The Galang crew decide to sing “Kumbaya” around the campfire. . . not exactly. Colton opens up about growing up as a homosexual in the south. Yes, it is a tough situation growing up gay in the south. I grew up in a farming community in the midwest. I know exactly what it is like to be the only gay (that I was aware of) guy in my high school. It was horrific. The difference between me and Colton is how he treats other people. I try (although not always succeeding) to go through life with a smile on my face. I don’t have bitterness in my heart. I try to be respectful. Colton and I are on completely different ends of the homo-spectrum. It was extremely hard for me to watch, though, because I can definitely relate to his situation…except for the fact that his family is filthy rich. Boo, you whore. Nope, no bitterness here.
We finally get a glimpse of life at Redemption Island. Candice has so much disdain for Rupert. She points out how he is either sleeping or swimming. She is the only one getting food, coconuts, water and has no help when it comes to building the shelter or fire. Rupert has a strategy behind this. In the past, he would wear himself out before a challenge by doing all of these things, so he is hoping that this will have the same effect on Candice, thus solidifying his spot at Redemption Island.
We are already an hour into the episode, and we still haven’t seen a challenge yet. The two tribes receive tree-mail about the upcoming immunity challenge. They come to the conclusion that it will include some sort of puzzle. Ciera and Katie immediately volunteer for the puzzle portion of the challenge because they both know that their mom’s would probably work on the puzzle for the opposing tribe. They were correct. I would love to see Tina and Laura beat their kids. Kids, it’s time for your daily beating. Now, go clean your rooms.
The two tribes meet up for their first immunity challenge. Jeff explains how things are going down. Six members must swim to a platform, make their way over an obstacle course, then swim their way to a boat. They must untie a series of knots to release their boats. They must then paddle their boat back to the beach where they will then carry a chest (full of puzzle pieces) back to the beach. The other three players from each tribe will complete a puzzle to construct a ships wheel that will then raise their team flag.
The new players are off to an early lead while the old farts of the Galang tribe are moving as slow as dirt. Gervase is having trouble swimming, and his tribemates are literally pulling him through the obstacle course. Gervase asks Aras to assist him in the water while the veterans are untying the knots to release the boat. Gervase, you haven’t been on Survivor in 13 years. You have had plenty of time to learn how to swim. They haven’t even made it to the boat yet while everyone on the Tadhana tribe is already on their boat. The loved ones work together to carry the crate from the boat to the beach. Words are exchanged between Kat and Colton about hitting each other with the paddles if they don’t get their shit together. The returning players finally catch up to the opposing tribe at the puzzle. Ciera, Katie, and Caleb are trying to put the ship-wheel together while Tina, Laura, and Monica are making fast work of the puzzle pieces. They complete the first puzzle before the newbies and end up raising their team flag before the loved ones tribe! I’m guessing Katie or Ciera will be joining Candice and Rupert at Redemption Island.
The Tadhana tribe is trying to figure out who should go home first. Gervase showed poor sportsmanship after the challenge. He was jumping up and down and acting like an idiot. Um, did you forget that you almost drowned out there? Aras had to carry your ass to the boat. You almost cost your tribe immunity! Marissa tried to deflect his bad behavior by throwing Uncle Gervase under the bus. It is the best possible idea she could have. Just try to separate yourself from him in order to extend your life on the island.
Brad meets with his alliance to discuss which girl should go home. He targets Marissa because of how Gervase reacted; honestly, this doesn’t even make any damn sense. Some of the other guys target the puzzle-builder, Katie, because she was basically an “extra cook in the kitchen,” as Caleb put it. Vytas understands that the girls know that the men are working together, so he decides to tell some of the girls that the men are targeting Marissa. He informs Marissa that they are targeting one of the puzzle builders. Either way, the girls don’t have the votes to send someone to Redemption tonight.
The Galang tribe meets Jeff for the first tribal council of the season. As per tradition, Jeff instructs the tribemates to grab their torches. The fire on their torch represents their life in the game. Jeff immediately starts grilling members of the team. Hayden and Brad agree that creating fire has been the most difficult part of their new adventure. Probst asks Ciera how much more difficult things are than what her mom told her. She said she never thought she’d ever be this hungry. She said that it felt like something was trying to claw it’s way out of her stomach. Probst then asks Caleb what it’s like having his loved one on the opposing tribe. Caleb mentions that it’s hard just not knowing what is going on over there. I know the moment would come when he would ask John how he feels about not taking his wife’s spot at Redemption Island. John said that he does feel guilty and hopes that Candice doesn’t think he betrayed her or didn’t stand up for her. I can guarantee you that she expected you to take her spot. You’re sleeping on the couch when you get home, buddy. His goal of tonight’s vote is to make his tribe stronger, but there is an added benefit of sending someone over there who he thinks Candice can beat.
The closing remarks at deliberation went back to Gervase’s piss poor attitude after the challenge. Brad mentioned how he was unsure why someone would be celebrating when his loved one could be the one being sent to Redemption Island. Marissa mentions that she expected her uncle to act with grace. In addition, she feels that she is guilty by association and is feeling extremely vulnerable. She really hopes tonight’s vote is based off of everyone’s performance and not on the way someone else acted. Katie finally has an opportunity to speak. She owns up to the fact that it was the puzzle makers who blew the challenge for their tribe, and she would not be surprised to be voted off. Honestly, she deserves to get the boot, not Marissa. At this point in the game, you need to keep the strongest players there. It shouldn’t be based on getting revenge for something that the opposing tribes’ weakest player did. Unfortunately, this is not what happens. Probst announces that it is time to vote, and Marissa is the third person sent to Redemption Island. This was such a bullshit way to get someone out of your tribe. At least she will have an opportunity to extend her life in the game.
This is going to be such a crazy season. Four twists at the beginning of the show? Redemption Island being one of them? Colton shows his evil side next week?! I cannot wait to see what happens. Thank you so much for tuning in. Until next time. . .
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