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Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Episode 12 – Recap and Results – Rustle Feathers

Recap and results of Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Episode 12 – Rustle Feathers:

Welcome to the recap and results for Episode 12 of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, “Rustle Feathers”!

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Can Tyson remain in control of the game? Or can Hayden and Katie find a way to flip their fortunes? Keep refreshing, as I’ll be recapping all the highs and lows and adding my analysis as the night rolls on for Survivor: Blood vs. Water!

After Tribal

-Hayden is disappointed that tribal went the way it did, and calls out Tyson back at camp, telling everyone that he hopes they all like second place, because if Tyson gets to the end, he can’t be beaten. Hayden then facetiously congratulates Tyson on the amazing game he’s been playing, at which point Gervase becomes amused/annoyed, saying that Tyson wouldn’t be where he is without him. All these accusations are done with big, booming smiles as if it’s some kind of a joke, but it’s easy to tell just how rattled Gervase, Tyson, and Hayden all are. Had I been Gervase, I’d have just kept my mouth shut. He’s been playing a great under-the-radar game. Let Tyson take the credit, if it means your hands remain relatively clean!

-Tyson expresses his regret about playing his idol, obviously, since he’s now unprotected. He discusses who they’ll be voting out next, as it’s down to Hayden or Katie. Hopefully, the editing is establishing the narrative of the episode early in order to swerve us at the end by sending home someone other than the two we’ve been expecting. But I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Redemption Island Duel

-Caleb doesn’t even want to look at the tribe once he arrives for the duel, essentially saying that he has nothing to say to the non-Hayden/Katie members of the tribe. He’s far more upset than I expected him to be. Perhaps he really did expect Ciera would vote with them, and was surprised that things went the way they did? Still, it seemed fairly obvious when she ate with Tyson and Gervase during the challenge last week that she wasn’t going to be siding with Hayden, Caleb and Katie.

-The duel is the old House of Cards stacking challenge, and I continue to be amazed at how easily Laura is smoking everyone else in these duels. Seriously, she hardly even breaks a sweat stacking her cards to the top. And so it’s down to Tina and Caleb, and the challenge is timed, so the win will go to whomever reaches the 8ft mark first, or whomever has the tallest stack when time runs out. Caleb has a handy lead that it doesn’t seem likely Tina will catch, but instead of just running out the clock, Hayden decides to keep stacking, and eventually the size of his stack becomes unwieldy and the wind topples the entire thing. Tina just sits back with her half-finished stack and lets the time run out.

LAURA wins the Redemption Island Duel!

TINA comes in second place!

CALEB BANKSTON is eliminated from Survivor: Blood vs. Water!

Surrvivor: Blood vs. Water

Credit: CBS

-Probst asks Caleb about his experience, and questions him about his similarities to Colton. Caleb says their relationship will never make sense to some people, but opposite attract. He adds that they also have a lot in common. “We’re both guys.” Tremendous.

-Caleb departs Survivor: Blood vs. Water after burning his buff, and all that’s left is to decide who gets the hidden immunity idol clue. Laura gives it to Ciera, who decides to keep it, since an idol has presumably been rehidden (although I’ll laugh if it’s just the same old clue as before. It won’t be though).

Back at Camp

-The castaways congratulate Ciera on her mother’s challenge prowess. She confesses she had hoped her mother would win so she could get the clue to the idol, since it’s likely been rehidden. Ciera decides to share the clue with her entire tribe to prevent either Hayden or Katie from finding it, and while I see the logic in it, this seems like a terrible move, since now virtually anyone could end up with the idol. And as we know, no one is under any obligation whatsoever to disclose having found it.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

-Hayden tries to crash the idol-searching party, but he has no luck. Tyson, meanwhile, is panicking. In a confessional, he breaks down while reflecting on Rachel going home, saying that he told himself the only way it will have been worth it is if he makes it to the end. It’s a fairly touching moment of vulnerability that sets us up for a moment of victory when, surprise-surprise, Tyson finds the hidden immunity idol. In the quote of the season, Tyson notes that his pants have no pockets so he’ll have to hide it in his crotch “where no one will suspect a bulge.” HA!

-Tyson makes the decision not to share the information with anybody (see what I meant, Ciera?), and rejoices in his newfound safety. But that doesn’t mean people have stopped scheming against him, as Hayden approaches Gervase about making a move. “Tell me a move,” Gervase says, and Hayden proposes roping him in with himself and Katie. Hayden vows he isn’t trying to blow up Gervase’s game, but that basically sounds exactly like what he’s proposing, as Gervase is in a fairly comfortable alliance. However, it’s an alliance in which his prospects for actually winning don’t look good, even if it’d be close to certain he’d make final tribal council.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Immunity/Reward Challenge

-The challenge is a combination obstacle course/puzzle, as the castaways have to balance a ball on a pole from one station to another, adding new lengths to the pole with each stop. They then must unlock a box of sandbags which they would then use to knock over a series of pins at the end. Reward is an ice cream party, as a full ice cream bar will be delivered to camp with all the toppings a sundae can hold.

-The entire challenge is basically a two-man show between Monica and Gervase, with the adorable running gag of the ball repeatedly falling off of Katie’s pole and bonking her on the head. The end of the challenge is intense, as Gervase makes short work of knocking over the pins at the end until it’s down to two, at which point Monica picks up steam. It’s neck-and-neck, and even Tyson makes a strong showing as the challenge comes to a close, but no one can catch up with Gervase, who knocks down the last two pins.

GERVASE wins immunity and reward!

-Gervase is offered the chance to take two people on the reward with him, and he selects Monica and Tyson, which is smart, if completely expected. It keeps them from doubting his allegiance. For the record, Gervase with an immunity necklace looks surprisingly…right.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Kasama

-A corny indigenous ice cream man comes bearing a traditional ice cream wagon stuffed with popsicles, ice cream bars, root beer and cream sodas. Ciera, like myself, wonders why they need to have this spectacle in front of camp. But I guess that’s the nature of the “Reward you, torture others” nature of the rewards these days, particularly those on Survivor: Blood vs. Water.

-Hayden, having learned nothing from last week, tries to pull Ciera over to their side. She reveals in a confessional that she has absolutely no intention of working with Hayden and Katie. But Hayden makes a pretty compelling case for making a move against Tyson. He argues to both Ciera and Gervase that if they knock off Tyson this week, and then Katie next week, they’ll be sitting pretty. Gervase doesn’t want to do it because he feels he can actually beat Tyson at the end, as does Ciera, for some reason. But Hayden gives her a “real talk” moment, telling her that she’s playing for second place, and “Second place is first loser.”

-Tyson crashes the strategizing session, and Hayden tells him that though he loves him, he has to do what he can to play the game. Tyson, at the very least, is understanding.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Tribal Council

-At tribal, Hayden says that the alliance is being controlled by Tyson, and Ciera says Hayden can think whatever he wants to think. She claims he’s jealous that he wasn’t able to work his way into the alliance, but Probst rightly points out the red flags when Gervase rationalizes his decision to take Tyson and Monica on reward with him, as he says they’ve been his core alliance since the beginning. Hayden calls out Tyson for running the game and voting out Aras, Vytas, and Laura, but Tyson says he wasn’t the one who voted out Ciera’s mom. Probst has a condescending moment with Katie, asking whether she gets that the political side of the game IS Survivor, but Katie admits that she hasn’t be included in conversations due to her poor position in the game (although the point is to MAKE yourself a part of the conversation).

-From there, this becomes an absolutely glorious tribal council, as Gervase tears Hayden apart for trying to split up their alliance, and mocks the jury’s laughter by saying that they’re only laughing him off because they got outplayed. He declares to Hayden, “You WILL be on the jury! BELIEVE THAT!” Oh Gervase…

-Hayden then makes one of the best, most aggressive tribal council arguments in history, telling Ciera that she’s basically playing for second, and that there’s no way for her to win with Tyson. However, if she votes with him, she might just be a millionaire by the time this is all over. While Probst interviews the other castaways, Hayden keeps working her over, enticing her to vote Monica. Tyson slips up and says that he doesn’t think Ciera is the #4 in their alliance, which obviously means #4 is Monica, but Tyson hilariously tries to assert that this isn’t necessarily the case, as if anyone is going to seriously believe that Tyson’s #2 is anyone other than Gervase. Hayden continues to try and get Ciera to vote Monica, and now Tyson is playing for Ciera’s vote, and it’s all-out chaos as Ciera is being pulled in every direction and there’s genuine mystery about which way the vote is going to go as voting begins. Tyson then gets upset about Hayden saying “rustle feathers” instead of “ruffle feathers,” because I guess paranoia makes a guy crotchety. I’d argue Survivor: Blood vs. Water has a higher volume of paranoia than most seasons.

-In writing down his vote (“Haydone”), Gervase humorously shouts, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game! This ain’t Big Brother! It’s SURVIVOR!” which Hayden finds pretty amusing, and also confirms that people do know Hayden is a Big Brother winner. Tyson also votes for Hayden. Probst gathers the votes, and asks if anyone would like to play the hidden immunity idol, but Tyson keeps it in his pants.

The votes are…

Hayden
Hayden
Monica
Monica
Hayden
Monica

IT’S A TIE!

-So we revote, and Probst reads them off again…

Monica
Hayden
Monica
Hayden

AND WE’RE DEADLOCKED!

-Probst gives them one last chance to come up with a unanimous name to vote out, and Ciera claims she’s at the bottom of the alliance, so she doesn’t know what to do. After some quick back-and-forth argument, they all come to one unanimous decision: to draw rocks. This is INSANE.

-So Hayden and Monica are safe from having to draw, and Gervase is safe as a result of his immunity win. So Hayden, Katie and Tyson draw, and whomever draws the white rock is going to Redemption Island. Everyone opens their palms and…

KATIE COLLINS has been sent to Redemption Island!

Surrvivor: Blood vs. Water

Credit: CBS

-The fallout is crazy, as Ciera tells Tyson not to glare at her, while Hayden pats her on the back for at least attempting to shake things up. Tyson also gives Katie a profoundly awkward hug on the way out and congratulates her on her bold move. Katie then tells Hayden to “get’em” on her way out. Survivor: Blood vs. Water is really becoming one of the more memorable seasons in recent history.

-At Redemption Island, Katie reveals they drew for rocks, marking only the second time in 27 seasons this has ever happened. I seriously can’t believe that just happened.

Thoughts

-It’s kind of a shame Ciera waited so long to make a move, since now would have been the time to blindside Tyson, and if Ciera had been open to Hayden’s plan back at camp, Gervase might have been able to be talked into it. I genuinely believe it was the lack of wider support for Hayden’s plan that dissuaded Gervase from seriously considering it. Perhaps if Hayden had suggested lopping off Monica instead of Gervase’s “left hand man,” he’d have been more open to the move, but it was always going to be a tough sell regardless. Of course, there’s the problem that Gervase likely does believe he can beat Tyson at the end, and his ego demands that he face and defeat a big name Survivor player, so I suppose he was never seriously going to vote against Tyson one way or the other, since Gervase doesn’t just want to win — he wants to win big.

But this is all just speculation. I like the fight Hayden gave, as he’s not going down quietly. Now it seems like an even bigger mistake to dumb Caleb instead of Hayden last week. He’s showing himself to be a player with real fire, and a keen strategic mind, and I wish we’d been seeing more of it before now. If nothing else, I hope Hayden has secured himself a second season with tonight’s episode. This was absolutely fantastic Survivor, and I’m still impressed with the strategy on display here, even if, ideally, a good player should never let his or her game come down to drawing rocks.

So what did you think of the episode? Did Ciera make the right move? Can anyone beat Tyson? Sound off in the comments!

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