Welcome to the recap and results for Episode 6 of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, “One-Man Wrecking Ball”!
Refresh throughout the night, as I’ll be updating with results as well as analysis and video as the night goes on!
-Laura B. is relieved that she wasn’t voted out, although it’s hilarious that she mentions receiving a vote and then states, in the same sentence, that the vote against Laura M. was “unanimous”. However, while Aras is glad that the plan to vote out Laura M. went through, he’s worried about being considered the ring leader at Galang, especially now that Redemption Arena has become “a place to besmirch” a person’s character. And Aras is right to be worried, as Tyson and Gervase discuss the idea of blindsiding Aras. The “Coconut Bandits” rationalize that the upcoming challenge might be the last one before they merge, meaning they only have one more chance to get rid of Aras before he hooks up with Vytas, so they’ll have to act fast. Gervase, in particular, is eager to take some agency in his game, as he states that he doesn’t want to simply be a chess piece like he was in his first season. (I’m disappointed by the breakup of Aras and Tyson, since I’ve been repping Team Arson all the way. And Team Tyvase/Gerson just doesn’t have the same pyromaniacal ring to it)
Redemption Island Duel
-Ciera is upset to see Laura M. voted out, fighting back tears and saying she “just had a feeling” all day that this might have happened. Probst floats the idea of Ciera taking her mother’s place, but Laura M. refuses to even hear of it, telling her daughter, “I got this.”
-The challenge involves crossing a balance beam and untying bags with numbered tiles along the way. The contestants must then arrange their numbered tiles in a puzzle at the end of the balance beam. Laura M. takes an early lead and never looks back, smoking the men like brisket. She easily wins the challenge, leaving a neck-and-neck race between John and Brad. It’s a photo finish, but after fourteen days, the Era of Brad Culpepper comes to an end.
LAURA M. wins the challenge!
BRAD CULPEPPER is eliminated from Survivor: Blood vs. Water!
-In a fairly touching and eloquent display, Brad apologizes to Monica for how he’s played the game, saying he’s been an anchor and she can now be free of his damaging gameplay. He tosses his buff into the flame and walks off into the distance, and while it may be the last we’ve seen of him in this particular season, I’d be floored if they didn’t ask him back for another playthrough in the future.
-Of course, we have other business to attend to, as Laura M. now has to decide who receives the clue to the hidden immunity idol. She chooses Vytas, explaining that everyone knows it’s a big target on the recipient’s back. Naturally, no sooner does Vytas receive the clue than he’s up on his feet to toss it in the fire. I continually wonder why no one just reads the clue aloud so that everyone has the hint. With this approach, you’d be able to figure out who’s on the bottom of each alliance based on who goes looking for the idol, since you probably won’t risk your spot in the game by looking for the idol unless you genuinely believe you’re in trouble. But I suppose it makes just as much sense to burn the idol clue, since it neutralizes the risk of anyone actually finding the thing.
-The clue has been burned once again, yet we’re still not done with all the business that needs addressing, as robst reveals to the Survivors that after fourteen days of playing against their loved ones, it’s time to switch things up. “Everybody drop your buffs, we’re drawing for new tribes.”
-Tyson wants to draw last, worrying about what fate has in store for him. Everybody draws, and the new tribes are…
Galang: Monica, Tina, Katie, Laura B, Kat and Vytas
Tadhana: Gervase, Caleb, Aras, Tyson, Hayden, and Ciera
So one tribe is all women with one man, while the other is all men with one woman. Interesting. Also, Katie and Tina are the only loved ones actually getting to play together. That could make either make them targets, or the most powerful duo in the game.
Tadhana: Tyson and Gervase begin immediately fishing for information about the tribe dynamics and learn about Caleb’s move to blindside Brad, in addition to learning about the first clue to the hidden immunity idol from Hayden, in a ridiculously short-sighted move on the part of the former Big Brother winner. For his part, Hayden is annoyed by Tyson and Gervase, who’ve walked into Tadhana’s camp and immediately started eating all the food. Even though Tyson and Gervase are officially Tadhana now, Hayden still sees them as two strangers coming into his house. A safer player might moderate his behavior, but Tyson basically reveals that he has no plans to stop eating all of Tadhana’s food, intending to simply go about as though this is what had been the norm back at the old Galang. And hey, nobody is telling him to stop or giving him grief about continuing to eat, so he’s not exactly wrong to do it.
Galang: However, while Tyson seems satisfied with his tribe, Vytas is bummed. He rationalizes that although one could see it as he and Katie coming into a group of four, he can’t really count on Katie’s vote now that she’s playing the game with her mother. In essence, Vytas is all alone on this tribe, and all of his hard-won connections in the old Tadhana are useless to him. Of course, Vytas doesn’t realize that not everyone is exactly happy in their alliance at Galang, as Kat is getting fed up with Monica’s constant, obsessive strategizing. In yet another trenchant moment of insight from Kat, she says (in a confessional) that Monica is going about the game all wrong. If you want to play Survivor, you need to learn to “shut it.” I’m really digging Kat this season. Seriously.
Before the Challenge
-Vytas theorizes that he might be able to make in-roads with the women of his tribe by using his tumultuous, heartbreaking backstory to win their sympathy. So he tells them about his drug use and his complicated relationship with Aras, in addition to regaling them with proclamations of just how much he loves his brother (likely sincere, but still being used towards the purpose of winning the women’s trust) and how awesome he thinks Aras is (again, probably sincere, but still very calculated). Laura B. likes Vytas a lot, since his openness reminds her of Rupert, but she states that she has to keep her heart out of it, since Vytas and Aras are still brothers, and they could still take control of the game if given the opportunity.
-It’s a swimming race, in which members of each tribe swim out to a station in the water and untie a series of fishing traps, one at a time. Once all the traps have been collected, the tribes can begin untying the puzzle pieces contained within. Whichever tribe solves the puzzle first wins immunity, in addition to a picnic reward.
-Aside from the mind-blowing sight of Gervase actually swimming, the real take-away from this challenge is just how poorly Galang their shot at winning. They fall behind pretty early, and although they’re able to make up considerable ground (thanks to Ciera’s exhaustion over on Tadhana), they inevitably lose when they continue to celebrate early, assuming they’ve solved the puzzle when they actually haven’t. On three separate occasions, they solve the puzzle and start celebrating before Jeff can even check the finished product. And EVERY TIME he tells them they don’t actually have it, prompting the tribe to return to the puzzle to try and piece out what they got wrong. Meanwhile, Tadhana is making up ground and closing the gap. Tyson and Aras close the gap, and it’s a come-from-behind victory for the boys (and girl) in red.
TADHANA wins immunity/reward!
-Vytas is incredibly frustrated with his tribe, telling the camera that he never would have made the mistakes the women made. Tina tearfully apologizes to the tribe for her failings, and Vytas admits in a confessional that it took every ounce of his being not to call Tina out on her screw-ups. However, he says that it wouldn’t have been a good idea in a tribe full of women for a man to speak out like that.
-The strategizing begins: the plan is to eliminate Vytas, but Kat wants Monica gone because she’s frustrated with her over-strategizing. Tina is worried about Kat’s loyalty, rationalizing that they need to stick to the all-girl plan in the event that they merge and it’s all guys on the other tribe. Monica eventually finds out that Kat has been floating her name and confronts her about it. Kat tries to play off that she wants to stick with the all-girl alliance, but although Monica pretends to accept her explanation, she tells the camera that she doesn’t trust Kat. For her part, Kat says that she’s worried that even an obsessive strategist like Monica can wield power in the game, since people might actually listen to her. Monica speaks with Tina and says that she wants to get rid of Kat, leaving Tina to consider which tribe member it makes the most sense for them to eliminate.
-It’s pure drama, as we get right into Monica vs. Kat. Monica wants Kat’s trust, and tearfully says she wants nothing more than to trust Kat in return, but she doesn’t feel she can ally herself with Kat since she’s heard that Kat has floated her name around. Kat fights back tears as she explains that she loves these girls (inadvertently revealing the all-girl plan to vote out Vytas), and that she’s always had their backs. Vytas cuts in and talks about how he’s heard stories about Kat not having the other tribemates’ backs, and says that they should cut her loose since he’s already demonstrated more loyalty to the tribe than her. In a weird bit, Kat keeps trying to cut in and defend herself, and Vytas keeps barking back at her not to interrupt him, all while he continues to basically slander her (granted, we don’t know from the editing just how much of what Vytas allegedly heard about Kat).
And so we get to voting, and it’s a fairly clear-cut decision from Galang…
KAT is voted out of the tribe!
-Well, that’s a shame. Not that it wasn’t Kat’s own fault for taking what should have been an easy, clear-cut vote and instead changing the tide of opinion among her alliance with her paranoia about Monica. Any good strategist knows that you should keep your personal feelings out of the game as much as possible, and since so much of Kat’s paranoia about Monica was couched in her inherent dislike of the woman, her objectivity about the situation was compromised. She didn’t recognize that just laying low and going along with the vote was the right move for her, since she lacked the awareness of her own position within the tribe to recognize that she didn’t have the pull to swing the vote against Monica. She essentially revealed herself to be untrustworthy, which is toxic in the pre-merge game.
-Kat arrives on Redemption Island and immediately pals around with John and Laura M., who all malign their present situation.
-It’s kind of crazy how Vytas hijacked that tribal council, fanning the flames against Kat. If there was any chance of Kat putting out the fire, Vytas quashed it with his condemnations, correctly pointing out that Kat had jeopardized her own trustworthiness. It should have been simple for Kat to see how easily things were going to backfire on her. For all her talk about Monica over-strategizing, Kat failed to see how openly strategizing against Monica at this point was every bit as damaging. Over-strategizing is still likely to damage Monica in the future, but not for now, since she has a very valuable skill that Kat lacks: the ability to do damage control. Kat couldn’t stem the tide against her once it came out that she couldn’t be trusted. Monica, however, has a way of keeping opinions in check and playing innocent fairly convincingly. It always seems to be the ones who are most indignant about their name being floated around that end up surviving despite the likelihood of their ouster. Monica is certainly resilient, and though her desire to dump Kat was perhaps too motivated by personal animus to be considered a truly good move, the fact of the matter is that it worked out pretty well for her (although you could easily argue she was never really in any trouble to begin with, since Kat was the only person throwing around her name).
Kat’s story is indicative of one of the most common blunders in Survivor strategy: playing a post-merge game pre-merge. It just wasn’t time yet for Kat to be making the sort of moves she was trying to make. You don’t begin cannibalizing your own alliance before said alliance has exhausted its usefulness. Ah well, at least we get to have more Vytas (who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Those Baskauskas brothers know their Survivor, man.
Thanks for reading my recap and analysis of Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Episode 6 – “One-Man Wrecking Ball”!
What did you think of the episode? Did Galang make the right move? And what about Gervase and Tyson’s plan to get rid of Aras over on Tadhana? Is this the right approach to take? Sound off in the comments!
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