Recap and results of Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Season Premiere – Blood Is Thicker Than Anything:
Welcome to the recap and results for the season premiere of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, “Blood Is Thicker Than Anything”!
Refresh throughout the night, as I’ll be updating with results as well as my own thoughts as the night goes on! In the meantime, check out my list of the Top 10 Survivor Seasons of All-Time!
So the show kicks off with an introduction to each of the castaways and their loved one, and the relationships are equal parts loving and competitive (such as between Hayden and Kat, and Tina and her daughter, Katie). The boats are taking the ten pairs to ten separate locations on the island for our first twist of the game…
We learn that the contestants are getting the chance to introduce their loved ones to the Survivor lifestyle by spending their first night in the wilderness before the game officially starts. Of course, we only get about thirty seconds of this, with the contestants looking for places to sleep and whatnot, before we go into the opening credits.
Jeff reveals to the gathered castaways on the morning of the first day that they will not be playing with their loved ones, but against them. The returning players will be Galang, while the newcomers are the Tadhana tribe. Of course, we now have our next big twist: both tribes will vote someone out right now!
Tadhana votes out Laura in a unanimous vote. Naturally, Rupert sees this as a slight against him, as the “scared newbies” want to hurt him, which just seems like an absurd stance to take (although Rupert reportedly has a bit of an ego on him, lovable as he occasionally tends to be).
Galang, meanwhile, votes out Candace, who I’m shocked is continually brought back for second and third playthroughs. I get that her spot was supposed to go to R.C. Saint-Amour from Survivor: Philippines, and that R.C. had to drop out at the last minute due to her father’s health issues, but really? They couldn’t have found anyone else but Candace? Really now…
But the twists aren’t done yet!
Redemption Island is in play! (Oh for crying out loud!) So Laura and Candace must battle to stay in the game. But Probst reveals yet another twist (damn, even Chubby Checker would be telling them to ease the hell up). A player has the opportunity to take their loved one’s place on Redemption Island! This is fresh madness, I tell you. Of course, Rupert steps up immediately and takes Laura’s place, sending her to Galang while he goes to Redemption Island. However, after talking it over with her, John decides to let Candace fight her own battles.
So Laura is back in the game while Rupert has essentially voted himself out, and onto Redemption Island.
We get a look into how the tribes are living, and it’s pretty interesting how Galang responds to be stuck with Laura. Gervase talks about how he didn’t want to play with Laura, he wanted to play with Rupert. For her party, Laura herself explains that a lot of people are expecting her to be like Rupert, but she simply isn’t like him at all. (The tie-dyed shirt begs to differ) Monica also laments that despite getting to play Survivor twice, she’s been stuck playing with Colton both times. And so she confronts Colton and tearfully details how he hurt her last time, and Colton immediately shows himself to be receptive to making things right, even if he doesn’t really seem all that apologetic.
Over at Tadhana, Brad tries to make up for his slip-up earlier in the day, when he intimated that he’d throw challenges to keep his wife in the game. He apologizes for implying he wouldn’t give 100%, and gives the tribe his permission to vote him off if they ever think he isn’t giving it his all. Of course, this privileging of strength is partially what leads Brad to seek out the other males in the tribe to make an all-male power alliance. No one takes that Brad seriously at all, with John deriding the NFL player for wanting to keep his “Locker Room” together. However, Brad does make a good point when he observes that the John Cochranes of the world are the threat on Survivor these days, not the physical players.
While I could do without all these twists, the show is actually doing a remarkable job in illustrating the backstories of these players on this go-around. Colton is remorseful about how he played in One World, and confesses to his tribe about how he was picked on for his sexuality. He seems to earnestly want to change, and play differently this time, showing a level of self-awareness that not even Russell Hantz could muster, which is crazy because this is Colton Cumbie.
Meanwhile, at Tadhana, we learn about Ciera’s past as a teen mother, as well as Vytas’ past as a junkie. It’s really impacting stuff, as Vytas talks about his addiction to heroin, and how he would have died from an overdose if he hadn’t gotten arrested. His arrest gave him the impetus to turn his life around, and he’s vocal about wanting to do more with his life than just teach yoga. Most poignantly, however, Vytas reveals that this opportunity to play with/against his brother, Aras, is an opportunity for them to fix their relationship in some way, as they haven’t exactly been close given how he was in his youth. It’s rare to find anything this touching in the first episode, yet here we are.
It’s a combination swimming/obstacle course/puzzle challenge. A lot of teamwork is necessary to navigate the watery course, and Tadhana is on top of things by helping each other through the course. The returning players just completely fail to help each other, as both Aras and Gervase are left behind at different parts of the course. To make matters worse, Gervase (who famously revealed he couldn’t swim in his first season) has trouble navigating the water, and even greater difficulty getting his wind back once he does.
A boat waits at the obstacle course, and the tribes must undo the notes that are underwater in order to free the boat. Tadhana keeps the lead, paddling back and bringing the crate with the puzzle pieces back on shore for the other tribe members to solve. Probst is just LACING into Galang for what a crummy job they’re doing, and for once he’s not entirely wrong for calling them to the carpet, as these people just seem to have no concept of the word teamwork. Well, at least not until the puzzle portion, which is left to Tina, Laura and Monica, who absolutely school the hell out of their loved ones in the puzzle-solving challenge. It’s one of the more miraculous comebacks I’ve seen in recent seasons, and Colton breaks down after Galang wins immunity, as he’s now sent his fiance to tribal council.
GALANG wins immunity!
Of course, Gervase acts like a complete jerk the entire time, acting like he contributed in any way, and that he didn’t almost cost his entire tribe the challenge.
Back at camp, Tadhana discusses who they’re going to vote out, and the sentiment turns against Gervase’s niece Marissa, not because of anything she herself did, but because of how her loved one acted at the immunity challenge. Parvati Shallow learned in Heroes vs. Villains that who you align with can often hurt your chances at winning the game, but Marissa can’t help being related to Gervase. She has no say over how her uncle acts, and it isn’t exactly fair for her to suffer for it. That said, I do find this element to be an interesting way that the family twist has changed the game, in the sense that people seem to have no problem holding one’s blood against them. Sure, there’s always the risk of being guilty by association, but this is guilt-by-association to a whole new level.
Vytas, meanwhile, is trying to keep his options open with the women while trying to placate Brad on his Locker Room alliance plan. It’s an interesting balance to strike, and he does surprisingly well in seeming agreeable to all members of his tribe.
The tribe talks about the challenge and how Gervase acted, and Marissa rightly observes that it isn’t her fault that Gervase acted a fool. She feels she should be judged on her character, not her uncle’s, yet the tribe seems to have already made up its mind, even after Katie speaks up and says shares her concern that the puzzle-solvers in the challenge (like herself) might be at risk for elimination for having lost their entire lead. We get to the vote…
We only see two of the votes, revealing that Katie and Marissa voted for each other. After Probst has gathered all the votes, he returns to read them aloud. The most telling part of this moment is the fact that he doesn’t add “If anyone has a hidden immunity idol they would like to play, now would be the time” before reading the votes. This either implies that a hidden immunity idol is not in play, or he doesn’t want to give away that a hidden immunity idol is in play if they haven’t yet figured it out. Or, in a third option, the producers haven’t hidden an idol yet and are opting to wait until later in the game (while the contestants are presumably away at a challenge) to bury one. Of course, there is a fourth option, which is that I’m completely overthinking this. You know, because of course.
And so we read the votes…
Marissa is voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water! She joins Candace and Rupert on Redemption Island!
So what do you think of the first episode of the season? Who are your picks for the finals? Sound off in the comments!
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