Here we go again Survivor fans! A new season of Survivor is here and the twists just got more twisted! As we all know, this season is different because it’s the first time in Survivor (US franchise) history to feature a couples’ season.
Ten pairs of castaways arrive in the Philippines in ten separate drop points and spend the night all by themselves. Gervase, who was part of the original castaways for the first season of Survivor (Survivor: Borneo) boasts about him being the OG, the one who started it all. He is joined now by his niece, Marissa, who was just a little kid when the show started. Kat, who was a castaway in Survivor: One World, is now joined by Big Brother Season 12 winner Hayden. Kat comments, “Hayden’s already won a show before. This is my time. This is my game.” Fan-favorite and four time-player Rupert Boneham has never won Survivor, but with his wife, Laura, joining him this time, he thinks that he would love to go to the end, if not, he hopes his wife would.
The next day, each pair of returning players and their loved ones make their way to meet with Jeff Probst. To the surprise of everyone, Jeff announces that they will be playing against and not with their loved ones. Brad, who is a popular football player and the husband of Monica (Survivor: One World) has mixed feelings about competing with his wife, leaving some of the loved ones be concerned about his trust issues and loyalty to his “loved ones” tribe. Jeff now separates the loved ones and returning players into two tribes. The first tribe, the tribe of returning players, is called Galang (means Respect, Honor in Filipino), with yellow buffs, while the tribe of loved ones is now called Tadhana (Fate), with red. After the tribe split, Jeff shakes things around with yet another surprising twist: each tribe must now VOTE OUT a member! Everyone is shocked with the news. The Tadhana tribe reveals their votes first. Vytas, Brad, Caleb, Ciera, and Hayden voted for Laura B., Rupert’s wife. Of course Laura B. feels like her husband dragged her to be an easy target and they wanted to give Rupert a message. On the other hand for the Galang tribe, Candice, Tyson and Rupert vote for Laura M, while Aras votes for Gervase. Tina, Kat, Colton, Monica, and Laura vote for Candice. So Candice is the first returning player voted out of her tribe. WHAT? I am shocked that they voted her out early in this game! Well, probably because Candice is known for being a little untrustworthy based on her Mutiny drama in Cook Islands and her strategy of flipping over to the Villains’ side in the first Heroes vs Villains.
Jeff tells Laura B. and Candice that they are not yet out of the game as he reveals yet another twist: the return of Redemption Island! I am not a fan of this format but, having loved ones as castaways, then seeing them competing in Redemption with the risk of leaving the game may stir a lot of drama, something that is staple in every reality show. Besides, I don’t want to lose Candice this early so Redemption is the way to go. BUT WAIT, after this twist, Jeff gives yet another twist in play! Jeff tests the idea of blood vs water by giving Rupert and John the opportunity to switch will their loved ones, meaning if Rupert accepts the deal, he will replace his wife in Redemption and Laura B.’s life in Survivor will continue and will take Rupert’s place with the Galang tribe. Same goes to Candice’s husband, John. Without a skipping a beat, Rupert accepts it. WRONG MOVE, but hey Rupert is not Rupert if he does not play with his heart. That’s the real reason why he can’t and will never win Survivor, a game that is ruthless and cutthroat. Meanwhile after a minute of talk, Candice convinces John that she can beat Rupert and decides to play Redemption. John tears up.
The Galang tribe arrives at their camp and right off the bat, they manage to make the fire going, as well as to build a nice shelter for themselves. Gervase is psyched up that he is back in the game after 13 years, but admits that he would love to play with Rupert and not with Rupert’s wife, giving Laura B. her first target on her back. Laura M. (Survivor: Samoa) feels that the tribe of returning players is at a good spot right now in terms of their morale. Meanwhile, Monica admits that she is not thrilled to play again with Colton, the bitchy gay guy from Survivor: One World, because he was responsible of voting her out early in the game. Monica then confronts Colton, “Can I trust you or are you going to stab me in the back again?” Colton assures Monica that he is a changed man. After a nice hug, Monica still thinks that he can’t still be trusted and compares him to a zebra. For me, I also think that Colton is not sincere with everything he says.
At the Tadhana tribe, the loved ones are having a very difficult time building their camp and must rely on what they have learned from their veteran loved ones. Brad tries to talk with his tribe like an unofficial leader of the tribe, something that might rub the other members the wrong way. Marissa thinks that she does not trust Brad. After that, Brad gathers the boys and immediately form an all-boys alliance with Vytas, Caleb, John, and Hayden. Brad, Ciera and Vytas to make fire. Vytas then reveals his story of heroine addiction and how his addiction impacted his family that even his relationship with his younger brother Aras is yet to be mended. Ciera reveals that she got pregnant in high school and had her first child as a single mom, something that made a game-change with her mother, Laura M. The day ends with them unsuccessful with creating fire.
On night 1, Colton tries to open up with the tribe about his life in the South where prejudice is rampant against gay people. He then starts breaking down. He admits, “The struggle is to get everybody to understand I’m a living breathing human being, just like everybody else.” Everyone tries to console him and Kat and Monica, his fellow players in One World, hug him.
At the Redemption Island, Candice is pretty upset to be in this position so early. She is mad with the Galang tribe as she whack down a coconut while mentioning everyone who voted for her. She spends the day at the Redemption Island trying to keep the shelter up and the fire up. Meanwhile, Rupert sits and relaxes on the shelter. Rupert thinks that the reason he never won Survivor is because he kills himself by fishing and keeping the shelter together. He then just wants to save his energy for the upcoming Redemption challenge.
On Day 3, the tree mail for the Immunity Challange states that there will be a running, swimming, paddling and puzzle solving parts. Katie and Ciera both volunteer to be at the puzzle because they think that their mothers (Tina and Laura M.) will be a part of it too. On the other tribe, Laura M. also volunteer to be at the puzzle challenge is excited to pit against her own daughter for the first challenge.
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: BLUE LAGOON BUSTLE
After Galang tribe boasts about having a great time at camp and Brad bluffing about building a fire in the Tadhana camp, Jeff then tells the mechanics of the challenge. Six members from each tribe must race to a series of obstacles to a boat. They will untie the knots to release the boat. They must then paddle back to shore and give the bags of puzzle pieces located on the boat to the puzzle solvers. They must assemble the pieces to create a ship’s wheel. The first tribe to complete the puzzle and raise the flag wins immunity.
Just to my disappointment, the Galang tribe starts off in a not so impressive way as they trail behind the Tadhana tribe. Gervase in particular seems to lose his stride as he fails to roll with everyone. But as far as I could remember, I think he was also weak in challenges when he did Survivor: Borneo. As Aras helps Gervase get over the obstacles, the Tadhana tribe starts untying the boat’s knots. The Galang tribe makes up some time by quickly untying their boat, but fail to paddle the boat effectively to shore. Tadhana tribe now has a huge lead and starts solving the puzzle. However in a spectacular finish, Laura M., Tina and Monica bring home the victory for Galang in solving the puzzle in a flash! Gervase makes a taunting cheer that left me putting my face and palms together. As Jeff gives Galang the immunity idol, Colton looks at Caleb and starts crying. Laura M. explains, “He’s probably feeling what all of us do, it’s bittersweet we won but we put our loved ones in jeopardy.”
Tadhana tribe goes back to camp. Katie is disappointed with her performance at the challenge and feels vulnerable that either her, Ciera, or Caleb will go. She admits, “The fact that the three of us, the puzzle people were the reason that we didn’t pull through at the end, you know makes me a little nervous because what are we going to judge the votes off of?” Afterwards, Marissa admits that she was bugged with what his uncle Gervase did after the challenge. Brad thinks that he wants to give the other tribe a message by eliminating Gervase’s niece, Marissa. He then talks with his alliance of boys to tell his plan. Caleb is worried about how Katie will perform in future challenges, because he thinks that she did a poor performance solving the last puzzle challenge. Vytas is happy to be on the majority guy alliance, but he does not want to alienate the women, so he starts talking with the girls about the plan without revealing the plan of his true alliance.
After the traditional torch ritual, the Tadhana tribe starts with their first tribal council. Hayden reveals to Jeff about the bluff they did with the fire. John feels guilty for not switching places with his wife Candice for the Redemption Island. His vote for tonight is about making his tribe stronger though and not about who he thinks is weak enough to lose against Candice in Redemption. Marissa expresses her disappointment with her uncle Gervase’s attitude at the last Immunity Challenge and is worried that her tribe is seeing her as guilty by association. The tribe then votes.
Marissa Peterson, the 21 year-old student from Chapel Hill, NC and Gervase’s niece is the third person to be voted out of Survivor: Blood Vs. Water and sent to Redemption Island.
Oh my. The twists in this episode made my head hurt. That was too much for me to handle! Even as of writing, I feel like my head’s gonna explode! And with that, the game is on! I am keeping my eye on previous winners Tina and Aras and Aras’ brother Vytas.