THE GAME IS ON! This episode if full of strategy talks here and there that it almost made my head hurt at one bit. Hey, aside from the physical challenges and the social game, Survivor is all about the perfect game-plan, the perfect STRATEGY.
On night 18, Galang arrives at camp after voting out Laura B. from the last tribal council. (Check the recap of the last episode HERE). Vytas is grateful that he was spared and kept over Laura B., who was part of the all-girl alliance. He then assures the girls that from hereon out they will be solid and be joined by his brother Aras, plus Gervase to make them a majority alliance of six people when merge comes. Tina then tells Monica that she honors loyalty and when the time comes that they are the final 6, she will put Monica above Gervase, giving her the fifth spot! Huh? Is that the best offer Tina can give to Monica? Knowing Monica, she wants more than just fifth place! Monica fake-appreciates Tina’s statement and fake-hugs her. She then reveals, “If we merge, it’s going to be difficult when people come to me with an offer better than five.”
Meanwhile at Redemption Island, Laura B. arrives at camp and greets John and Laura M., who are both sleeping under the hut. Laura B. is devastated that her alliance chose Vytas over her, making their decision ridiculous. Laura M. and John also expected that Vytas to be the next one to be voted out, agreeing with Laura B.’s rants. The next day, Laura B., Laura M., and John are greeted by a tree mail that states that the winner of the next Redemption duel will be the one returning to the game! John feels that he has been preparing for this final duel and is determined to win. Laura M. feels that she needs to win the duel for her to be reunited with her daughter Ciera.
Jeff Probst surprises Galang and Tadhana tribes that the winner of this duel will re-enter the game. Ciera has mixed reactions about the possibility of reuniting with her mother because she does not want to screw her chances of moving forward because she already has an alliance and her mother already has enemies in the old Galang tribe. Anyway, Laura M., Laura B., and John must hold on to a pole with indents for as long as they can. The last person to hang onto the pole wins and re-enters the game. Poor John because he is bigger and heavier than the other two and the lighter ones have the advantage in this kind of challenge. Immediately at the start of the challenge, Laura B. could not find a proper footing on the pole, but is able to hold on. John, as expected, struggles to hold on. His shoes are big while the indents are narrow, making it difficult for him even when he removes his shoes. He is the first one to drop. Laura B. literally hugs her pole like a tarsier while Laura M. seems to be immovable. Laura B. then slips down slowly and slowly, until she reaches the bottom of the pole, inches away from losing the duel. She stays there for awhile, but fails to hold on much longer. Laura M. wins the duel and re-enters the game!
John Cody, the husband of Candice, is the first one out of the duel and the EIGHTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water.
Laura B., the wife of Rupert, becomes the NINTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water.
Jeff then tells everyone to #DropYourBuffs because the tribes are MERGED! I must say their new buffs and tribe color look so damn cool! I think I will buy one for myself and add it to my buff collection! And because Laura M. is the winner of the duel, she has the option to keep the clue to the hidden immunity idol for herself or give it to someone. As expected, she throws the clue to the fire. Aras and Vytas give each other massive bear hugs and Aras admits that he aims to go with the original Galang alliance of him, Tina, Gervase, Tyson, and Monica, then Katie and Vytas, making them a majority alliance of seven coming to the merge. That’s so strong!
Of course the Merging tribes will never be complete without a traditional celebratory feast. Hayden is very conscious about his position in the game. He thinks that Ciera and her mother Laura M. are in a critical place, the possible swing vote for they can stick with the Tadhana alliance or make their own alliance with the rest of the loved-ones pairs (Vytas-Aras, Tina-Katie, Laura M.-Ciera), making them the majority alliance. The real Survivor game is ON.
Later, Ciera talks with her mom and tells her to stay low and not make any strategies with anyone. Ciera worries that being with her mom would hurt her in the game. Ciera admits to her mom that she has an alliance with Tyson, Caleb, Hayden, and Gervase, the ones without the loved-ones. She confirms to Laura M. that Aras will be the next one to go. Laura M. feels that they are both in a position where they have the power to make the fate of the singles or the loved-ones.
Later, Tyson tries to look for the hidden immunity idol. Remember that when the tribes were switched, Caleb and Hayden carelessly revealed the location of the idol, based on the clues that were passed on from John to Brad Culpepper to them. Lucky for Tyson, he is able to remember the clues and he is now on the hunt for the idol. He looks at a tree with a weird branch wrapped around it, like a serpent. Alas, he is able to find it! He reveals that he never had an idol before and had never won Survivor, so this might be a good sign. He plans to keep the idol to himself.
Vytas and Aras talk strategy after congratulating each other for making it far. They both agree that they are in a pretty good position at this point for having a majority alliance (The brothers, Tina, Katie, Monica, Gervase, and Tyson). They next think of voting out Laura M., a safe vote. Vytas comments that he hopes that in the end, it will come down to the two of them, thinking that they can be unbeatable in the finals. Hmm…Survivor : Vytas Vs. Aras, huh? Sounds like a good concept for a future season of Survivor! I hope CBS can approve that!
Tyson and Monica sneaks out in the evening to talk, well you guess it right, STRATEGY. Monica is eager to seep out the right information from Tyson. Monica reveals that she is number five in her alliance with Tina. Tyson assures her that his alliance is strong and they will vote out Aras. He also assures Monica that they will be the final three, with Gervase. Monica’s concern is the possibility of Gervase flipping. Tyson almost loses his patience with Monica, but manages to solidify their trust to each other.
The new merged tribe, which based from the flag the girls are making is called KASAMA, arrives at the Immunity challenge site. The individual immunity necklace is revealed and it looks like a Chinese ornament from the old times. The challenge is simple: they must memorize the correct sequence of symbols being revealed by Jeff. First round, Jeff shows them pictures of a barrel, a crate, a cannon, a ship, a compass and a lantern. They must repeat the symbols in the proper order by using the wooden blocks. Monica is incorrect on the second symbol, then Caleb and Katie are both out on the third symbol, followed by Tyson and Tina, then Hayden. There are only five castaways remaining at the end of the first round. In the second round, Jeff reveals the following seven items: barrel, lantern, cannon, lantern, compass, barrel, and cannon. Laura M. get eliminated, followed by Ciera, then Gervase. Wow, it’s between Aras and Vytas, and it’s Survivor: Aras Vs. Vytas! In the end, Vytas wins immunity!
Back at camp, everyone congratulates Vytas for winning the first individual immunity challenge. Vytas is delighted that he won against his brother. Later Aras checks in with his alliance and tells them to vote out Laura M. and for safety they must split the votes — boys will vote out Laura M while the girls will vote out Ciera, in case either one of them has the hidden immunity idol. On the other hand, Laura M. is worried that Aras has the hidden immunity idol and tells Ciera to split the votes between Aras and Tina. Meanwhile, as Gervase and Caleb collect wood, Tyson tells them to get rid of the King Aras.
Jeff points out that there are still three couples in the game, which makes six people, enough to be a majority alliance. And to make things complicated, the player who re-enters the game is usually the first one to go. Hayden disagrees and considers Laura M. a swing vote, together with Ciera. There are so many element in this game this season that I just don’t know where to start! Tyson caps off the tribal council, saying that it does not matter whether you have a loved one in the game, because the most important thing in this game is who you trust the most. The tribe votes. Ciera receives two votes, Laura M. with two (probably from Vytas and Aras, Tina and Katie), and Aras with five.
Aras Baskauskas, winner of Survivor: Exile Island becomes the next one voted out of Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, sent to Redemption Island.
Wow! Remember when I said that the alliance of Tina, Aras, Monica, Gervase, and Tyson is something to look forward to this season? Well, I guess I was wrong because that super-power dream alliance has been thrown out the window! I really felt sad for Aras, but more for Vytas, who is now, once again left alone by himself. I hope his Galang alliance with Tina, Katie, and Monica remains tight, but I doubt it, now that this episode showed what seems to be a deeper pact between Monica and Tyson.