Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Episode 2
Rule in Chaos
By Ben Willoughby
September 26, 2013

Why did I even get on the plane?

Previously on Survivor, 10 pairs of castaways, each made up of a returning castaway and a loved one, began the game thinking they were going to play together, only to learn they were playing against each other. Gee, I wonder whether the returning players will dominate the newbies yet again?

Probst got twist-happy, first making each tribe vote out one player – sorry, Rupert’s Laura and Candice – and then revealing that Redemption Island was in play and that Rupert could take his wife’s place if he wanted. Rupert’s response was to shove Monica and Laura? out of the way in his haste to sacrifice himself.

On the returnees’ tribe Galang, “Colton tried to repair his image,” while on the newbies’ tribe Tadhana, “Brad hit the ground running,” which is one way to say it. Brad’s going to end up like Wile E. Coyote, churning his legs in mid-air ten seconds after he has run off the cliff.

Anyway, Galang won immunity, but Gervase’s “excessive celebration” meant that Marissa was targeted for the vote, “vengeance over keeping the tribe strong,” and the episode opens with her introducing herself to Candice and Rupert. She complains that those people had the audacity to put a frowny face on their vote, like they were upset! When really, they weren’t really upset at all! Those bastards!

Anyway, she blames it all on people getting annoyed at Gervase’s post-challenge celebration, but Candice says that Marissa called out Brad when they were first there on the beach and he did not like that. Candice agrees with me, so she must be pretty smart. Anyway, Marissa is bummed that she is the first one to be voted out, until Candice points out that she and Rupert’s Laura were voted out first. But they can all agree on how pissed they are.

What’s happening at Galang? There’s a big conga-massage line of happiness, is what. Rupert’s Laura is happy that it is such a peaceful tribe. However, Colton is not in the massage line, he is sitting and watching glumly. He interviews that he is completely over the “zen, calm, yoga mentality” vibe of the camp. After three days. Monica – who imprinted on her husband the need to be hyperactive from Day One – reminds Colton that the key to Survivor is to be patient.

But Colton doesn’t care because he doesn’t want this group to be the final nine. Like there’s any chance of that with tribe switches and loved ones. Can’t he just be patient, like Monica said? But “I love Caleb with every fibre of my being, and I just need to get to him.”

In a group discussion with Aras, Tina and Gervase, he says that Laura? is trying to throw Tina under the bus. Aras shuts him down immediately, saying “I don’t believe any of that talk, let’s focus on right now” – in other words, beat the other tribe so returnees dominate at the merge.

“I don’t care about winning challenges, I’d voluntarily go to Tribal Council”, whines Colton, which won’t win him any friends. Gervase: “No one needs to talk strategy again until we lose out first challenge, then we can talk after that”. Aras gives Colton a death stare, and interviews that “you can only fake who you are for four days, five days, and then the elements get to you, and your true personality emerges.”

Back with the group, Colton says “I just want to talk to people,” and Tina replies that she would like to talk about anything except Survivor. Not good enough for Colton. “Strategy? What is strategy? We are unity, we are peace, we are zen... we are stupid,” he complains in interview, not realizing that peace at this point is their strategy.

It’s no surprise that I disagree with Colton, but I disagree with Colton. The early part of the game is all about beating the other tribe. Colton’s best strategy is to keep his tribe winning challenges and hold on until the merge. Then when the individual game starts, he can play the chaotic “she said that he said you are a loser” whispering game as much as he likes. Playing that game now, with players who aren’t actually stupid but in fact smarter players than Colton has played with before, means that he gets shut out and is stupid.

Over on Tadhana, Brad is out fishing and talking about being a provider. He has a spear and flippers and everything. What the hell is this? The tribes have fishing gear already? This wangs chung. Rachel says that there is a lot going on at camp, and she thinks she is more at risk than Tyson at the moment. She has finally realized that the women on her tribe are in a minority, so she is trying to play cool with the guys. I suppose competing on Survivor with your boyfriend really cuts down on your ability to flirt your way through the game. But she seems to get on well with John.

Ciera, who has also cottoned onto the “guys rule chicks drool” atmosphere, sees where Rachel is going with this, and interviews that she is “75% confident that John and Rachel have an alliance." She tells Katie of her suspicions. But there’s treemail and everyone has to go to Redemption Island. That’s right, everyone! But not before John gives yet another interview about “wrestling with guilt” and “the weight that is crushing my heart.”

Probst sighting! “Come on in guys!” says Probst. A bunch of castaways are blubbing at the sight of their safe loved ones already. I have a crisp $20 that says they are totally planning another Blood vs. Water season already. Even Gervase is teary at the sight of his voted-out niece. “I’m cool,” he says.

Probst points out the “big, long stare” that Marissa gave her tribe, and she explains how Gervase’s celebration “rubbed salt in their open wound.” Gervase promises he’ll rub some more, but when given the opportunity to swap places with Marissa he says “handle your biz.” If Marissa gets off Redemption Island, I wonder if she’s going to ally with Gervase? Maybe before she betrays him.

Probst explains the challenge. The competitors have to pick up a spool with a pole and guide it through a wire frame before balancing it on the top. Then they have to do it again, until all 10 spools form a tower on top of the wire frame. And the whole frame is on a wobbly spring, so you have to take it slow, or your spools will fall off. The whole challenge is pretty much the same as the final immunity challenge in Survivor: One World, if you remember. Or care.

Anyway, there are three people competing in the challenge. First to finish gets a hidden immunity idol clue to give to any castaway not on Redemption Island. Second place gets to stay in the game. Third place is, you’re fired and have to toss your buff in the fire.

This challenge is all about steadiness and patience, so obviously Rupert charges through his wire maze with the first spool, making it wobble so that when he tries to balance the spool on top it falls off. Candice is the first to get a spool on top, followed by Marissa. It’s not very interesting, so we fast forward to Candice with seven, Rupert with seven and Marissa with six. Probst announces that the wind is picking up, when Rupert balances a very wobbly eighth spool about half-way on top his already-leaning tower. Everything falls over.

Meanwhile Candice is working on her last spool. Probst says that “it’s very easy to knock your stack over”, but she doesn’t and wins the challenge. So it’s down to Rupert, who already has five spools piled up, and Marissa, who is on her last one. After some tense footage, Marissa doesn’t blow it, and Rupert is out and over hugging Rupert’s Laura and assuring her “you’ll be fine, I’m fine, you’ll be fine.” So much for that big speech about how he’ll fight in these challenges “time after time after time.”

So Rupert is the first one out, and maybe he was right about that “27 is a magical number” thing. He tries to scrape some dignity by declaring that he never went to Tribal Council and never got a vote, which is completely invalidated by the fact that he chose to be there. Rupert doesn’t have any regrets, but then I expect Rupert rarely does the “regrets” thing. He tosses his buff in the fire on the way out and then goes off to drive some hotel staff crazy.

Obviously, Candice gives the clue to John, and John interviews that he was excited to see Candice win so “to hell with these guilty feelings.” He also wants to make sure that it is weak people competing against Candice on Redemption Island.

Everyone congratulates John when Tadhana get back to camp and then the guys go off to talk about who they would like to vote off already, because their tribe is obviously going to keep losing. Vytas points out an interesting dynamic with this season. He says that when they vote someone out on their tribe, they are setting up one of the returnees to take their place on Redemption Island. “Who do we want to switch that’s strong?” “Tyson,” says Brad. “Exactly,” says Vytas, letting it be Brad’s idea.

John is less keen on sending someone strong to Redemption Island, and says that Vytas is “kind of going on supposition on that one.” “It’s a no-brainer,” says Vytas. John is also not keen on sharing his idol clue. Dummy. If everyone knows you have an immunity idol clue, it looks super-shady if you don’t share it with your alliance. The guys urge John to find the idol so “at least we know who doesn’t have it.” He goes off to read it, and it basically says it’s under a tree on the path between camp and where the tribe get their water.

At Galang, everyone tells Rupert’s Laura how sorry they are that Rupert has gone, but she says “I am surprisingly OK. There’s a little bit of sense of relief that I don’t have to worry about him.” Of course, she doesn’t have “my dream of playing with my husband,” but there are consolations too. Like not playing with her husband.

Meanwhile, Colton is frustrated because it “feels like middle school” and everyone just wants to have “campfire chats.” You would think that Colton, who seems to think of himself as a delightful, charming, effervescent personality, would enjoy the opportunity to spend all day chatting around a campfire impressing everyone with his wit and amusing stories. But he hates it! He’d much rather be in the middle school where everyone schemes against each other.

So off he goes to tell Gervase that Laura? should go first. Then he tells Monica that Tyson said they wanted to get rid of her. Then he goes to Tina out in the water and says that Gervase is cool with getting rid of Aras. “Gervase?” questions Tina, knowing that Gervase has been in an alliance with both her and Aras long before they even arrived in the Philippines and is not thinking at all about getting rid of Aras.

When Tina gets back on land, Kat approaches and asks if Colton was strategizing against her. Poor Kat, paranoid already. Tina says that it was about what will happen if the other tribe loses. Kat says in interview that she can’t have Colton turn on her. “He loves that stuff, he thrives on that, and it’s sick.”

Later that night, Kat and Colton are talking, and Kat says that “Tina freaked out because you were over-strategizing with her.”

“What did she say?”

Kat avoids answering by saying, “you’re so interested in what she said because you want to know what she told me.”

“I’m just going to go get her,” says Colton, and gets up to do that. Kat tries to call him back, but when she says she doesn’t know exactly what Tina said, it’s back on again. Colton interviews about how “I can rule in chaos.” Who wants to rule on Day 6? Day 6 rulers lose Survivor.

Eventually, Tina is dragged out to talk with Colton and Kat, and Kat is forced to say that Tina said “that we were over-strategizing.” Colton finger-points at her and says “no” and then repeats Kat’s exact words to him back to her. Then Colton tells Kat to calm down or she’ll be voted out.

Tina, who looks as though she just wants to get away from Colton’s stupid accusations, complains to the camera about all the drama. “So this is what Survivor 27 looks like?... you don’t want to deal with drama for 39 days”. Well, no one wants to, but that’s how Phillip Shepherd made it to the end. It’s how Russell Hantz made it to the end, twice. The real question is, why is Tina so surprised?

Now suddenly, the whole tribe is around the fire and Colton is saying that he wants to address the tribe. He says, “I don’t to look like a ***, I don’t want to be a ****, but I cannot forge forward in a relationship with...” I assume he’s still talking about Kat. “This doesn’t matter to most of us,” says Aras, who then goes on to say it doesn’t matter to Gervase or Monica or Laura? either. “I want to have a peaceful camp and I want to win.”

Tyson later interviews about how awesome that fight was, and that Colton is going to over-think his way out of the game. Colton is left simmering to Rupert’s Laura. “I just wanted to get to the truth.” Then he interviews that he wants his tribe to get slaughtered at immunity, so they realize “that this is a game, this isn’t National Lampoon’s Horrible Vacation.” But games are supposed to be fun, while horrible vacations are what happens when Colton is there. It’s no fun playing a game with someone who makes a bad dice throw and then flips the board over, screaming “That’s it! Tribal Council!”

The next morning at Galang, no one wants to talk with Colton. He says that “everyone is being super-sketchy” but Monica, the role of Colton-wrangler, assures him that he is not in trouble. Then she interviews that “the Monica, who’s just going to live in mediocrity, she died in Samoa” and we see her, Tyson, Gervase, Tina and Aras are all talking about Colton. Aras says that Colton’s game is to get people to turn on each other, and Tyson suggests they should all tell the group what Colton is saying about them. Monica shares that Colton said, “is everyone still on Kat, or are they on me?”

“It doesn’t have to be a game of fear, at all,” says Aras. “He’s a bully... he is a gay Russell Hantz.” Gay Russell Hantz, eh? After careful consideration, I have determined while it is a slam against Colton, Russell Hantz should feel more insulted. Aras interviews “What he did to Kat was bullying, and if he can do that to Kat, he can do it to Tyson, he can do it to Aras, he can do it to Gervase... and at a certain point, you have to say, ‘I don’t want to play with that person.’”

The group of five – Tyson, Monica, Aras, Tina and Gervase – cement an alliance of “five to the end” by putting their hands together and talking about how good their group is. Again we’ll see how this goes after the merge when loved ones get involved, but it’s worth noting that Tina, Monica and Aras all want to do better than their loved ones, and Gervase’s loved one is stuck on Redemption Island with (sorry, Marissa) not a great chance of getting out.

Probst sighting! Immunity challenge! One lucky castaway from each tribe will get put in a barrel and then rolled around a course by three tribe-mates who are tied together, and every now and then she will have to get out and untie some knots to release some bags with balls in them. After she has collected all four bags, she’ll hand them over to a group of tribe-mates who will take out the balls and roll them up at an incline which has six holes in it – kind of like in skee-ball. First tribe to land a ball in each of the six skee-ball holes wins immunity!

In addition, the tribes are playing for reward. What’s the reward, Probst! More fishing gear! That’s right, in addition to the fishing gear they started the game with, the winner will get nets, lines, lures, hooks, live bait and even lobster pots. Galang has an extra tribe member, so they sit out Kat, who is left to sit sunburnt and rejected on the sidelines.

Our barrel-girls are Laura? and Katie. They are rolled around inside their barrels, with Galang leading for most of the way until Tadhana finally overtakes them on the last stretch. Hayden starts tossing balls for Tadhana and gets two in before Galang even gets started.

However, each season of Survivor seems to have some ball-tossing savant and this season it is Gervase – though it helps that he is willing to take his time, while Hayden is just rushing through his balls without thinking much about aiming. Things are quickly tied up 3-3, and then it’s 4-4 with “two balls left for each guy.” Oh, Probst. Then Gervase gets in his final two balls and Galang! Wins! Immunity! “Marissa, that’s for you, baby!” he yells. Sorry Tadhana, but someone’s going home.

After the break, Tadhana arrive back at camp reminiscing about those 20 glorious seconds in which they led the immunity challenge. Predictably, Brad starts talking about what an idiot Gervase is and how if there is a physical challenge, he plans to bodyslam Gervase repeatedly. All of these excessive celebrations must be new to Brad, with his history in the NFL and all. To summarize: Brad says he voted out Gervase’s niece partly to send a personal message to Gervase, and now Brad’s upset because Gervase took it personally and keeps rubbing it in Brad’s face. Boo hoo, someone hand Brad his crying towel.

Katie interviews about how there are only three women left, and they can be picked off one by one. The guys are still thinking of Rachel as their best bet, because they believe Tyson will step up for her. But John tells the group that if Tyson stays put, it will weaken them because Rachel is the only woman who is willing to get physical in challenges. Of course, in interview, John just doesn’t want Tyson competing against Candice.

Vytas notices John’s “extreme hesitancy” and questions whether he is loyal to the “five guys” or to Rachel. Then he goes and asks Katie what she thinks about voting for Rachel. “Did you talk to John about that? He’s not going to get rid of her.” Vytas and Hayden say that they have, but even if John doesn’t vote for Rachel they still have the numbers. But then Katie remembers John’s clue to the idol and says “what if he saves her?” Vytas doesn’t think she has it.

Now John is telling Ciera that the vote is for Rachel, and also they are telling Rachel that the vote will be for Ciera. Obviously, Ciera freaks out, and gets together with Katie to swap notes. Katie says what Vytas and Hayden told her, but Ciera is especially worried that John has the hidden immunity idol and that he will use it to save Rachel. I can see why this is a useful tool to discredit John with the other guys, but I don’t see why John saving Rachel is a legitimate concern. Everyone gets paranoid, I guess. Especially Downton Abbey Daisy.

But anyway, Katie says she raised the same concern with Hayden and Vytas, and that she suggested she and Ciera vote for someone else. “John,” they say at the same time. So if John does actually play the idol to save Rachel and earn the undying disdain of his wife, he’s the one going home.

Later, Ciera notices that John is going somewhere. “Where’s John going?” she asks whoever else is there. Hayden interviews about how John not sharing his idol clue makes him “weary”. Then some sort of nap would seem to be in order. But “right now it’s John with the five guys, we’ll see how long he stays that way” Caleb, Vytas and Hayden all get together to discuss a potential John blind-side, which they are obviously not going to pull the trigger on. They don’t think he’ll share the idol.

Tribal Council. Probst notes the men-to-women ratio and asks if the woman are talking about this. Ciera says that they all sense they are vulnerable because the “five guys” are always going off together. Hayden smiles smugly and talks about how the “guys have bonded... not to say that there isn’t anything going on.” Katie says that she is still trying to figure what is happening among the guys.

Probst asks Caleb whether there is a bit of a target on John, who has that hidden immunity idol clue. Caleb says there’s definitely a target on John and Brad heads him off to say that they’re assuming he has already found it. “He’s got to figure out whether it’s best to tell the whole tribe or not.” Hint hint, he doesn’t say. Probst asks John about the vote, and he says that whoever they vote out, their loved one could take their place. Hayden says they could potentially weaken the other tribe by voting someone out here tonight.

And that’s it for Tribal Council this week, and it was probably the weakest Tribal Council of all time. Probst goes to “tally” the votes, and straight out of the urn we have two votes for John. Then one vote for Ciera. And then Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel all the way. “The second person voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Probst says, because Candice and Rupert aren’t around to correct him. “Peace guys,” says Rachel. Probst advises the remaining Tadhanas to win the next challenge.

Next time on Survivor, “will Tyson rise to the occasion” like a gallant knight to protect his watery-eyed damsel? It looks like he does, because he stands up, looks at Tadhana and says “Okay, none of you will have a chance in hell.” But he could just as easily sit down again.

And “will Colton finally crumble” after a whole six days? “Are you quitting this game?” asks Probst at the Redemption Island challenge. “I don’t care what they all say...” Colton blubs before going over to sit in Caleb’s lap. Daddy issues.