Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Episode 3
Opening Pandora's Box
By Ben Willoughby
October 3, 2013

The show helped me realize that I can do much better than Tyson.

Previously on Survivor, Candice won at Redemption Island and gave her husband a clue to a hidden immunity idol. Because what was she going to do, give it to some total stranger? But even though John played things really, really badly, when Tadhana lost their immunity challenge, out-of-her-depth Rachel was sent to Redemption Island with the intention of getting Tyson to take her place.

Also, Colton got bored and tried to shake things up by saying everyone was saying nasty things about everyone else, but no one would listen to him. In other news, I just noticed that Gervase has a great big “Pagong” tattoo on his arm, and I don’t know why a person would do that. You might as well have “Survivor loser” branded on your forehead. Sixteen are left, who will be voted out tonight?

Day 7 at Galang, and apparently the most interesting piece of footage is a poll among the Galangs about “the strangest thing seen on sale at a gas station.” Tina says “cupcake belt,” which seems very out of left-field, but it turns out that Tyson is indeed sporting a belt with a cupcake-buckle. Aras complains that it is making them hungry, so Tyson invites people to lick it.

However, Colton is not interested in licking cupcakes from Tyson’s belt-buckle region. He would rather talk about who they have to sit out in a challenge, because that would involve making someone else the tribe pariah. “Yeah, let’s call each other out right now!” mocks Laura? Ha! “No one wants to talk about strategy, they just want to sit around hear each other tell their life stories,” he complains. Again, swapping life stories is something I thought Colton would be into. But no.

Colton says that he thinks they are scared of him, but he is left to whimper on the beach. “Do you think I’m in trouble?” he asks Aras. Aras says “Yes,” but then he fake-encourages Colton by saying that he is not out of the game. “I just wanted to re-define how I played this game, and I feel it’s too little, too late now,” says Colton, who just interviewed that he is frustrated about how he can’t play Survivor the same way he did in his first season.

Aras is forced to buck Colton up by saying that you never know when someone might do something stupid. Colton throws a huge tantrum. He says, “I want to do something stupid now!” before throwing his favorite toy across the room. Okay, he doesn’t really do that, he pleads “Tell me I’ll get a second chance.” “I can’t tell you that,” says Aras, before urging him to relax and enjoy himself. Real comforting, Aras.

Aras interviews that Colton “doesn’t get this game. He thinks this game is about creating chaos.” Colton whines that “unless you’ve got people who are willing to roll with you (by which he means, “act the way I want them to”), there’s not a lot you can do.” Except follow Aras’ advice of waiting for the right moment, which is apparently a non-starter.

Redemption Island. Galang gets their first chance to see the new Tadhana, with Rachel voted out. Tyson looks unhappy.

The three Redemptioners come in and Probst asks Tyson for a reaction. He says that it’s obviously because they wanted to tempt him into switching places with her. I wonder if this makes Galangs like Monica and Kat worry at all that the same thing could happen to them if Galang ever loses a challenge.

Rachel wastes no time in confirming that is what happened, and outs Brad as the ring-leader, saying that “everyone has fallen under his spell.” Well, really they’re all shutting up and letting Brad take the hits, but whatever.

Tyson, do you want to take Rachel’s spot? Tyson says that it’s up to Rachel, but she volunteers to stay, saying that Tyson has a better chance to win than she does. That’s certainly true. Rachel seems like an awfully nice person, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone less suited to playing Survivor, and I’ve seen people who were afraid of leaves. I’ve seen people who were unable to start a fire with matches. I’ve seen someone tell Boston Rob he was considering voting for Boston Rob.

Anyway, Tyson gets up to poke some needles at the other tribe. “You guys watch out, because if I ever see you at Redemption Island, none of you have a chance in Hell.” And at Brad in particular. “Mr Football over there, smiling at me.” In response, Brad gives an exaggerated wave he thinks is charming. Tyson continues. “You’re big, but that’s the worst thing in this game.”

Brad argues back. “We haven’t wanted to vote anyone out, but we’ve had to. You guys cheer over there when you win, and we gotta go home and get rid of one of your loved ones. You guys haven’t had the difficult conversations we’ve had. Nobody has been voted out over there, so don’t start throwing arrows at us.” Normally these would be good arguments, but the Tadhana votes have been for personal reasons, like “I don’t like the way Gervase celebrates” and “let’s vote out Rachel to get to Tyson.” You can’t vote for personal reasons then complain when people take it personally.

Marissa mocks Brad’s claims that these votes were “difficult,” and says that the votes should have been easy by voting out the two weakest players. Survivor: Borneo flashback! Gervase was right – Marissa really is like him. Brad explains about as condescendingly as he can, “We’re playing Survivor, babe! Maybe there’s more to it than that.”

“F--- you, Brad Culpepper!”, says Marissa. That was excellent, as it’s not everyone who would say that to a former defensive tackle, but Gervase is correct to step in and tell Marissa she needs to tone it down and stay focused on what she has to do. Anyway, Probst must be thrilled, because this whole “taking it personally” drama is exactly what they brought Redemption Island back for. It was never this exciting when everyone was trying to beat Matt.

And now Colton, who hasn’t anything to do with anything, starts crying. “What are you crying about?” asks Probst dismissively. “I don’t want to be here anymore. At all. And I’m sorry.” “Don’t quit, Colton,” Rachel says half-heartedly. “I can’t do this,” blubs Colton. Roll credits.

After the break, we are back with Colton. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” he says. “Meaning what, you’re quitting? Again?” because if there’s one thing Probst hates, it is quitters. Probst chides Colton for coming back a second time claiming that he had changed and was completely different, when really he’s the same old Colton. “I don’t care about this tribe,” protests Colton. Boo hoo! If Colton was on a tribe he supposedly cared about he’d be turning them against each other and making them angry and miserable.

Probst says that it’s clear that Colton doesn’t care, because he “is costing them a tribe member in a game about numbers.” Colton tries to argue that quitting is the best move for him, but Probst insists it is a selfish move. Of course, Colton’s whole game-plan that he cannot play is to weaken his tribe, so for once there is actually an argument that Colton’s leaving actually makes the tribe stronger.

Probst wants to send a message home, and he says that on Colton’s first season he “feigned appendicitis” and asks, “do you want to own that one now?” Colton objects that he doesn’t know what it was and that he was treated for a bacterial infection – though, let’s face it, everyone on Survivor probably has a bacterial infection – and says that “when my back is against the wall in this game, I turn into the person I was in One World, and I don’t want to be that person. I’m tired of being hated by everybody.”

But he gets no support from his tribe. Tyson says that Colton “turned into that person before your back was against the wall” and Tina says that because Galang is not playing the way Colton wants to play, Colton “knows he can’t win the game.”

“Is that the way things go, Colton, when things don’t go your way, let’s just stop?” Probst continues the scolding.

After confirming with Colton that he is quitting (“yes”), Probst challenges Caleb to talk about how disappointing this is, personally, for him. Caleb doesn’t understand Colton’s decision, because Colton likes Survivor so much. Probst interrupts to say that “lots of people like to watch adventure. It doesn’t mean they should get up off the couch. And I’m now convinced Colton should never have gotten off the couch. We brought a quitter back and we got a quitter again.” Let this be a lesson, Survivor!

But Colton doesn’t care what Probst says, he goes over to sit in Caleb’s lap. “You can win this game,” he whispers in support. Though without any chance of Colton being on the jury to vote for him, Caleb’s chances just got shorter. “If you need to do this, just do it. You know me, I don’t care,” affirms Caleb. Well, that’s... supportive?

Probst still isn’t done with telling Colton off. He says that Colton “came back for a second time because you said you wanted to show how much you’ve grown, but your behavior now shows that you haven’t, and the irony is that the opportunity for the growth you seek is right in front of you.”

Colton doesn’t even get the “honor” of throwing his buff on the fire! Feel the shame burn, Colton! I’m surprised Probst isn’t demanding that Colton come and lay across his knee so that Probst can spank his little bottom. “Love you babe. Catch you on the flip side,” says Caleb, which sounds more like something you’d say when you’re breaking up with someone you don’t want to see again. And that’s pretty much the last you’ll see of Caleb this episode.

Wow. I don’t think that could have gone more embarrassingly for Colton, with no hope of reinventing the Colton brand, but I’d prefer to focus on Survivor’s decision to bring Colton back in the first place. As if there weren’t enough reasons to not have him back, we learn that he quit the show? On a show that disdains quitters, why would you decide to bring one back?

Anyway, Probst seems thrilled with the way things went down. I wonder if he brought Colton back just for the opportunity to discipline him. The rest of Galang is left to think about how easy camp life is going to get now that all the socially-dysfunctional people are gone.

But we still have a Redemption Island duel to be fought. Buffs have to be burned! This duel is the one where you position tiles like dominoes on an angular platform, and when they are all set up you knock them down. Hopefully the chain of dominoes continues all the way to the end, where it will release a ball that will then fall on a tile and smash it. This version is a little more difficult, because there are “trip bars” that will make parts of the structure wobble and knock everything over if you step into them. Also, it’s 114 degrees today.

There’s lots of boring footage of Candice, Marissa and Rachel setting up their dominoes, but soon Candice is ready to give it a go. Her chain of dominoes falls over just the way she wants it to, and she wins the Redemption Island duel again. She is not there to mess around.

Marissa’s first attempt falls short, and Rachel bumps her trip bar, and then we have several shots of them trying and failing. Finally, after 45 minutes Marissa is about to pass out. But both she and Rachel get their dominoes dropping at about the same time. Rachel’s dominoes fall short, but Marissa’s go all the way to the end. “That’s why we don’t quit!” celebrates Gervase (and probably infuriating Brad) “You’re in this game still!”

Tyson goes over to Rachel and asks her if she had fun while she was here. Rachel says she did, but I reckon she’s looking forward to spending the next 32 days on a beach, eating shrimp and drinking margaritas. Rachel, your time on Survivor is over. Please accept the great honor of tossing your buff on the fire. Everyone claps as she leaves.

Oh, and the hidden immunity idol clue! Candice gives it to John.

Back at Camp Galang, everyone is sad for Tyson. Tyson (Tyson!) is failing to hold back tears as he says that Rachel did say that she had fun, “because it is a game. Too many people take it too seriously and it shouldn’t be, and it ruins their lives and it makes them angry.” And that’s the perfect segue for some Galang discussion of Colton. “Why did he quit?” asks Kat. “Because he didn’t have control of us,” says Rupert’s Laura. Aras agrees, saying that no-one wanted to talk strategy with Colton, and he didn’t want to bide his time, so he quit.”

Monica says that she can only remember all the people complaining about her husband. “That was a strong attack on the Culpepper name,” says Aras. Tyson also volunteers that it is weird with Monica now, because he knows her husband was the reason Rachel was voted out, and also because it was a tactic to get to Tyson. “But he doesn’t know how to play the game, all he’s doing is creating a larger target on his back.”

Over on Tadhana, Brad is asking everyone “am I being a tyrant?” which is exactly the passive-aggressive garbage that actual real-life tyrants do. Everyone says he isn’t, but Brad complains about how everyone is blaming him and no one else, and that with Redemption Island, your dirty laundry comes back to haunt you. Maybe Brad should have thought of that before putting himself forward as the leader and saying “this is who we send because we don’t like your uncle.”

In interview, Brad is still talking about how it’s not fair that Tyson blamed him for voting out Rachel and Marissa described him as a “kingpin, ruling the roost”. “I am,” he is quick to say, “but I’m making everyone else feel that decisions are being made by the group”. That’s pretty funny, because it’s obvious that everyone is keeping their real feelings to themselves.

However, John is remarkably chipper about Brad. He talks with Hayden about what a good leader Brad is, and how effective he is at team-building. “We could not have been dropped in a better position,” he tells Brad, speaking about the tribe that has lost 100% of its immunity challenges so far. Then he goes off to read the clue to the hidden immunity idol. It talks about finding the serpent in the tree and digging and being on the way to the waterfall.

Actually, before John goes, he thinks about how much he likes Brad, and he decides to share the clue with him. Brad suggests they go look for the idol together, but John thinks that would look suspicious to the other guys, and informs Brad that he would prefer to look for it alone. Because that looks totally above-board and not at all shady to Brad. Indeed, Brad does not look happy and interviews about how he’s not sure that John trusts him.

Now it’s time for a commercial promoting The Millers, what is likely to be Will Arnett’s third consecutive sitcom failure. Did you know that The Millers has given a writing gig to last season’s Survivor winner, Cochran? I expect there’ll be a lot of gags about Beau Bridges’ character going Hollywood because he’s wearing sunglasses while grilling meat. Keep those hit shows coming, CBS!

There’s treemail at Galang, and it forecasts a physical challenge between the two tribes. Everyone’s looking forward to this – especially Aras, who says that Vytas has been a bully in his life, and if Vytas could punch Aras when their mother wasn’t looking, he would do it. So Aras wants to beat him. And Vytas owns his bullying before listing all of Aras’ accomplishments – including “best body” in high school – and explaining that Aras always gets to win. “Finally, for once, can I win, please?”

Probst sighting! The challenge takes place out in the water, and the castaways will “square off, one-on-one, sumo-style,” which isn’t true at all because they’ll be using padded bags and won’t be wearing loincloths. But it gets the idea across. Knock the other castaway off the platform and your tribe wins a point. First tribe to five, wins. Castaways are playing for reward as well as immunity – and this week the reward is comfort – tarp, pillows, blanket, mosquito net, hammock. Or they can trade it for some fishing gear. Monica will be sitting this one out.

First up, it’s Gervase and Brad. I have a weird sense that these match-ups are fixed! Gervase puts on a bit of a fight, but Brad is able to knock him off. Next, it’s Rupert’s Laura and Katie. Tina is trying to hide her laughter, because she knows her daughter is going to get crushed. Rupert’s Laura scores.

The bout between John and Aras is tensely fought, with Aras ending up in the water. Kat and Ciera face off next, and they blow kisses at each other. Hayden is tremendously excited to see all this. Anyway, even though Kat is probably the weakest competitor Ciera could have hoped for, she is knocked off with just one shove.

Hayden makes a “big hit” on Tyson. So big that Tyson can’t lift his shoulder and the medical team is called in. The shoulder is popped out “a little” and maybe he has torn a tendon. Apparently, it will get less painful over time, but if Tyson continues in this challenge now, his shoulder could pop out entirely. Unfortunately there are no lockers for him to ram his shoulder against, Riggs-style. Tadhana is up 3-2.

Now it is Tina vs. Katie. “Don’t make me laugh” protests Katie, but after a bit of scrapping Katie is in the water. Tina throws down her padded bag like she’s dropping a mic.

Here’s the one we’ve all been waiting for – Aras and Vytas. We get some smack-talk beforehand, where Vytas declares that Aras has been afraid of him “since he was a little kid,” while Aras wants to “take the bully and put him in the water.”

Vytas slips soon after the fight begins, and when Aras tries to shove him off, Vytas has no option but to turtle. Eventually, Aras steps back and lets Vytas get on his feet. “Go on your own call now,” says Probst but as he stands, Vytas tries to take his younger brother by surprise. Even Probst calls this out as “one of the biggest unsportsman-like moves.” Aras is able to dodge, and eventually shoves Vytas off the platform. Vytas is left to say that he is proud of Aras and that “he’s the college athlete, I’m the junkie.” It’s 4-3 Galang.

And in another mother-daughter match-up we have Laura? vs. Ciera. After Ciera’s embarrassing first showing, I’m convinced that Laura? takes it easy on her daughter to at least make things look competitive (and also, not to hurt her), before pushing her into the water.

Galang! Wins! Immunity! Yet another trip to Tribal Council for you, Tadhana. Someone’s going home! Which woman will it be? Before the break, John talks about how disappointed he is in Ciera. Couldn’t beat her own mother!

Tadhana arrives back at camp and consoles themselves about their loss. Vytas says that Aras won “even after I gave him a little bit of a cheap shot.” Then the men go off to talk about which of the women they will be voting for. John says that he likes Katie, but she couldn’t beat her own mother. They all agree that they can’t have people giggling at a challenge. It’s a sacred ritual!

But the crucial factor for John is that Katie “has cooked every meal” while Ciera hasn’t done anything around camp. So John thinks it should be Ciera, and everyone seems to agree. Note to Candice: make sure the house is clean, and that the steak and potatoes are on the table at 7:00 sharp! Then he goes off to look for the hidden immunity idol again.

As soon as John’s gone, Brad asserts that John is a strong player who could reconnect with Candice, so he obviously needs to go. “Candice is kicking it at Redemption Island,” he says, even though Candice probably needs to get through another three or four challenges at least. And when she’s back, “Brad doesn’t control John. Candice does.” Brad is on the money here, but I think his timing is wrong. Neither Ciera or Katie have been much good in challenges, but they are both pretty smart and they’d only need to bring over one of the men to make things difficult for him.

Hayden is blown away by the thought of breaking up the five guys now. He asks Brad about the idol clue, and Brad tells everyone about the serpentine tree and the waterfall and the digging. “It’s been five guys since Day One, and if we’re voting one out now, it could be like opening Pandora ’s Box. It really could build distrust.” I think Hayden is okay with that.

Brad assures everyone that “the girls will be on board” and back at camp, he lays it down to Katie and Ciera. “Here’s the deal. We’re going unified on John... here’s the brutal truth. If it’s not John, it’s got to be one of you guys... And just so you know, I may vote for you so that if John gets back in the game, I can maybe pull him back in.” Well, that’s reassuring. Brad is treating everyone lower on the totem pole with contempt, so how exactly does he think he is going to win this game? I know I’m not the only one reminded of Russell Hantz.

Vytas is observing this as well. He notes that Brad is talking about not voting for John himself, but Vytas wants to have all hands on the same knife. He thinks that Brad now has a big target on him due to “that level of shysty-ness.”

Ciera, who was worried about the idol last week, is paranoid about it now that John has two clues and has been spending lots of time looking for it, and wants to vote for someone else. I’d be more worried if he was spending no time looking for it, but Ciera is pretty good about getting people to talk about voting off the person she wants voted off.

Exhibit A. Hayden says that the whole thing is “Brad’s call” and Ciera leaps on it. “You’re saying vote Brad.”

“I think it might be smart,” says Hayden.

“Might be,” Vytas is non-committal. Katie says that would be “magical,” while Ciera interviews so long as it is anyone but her.

Vytas and Hayden continue talking about what a huge blindside it would be to get rid of Brad, which is how you know it’s not going to happen. Yet. Vytas is leaning towards John. “Do we want to keep someone around who might actually have the idol?” he asks Hayden, even though having someone in your alliance with an idol is usually a good thing. Whatever happens, Hayden is looking forward to a big blind-side.

Tribal Council. Probst can’t wait to talk about the challenge and how the manly men scored all of the points. John says that it was about “match-ups, and everyone has to come to the table and win their match-up”.

Probst can’t let it go, and points out to Katie and Ciera that they lost to their mothers! Again! Katie admits that it is frustrating, while Ciera is “embarrassed” and she “feels like you let your team down.”

That avenue is pretty boring, so Probst asks Caleb if there is a men vs. women thing, with the men dominating and the women going home? Males have dominated, duhs Caleb.

But Vytas, is there a male alliance? Vytas says that it’s “not as rudimentary as men vs. women” and that “trust and information” are the currencies on Survivor, and “anything somebody says or does just adds to the information you get about that person.” Probst asks Brad if he is concerned with what Vytas said. Brad complains about how when they go to Redemption Island, he’s the one who gets blamed, and everyone just assumes out of nowhere that he’s a kingpin.

John, Candice gave you a clue and said, “’I’m going to trust my husband knows what to do with this.” What could that mean? John reasonably explains that she trusts him to play the clue in the best way. Poor Candice and her misplaced trust.

Does Vytas wish that he had all these clues? I bet he would because it would mean Aras is stuck on Redemption Island. But he says that he’s happy someone in his alliance has it, and that he is also glad it is not him.

Probst asks Hayden what the chances are that John doesn’t have it? Hayden says it depends on the clues, and that he hasn’t seen the clues. Brad interrupts to add that “you cannot tell the truth all the time,” and “there is only one winner at the end of the day.” It is time to vote, and we only hear Ciera saying “I hope this gets you out of the game because you are a huge threat to me.”

Before Probst “tallies” the votes, he asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol. John’s face is full of shame. And the votes are for Ciera, then John, John, John and John. The tribe has spoken, but John will have a chance to get back in this game. He will just have to crush his wife’s hopes and dreams to do it. Sorry John, but at least you won’t have those crushing feelings of guilt any more.

Probst duhs to Tadhana that with every vote they are getting weaker, then sends them packing.

Next time on Survivor, “Brad thinks he’s in control of the game”, which isn’t exactly news. And Candice gives Brad the finger and calls him a child.

Arriving at Redemption Island, John explains to Candice that he was totally blind-sided and he doesn’t really know what happened. Then they make out right in front of Marissa.