Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Episode 5
The Dead Can Still Talk
By Ben Willoughby
October 17, 2013

Building her own Bridge to Nowhere.

Previously on Survivor, the returning players on Galang were dominating the game, and “their only worry was knowing their loved ones were being voted out”. “Brad took all the blame” for this, which makes perfect sense, because he was the one making all the decisions. But after Tadhana lost yet again (beaten once more by their mothers!), Caleb decided to mix things up at Tribal Council by declaring that he would be writing Brad’s name down. Brad was sent to Redemption Island with votes from Katie, Ciera and a last-minute swing from Vytas. Who will be voted out tonight?

When Tadhana arrive back at camp, Caleb apologises to everyone for taking them by surprise and explains that it was something he felt he had to do. Katie, who has still not stopped smiling, asks Vytas if he is upset. He replies that he loves Ciera and was the swing vote that sent Brad packing. Ciera happily notes that Vytas and Hayden had no clue what Caleb was up to, and maybe there is an opportunity for her and Katie to work with him.

Ciera asks Caleb if his big move was planned, and he answers “no... it just festered... until I just couldn’t keep it down”. “Huge move, bro” bros Vytas. Hayden interviews that Caleb “pulled a fast one and screwed me and Vytas”, and he’s not sure where he stands in the tribe any more.

On Redemption Island, “kudos to Caleb” interviews Brad. “He knows the game, he learned a little bit from Colton”. I’d say only one of those things is true. If Caleb had learned the game from Colton, there would have been a dramatic ongoing whispering campaign, not a surprise “I’m voting for Brad, y’all do what you want to do”.

Anyway, Brad is not looking forward to Redemption Island, because he blind-sided John and Candice is mad at him. He wakes them up to apologize to them. John: “I am like, shocked, that you’re here,” and then “Way to go five guys, huh?” “Yeah, I know.” It seems like Brad may have learned a thing or two about team-building.

Brad bright-sides that there’ll be no “F--- You Brad Culpepper” segment at this week’s Redemption Island duel, and then gives the “business, not personal” spiel we’re already tired of this season. “Your real alliance is with your spouse,” he says, still not getting that’s why everyone is so mad at him. For her part, Candice says that his wife voted for her on Day One and Brad voted out John when John trusted him. So she is happy for a chance to put Brad out of the game entirely.

It is still night as we check in on Galang, where Aras is getting an intense massage from Laura? Apparently it’s really good because the yoga instructor is asking for tips, but I expect watching this now that Ciera is cracking up at her mom flirting with Aras. “Young or old, it all looks the same in the dark,” Laura? whispers in his ear. (Not really)

Laura? interviews about how in Survivor you need to get a group of people that you can trust and who like you. She likes Aras and that she would like to build a trust relationship with him, but it’s a little late for that. Laura? should have been in an alliance before she arrived on the island. She probably tried at those Survivor cast events, but everyone assumed she was one of the waiting staff.

Aras interviews about how he thinks Laura? thinks she is playing him. He outlines the core alliance of five, and that Laura? is perceptive enough to realise she is out so she is doing all she can to get in. He really likes the massage though. “Where did you learn this?” Aras asks. “Twenty years of marriage,” says Laura?, mood-killer.

Meanwhile, Rupert’s Laura has “blankie space available”. “I’m good”, says Gervase. Rupert’s Laura still feels like the tribe outsider, because she doesn’t have the “total emotional connection they have” from playing Survivor before.

Redemption Island challenge, so let’s get a look at the new Tadhana tribe with Brad gone. Rupert’s Laura reaches across to soothe Monica, while Laura? fist-pumps. I assume this is because this means Ciera is still in, and not Brad-related.

In come the competitors for the duel. “I’m so sorry,” says Monica. She offers to take Brad’s spot, but he talks about how she is his rock and he is going to battle and make it back into the game. And Brad has something else to say. “I’m not here because I’m a jerk, I just want to make that clear. These guys already know it,” he volunteers for Candice and John. “This tribe knows it too,” says Monica.

Probst asks Candice about the “negative energy” she threw about Brad even though she never played the game with either tribe. Candice she says that she was just repeating things that she heard from people who were voted out, and while they were “adamant about the things that they said” it’s really Brad’s word against theirs. Brad is quick to claim that it’s not just his word, but (and he points up at his former tribe) “and his and his and his and hers and hers and his”. Way to prove that you’re not a woman-shushing jerk, Brad, by insisting what other peoples’ opinions really are.

“And maybe that’s a really good lesson to learn, Candice,” patronizes Monica, who seems to think that learning life lessons is what other people should do, “because you really hurt my feelings, screaming obscenities at my husband.” Meh, that was Marissa. Candace just gave him the finger. Candice shoots back that “you hurt my feelings when you wrote my name down”. Not the forgiving kind, Candice.

Anyway, here’s the challenge. The three competitors will remove planks from the sides of a crate and then use those planks to complete a bridge. Once they have crossed the bridge, they will take the planks from the bridge and use them to solve a puzzle. Let’s see who wins, and who gets the honor of tossing their buff on the fire!

The crate-dismantling and the bridge building are pretty mundane, and there aren’t even any Probst commentary highlights. John gets to the puzzle stage first, with Brad close behind and Candice lagging a little. And the puzzle is completed in that order too. “Culpepper stays alive!” rejoices Probst, and Candice is out. After a tearful farewell, John tells her to eat some cheeseburgers for him, and Candice tells him “no more tears, OK?”. Has Candice been watching John’s interviews? Anyway, so long Candice. Your Redemption Island anger and determination will be missed.

But before we go, there’s one more bit of Redemption Island business. John gives the hidden immunity idol clue to Monica, and Probst asks her what she is going to do – keep it, or throw it in the fire again. Brad displays his usual level of self-awareness by telling her immediately to throw it on the fire. She does, and Brad and John are left to “continue their quest to get back in this game” and share male bonding time.

Monica talks about how “demoralised” she was after seeing Brad was voted out. But she thinks Brad will win his way off Redemption Island and they will be able to “scramble to the end together”. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t come back in the game,” says Tina. “Thank you for your words of encouragement,” platitudes Monica.

In interview, Tina is quite happy that Brad is on Redemption Island. In addition to Katie still being in the game, she says that Monica and Brad are a “very tight couple, and that’s very threatening”. And also that “without her guy as a back-up”, Monica “is also going to step up her gameplay”. Monica tries to assure Tina that she is 100% with her alliance of five, but Tina doesn’t trust Monica – she knows she will either be “a big threat or a great asset”, and hasn’t figured out which yet.

At Tadhana, Vytas is offering bites of banana to Caleb and Ciera, and Ciera and Katie are swapping stories about how gross their scrapes and bug bites are. Katie wins by a mile, because she is losing toenails by the handful. Vytas, who presumably had to see and do horrible things when he was a junkie, is “sickened” and can’t bear to look. I feel the same way.

Rather than look at Katie’s toenails, Vytas goes on sucking up to Caleb detail. In interview, he talks about how no one can be 100% with Caleb after his big move at Tribal Council. But out on the boat, Vytas tells Caleb about how much he loves ”spunky” Ciera, then dropping that Ciera and Katie wouldn’t get along in real life but out here they are “thick as thieves”, before saying it’s just like him and Caleb. He even comments on how great Caleb’s skin looks. Real subtle, Vytas.

Where is Hayden while this is happening? If he’s as smooth as Vytas, or as Caleb’s skin, he’s letting Katie and Ciera feel his biceps. Caleb interviews how good it feels to be the swing vote.

Now we get some talk about how calm the tribe is without Brad there. Vytas is saying “a lot of the noise he came with kind of polluted” the peace and quiet of this beautiful place, against a heroic yoga montage that I’m sure the editors have inserted just to grind Coach’s cookies. Then the five of them sit on a hilltop and talk about team chemistry without Brad. Tadhana is really getting the winners’ edit going into the challenge.

Probst sighting! Immunity challenge! In this one, members of each tribe will face off individually by sliding down a slippery-slide, collecting a hoop at the bottom and then tossing that hoop onto a pole. First person to hoop the pole wins their tribe a point. First tribe to five, wins! And the reward is steaks, vegetables, spices and a wok, which they can trade for the despised fishing gear if they want.

There’s a very minor commotion among the Galangs about who to sit out. Kat doesn’t want to, so Monica and both Lauras go sit on the bench. Caleb gets the first ring on the pole, then Tyson squares things up in the next round. But then both Katie and Vytas score (“Vytas with one toss!”) and Tadhana is up 3-1. Criminy! Can Tadhana actually win? Without Brad’s leadership?

However, Ciera is up next against Tina, and Tina gets her ring on the pole. Yet again, Ciera is vanquished, and this time by someone else’s mother. Then Caleb scores before Tyson and it’s 4-2, match-point Tadhana.

Gervase and Hayden face off for the last ring, and the editors are careful to include several close shaves by each, before Hayden finally gets his ring on the pole. Tadhana! Wins! Immunity! And Galang are going to Tribal Council for the very first time. The Tadhanas celebrate, the Galangs applaud, and Katie says “thank you Jesus”. Normally, I’d say deities don’t have much interest in the outcomes of reality TV shows, but He may have had an impact just this once.

Tadhana picks the steaks as the reward, and Probst mocks them, saying they “could have fed themselves for the rest of the game”. Well, if you don’t count all the fishing gear they already have, and only until the merge when they will all have access to the fishing gear, or not even that long if there is some sort of tribe switch.

After the break, we get an interview with Rupert’s Laura, who is off to Tribal Council for the first time ever. She is nervous just about going, and nervous that it could be her voted out. Gervase – whose crotch is blurred as he stands in profile – reassures her.

But this is not enough for Rupert’s Laura, who decides to try her hand at the social game. “Your sweet friends were kind of bitching about you doing the challenge,” she tells Kat (in front of Tina and Tyson), before explaining that “girls have rivalries, I felt it the whole time”, and then later a “just saying”. Is there a better signal that someone is being passive-aggressive than the phrase “just saying”? And does Rupert’s Laura really think that anyone will fall for this? Even Kat?

“Well, that sucks,” says Kat, before interviewing that when someone is on the bottom they will say anything to get them off, and you are forced to “accommodate their conversation (to) make them feel better”. “Just thought I’d throw that out there. Ah, women” sighs Rupert’s Laura, missing the irony. I mean, if you're going to be all “women start meaningless fights”, don’t use that argument to try and start a meaningless fight.

Tyson again summarises the alliance of five, before adding that Kat thinks that she is in the alliance and Laura? “has no clue what alliance is going on”. But tonight he says they are all planning to vote for Rupert’s Laura, because they all find her annoying.

Laura? confirms the vote for Rupert’s Laura with Aras, before saying what’s great about their relationship is that “they don’t talk a lot of strategy, they don’t need to”. Which is the Survivor equivalent of saying “what’s great about my marriage is we don’t have sex, we don’t need to”.

Aras proves this by first stating that a vote for Rupert’s Laura would be an easy vote because “everyone feels uncomfortable with her”, then qualifying it by saying that the easy votes are often the dumbest, then acting on it by suggesting to Tyson that they vote for Laura? He thinks ouzzle-solving Laura? could beat Brad on Redemption Island, which would give Monica nowhere to go but Aras-town.

Aras and Tyson ask Monica what she thinks, and she is hesitant because Rupert’s Laura would be the easiest of wins for Brad and definitely keep him in the game for another three days. It’s exactly the same dilemma that helped John get himself voted out. We’ll see how Monica plays it.

Aras then second-guesses himself, saying that tonight should be an easy vote, and that voting for anyone but Rupert’s Laura would stir up controversy, and the more he tries to manipulate the vote, the more danger he puts himself in. Thanks Aras, for providing this week’s pre-vote tension-building.

Tribal Council. Probst opens by asking Gervase what it feels like to be back after 13 years. He says the way he played 13 years ago is gone, and people are “wheeling and dealing from Day 1”. Tina agrees, saying that she played more Survivor in the first five days this season than her entire season in Australia, plus this time you aren’t just thinking about yourself but your loved one. Monica also agrees, saying that the stakes are higher in this season, and that people are looking at who will be playing with their loved ones after the merge, making it more stressful than before.

Probst asks Aras about loyalty to loved ones, and he replies that it is a big factor. “But right now, let Vytas do what Vytas does, and maybe there’s space for him here and maybe there’s not, but I have to be sure and shore up all of these relationships”. Probst interprets Aras as saying that Vytas will be left hanging out to dry, and asks Laura? what she thinks of this. Laura? doesn’t want to show any weakness, so she talks about cutting apron strings and kicking birds out of the nest.

Probst asks Gervase whether Laura? has proven her loyalty by repeatedly “squashing her daughter in challenges”, but he correctly points out that she and Ciera have a tight relationship – as most people here does.

“You were voted out seconds into the game, you’re now on a tribe with people who’ve played before, you’ve never played. Do you belong out here?” Probst flat out asks Rupert’s Laura. She claims to feel that she’s “very much a part of the tribe”, and then points out how hard she works, which is exactly what you say when you know you’re on the outs. If you had any other leverage, you wouldn’t be saying “who will collect the firewood?” Monica agrees, saying that Rupert’s Laura has been with them from Day 1, and has been out fishing and fetching wood.

Probst points out that of course you say that about someone you’re voting her, and he brings up Rupert, because everyone was “looking forward” to playing with Rupert and Probst is worried that viewers might not be interested in the season without him. “Rupert’s tie-dyed, man-in-the-woods, yaarrrrhh!” summarizes Probst. Wow, that's a big standard for Rupert’s Laura to live up to! Rupert’s Laura says that Rupert’s name came up several times because Rupert, Rupert, Rupert, but she feels she has bonded with everyone on the tribe.

But then Laura? makes an awkward interruption to say that Rupert’s Laura has not been to Tribal Council before, and she “hasn’t felt the sting of you putting our torch out and saying your game is over. That’s still stinging in every single one of us”. Actually, neither Aras or Tina have felt that sting, but that’s another story. Time to vote.

The editors have their fun by showing lots of votes for Laura, but which one will it be? Laura? votes for Rupert’s Laura, saying that there’s room for only one Laura on the tribe. Rupert’s Laura is also “real happy to have only one Laura on the tribe”. That’s nice, but you’ll always be Rupert’s Laura and Laura? to me.

Probst “tallies” the votes, which are Rupert’s Laura, then Laura? Laura? Laura? Laura? and Laura? is the fifth person voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. The sting! The sting burns! Kat draws her hoodie over her face. Probst congratulates the returning players for “a blind-side straight out of the gate”, even though it’s not really a blind-side when only one person is surprised.

Next time on Survivor, Gervase and Tyson are thinking about getting rid of Aras, but it’s all just talk because tribe switch!

Laura?’s post-boot interview is about how shocked she was and that she’s still not out of the game. Then she goes to Redemption Island. “How did you guys lose?” asks Brad in shock.