Survivor: Blood vs Water - Episode 10
Big Bad Wolf
By Ben Willoughby
November 21, 2013

I am feeling somewhat isolated from the tribe.

Previously on Survivor, “having a loved one seemed to be a blessing but it was turning out to be a curse.” After the merge, Tyson’s alliance “held all the power, taking out Aras’s couples alliance.” Vytas and Tina were voted out at the accelerated tribal councils, leaving Katie as the last one of her alliance. Eight are left, who will be voted out tonight?

There’s a python hanging around at camp as the castaways return from voting out Tina. “Sorry Katie,” says Tyson. “It’s all right,” she says. In interview, Katie is feeling the defeat. She has to find a way to get further in the game, but the seven of them are “so engrossed in their own alliance.”

Meanwhile, Laura? and Ciera bond over being the last pair left in the game. “So cool.” But in interview, Ciera talks about how it will make them both a huge target, eventually. But for now, Ciera tells Laura? that the plan is to vote for Katie next and if Katie wins immunity, Monica.

Day 25. Laura? is talking with Ciera about how when she was on Redemption Island, she felt that her game was completely screwed. But now she’s here and in a powerful position, with two votes! Laura? is so powerful, her own daughter is going to tell her she’ll be voted out next. Ciera’s advice to Laura? is to lay low, do whatever Tyson says and not have strategy conversations with anyone.

Ciera interviews that this is quite a role reversal, and she feels that she’s proven she is a better Survivor player than her mother while forgetting to mention that she had her clock cleaned by her mother several times at immunity challenges. Ciera feels she lived through all those tribal councils where the women were being picked off one at a time, while her mother was voted out at her first one. Fair point, but no gloating!

Laura? also interviews that it’s unusual for her to follow her daughter’s lead, but “I’m following my daughter’s discernment and judgment. That’s an amazing gift this game has given me.” “Just keep telling me my social game,” she tells Ciera. But Ciera’s social game advice is mostly “Shut up, mom. You’re embarrassing me,” which any teenager would be qualified to give.

Now we’ve established the theme for this episode, Ciera gives the interview money shot the Blood vs. Water season has been waiting for, where she says “if mom needs to go in order for me to win the game, she needs to go!” Roll credits.

Probst sighting! Time for the Redemption Island duel between Aras, Vytas and Tina. Probst explains that they will use a grapple to retrieve three bags. Each bag has a ball in it, and they will take one of the balls and guide it through a table maze – one of those mazes where you tilt and wobble the table using a rope-and-pulley arrangement to guide the ball through it.

Probst suggests that Tina not even considering to beg Katie to swap with her is all to do with the “mother-daughter bond,” but really it’s because any gesture would be pointless as Tina would be sent straight back to Redemption Island at the next Tribal Council.

The challenge gets underway, and presumed challenge-weakling Tina proves to be a grappling machine, having retrieved all her three bags before Vytas has even hooked one. Probst is super-impressed but doesn’t promote Tina to last-name status, while Aras asks for some encouragement from Laura?

Tina starts working on her maze, so Probst goes over to distract her while Aras and Vytas keep collecting their bags. Soon they are all working on the maze at the same time, with Vytas and Tina both in the same spot close to the center. Tina even gets her ball in the final section, but she muffs it and the ball falls through the wrong hole. Start again, Tina.

Vytas is in the center section now, and he gets his ball to stick in the finish spot. “Vytas stays alive.” Now we fast-forward and Tina is very close again. Aras must really suck at this challenge. Tina has her ball in the center section, and this time she manages to stick the landing. Aras is out! All hail King Aras!

Now it’s time for the pre-departure speeches. Probst reminds them of the cheap shot Vytas took at Aras during the sumo challenge all the way back in Week 3, and he asks if having the Survivor experience with Aras means that Vytas might actually let some of that stuff go. “I don’t know,” says Vytas. Way to join in the moment, Vytas.

But then Probst says “do you see the pain that causes in your brother?” and Vytas remembers that this is sort of like Tribal Council, so he recovers and unconvincingly claims that he will never do cheap shot stuff again. But he’d still like some of the rivalry between them to continue. Aras says that things between him and Vytas have been getting better every day, and he can’t wait until they are sitting on the porch with their grandchildren telling stories of playing Survivor together and being blind-sided by Gervase.

So long Aras, first member of the jury. His parting words are “No hard feelings by the way guys, you outplayed me. Good job.” Vytas gets to hand out the hidden immunity idol clue and while he says he’s going to “share it around” due to all of the challenges he is planning to win, this time he’ll be giving it to Katie.

Katie decides to keep it to Probst’s obvious delight, and she later interviews that the decision to keep was a no-brainer, because it’s not as though she could have a bigger target on her right now. I guess Tyson will have to rassle up his search-blocking posse. Katie goes on to say that she is so proud of her mother doing well in the challenge, unaware that Tina is probably talking up her daughter’s potential as a wife and mother to Vytas right now.

Katie explains to everyone that she is going to the bathroom, and Laura? tells her to enjoy reading the hidden immunity idol clue. When we read it over Katie’s shoulder, there are about 12 lines of detailed text giving precise directions to where the hidden immunity idol was formerly located. Oh well. Back at camp, Laura? is suggesting that they hide all the sharp tools.

Meanwhile, Tyson has been thinking about his next move. He says “a lot of people are OK with making moves, so long as they’re not the bad guy. So I’ll have to take another one for the team and be the bad guy again.”

He connects with Hayden and Caleb for a talk and outlays a plan that the four guys will vote for Laura?, and not tell Ciera so she doesn’t have to vote for her mom. They can pull Ciera back in after, he says, but he wants to make sure to break up the pair. Both Caleb and Hayden agree, because what else are they going to say to Tyson’s face? Tyson continues that he wants to stay with the original five and Katie and Monica will be out next.

Hayden interviews that he thinks he can trust Tyson completely, but he seems kind of undecided about whether voting out Laura? is the best move. Tyson says that this is “out last chance to get her before she starts suspecting us.” Then back at camp, he takes his shirt off ostentatiously. “I like Laura?, she loves my jokes,” he says “Katie’s just so-so on most of them.” I’d say Laura? is so-so and Katie despises them.

Meanwhile, Ciera wants to have another conversation with her gung ho mother, but she has obvious reservations because it’s kind of like putting down Old Yeller, if Old Yeller gave birth to you. She starts it off slowly, saying they need to think through their options and that if Katie finds the idol the plan is to vote out Monica. And then where they are at seven... “if you were not in the game right now, I know I’d be final three” “But here’s the deal, would you win?” Laura? challenges. “I don’t know if I would win, but I think I have a better shot at winning than you would. In order for you to make final three, you would have to win every single challenge from here until the end.”

Ciera interviews that she has had a lot of difficult conversations with her mother, and the take-away that she’s going to focus on is that her mother loves her no matter what. So Ciera might as well just vote her out because her own game is ruined if Laura? stays in the game.

Ciera’s conversation with Laura? continues. “If it does come down to six and you’re number six, you have to go.” Laura? doesn’t get it. “Or I’m gonna win immunity,” “But then I go home, and you go home right after me.” Ciera explains that it’s “not realistic for you and me to be in the final three,” but she cracks a little under the maternal pressure and says “we can try it, but it would be risking everything to try it.”

Laura? has a tearful interview of her own where she says her relationship with Ciera is “morphing,” and where once Laura? was the one having to repeat things over and over and over until Ciera ignored whatever Laura? was telling her, this time it’s Ciera’s turn to feel like she’s bashing her head against a wall. “She has the courage to say to her mom ‘This is what I want to do and this is how I’m going to do it. And by the way, I’m going to have to vote you out of that million dollars’... She’s no longer this little girl, which ultimately for me...” I think she was about to say “means my baby doesn’t need her mother any more,” but she had a lot of dust in her eye right then.

It’s night-time on Day 26 and that python is still hanging out. At day-break, Katie gets up as stealthily as she can to go idol-hunting. Laura? says that she has the most to lose from Katie finding the idol, so she’ll be tailing her. “You can’t do that to me first thing in the morning,” she protests to Katie, who explains that’s exactly why she’s doing it. They start digging together. After Katie has left and Laura has followed, the others discuss Katie’s head-start. “About three minutes” is the verdict.

Tyson interviews that it’s a “shifting game” partly because everyone assumes that the hidden immunity idol is still out there, and also because Tyson is like “the big bad wolf,” in that people like him fine until he votes them out. So he feels he has to get Ciera on board with voting for her mother, so she’s not angry with him after it happens. The way he does it is to say “I’m not voting your mom. Hayden and Caleb are voting your mom.”

“I’m OK with my mom voting not being in the game,” says Ciera, but in interview she says she has no idea what she is going to do.

Probst sighting! Immunity challenge. This time the castaways have to stand on a small platform over the ocean, and lean back while holding onto a knotted rope. At intervals, Probst will tell them to lean back further, holding on further down the rope. Last one standing wins immunity and a belly-filling reward of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries and soda. “This challenge is on!”

Probst starts to psych people out right away by talking about bashed-up hands and cheeseburgers. Hayden is out first, followed by Caleb. The rest of them have to move down to the next knot. Gervase falls next, then Ciera, then Katie. “We are down to three,” and then Laura? falls in.

Monica is looking completely focused, while Tyson has a torn rotator cuff, so it’s no surprise when Tyson falls off next and Monica wins immunity. She even pulls herself back up the rope and onto the platform to accept the immunity necklace from Probst, which is pretty badass.

Probst shows her the reward and of course he tells her to invite one person to share it with her, but Monica says that she wants to give it all up to the other six. “Immunity means more to me than cheeseburgers... This is my family out there,” now that her husband has been voted off. Probst decides to allow it, which is utter garbage. The whole point of this is to force someone to make a hard decision that could affect them later in the game. Letting Monica share with everyone and being the only one to miss out is still a hard decision for Monica, but it negates the in-game repercussions. Bad Probst!

Probst makes a lame effort to turn it around by asking Caleb if this was a move in good faith or political, and Caleb says it’s a bit of both, but Monica’s a mom first and this comes from the heart. Everyone else chows down while Monica sits on the pontoon.

When they arrive back at camp, that python is there again. It slithers off while everyone is thanking Monica, and even though they see it no one seems disturbed that a ten-foot snake is sharing their camp.

Ciera initiates a “trust me” discussion with Katie, and after they pinkie swear Ciera says that everyone is voting for Laura? tonight. Katie bluffs and says that she’ll play her idol tonight just to be safe. Ciera says that Katie didn’t find it, and there are a few rounds of “yes I did” / “no you didn’t” until Ciera breaks the loop by claiming that she has the idol. “You stole my idol!” says Katie. In interview, Ciera gloats that Katie folded right away.

Ciera shares that information with Laura? and they go off to tell Tyson. Ciera recaps her Katie-owning moment and suggests that since they know Katie doesn’t have the idol they can all vote for her instead of her mother. Hayden and Caleb both say noncommittally – as you do on Survivor - that they would be down with that. Ciera is trying to figure out what the best move is for her.

However, Tyson is less than pleased that Ciera is making moves on her own, and he says that tonight’s vote has to be Laura? because a couple can swing the game. He makes the rounds to Monica and Gervase. Caleb interviews that Katie needs to go next, because “if she floated all the way to the end, she’s dangerous to be sitting next to.”

Tribal Council. Here’s jury-member Aras. Probst’s first question is to Katie, who is obviously still feeling like it could be her tonight. Probst asks Caleb what happens if Katie has the idol. Caleb obfuscates by saying there are tons of maybes and you just have to plan ahead.

Probst asks Tyson about there being one last pair of loved ones in the game. Tyson repeats the common logic about how couples will probably have similar minds and swing the same way. Probst asks Caleb if he saw any concern from either Ciera or Laura? He says sure, but he adds that Ciera and Laura? are different to Tina and Katie, and one of them isn’t about to lay down for the other.

Trying to stir up something, Probst basically asks Hayden if Caleb is telling the truth about Laura? and Ciera being that competitive, but Hayden also equivocates, noting the “I brought you into this world, I can send you out of it” moments we’ve seen and the obvious mother-daughter bond they share.

Probst is getting nothing, so he asks Laura? a question which she absolutely ignores. Instead she points out that it’s an asset to have a loved one in the game because it’s an extra vote that alliance can direct. Ciera rolls her eyes in a “Mom, don’t do this to me” way, and Katie points out that the extra vote and the motivation to go to the end together is also a threat.

Laura?’s response is that sending her out is also a threat because she is someone who could lobby for jury votes. Laura? could really use some of Ciera’s “shut up mom” advice about now, because she is pointing out that Ciera should be a target even after Laura? is voted out. The only players left with loved ones on the jury will be Katie and presumably Ciera after this vote.

Time to vote! After Probst “tallies” the votes and no one coughs up a hidden immunity idol, the votes are for Laura?, Katie, Laura?, Laura?, Laura? and Laura? (Mom). Probst saved that one for last, the evil bastard! “It’s okay” says Laura? to her daughter, “I’ll come back for you.” “No Mom, please don’t” Ciera doesn’t say. Laura?, the tribe has spoken for the second time. Probst’s parting words to the group are about there being no more pairs.

Next time on Survivor “Tyson is in control.” Hayden has figured out there are four newbies who actually need to do something to have any chance of winning, so he plans a Tyson blind-side. “We can so out-smart these veterans,” says Ciera. There’s no gloating interview from Tyson proclaiming “Ha ha ha, I am running this game! Just give me that million dollar check, Probst!”, so I’m not confident it will come together.

Interviewed on Redemption Island, Laura? is feeling pretty sore. “It sucks that I’m here, it sucks that Ciera had to do that, it sucks that she did that.” But she’s going to do everything she can to stay in the game.