Survivor: Blood vs Water - Episode 11
Gloves Come Off
By Ben Willoughby
November 28, 2013

The most disinegenuous player in recent memory.

Previously on Survivor, Katie was alone at the bottom and “us two Morett girls” were the last pair in the game. The majority alliance came up with a plan to vote out Laura? but “fortunately for them, Ciera was on board.” “The pressure of voting out her mom was taking its toll” but “in the “toughest and most emotional vote of the season,” Ciera voted out her mother. Seven are left, who will be voted out tonight?

That python from last week is still hanging out at camp, all snuggled up in some warm corner of the shelter. I’m kind of surprised that some production assistant hasn’t been tasked with scaring the snake out of there, but it probably keeps the camp rat-free.

“Sorry,” Tyson apologizes to Ciera. “I was part of it too, but it had to happen,” says Ciera. Katie interviews that she was surprised that Ciera voted for Laura?, but she believes that “Ciera has a plan and I don’t think her mother was really part of it.” For her part, Ciera interviews about how she hopes she has proven her trustworthiness by voting out the person closest to her in the game.

Around the fire, Tyson is reassuring Ciera how much he appreciated her vote and that he knows how hard the vote was for her, and that it has proven her loyalty. However, in interview he says that he’s “a little scared of her” because she’s “playing the game pretty hard.”

Meanwhile on Redemption Island, Laura? trolls the camp by calling out “Mom?” “Katie? Oh, honey!” says Tina resignedly, but only fooling - it is Laura? Some mother-daughter bond they share, if Tina can’t even recognize Katie’s voice.

Laura? recaps the vote and explains that Ciera voted for her because she had to, but she’s proud of her. And then she goes to interview about how much it sucks. Everyone on Redemption Island disagrees with the strategy to vote out Laura? as Monica is winning all the challenges while Tyson is “flying under the radar.” “Why isn’t anyone voting him out?” asks Vytas. Patience, my pretty. Roll credits.

Probst sighting! “Come on in guys,” it’s Redemption Arena time with Vytas, Tina and Laura? “voted out for the second time.” Then Probst rubs it in harder by saying that the last vote they showed said “Mom.” Laura? gives the required sniffle, but then says “I’m proud of her.”

The small drama done with, Probst explains the challenge. It’s a race to move four colored cubes along and out of a long net tunnel. Once the castaways have all four cubes, they have to stack them in a column so that there are no repeating colors on any side. Probst also hypes the clue for the hidden immunity idol that the challenge winner will be able to give away.

Vytas and Laura? make short work of bouncing the cubes along the inside of the net tunnel, but on her second cube “Tina, really slowing down.” Vytas and Laura? get all four of their cubes out and start stacking well before Tina even has her third.

However, the puzzle proves to be pretty difficult, and Tina has all her cubes before anyone has finished. Weirdly, there’s no advice from the bench. Eventually, Laura? thinks she has it, Probst confirms and everyone on the benches claps politely.

Then Vytas starts looking over at Laura?’s completed puzzle. Her response is to block his view and then spin the stack to make it harder. Then to really ram it home, Laura? gives Tina step-by-step instructions on how to complete the puzzle. I realize she wants Vytas gone, and I suppose she’s lobbying for Tina and Katie’s jury vote. “Two moms, sticking together,” exuberates Probst.

But it’s not over yet. Vytas can also hear Laura?’s advice and uses it to complete the puzzle – about one second after Tina calls Probst over. Tina has it right and Vytas is out. “Good try,” says Laura? but he disdains the proffered hug. “Vytas wants nothing to do with Laura?” says Probst. I’ll accept Vytas’s poor sportsmanship this one time.

I'm not sure what to think of this. Laura? is obviously trying to control her competition on Redemption Island, but Vytas is still a jury vote. I suppose Laura? sees more value in firming up with Tina (and Katie) than letting the chips fall where they may, so it was probably the best move for her.

Anyway, it’s time for the farewell question from Probst. Probst says that Vytas came into the game seeking “some connection with your brother and some recognition of being your own person, and then you leave here because two moms conspired against you!” Probst seems to think this is ironic, somehow.

Then predictably, Probst asks Vytas about his relationship with Aras and whether there could be something there. Which, of course there is because they’re brothers and if Aras and Vytas didn’t get along in real life Aras wouldn’t have brought Vytas to play Survivor with him. Vytas talks about how when Aras came back from the Exile Island season, no one could relate, but this “shared experience will bring us a lot closer.” Consider this dead horse fully flogged. Until the reunion episode, at least.

See you on the jury, Vytas. “Namaste, bitches,” is Vytas’ farewell. Which encapsulates everything you need to know about Vytas.

Who will Laura? give the clue to? Obviously, she gives it to Ciera, and Ciera throws it on the fire. Probst highlights that Ciera must be feeling pretty secure to throw away a clue to something that could keep her safe, and Tyson catches a break. “Thank you thank you thank you thank you,” says Tina to Laura? on their way out of the arena. Everyone else grabs their stuff and heads back to camp.

When the castaways arrive back at camp, they all talk about how “the moms pulled it out.” Tyson interviews that the next two votes are the most important ones in getting to the end, so he feels he has to keep everyone aligned against Katie and definitely not burn his hidden immunity idol on any throwaway vote. In the woods, he underscores to Gervase, Hayden and Caleb say that Katie is the most dangerous person in the game because she has three guaranteed jury votes already.

Hayden agrees to Tyson’s face, but he interviews that while he could “continue along the course” of their alliance of five, he doesn’t “want to be the guy who waited too long to move.” He chats with Caleb. “We’re in the middle. If we do not make a move now, it’s not gonna be up to us.” He feels that Tyson would beat them in a final three. At this point, I wonder if anyone would beat Hayden in any final three, but Hayden interviews that Tyson has “a hell of a resumé to preach to the jury” so he wants to pick him off.

Caleb goes to talk with Katie. “You’re safe,” he says, “we need to get Tyson out.” “Can I trust you one million per cent?” “Yes,” affirms Caleb. Caleb doesn't say many unnecessary words, does he? Katie interviews how she feels like a hermit crab that was walking shell-less on the beach and has finally found some protection.

Then Caleb and Hayden are talking with Ciera on the beach. “It’s time to shake up the game a little bit. Like, with Tyson.” “Smart,” says Ciera, “we can so out-smart these veterans.” Doesn’t she know this episode is only 21 minutes old?

However, in interview Ciera talks about how Hayden wanted to make a big move and “this really threw me off, because these people who haven’t played the game before are so willing to flip and flop on each other, it’s too sketchy for me to invest in them. So I told Hayden and Caleb what they wanted to hear, but I don’t want to work with people like that.” She’d rather work with (ha, ha) trustworthy non-flip-floppers like Tyson, Gervase and Monica!

Ciera grabs Tyson and tattles on Hayden and Caleb’s big move plans, and then promises “I’m voting however you’re voting from here on out.”

Obviously, Tyson agrees with this plan, saying “you have a better chance against me” and that he has had her back from Day One. Tyson says that he trusts Monica and Gervase will go with them with the flip on Hayden or Caleb. In interview, Tyson repeats that he actually does trust Monica and Gervase, and he hopes Ciera the major wild-card is telling the truth. But he needs Caleb and Hayden out.

Night 28. Tyson is sharing the news from Ciera with Gervase. “So what do you want to do, get rid of Caleb? “Yeah, because he’s so likable, he’s the clear shot at the million.” Is he? Caleb seems very nice, but he also seems to be shy, quiet, reticent and detached, and those aren’t things that make someone likable. Maybe they all like him because they think he’s a good listener.

Gervase interviews that he thought the four guys had control, but now there is all this dastardly plotting! On Survivor! “Sneaky bastards,” says Gervase. Tyson moans that he was all ready to go to the final four with them. Gervase’s interview continues as he talks about how when you break an alliance like that “the gloves come off and it’s gonna get ugly.”

The next morning, there is loads of footage of everyone looking around sketchily. Ciera chirpily asks Tyson if he wants to come get tree-mail with her. As they head off, Hayden and Caleb, who are lying in the hammock together, talk about how Ciera didn’t even say a word to them or look at them when she walked past.

Meanwhile on their walk, Ciera tells Tyson about the weird vibe she’s getting at camp this morning and Tyson says he and Gervase are all ready to vote for Caleb. They high five. “Straight to the finals.” In interview, Ciera says she’s so glad she made the right decision to stick with Tyson, and she should be in “a pretty good spot come next Tribal Council.”

In interview, Hayden recaps the morning’s awkward silence and is starting to wonder “what if Ciera told Tyson?” He talks with Katie about his suspicions, and they agree that Ciera’s chumminess with Tyson is concerning. “Do you think she would go with Tyson?” “I think so, potentially.” Katie decides they need a Plan B. Hayden says that they have to be in the majority no matter what, and Katie interviews that Ciera could be in trouble if she doesn’t win immunity.

Probst sighting! Immunity is back up for grabs! Probst explains the challenge, which is “hold onto spindle which is attached by a rope to a bucket dangling from a frame that contains 25% of your body weight.” When the rope unspools and the bucket drops, you are out. Last person left standing wins immunity.

But this time, Probst has a twist. Anyone feeling secure enough to sit out can do so, and eat barbecued steak, sausage and chicken for as long as the challenge lasts. Probst hands out a white rock and a black one to each of the castaways, and tells them to reveal one rock when he says. Black means eating, white means competing. When the reveal happens, Tyson, Gervase and Ciera are all chowing down while Hayden, Caleb and Katie are all vying for immunity. Monica too, but you knew that. She probably ate her black rock already.

And the challenge is on! Tyson, who had his fingers twitching over the food before the challenge started, starts eating and throwing chicken bones over his shoulder. “How is the food?” asks Probst. “Delicious to taste and very desirable. Keep it up guys!” says Tyson. Meanwhile, Monica talks about how she wants her children to know that more than one badass lives in their house. Maybe then they’ll pick up their room when she says!

After ten minutes, Probst asks Hayden, the biggest and hungriest guy, whether it bugs him that everyone on the bench is eating and having a good time. Indeed, Tyson and Gervase are eating a sausage Lady and the Tramp-style. Hayden isn’t drawn in, and just says that if he loses the challenge he will be a little upset. “At us?” asks Tyson innocently. Hayden winches his bucket back to the top of the frame.

Katie’s bucket is the first to fall. Probst asks Caleb if the loud slobbering noises from the bench get under his skin at all and points out what a good time Tyson, Ciera and Gervase are having. They do look pretty cocky sitting there. “Perform for me! Show me blood!” is Probst’s summary of their antics. Caleb says that the “blood will be dripping pretty soon.”

After twenty minutes, Caleb has to let go and while “he definitely showed he is worthy, he is out.” Hayden’s bucket is slipping and Monica’s bucket is also starting to drop a little. Hayden winches his back, and not to be outdone, Monica reels hers back all the way to the top. Heh. Hayden’s bucket slips back again, and a little more, and a little more and eventually his bucket drops and he is out. Monica wins her third individual immunity. Tyson just looks sad that lunch is over, and Hayden looks equally sad as he looks at the wreckage on the picnic table.

Arriving back at camp, everyone says “good job, Monica,” but Monica wants to hear about the steak and the chicken. Is this misdirection? If so, well played. Tyson answers in detail about the tenderness of the steak and the goodness of the bread.

Hayden recaps his choice to compete and groans that Tyson, Gervase and Ciera all looked very comfortable, skipping on the challenge to engage in a belching contest and are probably working together. He swaps notes with Katie and they both agree that they can’t trust Ciera. Hayden worries that he is on a sinking ship, but he doesn’t seem to know what to do about it.

Caleb has a constructive suggestion. He suggests that they ask Tyson flat out if he is going to blind-side one of them to see what he says. Then they can claim that Ciera is playing both sides, and therefore should be the target. “Ciera did it to herself,” is Caleb’s verdict.

The conversation happens, and Hayden says “we have felt like you, Ciera and Gervase are trying to get one of us.” Tyson nods, and claims that “I was kind of under the same impression that you guys were out to get me. Ciera blamed it in you guys.” Hayden claims that it was only because “we thought you were trying to get us.”

Tyson tells them that Ciera pulled him aside and says “we gotta talk.” He says that it wouldn’t make sense why Hayden and Caleb would want to betray him, and that he was “sceptical of it all.” And in interview, says it makes perfect sense that Ciera would be trying to get further in the game by pitting the guys against one another. “She is too sneaky, too smart and too deceiving to be in the game,” he says. Everyone agrees on a “guaranteed” vote for Ciera.

Still in interview, Tyson says that he doesn’t really trust Ciera, but he doesn’t trust Hayden and Caleb either. He thinks he might have to play his hidden immunity idol. Meanwhile, Hayden the repeated sucker totally believes Tyson. Caleb is more cautious – he likes that Tyson didn’t appear to be scrambling, but he thinks they may still be being played by him.

Tyson has a talk with Gervase. “The boys just approached me” and he recaps it. Tyson says that what they said was plausible, and they have to decide whether to vote for Caleb or Ciera. Tyson's pros for a Ciera vote: she’s a “teenage mom, hell-raiser, she can look in your eyes and lie better than anybody.” Gervase interviews that someone is lying, and it’s either Hayden and Caleb, or Ciera. Who to trust? “If you put your trust in the wrong person, you’re going home,” interviews Gervase.

Tribal Council. In come the jury members, Aras and Vytas, resplendent in tank tops. Vytas has the first smile I’ve seen from him in a while. For some reason Probst doesn’t ask if their time together on the jury or their similar wardrobe choices are going to cement their bond as brothers.

Probst asks Hayden about the people who were sitting out instead of competing in the challenge as all good Survivors should. Hayden shows his palms, which have the skin scraped away on the knuckles. He admits to some jealousy because he is obviously not as comfortable in the game as they are, but he doesn’t single anyone out.

Probst asks Caleb to single out any one of the three sit-outs that surprised him. Caleb demurs, and Probst asks “Not even Ciera?” Caleb replies that Ciera “probably feels comfortable and she likes to eat.” Probst is exasperated. “There’s nowhere to hide, there are seven people left!” I admire Survivor rookies Caleb and Hayden not even bothering to snap at Probst’s bait.

Ciera feels the need to defend herself. She explains that she had no chance in the challenge, and would rather sit out and eat for sure than lose for sure and not eat. Tyson says that he was surprised that more people were not eating. He says that he wasn’t eating because he was comfortable in his alliances, and why aren’t they? “Even though not all of my alliance was there, I tried to enjoy the food as best I can. Which was a lot.”

Gervase says basically the same thing – “I trust people in my alliance... and I’m hoping they keep their word.” Probst points out that Gervase was looking right at Hayden when he said that, and Hayden scrambles that sure, there have been times when he felt a little paranoid, but he thinks they trust one another. Probst asks Ciera if this feels good. “It feels like crap.”

Probst asks Tyson if he would be shocked if he was voted out. He’d be shocked, but that’s Survivor and someone is blind-sided every week. Caleb thinks there will be a blind-side. Ciera says she would be shocked because she has been “100% honest, overly honest in sharing information”. But “the paranoia [of a bind-side] is always there and it’s higher than ever.”

Time to vote. We see Caleb and Ciera’s reciprocal votes. “You just ran your mouth way too much the last two days,” is Caleb’s jury booth verdict. By Caleb’s standards, she probably did.

Without holding out much hope, Probst asks if anyone wants to play the hidden immunity idol. But Tyson – Tyson! – puts up his hand. He starts pulling things at random out of his bag – even asking Katie to hold something that looks like it could be an idol, but isn’t. “Seriously, dude,” says Gervase. He doesn't seem shocked at all. “I got a lot of stuff in here,” replies Tyson. Eventually he has to flip the bag upside-down to empty it and rummage through the wreckage.

Probst declares this is a hidden immunity idol and any votes cast for Tyson will not count. Probst reads the votes. Ciera. Caleb. Ciera. Ciera. Caleb. Caleb. Caleb needs to bring Probst his torch. His parting words to the rest of the crew is that “there is no room for error.”

Well, that was a good episode, but only because there was some bad gameplay spread about. Hayden and Caleb believed that Ciera would go with them, instead of looking at Ciera’s options. Ciera, whose better option was probably to stick with the newbies, was completely obvious about showing that she felt safe and would be voting with Tyson, and didn’t seem to think it would make her a target.

Tyson was probably the worst of all. First he screamed overconfidence by playing up while sitting out a challenge to gorge on food. Sure, he has a point that him sitting out would look as though he didn’t trust his alliance. It would also look weird if he wasn’t talking about how excited he was to be eating steak, because that's his MO. But he didn't feel so safe that he felt he had to hold onto his idol - which, by the way, he burned in a vote that it turned out he wasn't even up for. I realize that Tyson felt there was a good chance his name would be written down and didn't want to go home with an idol in his pocket. But his playing it says that he didn't have his finger right on the pulse of the game. He’s no Survivor dummy, but he's no Survivor genius either. He's a Survivor smart-enough.

Next time on Survivor, “Hayden throws everything on the table” by telling everyone that if Tyson gets to the end, he’ll win. And Gervase appears to be following up with Hayden. “Tell me a move to make,” he says. “If you want to get him out, it’s this tribal, right now.” Don’t believe Next Time On Survivor’s lies!

Caleb says that he shocked to see his name to be written down tonight, so he must have assumed the vote would be for Hayden. But he appreciates a successful blindside. “Ciera flipped on us,” he tells Laura? and Tina. “That little Ciera,” says Laura? proud mother. “Dun dun duuuuuun!” says Tina.