Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Episode 1

Blood is Thicker than Anything

By Ben Willoughby

September 19, 2013

Dud, dud, dud, dud, dud, dud, dud...

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The 10 pairs of castaways have notes waiting for them, which say they will be spending the night alone in their patch of jungle, just the two of them, without any supplies. We’re still waiting for riveting footage, because the new players all look to the returnees for instructions. “You’re the veteran,” says Marissa. “Thirteen years ago,” replies Gervase. That’s what I’ve been saying!

Probst continues his voice-over about how the game has started before Day One, and blathers on with his spiel about how the 20 castaways will build a new society. 39 days, 20 people, one Survivor. It’s on!

At dawn the next day, Probst is standing out on the beach, and the 20 castaways emerge from the jungle or from down the beach. It was obviously coordinated, but it still looks effective, each pair coming in from a different direction. Rupert’s Laura – and I’m only calling her that to distinguish her from the returning Laura (who I will call Laura?) – is even wearing one of Rupert’s patented tie-dyed shirts. Well of course it’s always going to be Rupert, Rupert, Rupert if you act like that.

Probst welcomes them to the 27th season of Survivor before immediately pointing out that Hayden was a Big Brother winner and we should all be awed by his presence. Way to support your own show.


Probst makes the big reveal that the loved ones will be playing against the returnees, and then asks if anyone is willing to admit they are looking forward to competing against their loved one. About half of them raise their hands – a review of the tape says Monica, Katie, Candace, John, Rupert’s Laura, Marissa, Kat, Aras and Vytas. “Sorry, mom,” whispers Katie to her mother Tina, who is also looking forward to it but was too smart to raise her hand. Round 1 to Tina.

“Culpepper!” Probst reveals his man-crush before the first challenge, addressing Monica’s husband Brad. Going straight to a last name basis before Brad has even done anything is pretty weak, Probst. You could have made Brad beg for this pathetic honor, like Cochran did.

Probst asks Brad – I refuse to call him Culpepper – how it would feel competing against Monica. “If you want to get deep into my heart,” and then Brad gives some long, rambling answer that basically says if losing a challenge could give Monica some advantage, like a tarp, then he’d be thinking about losing the challenge. Marissa pipes up “You better not be on my team.”

But Brad is on Marissa’s team, as the players are divided into new players and returnees. Lots of money shots of the pairs saying goodbye to each other. Aras interviews that he’s very competitive with Vytas, and if he lost a challenge against him he would hear about it for the rest of his life. Rupert is relieved, because “I didn’t have to worry about writing my wife’s name down,” as though there was any risk that Rupert, official Survivor martyr, would do any such thing. “But then I also can’t protect her.”

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