'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' recap: 'One-Man Wrecking Ball'

For The Baltimore Sun

As Galang returns from Tribal Council, Laura B. thinks Rupert would be proud of her because she survived the first vote. Well, Laura, you survived because they’re keeping you for an easy vote later; I wouldn’t celebrate too soon.

Gervase and Tyson are talking about what will happen after the merge. They aren’t too sure about what Aras will do or how long they should trust him. They think they only have one more challenge before a possible merge, but based on the previews for tonight’s episode, plus the fact that they’ve mentioned the merge within the first five minutes of the show, I think it might be happening sooner than that.

It’s time for Redemption Island Arena! And apparently Laura M.’s arrival at Redemption Island was uneventful, because we don't see any of it. We don’t find out if Ciera would have traded with her mother, because Laura M. doesn’t even give her the chance.

The challenge today is a balance beam/puzzle combo. Both John and Laura M. are doing well, but John falls off his beam and then drops his pieces, which gives Brad a chance to surpass him. And the puzzle isn’t really a puzzle so much as just putting numbered tiles in the right order. What, were the puzzles getting too hard?

Laura is well ahead of the men, and pulls out the win. Brad and John are a much closer race, but John wins. It looks like Aras’ plan has worked, because Brad is going home.  Laura gives the Immunity Idol clue to Vytas, who immediately burns it without looking at it.

But he’s going to regret that, because Jeff wastes no time in announcing that they’re switching up the tribes. Aras, Tyson, and Gervase head over to Tadhana, and Vytas and Katie head over to Galang. Ciera is now the only woman on her tribe, and Vytas is the only man on his. Tadhana is now stacked with physical power, and, well, Galang is not.

As the new tribes head back to their beaches, you can see all the wheels in their heads spinning as they try to realign their strategies. Tadhana is split evenly, three each, between new and old tribe members, which should make it interesting. Tyson immediately makes a point of stealing as much food as possible.

At Galang, Katie and Vytas are outnumbered by the old Galang members, but Tina will probably switch and align herself with her daughter, which Vytas immediately recognizes. Monica is not making any friends by completely over-strategizing. Dhe’s freaking out Kat; I think losing Brad has thrown her for a loop and she’s over-compensating. 

Tyson is doing a pretty good job over at Tadhana of painting Aras as both the leader and annoying. He is great at deflecting attention away from himself and his coconut-stealing ways.

It’s a different scene over at Galang, where Kat leads a rambling blessing. Vytas is the odd man out, but at least he recognizes it. He compensates by telling the ladies his story of his addiction and the consequences; it works like a charm. He talks about his relationship with Aras, and his feelings, and wham! Vytas is part of the group.

Challenge time! It’s swimming, diving and releasing puzzles pieces (but this time, they’re vertical!) I miss the full-on, huge obstacle course-type challenges. I think someone’s challenge budget is lower this year.

Tina and Laura mess up big-time, releasing the first underwater gate, but forgetting their first fish trap, which holds the first set of puzzle pieces. Tadhana gets a huge time advantage because of Galang’s mistake. Tina rocks the puzzle portion, but it’s not enough. Tadhana wins the challenge. Along with Immunity, they get an awesome picnic.

Back at Galang, Tina apologizes for her mistake, and Vytas bites his tongue about how he really feels. Kat says the plan was to vote out Vytas (aside: seems stupid to get rid of the only guy, but that’s just me), but now she’s thinking that they should get rid of Monica because she won’t shut up.

Tina goes straight to Monica and tells her that Kat is gunning for her. Bye Kat! It was nice knowing you. I’m sure Vytas will be relieved. Monica goes straight to Kat and confronts her, and Kat lies her face off. Monica has decided that the Survivor golden rule is “Do unto others before they do unto you.” She’s not wrong. I don’t think that I want to piss off Monica, and I think Kat will be going home because of it.

Tribal Council time! Kat immediately tries to do damage control, but Monica is not buying it. Kat flat-out says that Vytas should go home. Vytas responds by being awesome and calm and making Kat look like a lying liar who can’t be trusted. Go Vytas! Hopefully they will keep him around.

And they do! Kat is going to Redemption Island. Given that she’s going against Laura M. and John, I don’t hold out much hope for her. Still, I think she played much better than she did last time she was on "Survivor. " I didn’t want to throw something at her once this season.

Next week: Vytas is the most popular in his tribe, and Aras is not.

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