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I’m not sure what the title of this week’s episode of Survivor is in reference to, but if I had to venture a guess, I’d say it was all about Redemption Island. RI has been a positive this season (the first time that’s happened), but it has also been a hotbed of anger, cursing, and blame. In the past few episodes, the RI vitriol has been squarely directed at Brad Culpepper, largely as a result of him having been the leader of the Tadhana tribe, and thus responsible for the ousting of the first few Tadhana members. As an unintended consequence of RI, Marissa is able to spew venom about Brad for several days to an already angry Candice, who had been voted out, partially by Brad’s wife Monica, and thus has an agenda of her own.
I’m not sure Candice knows how the game of Survivor works. She is super angry with Brad, somewhat reasonably so, but fails to see that Survivor at this stage is largely a group effort. Yes, Brad voted out Marissa and then John, but so did everyone else on his tribe. Thus, I find Candice’s outrage over Brad just a bit misguided. Was it unfair that Candice was blindly voted out of the game in the first episode without ever really being a part of the Galang tribe? Yes, it absolutely was. Was it really Monica’s fault (and by extension, Brad’s fault)? No, it’s really not. But Brad, having been voted out of the game last week, must now face off against a pissed off Candice and her husband John on Redemption Island.
The duel this week is rather simple. The three contestants must use wooden planks to build a bridge, cross the bridge, then use a portion of those planks to solve a painted puzzle. Candice gets off to a brisk pace at the start, but slows down considerably towards the conclusion of the bridge portion. Brad and John spend a majority of the duel neck-and-neck even with each other. Eventually, John pulls ahead and finished the puzzle in first place. Though editing shows a close battle for second between Brad and Candice, I never really felt Candice was ever going to win. Having achieved second place, Brad stays in the game. Candice tosses her buff in the fire, kisses John goodbye, and exits the game. What a waste of casting. There was a brief moment in time where I was rooting for Candice to run the table on Redemption Island, but it is still all too clear that she has no idea how Survivor works. I can’t believe this is her third time on Survivor. I can’t imagine there will be a fourth.
Things get off to a rather peaceful start for Tadhana, who can finally relax now that Brad is no longer around to be a leader and foster drama and paranoia amongst the tribe. Some members, like Ciera, are just happy to be given an extra three days in the game to find their footing. Ciera has continually disappointed her team in challenges, and is clearly thankful for another opportunity to prove her worth to her team. Things are so peaceful that Vytas finds time to meditate and practice yoga, as well as go off on the boat for a chat with Caleb, who Vytas still can’t figure out. Caleb made a bold but perhaps misguided move to target Brad last week. Vytas can’t figure out whether Caleb is going to be a threat, a swing vote (which Caleb sees himself as), or an ally. Whatever the case, Caleb is clearly dangerous.
Over on the Galang tribe, Monica is clearly distraught that Brad has been sent packing to Redemption Island. Tina tosses around the idea that Monica might just go right back to Brad if he makes his way back into the game, which could potentially be dangerous to Tina’s alliance with her Galang tribemates. Monica’s game was cut unfortunately short on One World, but I can definitely see her sticking around in this game long enough to make a more lasting impact. Brad winning out on Redemption Island might just ultimately be good her game as well, if not good for we the viewer.
At the Immunity Challenge, the tribes must slide down a long carnival-style slide, then toss a large ring onto a target. The first team to get their ring on the peg five times wins. Tadhana, who hasn’t won an immunity challenge yet, gets out to a quick start against Galang, with Caleb scoring on a nice throw. Tyson gets Galang on the board, but Gervase and Kat fail to connect, and Tadhana’s lead eventually becomes insurmountable. Tadhana wins immunity, as well as a meal of steaks and spices. For the first time on Blood vs. Water, they will not have to attend Tribal Council. Back at the Galang beach, Laura B. and Laura M. almost immediately begin to scramble. Laura B. sees herself as an outsider, having entered the Galang tribe because of Rupert’s sacrifice back in episode one. Laura M. is on the outs because of her perceived challenge excellence. She could potentially beat out Brad on Redemption Island, leaving Monica without an ally and thus solidifying their alliance.
At Tribal Council, Laura B. pleads that she is a valuable member of the tribe, and her tribemates agree. She tends to the fire and fishes every day, and is generally considered a hard worker. Gervase points out how odd it is to once again be back in front of the big Tribal Council fire for the first time in 13 years, and points out just how much the game has changed. Tina agrees with him. She claims to have played the game more in this short season so far than in her entire tenure on Survivor: Australia, a season she won. In the end, Laura M. is unfortunately voted out of the game in a blindside vote. Her potential ability to beat out Brad in a challenge is just too much for the Galang alliance to pass up.