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Blood vs. Water has been, thus far, an above average season of Survivor despite an absolute ton of negative pre-season buzz from fans and critics online. Tonight’s episode was another above-average affair in every way except for the Redemption Island duel, which was a total dud. Having been eliminated from Galang in a unanimous Tribal Council vote last week, Laura M. confidently enters RI and flat-out refuses a potential swap between herself and her daughter. In the duel, she faces off against John, who has dominated RI thus far, and Brad, who placed second last week, staving off permanent elimination from the game.
As noted, the duel is a dud. The three contestants must balance on a beam, untie sacks of numbers one at a time, and put their numbers in order from 1 to 100. Laura M. absolutely dominates the duel, winning handily against the bigger men, who struggle somewhat to stay on the balance beam (particularly John). Brad and John face off for second, but it’s never quite as close as the editing makes it out to be and Brad is somewhat handily beaten for 2nd place by John, who continues to stave off a potential exit on Redemption Island. For winning, Laura M. chooses to pass a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol to Vytas, but Vytas immediately throws it in the fire. The clue has become a poison pill.
The most interesting part of Redemption Island this week happens after the duel is completed, as Tadhana and Galang participate in a random tribal swap. Tyson, Gervase, and Aras are sent over to the Tadhana tribe while Vytas and Katie end up on the Galang tribe. Ciera is the only female on the Tadhana side while Vytas is the only male on the Galang tribe. Katie is reunited with her mom Tina, forming a potentially powerful twosome. They are the only family members who wound up on the same side. Vytas is immediately distraught at his situation, but keeps a brave face and sets off to create relationships, which he does a pretty decent job of. Tyson, meanwhile, does everything in his power to show his new tribemates that Aras has been making the big decisions, thus placing a bigger target on Aras’ back.
The combined Immunity/Reward challenge is yet another swim to a location, untie and retrieve an object, and then solve a puzzle. These challenges are getting a wee bit repetitive for my liking. The Tadhana tribe, heavily favored due to their mostly male makeup, gets off to an early lead, as Laura B. and Tina make a mistake by forgetting to retrieve their first object. Galang nearly catches up completely however, and the tribe actually comes dangerously close to upsetting Tadhana. Tadhana wins Immunity as well as a picnic lunch as a challenge reward. Galang is left to scramble before Tribal Council.
Back at the beach, Kat immediately goes into overdrive, plotting to vote out Monica instead of the seemingly easy Vytas vote-out everyone expects. Monica catches wind of Kat’s intentions via her alliance mate Tina, and wants to exact some revenge. Vytas catches an opening, and sensing his tribe’s distrust of Kat, positions himself as the more trustworthy tribe member of the two. In a pretty decent Tribal Council, Kat appears absolutely dejected – she knows she screwed up royally by targeting Monica instead of keeping with the plan and voting out Vytas. In a unanimous vote, Kat is sent packing to Redemption Island. A grateful Vytas thanks the ladies of Galang for keeping him around.