Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Season 27, Episode 8 – Skin of My Teeth

This is a big week for Survivor: Blood vs. Water. The Redemption Island twist finally pays off and the tribes merge after a somewhat subpar two week tribal swap. I’ve mentioned time and time again that I really dislike Redemption Island (despite producer’s obviously loving it), but it has been more of a welcome twist this season, almost solely due to the family dynamics at play. The three remaining players on RI, John, Laura B., and Laura M. face off in a duel of endurance for a shot to get back into the game, with the winner also receiving the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol.

John, Laura M., and Laura B. hang on for dear life on last night's episode of Survivor.

John, Laura M., and Laura B. hang on for dear life on last night’s episode of Survivor.

Unfortunately for John and Laura B., the duel is tilted towards Laura M. The challenge consists of hanging onto a wooden pole for as long as possible. The divots in the pole aren’t large enough for a big man like John to comfortably last long. Hence, John is easily eliminated first from the challenge, after spending something like 16 days on Redemption Island and winning most of the previous duels. Laura B. is eliminated after a much stronger showing, but she is still no match for the slight Laura M., who later notes she could have stayed on the wooden pole all day if necessary. When Jeff gives her the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, she tosses it into the fire (rather foolishly, as history has shown that those who come back from RI are almost always quickly eliminated).

The two tribes, Galang and Tadhana, are then instructed to drop their buffs, as they have merged into one big tribe (which they name Kasama or something like that). Laura M. immediately feels on the outs, which she should as the returning person from Redemption Island. Tyson waits a while before asking Ciera to recruit her mom into their anti-Aras alliance. Tyson also pulls Monica aside and tells her the plan, but Monica seems incredibly shaky and worried about the stability of the alliance. Now that the tribes have merged, Monica is in full on paranoia mode. Tyson does his best to alleviate her. Oh, and Tyson finds a Hidden Immunity Idol using the hints that Hayden gave him. It was a good week for Tyson. Gervase has a nice moment where he talks about big moves and taking control of the game, something he failed to do all the way back in season one. It is clear that Gervase recognizes the mistakes he made back in 2000 and wants to win this game.

The Immunity Challenge is rather lame this week, with contestants essentially playing Memory, or in this case Survivor Memory. This is a “classic” Survivor challenge, going way, way back to the earliest years of the competition. It has never been exciting whatsoever. Things don’t last nearly as long as they usually do, and several castaways are eliminated before even the second round of the match. The challenge comes down to Vytas and Aras, with Vytas pulling off the victory over his brother. In the post-challenge confessionals, Vytas and Aras both come off somewhat smug and arrogant, all but assured that they will march to victory on day 39. Their plan for the tribe is for the men and women to split their votes against Laura M. and Ciera, eliminating one of them and possibly flushing an idol. It’s a good plan, actually.

At Tribal Council, however, things go differently for the brothers. Tyson, having shored up Hayden, Caleb, Monica, Ciera, Gervase, and Laura M., spearheads Aras’ ouster from the game, as Aras is blindsided and sent to Redemption Island, which is regrettably in play for the second half of the game (RI, when it works at all, works best in the beginning of the game). Aras and Vytas clearly became far too arrogant, and Aras’ shocking elimination means no holds barred for future episodes. In his first season (Panama), Aras won the game. He’ll need to win a whole lot of duels from this point forward if he hopes for a repeat of that outcome.

-Z-

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