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Last week, Ciera sent her mother to Redemption Island in what was one of the most emotional send-offs in Survivor history. The producers loved it (obviously), we the audience loved it, and I think Ciera’s tribemates loved it as well (because it cemented Ciera’s bond with the remaining players). Laura, however, doesn’t know what to make of it. She knows she’s proud of her daughter, but it is a complex feeling for her, fraught with emotional resonance. Joining Tina and Vytas on Redemption Island, Laura is left to contemplate the next day’s big duel, where someone will be eliminated from the game for good.
The duel consists of a puzzle highly reminiscent of a Rubik’s Cube. Contestants must line up four large boxes so that their colors do not repeat. Laura and Vytas get off to a quick start, with Tina lagging behind. Laura finishes her puzzle in what seems like record time, winning the duel and the clue to the Immunity Idol. What she does next is fairly shocking, audibly helping Tina to finish in second place in any way that she can. A visibly frustrated Vytas loses the challenge and exits Redemption Island after tossing his buff in the fire. Laura’s choosing to help Tina speaks bounds about her – she’d much rather compete against Tina in a future duel, and it actually helps her shore up allies on the jury if she should return to the game.
Back at the beach, the tribe is split over a huge upcoming vote. Traditionally, the final seven have made some interesting choices on Survivor. Final seven is one of the last chances castaways have to shake up the game for a final time. As such, Hayden and Caleb, who have been very quiet in recent weeks, conspire against Tyson, who they correctly see as running the game. They go to Ciera and tell her of their plans after immediately getting Katie on board. Ciera, however, decides to make a counter-move, and immediately spills the plan to Tyson. With Ciera on his side, Tyson can use Gervase and Monica’s votes as well to vote out either Hayden or Caleb, thus blindsiding them.
At the Immunity Challenge, host Jeff Probst offers a tempting choice to the challengers. They can either compete for immunity, or feast on a barbecue of chicken and steak. Tyson, Gervase, and surprisingly Ciera decide to eat instead of compete. The challenge is a basic Survivor stamina game, with the last remaining person holding a bucket (that is filled with 25% of their body weight) winning the immunity necklace. Monica fairly easily outlasts the competition, once again showing her dominance in a stamina challenge. What’s so great about the challenge is that Tyson, Ciera, and Gervase feast openly and make smug remarks to the other contestants. Tyson is always good for a few choice lines.
Back at the beach, Hayden and Caleb feel left out and head full on into scramble mode. They decide, for some reason, to let Tyson know that they planned to blindside him, countering with pointing out how duplicitous Ciera has been the past few days. Tyson listens to their offer, and going into Tribal Council we’re still not sure whether it’ll be Tyson, Caleb, or Ciera voted out of the game. Tyson decides to play his Hidden Immunity Idol in case of emergency (probably a good move because of how final seven works), but Caleb is sent to Redemption Island in 4-3 Caleb to Ciera vote. He joins Tina and Laura on RI. We’ll see if Laura decides to help Tina again next week as the game winds down into a final stretch.