Parvati Shallow Recaps 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water': Tribal Switch Time

The three-time competitor and winner of "Survivor: Micronesia" shares her insights into the CBS show every week on THR.com.
Monty Brinton/CBS
The Redemption Island duel

“In Survivor, it’s do unto others before they do unto you.” -- Monica Culpepper

Whether a contestant hails from a strong religious background or prides himself on his honesty, integrity and morality, playing Survivor means taking on the rules of a ruthless game. As they say, "All’s fair in love and war." I say, all’s fair in Survivor. Survivor is a colorful cocktail of backstabbery, lies and manipulation. What would be frowned upon in daily life, is actually encouraged in the Survivor arena. After 27 seasons of the show, contestants know what they’re signing up for and audiences delight in all the cunning, conniving and trickery.

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With that being said, what the f--k is Aras thinking with his many mountaintop meditation sessions? Clearly, you are one of the biggest threats left in the game, Aras. To scamper off alone and close your eyes for God knows how long, is the equivalent of signing your own death certificate in this game. Sure enough, your "closest comrades," Tyson and Gervase, are off plotting your demise. WAKE UP! You think you can trust your buddy, Tyson, because he’s funny and cages his threats and insults in humor. You are wrong. Tyson is dangerous. He’s played three times and has yet to win the game. He wants this. His poker face rivals that of real-life poker champ and one-time Survivor winner, Boston Rob. Tyson’s got your number, Aras, and he’s pulling in his fellow coconut bandit, Gervase. In a game about numbers, you’re getting outplayed. 

Hustling over to Redemption Arena, we see our three strong, hard-bodied gladiators, ready to rock. Surprisingly, our tiniest warrior, Laura M., has little venom to spit at her tribe after her brutal blindside. Her mind is focused on winning the challenge she tells her daughter, Ciera, who watches helplessly from the stands. From the looks of it, Laura doesn’t stand a chance. She’s competing in an athletic challenge with a brawny doctor and a former professional athlete. Where does all her confidence come from, I wonder?

Laura’s strong belief in herself pays off and she dominates the challenge, sending Brad Culpepper packing. I’m sad to see Brad go. Say what you will, but he was fun TV. His blindside made for the most epic tribal council we’ve seen all season. Without Brad, the producers are going to have to resort to things like a tribal switch to keep us hooked. 

And so it is.

These contestants are all pawns in a larger than life social experiment. Let’s make sure none of them get comfortable, and just when they think they know what’s going on, let’s smack them in the head with a huge change. Isn’t that just how life goes?

The new Galang tribe shakes down to include Vytas with Monica, Kat, Laura B., and Tina and Katie Wesson. Clearly the odd man out, Vytas has some serious work to do to integrate on a tribe full of women. He looks comfortable in his new role and sets to work on making a show of his vulnerability. His tactics get Monica Culpepper’s attention. Perhaps he has some information about her husband, Brad, to comfort her in her time of loss. Mother and daughter duo, Tina and Katie, are thrilled to be together again. As the only team of two, they should be considered a massive threat to the other singles on the tribe. Sweet, soft-spoken Tina, and laid-back, Katie appear to be the last of anyone’s worries. My guess is the new power alliance here will contain: Monica, Tina, Katie and Vytas.

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On Tadhana, Ciera is contending with the exact opposite situation from Vytas. She is the lone lady on a tribe full of dudes. Hayden, Caleb and Ciera welcome veterans, Aras, Tyson and Gervase to Tadhana soil. Aras’s plan to vote out Laura M. in order to get rid of Brad, and bring Monica in closer, panned out. What he didn’t plan on, however, was a tribal swap. With Monica no longer on his tribe, Aras is out in the open-- a sitting duck for Tyson to shoot down. 

Unsurprisingly, the physical challenge is won by the tribe full of men, forcing Vytas and his harem to prepare to lose someone at tribal council. Laura B. blew the challenge. Again, the easy vote here is Laura B., right? Nope. When the fear of heading to tribal creeps in, nothing is easy. 

In the end, Kat gets caught in a lie, loses the trust of her tribe, and is stomped by the new Vytas and Monica power couple. Humiliated, she slinks off.

Her famous last words: “Who wants to date somebody who doesn’t make the merge.”

Who do you think is running the show at Galang now? What are Aras’ chances of surviving Tyson’s attacks? 

Tweet me @parvatishallow and let me know!

Can’t get enough of your favorite Blood vs. Water castaways? Check out the Survivor After Show on CBS.com for interviews with me and the latest castoff.

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