Parvati Shallow Recaps 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water': Of Grubs and Idols
The three-time competitor and winner of "Survivor: Micronesia" shares her insights into the CBS show every week on THR.com.
Hello, once again, Survivor fans. We have a wretch of a show to breakdown today, including a sicko food challenge and two castaways sent to Redemption Island.
Before we get to the meat of the episode, I would like to acknowledge and bring awareness to the natural disaster, Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippines last week. I was fortunate to spend time in the Philippines filming the behind-the -cenes special for this season of Survivor, and it was one of the most beautiful, charming countries I’ve had the pleasure to visit. The people of the Philippines are experiencing unimaginable loss right now, including their homes and their loved ones. If I know anything about the Survivor community, it’s that you all care deeply about one another and about our beautiful world. Please consider donating any amount you can to aid the Red Cross in their relief efforts in the Philippines. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for hearing me out and for taking action to send help where it’s so desperately needed right now.
And, now, our show must go on.
When people recognize me from Survivor, one of their first questions to me is, “Did you have to eat anything gross?” I laugh it off, thanking my Survivor guardian angels that I never had to suffer through a food challenge like the one we witnessed on Wednesday’s episode. Hearing Jeff Probst sadistically describe the delicacies our dear castaways are preparing to consume, we all know what’s coming.
Our first culinary delight is revealed: a shot glass full of live, squirming, meal worms. Feeling lightheaded, I have to steady myself just watching this. These contestants have no time to waste checking their blood pressure, they immediately pick up the shot glasses and pour the squirmers down the hatch. In his haste, a few errant worms escape Vytas Baskauskas' mouth and he has to pick the half eaten little things up off the ground and get them down his gullet in time to join front runners, Tyson Apostol, Gervase Peterson and Monica Culpepper in the next round. Excuse me while I vomit.
Ok, I’m back. Just in time to watch round three. I couldn't stomach the pig intestine that Caleb Bankston actually seemed to be enjoying in quite the civilized manner. He is from Alabama, where the pig intestine is second to none. He took a bit too long savoring his meal, leaving room for Monica and Gervase to wiggle in to spots one and two. Now, it’s getting real. Monica has shown her chops and she’s got nothing holding her back. Gervase competed in an eating challenge in his first season of Survivor and couldn't handle the grubs. So, what do we have on plate No. 3? Two, fat, creepy-crawly grubs, innocently worming around in the hot Philippine sun.
Hang on, I feel sick. On go, Monica delicately pops one fatty in her mouth, the guts of which appear to be oozing down her chin. Gervase, goes for the gusto and slams two grubs in his mouth at one time. He looks like a cheetah with a fresh kill as grub chunks and blood spew from his fangs. Juicy little suckers, aren’t they? Have I sufficiently grossed you out with my description? No? You want more? OK …
Monica manages to gag grub number one down and keep it down. Gervase is jumping up and down, violently shaking his head in a wild attempt to drown out the reality of what’s in his mouth. After successfully eating one grub, number two looks like a piece of cake for Monica, our tiny warrior mama. She sprints over to Probst, giving him a fantastic squeeze as he anoints with the well deserved immunity necklace.
Now that we’re 10 minutes into the show and we’ve already had an immunity challenge, let’s prepare for an extremely early tribal council and then it’s off to bed. Wait a minute, I see what’s going on here. They're booting two contestants tonight so we can have a serious duel at Redemption Arena.
Which castaway needs to get voted off in order to make the Redemption duel the most fun? Aras Baskauskas is there now, so, just for our own entertainment, it would be awesome if Vytas was the next to go. Apparently, I’ve got Tyson on the line, because he just processed our request and has set himself to the task of rallying his minions to vote out the dark yogi. Don't count him out yet. We’ve seen Vytas work some magic in the past and has a few tricks up his sleeve. With his back against the wall, most of his strategy consists in begging the guys to keep him around. It doesn't look like any of his bros are taking the bait this time.
At tribal council, Vytas knows he’s the odd man out. In a fit of fury, he unleashes on his fellow tribe mates, cursing them for voting out his little brother and swearing revenge. Monica takes the brunt of Vytas’ tirade as he calls her out for being on the bottom and not seeing the truth. But, alas, Lady Culpepper has her heart set on redeeming her husband, Brad Culpepper, who Vytas turned on earlier in the game. She switches her vote to Vytas, ensuring his exit. Game over, V. Time to join your little bro on Redemption Island.
Speaking of Redemption, let’s check in with our Brothers Grimm. Aras is such a delight; he just radiates innocence and light. His older brother Vytas, weathered a bit by the storms of life, takes a darker, crush your enemies completely, approach. Which brother will prevail at our Redemption challenge next episode? I think Vytas, fueled by anger and determination, has the edge right now.
Back in the game, we’ve got a scintillating coin counting challenge to get after! You crazy kids, counting your coins. Let’s do this thing! This challenge would ruin me, and anyone else with shaky hand syndrome (that includes you, Malcolm Freberg). It’s all about focus, breath control and steadiness here. Impressively, Katie Collins scores the much needed immunity necklace, keeping her safe and condemning her mother. Thankfully, earlier in the show, Tina Wesson released daughter Katie to play her own game, so she doesn't have to feel bad about being the reason her mom is getting the boot.
Tina’s only possible refuge could come in the form of finding the hidden immunity idol. She’s off on an idol hunt with Tyson and the boys hot on her heels. I love how Tyson is playing this idol. Keeping it a secret and not sharing it with anyone is much harder than it looks, especially when everyone is trying to split votes in the off chance of an idol play.
Obviously, Tina doesn't find the idol (because Tyson has it) and she trudges into tribal council without any protection. Knowing she’s the one to go, Tina voices her opinions of Monica’s bottom feeder status. This time, Monica agrees that she is on the outside in a game full of pairs. Rather than a weakness, I see this as a strong position for her. She can easily find a crack in one of the pairs, prey on the doubts of others and break up Hayden Moss and Caleb or Ciera Eastin and Laura Morett.
Time with tell…
Tina joins the boys on Redemption, and while the three of them await their fate in the challenge, I am going to excuse myself to go eat a real American delicacy: Pancakes and Vermont maple syrup.
Love your guts!
Tweet me @parvatishallow
Join me and The Hollywood Reporter’s Kimberly Nordyke for a strategy breakdown on the Survivor After Show at CBS.com.