9:55am PT by Parvati Shallow
Parvati Shallow Recaps 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water': Double Elimination, Double Trouble
Wahe Guru! It’s merge time boys and girls!
Before we celebrate the merge, a few things must be said about the Redemption Island duel.
First, a koala bear pole challenge is clearly an advantage for the women. Second, as a woman who has competed in this challenge in two of my three Survivor seasons, I can say with ultimate authority that Laura Morett has this one in the bag. Third, if you ever find yourself hanging on a pole, fighting for your life, please remove your shoes AND socks BEFORE you climb up. I realize that all of you Western worlders are deeply committed to your footwear. In this instance, however, shoes are not your friends. Ditch those puppies and jam your big toe into the crevice. When your big toe goes numb, move your heel into the notch, and so on. John Cody’s wife, Candice, and I both competed in this challenge together in Cook Islands. I know she must have been hurling shoes at the TV screen Wednesday night as she watched her man slip down the pole in his Nike’s; his chances of winning Survivor slowly sinking to never. Laura Boneham manages to barely keep her booty off the hot sand for a surprisingly long time, but what goes up, must come down. Characteristically, Laura M. wins, thus ending her run at Redemption Island and bouncing her back into the game.
Now, we get to merge! I’m excited about this because it means we are going to see some real strategizing going down. Now that the loved ones have reunited with one another, will the singles stick together? The merge feast has so much to offer. Along with salami and white bread, we have a side of Monica Culpepper paranoia and a heaping serving of Vytas Baskauskas cockiness. Which would you like first?
Let’s dish up some Monica paranoia, shall we? Understandably, Monica’s more than a little irritated with Tina Wesson’s declaration that they would love to keep her around until the final five. Even Tina’s sweet, southern charm couldn’t sell that game plan to Mrs. Culpepper. She jumps at the first chance she can to pull over Tyson and work the singles angle. Right now, it makes sense for Monica to jump on board with the floaters. She is on her own and is right to feel threatened by a pair of brothers and a mom and daughter duo. It doesn’t look like she made an airtight alliance with Tyson Apostol, however. Monica may be able to jump ship and really stir things up moving forward.
Moving right along to our brothers yogi: Vytas and Aras. These boys have been playing really well individually. Now that they’ve merged, they become public enemy number one. As if they don’t have a big enough target on their backs, they go ahead and dominate the first individual immunity challenge. In the showdown for who has the greatest memory, Vytas takes the prize -- a sweet immunity necklace that keeps him safe for the night. Both boys feel incredibly safe. Aras has made friends with nearly everyone in the game and Vytas has the necklace. What could go wrong?
What Aras doesn’t realize is that, while he and his bro bask in the glory of victory, his buddy Tyson has been hatching a plan to seize power behind Aras’ back. The brothers feel so comfortable that Vytas even pipes up, “We’ve got this game on lock. I’d be surprised if anyone has the guts to do anything about us.” Oops, famous last words V. Tyson has successfully roped in Gervase Peterson, Monica, Ciera, Laura and the rest of the boys. Not only does Tyson now sit in the kingpin position of the majority alliance, but he also "just happened" to stumble upon the hidden immunity idol. Double trouble.
The plan to blindside King Aras is in full effect. It goes down without a hitch at tribal, leaving a stunned Aras to walk the dark path of despair to Redemption Island. I’m not sure, but we may have witnessed Vytas become a bit more humble after this tribal council. There is absolutely no way he can continue to peacock around camp after that shocker. He’s going to have to do some real leg work to get back in with his former boys, Hayden Moss and Caleb Bankston. He could also work the Monica angle again, but could get hurt by taking part in voting out her husband Brad earlier in the game. Any way you slice it, the mighty have fallen. Vytas is in trouble and Aras is left alone to ponder what went wrong. I’m hoping we can see some magic at Redemption Island, because I’m a fan of the brothers and am loving watching their story unfold this season.
After all is said and done, the real dangers here are Tina and her daughter, Katie. Why is no one after Tina? She is a former winner. Her daughter is in the game with her, giving her power in numbers. She is a real under-the-radar kind of girl that makes you fall right in love with her so you don’t even notice when she steals your final three spot out from under your nose. Now that Vytas is flying solo, his best play is to rally the troops and go after Tina, breaking up the mother/daughter couple.
What do you think? Did Tyson make a good move or was it a premature play?
Tweet me @parvatishallow.
Check out my interview with Laura Boneham and John Cody on the Survivor After Show at CBS.com.