Over at Galang we have Laura M giving Aras a massage in an attempt to build up their trust. If this were someone else it might even have worked but Aras is on to her game and despite enjoying the attention he's not likely to change his alliance just to keep her safe. Anything more than a 5 person alliance is hard to maintain but he understands why she's doing it. Of course, while all the returning players have an existing bond Laura B is feeling a little left out. Her attempt to share blanket space with Gervase is met with "I'm good." Lonely night for the new girl.
As much as I enjoy the eerie blue night shots the sun always rises and morning brings a return to the Redemption Island Arena. The tribes find their location in the stands and the challengers march in, Candice, John and Brad. Monica is all teary-eyed and apologetic to Brad for being there and asks to take his spot but he's not having it. As he says . . . she's his rock and he adores her and he'll battle his way back. That's a good man and I'm proud of his decision, not that anyone thought for a minute that he'd let her switch places. Monica's been putting up with the shots fired at her husband pretty much from the start and it's been wearing her down but she is a rock and she'll persevere.
Since most of those shots have come from Candice, Jeff calls her on it . . . pointing out that she hasn't even spent a second of time with either tribe since the start of the game. She defends her actions as just a gathering of what everyone else has said about what's been going on at Tadhana, right or not. Monica tells her how her feelings were hurt with all the attacks on her husband and Candice counters with how her feelings were hurt when Monica wrote her name down on day one. Never go into this game with feelings, they're meant for love songs and anniversaries.
Today's Redemption Duel requires them to disassemble a crate to build a bridge, then disassemble the bridge to solve a puzzle . . . the first two move on and the last one gets a free boat ride to the mainland. Somebody's gonna lose a loved one but it doesn't look like Candice is the one going home as she storms out ahead with her bridge. John and Brad keep flipping back and forth for second place but as they speed up Candice slows down. John manages to complete his bridge first and gets started on his puzzle while Brad completes his bridge before Candice. The trick to the puzzle is that only 12 boards have an image on the backside and the puzzle only requires 8 of those boards, but how hard can it be?
It turns out, not too hard as John finishes his puzzle first, leaving Candice against Brad for that second spot. It's gotta suck that he can't help his wife with anything more than verbal support, which Brad seems to have been getting from the Galang tribe thanks to Monica. The camera cuts back and forth between the two puzzles until Brad throws his hands up "Done! Done! Done!" and the look of defeat on Candice's face says it all. She has dominated Redemption Island since day one and was so far ahead on this challenge but apparently her time had come to an end. She had come out to play with her loved one, not against him, and now she gets to give him a big goodbye and tell him "No more tears." Sorry to see her go but without Brad in the stands to yell at she seems to have lost her focus. Farewell Candice, enjoy the boat ride.
Once again John gets to decide who gets the clue to the hidden immunity idol and he gives the clue to Monica and once again Monica throws the clue into the fire. So far, Monica's safe in her alliance but eventually that may not be the case and she may regret throwing those clues out, but for now she feels it's the right choice. On the upside it definitely avoids painting a target on her back.
Day 11 at the Galang camp and Tina realizes that Brad and Monica form a tight couple and a tight couple in this game is a threat to her game. The fact that Monica is confiding in Tina makes me wonder about her gameplay but she assures Tina that what she has with Brad does not affect her alliance with Tina. Well, I guess we'll see about that if Brad makes it to the merge. As it stands Tina's not sure whether she trusts Monica nor whether she's going to be a great threat or a great asset. There's a lot of game left to decide.
Over at Tadhana they're sharing a banana (no, that's not code for something else). Ciera goes over the list of injuries and bug bites all over everyone and how rough they've had it. Katie's toes are all red and sore from wearing wet footwear all the time and shows Caleb her soon to be missing toenail. It's the walking wounded over there, but that doesn't stop Vytas and Caleb from enjoying a relaxing float in the boat. That time allows them to discuss their tribe mates and how most of them would never even meet in real life, let alone get along, but even Vytas is complaining about his reaction to the environment with crazy little rashes and things.
As the power of Greyskull surges through Caleb he's sitting mighty pretty, or so he thinks. Little does he know that that after his big move everyone's aware that he could just turn on a dime and Vytas is no longer sure he can trust Caleb. It doesn't help when he leans back in the boat and says, "it's good to be the swing vote." No it's not, dude. Especially not when you announce it. Caleb's going to need to walk a fine line for awhile or he may find himself joining Brad and John at Redemption Island and I hate to point this out but I don't think he'd survive the challenge.
Tadhana has become very peaceful without Brad and the "noise" he brought with him. As Vytas enjoys some stretching along the cliffs Hayden says "it'll be interesting to see our team chemistry without Brad." The five members of Tadhana are enjoying a nice quiet moment overlooking the ocean and just relaxing for a change. Like five friends on a vacation. However all vacations have to come to an end and this one ends with this week's Immunity Challenge. Time to see if that moment of peace has been enough to reenergize their team.
One member of each tribe will race down a giant waterside, retrieving a ring along the way, and then attempt to land that ring on a post. The first person to do so will score a point for their tribe, first tribe to five wins immunity and reward. The reward is either juicy steaks, vegetables a, spices and a wok which will feed your tribe nicely tonight or they can trade it for a nice set of fishing gear which can feed your tribe for the rest of the game. Decisions, decisions. Losers of course go to Tribal Council and someone gets to join Brad and John. With three extra players Galang has Monica, Laura B and Laura M sit out the challenge.
First up is Gervase vs Caleb and even though Caleb missed his ring he aces the toss and it's 1-0 for Tadhana. Next it's Tyson vs Hayden and Tyson scores on his second toss, 1-1. Kat vs Katie and Kat manages to catch her ring as she comes down while Katie missed hers and had to readjust her bikini bottom before going back for it, but she makes up for it by scoring on her second toss, 2-1. Brother against brother as Aras goes against Vytas but Vytas must have been born for this game as he nails it on the first toss. He made it look so simple, like he didn't even try, 3-1.
Tadhana is once again in the lead in an immunity challenge as Tina challenges Ciera, and Tina scores on her second toss and closes the gap, 3-2. Next up is Tyson vs Caleb but with the pressure to tie it up on Tyson, Caleb's relaxed second toss scores and maintains their lead, 4-2. Things are finally looking up for Tadhana but can they keep it going? Gervase vs Hayden in what could be it for Tadhana. On his third toss Hayden hooks the post and finally Tadhana has won a challenge in the game. It's about time.
Perhaps it was that zen moment up in the hills, or the temptation of juicy steaks, or the absence of Brad's "noise," but whatever it was it worked. Tadhana has finally stepped up to the plate and won Immunity and guaranteed themselves another three days without Tribal Council. Tadhana decides to take the juicy steaks as reward and feed themselves now as they gather up their reward and return to camp. Galang unfortunately is not so lucky and for the first time this season gets to look forward to their first visit to Tribal. Okay, I guess reallty it's only Laura B's first visit as all the returning players have been there before, but you get the idea.
Not sure why exactly Laura B is bringing attention to the fact that this is her first Tribal Council when they return to the Galang camp. The last thing you want to do before Tribal is bring any attention to yourself. Her attempt to be aware of everyone around her is fine but then trying to stir things up with Kat and Tina is just painting a target on her forehead. She knows she's on the bottom and she's scrambling but in the core alliance of 5+1 she's still outside of it. According to Tyson the current view is to vote out someone everyone is annoyed with and for better or worse that's Laura B. Rupert would not be amused.
Laura M and Aras enjoy some time in the boat where Aras informs her that the gameplan is to vote out Laura B. She's the easy vote but as he he points out on his own easy votes are not always the right votes. While chatting with Tyson, Aras brings up the idea that Laura M might be able to beat Brad and that would put Monica in their pocket with no one else to turn to. Am I the only person who thinks that plan could backfire? Laura vs Laura is the new option and the only one strongly against it is of course Monica because she knows that Laura M would be a challenge for Brad. As the sun sets over the island the only thing sure is that one of the Lauras is going to Redemption. Probably.
At Council Jeff starts with Gervase who hasn't played in 13 years. 13 Years? Wow! It seems like only yesterday. Going even further back Jeff moves on to Tina who won the second season of Survivor in Australia and she relates how she had played more in the first five days of this season than she played in the entire second season. Everyone's making moves at every turn and playing balls to the wall from the get go. When it shifts over to Monica she says that the stakes are higher in Blood vs Water because you're always looking out for your loved one, and that comment can't sit well with the others because they know how strong her bond is with Brad. Could they decide to blindside Monica? Maybe.
As the focus shifts to everyone discussing their loved ones the general consensus seems to be that "they're on their own." Laura M has proven that with every challenge against her daughter Ciera, but is that loyalty to her tribe enough to keep her safe? Finally Jeff moves to Laura B with the big question, "do you feel you belong out here?" How is she supposed to answer that? She says, of course she does, and Monica agrees with that but Jeff points out that that's what everyone says just before they vote that person out. Don't you just love how Jeff fine tunes Tribal like a great conductor? He even points out how she's not Rupert and she agrees that everyone wanted to play with Rupert but she's created her own bonds with these people and that's all she's gonna say. Smart girl.
Time to vote and from what we've seen so far it's still between Laura and Laura, despite the fact that Laura M points out how Laura B has never had to see a torch snuffed out and I kinda wonder if maybe that was just a little too much information. There's only room for one Laura on the island and as the votes are read it's apparent that the tribe has decided that Laura M is off to Redemption Island by a vote of 5-1 (with 2 unshown).
Laura M did not look happy about that vote. Apparently the tribe decided that it was her time to take on Brad. When she arrives on Redemption Island Brad is surprised and wonders how the hell they lost. I still think this could backfire but I guess we'll have to wait until next week to see how that plays out.