Another sun filled day on Survivor island and Day 7 opens on Tyson's Cupcake belt buckle. Seriously? That's so manly dude. I can see all the viewers racing out right after the show to pick one up, for their 8 year old daughter. Whatever.
The scene eventually segues into the usual banter and Colton gets all upset because nobody wants to talk strategy. Would you want to talk strategy with Colton? Only if it was the exact opposite of what you were intending because when he's not trying to throw someone under the bus he's usually having a little hissy fit because nobody loves him. He gets the "suck it up, princess" pep talk but by now we all know that's not gonna help much.
Moving on to the meat of the episode we return to the Redemption Island Arena and right after the two tribes are settled in we get today's challengers, Candice, Marissa and Rachel. Tyson does not look happy when he sees that the Tadhana tribe voted out Rachel, but he's a smart enough player to realize why they did it. Unfortunately for Tadhana the attempt to weaken the Galang tribe didn't work as Rachel assured him that he should hold his ground.
An angry Tyson issues a warning to the other team, specifically at Brad who then goes into defence mode and I can't wait to see these two go up against each other. That should be fun for another day. As the accusations increase you can see poor little Colton losing it in the stands.
When Jeff asks him "What are you crying about?" I can almost hear him add "princess" at the end. Jeff hates when people quit, not just because it totally throws the game but because there are always plenty of other applicants that would have stayed regardless of the hardships. Colton knew what he was getting into and he knew that nobody was going to trust him but his need to be in the limelight always gets in his way.
"I don't want to be here anymore . . . at all" sob, sob, boo hoo. We're okay with that Colton, we don't want you here either. "I'm tired of being hated by everybody" Too late.
Jeff is not happy and he's not letting this one go. “What is it that's happened on your tribe that is forcing you to quit, for what now I can confirm for myself is a second time? The first time you feigned an appendicitis. Turns out you didn’t have it. You want to own that one now?” Of course he doesn't Jeff, he wants to blame everybody else.
There's a little more back and forth and it's pretty apparent that Jeff would like nothing more than to smack some sense into Colton but baring that he just lets loose. “I am now convinced that Colton is the guy who never should have gotten up off the couch. We brought a quitter back and we got a quit again.” Well that one had to hurt because Colton got up and went over to sit on his fiancée Caleb's lap for comforting.
“You can keep your buff,” Jeff informs the now two-time quitter. “I won’t give it the honor of throwing that in the urn. We’ll keep that reserved for people that compete.” One week, that's all it took. A mere seven days and the princess has his breakdown. I guess it's just as well that the Galang tribe didn't throw a challenge to vote out Colton because that would have given him too much credit. And with that Colton marches off into the sunset (not really but you get my drift) and we can get back to the real game.
Back to the duel, another balancing challenge but this one has a domino effect to release a ball at the end and break a tile. We've seen it before and it's always a fun one to watch, especially if you played with dominoes as a kid. The loser of today's duel gets to share a boat ride home with Colton. That should be almost as much fun.
Candice takes the lead early and wins the second duel. No surprise there, the girl's a strong competitor. Rachel bumps her trip bar and loses half her stack but realizes that it'll work so she moves to reset before Marissa completes hers. It helps when Marissa bumps her trip bar and loses a third of her stack, forcing her to also reset. Back and forth they go, bumping and restacking. As both sets of tiles start to domino into each other it's neck and neck until Rachel's tiles jam and Marissa wins the second place. Sorry Rachel.
Tyson goes down and gives her a farewell hug and she gets the honor of tossing her buff in the urn as she leaves. Maybe she'll get lucky and they'll have a second boat. Since Candice won again she gets to decide who gets the next clue for the hidden immunity idol and once again she gives it to her husband John. That target on his back just keeps getting bigger and bigger as the duel wraps up and the teams head back to camp.
Back at the Galang camp Tyson feels a little regret for not stepping in to replace Rachel but he's glad she had a good time during her week and it will definitely add a burn to his desire to see the Tadhana tribe decimated. Of course at the rate they're going he might not have long to wait. In the meantime he'll just have a little tear run down his cheek and move on. We all knew Tyson was a sentimental guy, just look at that belt buckle.
There was some discussion as to why Colton quit but in the end it came down to the fact that he just couldn't handle not having anyone play his game. Aligning with Colton was highly unlikely for any of these players because he'd proven before that he couldn't be trusted and having Jeff reveal how he quit last time probably didn't sit well with any of them anyway.
Back at Tadhana Brad was ranting about how Tyson called him out, painting a huge target on his back. Brad seems to have missed the point that that's how you play the game and pointing out how he's running the tribe may actually make his target larger than John's. Fortunately the guys seem to be behind Brad's covert manipulation of the team, or at least the guys' alliance, and that's a good thing for Brad because as the numbers dwindle people will look for any excuse.
John starts looking for the immunity idol and realizes how that makes him a target but he also comes to the realization that he needs to not look too paranoid about it and eventually decides to confide in Brad about the clues. As the two of them are off looking for the idol John mentions how the rest of the team is going to wonder how tight their alliance is and tells Brad that he'll find the idol. Which of course sends up red flags for Brad. In a game of trust and alliances, something that doesn't really work in Amazing Race, once you open that gate you need to control how much you give. Apparently Brad doesn't feel John is giving enough.
Tree mail arrives with a clue to the immunity challenge and the teams have an idea of what they're up against. Loved one against loved one, it's family feud with big pillows and a floating arena. We've seen it before on Survivor and we'll probably see it again. Obviously the focus here is on Vytas and Aras as Vytas goes on about how Aras was the golden child who got scholarships and won Survivor (Season 12) and Aras goes on about how Vytas was always a bully. This should be fun, right.
Teams arrive at the immunity challenge and Jeff describes the challenge, face to face, sumo style with padded bags to knock your opponent off the platform and into the water. First team to five wins immunity and a choice of comfort (tarp, pillows, blankets, hammock) or fishing gear (which will keep you alive). Galang has to sit out a woman and they choose Monica, which means she doesn't have to go up against her husband Brad. Guess who does.
The first match pits Brad against Gervase and right at the start Gervase loses a hold on his bag as he starts the attack. He's all over the place and a fairly easy win for Brad as he knocks Gervase into the sea. Next match pits Laura (Rupert's wife) against Katie (Tina's daughter) and Laura just powers over her. Enjoy the swim Katie. Teams are tied at one each.
The next match puts John (Candice's husband) against Aras, John gets an early advantage but Aras keeps fighting back. A little more evenly matched but in the end John wins and we move on to the next match of Ciera (Laura's daughter) taking on Kat. I'm not really sure we can call this one a match, after blowing kisses at each other Kat just gives one shove and into the briny goes Ciera to swim with the fishes. Teams are tied again at two each.
Hayden (Kat's boyfriend) goes in for Tadhana against Tyson for Galang and it's a big opening hit from Hayden, emulating his girlfriend's move, that knocks Tyson into the water with a loud "pop". Oh wait, that was his shoulder coming out of its socket. Medic Ramona wades out into the water to get a look at Tyson's shoulder and agrees that his shoulder has popped out a little and he may have torn something so she decides that, for this challenge, Tyson is out. Hopefully his shoulder heals before the next challenge or he may be following his loved one home.
Back in the challenge we get Tina going up against her daughter and this is a good match up. Katie has something to prove and really wants to beat her mother at her own game but Tina is no pushover and eventually forces her daughter over the edge. Tying it up once again at three to three.
Now for the headliner. It's brother against brother, bully against victim, athlete versus junkie. That's right ladies and gentlemen it's the match we've been waiting for Aras against Vytas. Aras gets the advantage quickly as his brother goes down, but he's not going over without a fight. There's a momentary standstill and Aras backs away to let his brother up to start again but as he moves away Vytas tries to take advantage and catch Aras off guard. Not gonna happen buddy. Aras is not going to make the same mistake twice as he knocks Vytas into the water and takes the lead for Galang four to three.
Another mother against daughter match as Laura goes up against Ciera and even before it starts Laura is upset because she doesn't want to hurt her baby. Ciera assures her she's not going to get hurt and it's on. And off for Ciera.
Galang wins their third immunity challenge in a row and Tadhana is heading back to tribal council again. That's gotta start wearing on the team when they can't win a single challenge. Just outside camp John starts in about how the girls couldn't beat their mothers in the challenge. The five man alliance discusses the fact that even though they like the girls one of them has to go and between Katie, who has cooked all the meals, and Ciera, who looks good in a bikini, the decision is pretty obvious. At least in John's mind, but as he says . . . this is Survivor and he knows those clues aren't helping him any. Thanks honey.
As John walks off Brad pitches the idea of voting out John before he gets a chance to rejoin with Candice. The guys are taken a little aback by this but they listen to what Brad has to say and seem to be in agreement. Hayden understands that this could be a big game move and having won Big Brother compares this move to opening Pandora's Box. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not so much.
Brad goes to the girls and lets them know how the vote is going to go but then says that he'll vote for someone else so he doesn't get his hands dirty. What? Is Brad an idiot? Why would he tell them that? Vytas may be an ex-junkie but even he knows that's not a good game move and now the vote could go to vote off Brad. I love how just when you think you know how the game is going to go somebody throws their hands up and says "pick me".
As tribal nears Brad keeps pushing to vote out John, but even Hayden has started to realize that they may need to vote out Brad. Decisions, decisions and somebody is definitely going to get blindsided.
At tribal Jeff does what Jeff does best, play the teammates off of each other, looking for clues in their facial expressions and how or where they sit as they come in. After 27 seasons he's become a master at this part of the game and he continues to do so as he points out the obvious only to turn it around and throw someone else up for suspicion. I don't think any other reality host could do this as well as Jeff does as he directs the questioning towards John and the hidden immunity idol clues which brings the target back to John. Of course then Brad pipes up with "there's only going to be one winner at the end of the day" and redirects those slings and arrows. When will these people learn to shut up?
Everyone votes and once again Brad gets to remain the kingpin as John is voted out to Redemption Island to join his wife. Voting out a strong physical player is not always your best choice but guaranteeing that you're not up against a couple in the end is. The look on John's face when he realizes that his alliance turned on him pretty much says it all. Ciera on the other hand is just happy it wasn't her.
As Tadhana gets weaker with the eviction of John and Galang gets stronger thanks to Colton running away I look forward to next week, especially with the angry attitude Brad gets from Candice. I'm not sure what she expected really . . . she's the one who painted the target on John's back in the first place.
I hope everyone is enjoying my reviews of Survivor alongside my Amazing Race reviews and, as always, I look forward to feedback
Gordon L Gale
Gordon L Gale is a Freelance Illustrator, a Graphic Designer, a Dad and (according to his children) an Ogre.