Back at Tadhana the discussion around the campfire centers around John's inability to lie and Brad explains his reasoning for spearheading the direction of the vote. As Caleb listens to this he realizes that Brad feels it's best to keep those around who have a loved one to connect with at the merge to increase their strength, but this seriously sets off Caleb's spidey-senses. I don't really agree with Brad's assessment myself because if you have a loved one to connect with that actually makes you more of a threat to your team that a benefit. For the same reason you break up couples in Big Brother, Brad should be quietly looking to break up couples here. The problem is that by doing so you weaken your tribe going into the merge . . . and this tribe is weak enough already.
With another bright sunny day at the Redemption Arena the teams are settled comfortably in the stands and the competitors are marched in . . . Candice, John and Marissa. Candice gives Brad the traditional "street salute" as she comes in and Jeff just loves to fuel that flame. He doesn't miss a cue. He asks Candice what her reaction was when John showed up on Redemption Island, and she says she was just "upset."
Of course he's gotta ask, "Upset sad, upset mad?"
"Oh Jeff, upset all." She was looking for someone that she and Marissa could work together to beat, "someone I could hate, like Brad Culpepper."
Sorry Monica but as wonderful a husband as Brad may be, not everyone is gonna love him. When Jeff turns it over to Monica she defends her husband and tries the whole "it's not just one vote, it's the tribe" angle but that doesn't really fly with Candice. She starts in on Brad shushing the women of Tadhana and Brad gets defensive that he never shushed anyone and . . . well, you get the idea. It was the usual angry banter and Candice was just angrier than usual because this time it was her husband that drew the short stick.
This opens the door for John to say that every decision and every vote has been directed by Brad and that maybe it's time to stop trusting Brad and someone should knock th eking off his throne. Maybe it is and maybe Brad's gameplay will be played against him eventually. Yes, John made the wrong decision in trusting Brad but is that John's fault or Brad's because he's a better liar? Only time will tell.
Onward to the Redemption Challenge, a race along a ladder bridge maneuvering a key to the end to unlock a bag of puzzle pieces that will allow two of them to solve a very complicated Survivor puzzle. The one who doesn't solve the puzzle . . . well, you know the drill.
The ladder walk looks pretty hard on the knees as John and Marissa take the lead, but Candice isn't that far behind and she catches up to them around the time they start going through their puzzle pieces. John manages to keep his lead while Candice starts to fall a little behind. No worries, as Jeff says Candice always keeps her cool unless she's yelling at Culpepper. Her response to that? "Cut my baby and I cut you." This is not your average soccer mom.
Brad decides this might be a good time to help John in an attempt to get him to like him again as he yells out some direction and Jeff finds that a bit unusual. I mean, after all, Brad is the only reason that John is there. Without missing a beat John, like his wife, just keeps plugging along and in no time at all completes the puzzle and wins the duel. One down, one to go.
The pressure is on as Marissa starts to fall behind and Gervase begins yelling out help from the stands but it's a little too late for her and Candice finishes in second. Husband and wife get to return to Redemption Island, a nice quiet retreat from the game, but for Marissa it's time to go. Too bad but after nine days in the game it was her time to move on and Gervase lets her know that he's proud of her and will use her leaving as motivation for him to go further.
With the win, John also gets to decide who gets the next clue for the hidden immunity idol. While John deliberates Candice tells him he should give it to Monica and Jeff comes back with "Does she tell you what to do all the time?" "She does. I don't always listen." Sounds about right, . . . that's pretty much the same in my household.
So John gives the clue to Monica to "spread the love" and put a target on her back. Brad immediately starts telling her to toss it in the fire and I think she had already decided that even before he said anything as she got up and walked down to the urn and burnt up the clue. Mistake? Maybe. Realistically she doesn't need the hidden idol and more often than not we've all seen that they can be found without a clue so why draw any extra attention. Of course, if she had the idol it may be of more use to her husband than to her.
That's the first time that has ever happened, according to Jeff and Candice says "Doing what she's told" and we get the cut to grumpy Brad. Were these women always so catty or is it just because they're in this with their loved ones this season. I don't remember her being that bad before. Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
Everyone heads back to their camps and John and Candice get a nice day at the beach. Overall John's actually pretty happy about the situation as he gets to hang out with his wife, which is the whole reason they signed up together. Maybe he should thank Brad next time he sees him. Sure, the downside is that eventually one of them is going home but together they can relax between duels (triels?) and enjoy their time away from the others.
Back at Galang Monica starts asking why nobody sees the sacrifices being made by the loved ones. Sure, it's a bit of a defence of Brad and how he's playing the game but she's gotta be getting tired of everyone on Tadhana blaming him for their eviction. She's right. It's not a game of just one vote but when the players throw their trust behind one person they kinda hope that person has their best interests at heart. Of course, in Survivor that's pretty much impossible as there can be only one Survivor.
Gervase points out that Monica only knows Brad as Brad Culpepper from Tampa and that she doesn't know Brad from Survivor. He's actually pretty proud of Brad's game play and knows that someone has to run the show. It wasn't his loved one so it had to be someone else's. Everyone seems to have Monica's back and nobody is angry with Brad because, as returning players they all know how the game is played. Galang is a nice tight tribe but eventually they'll turn on each other and we can sit back and watch the fireworks.
Over at the Tadhana camp the discussion turns to how personal Candice seems to have taken the vote and how she tells John what to do and that's all fine and dandy but when Brad tells Monica it's all "he's being bossy." The truth is, that's the way a married couple acts even if they don't see it. Sometimes there needs to be a little give and take to make everyone happy.
Ciera points out how Galang is mad when they vote out a loved one and then they're mad if they don't but Brad corrects her with "they're not mad at you, they're mad at me." Time for damage control and to that end he starts thinking that voting out Caleb is a no-brainer as there's no way anyone can be angry with him about it. Guess Caleb's "spidey-senses" were right.
While Brad is out fishing the other guys at Tadhana start discussing how Redemption Island has become the Brad Bashing Hour. He's become public enemy number one and is even starting to affect his own alliance who were a little taken aback by the way he "shanked" John. They're pretty sure it'll be one of the girls going out next time they go to tribal but they also don't want to get "Johnned." I sense a shift in power at Tadhana.
Remember how Tyson hurt his shoulder at the last immunity challenge? Well it's been getting better every day but he's still milking it for all it's worth to conserve energy around camp. This could be a good idea in order to be ready for the next challenge, but if he milks it too long his tribemates may decide he's a liability and it's time to go. He and Gervase seem to have developed a nice little alliance on their own as they sneak off to drink the coconut milk without anyone knowing, hacking a little hole into the side.
When Laura returns to camp with these empty coconuts Gervase is sure their cover is blown and he's going to have to come up with some sort of explanation. How convenient for him that Monica starts wondering if maybe a crab has been burrowing into the coconuts to eat them from the inside out. Thank you Monica. Of course when they get back to camp Tyson is right on board with that story of how they must burrow in to get to the meat and then the milk leaks out. Wake up, Monica. What kind of crab is strong enough to get into a coconut? A coconut that you guys need to hack into with a machete. Maybe she's had too much time in the sun.
With the Tyson/Gervase alliance strengthening the one thing they need to watch out for, according to Tyson, is Aras getting back with his brother Vytas. He's right for the same reasons that Brad has been spouting over at Tadhana. Once you are merged with your loved one you become a force to reckon with in the game. Better keep an eye on that.
Time for today's immunity challenge. When Jeff takes back the immunity idol Tyson says he could just leave it there. Based on Tadhana's past performance he may be right. It's a pretty standard challenge, . . . paddle out in a boat past a series of crates, circle your flag and begin heading back, diving down at each crate to release it and toss it into your boat, retrieve all five and then use them to create a staircase, then two tribe members will solve a puzzle, release a key and raise their team flag to win immunity as well as a reward of either tea/coffee and sweets or if you'd rather fishing gear, which Galang already has.
Despite Tyson's shoulder Galang decides to sit out Tina and Kat. If they lose this could be a bad decision for Tyson. He figures he's still stronger than most people on his tribe even with one arm and he wants to win so . . . he better win.
Tadhana once again proves to be a cohesive team in the water as they again take an early lead and are already heading down to release their first crate before Galang has even rounded their flag. With their third crate onboard Tadhana nearly flipped their boat but managed to stay afloat. Quickly it's Tadhana with four crates, Galang with three and both teams are off to their next crate. As Tadhana loads their last crate into the boat the weight shifts, everything slides and two flip back into the water. That opened the door for Galang to get their fifth crate and start heading back, taking over the lead that Tadhana wasted.
Galang is already hauling their crates up the beach before Tadhana gets to shore but it's neck and neck as the tribes start building their staircase. Tadhana manages to get their lead back but it's not much as Galang completes their staircase almost immediately after and it's now down to the puzzle. Ciera and Vytas for Tadhana versus Laura and Tyson for Galang and once again it's mother versus daughter. Repeating the last puzzle duel between them Laura's steady pace completes the puzzle, they release their key, and Galang raises their flag to remain undefeated in all challenges.
Laura hates beating her daughter but she also knows that her tribe is depending on her and she puts everything into a challenge. Despite her desire to beat her mother I guess Ciera's just not as good as she thought at puzzles. Guess who's head is back on the chopping block? Hayden just can't get his head around how a younger, stronger team can't get it together enough to beat a one armed dude and three Moms. Apparently he's never watched The Fugitive, those one armed guys are tough. Nobody beats Moms.
Prior to tribal the guys walk off to "get water" which as Ciera points out is code for "strategize against the girls" while the girls "make rice" which is code for "how do we save our ass." I like those codes, but apparently Brad didn't get the memo as he stays behind for a bit to talk strategy with the girls and tell them to vote out Caleb. Vytas comes back for him but by this time the guys are getting concerned and wondering what kinda stunt Brad's working on. When he returns to the guys he tells them he's convinced the girls to vote Caleb but knows they're voting out Ciera. Those "spidey-senses" of Caleb's are starting to work overtime. I like Caleb, he seems like a pretty straight up dude. What the heck he's doing with Colton is beyond me but whatever works I guess.
The grand march to tribal is what looks like Ciera's last one but once they arrive it's anyone's game. Brad immediately throws Ciera under the bus but she's not ready to give up yet. When Jeff points out that Brad takes all the grief at Redemption for everyone they've voted out he defends his position, but in so doing he points out the underlying point that it's better to vote out someone without any "loved one" connections. Nice of Jeff to now throw Caleb under the bus, but Caleb's "spidey-sense" is up and running and now Ciera has a glimmer of hope. It's slim, but it's there.
Back to my opening remarks, Hayden points out that once you distrust somebody in this game it's really hard to gain back their trust. He's right, and in this game it's almost impossible. Jeff points out Caleb's "free agent" status and that leads to Caleb revealing that he's going to write down Brad's name and assumes the girls with side with him. Don't you just love how tribal plays out? Some of it is the gentle push and pull that Jeff is known for but most of it is just the way the tribe interacts. One wrong decision, one lost trust, and your game is done.
The votes are read and it's a tie between Ciera and Brad. Nowhere on there did Caleb's name come up so he's gotta feel good about that. Time to revote and they can only vote for Brad or Ciera so now it's crunch time. Do you keep the leader, knowing full well he can't be trusted . . . or do you keep the pretty girl knowing she should never do anymore puzzles?
I hope you enjoy your warm welcome at Redemption Island . . . Brad. He explains as he's getting up that he's not mad at anyone and that he made a bad move. Yeah, maybe a few of them. Serious power shift for Tadhana and I guess we'll see how it plays out for the tribe.
When Brad gets to Redemption Island he's a little tentative about waking up Candice and John . . . it's never good to poke the bear. Candice is so glad to hear his voice on Redemption Island as he comes in waving the proverbial white flag. I guess we'll have to wait until next week to see how that evening played out.
Speaking of next week it looks like Caleb's feeling the power of Greyskull over at Tadhana. Don't get to cocky there dude, remember how that worked for Brad. Meanwhile it looks like Monica wants to take Brad's spot in the Redemption duel. I don't think that's actually going to happen and I'd be really surprised if he let her but at least we now have something to look forward to. See you all Sunday night (or Monday morning) for my Amazing Race review, or next Thursday morning for my Survivor update.