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Survivor recap: Beware The Swing Vote

Gervase must choose between his original alliance-mate and his new partner-in-coconut-crime

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Gervase Peterson
Monty Brinton/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

It took 13 years. It took walking in the woods during a challenge when his tribe could not see him (and then sprinting on the beach when they could). It took slapping himself in the head repeatedly while psyching himself up to eat beetle larvae (yet still losing to Stacy Stillman). It took almost drowning in the very first challenge upon his triumphant return and yet talking smack after it was all over. But…DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU!!! That’s right, Gervase Peterson just finally made his first-ever big Survivor move. The man in the Philadelphia Eagles shirt whose game mirrored Matt Barkley the first time around just went Nick Foles versus the Raiders by voting out his biggest beginning-of-the-game ally in Aras.

Honestly, I didn’t think Gervase had it in him. I guess you could say that I…LET THAT FOOL ME! As I have mentioned many times before, it is my belief that Aras, Tina, and Gervase had a pre-game alliance with their loved ones. The sad reality is that everyone in returning player seasons makes deals before the game begins. But once his niece Marissa was eliminated, that left Gervase as a fifth wheel, and a wheel that would not likely be awarded the money over already established gamers like Aras and Tina. Unless, of course, he made a big move. And unless, of course, he could latch on with people who might be easier to beat should he make it to the end.

The safe play would have been to stick with his day 1 allies and leave Tyson out to dry. But the man that has shown weakness in so many different areas of the game came out strong. Make no mistake about it — Gervase was the swing vote, and with this move, he swung for the fences. Like everything on this wacky season, nothing is cut and dried when it comes to strategy. I can’t say if this move was great or a great mistake. But the fact that Tyson (who spearheaded the overthrow of “Sir Aras”) and Gervase (who flipped and went along with it) were so bold as to make it is exciting to see. Well done, men. And now let’s see what other exciting things crop up as we recap episode 8 of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. (Oh, and programming alert: If you missed yesterday’s merge Q&A with Aras and Vytas, make sure to check it out — pretty intriguing, especially in light of what went down in tonight’s episode.)

Things begin in the best way humanly possible as we are treated to an encore presentation of Aras’ insanely awkward post-challenge celebration in the “Previously on…” segment. The only downside of this is that it causes me to start the episode on a 21-second delay as I rewatch the jump and howl seven times in a row before getting to the actual new episode. When I do, Vytas is busy telling the rest of Galang how they — along with Aras — are his final five. And Gervase makes six. (Or does he?)

But then the usually savvy Tina makes a surprising social blunder, saying how Monica should move into the five slot ahead of Gervase…right in front of Monica! Tina, Tina, Tina — never tell someone they are number five. Say they are “a part of the final five,” not that they are number five. Unless you are discussing the merits of Short Circuit and how Number Five is indeed alive, then nobody wants to be number five. That’s like being Tito or Marlon in the Jackson 5. I mean, at least tell her she’s freakin’ Jermaine, for crissakes! Jermaine got to have that hilarious video with Pia Zadora where she wore idiotic sunglasses and was part of the lamest motorcycle gang of all time. What did Tito or Marlon ever do? (Incidentally, that is seriously my favorite music video of all-time. If Survivor had never come around I would just be watching this Jackson-Zadora classic on a continuous loop.)

NEXT: The page on which I get super annoying about issues of fairness

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