Survivor recap: Blood vs. Water' recap: Who Wants Some Grub?
Don’t worry, we’re going to get to the grubs. For sure, we’ll touch on the Hyde side of Vytas. And there is no way I am going to ignore the incredible retching sounds emanating from the mouth of one Monica Culpepper. But first we have to start with this. I’ll try to make it quick. For once, I will do my best to not belabor a point (although…you know, no promises). We are all aware of the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan unleashed in the Philippines last week. I’m not even going to attempt to put that devastation into words because whatever I say will not even come close to being sufficient. Over the past two years, Survivor has filmed four seasons back to back to back to back in the Philippines, including the one you are watching now, and the one that will air next spring. Because of that, I spent some time over there, and while the areas where Survivor filmed (Caramoan and Cagayan) seem to have thankfully been spared the worst, obviously it hits home a bit more when something like this happens to a place you have recently visited.
Naturally, for me, this brings back memories of the tsunami that ravaged Samoa just weeks after I was there for Heroes vs. Villains. I was able to travel back to Samoa two years later for the South Pacific season, and seeing entire buildings that had been completely wiped out by the storm was eerie and unsettling. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to say I know what the people in the Philippines are going through right now. That would be super presumptuous for a dude that just enjoyed a nice cold beer while watching a reality television show on his flat screen HDTV. But I do know they need our help, so if you have a few minutes, and if you have a few dollars, please click right here to donate to the relief efforts. Here is an opportunity where the Survivor community can actually come together to make an important difference, so please do so. Don’t make me send Tata the bushman over there to force you, because that man has no problem making out with anyone at any time to get what he wants. And he’ll go tongue too! FULL tongue.
Okay, Public Service Announcement over, and now it’s time to get into episode 9 of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. An episode featuring two Tribal Councils!!! (Which sounds considerably less dramatic when you point out that not a single person is being eliminated from the game. Oh well.)
The action begins on night 21 in the aftermath of the Aras blindside. How will Vytas handle watching his brother get voted off the tribe? Like the calm, cool yogi he is. “Well, guys, that was a great move. As a fan of the show, Aras did not see that coming and neither did I, so congratulations.” Smart play. You want the tribe to still feel like they can work with you should plans change.
Tina is a veteran player so she too knows this and goes over to offer her congrats as well. “Bravo to you, that was a great move,” she begins. Awwww, that was nice. But here comes the turn. “Monica and Tyson, you won the battle, but you didn’t win the war because you’ve got five jury votes that you’ll never get for flipping.” Wait, what the hell?!? Tina, what are you doing?!? First you go and tell Monica that she is in the five spot of your alliance, and then you get surprised when she flips? And then you start threatening people that you need to curry favor with? I’ve always considered Tina to be an extremely smart player that has never truly gotten her due. However, this is two weeks in a row in which she has left me scratching my head.
NEXT: Hey, who’s hungry?
Alas, Tina should know that you can never get mad at someone for making a good move. Tyson made a good move. A great one, in fact. He knew he was not part of the Baskauskas-Wesson/Collins fearsome foursome, so he flipped the script. The other odd thing about this whole scene is watching Gervase get a free pass. Why berate Tyson and Monica but not Gervase? I mean, isn’t his Eagles t-shirt reason enough to light into that guy? (Seeing as how Gervase’s Eagles are likely to destroy my Redskins on Sunday, I should probably mute the trash talk. Especially considering how much the Skins sucked when we played them back in week 1. Then again…DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU!!!!)
The next morning, Tina has a chat with daughter Katie and essentially gives her permission to do whatever she needs to — including ditching mommy. “You need to further your game because I’ve got a much, much, much bigger target on me.” It’s a truly touching scene of a mother sacrificing herself for the sake of her daughter…at least it would be if it did not conclude with an awkward impromptu knighting ceremony on the beach. I can’t imagine the disappointment Tina must be feeling right about now. She thought she had a clear ride to the finals, but now not only is Vytas not knocking her daughter over the head with a club and dragging her back to his cave to impregnate her, but her alliance is in ruins too. That’s a double whammy right there! Or wait, is the “double whammy” what she was hoping Vytas was going to give to Katie? Well, clearly there is either a lot of double whammying going on or a distinct lack of double whammying going on depending on your perspective and your definition of a double whammy.
Hey, who feels like puking? You do? Then let’s head to the immunity challenge and barf our guts out! I love the classic Survivor gross-out eating challenge. For a while this challenge morphed into creating Survivor smoothie concoctions. I was never down with that because in liquid form the food never seemed as gross and there was no chance of a food item wriggling around in people’s mouths as they were trying to swallow it. Thankfully, they seem to have reverted back to the original lately and we are getting alleged delicacies in the gnarliest form possible.
The contestants are broken up into two groups of five, with the first three to finish in each group moving on to round 2. And what’s on the menu? Mealworms! 40 of them, to be exact. And these little dudes are literally crawling out of the cups they are housed in. In the first round, Tyson and Monica advance, as does Vytas, who has to pick his up off the ground after coughing them out — because apparently they simply weren’t gross enough when they were clean.
NEXT: Gervase comes face to face with his tormentor
The second group features what we have all been waiting for: Gervase’s Revenge! Back in season 1, Gervase was about as lame as lame can be at this challenge when forced to eat beetle larva (or grubs). He repeatedly kept putting his fingers on his tongue to psych himself up and hitting himself so hard and so many times in the head it was like he was reenacting the big fight scene between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago at the end of Rocky IV — from both sides. Then, he was picked by the other tribe as the weakest member to take on Stacey Stillman with immunity at stake. He lost.
So here comes Gervase for another round and you can’t be feeling good about his chances. Sure enough, he’s jumping up and down again like a lunatic as he attempts to get down the mealworms. But he’s not the only one having trouble. Ciera spits hers out into the sand and simply gives up while Tina is holding her ears like she’s the Baby New Year looking for its top hat from Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.
But when all is said and done and barfed out and reswallowed, it is Hayden, Caleb, and Gervase — yes, Gervase! — that move on. The six remaining contestants line up for round 2 to be presented with their next dish: pig intestines. Three ounces worth. Tyson wants to know how they were prepared. “Beautifully,” responds Jeff Probst. (Pssst…I think Jeff Probst is lying.) This round is notable for the fact that it marks the warm-up session of the Monica Culpepper Retching Olympics. But it works as Monica and Gervase — yes, Gervase! — advance to the finals.
What happens next is almost too good to be true. Remember those grubs that positively tormented Gervase back in season 1? They’re baaaaaaaaack! In a battle of the truly bizarre, you have Gervase beating himself up in one corner and Monica with the most prolonged retch in Survivor history. In fact, her retch is so glorious that it even inspired me to download the Vine app just so I could put it on a continuous loop. And it is so prolonged and manly that Jeff Probst even sees fit to bestow a last name moniker on her, yelling out “Fight through it, Culpepper!” She does fight through it and completes her victory by thrusting her boobs all over Probst. (Hey! Whaddya expect? He called her Culpepper! Although I can only assume that another handsy female Survivor contestant that enjoyed privileged last name status — Dawson — cannot be too happy about MC moving in on her man.) As for Gervase, he didn’t go from zero to hero, but he came pretty damn close. Well done.
Back at camp there is some various last minute misdirections to make you think that Vytas will not be the one to follow his brother through the proverbial door off the tribe, but once we get to Tribal Council, it’s clear it is him. This clarity comes as we see Dr. Jekyll morph into Mr. Hyde right before our very eyes. Unlike the Vytas who I began to suspect was being paid a dollar every time he uttered the word trust, this Vytas knows he is being voted out and has no problem scorching a patch of earth on the way out. He curses. He starts dissing Monica and labeling her a doormat. He warns the women that the men will take over after he is gone.
NEXT: Tyson sends the tribe on a wild goose chase
His methods do alter the vote, but in the wrong way, as Monica (who like all the women was assigned to vote for Katie in case an idol was played) changes her vote to Vytas just because she is so gosh darn angry. This proves to be a problem for everybody. It’s a problem for Vytas because he just had another vote cast against him. It’s a problem for Monica’s alliance members because now they have a partner they cannot trust to do what she says she is going to do. It’s a problem for Monica because this puts her position in jeopardy because she has become too unpredictable. And it’s definitely a problem for us because we now have to hear Monica going on and on about how hilarious she thinks it is that she said “What up, Brad?” while voting. Yes. Hilarious. Almost as hilarious as “Thai Sun.”
So Vytas is off to RI, where he is sure to have an emotional reunion with his younger brother. Orrrrrrrr, maybe not. “You’re the one that got us out of the game, bro.” Vytas continues his Mr. Crankypants routine after Aras tells him that he would be just as happy if Vytas makes it off Redemption Island as if he did himself. “I can’t say the same for you,” big bro replies. Dude, who crawled up your yoga mat? The least you can do is fake it a little. Or maybe he is faking it for the cameras to serve up a little phony baloney drama.
We’re back to another immunity competition, this one involving a sword — COOL! — being balanced on a shield — LESS COOL! — with coins being stacked on the handle — MUCH LESS COOL! I actually don’t mind the occasional stacking challenge, which has become a Survivor staple, but they work much, much better when there are larger objects being stacked. It just looks better and much more dramatic. Plus, that way it is easier to see who is in trouble with their stack and who is cruising. With coins, as a viewer you are just sort of forced to sit there and wait for fake money to fall. Not unlike the disastrous marketing campaign for the 1998 Godzilla remake, in this case size does matter.
And fall the fake money does, the only entertainment coming when Probst announces that “You’re gonna add a large to your stack” — which sounds like it should be a double entendre of some sort although I can’t quite work out the particulars. In any event, Katie wins. Good for her. There’s nothing like winning an individual immunity competition. Who needs to be sexually assaulted by cavemen when you have that?
With Katie holding immunity, Tina is the clear choice to be voted out, but first we have to be treated to some theatre of the absurd as the former winner searches for an immunity idol while Tyson leads a babysitting mission to follow her every move so she cannot find the idol that Tyson already has. The whole escapade is so ridiculous it should be scored musically using the “Yakety Sax” theme from Benny Hill.
NEXT: Who’s in the driver’s seat now?
At Tribal Council, Tina does not go out without a fight, trying to convince Monica that she is on the bottom of the alliance, which she is, but what is that information going to do at this point? The reality is, even though Tina pulls a pump fake worthy of Peyton Manning by looking in the bag and pretending to have a hidden immunity idol, she’s a goner and she knows it. And sure enough, she is voted out — off to go join the brothers Baskauskas at Redemption Island.
And that pretty much does it. A weird episode, this one was. (So weird, it seems to have me conversing in backwards Yoda speak for some reason.) Double Tribals are usually pretty exciting, but the fact that we had two Tribal Councils and yet not a single person was actually eliminated from the game makes the whole thing a bit anti-climactic. Throw in the fact that the vote-outs were pretty obvious and the second challenge was a bit of a snooze and you have a somewhat underwhelming affair. However, I still think this season as a whole has been fun. The loved one twist has for the most part worked really well and added layers to the game we’ve never had to consider before. An off week every now and then isn’t a huge deal. Let’s hope the momentum ramps back up as we see if Sir Tyson can maintain his position on the throne.
And am I the only thinking that Hayden could be the silent assassin here? The guy is athletic and well-liked. I’d cut that dude loose as soon as possible, because he could easily go on a run and he could easily win should he make it to the final 3. If that does happen, he’ll have to ask himself some hard questions. Hard questions like: Can a winner of not one but two CBS reality shows really date someone who didn’t even make it to the merge?
We’ll see. And speaking of things to see, make sure to check out this week’s Q&A with Jeff Probst for insight from the host with the most. We also have an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below along with my pre-game interviews with Tina/Katie and Vytas/Aras. Also look for my Thursday exit interview with…NOBODY! Because nobody was eliminated! But you can always have all the latest Survivor scoop sent right to you by following me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
But now it’s your turn. Impressed with Gervase’s redemption at the food-eating challenge? Disappointed by the sword and the coins? Surprised by Tina’s gameplay? Bummed nobody was eliminated? And who will lose the big Tina-Aras-Vytas truel? Hit the message boards and let us know, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!