This week’s episode closed out with one of the boldest moves in the history of tribal council, but before we get to that let’s look at the events that lead up that ending.
This week’s episode once again opens with the redemption island duel, and Brad Culpepper is once again the subject of much scorn from his fellow castaways. Candice greets him with a one-finger salute, and he does a horrible job defending himself against accusations that he is making all the calls on who is voted out. When John says that Brad lied to him the whole time, and maybe the tribe should consider getting rid of him, Brad responds by saying that John shouldn’t have trusted him. Granted, I’ve never played Survivor, but I don’t think announcing to everyone that you aren’t trustworthy is a great strategy. This week’s duel is basically a fairly difficult looking 3-D puzzle (the players have to make their way along a ladder, unwrapping a key before this, but everyone gets through the first part quickly and easily so it’s pretty inconsequential to the end results). John zips through his puzzle with a little aid from an unexpected source, Brad Culpepper. Brad whispers that he is going to gain John’s trust back, and then informs him that one of his pieces is in the wrong spot. Candice did say John is way too trusting, but I’m hoping it’ll take a little more for him to trust Brad again. Candice also manages to complete the puzzle fairly quickly, and Marissa is the tribe member leaving the show this week. Following his victory John has to decide who to give the clue to the immunity idol to. Candice decides to step in and tells him to give it to Monica to try to bring some heat on one of the Culpeppers. Brad immediately tells her to throw the clue in the fire to avoid being a target, and just like John, she does what he spouse tells her and gets rid of the clue.
Back at camp, Monica is feeling sad that everyone is being mean to her husband during the elimination duels. (umm…wasn’t your husband a professional athlete? I really don’t think a couple of chicks telling him off on Survivor should be that upsetting, but what do I know). Most of the tribe members sympathize with Monica, but Gervase steps up to point out that maybe Brad is a little different when he is playing Survivor than when they are back home in Tampa. Meanwhile, at the Tadhana camp, Brad is also feeling bummed out that he’s a target, and starts thinking that voting off Caleb, who doesn’t have a loved one left on the other tribe, might be the way to get some heat off of his back, at least for a little while.
I just want to take a minute to give a shout out to Gervase, who seems to still be the exact same guy we met over a decade ago. He’s pretty lazy around camp, mediocre at best in challenges even though he looks like a good athlete, and kind of sneaky, as evidenced by he and Tyson sneaking off to drink extra coconuts. Their cover is almost blown by then Monica says that it’s probably just crabs eating the coconuts, a theory that supports Gervase’s classic quote that “nothing is dumber than a woman, except maybe a cow.”
This week’s immunity challenges starts out with a boat race to recover five crates floating in the water, then the teams have to build a staircase with the crates, and build a puzzle that gives them the combination to a key that will release their teams flag. Tadhana moves out to an early lead, helped by the fact that paddling a boat is essential kryptonite for the Galang tribe. However just as they are loading the last crate onto their boat, Tadhana’s boat tips and they lose two crates overboard which opens things up for Galang. The challenge ends up coming down to the puzzle where Laura once again crushes her daughter Ciera, and brings home the victory for the team of returning players. (I think it may be time to pull the plug on Ciera doing the puzzles, just because she thinks she is good at them doesn’t mean that it’s actually true). Also this season has taught me a valuable lesson, returning players are clearly much better at Survivor than rookies, evidenced by both the winning streak of the returning players, and the fact that people like Brad Culpepper clearly have no idea what they are doing in this game. (Also I’m fairly certain I have a better chance of winning this season of Survivor than Brad does, and I’m one of the couch people Jeff Probst was talking about last week).
Following yet another loss Tadhana, it’s time to figure out who is going to get voted out of the tribe this week. While the other guys go off to discuss which of the girls to vote out, Brad stays behind and tells Ciera and Katie that Caleb is the person to vote out this week. However his absence at the “men’s club” meeting gets the other guys thinking, as they aren’t so trusting of Brad following John ouster last time around. After talking to the guys Brad changes his mind again and says that he now wants to vote off Ciera because it will make the tribe strong, and he isn’t going to worry about taking heat from the other tribe for voting someone out. Caleb is already feeling a little worried about the fact that he is the only person in his tribe without a loved one on the other team, and his concerns seem to be validated when Brad agrees with Jeff Probst that it would be easier to just vote off someone without a connection. Jeff then asks Caleb if he is feeling pressure, and he confirms that he does and says that he knows Brad was campaigning against him earlier in the day. Brad provides an extremely weak defense, saying there was discussing but he wasn’t “campaigning.” Caleb then responds by dropping a bombshell, saying he is writing down Brad’s names, and that the girls will be willing to go along with that, essentially leaving it up to Hayden and Vytas to decide who will go home. During the initial vote the guys stick with Brad and we are stuck at a 3-3 stalemate, but during the re-vote Vytas decides to switch sides and Brad is the fourth member voted off of his tribe. I want to make a slight correction here, most of the returning players are much better than their loved ones at Survivor, but Caleb is clearly the superior player over Colten. I thoroughly enjoyed this bold, “stab you in the front” move from Caleb, and liked it even more when he brushed off Brad’s attempts to be friends on his way out by saying he wasn’t mad at him.
The preview for next week shows a move that could shake up this game even further, Monica is going to try to take Brad’s spot on redemption island. Brad seems like a pretty traditional guy, and I have a hard time seeing him letting a woman take his spot in a competition, but we’ll have to wait and see. It will also be interesting to see how big Caleb’s ego becomes after pulling off this move, and if he becomes a target as the new shot caller for the tribe. So it looks like we’ve got a lot of good stuff coming our way from this show, I’ll see you next Thursday for another recap of Survivor: Blood vs. Water.