Survivor – Alliance Breakdown

It had to come to an end eventually, and the breakdown of this season’s dominant alliance on Survivor made for a good episode.


redemption islandThe “Truel” was a showdown among Tina, Laura and Vytas. I thought it would be a tight race, since the challenge was puzzle-based. All three of the contestants seemed like pretty good puzzle-solvers. Players had to get four blocks through a net, and then stack them in a Rubik’s Cube kind of way so that each side had four different symbols.

Tina fell behind from the start, and was still getting her blocks through the net when Laura and Vytas set to work on the puzzle. Laura nailed it, and then she started instructing Tina on how to complete her puzzle.

On the one hand, I hated this. I generally don’t like that the players can even see one another’s completed puzzles in these challenges, and I wish it were against the rules to offer advice. But, it’s not. And given that it’s not against the rules, it was smart for Laura to help Tina along. After all, she’ll be easier to beat in future challenges than Vytas. Especially an endurance challenge, given that he’s Mr. Yoga. With Laura’s help, Tina finished the challenge a split second before Vytas.

vytas3I’m sad to see Vytas go. He was a strong player who I think could have gone further with better luck. I’d like to see him play again. My husband had Vytas in the office pool too, so it’s too bad that he’s eliminated.


Back at camp, the backstabbing and betraying began. Tyson first warned everyone that Katie is a big threat when it comes to getting jury votes, so the plan was to vote for her. But Hayden and Caleb were plotting behind his back, thinking the time was right to make their big move.

I definitely think Hayden and Caleb needed to take Tyson out, but I wonder why they didn’t try to do it last week? Laura would have been an additional vote. Were they that intimidated by the Laura/Ciera combo? I would have wanted to use that to my advantage.

haydenHayden and Caleb had Katie’s vote, of course, because she’s the outsider. They also thought they’d have Ciera’s vote, but she immediately went running to Tyson to tell him the plan. Why did she think she’d be better off with Tyson, Gervase and Monica for an alliance? They’re all veteran players who knew and trusted one another before the game even began. If I were Ciera, I’d rather play with the newbies from here on out.

Thanks to Ciera’s tattling, a new plan was formed: Tyson, Gervase, Monica and Ciera would vote for Caleb. However, thanks to Ciera’s shifty standoffishness, by morning Caleb and Hayden suspected that she’d bailed on them.

Bucket of BADASS

tribeThis week’s challenge was simple, but one of my favorites. Players had to hold onto a rope attached to a bucket containing 25% of their weight. I like how the percentage evens out the playing field a little. (Though, 25% of Ciera’s weight is basically nothing.) There was also a twist! Players could choose to compete, or eat delicious barbecue.

tyson3 - CopyI always have strong feelings on this. I like to think that I’d play, and I respect players who compete. I also think it’s usually a poor strategic move to eat, because you’re showing your hand – you feel safe and now everyone knows it! Three of the seven players chose to eat: Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. I can excuse Ciera’s decision because, come on. Homegirl can’t win anything and DEFINITELY wasn’t going to win this one. But Tyson and Gervase? Poor, gentleman, poor. It’s just too cocky.

Katie was out of the challenge first, and after about 20 minutes Caleb let his bucket drop too. He couldn’t take the pain on his hands any longer. As we saw later, it really did some damage to players. Eventually Hayden’s fell as well, which meant Monica won her THIRD individual immunity challenge this season. What a killer! I am very impressed. I have Monica in the office pool so of course I’m rooting for her, but I cheer for her on an emotional level as well. Her strategy has been pretty OK – nothing special, but acceptable – but her challenge performances have been fantastic this season. Right now, I’m hoping she wins.

Scramblin’ Men

Back at camp, Hayden and Caleb had basically figured out that Ciera betrayed them. But why didn’t they have a plan B? The best they could come up with was to approach Tyson and tell him that Ciera was playing both groups against one another.

Frankly, the boys’ plan worked better than I thought it would. But if I were them, I might have tried approaching Monica instead. I would have argued that she would not beat Tyson in the finals, and that her alliance mates were so arrogant that they stuffed their faces while she won all the challenges. It would have been a long shot, for sure, but maybe still easier than convincing Tyson to take out his swing vote.

I actually thought that maybe Tyson had fallen for the boys’ play – after all, he never totally trusted Ciera. It came down to either Ciera or Caleb, but I thought Tyson’s best play was to vote out Caleb.

After the votes were cast, Tyson played his Hidden Immunity Idol. (He couldn’t find it in his backpack, which was pretty funny.) Now see, that’s just silly. If Tyson had won the Immunity Challenge, he wouldn’t have needed to waste his Idol. But we’ll never know if he could have won, because he didn’t play! I’m curious to see if any of Tyson’s alliance-mates will be pissed to find out that he had the Idol.

So, Caleb was voted out. Like I said, I was a bit surprised but I think it was Tyson’s best move. Was it Ciera’s best move? I don’t think so. How long before someone finally topples the puppetmaster?


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2 Responses to Survivor – Alliance Breakdown

  1. Scott says:

    I actually think Ciera made the right move this week. By aligning with Tyson, she’s made sure that she’s not the biggest target left in the game. People are still going to be coming after Tyson hard, so Ciera can maybe fly under the radar for at least one vote. If she went with Caleb/Hayden, then Gervase would probably try to convince C/H that she couldn’t be trusted and was a bigger threat (which they would likely swallow) and she could be heading home next.

    Ciera’s best move in my opinion is to let Hayden/Tyson fight it out next week so one of them goes home, and then in the final 5 make a final three deal with Katie and Monica. It’d be a good move for all of them, and I think both Monica and Ciera could come up with good arguments to win.

    I’m still rooting for Laura M though, I thought the way she played the duel this week was brilliant. I’m not a fan of copying of puzzles, but like you said, they’ve made it clear it’s not against the rules so I love that she just went with it and ensured that she’d have an easier truel next week.

    I disagree about Vytas though, yes he was unlucky with the tribe swap, but he got lucky thanks to Kat and Laura B not knowing how to survivor and made it to the merge, so no harm was done there. Post-merge he ruined his own game by being cocky and coming up with a poor strategy (seriously, I still don’t understand why Vytas/Aras/Tina/Katie didn’t try to make a couples alliance with Laura/Ciera), so I think he ended up where he deserved to be, on the jury but still out early.

    I’m seriously loving this season. The past three seasons have been really strong actually, the post-HvV slump is most definitely over.

  2. Davide Maistrello says:

    Thanksgiving has passed and I gotta say I’m thankful for your wonderful recap that helped me cover the last fifteen minutes of this episode which got cut by my usual streaming source (BTW, I’m more than a little pissed about it. Why can’t CBS extend the videos on their site to people living outside the States?) so I’ll be briefer than usual with my comment on what I saw.

    I think Ciera did the right move by aligning with Tyson. After all, he and Gervase are ruling the game and the jury ought to know it (and maybe will be a little angry towards them – or at least, some of the jurors will be). Hayden and Caleb haven’t done great strategic moves since the merge, they’ve basically followed everything Tyson said waiting for the right time to make the big move. Which might have been this week – if they’d told Monica instead of Ciera. Why did they trust her that much? She’d just voted out her own mother! Monica is the real wildcard in the game in my opinion, because I can’t really understand what her plan is other than winning every single challenge. I think she would have been on board with Hayden and Caleb if they’d told her, just like Katie was.

    At this point I think Tyson and Gervase are a lock for the Final Three. The million dollar question is “who will join them?” Hayden and Monica should follow Caleb because they’re strong physical threats, and then Katie because she has some jurors on her side, so Ciera by default should be #3 in their alliance. But what if someone goes on an immunity run? I think this season is still wide open and everything can still happen – just can’t wait to see how it pans out!

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