December 16, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Tyson Obviously Wins Survivor: Blood vs. Water

12/16/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - FINALE
With a heated Tribal Council over, Tyson and Gervase work to keep Monica with them by giving her an idol.  Tyson thinks it'll be a great souvenir for her kid and pretty sure Monica thinks it's a great thing to keep her safe.  Ciera is a loner but knows whoever comes back from Redemption Island is a guaranteed ally, so it's just about winning some competitions.

Hayden arrives at Redemption Island to give all the gossip to Tina and Laura, both thrilled to hear Ciera is immune.  Eventhough last week Hayden thought someone already had the idol, he insists whoever returns to the game find the idol.  The final Redemption Island truel is to place one foot on a balance board and hold up a vase.  It's pure endurance and a true how-bad-do-you-want-it challenge (though not as awesome as early season's of just hold onto the pole until you decide to be a quitter).  "Dig woman!" Jeff says as Laura bobbles around. But it's Hayden who falters and falls.  "Tina, let me have it please," Laura begs and Tina reminds her hell no it's a game for a million dollars. I already can't stand Laura but this seals it for me. So desperate.  Even with all the jumbling, Tina outlasts Laura and re-enters the game with a clue to the hidden immunity idol tucked securely in her bosom.

Back at camp, Tina knows she needs the idol or to sway Monica in order to last.  She partners up with Ciera to climb that big tree we already know would hold an idol to come out empty again.  It becomes more obvious that maybe the idol has been found by Tyson, so the girls go to work.  Tina tells Monica that the jury is going to be ugly, mainly in Monica's direction.  Ciera thinks Tina's coming on too angry and they need to smooth it over to flip her.  Ciera believes that if Monica makes a big move she could actually win because right now she's OK socially and won challenges.  Monica's all confused because she's too dumb to think rationally about winning.

The next Immunity Challenge is to place blocks on a table while balancing blocks.  The hard part is they have to hold the rope and keep balancing the entire time, because if any blocks fall you have to return to the beginning.  I initially scoffed at the idea of this challenge, but it's actually pretty great and suspenseful. It's not a puzzle, it's skill and patience.  Tyson is pretty masterful at the challenge and once his closest competition tilts theirs again, he's able to take his time and win his safety.

So who goes next is the question? Gervase thinks he could beat Tina, not Ciera. Monica thinks Tina should go because she's so well-liked by the jury, plus Tina "bullied" her.  Gervase is getting annoyed, nearly attempting to shake Monica into submission.  Monica is tired of being bullied by everyone and after Gervase irritating her to no end, she hints to Tina and Ciera that perhaps they throw votes at the one who isn't immune (Gervase). Hmmm things are getting interesting. 

At Tribal Council, Monica compares herself to being a first round draft pick being wanted by both sides. It's another session of what shit people talked on Monica and that she needs to step-up and make a big move to win.  Monica admits the past 24 hours have been pretty brutal for her with all these revelations.  And after Monica's big speech about her making her move, Gervase suddenly realizes he's in the shitter.  When it comes time to read the votes, Tyson gives his immunity idol to Gervase and saves his buddy.  With the Gervase votes null, Ciera is voted out of the game (she would've been out anyways because Monica voted out Ciera, not Gervase).

Tina can't believe she made it through another Tribal Council and knows the only way she stands a chance at all is to win the challenge.  The final immunity challenge is a pretty cool, a crazy little course.  The survivors have to collect puzzle pieces all along an obstacle course, returning them up a flight of stairs, then sliding down a water slide.  The puzzle reveals a clue to find the code to unlock their immunity and guaranteed spot at the final Tribal Council.  Honestly, it looks like Mousetrap or the best playground ever.  There's wobbling, bridges, a giant pulley barrel. I want to go there and play!  Tyson wins the final immunity challenge, his guaranteed spot in the finale, and at this point I'm assuming a guaranteed million dollar prize.

After the challenge, Gervase is going on about why he can't believe he's considered a villain. He's working hard for that jury vote. Monica pulls Tina aside to say she was blown away that the guys played the idol and didn't tell her.  Tina reminds of the obvious which is Monica could switch and vote out Gervase.  At Tribal Council, basically everyone smirks at Gervase's stupid answers because he's going to get no votes should he make it through the night.  After all of Monica's pretend talk of switching things up for the umpteenth time, Tina is eliminated.

The final day breakfast awaits Tyson, Monica, and Gervase at tree mail. It's nice to share a meal with your friends before some jury shitshow fun.  Their torches are grabbed, I'm assuming a fallen comrade torch walk happens off-camera, and they enter the final Tribal Council.  Gervase's argument is he played old school and new school strategy after being gone for thirteen years, and takes ownership of blindsiding Aras.  Monica says she wasn't dragged along and chose to stick with who she has less blood and broken promises, what she thinks is her best chance to win.  Tyson knows he was a prime target from right away and was playing for fun at first, but his girlfriend Rachel's elimination to target him motivated him to win.

Now the best part: jury interrogation.  Vytas says his last play was promising to never give Tyson his jury vote and he's sticking to it. But also Gervase and Monica sucked to him too, so he's torn.  Katie brings up Tyson's comment about "no malice" but he was really rude to her at her elimination.  He regrets it, wishes he apologized, and hopes she can see his gameplay.  Caleb asks Gervase about his big game move, and he sticks to his Aras move and says Tyson appeared to control things but didn't.  Monica cries about her life being all about Brad and getting to the end was her thing, crying a bunch.  Ciera asks if Tyson sees himself as the villain or hero, and he doesn't think he's either but more a hero for playing the game. Gervase claims he would've ditched Tyson at final four if he could've, insisting he still thinks he could beat him.  Laura joins the "no one knows you, Monica" club and Monica cries more about stuff.  Over it.  Tina asks for one word to best describe the core of who they are: Monica "generous," Gervase "honorable," and Tyson "Is fun-loving one word or is it two?"  Hayden asks if Tyson had the idol when they drew rocks (yes). "Touche!" Hayden says. Hayden says the reason Monica gets beat up is because she comes off fake.  Monica gets upset wondering if no one has ever met a nice, good-hearted person.  Aras tells Gervase to use game-awareness tell him who to vote for between the other two. Gervase and Monica say Tyson; Tyson says Monica.  And so no insane jury speeches, but a lot of Monica whining.

With all the answers in their heads, the jury cast their votes for who deserves the title of sole survivor.  Probst grabs the jug to tally the votes and whooooooooooooosh, a walk through fake trees, and it's the fake Tribal Council set at the reunion!  Tyson, Monica and Gervase all hold hands as Probst reads the votes.  And DUH, in a tuxedo t-shirt TY$ON wins Survivor: Blood vs. Water. (thanks for the Ty$on idea, Caleb).

The night ends with the reunion show, which I repeat every year: I hate recapping.  Tyson re-iterates that Rachel's sacrifice for him to stay was his motivation to win this game and make it to the end.  He said he hardly slept, always thinking out A, B, and C plans to stay ahead of everyone.  Monica is second to talk because he's totally polarizing, but she was very strong in the challenges.  Besides talking about crying, we see pics of fat Brad.  Gervase still honestly thinks he could've won and was always considering dumping Tyson at the right moment (you failed there).  Ciera says the rock drawing night was the moment she truly realized she was fourth and time to stand up and make a chance.  Colton gets air time even for being a two-time quitter and he doesn't deserve it.  At least Probst calls Colton out for being beaten by the older folks he mocks.  Questions for Saint Rupert and I just don't pay attention.  Focus on Cochran, last year's winner and Probst's man-crush, who is now a TV show writer and does a skit with Will Arnett.  Some bro bullshit with Aras/Vytas, and Hayden says Survivor is physically harder than Big Brother.  Tina and Katie get real about the passing of a relative recently and Tina urges us all to "buckle up." It's a sad and real moment, but both women are so strong.  After Tyson receives his million dollar check, we find out next season's twist: three tribes in a brains vs. brawns vs. beauties scenario. I can't wait.

And now, what you've all been waiting for: the winners of the Pre-Show Winner Prediction.  Five of you correctly predicted Tyson to win. I'm blown away every year by my terrible skills of prediction and your awesome ones. Kudos to the winners and here's your [photo of a] trophy!

December 15, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Pizza, Burger, and Obvious Elimination

12/15/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 13

Tina is bittersweetly happy to see Katie, who explains they had to draw rocks and she got screwed.  Now it's a mother-daughter redemption battle and Tina's willing to sacrifice herself.  And so Probst plays therapist before the duel, before explaining the challenge of using a long self-constructed poles to reach keys and unlock their gate.  Laura wins again, DUH, and gives her clue to Ciera.  Katie is such a clunker and Tina isn't.  Tina beats her daughter and stays in the game.  They hug and cry just in time for a Probst soliloquy about mother/daughter relationships in a competition.

Back at camp, everyone can't believe they actually drew rocks because it's so ballsy.  Hayden says they would've done the same, anything to stay around and Tyson agrees.  It's all cause of Gervase reminding Hayden he was constantly the next to go, which made him a loose cannon willing to go balls to the wall.  The idol is still a concern, but Tyson admits to having it to shut Monica up.  Ciera has the clue to the idol, but her and new ally Hayden find nothing (duh).  Gervase is still paranoid something could muck up the plans, so checks in with Monica about her trust level and her allegiance is to the dude who was willing to draw a rock to save her.  But Tyson and Ciera want to change that.

This week's immunity challenge is a water/land hybrid including, what else, a puzzle.  The survivors start out by weaving buoys through obstacles, then unlocking letter tiles to spell out a common Survivor phrase.  The winner also gets a choice of some grub like steak, burgers, and other things that give malnourished people the runs.  Unfortunately the common Survivor phrase isn't "Don't pee on the rice" or "Shambolicious."  So everyone is together trying to come up with this infamous saying and suddenly Ciera gets it, "You are doing to have to dig deep."  Hayden joins Ciera for their hand-picked meals: Ciera a burger, Hayden a pizza. Hayden rules.

With Ciera and Hayden chowing down, the other three swear to stick together and get out Hayden.  Ciera/Hayden decide to tell Monica that they're voting out Gervase, hoping they'll get her to crack.  Ciera tells Monica that Tyson talked trash about her, being an easy vote in the finale and a puppy who will do whatever he says.  This hurts Monica a lot who knows you have to play the game hard, but it doesn't have to be mean.  Monica's ready to snap.

Tribal council time!  Probst asks about the tribal division, the most obvious question to ask.  Hayden says they knew to talk to Monica because it's the truth: Tyson and Gervase are a solid two dragging Monica for an easy win.  Tyson and Gervase deny it, and Tyson lets Monica know Ciera also way back said she could beat her too.  Ciera says she doesn't want to see Monica lose and be humiliated later when she watches.  Gervase mentions they're only saying it because they're desperate, then gets a wee bit heated.  Ciera admits she jumped in on the Monica jokes, but her supposed friends did too and hardcore mean shit.  Both sides are trying to persuade Monica as to why they're her necessary ally until Probst has them vote.  In a three-two vote, Hayden is voted out of the game as Monica sticks with her guys.

December 8, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Russell Feathers

12/08/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 12
Caleb joins the Redemption Island crew with Tina and poor-sport-give-answers Laura.  Caleb isn't happy that Tyson and Gervase turned on him, but Gervase reminds the group Caleb was going to do the same. Touche!  The challenge this week is stacking cards and the tallest two stick around (or if you get to the top).  Laura wins yet again (ugh), leaving Tina and Caleb to battle.  Tina drops a few, but Caleb's tower is at an angle impossible to last and fall. So Tina stops what she's doing, counts, and sticks around. Ciera is given the immunity idol clue but wisely doesn't burn it.  The cluemaster rejoices!

Ciera shares her immunity idol clue with her alliance, a group effort.  Seeing the others hunting near the well, Hayden and Katie take a shot at looking too.  For once the idol is high up in a tree instead of just another tree hole and Tyson found it, hiding it in his underwear bulge.  Tyson's far more at ease now since Hayden threw a major target on his back earlier when he told the tribe they were playing for second place behind Tyson.  Eventhough Hayden's declaration riled him up, Gervase is still planning to stay loyal to his bro and not flip-flop with Hayden.

This week's immunity challenge is balancing a ball on a pole through an obstacle course, then throwing sandbags at some targets.  Plus the winner gets an ice cream buffet at camp and OMG best reward ever.  The challenge requires patience and balance which is a snooze to watch.  Monica does phenomenal again and I give her credit, but she irritates me to no end.  It's Gervase who wins immunity, knocking the crap out of the targets.  And he brings Monica and Tyson to share in the treat with him, so yay! More Lady and the Tramping snacks!

The totally tight alliance of three get a visit from the ice cream cart.  Hayden tries his hardest to pitch Ciera to flip because she's gotta see she's the bottom of the four.  He urges her to make a big move, the kind that could win her the game.  Ciera is skeptical to force a tie, so they'd need Gervase to make it a majority to blindside Tyson.  They won't do it, Hayden even tells Tyson they won't turn.  Hayden knows it's hopeless so he's going balls to the wall to maybe, just maybe survive again.

Tribal Council time!  Hayden answers Probst
right out about it being four vs. two, with Tyson controlling them all.  Ciera wasn't offended she didn't get picked for the challenge, saying she's had reward before.  Gervase says it's from their first tribe bond, which is so telling about where loyalties lie.  Katie mentions "political whatever" which blows Probst away that she's so far-out from the cutthroat game.  After Monica mentions four, Hayden reminds her in that alliance she'd be guaranteed the final three because there isn't anyone else.  Gervase gets super defensive that no one is switching and Hayden is heading to jury.  Hayden encourages Ciera to make a tie and force rocks.  Then Hayden says "russell feathers" instead of "ruffle" (he insists he said "rustle") for the best LOLZ all season for me.

Come voting time, Gervase makes his speech loud and clear for all to hear and writes "HAYDONE" (get it?)  Tyson whispers for Ciera to stick with their group, but she's hesitant to scrawl something on her parchment.  Probst heads back to tally the votes and the votes come to a 3-3 tie for Hayden and Monica.  There's a re-vote and a tie remains, and the group can't come to a consensus, which means WE'RE DRAWIN' ROCKS Y'ALL.  I have goosebumps.  What this means is the two who did have votes are immune, as well as the immunity idol holder, and the other three will draw random rocks from a bag and the white rock goes home (I wish it was purple). It's ridiculous and only happened once before (in my college Survivor lapse because, hey, Thirsty Thursday).

Ok so everyone draws rocks, pulls out their palms and reveals their hand: Katie has the white rock.  It was worth a try even if it was a meh removal.  "That's your chair over there. One of those." Tyson whispers after a nice send-off moment.

December 1, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Safety or Sausage? SAUSAGE

12/01/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 11

Katie is surprised to survive another night, not to mention Ciera turned on her own blood.  Ciera's alliance is blown away by the move of solidarity, but it goes to show she's playing this game harder than they assumed.  Even the Redemption Island crew is surprised (after Laura pretended to be Katie for LOLZ).

So Laura, Vytas, and Tina come trailing in for the latest Redemption Island puzzle, I mean truel, I mean duel.  But first, Laura getting weepy over being voted out by her daughter.  The challenge is navigate boxes through a mesh net tunnel, which then stack in a puzzle-esque fashion.  Laura finishes the puzzle first, then decides to give Tina all the answers to take out Vytas.  It's really lame and a low move.  Vytas loses by one second and my pre-show winner prediction is gone. UGH.  Laura gives the immunity idol clue to Ciera to either keep or burn, so Ciera burns it.  Well at least one clue wasn't burned and that was last week.

The game is ticking down and the way to move along easily is taking out Katie, who Tyson insists has three jury votes. Do we really think Aras and Vytas wouldn't award good game play? I think they would.  But Hayden and Caleb are more worried about Tyson who would kill at the end with great moves.  Ciera tattles to Tyson, which only validates the people he trusts most (Gervase, Monica).  The Katie target turns to Caleb now, a likable dude that's made some moves to get him the end prize.  And the guys sense something's up which means maybe the plan has to change again. Oh boy, y'all are playing sloppy!

Immunity is up for grabs again with another semi-endurance challenge.  Everyone has to hold onto a pole tied to a bucket with 25% of their body weight.  Twist alert! Cocky people can choose to site out and feast on some barbeque grub instead.  Tyson, Gervase and Ciera decide to eat which has got to be your most telling moment ever.  Tyson prays they hold on for hours so he can continue to gorge himself on ribs and wings, while also Lady and the Tramping loaves of bread.  Monica wins immunity again as part of her quest to show her kids that dad isn't the only strong one (is he the only asshole though?)

After congratulating Monica, Tyson recaps all the food they ate and how it was cooked to perfection.  Hayden finally gets a clue that maybe Ciera is working with Tyson/Gervase given her overconfidence by choosing to eat.  Caleb's suggestion is to ask Tyson if they are getting blindsided, then try to play it off like Ciera set this all up to turn the alliance against each other.  Tyson buys into it, but still doesn't trust the guys.  Tyson wonders if maybe tonight's the night to play the infamous idol so he doesn't get hosed.  Scrambling galore!

Tribal council time!  Compete vs. eat is the first topic of discussion, showing who is comfortable in this game and who isn't.  Many are nervous at their state in the game.  Ciera says she ate because she knew she'd lose, so why try?  Tyson said if everyone trusted the alliance then more would've sat out.  Probst points out that Gervase looks at Hayden about trusting and keeping their word, which makes Ciera nervous.  A blindside is coming, but who shall it be?  Tyson does decide to play his idol in his comical way, digging through his bag to empty it out.  For a hot, exciting second it looks like Ciera will be blindsided but alas, it's Caleb.

November 24, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Bye Mom

11/24/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 10

With three losers over at Redemption Island, it's time to bring back the truels to see who sticks around.  As usual, there's use grappling hooks to collect bags, remove balls, and then they have to navigate a ball through a table maze.  It's tense as the balls teeter around on edges and fall through holes, sending you back to the beginning.  Tina is the frontrunner until her ball falls right by the center.  Vytas wins the duel, then Tina catches up for second.  Aras is eliminated from the game, becoming the first jury member, but not before Probst can run a little therapy session for the brothers.  As winner of the truel, Vytas gives Katie the hidden immunity idol clue and FINALLY someone doesn't burn the clue.  The clue writer of the season is behind the scenes crying tears of joy.

Katie needed that immunity clue like whoa and heads into the jungle to read her clue.  Except there's nothing there cause Tyson's got it, yo!  The rest of the tribe wants to hide all the sharp tools so she can't dig, because they're eleven years old.  Meanwhile, Laura is riding high and not even considering the idea that people would want to take out the pair.  Ciera knows they're going to be a target so she pulls aside her mom for a straight-talk.  She's pretty honest and believes she has a better chance of winning (or getting to the end) than her mom.  Laura seems pretty cool with it because clearly she knows she's awful at this game.  But the show tortuously drags this on for ages.  So knowing she's possibly next, Laura follows Katie into the jungle to try and find the clue too. Tyson wants the guys to vote off Laura so Ciera doesn't have to do the dirty work off voting off her mom (and Ciera's totally cool with it).

For immunity this week, all the survivors have to stand on a bitty platform while holding a knotted rope, progressively losing rope length.  The same crap as any other season.  Along with a sweet immunity necklace, the winner gets burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and soda. You had me at french fries.  The men go quick, then some ladies.  Monica and Tyson are the final two, and Monica wins immunity again. It's the first of her all episode and her silence has been golden for me.  Monica forgoes all her grub and gives it to her tribe because "immunity means more to me" and they're her "family."  Politics or love, everyone shoves their faces with the most delicious looking burgers ever.

A snake slithers around the shelter while the tribe is actually there- it's not stock footage!  Ciera tells Katie about the plans for the night to eliminate her mom.  Katie claims she has the idol, Ciera says no cause I have it, so Katie folds.  Ciera uses this knowledge to her advantage, hoping this could be a way to save her mom.  Tyson realizes by telling Ciera the plan, he blew it.  Ciera's playing the game too and they got caught.  Katie is a safe option to get rid of, especially since she definitely doesn't have the idol, but Tyson still wants Laura gone.

Tribal Council time!  Katie was relieved to get the immunity idol clue this week.  Probst points out that there is still one pair remaining in the game, which could be a concern.  Caleb says they're less threatening as a pair because both would turn on each other to win.  Laura believes it's an asset to keep her, because they're two votes instead of one.  Her other lame argument is that the duos will fight for jury votes for their loved ones (eyeroll).  The votes are cast and no immunity idol is played, obvs.  Laura gets her second trip to Redemption Island as the tribe decides to eliminate the last of the pairs.

November 17, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Grubbin' On Grubs

11/17/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 9

Vytas praises the tribe as a fan of the show for an awesome blindside.  Tina doesn't take it as well, saying Monica and Tyson have lost five jury votes for flipping.  But everyone knows Aras had deals with everyone so he had to go.  And so begins the most obvious week of knowing that soon Vytas, Tina and Katie will get picked off.   Tina urges Katie to try to get herself further in the game because the Tina target is huge.

The tribe meets Probst at the beach but there's not a puzzle to be seen (hallelu!)  It's a gross eating challenge, a true Survivor classic!  Competing in elimination rounds, there's some nasty shizz.  You can tell it's gross because everyone's jumping up and down and gagging on their delicacies.  Meal worms, pig intestines, and grubs.  Monica and Gervase are the final two competitors and 13 years later, Gervase has to confront grubs a second time.  The wheezing and heaving noises as the two attempt to swallow the grubs.  Monica wins immunity and Gervase is left with grub residue in his teeth.

The plan is to split the votes between Vytas and Katie in case there's an idol.  Tyson knows it's a waste to split it since he has the idol.  Vytas tries to get with the guys on his side, begging to be the 3 in a 4/3 split vote.  He even uses his jury vote as leverage.  Tyson sees some positive in keeping Vytas as a way to squash a girl's alliance.  And for some reason, Monica is worried about the scrambling eventhough she's immune.

Tribal Council time!  Probst asks about life post-blindside, and Vytas does express his anger at losing his brother.  But he also knows it's a game and Aras was playing it.  Vytas even calls out Monica for being a doormat, flipping on him and the bond they had.  He brings up the girls being tight and you might need to get one of them out over him.  Oh Vytas, you're running your mouth too damn much but it's so awesome.  It's Vytas going out in a blaze of glory, torch snuffed out, and heading to bro out and bicker about who ruined the game with Aras on Redemption Island.

Back at camp, Monica brags about how she switched her vote last minute to get revenge on Vytas.  Gervase isn't pleased but what if something went wrong?  He's right. Also, Monica is beyond annoying.  But it's double Tribal Council night so enough of this BS, let's compete in another challenge.  The challenge is to hold onto a sword while balancing coins on the handle.  You know, what any reasonable person does with a sword.  The coins start scattering like a klutz buying lunch.  Katie wins individual immunity in a final showdown with Hayden and Tyson. So basically, she sealed her mom's fate.

Tina's fate is obvious but she tries to make headway by searching for the idol.  The entire tribe follows her because Tyson can't admit he has the idol.  Yet again, everyone wants to split votes because what if Tina found an idol?  Monica's on the bottom because she's paranoid about everything, so if they did split votes it would have to be her.  So come Tribal Council time, Tina explains how she had babysitters following her every move but escaped twice for some alone time.  Oh and tells Monica she's on the bottom, who denies and claims she's working with others within the seven yet acknowledges she has no partner like the others.  Monica talks too much and it's her biggest flaw, which she continues to run on during Tribal.  Tina tells it like it is, because she's awesome, and even jokes about finding the idol.  It's no use and we're stuck with Monica another week as Tina is the 10th person voted out.

November 10, 2013

Survivor Blood vs. Water: Merge Time Madness

11/10/2013 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Survivivor: Blood vs. Water - Week 8

Laura B. goes to Redemption Island, and John and Laura M. feign interest from their sleep to be surprised it's not Vytas.  But there's a sunnyside here: this week is the final truel and the winner will return to the game.  The duel is a battle of endurance, climbing to the top of a pole and hanging on for dear life.  There's footholes but it's narrow and painful.  John ditches his sneakers for his socks, Laura B. uses no feet, and Laura M. calm as can be.  John drops first which blows since he fought for a long time to stay in the game.  Laura B. starts sliiiiiding down the pole, just a few feet from the bottom.  Laura M. perseveres and re-enters the game to be with her daughter, burns another immunity clue, and joins the newly merged tribe. Yes, it's merge time!

A trunk feast is awaiting the merged tribe, who start snacking and secretly thinking about their next move.  Hayden is just doing anything to be in the numbers.  Laura M. thinks the remaining pairs should join up for a guaranteed six, but Ciera explains she's in an alliance with her tribemates.  "Don't play hard," warns Ciera as she advises her mother on the ways of the game.  Tyson goes hunting for the Hidden Immunity Idol since the other turds didn't care for it, and sure enough digs around a tree and finds it.  Aras and Vytas reunite and make a bro plan of seven, hoping to get Laura M. out again.  Tyson and Monica whisper in the dark, but she's repetitive and talking nonstop which annoys Tyson.  So much strategic whispering by everyone!

Probst corrals everyone into the first individual Immunity Challenge to show off the new immunity idol necklace.  The challenge is memory, repeating symbols patterns back to Jeff with big dice.  Nearly half of the survivors fail out before round one is over.  It all comes down to the dreamboat brothers, Aras and Vytas.  Vytas wins the first individual immunity because he's awesome.

Vytas confidently believes him and Aras will run shit, and they think Laura M. should go because she's a threat. Laura and Ciera wonder if Aras has the Hidden Immunity Idol since he's confident.  Laura suggests splitting the vote between Tina and Aras, but Ciera is like ughhhhh mooooooom you're annoying.  Gervase and Tyson would still like to get rid of "King Aras" but everyone's talking in circles. Hell, I'm confused with all the scrambling in a three minute edit.

Tribal time!  Probst brings up that theirs original tribal bonds, merged tribal bonds, and family bonds in the mix.  Aras is very open about him and his brother needing four others to trust, really showing their playing as a tight pair.  There's a potentially split of individuals vs. pairs, but Tyson says in the end it's about who you trust regardless of pairs.  And so with lots of people doubting their stance in the tribe, the votes are cast in all different directions.  Laura and Ciera get two votes, but it's Aras who takes the hit.  A big blindside for a guy who thought he was riding high.  "Well played guys, well played," Aras says on the way out and into another round of Redemption Island.  GAME ON.