Blood Vs Water – Episode 1: “Blood is thicker than anything”

 

And here we are. Our season of Surviving Survivor: Blood Vs Water is starting right now.

I gotta admit, I was pretty pleased with this episode. I definitely rank it among the best premiere episodes (which doesn’t mean anything, after all Redemption Island, the worst season of Survivor in my opinion has probably the best premiere).

However, I think I’m really liking this idea of having loved ones as contestants, it’s really adding new layers to the game. On the other hand, I still hate redemption island and all the twists associated with it may be bothersome as the season advances, we’ll see.

Before we get started with our players analysis, this season I’m deserving prizes to a player every week, yes, just like Stephen Fishbach’s fishies, except that my prize – let’s call it “impact player of the week” until I find a better name – can be deserved to any player who significantly impacted the game that week. It can be positive, or negative, good for that player or bad for that player.

And the first “Impact player of the week” award goes to… Gervase Peterson!

 

Gervase

 

Ok, with that out of the way (I’ll explain my choice in his paragraph, but you’ve already guessed, right?), let’s go to our traditional analysis of each player.

And let’s start with:

 

Redemption Island

Yawn! I know.

So we have Rupert Boneham and Candice Cody-Woodcock there right off the bat. I find this pretty ironic seeing how the two of them despise each other from their shared history during Heroes Vs Villains.

First let’s see how they got there.

This first vote from the start was pretty cruel. Really. It was also revealing of something. Seeing how the vote against Laura Boneham was unanimous and the votes among the returnees were split between Candide and Laura Morett, that’s a clear sign that there are pregame alliances indeed.

(edit: mistake from my part, the vote from Laura B. wasn’t unanimous… still…)

Concerning Candice, there’s also the fact that she has a reputation of backstabber added to the fact that she had barely jumped out of the plane when she started the game (John and her replacing R.C. St-Amour last minute and all that).

I’m not gonna lie, I’m glad not to have to suffer Candice much this season.

Rupert now. So Laura B. gets voted out and Rupert, not waiting for Probst to even explain what it entails, decides to replace his wife at redemption island as soon as he hears it’s a possibility. Yes, we know Rupert you fancy yourself as a hero. So, yes, that was very chivalrous of you to do that. Very stupid too. His chances to return into the game are extremely slim and you’re wife is now the easy first boot among the returning players tribe. He could be reunited with her at redemption island sooner than he thinks. And competing against her there will be fun, won’t it?

In the meantime we get a funny scene where Candice is mad at Rupert the provider for doing nothing at redemption island. A nice reminder than if Rupert can’t play Survivor, he’s not as stupid as he seems, most of the time he knows exactly what he’s doing, and most of the time that is playing it up for the camera.

 

Galang

Aras Baskauskas: while it’s true that we haven’t seen much of the returning players yet, I think that Aras was the most impressive so far. First with his vote for Gervase right at the beginning. Notice how he originally voted for Candide, then scratched her name and changed it to Gervase. Sure, that’s another give away of pregame alliances (Dalton Ross names names: Gervase, Aras and Tina are in it together). By voting Gervase, he knows he’s not going to get pissed (as well as he knows Gervase is not getting any other vote) but he’s not pissing off anyone else either. Now both Candice and Laura M. are pissed at other people in their tribe (not that it matters for Candice), but no one is pissed at Aras. Another smart move (but another give away of his alliance with Gervase) is the way he stayed behind to help Gervase in the water. Leaving him behind like everyone else did was the sure way to lose the challenge. Now the question is whether it is a smart move to align yourself with Gervase. Maybe yes, maybe not. But unless he’s a too big liability in challenges, his behavior could turn him into a nice goat to have with. We’ll see. Now, an alliance of three doesn’t get you very far. Aras will need two more. Tyson is an obvious first choice. For the fifth member, I’m not sure, but Monica would be the logical choice in my opinion. I don’t see Laura M. working well with them. Laura B. is deadweight that will be trimmed at the first tribal. Colton is… well… Colton… There’s Kat. But I don’t know, I don’t imagine Aras and Tina wanting to work with Kat much.

Colton Cumbie: I believe that Colton is not here to win the game but to change his public image. Now, let’s not put aside the fact that while being an evil brat, he was indeed in control of his tribe in One World before being medivaced, so even if he wants to lay low, he won’t. He’ll try to play hard as soon as he can. As for his image, sure there was the nice meltdown at night on the beach (don’t get me wrong, I believe everything he said, and it must be hard to be gay in Alabama) but those tears were a bit forced, weren’t they? And then we have the paddling incident with Kat during challenge, which reminded us of the true Colton when he forgets that there are cameras filming him. But more on him next week I’m sure.

Gervase Peterson: Ah! Gervase! While I haven’t seen Survivor Borneo since 2000 or 2001, I remembered Gervase fondly. I also remember that he couldn’t play the game (but to his defense only Richard Hatch could at the time), and I was looking forward to seeing how he had adapted to the game, especially after Skupin’s return two seasons ago. Well, if that was pretty disappointing in terms of gameplay, at least it was entertaining. From the very beginning when Gervase is as clueless as Marissa about what to do during that first night, to the fact that he’s so out of shape and still hasn’t learned to swim. I mean, I don’t know how early he knew he was returning to play, maybe not enough to get in shape, but at least you’d think that his first experience out there would have motivated him to learn how to swim. Apparently not. But that’s not the worst. The worst is that I’m not too sure if he’s very savvy of how the game is played nowadays. It started during pregame. While every other tandem even if some didn’t completely exclude voting against each other if they had to were at least coming into the game as a twosome. But it seemed that Gervase and Marissa were not allied at all and were ready to vote each other out at the first opportunity. I mean, seriously, you get into Survivor with a sure ally and you reject that chance when everyone else won’t? How silly. And of course, the infamous taunting at the end of the challenge. First of all, after such a poor performance, he should just shut up, but even if he had won the challenge single-handedly, he must really be unaware of how the game works these days and obviously he had completely overlooked the new fact that this season everything you do or say may affect you, but also your loved one. For all these reasons, Gervase is my pick for the “impact player of the week” as he’s the one who unknowingly “inaugurated” this very new way the game is going to be played this season.

Kat Edorsson: Did we see her at all? I mean apart for this hilarious exchange about paddling with Colton. Those two know each other pretty well, don’t they?

Laura Boneham: I don’t really have anything to say about her. I think she’s the easy first boot from the returning players tribe, that pretty much it.

Laura Morett: I hated her in Samoa, and she already annoys me.

Monica Culpepper: For some reason I like her. I think she just needs a little something (more guts? a bigger killer instinct?) to become a very good player. Will she get it this time? We’ll see, although her relationship with Colton is a bit worrisome. She really shouldn’t get anywhere near him, he will backstab her again.

Tina Wesson: Not much of Tina this week. One noticeable detail though, when she implored Rupert to not quit. The Tina who won Australia is still here. It sounded like she didn’t want her “friend” to make a mistake, but what it really was, was Tina trying not to lose the asset that Rupert is early in the game (especially as a provider of food). She’s worried she’ll be targeted early because of her experience in All-Stars, but the days past winner are targeted just because they’re past winners are over, and she could easily take control of her tribe with the right social moves she will likely make.

Tyson Apostol: Did you see Tyson light that fire? That was awesome! (note: if you’re not a long time reader of the blog, I need to mention to you the fact that there is a clause in my contract saying that I must mention the term “awesome” associated to Tyson every time I talk about him). Apart from that not much about him. Is he laying low for now, or will editing screw him over the same way they did in Heroes Vs Villains. I have high hopes for him, he’s underrated and he won’t appear as a threat and if he’s in it to win, it simply could. Now, on the one hand, he definitely didn’t have a winner edit during this first episode (but who did among the returnees, really?) On the other thing, this fire thing is a pretty positive metaphor in terms of storytelling (fire represents life, blablabla). We’ll see.

 

Tadhana

Honestly the new players tribe is way more impressive that the returning players and I don’t think it will be crushed the same way the favorites were last season. Also, I’ve noticed something that could come into play later. I feel that the new players are more eager to vote their loved returning player out if necessary. I guess it’s about having something to prove and all that.

Brad Culpepper: I don’t know if I found him extremely entertaining or extremely annoying. I guess a little bit of both. Funny how he seems to be Probst’s favorite this season (he gets to be called by his last name from day one) but the editors really turned him into the fool so far. He’s set for now, he has his bro-alliance, he’s in control of his tribe. Or so he thinks. At least two members of his alliance (Caleb and Vytas) are with him just because it’s convenient at the moment, but could align with the girls in a heartbeat if necessary. I feel that John is solid with him (but can he play the game?) I’m not sure what Hayden’s position is.

Caleb Bankston: Not much about Caleb this week, but I really like what I saw so far. He’s keeping to himself at the right moment, he’s friendly the rest of the time. He could become everybody’s friend in this tribe very quickly.

Ciera Eastin: I don’t like her mother and I feel I’m going to like her even less. Not being a teen mom is not a prowess, it’s embarrassing. In her case, it means that she has no clue about birth control and sex education, because of that Bible thing she seems obsessed with. Oh and apparently she’s homophobic too according to Probst, who mentions this as a “normal trait” by the way. Shame on you Probst for the way you mentioned that so matter of factly.

Hayden Moss: We barely saw him. It’s very strange for me to have this guy apparently very famous in other circles, but whom I know as much as the other newbie. Right now my impressions are pretty neutral, but we didn’t see him much.

John Cody: Did John make the right move not replacing Candice in Redemption Island? Of course he did, he came to play the game, right? Not to vote himself out on day one. Apart from, he doesn’t leave me a very strong impression.

Katie Collins: I like Katie so far. She’s got to be careful, hadn’t it been for Gervase’s foolery, she could have been the firs one voted out, but those three extra days may just be the right amount of time to consolidate her position.

Marissa Peterson sent to redemption island: Was she really sent home because she was guilty by association? Yes, sure. However, I think that there is a little more than that. Remember when at the very beginning of the game Brad mentioned potentially feeling guilty about winning a challenge for a tarp that his wife wouldn’t get then? Honestly I agree with him, and that didn’t mean he was ready to throw challenges. Yet who antagonized him and almost threatened him right away? Marissa. I think the fact that Brad felt threatened by Marissa also played a big part in her being voted out. Yes, it was silly to vote her out first, Ciera or Katie should have been the logical first boot, but I think Marissa’s big mouth may have voted her out as much as he uncle’s big mouth. With that being said, this season is a different game, and right or wrong, everyone now must not forget that their actions and words may have an impact on what’s happening on the other tribe too, and that is a very interesting change.

Rachel Foulger: We barely saw her. I’m afraid that she may be a little isolated in her tribe, although I suspect that she’s closer to Vytas than she may seem.

Vytas Baskauskas: Talking about Vytas, if someone got a winner edit for this episode that’s definitely him. He got enough interesting confessionals, he has his redemption story set up, he seems to be the one that has the best sense of the game among the new players (honestly he behaves more like a returnee than Gervase). He will go far, he could go to the end.

 

Next week on Survivor:

Emotions are running high at redemption island (I guess that’s another new dimension of this season, it’s going to be a very emotional one) and Colton is back… Mmmm…

 

Next person voted out:

If Galang goes to tribal, Laura B. seems like the obvious choice, but if Colton’s behavior starts to poison the mood of the tribe already, Laura B. may get herself three more days on the island.

If Tadhana goes to tribal, Katie is in trouble, unless Brad becomes too annoying, in which case, I could see Vytas and Caleb turning on him already (although it seems a bit too early)

 

Winner Prediction:

Right now my money is on Vytas. Aras and Tina are not far behind. I still have hopes for Tyson.

 

You want to read more about Survivor? You should read those fine people’s blogs:

 

 

6 Responses

  1. Great first episode review! I agree with you on so much – I do hope, though, that Monica can somehow align herself with Tina and Aras. I really like Monica. And I hope they get rid of Kat and Colton as soon as they can. Ugh. I agree, Colton must’ve had a HARD time growing up. But get over it, dude. That doesn’t mean you can treat people that exact same way. He’s a cancer to the game. I hope he falls hard. Great first episode – I hope it’s an exciting season.

    • David says:

      I don’t know about Kat. I don’t think that getting rid of her early is necessarily a good thing. She can be useful.
      Colton, yeah, of course. I’m still surprised that he didn’t get any votes for the first vote, Candice must be an even bigger bitch than we are shown.
      On the other hand, you can’t tell Colton (or anyone who had to go through what he most likely went through growing up in the Bible belt) to “get over it.” But I don’t believe this is what makes him the asshole that he is. I think it has more to do with his upbringing. I mean, the guy was basically raised by his nanny. Being raised by your “nanny” in Alabama kinda tells a lot of what kind of social background he’s from.

  2. I would sympathize more with Colton if he wasn’t such a cruel person. But for producers, having him back is a win-win – either they get a total “redemption” story…or they get Colton terrorizing everyone again, and bringing the drama. Either way, Probst is smiling, I’m sure.

  3. blitzers says:

    Big fan of the blog!
    I think it’s interesting how you perceived Rupert’s decision to swap places with his wife. I thought it was a genuine display of love. He wanted to give his wife the opportunity to share in the incredible experience of playing Survivor. But after reading your opinion, I can definitely see where you are coming from.
    I also think you are spot on with Vytas. The editors really built a comeback/underdog narrative for him. If I had to pick someone to win at this point, it would be him.
    I was really curious about your opinions on loyalty though. The confessionals all tried to highlight the rivalry between loved ones. Aras talked about how hard Vytas made his life, Tina talked about the family being competitive, etc. The castaways all tried to convey the sense that the game had priority of over their significant others. Do you think loved ones would brutally betray their significant other? Obviously someone like Tina probably wouldn’t, but how about someone like Tyson or Aras? And if not, do think the family/loved one rivalry narrative will continue to be developed?

    (I know it’s already late in the week, so here’s to hoping you address this in a future post)

    • David says:

      Hi blitzers,
      Thanks for the kind word.

      Concerning Rupert, yes he decided to take Laura’s place out of love, no question about that. It’s the way he did it that very Rupert-like: the determined look, the pushing Monica and Laura M. out of the way, the breaking of the writing pad. All of that was playing it up for the camera.

      For Vytas, yes, this is what the first episode looked like for him. We’ll see for the second one (I just watched it, but won’t blog about it until tonight (that’s tomorrow morning in the US).

      My opinions on loyalties are a case by case thing.
      I think some loved ones will have no trouble voting each other out (Gervase and Marissa… whoops), Katie could vote Tina, don’t know if Tina could vote Katie.
      Aras and Vytas. No way they vote each other out early in the game, approaching the end, they would.
      I’m not sure the others would vote each other out. On that topic, there’s also a big difference between families and couples, siblings will obviously have less trouble voting each other out than married couples.

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