Blood Is Thicker than Anything is the season premiere of Survivor: Blood vs. Water.
As night began to fall in the Luzon Strait, ten pairs of contestants, comprised of a returning player and a loved one, were each taken to a remote corner of the island and abandoned. Jeff Probst introduced each pair, beginning with Gervase Peterson (of Borneo) and his niece Marissa Peterson, who was only nine years old when her uncle competed on the first season of the show. Kat Edorsson (of One World) lost the game due to her instability, and she returned to the game with her boyfriend Hayden Moss, winner of Big Brother 12. Laura Morett (of Samoa) played the mother role on her original tribe, but for her second attempt at the game, she brought her daughter Ciera Eastin. Four-time contestant Rupert Boneham (of Pearl Islands, All-Stars, and Heroes vs. Villains) had one hundred days playing the game, and his wife Laura Boneham hoped to carve out her own place in the game. Controversial contestant Colton Cumbie (of One World) was medically evacuated in his last game, but left a negative impression, and his fiancée Caleb Bankston hoped to amend his partner's reputation. Candice Cody (of Cook Islands and Heroes vs. Villains) returned to the game with her husband John Cody, both successful in their lives as doctors and both hoping to take home the game. Monica Culpepper (of One World) returned to the game with her famous football-player husband Brad Culpepper, and the two were eager to take the game by storm. Tina Wesson was the first female winner in The Australian Outback (and played again in All-Stars) returned with her daughter Katie Collins, who admitted to hoping to outlast her mother. Tyson Apostol (of Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains) was renowned for his past missteps in the game, and his girlfriend Rachel Foulger hoped to be a grounding force. Lastly, Aras Baskauskas, the likable winner of Panama returned to the game with his older brother Vytas Baskauskas who had a much darker past of drug abuse and imprisonment.
|“||Gervase: I am the original; the OG. The one who started this all. This time, I actually believe I can win this game.
Marissa: It's cute that he thinks he's gonna win, like, after thirteen years, come back, play this game again. But, I'm just focused on me winning this game.
–Gervase Peterson and Marissa Peterson
|“||Hayden: Big Brother, it is Survivor in a house. So as far as training or preparation, I'm gonna be more prepared than anyone else that hasn't already played this game.
Kat: Hayden's already won a show before. This is my time. This is my game.
–Hayden Moss and Kat Edorsson
|“||Ciera: I think that our ability to kind of balance each other out is really gonna benefit us.
Laura M: But yet, she's my heart and nothing is harder than seeing somebody that you love suffer.
–Ciera Eastin and Laura Morett
|“||Rupert: I am returning to Survivor for my fourth time.
Laura B: I mean, this has always been about Rupert. And Rupert playing three times. And Rupert, Rupert, Rupert.
–Rupert Boneham and Laura Boneham
|“||Colton: I don't really know how people are gonna respond to me. Last time, I was like this big ball of anger. My goal apart from winning this season is to show people a different side of me. The new Colton.
Caleb: I'm worried about Colton's reputation because he pissed a lot of people off. But I know a different Colton. This is kind of gonna be a redemption for him.
–Colton Cumbie and Caleb Bankston
|“||Candice: We are two people who have been very successful. It could be something people perceive as a threat.
John: Absolutely, and being young and athletic, like, I think we're gonna have a big target on our backs.
–Candice Cody and John Cody
|“||Monica: Normally it's that I'm Brad's wife, but when it comes to Survivor, I'm the wily veteran here.
Brad: I'll play second fiddle to Monica. I'm the young rookie.
Monica: And it's my turn to win and this time, I brought some ammunition.
–Monica Culpepper and Brad Culpepper
|“||Tina: I've told Katie our love transcends this game, but our family is very competitive.
Katie: There is just one winner and there's two of us and that poses a very difficult situation. I would love to beat my mother at her own game.
–Tina Wesson and Katie Collins
|“||Tyson: I've been disappointed by Survivor twice. But this time, I actually feel like I'm in a pretty good spot. And in a game like this, I think that the loved ones aren't going to be prepared and I'm gonna slit their throats.
Rachel: Survivor was always Tyson's thing. I never thought in a million years I'd be out here. With the loved ones season, it's gonna be a gamechanger. It's gonna be crazy out here.
–Tyson Apostol and Rachel Foulger
|“||Vytas: I was a drug addict. Heroin definitely led to my arrest. I spent a year in LA county jail. Aras still has a lot of resentment against me.
Aras: So my brother was pretty abusive when we were younger. And that inspired me to beat him in things I could beat him in. I don't know if me going on Survivor made my brother envious, but I'm sure that winning it did!
–Vytas Baskauskas and Aras Baskauskas
Each couple received a note informing them that they would spend the night alone together with no supplies, forcing them to rely on each other for protection, comfort, and survival. The news shocked Hayden and Kat, and the couples all began to prepare for the adventure as night closed in. Marissa was taken aback when veteran Gervase asked her what they should do, whilst Kat doled out advice from her past experience. Caleb took charge, rejecting Colton's reluctant offer to help. As lightning shot across the sky during the night, the couples kept close, but many expressed their readiness to compete against their loved ones and beat them at all costs.
|“||It is the most important thing in my entire life to beat Hayden Moss.||”|
|“||She's [Marissa's] a threat to me. At some point, I'm gonna have to get rid of her.||”|
|“||I want to win that money. I want to win this game. And I'm gonna beat Aras to do it.||”|
As dawn broke over the island, the ten couples assembled on the beach and were greeted by Jeff Probst, who welcomed them to the twenty-seventh season of Survivor. Jeff asked Hayden how his first hours in the game compared to Big Brother, and he answered that it was difficult to compare the comforts of a house to the lush wilderness. Jeff then announced that although the contestants would be experiencing the game with their loved ones, they would not be playing with them, and asked for a show of hands of who was excited to compete against their loved ones. Several pairs, including Monica and Brad, Candice and John, Gervase and Marissa, and Aras and Vytas raised their hands together, but there was some surprising disunity with Kat and Katie raising their hands when their loved ones did not.
Jeff asked Katie why she wanted to take on Tina in the game her mother had already won. Katie laughed it off, saying she'd expected Tina to also raise her hand. Tina laughed, too, but noted that the game would be the hardest thing many of them had ever done once people's loved ones began to be voted out. Jeff turned to Brad how he would feel if Monica were voted out, and he answered that although he wanted to beat her in every challenge, there was part of him that would consider throwing a challenge if it would help his wife. Marissa gasped at the suggestion, exclaiming, "You'd better not be on my team saying that!"
|“||I answered with my heart instead of my head. And all of a sudden, I got stares and looks from every person down the line. I'm thinking to myself, "Oh my gosh!" First five seconds of the game. Way to go, Brad! (mimes shooting himself in the head)||”|
The teams were then split into two tribes: returning players on the yellow tribe Galang, and the new contestants on the red tribe Tadhana. The pairs said their goodbyes and assembled in their new tribes.
|“||My heart sank, 'cause I know Colton was really hoping to have me with him. Kind of be that provider that I am for him, but it was definitely a wake-up call.||”|
|“||It was sad, but at the same time, it's a game and I can play it on my own too.||”|
|“||Vytas and I have such a competitive relationship, but there's no way that if I lose a challenge to my brother out here that I'm not gonna hear about it for the rest of my life.||”|
|“||Watching my wife walk over to the other tribe, it was a little bit of a relief and a little bit of sadness at the same time. I didn't have to worry at all about writing my wife's name down. But then I also can't protect her.||”|
Before anybody had even settled, Jeff complicated the game further by announcing that each tribe would immediately vote somebody out. Everybody was shocked by the twist, and Hayden lamented that it was so early to be making decisions on first impressions.
|“||In true Jeff Probst style, he has to really twist the knife. Oh, we're gonna vote someone out? Really? Hi, I'm Colton. Like, remember me? Probably gonna be the one.||”|
The vote began with Tadhana, with Vytas, Brad, and Hayden revealing votes for Laura B. Laura B. and Rupert both were shocked that they were being targeted so early. Laura B. then revealed her vote for "Jarvis' loved one," Marissa. Caleb and Ciera both revealed their votes for Laura B., making a majority to vote Laura B. out of Tadhana. As Laura B. took a place beside Jeff, Rupert voiced his disappointment that they wouldn't be playing the game together.
|“||Watching my wife get voted out of her tribe about killed me. Why they would do that, it's a smack against me. That is everyone of those little scared newbies saying we've gotta stop Rupert.||”|
Candice began Galang's vote, casting her vote for Laura M., claiming that it was simply because she didn't know much about her. Tyson also voted for Laura M., but Tina cast a vote against Candice, citing the same reasoning of knowing little about her. Kat and Colton followed with votes for Candice, and Rupert voted for Laura M., tying them at three votes each. Monica voted for Candice, and Aras cast a vote for Gervase, saying "I'm a Redskins fan" (in reference to Gervase's Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt). Laura M. put the nail in the coffin with a fifth vote for Candice, apologizing and offering to "get a cup of coffee some day." Her husband John grimaced in frustration as Candice left Galang and took her place beside Laura B.
|“||Every time I saw her name come up, I felt like I was being kicked in the head. I literally wanted to do everything I could to vote out every single person that wrote her name down. And I'm never gonna forget that.||”|
The twists kept coming as Jeff revealed that despite being voted out of their tribes, Candice and Laura B. were not out of the game as Redemption Island was in play. Before sending the two women to Redemption Island, Jeff turned to Rupert and offered him the chance to take his wife's place. Before Jeff had finished, Rupert left the Galang mat. Jeff stopped him to explain the consequences, establishing that swapping places would send Laura B. back to Galang in his place and put him at risk of elimination if he lost a Duel. Tina urged Rupert not to swap, but after a very brief consultation with Laura B., he chose to take her place, vowing to win every Duel. Laura was welcomed into Galang, but the tribe hid their disappointment regarding Rupert's decision.
|“||To put myself in a position where I am not safe is killing me. But I would rather have myself in this position than I would my wife. Laura deserves to play the game.||”|
|“||I was really ticked when Rupert switched with Laura. I understand the emotion behind it, but we were counting on Rupert. Rupert is a fantastic shelter builder, he's a fantastic fisherman. Right off the bat, he weakens our tribe.||”|
Jeff turned to John and offered him the same choice. John took a moment to quietly consult with Candice. She told him that although she thought she could beat Rupert, the choice was his. John agreed that she had a better chance than he did, and decided not to take her place, claiming that she had what it took to win. He rejoined Tadhana as Candice returned to her place. Jeff then sent Candice and Rupert to Redemption Island, giving them one last chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.
|“||In Laura and I's world, blood is thicker than anything and Laura and I are blood. If I can battle my ass off at Redemption Island, and Laura is still there, you better watch out because we'll be one hell of a team.||”|
|“||Watching Candice walk off literally felt like my heart was being torn out of my chest. Like, the second I saw... (begins to cry) The second I saw her walking off, y'know, I was like there's nothing that's gonna be harder than not doing everything I can to save my wife's butt in this game. Now I have the opportunity to show all those dumbasses how big of a mistake they made.||”|
Galang arrived at their beach and welcomed each other with a group hug. The tribe found a box of tools waiting for them, and although it contained no flint, Tyson said he'd learned how to make fire on Heroes vs. Villains from Rob Mariano using only bamboo and was confident he could do it again. As the tribe set to work constructing their camp, Laura B. expressed an eagerness to be a part of the group, but felt out of place amongst the veterans. She began by learning how to chop coconuts under the tutelage of Aras. However, Gervase's frustration at her being swapped in instead of Rupert (expressed in a confessional) and Aras' unintentionally hurtful remark that he wished Rupert were with them served to underscore Laura B.'s outsider status.
|“||It's been thirteen years since I played Survivor. I think this is the longest lay-off anybody's ever had playing the game. So it's gonna be interesting to say the least. I know I'm up for it, though. I was excited to see that we had a box there with some supplies in it. I think Galang is a strong tribe and it's because you have a lot of returning players. But Laura's not Galang. She is now, but she didn't start off that way. I wanted to play with Rupert. I didn't want to play with Laura! If her ass got to go, goodbye, peace, see you later!||”|
|“||Joining the returning players tribe, it's very intimidating. All of these people are the experts. So I've got a lot of pressure on my back. I have to show how tough I am and how valuable I am to the tribe. I think there's expectations that I am like Rupert, but I'm not.||”|
Tyson quickly got a fire started, allowing the tribe to begin boiling water and cooking meals as they worked on the shelter construction, giving them an early advantage that Laura M. remarked on in a confessional. But all was not pitch-perfect, as Monica lamented being trapped in the game once more with Colton, who had betrayed her in their first season. She pulled Colton aside to bury the hatchet and put the past behind them. She asked him if she could trust him or if he would backstab her once again, and he assured her that he could be trusted, promising to talk more at a later time.
|“||Being an experienced player, we know how important it is to have fire. Don't worry about your shelter, don't worry about anything else because unless you have fire, we are dead in the water. In fifteen minutes, Tyson went out there and started a fire. It's been non-stop. We're boiling our water, our canteens are full. We're eating our rice, morale is good. It's amazing. We're really comfortable at this point.||”|
|“||I get to play Survivor not once, but twice, and both times, Colton's out here. I mean, he was seen as one of the most vindictive, villainous, mean people to ever play the game. I played with him before, he stabbed me in the back and I'm not gonna have happen to me what happened to me before. Has he changed, has he not? I don't know. Does a zebra change their stripes? Am I once again gonna be bamboozled? I don't know.||”|
Meanwhile, at Tadhana, the new players were getting to work with the construction of their shelter and trying to work from their recollections of advice from their loved ones. Feeling jeopardized by his comment about considering throwing challenges back at the tribe division, Brad called a tribe meeting to put the matter to rest. He informed them that he bled Tadhana red, and that if he ever didn't give a hundred percent in the challenge, they had his blessing to vote him out. Although the tribe as a whole seemed receptive, with Vytas joking that they'd "ride [his] back to the finish," Marissa remained cautious about Brad's loyalties.
|“||I have relived Monica's Survivor: One World experience thousands of times. Then all of a sudden, you're dropped off on a beach and it's like, whoa, there's nothing here. It's on. There was some butterflies thinking here we go, this is how it's gonna start. So we're all working hard around camp. Boys are making the shelter, girls are weaving palm fronds. We have no veterans here, so we're all kind of going on what our loved ones told us and basically, it was a bit shocking. We don't know anything. I feel like I could be in trouble. Five minutes into the game, I made a huge blunder about not going a hundred percent to potentially help my wife 'cause now she's now the enemy.||”|
|“||Brad said he's not going to throw a challenge for his wife. But it wasn't an apology exactly, so I feel like he's one I'm definitely gonna have to keep my eye on and keep him close, 'cause he seems like he could be a loose cannon.||”|
Later, Brad and John explored their surroundings and discovered a waterfall. Having taken on board his wife's advice to establish an alliance quickly, Brad proposed a five-strong alliance between the men of Tadhana. John was receptive to the idea and agreed to the alliance, and was glad to have somebody else take the leadership role. Brad continued to assemble his alliance by pulling in Hayden and Caleb. He offered Caleb a "number one" position in the alliance, though in a confessional, Caleb revealed that he didn't trust Brad as an alliance-mate in the long term. Lastly, he approached Vytas, who responded positively by saying that it was "mutually beneficial" and would keep the tribe strong. Brad agreed, and noted that the "John Cochrans and the weaker women," who could dominate the strategic game but were less physically valuable, were the biggest threats in modern-day Survivor.
|“||If there's one thing I learned from Monica, she said, "Brad, look, when you play this game, you better hit the ground running. You hit the ground running talking to people. You need to make connections. You need to get an alliance fast."||”|
|“||The idea to keep all the five guys together stemmed from Brad. It's not a surprise at all. It's like, shocker, the guy who played NFL football wants to keep his locker room together. But, y'know, the more he talks about that sort of stuff and asserts himself as the leader, I mean, the more that could potentially end up biting him in the ass later.||”|
|“||When Brad got me by myself, he was pretty much trying to buddy-buddy the, y'know, bromance type thing. Y'know, all guys to the end and blah, blah, blah. I'm thinking, "No, you're the one to get yourself and your wife to the end and whoever she's with." Y'know, I'm not stupid. Y'know, whatever, y'know. I will agree to anything at this point with him, 'cause it's gonna shut him up.||”|
|“||I got Caleb. I got John. I got Hayden. I got V. And I got me. That's five. (counting on fingers) Four with nine equals out. But... I'm sorry. (thinking) No... Okay... Four with nine equals out, but five with nine equals in.||”|
At dusk, the shelter was coming together, but Brad, Ciera, and Vytas struggled to get a fire started using only bamboo. As they worked, they got to know each other. Vytas asked Ciera how long she'd been with her man, and she revealed that they had gotten married fairly quickly after starting to date and had been married for three years. She added that he was the father of her second child, but her first had been born whilst she was still in high school. Brad and Ciera discussed the effect of teenage pregnancy on family, with Ciera revealing that she'd initially hid her pregnancy from her mother and that she had found out. However, Ciera noted that it had worked out well in the end, as she had two beautiful children and Laura M. was happy to be a grandmother of two. Vytas then revealed that he had been a heroin addict as a teenager and at nineteen, had spent a year in prison after being arrested for trying to rob a woman on the street. He added that his arrest had saved his life, as he had overdosed several times on a downward spiral.
|“||There's no flint. And none of us know how to start a fire without flint. We can't boil our water. This does a lot just building the shelter, putting it together. I can feel the liquid leaving my body and I'm turning into sludge.||”|
|“||I actually was a teen mom, so I got pregnant when I was seventeen in high school. That was a huge game change for me and my mom. It was a really hard obstacle for us to get through. Embarrassing for my mom, probably.||”|
|“||My addiction impacted my family, like, profoundly. Even my relationship with my brother, to this day, is still, like, not fully mended. So, this is great experience I'm gonna get to have with my brother. The fact that we're going on this together is a pretty great, y'know, opportunity to mend some more. I think in a game where trust is the most important part, I just wanted to share with my tribe my past. Y'know, if you really want someone to trust you, you have to let them in a little bit. And I do want to be vulnerable and show them that part of my past, like, makes me stronger. For me, I don't think people that hear about that part of my path are gonna think less of me. I don't think people are gonna see an ex-con that's conniving and a dope fiend that's willing to do, like, whatever he can to get what he wants. Like, I've got fourteen years clean and I have a lot of experience away from that and I do want to show them that there's, like, a different part of me than just being a yoga teacher and I think it will help strengthen the bonds and connections I have with them, then get further in this game.||”|
Back at Galang, the tribe sat around the fire. Colton remarked that his tribemates helped to make the time feel less like a cutthroat game and more like a "crazy, hellacious camping trip." Later, he shared the scars of his past regarding the difficulties he faced in his community and within his own family due to his homosexuality. He broke down in tears and was comforted by the mothers of the tribe. Monica calmed him by noting that his fiancée was "under the same stars" and that he'd see him soon.
|“||Last time I played this game, I had this mask on. I was rude to everyone, I was mean to everyone and I didn't have kind things to say and it was all because I was insecure. I actually am trying to find an opportunity to really try to explain to people and get them to understand me. I live in the Deep South where being gay – it's a cross to bear every single day. When I was growing up, I was the sweetest kid in the world. And, y'know, I mean, somewhere along the way, I got tired of being called sissy and faggot and queer, so the struggle is just getting people to understand I'm a living, breathing human being just like everybody else. The negative experiences that you go through in life, I think they build you to the person that you are, y'know, today, but I'm trying to change. I'm just going in with positive thinking.||”|
|“||For all of us to judge what decisions he makes is hard. We haven't walked a mile in his shoes. And I don't think it's easy. If he's changed, wouldn't that be a beautiful story? But then again: it's Colton Cumbie.||”|
At Redemption Island, Candice cut open coconuts whilst reciting the names of the people who had voted her out. As Candice worked, Rupert lounged on the flatboards in the shelter, napping, or waded in the ocean. Rupert's complete lack of effort irritated Candice, who was pulling all the weight around camp. Rupert revealed his laziness to be a strategy to conserve his energy for the first Duel.
|“||I definitely got my feelings hurt by the returning players tribe. And I'm out for revenge. I'm gonna do everything I can to fight and to win this game. I'm really just trying to keep my mind in the game and maintain the camp so that I can stay healthy and hydrated and ready to beat Rupert. Living with Rupert is extremely annoying to say the least. Rupert, mostly, is either sleeping or splashing around in the water. I get the coconuts, I get all the firewood, I go get all the water, I tend the fire, I boil the water, I boil the rice and Rupert enjoys the spoils. It's infuriating, actually.||”|
|“||I am not going to do what I've done so many other times. One of the reasons why I've never won an Immunity Challenge is I kill myself out fishing, I kill myself out taking care of my tribe. But this is more individual. And if I'm gonna beat Candice, I need every ounce of energy I got. If Candice wants to go out and kill herself gathering wood and making fire and keeping it going and boiling water and doing everything – great! Burn up her energy. I'm not going to and I need to have in my head that I will eliminate her.||”|
At Tadhana, Brad and Rachel collected the tribe's first Tree Mail, including the tribe's challenge flag. At Galang, Colton and Tina returned with the Tree Mail. Both tribes read the note which established that the challenge would involve a physical component and a puzzle. Ciera and Katie suspected that their mothers would compete in the puzzle component, but asserted that they were better than their mothers. As they celebrated the idea of beating their mothers in the puzzle, Laura M. and Tina thought they would be able to school their daughters, setting the stage for a mother-daughter showdown.
|“||So Rachel and I get up and went to check Tree Mail. It was really exciting. It's like until you've gotten something in Tree Mail, you really haven't, like, started the game.||”|
|“||I feel great going into the challenge. The advantage that we have as returning players is we know: keep your head in it, keep calm, 'cause anything can happen.||”|
|“||Right away, we're trying to think, "Okay, who's the fastest swimmer, who's good at sprinting, who's good at puzzles. My mom's great at puzzles too, so she's probably on the puzzle. I'm on the puzzle. So it's going to be the mother-daughter duel!||”|
|“||Puzzles are my strength. I have the experience of knowing: okay, think outside the box, how can we do this quicker? Moms always say this: I brought you into this world, I can take you out of this world. As much as I love her, unfortunately, I'm going to beat my daughter in this game. Sorry, Ciera!||”|
At the Immunity Challenge, Jeff welcomed in the tribes. First, he gave Laura B. her Galang buff. Jeff asked Colton how the Galang tribe was faring, and he revealed that they had already made fire thanks to Tyson. Brad speculated that Galang could be bluffing about having fire, and then lied, saying that Tadhana had also managed to make fire. In a later confessional, Hayden scoffed at his tribe's bluff, theorizing that the veterans did have fire thanks to their experience.
|“||They probably have fire because they have experience. We don't because we're a bunch of meatheads.||”|
Jeff then revealed the challenge: Blue Lagoon Bustle. Six members of the tribe would race out into the water and traverse a series of obstacles: a net, a rolling log, and a crate staircase. They would then reach a boat, untie it and row it back to shore. In the boat would be a chest containing three bags of puzzle pieces. The three remaining tribe members would then solve a puzzle in the shape of a ship wheel. The first tribe to assemble the wheel, attach it a crank, and spin it to raise the tribe flag would win immunity, and fire in the form of flint.
Tadhana edged an early lead at the net, using teamwork to help each other through the obstacles. Meanwhile, Galang moved slowly and separated out, which became particularly evident when Aras was abandoned at the rolling log, making it difficult for him to get over on his own. Tadhana quickly got over the crates, but Galang fell further behind as Gervase struggled to swim and then stopped to catch his breath at the staircase. Belly-flopping into the water, Gervase then had to ask Aras to help him swim the last distance to the boat. Tadhana struggled with the knots to untie their boat, allowing Galang to make up some ground. However, whilst both boats were untied at roughly the same time, Galang floundered as they tried to get control of paddling their boat. Tadhana effortlessly rowed down the center of the course to the beach as Galang found themselves paddling in circles, with Colton and Kat growing more and more frustrated at each other, with Colton threatening to hit Kat with the paddle if she didn't stop scolding him.
As Caleb, Ciera, and Katie began work on Tadhana's puzzle, Galang found themselves rowing backwards to shore. Once finally landing, Laura M., Monica, and Tina rapidly figured out the trick to the first part of the puzzle, allowing them to quickly catch up to Tadhana. As Katie struggled to keep on top of the puzzle, finding herself with several pieces that didn't fit, Galang passed Tadhana to claim the lead. The three women of Galang flew through their second and third bags of puzzle pieces before Tadhana even completed their first. Finishing their ship wheel, Galang raised their tribe flag to claim immunity and reward.
As Galang celebrated, Gervase began to shout, "Don't let that fool you!" His taunting of the losing Tadhana tribe visibly irritated the red tribe, with even Marissa giving him the hand. As Jeff handed Galang the Immunity Idol, Colton broke down in tears, and when asked why, he couldn't explain. Laura M. suggested the victory was bittersweet as, despite their victory, they had put their loved ones in jeopardy.
|“||I mean, like, Gervase – for him to kind of jump up and down and, like, in your face, it's like, "Hey, bozo, your loved one may go home!" Why are you cheering about that? Great, you guys beat us. But it's like you're beating your own.||”|
The defeated Tadhana returned to camp, and tried to look for the silver lining. Brad claimed that everybody had given one hundred percent, and John added that the returning players' experience gave them a strong advantage in the puzzle. Despite the tribes' assurances, Katie was worried that the poor performance of the puzzle solvers could put a target on her back. When the conversation turned to Gervase, Marissa adamantly argued that her uncle's behavior was unexpected and uncalled for, particularly given his poor challenge performance, but in a confessional, feared that his bad sportsmanship could reflect badly on her. Brad urged Tadhana to be gracious should they win a challenge, and Marissa added, "The lion does not roar after it kills its prey."
|“||We lost the challenge. It stinks. I didn't get where I am in life by losing and I hate to lose.||”|
|“||After the challenge, I mean, my heart sank down to the floor. It's our first challenge and our first loss. I knew I was part of why the team lost. I mean, I got creamed by my mother. And the fact that the three of us – the puzzle people – were the reason that we didn't pull through at the end, y'know, that makes me a little nervous because what are we gonna judge the votes off of?||”|
|“||I definitely think that the other tribe was celebrating too much after that win because they are our loved ones. Yeah, you won, but you're about to send one of us home. And of course, who are they gonna correlate Gervase with? His niece.||”|
Later, Brad, Caleb, Hayden, John, and Vytas met to discuss the plan for the vote. Vytas noted that "people would kill to be on the side of the numbers" in many seasons, and it made sense for the five men to stick together. He added that they needed to figure out who their target would be, keeping in mind that whoever went home would be "stabbing someone in the heart" over at Galang. Later, at the well, Brad told Caleb and John that Gervase's gloating had given him cause to consider voting out Marissa. Caleb countered that Katie was a third wheel during the challenge, and John agreed that she had choked on the puzzle. Meanwhile, Vytas worked to keep his ties with the women strong, by informing them about which way the vote was tipping, including telling Rachel that the target was Marissa, but telling Marissa that it was Katie's night. As night began to fall, the tribe departed for Tribal Council.
|“||Marissa, before the challenge, she was a little bit off the radar. But there's a side of myself that saw Gervase jumping up and down and kind of "in your face, we won." She's going home! How do you like them apples?||”|
|“||With the puzzle part, it was Ciera, Katie, and me. And Ciera really jumped in. She was really helpful and it just seemed like Katie, she was just the extra cook in the kitchen. I don't want to see Katie go, but if the majority's in, then I'm in with it.||”|
|“||The girls probably know that the guys have bonded. I mean, we're not being subtle at all to these women. So it's important to me to keep my alliances with the girls strong. I'm gonna tell those girls: hey, the guys have decided which one will go first which is whoever we want. Let's be honest. It doesn't matter whoever they choose to vote for, 'cause the guys have definitely bonded with each other. I mean, I feel bad for the girls, but at this point it would be foolish to try to go against that.||”|
|“||We're five guys strong. One of the girls has to go. So it may be Marissa. It may be Katie. To me, they're all equal. The girls are both connected with the other tribe. We've got to start thinking about who we vote out could potentially affect their tribe.||”|
At Tribal Council, Jeff first instructed each member of the tribe to take a torch and light it, as a representation of their life in the game. Jeff began by asking Hayden what the most difficult part of the first three days was. He answered that the struggle to make fire was the worst part, revealing their bluff at the Immunity Challenge. Ciera added that despite what her mother had told her about the game, experiencing it was something entirely different. She particularly noted the hunger, saying, "Somebody is just trying to get out of my stomach right now, like clawing at my insides." Brad agreed that a lack of fire fuelled their hunger as it prevented them from having the energy required for a challenge.
Jeff turned the conversation to the Blood vs. Water twist, and Caleb said that it was difficult not knowing what Colton was up to – just as he had no idea about the workings of Tadhana – but they just had to trust that each other would be doing the best thing. John was then asked about Candice's vote-out, and his subsequent decision not to take her place. He said that he was wracked with guilt, and beginning to cry, added that he worried that Candice, trapped on Redemption Island, was feeling as though he had abandoned her. Asked if his vote would be influenced by Candice's presence at Redemption Island, John answered that his primary focus was keeping Tadhana strong in order to take on the veterans, but if there was an added bonus to voting out someone that would be easy for Candice to beat, he was all for it.
Brad was asked about the long term effects of having loved ones in the game, and he brought up the matter of Galang's poor sportsmanship in the face of losing one of their family. Brad singled out Gervase, and Marissa agreed. She said she was upset by the returning players' immaturity and lack of grace. Vytas then pointed out that gloating rubbed salt in the wound, which could harm the gloaters' loved ones. He stated that the twist was unlike any other as "in any other season, no team who wins immunity is worrying about the other team who goes to Tribal Council." Marissa said she was worried by Vytas' comment, as she was "guilty by association" with Gervase, but pleaded for her tribe to judge her on her own merits, and not by her uncle's actions.
Katie was asked about the impending vote, and said that it was difficult to decide what to base a vote on. As such, the puzzle solvers' failure at the challenge gave a reason for any of the three to be targeted. She added that she wouldn't be surprised if she was voted out because of a poor performance in her first challenge. Brad countered that the vote wasn't necessarily based solely on the puzzle makers' performance.
With that, it was time to vote. Caleb, Ciera, and Vytas led the procedure, with Katie then casting a vote against Marissa. Rachel and John followed, with Marissa then returning a vote in Katie's direction. Hayden and Brad finished off the votes, and Jeff tallied them.
The first vote came up for Katie, but in a unanimous decision, Marissa became the third person voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Furious, she quietly took her torch to Jeff and after it was snuffed, cast a cold look back over her shoulder to her tribe, who all avoided eye contact. Marissa took her torch and headed to Redemption Island. Before departing home, Jeff gave the tribe flint.
Marissa arrived at Redemption Island and was greeted warmly by Candice and Rupert. She told them that she had been blindsided, and Rupert tried to lift her spirits by commiserating, "Welcome here, a bunch of people sitting pissed off!"
|“||I just got blindsided at Tribal. I came in thinking Katie's a go. No, Marissa was a go.||”|
Reward/Immunity Challenge: Blue Lagoon Bustle
Tribes start out on the beach, with first 6 players from each tribe running into the ocean, swimming out to a net obstacle, climbing over, go over a barrel roll, swimming to a crate staircase and jumping off, swimming to the tribe boat, diving down and untying a series of knots, paddling back to shore, carrying a chest to the puzzle station. The three players from each tribe then solve their tribe's puzzle in the form of a captain's wheel. The first tribe to extend the flag using the wheel wins.
As four votes from Tadhana and one vote from Galang were not revealed live, it is not 100% confirmed whom those five people voted for. The vote results here are correct to the best of our knowledge.
- Note: Although not shown in the episode, Katie, Marissa, and Rachel's votes have been revealed elsewhere. Gordon Holmes identified Marissa's vote for Brad, as can also be seen in a screencap showing Katie's vote. . Rachel revealed in an exit interview that she had voted for Katie.
|First Impressions Vote:|
Candice (6 votes)
Colton, Gervase, Kat, Laura M., Monica, Tina
Laura M. (3 votes)
Candice, Rupert, Tyson
Gervase (1 vote)
(sent to Redemption Island)
|Tribal Council 1:|
Marissa (8 votes)
Brad, Caleb, Ciera, Hayden, John, Katie, Rachel, Vytas
Katie (1 vote)
(sent to Redemption Island)
|“||(voting for Marissa) Marissa, you're a great girl, but I'm sorry, the game has started.||”|
|“||(voting for Katie) Just because it's either you or me.||”|
Still in the Running
Behind the Scenes
- A deleted scene from EW.com showed John Cody, Katie Collins, and Rachel Foulger discovering the Tadhana tribe's well, and John's emotional distress due to Candice Cody's elimination from Galang, in which he said, "Fifteen minutes into the game, my number one ally, my rock, is gone. You know, it's really hard. I think I have quite the hardest start of anybody and now, thanks to everybody on her tribe, I don't trust anybody out here."
- Due to the First Impressions twist, this episodes marks the first time two different tribes vote at the same time. The second would be the Joint Tribal Council in "The Tables Have Turned".
- Rupert switching places with Laura marks the first time a contestant is sent to Redemption Island without getting voted out.
- This was the first time a tribe of returning players wins the first Immunity Challenge against a tribe of new players, as Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Caramoan had the tribe of new contestants win the first Immunity Challenge.
- However, new player Laura B. was on the tribe of returning players due to having switched with Rupert.
- With this episode, Candice becomes the second castaway overall to experience being sent to Exile Island and Redemption Island, following Ozzy Lusth.
- At the First Impressions vote, Aras Baskauskas said he voted against Gervase Peterson because he was a Washington Redskins fan, and Gervase was wearing a Philadelphia Eagles shirt. The Redskins and Eagles are members of the same division of the NFL. It is rumored that Aras's vote for Gervase was a throwaway vote as the two were both already close in the first episode.
- Also, it can be noticed that Aras initially voted for Candice but scribbled it out. This was pointed out in a RHAW post.
- This marks the only time in the game that Laura B. voted as a member of the Tadhana tribe as for the rest of the game, she would be a member of the Galang tribe.
- This is the fourth premiere episode to not include the opening title sequence, following "Something Cruel Is About to Happen... Real Soon" (Survivor: Fiji), "The Puppet Master" (Survivor: Samoa), and "Two Tribes, One Camp, No Rules" (Survivor: One World).
- This episode marks the first time that in the retooled Redemption Island format, the pairs switched places.
- This was also the earliest time where someone switched tribes in any case.
- The three castaways who voted for Laura Morett during the First Impression vote all played together on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
- Similarly, the three returnees from Survivor: One World all voted for Candice during this vote.
- In this episode, Rupert said that he has never won an individual Immunity Challenge, but he did in "Shocking! Simply Shocking!".
- This is the second instance where a contestant is voted out because of being associated with Gervase and in retaliation towards something Gervase said, the first instance being Joel Klug in "Udder Revenge".
- The title of the episode was said by Rupert about switching places with his wife, Laura, at Redemption Island.
- Holmes, Gordon (September 18, 2013). "'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' Recap: The Worst Challenge Performance Ever?". Xfinity. http://xfinity.comcast.net/blogs/tv/2013/09/18/survivor-blood-vs-water-recap-the-worst-challenge-performance-ever/. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- Holmes, Gordon (October 3, 2013). "'Survivor' Castaway Rachel – Brad Culpepper Is a 'Bonehead'". Xfinity. http://xfinity.comcast.net/blogs/tv/2013/10/03/survivor-castaway-rachel-brad-culpepper-is-a-bonehead/. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- Ross, Dalton (September 19, 2013). "'Survivor' season premiere recap: Twistapalooza". Entertainment Weekly. http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/survivor-blood-vs-water-premiere/6/. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
|Survivor: Blood vs. Water Episodes|
|"Blood Is Thicker than Anything" · "Rule in Chaos" · "Opening Pandora's Box" · "One Armed Dude and Three Moms" · "The Dead Can Still Talk" · "One-Man Wrecking Ball" · "Swoop In for the Kill" · "Skin of My Teeth" · "My Brother's Keeper" · "Big Bad Wolf" · "Gloves Come Off" · "Rustle Feathers" · "Out on a Limb" · "It's My Night" · "Reunion"|