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‘Survivor: Blood vs Water’ Episode 9 – Falling Dominos

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Written by : published Thursday 14th November 2013

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It seems to be a consensus that this season of Survivor has been a good one.  Heck, a great one.  But even the best seasons seem to hit a bit of a lull right after the merge and that all-important first-merged Tribal Council.  Normally, a series of predictable Tribal Councils follow, sometimes sped up with the dreaded “double-Tribal Council” episode.  Yes, that sounds like fun, but usually these double-elimination episodes only go to condense a boring stretch of days.

In case you missed the episode, be sure to get caught up by watching Survivor: Blood vs. Water Episode 9 , and then be sure to read my weekly Episode Recap before continuing on to this “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

So yes, we did get two Tribal Councils in one episode and yes, this was perhaps the least dramatic and most predictable episode of the year.  We got two Immunity challenges, but neither of them required the players to move an inch.  Really Survivor?  Combining this with last week’s “memory” game, we have not yet had any sort of challenge post-merge that has involved physicality.  Hopefully that changes soon.

It was hard to say good-bye to Vytas, who had been outplaying many of the others since Day One.  Yes, Vytas is still in the game at Redemption Island, but his and Aras’s fall from grace was quick and brutal.  It was just one episode ago where both brothers thought they were running the game.  Now, they are both on Redemption Island.  Vytas though, proved to be the rare Survivor “Triple Threat,” having the social, strategic and physical abilities that could have made him Sole Survivor given the right set of circumstances.  It really is the only way that their story-lines could have ended:  Brother against brother, battling each other on the brink of elimination.  It will be epic to see how that plays out.

I will also miss Tina.  She is a fan-favorite who simply is such a great person.  Her biggest mistake in the game was choosing to align herself more closely with people like her (Aras, Vytas, etc), as opposed to the more sneaky Tyson and Gervase.  At her final Tribal Council, she showed how great she was at the game, fighting for her life against Monica and probably doing some heavy damage to Monica’s psyche moving forward…a move that will only go to help Katie’s place in the game over the coming weeks.  Don’t think for a minute that that wasn’t by design on Tina’s part.  She did what was necessary to further her daughter.  She is smart and tough and faces an uphill battle to get back into the game, but if anyone could do it, it would be Tina.

There was something to that whole “female alliance” thing that Vytas brought up, but it seems that now the time has passed.  Monica may now realize that she is indeed on the bottom, but Ciera should also understand her place in the game as well.  Ciera is currently in a five-strong alliance along with Tyson, Gervase, Caleb and Hayden, but she’s got to know that she is fifth in that scenario…right?  On the flipside, Ciera in that scenario would be the perfect person to sit against at the end, so she could very well be in all four of the guys’ Final Three plans.  So it’s not about “making it to the end”…if Ciera wants to win this thing, she needs to think about flipping things up big time, and soon.  She was once close with Katie, if she could take Katie and Monica, along with her mom, she would have four girls against the four remaining guys.  If things do flip on Tyson and Gervase, it would require not only Ciera flipping, but also Hayden and Caleb.  Yes Hayden and Caleb could play the largest role moving forward in terms of shaping the endgame.

All of this makes it very confusing then, to see in next week’s preview that Ciera may be targeting her mom to leave the game.  She needs her mom, I would think.  Ciera showed a great deal of intelligence and strategic-thought early in the game, so I’m hoping this was more of CBS hyping something up, as opposed to what she’ll actually do next week.  And if others are targeting Laura next week, does that lead us to assume that Katie once again wins Immunity?  Wouldn’t she be the easy target for everyone in Tyson’s current alliance, if in fact, everyone stays with Tyson?

All eyes will be on Ciera next week, to see what she does and to see if she turns against her mom.  She may be the only player left in the game with the power to loosen Tyson’s grip on the game, otherwise, we may need to settle into our chairs.  Because is she or someone doesn’t act quickly against him, we will be lined up for another predictable stretch of episodes that will have us desperately begging CBS for additional “double-Tribal Council” episodes as we head towards December’s finale.

Follow me on Twitter!  @tomsantilli, and check out my website at tomsantilli.com for more Survivor coverage and my full database of current and archived movie reviews.

About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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