Laura Morett is a genius. Evil genius, perhaps. But genius nonetheless.
I’m not saying this because she is a puzzle-solving sage close to or on the level of Boston Rob (although she kinda is). No, I am saying this because she did something extremely shrewd in tonight’s episode of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. It was shrewd. It was rude. It was blatantly unsportsmanlike…and I loved it. Let’s set the scene…
Laura, Tina, and Vytas are competing in a truel at Redemption Island Arena. The contest involves removing colored cubes from a long net tunnel and then stacking the cubes so there are no repeating colors on any sides. Regular readers of this here column know that I am always harping on many things, and one of those things is the fact that they no longer ever seem to put blinders up between competitors during puzzles so people can just copy right off of each other. After Laura came in first here, that is exactly what Vytas attempted to do. To stymie this attempt, Laura began spinning her completed puzzle so he could not get a good look. But then she went one step further: She started not only cheering on Tina, but coaching her on exactly what box to put where. And due to that coaching, Tina came from waaaaay behind to beat Vytas by a split second, eliminating him from the game.
Here’s why I loved the move: Laura could have simply come in first, breathed a sigh of relief and called it a day. But instead of siting back and letting fate decide whom she took on in the next truel, Laura took control of her own destiny. Vytas is clearly a big threat in a variety of challenges — smart, athletic, and with good balance obviously as a yoga instructor — so if you have an opportunity to get that guy out of your way and out of your game, you take it. And that’s exactly what Laura did. Maybe I’m giving her too much credit. Maybe this was just a case of Mom Power bonding run amok and this move was more social than strategic, but I doubt it.
Now, should players be allowed to give other players the answers and therefore game the system? Well, if producers are going to let them copy their answers anyway, why not? You either have to ban both or neither. And as long as it is not against the rules, you need to exploit it. This is why as much as I hate it when players copy off of other puzzles, Kat was 100 percent wrong when she said she didn’t want to do it because it was cheating. Cheating is doing something against the rules. For better or for worse, none of this is against the rules. We may hate the lack of a rule being in place, but don't hate Laura for cleverly exploiting it. That's what you should do as a competitor — find the loophole. So well played, Laura Morett. Now that I have taken three full paragraphs to praise your game-play, don’t hold it against me when I trash your daughter a little later bit later in this here recap. Deal? (Oh, and you can also read Jeff Probst's take on the move right here.)
Speaking of the recap, a little format change this week, folks. Seeing as how it’s the holidays and I have to go pretend to look busy so my better half doesn’t accuse me of slacking off while she does all the work getting ready for the big meal, this will be a shorter installment this week and we’ll just hit on some important odds & ends from the episode. Don't worry, when I say "shorter" that still means it will be way too long. I will also do my best to not make any lame Thanksgiving puns along the way, like, say, referring to Tyson as a “jive turkey” or talking about Gervase stuffing food into his mouth during the challenge, or referring to Ciera going on a pilgrim-age to the Tree Mail station. You get the point. I will do my best, but…NO PROMISES!
Vytas’ Last Stand
Vytas was none too happy with Laura after her move to help Tina cost him his spot in the game, and he rebuffed her when she tried to console him after the defeat. I don’t blame Vytas for being bummed, but deep down he has to know it was a rock solid strategic move. Vytas strikes me a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win kind of guy (even if it means cheap-shotting your own brother), and this was a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win type of move. And his send-off line of “Namaste, bitches!” has to be one of the world’s great oxymorons of our time. You played a really good game, Vytas, and I have a sneaky suspicion we have not seen the last of you.
NEXT: The challenge of turning down free food