Survivor recap: Hayden's Rustling Feathers

Hayden tells everyone they're destined to lose to Tyson in the end; it doesn't take long for an alliance to crumble
Ep. 12 | Aired Dec 4, 2013

GAME FACE ON When you're back is up against the wall, you've got to do something to save yourself. Hayden did just that, and somehow, through a crazy set of tribal council technicalities, managed to keep himself alive.

CBS

Well, that was pretty insane, wasn't it? For just the second time in Survivor history, the tribal council voters tied, then tied again, then went into a deadlock-induced decision to draw rocks to see who was going to Redemption Island. And all thanks to Big Brother-winner-turned-Survivor-coaster-turned-out-of-nowhere-fighter Hayden, who single-handedly turned the game on its head by rustling -- or ruffling -- no, rustling, dammit! -- everyone's feathers and breaking up the Tyson/Gervase/Monica/Ciera alliance.

Oh yeah, as you may have noticed, I'm not your regular recapper, Dalton Ross. Sorry about that. You see, Dalton and I drew rocks yesterday morning, and unfortunately, he got the white one. Now he's out of a job, and I'm your new full-time Survivor recapper! Kidding. He's just in Toronto for some last-minute super cool, super secret EW-stuff, and you've got me this week instead. Try not to destroy me in the comments. I'm just a humble box office analyst! (And under-the-radar Survivor fan, to boot.)

Hayden wasted no time getting down to business at the beginning of the episode. As the Kasama tribe returned from tribal council, where they'd sentenced Caleb to a lifetime on Mommy Island, Hayden began telling his tribe mates how easily Tyson was going to win the game. "I hope everyone here likes second place," he warned. "Because if Tyson goes to the end, he's winning the whole thing." Of course, Gervase didn't buy that. "Tyson wouldn't be where he's at if it wasn't for me! I've got my hand on his back!" Gervase yelled defensively, which tacitly acknowledged the fact that Tyson was, in fact, ahead of him. For his part, Tyson didn't appreciate the target getting put on his back, especially now that he was idol-less.

Over at the truel arena, Caleb was still fuming from his elimination. He wouldn't even look up at his former tribe, though he confessed he wasn't all that mad at Hayden or Katie. Just those other jerks. "A man's word is a man's word, and in the South it means something," Caleb snarked. "In the game of Survivor, and in Utah [read: Tyson] and Philly [read: Gervase], it just doesn't mean as much." Well, you said it, dude. In the game of Survivor it doesn't mean as much!

Gervase correctly called out Caleb for having "sore loser status," and then the challenge was on. This time, Laura, Tina, and Caleb had to build towers of cards out of thin blocks of wood. The first two people to get their stacks to reach eight feet into the air (or the two highest stacks at the end of 30 minutes) would stay alive on Redemption Island. Because this challenge was vaguely puzzle-y, Laura of course dominated her competitors. That woman is unstoppable! She left Tina and Caleb in a dead heat for second place. With just a few minutes left on the clock, Caleb quickly pulled into a decisive lead as Tina continually fumbled the same row of cards. But his stack got very high very fast, and then it started wobbling, and then, with 30 seconds left on the clock, it came toppling to the ground. Tina sat still and counted down the seconds, and she sailed away with a default victory.

NEXT: What are you doing, Ciera?!?!

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