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.


Caleb left the competition with the same casually muted but good-natured vibe he entered it with. You can tell the man has a good sense of humor. When Jeff balked at Caleb's suggestion that he and his boyfriend, Colton, were similar in some ways, Caleb just sort of laughed it off. "In what ways are you similar?" Jeff asked. "Well, we're both guys," Caleb responded glibly. "Other than his estrogen level is probably a little bit higher than mine, that's about it." Ha!

Laura handed the immunity idol clue -- certainly the most important one of the entire season now that Tyson's had been played -- to her daughter Ciera, who didn't throw it in the fire this week. Good move. Unfortunately, Ciera followed that up with a completely terrible move. She shared the clue with her entire alliance! "Come on Monica, Tyson, and Gervase! You're all closer than I am and far more physically threatening! Let's all read this clue together so you can keep me from having an idol!" Of course, she didn't say that, but she may as well have. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?

Ciera had little to lose by keeping the clue to herself. If she had found the idol, she would've been set. If her alliance had turned on her when she didn't share the clue, she could've just aligned with Katie and Hayden. She needed to make a big move, and she did the opposite. (My only rational explanation is that Ciera assumed her mother would be rejoining the game very soon, at which point she figured she could start working with her and getting her hands dirty.) Tyson found the idol in no time -- no one was there to see him do it -- and once again restored his power position in the game. But Hayden was already planning how he might dethrone him, telling Gervase he needed to consider blindsiding his comrade at the next tribal.

At the immunity challenge, which involved balancing a ball on a very tall pole and then chucking sandbags at some pendulums, Monica and Gervase trounced the competition -- especially Katie, who just kept dropping her ball on her head and reservedly muttering "Ouch," which may have constituted her most emotional moment all season. Props to the editor that kept every single one of those shots in. You had me laughing.

Because Monica insisted on very slowly throwing her sand bags underhand, Gervase ended up knocking over the final pin first and thus winning immunity plus an ice cream reward. Jeff told him he could share the reward with one person. Easy choice: Monica, who had given up her own food reward a week before and was the clear second place finisher in this week's challenge. But then Jeff said Gervase had to choose a second friend, which was a dicier decision to make, since one of his three alliance members was going to be left out. Gervase went with his BFF, Tyson.

Hayden figured that Ciera's exclusion from the ice cream soiree was the perfect time to pitch her the idea of blindsiding Tyson, but she wasn't biting. He tried to get Gervase to listen a little later on, but Gervase didn't want to hear it . "I think I have a chance to beat Tyson," Gervase said, somewhat delusionally. (His tone made it seem like he was trying to give himself a pep talk.) Hayden couldn't believe what he was hearing! "You don't want to go to the end and get second or third. Who gives a sh–? Second place is the first loser!" Hayden's argument was sort of disarmingly charming because it all rested on the assumption that he and everyone else in the game were inferior players when compared to Tyson. It was brazen and humble all at once.

NEXT: The most gonzo tribal council of the season

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