The only annoyance we see is Tyson losing patience with Monica’s constant need to over-strategize — which leads him to admitting he has the hidden immunity idol just to get her to shut up. It doesn’t work. She continues on even though there is really nothing to continue on about. “She’s not great at Survivor,” Tyson comments to Gervase. She is when it comes to challenges.
Off to Redemption Island Arena we go to watch Jeff Probst look down at his shoes. Why does Probst look down at the ground every single time he tells people to “Come on in, guys”? I have no idea. But he does. And I can’t stop obsessing over it. Once — just once! — I would love for Probst to gaze up at the heavens when he says this, just to throw us a curveball. Or maybe, you know, just look straight ahead like a completely normal person. In any event, come on in they do! The hostmaster general kicks things off by asking Tina is she’s capable of giving 100 percent against her own daughter. She says she’s not really sure and will have to make the decision in the moment.
Normally such a mother vs. daughter scenario would have me giddy in anticipation, especially due to my deep-rooted insecurities over the fact that my mother and sister have a much closer relationship than I could ever dream of having to hope with either of them. (Whoops! Let’s hope Probst doesn’t read that or we may all get cast on Blood vs. Water 2: Bloodier & Waterier.) However there is an inevitable sadness that hangs over the proceedings here due to the real life tragedy of Tina’s son/Katie’s brother Taylor dying in a car accident last week. I’ve met Tina a few times over the years, and Katie as well over the past six months. Both lovely ladies. Obviously what happened this past week off-screen eclipses anything that could happen on it a million times over. I’ve reached out privately to both of them so will write no more about it here. But suffice it to say that watching them battle each other to stay in the game is a little heartbreaking — and this comes from a guy known for having no heart whatsoever.
The truel is a Survivor classic. Well…classic may be overstating it. What do you call a challenge/duel/truel that has been done many times before and is decent but not particularly extraordinary? Well, whatever that word is, it’s one of those. Tina, Katie, and Laura need to use sticks and ropes to make a long pole, use the pole to retrieve three keys, and then use the keys to open a door. We all know Laura will win because Laura wins everything here. But Tina still gives Katie instructions right as the contest begins as to how to construct the pole. Or maybe she's just doing her best Laura Morett impersonation…to take out Laura Morett!
NEXT: What’s your favorite Probst-ism?