Image credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS And this shark definitely bites.
But here’s where the confusion sets in. When I spoke with Probst on location when the game began, he said that any loved one could swap out with any other loved one before any duel. Yet in this episode we never saw Rupert and Candice’s spouses given the opportunity to swap in. So either he asked them but it got edited out for time, or I misunderstood the rules, or the rules changed — which is entirely possible. [UPDATE: I had a whole section here about Probst and then exec producer Tom Shelly changing the riles for the hidden immunity idol at the last minute while on location for Survivor: Panama — Exile Island, but as several readers pointed out, the timeline facts of how an idol could be played don't back that up. And they're right. My bad. I was confusing it with the rules on how someone could send someone else to the then-new twist of Exile Island, which was still being worked out right up until day 1. In any event, the point — that last minute changes do occur — still stands, even if I completely screwed up the example.]
So was there a last minute switch here, or was that part just edited out, or did the rules simply get lost in translation? You’ll have to read my weekly Q&A with Probst to find out! (I know: rude.) Anyhoo, the duel is a variation on a challenge we have seen before: players must guide 10 spools through a channel and stack them on top of each other without the stack falling over. Last place is eliminated. It’s essentially a balance competition and I think those always tend to favor women, however Rupert tears through it, keeping pace with Candice. Until, his stack falls, that is — causing Gervase to crack up laughing while sitting right next to Rupert’s wife. “DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU, RUPERT’S WIFE!”
So Candice wins, followed by Marissa, meaning that Rupert — who was never even voted out of his tribe — becomes the first casualty of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. “I have no regrets,” he says before burning his buff in the urn. But he should. As I wrote last week, Rupert’s hero move to save his wife from Redemption Island was bad strategy, plain and simple. Consider, the money is going to the same joint bank account no matter who wins — Rupert or his wife. I wrote last week that by doing this, he pissed off his own tribe who wanted his strength and fishing ability, put himself in danger of going home first, and put his wife with a bunch of people that did not even want her. When Rupert did that, the chances of that million dollar check making its way to the Boneham household decreased significantly. Now he’s gone and we’ll have to see how long Laura can hold on.
But there is still business to conduct here at Redemption Island arena, as Candice gets to give a clue as to the whereabouts of the hidden immunity idol to any person from either tribe. She chooses her hubby. I am of two minds on this. On one hand, the hidden immunity idol — when used properly — is a super valuable tool in this game. On the other hand, it makes the person who holds it — or even holds the threat of obtaining it — an immediate target. Was Candice dooming John by giving him the clue? No, but John may have doomed himself by what he did once he got it.
NEXT: What John should have done with the idol clue