Survivor season premiere recap: Twistapalooza

Rupert makes a controversial decision as Survivor: Blood vs. Water kicks off with more twists than a Chubby Checker song
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 18, 2013

A WATERED DOWN RUPERT? The big fella made a big strategic blunder when he traded places with his wife at Redemption Island, possibly dooming them both.

Monty Brinton/CBS

The challenge has six people from each team racing out in the water over a series of obstacles until they get to a boat. The teams then need to untie their boat and paddle it (and the puzzle pieces onboard) back to shore where the three remaining players will do a ship wheel puzzle. As I laid down pre-challenge predictions with members of the crew and other members of the press, we all unanimously had the newbies winning this one. Just too much strength, especially now that Galang’s strongest member — Rupert — had just removed himself from the tribe. And we were right…for the first half of it.

While the players had to go over a series of obstacles to get to their boat, Galang’s biggest obstacle was, in fact, Gervase. I asked Gervase before the game if he had worked on his swimming and he assured me he had. Liar. Just a few strokes out and the dude was spent. Aras — who is a tremendous athlete — had to stay back and help him. Gervase swims and climbs blocks the way I write recaps — which is to say, taking waaaaaaaaay too long. It hurt to watch. And, judging by his gigantic belly flop, it hurt to perform.

Amazingly, Galang somehow manages to catch up as the newbies cannot get their boat untied — until they decide to start paddling backwards. BACKWARDS! Yes, you actually have the entire tribe paddling with their backs to the beach at one point.  You also have Kat and Colton yelling back and forth at each other, culminating with Colton’s evil stare down and threat: “Shut up and paddle! Before I hit you with this f---ing paddle!” (So much for the kinder, gentler Colton 2.0.)

But it ultimately all comes down to the puzzle, and Ciera and Katie (along with Caleb) are simply smoked by their moms Laura and Tina (along with Monica). This leads to much jubilation among the Galang tribe, including the oddest smack talk I’ve ever seen in my life. I have never seen one player perform so poorly and yet gloat so wildly than my main man Gervase did here, practically having to be restrained by his teammates while delivering his now infamous “DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU!” over and over again. The members of Tadhana seem mildly annoyed by the display, but are probably more confused as to why Colton is crying…again. (Where’s a #SURVIVOR BREAKDOWN on-screen social media plug when you need one?)

Back at camp, Marissa tries to distance herself from her uncle’s display, but it’s too late. It’s already made her a target — specifically, Brad’s target. The only question going into Tribal Council is whether it will be her voted out, or will it be Katie, for not doing more during the puzzle portion of the challenge? Which way will the five-person strong Bromance alliance go?

At Tribal Council, Probst does his best to make John feel super guilty about not trading places with Candice (even though he totally did the right thing) while Brad and Vytas discuss Gervase adding insult to injury with his taunting. “Wow, that would be devastating to get voted out of this game for something you didn’t do, but that your uncle did,” Probst says to Marissa. Nice! Honestly, at this point I’m half surprised Probst does not walk right over, slice her hand open with a machete, and pour a big bag of salt directly into it.

NEXT: My pick to win it all. Probst predicts what happens next!

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