Survivor regurgitates its bitterness

Survivor Blood vs. Water sped through two episodes in a single hour, re-stocking Redemption Island and also getting through two inevitable votes, who were both kind of bitter and who the tribe was anxious to spit out.

Despite the editors’ best efforts, Vytas, Tina, and Katie’s fates seemed clear after last week’s awesome blindside of Aras. The only twist came when Katie won immunity, holding a sword steady long enough to keep herself around for another week. Both Vytas and Tina had less-than-collegial reactions to losing their power. Vytas went from telling Tyson the blindside was “awesome” to actually saying that what he wanted to say was, “I’m gonna fuck you up.” Charming. Tina, meanwhile, was bitter and threatening people with jury votes, at least until she discovered everyone was in an alliance with Aras.

With no Redemption Island, we did not get reward challenges thanks to the double-Tribal Council episode. The first of the two immunity challenges, the gross eating challenge, delivered once again, from Gervase’s apparently involuntary response of jumping up and down to the regurgitation and then re-consumption of pre-chewed meal worms, all to the sound of gagging. It was spectacular, and something I watched through my fingers. It also gave me material to create this mean thing.

Gervase made it to the final round–having successfully eaten both 40 mealworms and three ounces of pig intestines–and had to eat grubs just like in Borneo 13 years ago, which was pretty amazing/coincidental.

Alas, he was defeated by Monica, who the tribe can clearly not be more excited to get rid of once they expel the couples. That, or they’re keeping her around as a pawn for the final three, someone who is so annoying and paranoid that she will never get jury votes.

Before Gervase ate grubs, Jeff Probst couldn’t resist narrating in the moment to make sure we didn’t miss its Significance to the Story, which he also did during Jeff Probst Produces the Survivor Episode He Wants segment, formerly known as Tribal Council, and Jeff Probst Tells You How to Feel segment, formerly known as the pre-episode recap, during which he called Aras being voted out a “vicious blindside.” (Vicious, really?) Paging old Jeff Probst; you’re needed on Survivor.

Unhelpful commentary was also provided by Tina, who coached Katie to victory at the second immunity challenge by being the most annoying Survivor stage mom ever: “Katie, take your time”; “Good job, sweetie. Atta girl.” Considering Tina had earlier–and very smartly–told Katie to distance herself from her mother, this was roughly the equivalent of releasing a dove and saying, “Fly away, little bird!” and then shooting it out of the sky.

Next week’s preview showed more mother-daughter issues, this time between Laura and Ciera, but even though they’re a couple, I’d guess Katie and Monica are in more trouble than they are. But with the exception of this episode, this season has continued to surprise, and I’m curious how this will play out, especially once the inevitable eliminations are gone.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.