Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Blood vs. Water recaps

Pre-season discussion

CBS and EW (and TVGN) spoil the initial Redemption Island visitors and first boot


So you may have noticed that Dalton Ross at EW recently posted an in-depth discussion with Jeff Probst about the "day zero" twist that opens Blood vs. Water. That's the first-announced twist, in which the ten pairs of returning contestants/loved ones are forced to camp out on the beach, in their pairs, the night before the game "starts." On the morning of Day 1, they're assembled and told that no, they're not playing the game in pairs, and are split into tribes (Galang for the returnees, Tadhana for the loved ones).


But in explaining this, another, previously unannounced twist emerged: There's also an immediate, Morning 1, reduction of the active contestant pool from twenty players down to eighteen, as was done in the first episode of Palau, with the exception that here, the two latter-day Wanda Shirks and Jonathan Libbys will be sent to Redemption Island. It's unclear whether there's a duel right off the bat (we're assuming it will be a three-person duel in Episode 2, following the arrival of the person voted out in Episode 1). (Update, 8/29/13: Actually, this was previously announced, we just lost track of it in the avalanche of twists in the first announcement, here.)


While this does have the effect of piling up the twists to seemingly incomprehensible levels (we haven't even gotten to the "you may volunteer to swap places with your loved one at Redemption Island" one), this does explain a lot:

  • It allows us to fit 20 people into a Redemption Island season, which had previously reached functional capacity with 18 contestants (see the revised Calendar). It's now essentially just a rehash of South Pacific with an extra duel or two.
  • Combined with the EW interview videos and shots from the first CBS ad, it also gives away who the first two unlucky Redemption Island attendees are, and who one of the first boots may be. That's what we'll deal with below.


Process of elimination identification of the eliminated pair


The Redemption Island eliminees should not appear in the camp footage from the Galang and Tadhana beaches, because they're removed before the tribes are sent to their camps. They also should be absent from the Immunity Challenge, footage of which appears in the CBS ads. Once we realize this, it's pretty simple to pick them out. Here's a set of shots showing who's NOT eliminated:


The Tadhana tribe:

Present and accounted for. (Full-size pics in the section below).


Hayden, Rachel, Marissa, Vytas, Brad, John
Caleb at the puzzle table, Ep1 IC

Picture 1: (from left to right) Hayden, Rachel, Marissa, Vytas, Brad, and John are all in the canoe in the Immunity Challenge.

Picture 2: Caleb is also present (in plaid shirt and red shorts) at the puzzle table. That leaves only Ciera, Katie, and Laura Boneham to find.


Ciera, Tadhana shelter
Katie and Brad
Laura, preparing food

Picture 3: Ciera is shown in Tadhana's shelter, with Brad (and Vytas and Rachel) in the background.

Picture 4: Katie (in a Tadhana buff), at the beach with Brad.


Picture 5: That leaves just Laura Boneham, who's seen preparing a lot of food, not obviously in a Tadhana buff, but at what looks like a camp of some kind.


Update (8/29/13): As @p566 pointed out to us on twitter, Dalton Ross also specifically said one person from each tribe gets the initial heave-ho (which does make sense, because otherwise they might be forcing a sit-out in the very first challenge). That argues Laura Boneham is not in Tadhana camp, but instead must be at Redemption Island, since every other newbie is clearly in challenges or with other Tadhanas.


Galang puzzlers: Tina, Laura Morett, Monica - Ep1 IC

Updated update (9/5/13):


As seen on the TVGuide Network Preview, we have mis-identified one of the Galang people, because Laura Morett is working the Galang puzzle. (See picture at right: The Galang puzzle-doers are Tina, Monica, and Laura Morett.) The person on Galang we had thought was Laura Morett (red swimsuit in the first pic below) is actually Laura Boneham. We were unsure about that at the time, because it certainly looks more like Laura Boneham than Laura Morett, but we didn't know that people could switch places with a Redemption Island-bound loved one after the initial vote, before they're even sent to Redemption Island. And besides, the shot is (intentionally?) blurry, and it's hard to be positive she's not Laura Morett. But there's no doubt Laura Morett is the person at above right, doing the puzzle.


This suggests that both initial eliminees could come from the returnee pool. And the absence of evidence of two of them backs this up. Going through the same process of elimination for the Galang tribe:


Kat, Laura, Tyson, Colton, Gervase running out, Ep1 IC
Monica, Aras, Gervase, Tyson at Galang camp
Tyson, Tina, Laura M in Galang camp

Picture 1: (from left to right) Kat, Laura, Tyson, Colton, and Gervase running out to start the immunity challenge.

Picture 2: Monica, Aras, Gervase, and Tyson talking in camp.

Picture 3: Tyson in the Galang shelter, chatting with Tina and Laura Morett.


That leaves only Candice and Rupert left to find.


Updated (9/5/13): But there are no shots of either of them in buffs or in camp. With the knowledge that Laura Boneham is on the Galang tribe during the Ep1 IC, we get a much clearer picture of what must have happened in the opening vote:

1. Candice got eliminated directly from Galang. (Sorry, Candice, John apparently did not volunteer to swap out.) Candice is not seen in any of the camp shots or in the challenge, because she's at Redemption Island.

2. Laura Boneham must have been Tadhana's choice for first evictee. Then Rupert volunteered to swap out for her, sending himself to Redemption Island. Rupert is not seen in any camp shots or in the challenge, because he's at Redemption Island. And Laura is not seen in camp shots with anyone else, because they wanted to hide the fact she's at Galang camp, not Tadhana.

But wait, there's more:

And who might be joining them there in fairly short order? The CBS ad appears to give that away, too. Rupert is shown holding on to a metal rod of some kind, in what appears to be a challenge of some kind. We're guessing that's a duel, possibly from Ep2, but it could come at any time, in theory. Guess who else is shown with an almost identical item? Look at the second shot below. For larger versions of all the pics, see the gallery in the next section.


Update (8/30/13): Gordon Holmes takes a behind-the-scenes look at the first duel here, and the metal rods are from the first (3-person) duel in Episode 2, a rerun of the One World final four IC. So yes, Rupert is [updated 9/5/13: sent to Redemption Island after swapping out for Laura on Morning 1], and Marissa is Tadhana's first boot. Only one of Rupert, [Updated 9/5/13: Candice], and Marissa leaves the game after the first duel, however.


Rupert and his metal rod
Marissa and the same rod


Survivor: Blood vs. Water pre-season image gallery