Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach. Erik Reichenbach is a Survivor fan-turned-favorite, a comic book author and artist. He placed fifth on both Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Caramoan. Follow him on Twitter @BloodyAmer1can
“In this game or out of this game, that’s all I’ve got. It’s who I am.”
– Rupert Boneham, Survivor: All Stars
Are Caleb and Colton the most polar opposite couple in Survivor: Blood vs. Water? In the universe? Stoic, hard-working Caleb shut his mouth and slipped into Culpeppper’s “5 Guys” alliance. Meanwhile Colton, after a half-hearted attempt to sell America on his story of redemption and growth, pouts and plots.
While the Returnees give each other massages, Colton frets that camp is too peaceful. “I can rule in chaos,” he says. Colton does his best to stir up trouble – but trouble just doesn’t want to be stirred.
He tells Gervase that Laura Morett is a threat. He whispers to Monica that she’s the next target. He warns Tina that Gervase is targeting Aras. The Returnees roll their eyes.
Colton’s not playing against the doofy dudes of One World anymore. Gone are the heady days of Bill Posley and Mike Jefferson. Tina and Aras have both won Survivor. This is Tyson’s third time playing. “He’s going to end up overthinking himself out of the game,” says Tyson, who knows a thing or two about that subject.
Aras, Tyson, Monica, Tina and Gervase don’t have to strategize with Colton partially because they already have the numbers. They formalize their bond as the “Don’t Say Anything” alliance. They also institute a rule to fact-check any rumor Colton tries to spread.
To be a great Survivor player, you must be able to adapt to any situation, but Colton operates on only one speed. When he sees things aren’t going his way, he stomps his feet. His only ally, Kat, tries to give him the heads up that he’s alienated everybody, but he’s spinning too fast down the whirlpool of his own dysfunction to see the lifeline she’s throwing. Instead, he just tries to inflame another confrontation.
Colton is like the classic boyfriend or girlfriend who thrives on drama, who’s always trying to pick a fight to prove you still care. And you know – maybe he’s right. The other Returnees don’t care about Colton. They’re ready to break up.
At Redemption Island, Candice wins, Marissa stays, and Rupert loses. Rupert becomes an interesting Survivor statistic, eliminated (but not medevacced) without a vote against him. “I love Survivor,” he says, “but I love my wife more.”
Aras and Tyson may be spooning at Galang, but Aras’s brother Vytas targets Tyson’s girlfriend Rachel. Marvel at the criss-crossed plottings of the Baskauski!
Vytas wins his second Fishy for his maneuvering. While the rest of the contestants are struggling with the emotional demands of playing against their family, Vytas has figured out how to use the Blood vs. Water twist to his advantage.
Vytas theorizes that if the guys vote out Rachel, there’s a chance that Tyson might take her place at Redemption Island, seriously weakening the Returnees. Even if the gambit doesn’t work, Vytas will take out John’s “secret” ally. Moreover, if Candice is eliminated by either Tyson or Rachel, John’s commitment to the 5 Guys will be reaffirmed. (You want your allies to be solo players, so they don’t have divided loyalties.)
Meanwhile, poor benighted John just can’t do anything right. First he ruined his marriage to Candice. Now he’s mishandling the idol.
There’s a long-standing debate over the best way to use an idol clue. Do you share it with your allies to build trust? Or do you keep it secret?
John manages to discover a third, unimpeachably worst way. His allies know he has a clue, but he doesn’t share it. The target is on his back; he decides to make it bigger.
For now, John is protected by his alliance. He could be in big trouble at a swap.