Skin of My Teeth is the eighth episode of Survivor: Blood vs. Water.
Galang returned to camp after voting out Laura Boneham. Vytas Baskauskas thanked the women for saving him, and extolled the trust within the group and discussed the way forward. Knowing that Aras Baskauskas would join them, Monica Culpepper asked to confirm whether Gervase Peterson was close enough to Aras that he'd join them. The tribe believed he would, giving them the majority should a Merge occur the next day. Tina Wesson then noted that Monica had contributed more to the alliance than Gervase, and suggested that she would get preferential treatment, and thus, fifth place (behind Aras, Vytas, Tina, and Katie Collins), saying, "I think loyalty should be rewarded." However, the statement prompted Monica to wonder if she could wrangle a better deal than fifth place at the merge.
|“||The merge is coming soon. At this point, it's five together no matter what. We're standing for a certain way of playing this game. Y'know, we're gonna be moral, we're gonna be honest even if it means our death. That's not how I feel, but that's what I'm rapping to them.||”|
|“||We just got back from Tribal Council and, y'know, Tina makes an announcement tonight that, "Okay, great, we appreciate everything you're doing Monica, and you're Number Five." If we merge, it's gonna be difficult for me when people come to me with an offer better than five.||”|
Meanwhile, Laura B. arrived at Redemption Island to greet John Cody and Laura Morett. She told them about the unexpected vote in which she was sent home over Vytas (who John and Laura M. had expected to see at Redemption).
|“||Day 18. They wrote down Laura B. and here I am. It's a hugely horrible non-strategic move to get rid of me and keep Vytas. I think it's ridiculous! I don't freaking get it. I don't get it. I think it's a huge mistake for those girls to leave Vytas in the game. The merge could be, y'know, tomorrow! And here's Vytas joining his brother, joining all those guys. They're gonna take out the girls! It's ridiculous! Ridiculous.||”|
The next morning, the three occupants of Redemption Island received Tree Mail to invite them to their Final Duel. John and Laura M. discussed their drive to succeed in confessionals, with John noting that it was all he'd been "training" for, whilst Laura M. said that she needed to get back to her daughter Ciera Eastin.
|“||This final Duel is the only Duel that really matters. Y'know, one person goes back into the game. Two people go home. This final Duel is what I've been training for for twelve days. I have to win this Duel today. I'd be disappointed in myself, Candice would be disappointed in me. Like, there is no other way.||”|
|“||I'm either gonna go home today – my game is going to be over – or I'm going back in it. No second place is good enough now anymore. I have to win it. This is it. And it's just hard 'cause I told my daughter... I said, "I'd come back for you." I have to win this challenge to get back to her.||”|
At Redemption Island Arena, Tadhana got their first glimpse at the new Galang minus Laura B. The competitors then entered the Arena. Jeff Probst revealed the Duel: Get a Grip. Each contestant would grasp onto a tall pole with only tiny footholds to aid them. If any part of their body touched the ground, they would be eliminated from the challenge – and the game. Last person surviving would re-enter the game and be able to give a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol to anybody they wished. In a confessional, Ciera revealed that a part of her worried that if her mother returned to the game, it could disrupt her own plans.
|“||I have mixed feelings about my mom coming back in the game. My mom obviously created relationships over there that weren't that strong, so it could... Oh, it could really ruin my game if she came back.||”|
Straight out of the gate, Laura B. struggled to find her place and began to slip down the pole. However, she regained control and settled in. After 20 minutes, John began to lose his grasp and kicked off his shoes, hoping to be able to get better flexibility in using the tiny footholds. After struggling to get used to the slippery socks, he found a resting place. Laura M, meanwhile, had not moved since the beginning of the challenge, and Laura B had also settled in nicely even though she was no longer utilizing the footholds to keep herself up. John again began to lose his grasp and this time, he could not recover, slipping down to the ground to become the eighth person eliminated from Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Frustrated, he collapsed in the shade.
The two Laura's were left to fight it out. Laura B. began to slip down the pole, but managed to stop herself at the last foothold. Although Laura M. had slipped a little, she was confident that she could win, taunting, "You'd have to pry my arms off." Laura M. began to slide and struggled to regain her foothold, but Laura B, too, was slipping only a few inches above the ground. However, she could not recover and her toes touched the sand, leaving Laura B. as the ninth person eliminated from Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Laura M. climbed down from the pole and embraced her daughter.
Laura B. said she felt as though she had "defied the odds" in the game and had been able to come out of her shell in a social game. She burnt her buff and departed the Arena, thanking her fellow castaways. John said that it had been tough to go out after fighting for so long at Redemption Island, saying that Survivor had been the hardest nineteen days he'd ever experienced. He, too, burnt his buff and left the Arena.
Before Laura M. officially re-entered the game, Jeff told the contestants to drop their Buffs as they were merging. Laura handed out the new purple Buffs. Before the new tribe left the Arena, Laura M. was able to give away a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol to anybody in the game – including keeping it for herself. Following tradition, however, she chose to burn the clue herself. As the new tribe departed, Aras revealed his intention to stick with the Galang Alliance (plus Katie and Vytas) to maintain numbers in the merged tribe.
|“||As it stands now, my strategy is to go Galang strong, which would be the original Galang: me, Gervase, Tyson, Monica, Tina plus Vytas and Katie. That's seven. There's eleven people in the game and we have a distinct advantage.||”|
The new tribe arrived at camp to find their merge feast awaiting them. The eleven castaways dug into the meal, as Hayden Moss speculated in confessionals about the game moving forward with the Singles Alliance and noted the wildcard nature of Laura M. returning to the game. Laura M. contemplated forming a couples alliance, but wanted to discuss the plan with Ciera before making any moves herself.
|“||We hit the beach, we have a picnic – y'know, the merge feast. It's like wine, cheese and crackers and salami and I'm stuffing my face, but the whole time, I'm really thinking: okay, what can I do here to make sure I stay in the numbers. We had the five solid. Me, Caleb, Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. And now I'm thinking: okay, is Laura M. gonna come with Ciera? Or is Laura M. gonna try and pull Ciera to make three pairs. It could be Laura M, Ciera, Aras, Vytas and Katie and Tina. Everything's gonna hinge on Ciera. And it's a long game. It's like once the merge happens, then the game starts. This is where Survivor really becomes Survivor.||”|
|“||For the first time in nineteen days, I get to play with my daughter. My gameplan is that us couples have to stay together. That's six right there. I definitely do need to talk to Ciera. So I have a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do. But I'm still here and I'm not giving up.||”|
As the tribe continued to settle in, and paint the Kasama flag, Ciera and Laura M. went for a walk down the beach. Gervase and Tyson Apostol discussed the fact that Laura M. was the key swing vote, and agreed to keep an eye on what was going down. Meanwhile, Ciera informed her mother of her situation in the game, revealing her alliance with but noted that having her mother in the game could make the alliance "sketchy" since it was based on players without loved ones. She urged her mother to avoid talking strategy with anyone, and told her that the plan was to oust Aras at the next vote. In a confessional, Laura discussed her surprise at finding herself with power in the game after being on Redemption Island, whilst Ciera still worried that her mother could damage her own game and discussed the need to keep her mother under control.
|“||Playing with your loved one and making it to the merge – I feel so blessed. But then there's also the fact that my mom caused some rifts and had some enemies, clearly, 'cause they voted her out and it all shifted. And with my mom coming back in the game, it could really hurt me. I want to make sure my mom is on board and really understands how we're gonna play it. I feel like I'm the teacher, y'know? Teaching my mom the ways – the ways of this tribe.||”|
|“||Me and Ciera are the people that are going to decide the fate of, y'know, the couples or the fate of the singles. Who would have thought that here I was on Redemption Island thinking the game was over and now I'm in a power position in this game of who's going to go home.||”|
Utilizing the clues that Hayden and Caleb had given him after the Tribe Swap, Tyson went on a hunt to find the Hidden Immunity Idol. Believing that he'd deduced the location of the "serpentine tree," he began to dig around under the thick vine. Sure enough, he dug up the Idol, and vowed to keep it secret.
|“|| You gotta act fast come merge time, so now the only factor in the game is finding out where the Immunity Idols are. When the tribe swap happened, Hayden gave me all the info he knew about the Hidden Immunity Idol. I'm pretty sure it's at the giant vine tree on the way to the waterfall. |
(after finding the Idol) I'm definitely not sharing this with anyone else right now. I mean, if it becomes my advantage to share it with somebody in my alliance to keep them in the game and push somebody else out, then that's something I'll definitely do. But right now, nobody needs to know I have it. I've never had an Idol before and I've also never won the show before. So, do those correlate directly with one another? Probably not, but at least it's a little more advantage.
Meanwhile, Aras and Vytas met up in the forest and discussed the game ahead. The brothers were confident that they had a solid alliance that had the numbers, giving them the legs to go far in the game. Vytas questioned whether they needed to keep Tyson as a part of their alliance, and Aras insisted that he was essential and wasn't a threat due to his injury. Not sure where her loyalties lay, Aras wanted to make the easy first vote and send Laura M. back to Redemption Island. Vytas agreed, and noted that the two brothers had power in the game, but didn't expect that they would be targeted as threats.
|“||I'm so stoked that I get to play with Aras. He's my brother and I love him and I want to go deep into this game with him. We laid out our plan for the seven. Tina, Monica, Aras, Gervase, Tyson, myself and Katie. So it's seven of us. Four and seven is a majority.||”|
|“||Getting rid of Laura M. is not just because she was on Redemption Island and sh'es come back. Getting rid of Laura M. is the safest play because everyone feels uncomfortable with her. It would be an easy vote.||”|
|“||Blood vs. Water should really, in the end, be called Vytas vs Aras because we would have to be real stupid at this point not to get to the end.||”|
That night, Monica pulled Tyson aside for a secret discussion in search of a better deal than Final Five. She told Tyson about her low position in the Galang Alliance and he informed her of his tight bond with Gervase (and deflected Monica's concern that Gervase was in a Final Three deal with Aras and Tina) and told her that they had the numbers to vote out Aras at the next vote. Monica continued to query the plan, particularly worried about Gervase's loyalty despite Tyson's assurance, but they agreed to go to the end together with Gervase. In a confessional, Tyson revealed his frustration with Monica's paranoia, whilst Monica said that she was uncertain about the Tyson's agreement.
|“||I needed to tell Monica about the plan to get Aras out because, y'know, you have to show a little love. You have to show her some respect. It's to solidify the numbers. But, she just likes to repeat the same idea over and over and over again. And I don't want to be rude to her because I need to keep her close. At some point, you just have to be like, "Monica, shut up." I'm just like give me a rusty spoon so I can dig both my eyeballs out and then jam – try and jam – it through my eye socket into my brain. It's taking all of my patience – all of it.||”|
|“||If Tyson would just say, "I'm one hundred percent with you," I would probably jump in bed with the whole idea and relax. But then again, it's Survivor. How can you relax? I'm not sure. I'm in a big predicament.||”|
The next day, Kasama convened for their inaugural individual Immunity Challenge. Jeff took back the Immunity Idol and unveiled the Immunity Necklace. He then revealed the challenge: Flashback. The castaways would be shown a series of symbols. They would then display the symbols back on a cube – in order – with an incorrect symbol eliminating the castaway from the challenge. The last person standing would win immunity.
The first sequence was: barrel, crate, cannon, ship, compass, lantern. Although everybody got the barrel, Monica was the first person eliminated when she displayed a cannon instead of the crate. Caleb and Katie mistakenly showed a compass for the third symbol and were eliminated, followed by Tina and Tyson who displayed a compass instead of a ship. Hayden answered a lantern instead of the compass, while five remaining contestants survived the round.
In the second round, the sequence was: barrel, lantern, cannon, lantern, compass, barrel, cannon. All castaways got the first symbol, but Laura M. revealed a cannon instead of a lantern and was eliminated. Ciera then incorrectly revealed a compass (instead of the cannon), leaving Aras, Gervase, and Vytas in the competition. The three men all answered the lantern correctly, but Gervase showed a crate for the next symbol and realized his mistake even before Jeff revealed the answer. With only the brothers left in the challenge, Aras and Vytas both answered the barrel correctly, but at the final symbol in the sequence, Aras displayed a lantern while Vytas showed a cannon. Vytas was correct, and thus won Individual Immunity.
Back at camp, Vytas was confident with his place in the game, giving a cocky confessional in which he asserted that nobody would make a move against the brothers Baskauskas. Aras discussed the vote with Katie, Monica and Tyson, suggesting that the seven-strong alliance (plus Caleb and Hayden) split the vote between Laura (the men's votes) and Ciera (the women's) to counter an unexpected idol.
|“||If you need immunity in this game, you've already made a few mistakes and I'm making sure that I'm not going into a challenge needing immunity. I didn't need immunity today, but I needed to beat my brother and it happened, so I'm happy. Moving forward, the biggest threats in this game are Aras and I. We've got this beach on lock and, I mean, I'd be surprised if anybody has the guts to do anything about it.||”|
|“||Right now, we have nine pieces working somewhat in unison. Everyone thinks they're with us. All the boys voting for Laura M; Tina, Monica and Katie voting for Ciera in case Laura M. has the Hidden Immunity Idol. It gets flushed and Ciera goes home. And if not, then Laura M. goes home.||”|
Elsewhere, Laura pulled Ciera aside to discuss her own fears going into the vote. Citing idol play in her previous season, Laura M. worried that Aras could have an idol, and suggested throwing some votes at Tina as a buffer. However, in a confessional, Ciera noted her concern about her mother's gameplay.
|“||In my everyday life, I'm my mom's biggest cheerleader. Go Mom! Go Mom! That's my natural instinct. But my game side is saying, like, okay, Laura, think about what you're doing. It's a weird... It's the weirdest feeling. I've never felt it before. It's a struggle and I want to listen to my mom; what my mom says. But on the same hand, I'm here to play my game.||”|
Gervase and Hayden collected driftwood for the campfire. Tyson approached to help, and reassured them that the original plan to take out Aras ("Sir Aras") was still in effect. As the tribe left for Tribal Council, Gervase gave a confessional that established the two voting factions, and despite his belief that he knew the eventual outcome, he couldn't be certain in such an unpredictable game.
|“||It's funny 'cause Aras has a plan which is the men are all going to vote for Laura and all the girls are going to vote for Ciera. The plan with Tyson is that me, Tyson, Monica, Hayden, Caleb, Ciera and Laura M. vote for Aras. It just starts to get a little tricky now because I'm not so sure that everybody's on the same page. Because people can say one thing in your face, but behind your back, they say whatever else. I just can't wait to see how it all shakes out. I think I have an idea of how it's gonna fall out, but I could be totally wrong, which is still the crazy part about this game.||”|
Kasama arrived at their first Tribal Council to be greeted by Jeff. He first asked Tyson about the power dynamics in the merged tribe between the original tribes, the swapped tribes and the loved one connections. Tyson said that he was sure that the couples would want to stick together, noting that if he was with his own brother, he would have wanted to stick by him. Aras agreed that it was a fair statement, but pointed out that a couple didn't have a majority on their own, and would need to pull in four others to claim a majority.
On the topic of Laura M.'s return to the game, Hayden noted that precedence had dictated that the returnee from Redemption Island was voted out at the first opportunity, but pointed out that any of the three pairs could potentially be a swing vote for the single players. Katie didn't think it would make sense for herself and her mother to flip to the individual players as they'd come into the merge with a given gameplan and "didn't want to over-complicate things." Tyson argued that the three couples posed a danger if they teamed up, but pointed out that the men had a six-five advantage, so could just as easily team up: "There's a lot of different ways you could cut the pie and I hope to get the largest portion of the pie."
Laura M. compared her situation after returning from Redemption Island to the quarantined child with chicken pox, but said that having a strong social player like Ciera to work with on her return gave her an advantage in her re-adjustment. Ciera added that the situation was a "total role reversal" in that she had needed to urge her mother to relax.
Asked what would be different after the vote, Gervase answered, "For the smart players: nothing. For those that aren't: a lot." He elaborated that every second of the day impacted the game and that players needed to remain calm and ready to adapt to change.
Caleb was called to vote first, followed by Hayden, Tina, and Katie (who cast her vote for Ciera). Vytas and Ciera voted next, with Gervase then casting his vote for Aras. Tyson voted next, with Aras then voting for Laura M.. Monica and Laura M. concluded the proceedings.
After tallying the votes, Jeff read the votes after nobody chose to play an Idol. The first two votes came up for Laura M. and were followed by two votes for Ciera. Two votes then came up for Aras to even the score. The remaining votes, however, were all for Aras, making him the tenth person voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. He congratulated his tribe on a solid play as he collected his torch and wished his brother good luck before having his torch snuffed. He then departed for Redemption Island, as Jeff sent Kasama back to camp.
Aras arrived at Redemption Island in solitude and set to work starting a fire. In a confessional, he predicted that his brother would be the next person voted out.
|“||I'm still shocked a little bit. Y'know, the first time I played Survivor, I never got voted out. So to get voted out tonight was a completely new experience for me and I think probably the biggest pain for me is that Vytas is in a really tough position now. I know Vytas is in a really touch position. I'd be shocked if he wasn't the one that joins me here in two or three nights.||”|
Challenge: Get a Grip
The castaways must hang onto a pole as long as they can. The last person left hanging without touching the ground wins.
Winner: Laura Morett (kept Hidden Immunity Idol clue to herself)
Jeff would recite a series of symbols to the Survivors. When the sequence was finished, the castaways must recite the sequence back to him in order using their answer cube. Every time someone answered wrong, they would be eliminated. In the end, the last person left presenting the right answer will win the challenge.
Winner: Vytas Baskauskas
| Redemption Island|
(according to finish)
Laura Boneham and John Cody
| RETURNS TO GAME:|
| Tribal Council 8:|
Aras (7 votes)
Caleb, Ciera, Gervase, Hayden, Laura M., Monica, Tyson
Ciera (2 votes)
Laura M. (2 votes)
| VOTED OUT:|
(sent to Redemption Island)
|“||(voting for Ciera) We've been friends since the beginning, but I'm sorry.||”|
|“||(voting for Aras) I hope this is my power move in this game. I love you like a brother, but it's just how it is.||”|
|“||(voting for Laura M.) I voted you out once, so might as well vote you down twice.||”|
Still in the Running
- No footage from Day 20 was shown in this episode.
- Although John Cody dropped out of the Redemption Island Duel first, Laura Boneham was asked to leave before him.
- This is the second time Get a Grip has been used in a duel. The first time was in "Loyalties Will Be Broken".
- This is the first time two castaways with the same first name (Laura B. and Laura M.) have faced each other in a Redemption Island duel.
- This is the first time a season with Redemption Island has merged with fewer than twelve castaways remaining.
- This episode marks the first time that Aras Baskauskas has been voted out as he won his first season, Survivor: Panama.
- This is the first time in Tina Wesson's Survivor career where she did not vote with the majority and wasn't voted out.
- This is the first time a returnee from Redemption Island survived a Tribal Council where they were eligible to be voted out.
- As of this episode, the Codys and the Bonehams have been the first two pairs completely eliminated from the game.
- Coincidentally, both pairs had a member voted out in the Day 1 First Impressions vote.
- Each of the loved ones pairs remaining in the game have voted against a different castaway in this episode's Tribal Council:
|Survivor: Blood vs. Water Episodes|
"Blood Is Thicker than Anything" · "Rule in Chaos" · "Opening Pandora's Box" · "One Armed Dude and Three Moms" · "The Dead Can Still Talk" · "One-Man Wrecking Ball" · "Swoop In for the Kill" · "Skin of My Teeth" · "My Brother's Keeper" · "Big Bad Wolf" · "Gloves Come Off" · "Rustle Feathers" · "Out on a Limb" · "It's My Night" · "Reunion"