Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tyson Apostol: Newest Member of the Survivor Winner's Club

Before Cochran in Survivor: Caramoan, I did a poor job of picking bets because none of my picks ever made it as far as Final Four. In fact, a few of them did not even make the merge! I cannot believe it took me 26 seasons to pick a winner as part of my initial bets and now it seems that I am on a roll. For the second season in a row, I picked a winner and I could not have been more happy with my choice - Tyson Apostol is the official winner of Survivor: Blood vs Water!

This was a bittersweet win for Tyson because this season was ridden with emotions, drama, and strategic play that we haven't seen in any previous seasons. I was one of those who were skeptical about the twist from the start and even despised it. But sometimes, what doesn't look good on paper actually does work! And this is one of those few moments when it does!

Right from the get-go, Tyson was in it to play. No one took him seriously. Who could, really? He was the skinny guy who was running around the river naked in Tocantins. Then, he was Boston Rob's right-hand man in Heroes vs Villains who fell for Russell's trap and voted himself out of the game. I was glad that Tyson did not give up on the game and went for a third time (guess this was his charm?) wherein we got to see a different side of his personality.

To look back on this fantastic season, read on to find out my favorite Tyson moments in Survivor: Blood vs Water:

5. On the finale episode, Tyson won a crucial immunity challenge because 1) he needed to keep Ciera or Tina from winning it, and 2) he still had the idol at that point, which gives him huge power heading into the Final Four. For his first individual immunity win this season, Tyson asked Jeff if he could kneel as the latter put on his immunity necklace as if he is being knighted. It's small details like this is what makes Tyson stand out as a character (to a point that his gameplay is often overlooked). But funny things aside, he got the job done and secured probably the most important challenge of the season for him at that point.

4. The coconut bandits alliance of Tyson and Gervase was another comic relief from the game. The two formed a bond early on in the game by sneaking out and drinking coconuts without sharing it with their tribe mates at Galang. There was no strategy in this particular move whatsoever. And yet, it was pure entertainment gold (especially as they had their tribe mates wondering how all the coconuts had mysterious holes in them).

3. On Episode 3 of Survivor: Blood vs Water, right after Rachel (Tyson's girlfriend) was eliminated from Redemption Island, Tyson suffered an injury to his shoulders during the Sumo at Sea immunity challenge. He was matched up against Hayden when his shoulder popped out of place. Having picked Tyson as my bet to win, I was quickly worried for his future in the game. We've seen a few people taken out of the game for less serious injuries (he had to wear a sling for several episodes) but it was good to know that Tyson recovered from that injury and even made it all the way to the end.

2. The third episode was one of my favorites because seeing Rachel and Tyson interact at Redemption Island was one of the sweetest moments this season. Tyson has shown a sensitive side to him and it was nice to know that he can be vulnerable, too. The sacrifice that Rachel made was also endearing. She knew that Tyson has a better spot in the game so she was willing to fight for her life in the game so he can continue on with his journey. But when she was beaten by Marissa during the duel, Tyson approached her and asked if she had fun and it was heart-wrenching but sweet. Don't tell me that did not tug at your heart even for a little bit.

1. Tyson wins Survivor: Blood vs Water! Third time is the charm. Tyson has come full circle with his Survivor experience. The first time he played in Tocantins, he was the goofy athlete best known for his one-liners and wacky confessionals. When he returned in Heroes vs Villains, he still had the same goofy side to him but Boston Rob took him under his wings. This time out, he had his strategy in full effect from day one and to have shared that experience with Rachel must have made this win extra special.

Are you happy with the winner of Survivor: Blood vs Water? How does the season rank from the other seasons?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water: Gloves Come Off Preview

About 24 hours before the pivotal episode of Survivor Blood vs Water airs, fans can get a sneak preview of what's in store for them. CBS has released a preview video that showcases the first minute of the Redemption Island duel between Vytas, Tina and Laura M, who is back at Redemption Island after being voted out of Kasama and by her own daughter, Ciera.


Based on the initial press images released by CBS, this duel does not resemble any previous challenges. However, it can incorporate a few elements from previous challenges into a brand new concept. Watch the video for yourself and also take a closer look at some of the photos I found online (credits to www.survivorfever.net):

Immunity Challenge Preview


Maybe they get to pick whether to compete or eat?

The immunity challenge for this week, though, is a redux of the first individual immunity challenge of Survivor: Philippines. The challenge is dubbed "Wrist Assured" wherein each castaway will be holding onto a metal rod with a spool of rope tied around it that is connected to a bucket. The goal is to hang onto the metal rod for as long as you can - the last person standing wins immunity. This is easier said than done though because the bucket is weighed a certain percentage off of your body weight. Hence, the bigger you are, the heavier the weight you'd have to endure. As early as now, I am predicting that this is going to be a tougher challenge to win for the bigger guys such as Hayden and Gervase because they are going to be carrying heavier load. But will the girls have enough upper body strength to compensate for the lighter weight? We'll see.. it should play out interestingly.

Who do you think will join Aras as the second jury member?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 7: Swoop in for the Kill

A very interesting episode of Survivor went down this week.. Congrats again to the producers for continuing to excite us, week after week!

Last week, Kat was voted off her tribe when she made an errant decision to open her mouth and target Monica. The move ended up biting her in the butt with Vytas masterfully using this flawed move to magnify Kat's lack of trustworthiness. Thus, Kat mopes in Redemption Island while contemplating on not only her future in the game, but also the future of her relationship with Hayden. Gotta love those one-liners, girl!

Image: CBS

But the big question leading up to this week is this: will Hayden swap places with Kat? But in my mind, the real question should be this: how dumb will Hayden have to be in order to swap with Kat? Thankfully, Hayden opted to stay in the game even despite of Jeff Probst's tease to prove to Kat just how important their relationship is to him. Oh Probst! I am not a fan of your snide remarks, but this time out I loved how you swooped in to "test" this relationship. What a relief that Hayden did not take the bait even though Kat openly expressed that he hoped for him to swap because she sucked in the puzzle. For all the things I don't like about Kat's gameplay, you cannot not love her for her honesty!

The duel was a cake walk for John who smoked the puzzle (again!). Even Laura who seems pretty good at puzzles herself was having a hard time. And with that, Kat leaves the game but not without another funny comment to Hayden that brought a smile to John's face. What is she, 15?!

Image: CBS

At the Tadhana camp, Aras is quickly becoming the odd one out. It does not help his cause either that he's constantly bringing up Vytas' name into the mix. It further heightens the suspicion on Tyson & .co's part about where Aras' loyalty lies. It's also coincidental that all of the other players at Tadhana no longer has a loved one in the game (except for Ciera whose mom is still fighting for her life at Redemption Island). Aras setting out to meditate backfires on him as it gives the others the opportunity to conspire against him and seal their alliance of five. Tyson has been blatantly expressing his willingness to turn on Aras when he gets the chance. For now, that door of opportunity closes on his face yet again as they survive another immunity challenge.

In hindsight, keeping Vytas was not a good move for Galang (and especially for the girls). They've voted out two people already who are going to be numbers for them post-merge. See, Vytas might profess loyalty to the women of Galang now, but that is all he has to offer. But we know there's still Aras on the other side whom he can reconnect with and team up with... that's when Vytas is dangerous. He is dangerous by himself and even more potent with Aras by his side!

Image: CBS
On the flip side, Laura B has nowhere else to go. Her loyalty is to Galang only. She was already voted out by the people from the original Tadhana and when she was switched with Rupert to join Galang, she's been part of that team. She is a sure number that is going to vote with them! If Vytas has had them convinced to get rid of two women off of their alliance already, imagine what he can do with Aras in the merge! Even Tina points it out herself that Vytas is a likeable guy and you would be persuaded by his smooth-talking ways if you had to depend on instinct. Does that mean that their vote in tonight's episode hinges on instinct? How much more damage would Laura B opening up her mouth do if they ended up voting for Vytas, anyway? Will that really change anything?

Next week: it's merge time! The plan to break up the Vytas-Aras duo was not hatched but we'll see for how long these two will survive! Who do you think will come back into the game from Redemption Island? Don't forget to vote on the poll.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 6: One Man Wrecking Ball

Tonight's episode is probably the turning point of the season, thus far. We've already seen the preview of a tribal shuffle from last episode and with the first Galang member competing at Redemption Island (since Candice, of course), I suspect this was going to be a big episode!

The Beginning of the End for Aras?

As suspected, Aras is feeling vulnerable and responsible for the Laura M blindside. He acknowledges the fact that Laura M feels most connected to him and so having him propose her name for the vote is going to put a huge target on his back. However, Laura M isn't the only one who felt the sting of the last vote as his allies Gervase and Tyson also talk about possibly voting for Aras at the next opportunity.

The idea of Aras joining forces with Vytas post-merge is highly likely and when they do, that is a power duo right there. The strategic side to Tyson's game is finally coming out, along with his goofy side too (more on that later). He addresses the issue to Gervase in such a manner that Gervase would feel like it was a mutual understanding amongst them that Aras is a threat and that they would potentially write his name before merge time, if the opportunity presents itself. Tyson even manages to inject some questions to get Gervase to speak up about the plan, rather than outright blurting his idea. This means that Tyson is going to play big. In a way, it also cements the relationship between the two of them. It is also important to note that these two no longer have their loved ones in the game.

Bye, Brad!

The tyrant is out of the game for good. No wonder he was getting way too much airtime during the first three episodes or so because his numbers were up! The Galang tribe's strategy to send Laura M to Redemption Island has paid off as she ended up in first place with John narrowly beating Brad in the puzzle.

This type of challenge, however, is well suited for women because it requires balance and dexterity. It was clear by the way the two men (bulky and heavy men, at that) were struggling to untie the bags of puzzle pieces while trying to balance in a narrow beam. I thought that the puzzle was pretty lame, though. Did not know that counting to a hundred can be classified as a "puzzle"? But the odds aren't in Brad's favor here - remember episode one when he can't even correctly count how 4 is the minority in a tribe of 9? (insert evil laugh here)

As the first person to finish the puzzle, Laura M is also tasked to hand out the immunity idol clue. Vytas followed the Culpeppers' lead by throwing the clue to the fire. Clearly, that is a strong message towards Aras about her blindside. Then again, all these 'throwing the clue to the fire' charades has got to stop soon. Obviously, there are lots of con's to keeping the clue but there are also ways that you can use that tool to your advantage and even help out your alliance further down the road. It'll be interesting to see if anyone decides to take the idol clue in the future and what they do with it.

Tribal Shuffle

the new Galang tribe
The two tribes were in for a shock as Jeff Probst announces a tribal shakeup after the duel. It was interesting how Aras, Gervase and Tyson ended up on the same tribe (the new Tadhana) because that means that Gervase and Tyson could still push through with their plan. However, some of the former Tadhana tribe members committed a fatal (?) mistake of sharing too much information. The veteran players were clearly trying to get information and they fell for the bait and even gave some points about the possible location of the hidden immunity idol. (Note: It is also important to point out how they were not even making an attempt to look for the idol if they knew a bit of information about the location of the idol.)

The veteran players might have had a warm welcome upfront but Hayden is reeling from the idea of the veteran intruders, so to speak, rummaging through their food supplies non-stop. Tyson also lets out his goofy side (this is probably the most confessional he's had since the season started) playing up the coconut bandit tricks he's been doing in the other tribe. But what Tyson is doing by being goofy isn't purely for his tribe's entertainment, however. By playing up the "funny guy" role, no one would take him seriously or deem him a threat. It was already pointed out earlier that the Tadhana tribe was threatened by his athleticism in challenges that prompted them to vote out Rachel to lure him to swap. Thus, putting on this front will make him perceived as not as big a threat as Aras is.

On the flip side, Vytas feels like he is on the bottom of the totem pole in his new tribe. Not only is he the sole male on the tribe but the other tribe member from the former Tadhana tribe he's switched with, Katie, is Tina's daughter. The odds are stacked against him, no doubt. Uh-oh. It looks like the Baskauskas brothers are in a tight spot in their respective tribes.

Buoy Oh Buoy

Always love swimming challenges in Survivor and this week's was full of them. After an early blunder for the Galang tribe (courtesy of Tina and Laura), Tadhana is looking poised to take this win. I was initially scared for Gervase, though, given his dismal performance at the first immunity challenge. But it looks like he's improved immensely, even managing to keep up with Aras in retrieving the fish trap.

But the highlight of this challenge was how the Galang tribe prematurely celebrated even after Jeff called them out twice for being wrong at the puzzle. Aras and Tyson remained composed after losing all of the lead they had at the first portion of the challenge. All I can say is glad that Ciera has finally stepped off the role of puzzle solver. The boys + Ciera get to take a break from tribal council, at least for this week. Although Aras is safe, I am now worrying for Vytas until...

Shut Up, Kat!

When you've been watching Survivor since the second season, you probably should be able to read through the edit. The moment Kat spoke up about Monica over-strategizing with her alliance, I knew she was in trouble (or set up for a downfall soon). It's cute how Kat was lecturing Monica (via a confessional) about how to play Survivor. Geez. But a confessional rant is passable, though. The moment she opened up her mouth to Tina about her decision to possibly vote off Monica instead of Vytas, she basically dug her own grave. Again, Survivor 101 here - do not be the first one to aggressively pitch someone from your own alliance's name for a vote. If you pick the target, you become THE target! It does not help that Monica and Tina were in on an alliance of five prior to the switch, so of course Tina's loyalty towards Monica is stronger than towards Kat.

Kat also did not do a great job of saving herself afterwards when Monica tried to confront her about it. She was caught up in her own lie. And I felt at that point there was no saving Kat. The gloves come off for Vytas at tribal as Kat wanted to raise the point of staying true to the alliance of the girls, but Vytas is not hearing any of it. Kat's cry of desperation at tribal has fallen on deaf ear as she is sent to Redemption Island. I guess Monica stayed true to her initial conviction to "do unto others before they do it to you".

Next week is going to be interesting as Vytas is finally putting his flirtatious card to good use. Seems like he's got Tina's approval. Meanwhile, will Hayden swap places with Kat at Redemption Island? Chime in your thoughts at the comments below.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs Water Episode 5 Insights

Image: CBS
The latest episode of Blood vs Water is rather predictable no matter how much CBS tried to hype up a blindside. Really, the network has to learn not to give anything away in their previews because them promoting a blindside in their social media channels only meant that we knew which Laura was going home. If that's not enough, the beginning of the episode was also rather suspicious. Four episodes in, we haven't seen much from Laura except for some exchange of looks and winks between her and her daughter, and yet she is seen desperately trying to flirt with Aras and her confiding to the camera that she "explicitly trusts" him. I am not sure about the conversations she's had with Aras but to proclaim that in Survivor is like a kiss of death. And that is exactly what went down this previous episode.

The big story for this episode, though, isn't the blindside. It's the battle between the Cody's and Brad at Redemption Island. Candice, to be specific, has been highly outspoken about her dislike towards Brad and it was one of the anticipated moments of the episode for me to see them finally confront each other face to face.

Image: CBS

I was pretty impressed with how Brad handled himself gracefully from his exit at tribal council and into the Redemption Island. However, we see that Candice is not buying it and has not changed her opinion of Brad. She seems ready to kick Brad off the game for good and called Redemption "her island". I am rooting for Candice to defeat the Culpeppers but her proclamation of the Redemption Island being "theirs" is not a good thing at all. It seems that her angst and frustration has taken Candice's focus away from the bigger picture of the game and is fixated on exacting revenge on Brad.

Monica showed sympathy for Brad having to go to Redemption Island and fight for his life in the game. She offers Brad the opportunity to swap spots but the latter wanted to fight for his life back in the game. Ironically, he ended up beating Candice to stay alive and was one of the most exciting finish the duel has ever had. I was seriously gritting my teeth because I wanted Candice to win so bad. The look on John's face was indescribable when he saw that Brad finished the puzzle first. Must be really heartbreaking to see your spouse leave the game and you've got nothing to do to try and save them. But now, John is left to fend for himself. I think he has a better chance of competing again without Candice there because everybody else seemed to be threatened by the power couple should both of them make it back into the game post-merge. However, we've seen how John easily trusts people who pretend to be friends with him and use him for their own advantage. Without Candice there to be his voice of reason, he will have to be extra cautious and strategic every step of the way from here on out.

Image: CBS

Going back to the actual game, Tadhana has finally broken their losing streak. This was another predictable edit. We saw the remaining five members of the Tadhana tribes go off on top of the mountain cliff and enjoying this majestic view while exchanging words of encouragement to each other. At the same time, I feel empathy for them. They are finally looking like a unified tribe without Brad's tyranny hovering at them. But I seriously questioned their decision to opt for the steaks, though, instead of the fishing gear. Amateur mistake, I guess. There are still a few days left to play before merge arrives and opting for one good meal versus sustainability isn't such a good choice, to say the least.

Image: CBS
There are three major things to look into with the coming episode following the Laura M vote:

1) If Laura can beat Brad at the duel - This was one of the primary reasons cited by the returning players at Galang for voting off Laura M. It is, therefore, an important factor to look into next episode if they succeed in doing so. And if Brad does exit from the game, will this further cement the five-person alliance in that tribe? With a looming tribal shuffle next episode, it is also significant to look into whether that alliance can remain tight and survive until the merge.

2) Speaking of the five-person alliance, it seems like Tyson and Gervase are taking a page off of Brad's strategy by planning to take out Aras as they're afraid he might be too threatening post-merge especially when he joins Vytas there. If this plan pans out, is it too early a move to make? Or is this alliance as strong as it initially appeared?

3) Will Laura B finally fit in? We saw Jeff ask Laura B a rather awkward question about fitting in in her tribe of former Survivor castaways, plus she was also pointed out as the "easy vote" in the previous episode. But since she escapes getting her torch snuffed, where will her loyalties lie? Will the veterans regret their decision to cut her before the shuffle?

I know. The drama never ends in Survivor: Blood vs Water. In fact, it's only getting started. Here are some press images for next episode to whet your appetite (courtesy of TVGN).

Who will be booted off next episode from Redemption Island? Share your predictions below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Insights on Survivor: Blood vs Water Episode 4

Last week on Survivor Blood vs Water was intense with Tyson confronting Brad Culpepper at Redemption Island arena for being the architect to Rachel's ouster and this week was equally fired up! New layers continue to pile up each week and it's exciting to see how it all ties up in the end.

Read on to find out what my thoughts are about this episode and some insights into the game moving forward...

image: insidetv.ew.com
1. This week's episode experienced a plateau after having an intense start with the Redemption Island arena confrontation between Candice and Brad (what else is new?) and tribal council that went bananas (more on this later)! First off, Monica comes to her husband's defense when loved ones of the voted off castaways were attacking him at the arena. She made an excellent point, however, that Brad was not the only person who voted for these people but rather they voted as a tribe. John retaliated with a warning to his former tribe mates to watch out for Brad because he isn't someone to be trusted. Duh. He also pointed out that all of the castaways sent to Redemption Island were Brad's idea - well, it wasn't but he took all the blame for it. And I cannot see why Brad is willing to take the blame although at this point there is not much he can do to mend that reputation!

2. Oh Monica... I feel your pain for what your husband has gone through. But he's not a victim here - he shot himself in the foot and all the dirty laundry is coming back to haunt him. In fact, I don't think it was a smart move at all to openly declare to everyone at the Redemption Island arena that John made a mistake in trusting him. Really? In front of everybody else with whom you are competing against? Brad should really learn to censor himself before opening his mouth next time.

3. Sad to see Marissa go because she seems to be a great character and a hardcore competitor. She was simply put in an unfortunate situation having to fight her way back into the game. And a wrong kind of Redemption Island challenge at that! I mean, going up against two doctors in a puzzle that requires concentration and analytical skills seem to be right up Candice and John's alley!

4. The move to throw the hidden immunity idol clue into the fire was somewhat of a shocker to me. But a smart move for Monica to deflect the target that the Cody's are trying to put on her. I thought for sure that Candice and John would be the one to throw the clue to the fire. The immunity idol is, therefore, a curious factor going into the merge. Is anyone going to have the balls to look for it? Can they find it without a clue? Obviously, no one is going to be willing to get that clue from here on out as it automatically puts a huge target on the recipient's back.

5. Candice also shoots herself in the foot. Not only was flipping out on Brad a classless move, despite my adoration for Candice's physical prowess at Redemption Island or her entire Survivor stint, I think that she dug her grave deeper with that tirade at Redemption Island. She not only makes an enemy of Brad but also of Monica while simultaneously alienating herself from either of the tribes. It therefore makes all of her work in Redemption Island pointless because even if she goes back into the game, she has basically no one to work with. John has a better chance than her to align with some people if he makes it back into the game, but even then the chances are quite slim.

6. Tyson's injury seems to be improving, which is good for me because I picked him as one of my favorites to win! In fact, he even competed in a strenuous challenge despite having a sling on one of his shoulders. But he is trying to play up his injury to get less work around camp. Heh. That guy is so smart, huh?

7. Speaking of Tyson, it seems that a strong duo is building up between him and Gervase. We already know that they are both part of the five-person alliance at Galang. But going off on a secret rendezvous wherein they'd become "coconut bandits" was a really light and funny break from all the chaos that we were bombarded with earlier in the episode. It'll be interesting if this bond will go beyond simply sneaking out to drink coconut water.

8. Caleb makes the BIG move! Obviously, there are a lot of pro's and con's for everyone involved with this particular move. Starting off with Caleb, the moment Brad came up with the idea to blindside John last episode might've fueled that mistrust going on between the two of them (probably more so from Caleb's end). But he blatantly declared that he trusted Hayden and Vytas, but not Brad, during tribal council. Hayden also points out that once that trust is broken, it'll be difficult to regain especially in a game like Survivor wherein trust is hard to come by. Going back to last week's vote, the moment Caleb realized that Brad was willing to vote out his own (of the five-person male alliance at Tadhana), he might've felt vulnerable that he would be the next target. It also did not help that Brad openly expressed voting out someone who no longer has a loved one on the other side to prevent irking them out (again his own loud mouth costing him). I thought it was ballsy to do it out loud at tribal council, in front of Brad and the rest of the tribe, because it puts the other two guys up against the wall. Should they jump shift or stay loyal to their kingpin? Obviously, Vytas switched his vote on the re-vote while Hayden stayed true to Brad (but not without thinking over long and hard).

9. Caleb totally saved Ciera and most of the shock stems from the weird editing that showed little to none pre-tribal council. The gain he can get from this move is that he can control his own fate in the game. He no longer has to play second fiddle to Brad and putting his fate in the game in his hand. It'll be too early to tell if that move paid off. But if he and the other two guys can stay loyal, I still think that one of the two girls are in trouble should they go to tribal council next episode. 

10. The big question going into the next episode: is Hayden in trouble? I don't think so. He becomes the biggest physical asset in the tribe now that Brad is gone. But it certainly hurt his game to some extent because he has nobody to hide behind. Kat is not in a good spot in her own tribe, too, so it will be a challenge for them to get the numbers once they merge and they decide to work together (if both are still there). At least he can find consolation for having produced the episode title for two weeks in a row, right?

11. An even bigger question next episode: how will Candice and John handle Redemption Island with Brad? It'll be a sweet revenge on either Candice or John's part if they can boot him out. But the preview shows Monica offering Brad the opportunity to swap places. Will he take it? More questions to be answered (or not) next episode...

Did you like Episode 4 of Survivor Blood vs Water? Who do you think played the best strategy this week?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Update on Tyson's Injury at Survivor: Blood vs Water

The most recent reward/immunity challenge at Survivor: Blood vs Water was a highly physical one. Castaways will have to go up on a platform one at a time to go head to head with an opponent from the competing tribe via a sumo style wrestling competition. Indeed, as the tree mail noted, it is not your average pillow fight as some of the matchups got really intense.

In one of those matchups, Tyson suffered an injury to his shoulder claiming that it popped out of place such that he cannot lift it. Most of you, like I am were probably curious about what happened with his injury because it did not get much airtime after that happened.

Here is a longer video of the doctors examining Tyson's injury and their diagnosis:

Do you think this injury will hurt Tyson's game? Will he be medevac'd?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thoughts on Survivor: Blood vs Water Episode 3

Okay... where do I begin? Three episodes in and Survivor already has me gritting my teeth as I watch from the couch. And yet, the fact that it is only Episode 3 means there is a lot of game left to watch (aka scheming, strategizing, and lots of blindsides for sure!).

The CBS promos leading up to this week's episode has promised that the first 10 minutes of the game is going to be a shocker! Actually, I expected that Colton wouldn't quit at all because if the promos suggested the same, then that wouldn't be a shocker, right? Turns out that Colton went ahead and quit the game as the rest of the tribes looked on in shock and distaste. The first few minutes of the episode exemplified a lack of social skills in Colton as he insisted on playing strategy. Not to say that Colton had perfected the social game last time out, at least he did a better job of trying to connect with certain people whereas this season he alienated himself from everyone else and did not even feign attempt to build relationships. Although strategy might be an integral part of the game, you are not one to jump ahead of your tribe. Aras points it out to him but he does not seem to grasp the idea that while he is in danger, his game is not over yet.

A clearly ticked off Jeff Probst called out Colton during the duel about feigning his illness the last time. But because Colton has insisted on his initial decision to quit, Jeff let him leave the game but refused to give him the opportunity to throw his buff in the urn on his way out. What a waste of another person's spot in the game!

Meanwhile, when the Galang tribe found out that Rachel was voted off, Tyson was smart enough to catch up to the other tribe's strategy. Thankfully, he and Rachel outsmarted the male alliance's strategy of trying to get Tyson to switch. Rachel also outed Brad as being the orchestrator over at Tadhana, to which Marissa seconded with some vulgarities at him. Brad gets the brunt of the wrath from the castaways (and their loved ones) that had been voted off so far. This is where Vytas' excellent ploy last episode worked for him because it was his plan to vote off Rachel to weaken the other tribe, but he did present it in a form of question so it would appear as Brad's idea.

As for the actual duel, Candice smoked this challenge yet again. She finished the challenge way ahead of everybody else. The competition between Marissa and Rachel end up being neck-and-neck with Rachel being a few seconds behind Marissa. And with that, allow me to highlight one of the sweetest and most touching moments we've seen in Survivor as Tyson walks up to Rachel after she lost the duel.

With Candice winning, she also hands the second immunity idol clue to John. Again, I cannot fault Candice for giving the clue to John yet again! However, it can put a lot of ideas into the other castaway's mind about not only John gaining a huge advantage in the game by finding the idol but also in terms of solidifying Candice and John as a unit. But John finally comes to his senses and decides to share the clue to Brad. At this point, I thought it was a good move for John to share the idol clue to Brad because it would create a sense of security in Brad's mind about being the kingpin of his tribe. In a sense, Brad is also the head of their all-male alliance and there is no need for him to share the information to the rest of his alliance-mates. In Survivor, it is important to keep the information under control.

John, however, lacked proper execution here. He shared the clue to Brad but he is still holding back. This causes Brad to feel like John is being shady as he won't commit to looking for the idol together. As soon as that doubt starts to creep in (and it's not like this is the first time that they had been skeptical about John), people within your tribe are going to start wondering if you have the idol or not, especially if you are being secretive about it.

As for the immunity challenge, it was a physical one. Even before this challenge started, I already thought that Tadhana will finally get their first win and Monica might be in serious trouble. Her loved one, Brad, had been in the heat of things at the duel so they can orchestrate a revenge by voting off his wife. That is not going to happen, though, as the girls of Tadhana had a poor showing. Katie was beat twice by older ladies (her mom Tina and Laura) and same goes with Ciera. Thus, Tadhana books another date with Jeff at tribal council.

Initially, the ideal scenario is to vote off Brad. But if the rest of the guys are smart, like they've shown they are, they decided to get rid of John. In doing so, they eliminate two threats - John as a strong physical and strategic player who can potentially reunite with Candice post-merge, and the hidden immunity idol. The idol has been put in the air over the past couple of episodes. Since John got the first clue (publicly at that), everyone in his tribe has been kind of tip-toeing around the idea that he might have already found it. It is almost a cardinal sin to not have shared it to his alliance. But his decision to keep his tribe in the shadows about the status of the idol might've been too big of a threat to ignore. They can take care of Brad later. And with the amount of hate that he's been getting so far, he is actually the ideal guy to sit next to.

What do you think of this episode? Personally, loved it although the first half was too intense that the second half might have paled in comparison. Excited to see what comes down at the duel next week though as this time it's going to be Candice vs Brad!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 2: Rule in Chaos

After a promising premiere episode, the second episode of Survivor: Blood vs Water kicks things into high gear as Marissa is sent off to Redemption Island looking as pissed as we've seen anyone voted off the game in recent times. Rachel, one of my favorites (not to win though, but I love her as a character), is sent off to Redemption Island together with Candice and Marissa to fight for her life in the game. Before we discuss that further, let's go back to the episode and see what happened (I will be chiming in my thoughts from time to time).

The Truel & Hidden Immunity Idol

Few minutes into the episode, Jeff shows up at the Redemption Island arena, which I have to point out is the best looking arena we've had on the show so far. Curiosity might have ran high at the returning castaways' camp to see who got voted off of the other tribe. Upon seeing that it was Marissa, Gervase tried to play it cool while the others could not keep their emotions in check. Kat, Tina, and Monica were visibly in tears from what they pointed out as relief to see their loved ones still on their tribe.

The truel, apparently because there has been so many discussions on social media about how using the term "duel" is incorrect, is a re-dux of the One World immunity challenge. From seeing the mechanics of this competition, I knew that Rupert was in serious trouble. The challenge requires dexterity, patience, and concentration, of which individual challenges are characterized by. Rupert's brawn served him no advantage whatsoever; in fact, he exhibited careless sense of urgency as we see him dropping the first plate on his first attempt as he tried to speed by the course.

Candice, on the other hand, was the picture of focus as she masterfully placed one plate after another eventually earning her the first place finish. Marissa, who was behind initially, caught up after Rupert knocked off his plates forcing him to start over. Guess the strategy to be lazy in Redemption Island wasn't as promising as envisioned, right? And with that, Rupert goes home first. It also officially puts an end to the Boneham family's quest for another million dollars! The idea of Laura going all the way to win it is a long shot.

In true Jeff Probst fashion, he also introduced another twist during the duel wherein he revealed that the first to finish the challenge will get to award any of the other castaways a clue to the hidden immunity idol. With Candice, it was a no-brainer decision to give it to John. But then again, this decision is a double-edged sword. By giving him the clue to the idol, it also puts a huge target on John's back (as if he doesn't already have one) and this was evidenced in tonight's episode when his own alliance mates were having doubts on John's unwillingness to share information about the immunity idol location. And while a part of me is thinking it was a bad move on Candice's part to give the clue to John, if he can find that idol and share the information with the right people (or not), or know how to use the idol to protect himself, then it might be worth taking the risk! Nonetheless, it draws suspicion and John will have a lot of work to do to win that trust back from his all-male alliance.

Men vs Women at Tadhana

The divide between gender at Tadhana (aka Loved Ones) tribe is giving the men's alliance a clear advantage in numbers. Rachel admits to feeling vulnerable by being in the minority, but there is a bigger source of worry for her as Katie and Ciera are starting to get suspicious when Rachel fails to attempt to bond with the women. Instead, she is becoming more close to John and they fear that the two have formed a secret sub-alliance.

The men are also plotting against Rachel citing how they are using her as bait to have Tyson swap out places with her in Redemption Island. With the possibility of Tyson swapping, they automatically weaken the other tribe (as Tyson is perceived as the strongest physical competitor on the other tribe) and also take out a weak player off of their tribe. But this proposition does not sit well with John because not only does he have an alliance with Rachel, but he also fears for Candice's life in the game should she be forced to go up against Tyson in the Redemption Island duel.

Colton = Chaos

The old Colton is back! Seems like everywhere he goes, he brings chaos with him. The other castaways are starting to notice the paranoia and drama he brings to the tribe. The anti-social, whiny Colton that we knew in One World is back in its true form. Aras and Tyson were starting to take notice. But Colton can't sit still. He started plotting against the other castaways behind their backs noting how he wanted the camp to erupt in chaos because that is where he thrives.Sadly for him, this isn't a group of newbies that he can intimidate by his mean threats.

Aras earns my nod tonight for calling Colton the "gay Russell Hantz" for his intimidatory antics in an attempt to build mistrust around the camp.

The Case of the 5-Person Alliance

Last week, we saw Brad spearhead the formation of a five-person alliance within their tribe consisting of all males. This time out, another alliance is brewing over at the Galang tribe with Aras, Tyson, Gervase, Tina, and Monica. The bond was solidified after Colton tried to bring chaos by pitting his own tribe mates against each other.

Gervase Redeems Himself

Hold on - I am not being a fan girl here. When I say Gervase redeemed himself, it was nice to see him step up with the non-swimming challenges. And it is interesting to note that the Galang tribe assigned him to handle that stage of the competition because I felt that he let the team down during the first challenge. It certainly helped his self-esteem to win that for the team but he's still no Tyson! And yet, that does not keep him from cheering on to his heart's content, staying true to his promise to Marissa prior to the start of the duel.

John Escapes Duel vs Wife

This week's vote at Tadhana's second trip to tribal council was all over the place compared to last week's unanimous vote. The men voted for Rachel, while Ciera and Katie voted for John, and Rachel voted for Ciera. Even though John escapes the vote, he is in a vulnerable spot in the tribe right now because the guys are starting to doubt his loyalty to their alliance and his immunity idol clue poses a huge threat. It makes even more critical for John to find that idol if he wants to save his butt at the next time they go to tribal council.

Do you think that voting off Rachel was the best move for Tadhana? Is Tyson willing to swap with Rachel's spot at Redemption Island? Share your thoughts below at the comments section.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 2 Sneak Peek

It's less than 24 hours until the airing of the second episode for Survivor's 27th season, Blood vs Water. With the first Redemption Island duel and another immunity challenge in tow, fans are excited to see how this promising season will shape up. The first video is a sneak peek into first Redemption Island duel wherein the first boot of the season will be determined. Candice, Rupert, and Marissa (who was earlier voted off Tadhana) are the three competitors fighting to stay alive in the game. Meanwhile, the second video is for the second immunity challenge between Galang and Tadhana.

Are you excited yet? Any predictions for Episode 2?

Disclaimer: All videos credit to Survivor on CBS YouTube channel

Friday, September 20, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water Episode 1: Guilty by Association

When Jeff Probst and CBS unveiled the new twist and cast list for Survivor Blood vs Water, I had a lot of doubts. Too many twists that are too ambitious. That's what first came into my mind. But until the premiere episode aired, I did not realize it would be as emotionally-ridden as they tried to hype it up. See, Survivor is already a complicated game by design. You have to cheat, lie, and backstab at some point! But when family members and real relationships are at stake, I feared that the concept might not be strewn well enough into what Survivor is really about.

Day Zero

I thought that this Day Zero thing was a lousy entrance to the game. They could've done without it, really. They could have simply greeted the castaways on the beach and sent them off with the shock that they won't be playing together. No more charades, just get down to the business. I get that they wanted the castaways and their loved ones to immerse themselves in the experience of spending 39 days on an island by each other's side, but then again weren't they already assuming that mindset few days heading into the game?

But here's the harder part.... just when we witness the dismay in Colton's face in realizing that he won't be spending time with his fiance, Jeff drew another dagger. Each tribe will have to vote off one tribe member right off the bat. Uh-oh. This looked like a flashback into Survivor: Palau wherein Wanda and Jonathan were sent home after only spending 24 hours in the game. That would be ridiculous, right? The Loved Ones tribe (aka Tadhana) unanimously voted off Laura, Rupert's wife. Rupert looked pissed as Laura tried to hold back her tears. As she approached the mat beside Jeff, she quipped "Got get 'em honey" to Rupert.

Then, Candice suffered the same fate, although it was not as unanimous a vote, she still got the majority. Ouch! That was more shocking than the Laura vote on the other side because Candice is actually a pretty strong competitor. But the majority vote sticks and she looked dismayed as John looked on helplessly.

As Jeff revealed the return of the Redemption Island twist, things got even crazier only within less than 30 minutes into the episode. When offered the opportunity to replace their loved ones' spot in Redemption Island, Rupert made what appeared to be a sweet and heroic gesture in one regard, but a stupid move that cost his tribe. We hear Tina pleading from behind for him not to do it. But Rupert's mind was already made up the moment he stepped off that mat, I believe. This particular move, on the surface, might seem like such a heroic thing to do, such a gentlemanly act that showed how far he'd go for and what sacrifices he'll make for his wife. But he put himself in a vulnerable position - he now has to fight to stay alive in the game! What a huge shift after just one episode! Meanwhile, Laura is thrust into a tribe that she feels alienated and intimidated by. These are all Survivor vets who knew each other in and out of the game. Laura struggled to fit in right off the bat. If there is any strategy at all, it was clearly not implemented here because now both of them have no or slim chance to potentially win the game.

As for Candice, John was put in the hot seat. Most people probably expected John to make the same sacrifice for his wife, too. But then again, we all knew it would be a dumb move. So I heaved a sigh of relief when he opted to let Candice stay in Redemption Island. She is a strong woman who can survive on her own, whereas I would picture Laura to lie in fetal position waiting for Rupert to come and save her.

When all the chaos is over and done with, Jeff sent each tribe off to their respective beaches to start a 39-day adventure on the Philippine islands.

Tribes Settling In

The Galang or Returning Castaways tribe made use of their experience to build fire within an hour or so since arriving at their beach. They also quickly put together their shelter but some of the castaways can't stop pointing out how big of a difference Rupert's sacrifice made in terms of putting the camp together. The apologetic Laura felt all the more alienated by it.

Then, we saw a different side to Colton professing his insecurities as one of the main reasons why he was mean the last time he played. But Monica is on the fence about Colton - has he changed or is he still the same? Are those crocodile tears? For now, the two former rivals made their pact.

Meanwhile, an alpha male alliance is brewing over at Tadhana's camp. Brad Culpepper, Monica's husband, spearheaded the alliance of the muscles. Most are quick to jump onboard at the idea even shaking on it. But Caleb was quick to catch up (smart cookie). Thankfully, he was smart enough to go along with the plan for now noting that he will agree to anything that is thrown at him at this point.

Poor Sportsmanship

The first immunity challenge was another classic Survivor multi-leg challenge with the first half consisting of the physical aspect and the latter half involving puzzles. Thank you, Survivor challenge producers, for sparing us of those tossing challenges that plagued Caramoan. But before we were treated to a thrilling comeback of the mommy trio in Laura, Tina, and Monica, we saw a dismal showing on Gervase's part in the swimming leg. At one point, he was so winded that he took a sweet 10-15 seconds of his time in the final platform before launching himself in the water. I had to give props to Aras' patience waiting on him. If that would've been me in Aras' position, I would have seriously pushed his lazy ass off the platform.

Then, he asked Aras to help him out in the swim so they can get to the boat. Good thing, Tyson and the rest of the tribe quickly released their boat so they can paddle back and Gervase could get to the safety of the boat. The lapse-marred performance of Galang did not end there because they were paddling in the wrong direction as the Tadhana rowers did a flawless job. The Galang tribe looked like the rookies in this challenge - they looked jittery in every aspect of that obstacle run!

But the puzzle solvers for Galang made up for serious time! They eventually took home the immunity idol and Gervase was so pumped by the comeback win that he yelled at the losing tribe! Uh, weren't you just so close to drowning earlier that Aras had to come to your rescue? Wow! The audacity of some people. I guess Gervase played such a long time ago that he forgot how to play the game at all.

Fast forward to tribal council... the big question is this: Katie or Marissa? If you were watching the episode intently, the answer would've been a no-brainer. Katie stepped up to do the puzzle but fumbled all over. Marissa, on the other hand, looked strong and competent and seemed like a good asset to the tribe when it comes to challenges. But with only few days in, there are only as little reason to be basing your votes on. Sadly, the majority of the Tadhana tribe felt that Gervase' unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the immunity challenge merited a vote for Marissa. She looked pissed, stone-faced as Jeff snuffed her torch. For one last time, she gave the rest of her tribe a cold stare. Welcome to Survivor, Marissa!

Thankfully, the two people at Redemption Island welcomed her with open arms, which is quite ironic because these are the three that are going to fight each other to determine who gets to stay in the game!

Next week, we will finally have our first boot off this season.. any guesses? Be sure to vote on the poll so we can determine what everybody else thinks about Tadhana's vote at the first TC!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water: My Pre-Show Picks

The 27th season of Survivor is set to premiere this week and fans are excited to witness one of the craziest twists that the game has had since the racial tribal split in Cook Islands. This means that it is also time to make my picks on who I think has the best chance to win the season. It was a difficult choice for me having to pick who I thought would have the best chances to win, particularly in the Returning Players side.

Returning Castaways

Tyson Apostol

Who doesn't love Tyson? He is goofy and does not take himself seriously. It's rare to find a personality in the show like this and Tyson is definitely a gem. Having said that, I pick Tyson mainly for the entertainment value he offers. But that does not mean he is not capable to win this game, either. He is physically up to par with the best competitors out there, especially in this batch of castaways. He is also right to point out that he is in the middle of the pack in terms of the age and athletic ability. Thus, he will not be singled out for being a huge physical threat right off the bat nor will he be on the outs socially.

The biggest challenge for Tyson in this season is his ability to maintain his focus in the game. We saw him make one of the worst moves in Survivor history last time he played, which got himself voted off by his own doing. If only he can be more calculated about what moves to make and when to make them, I think he has a pretty decent shot.

Aras Baskauskas

I am not full-on riding on the idea that Aras can win this game for a second time. I could be wrong. I thought the same of Sandra, too, in Heroes vs Villains. But then again, Aras and Sandra are two different types of winners. Aras is perceived more as a physical and strategic threat whereas Sandra likes to orchestrate behind people's backs. If Aras can strike before he can be struck at, he might be in good shape.  

Loved Ones

Katie, Tina's Daughter

I don't know why I picked Katie - I simply have a good vibe about her. She is charming, lovely, and seems pleasant to be around. These characteristics are going to help her in the social aspect of Survivor because she is definitely going to be fun to hang with. Katie also appears to love the outdoors, as I've seen in her CBS bio, so the elements might not be that much of a big deal for her.

The strategic side is the biggest question mark. When her mother, Tina, played and won Survivor, the strategic game wasn't as cutthroat as it is now. I am doubting her ability to go there if needed to - of course, they would say they would do anything. I could be wrong. But I have good vibes towards Katie so I am counting on her to pull through.

Vytas, Aras' Brother

I am picking Vytas to win because I believe that Aras is going to have a bigger target on his back simply for being a former winner. Not that I don't think Aras won't do good or go far, but the target is going to be there. Vytas appears to have the same personality as Aras is, plus they are both athletic and sociable.

My initial perception of Vytas is that he is smart and is able to read people and situations around him really well. In their pre-show interview, both he and Aras noted adaptability as going to be a crucial aspect of their individual games and I don't see Vytas having problem with that. He is going to be well liked by both male and female castaways on his tribe, plus he is going to be a force in challenges, too. In addition to his athleticism, Vytas also practices yoga (as with Aras) and that is going to help him channel his energies where they need to be and maintain proper mental focus in a game that is more mental than physical. It'll be interesting to see how far he goes or if he can go all the way.

Caleb, Colton's Fiance

I cannot believe that I would pick someone that has some sort of association with Colton, probably one of the most hated player in Survivor history. But Caleb is a wildcard pick for me. He has enough likability that I think people will overcome the fact that he's Colton's fiance to want to be around him, and that he is going to be a lot of use around camp. I don't think that Colton has any chance at all to win this game so having him around is also going to help Caleb's game because much of the animosity is going to be focused towards Colton.

The strategic part of Caleb's game is going to be the biggest question mark, though. This is when he might be able to use Colton to his advantage because he appears to be a highly grounded person to me that I don't think he will be as cunning or manipulative as Colton can be. One thing that might work against Caleb is if and when he proves to be likeable, he might be perceived as a threat to win and if the other castaways catch up to that, he will be in big trouble.

Who I Think Has No Chance to Win

Rupert - A lot of people might hate me for this, but even Jeff won't deny in the TV Guide Network special that he does not believe Rupert can win again (even in his fourth run). It's a different scenario with Boston Rob wherein he became more strategic and sharper as a player with every stint. With Rupert, it seems to work in reverse. His poor performance at the Heroes vs Villains was dismal, to say the least. I don't even get why they even invited him back because I thought for sure he's done with Survivor.

Colton - Duh.

Kat - She's fun and bubbly, but unfortunately these aren't characteristics that merit a win in this game. Even when she does improve her game from last time, I am not sure if she can convince a jury to respect her game.

What did you think of my picks? Let's compare notes by sharing your picks in the comments section.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water: Behind-The-Scenes of First Immunity Challenge

It is a little over a week until the premiere episode of Survivor: Blood vs Water. As the 27th season of the longest-running reality TV show, Survivor strives for novelty by introducing lots of new twists to the game. One of the most notable new twist would be the return of Redemption Island, which most Survivor fans have a love-hate relationship with. Nonetheless, Jeff Probst and the show producers promise that there will be more layers to the Redemption Island twist to further complicate the game.

But with the premiere episode of each new season, the first immunity challenge is probably the most awaited. Castaways work hard to win the first challenge to ensure that they do not end up in the tribe that goes to tribal council first.

This season's first immunity challenge is scheduled to take place on Day Three. The challenge goes like this:

Image: Xfinity TV Blog

Six members will start off the challenge by sprinting to the beach and overcome a series of obstacles (net, rolling logs, platform with a stack of crates). Once they successfully navigate these obstacles, the castaways must make their way back to the water and towards the tribal boat. One of the six tribe members need to swim down to release the boat that is tied to a buoy and then row it back to the shore while collecting a chest containing puzzle pieces on their way back. When they reach the shore, the tribe must crack the chest open in order to retrieve the puzzle pieces. Three other tribe members will take those pieces to form a puzzle wheel. The first tribe to build the puzzle wheel must use it to raise a flag and win immunity for their tribe.

Final puzzle station (image courtesy of Xfinity TV Blog)
Feeling fired up for the first immunity challenge yet? Don't miss the 90-minute premiere on September 18!

Disclaimer: Photos and details courtesy of Xfinity TV Blog

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Meet The Cast: Tyson & Rachel

Tyson is one of the most animated characters in the over 10 years of Survivor history. Indeed, he is full of himself, but in a funny way. He treated us to his witty, unforgettable, and always funny one-liners when he first appeared in Survivor: Tocantins. But being viewed as a threat, he eventually got voted off to become the member of the jury that handed JT the million dollars in his first season.

On Tyson's second appearance in Survivor, he did not even make it to the merge. He figured in one of the most talked about tribal councils in Survivor history wherein he was swayed by Russell to change up his vote, which ended up in him going home instead of Parvati or Russell (the two with whom the Villains' majority alliance had split their votes on that time). Some would even go as far as calling it the dumbest moves in Survivor history. Whether you agree or not, one thing is for sure: it's always fun to watch Tyson!

What kind of antics will Tyson be bringing this time? Will his girlfriend Rachel be able to keep up? Get some insights into their gameplay coming into the game with this interview video with Dalton Ross, Entertainment Weekly correspondent for Survivor:

Do you think Tyson or Rachel will go to the end this time?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meet the Cast: Candice & John

In anticipation of the upcoming premier of Survivor: Blood vs Water, several press videos and interviews had been released to give fans a glimpse of the twists that are upon them with the new season. At the same time, it gives fans the opportunity to learn more about the castaways and their loved ones. Most of you, fans, are probably excited to get to know more of the loved ones, especially since we already know (at least, to some extent) what to expect from the returning castaways.

Candice Woodcock-Cody is a third-time player. She first appeared in Survivor: Cook Islands wherein she is best known for her mutiny against the then-Aitu tribe to join her allies Parvati and Adam at the Raro tribe. She made her second appearance in Heroes vs Villains wherein she was part of the Heroes tribe that were decimated by the villains. When she turned on her own tribe mates to vote out Amanda, she was quickly voted off the next tribal council since her supposed new alliance did not trust her.

Is third time the charm for Candice? It will be a completely different game this time because she is joined by her husband, John. You can learn more about the duo's strategy in this video of Candice and her husband John Cody in an interview on-set with Dalton Ross for Entertainment Weekly.

Stay tuned for other videos from other Survivor castaways and their loved ones.

Which duo has emerged as your pre-game favorite in Survivor: Blood vs Water?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Survivor Blood vs Water: New Cast and Twists

The long wait is over. CBS has officially lifted the curtains on the cast list of the new season, 27th, for its long-running hit reality TV Show, Survivor. The new season will be dubbed as "Survivor: Blood vs Water" and will feature 10 returning players and 10 of their relatives/loved ones. The concept might seem obvious at first glance, judging by the tagline for this new season. But always have a knack for innovation, Jeff Probst and the show's producers apparently have more tricks under their sleeve.

First off, let us meet the casts for Season 27, Survivor: Blood vs Water:

1. Rupert Boneham (Survivor Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars & Survivor: Heroes vs Villains) and wife Laura

2. Tina Wesson (Survivor: Australian Outback winner) and daughter Katie
3. Aras Baskauskas (Survivor: Exile Island winner) and brother Vytas
4. Kat Edorsson (Survivor: One World) and boyfriend Hayden Moss
5. Monica Culpepper (Survivor: One World) and husband Brad Culpepper
6. Colton Cumbie (Survivor: One World) and boyfriend Caleb Bankston
7. Gervase Peterson (Survivor: Borneo) and niece Marissa
8. Tyson Apostol (Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs Villains) and girlfriend Rachel
9. Laura Morett (Survivor: Samoa) and daughter Ciera
10. Candice Woodcock-Cody (Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs Villains) and husband John

Jeff Probst also reveals that several twists, both old and new, will be incorporated into the show's 27th installment. One of them is the return of the Redemption Island twist. This means that castaways that are voted off do not automatically go home. Instead, they will be exiled into a separate island wherein they will await another castaway to join them and compete in a head-to-head duel.

But Redemption Island is not like before - the loved ones twist brings forth another layer of complication into the game. If the castaways would want to, they can opt to trade spots with their loved ones such that they go to Redemption Island instead. According to Jeff, this is their way of experimenting how far would these castaways go when it comes to separating strategy from personal relationships. Or would it matter?

No word yet on other notable twists used in past seasons such as the hidden immunity idol. Guess we'll find out during the premier.

CBS has also announced that the new season will have a 90-minute premier telecast on September 18, Wednesday.