‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ analysis: Did Caleb Bankston do right in pushing out Brad Culpepper?

Meet Caleb -If there was a way to make “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” any more dramatic, we want to know what it is. This is becoming the best season of the CBS show in at least a year, and it and “Survivor: Philippines” may actually be the two best seasons that the show has had since “Heroes vs. Villains.”

But we have to look at one thing that made Wednesday night’s episode pretty great with a somewhat-realistic lens with our flair for the dramatic taken out for a second. Was Caleb Bankston right to take out Brad Culpepper? In a way, he made the right choice. He knew courtesy of the way in which Brad campaigned to Ciera and Katie to write his name down that he wasn’t in the alliance’s long-term plans, so if you know that someone is against you now, why wait? It was reminiscent in some ways of Boston Rob cutting Matt Elrod, but the difference here is that RobĀ actually said something before going to Tribal Council.

Caleb’s game is basically the equivalent of a scientist getting a grant to improve medicine, and then using the money to reanimate a corpse: He can’t be relied upon anymore just because of one little mistake in communication. For the time being, this is still very much a tribe game. So while Caleb knocking Brad out is good for him for now, it won’t be if there is another tribal council, and he’s possibly lost two allies in Hayden and Vytas, who no longer trust what he is going to do.

Will the returning players ever lose?

Whoever knew that a group that includes a grandmother, a couple other mothers, a woman who was voted out of her tribe before the game even started, and a guy with one arm would be a powerhouse group? The returning players are winning simply because they don’t panic, and they are capitalizing on the mistakes of the other tribe.

One great example of that? Getting rid of Laura Boneham, who has proven to be a surprisingly-competent addition to the veterans. We had no idea she was such a strong swimmer or competitor in the challenges. Also, they have more capable puzzle-makers, and that goes a long way. Usually at this point, it’s a terrible thing to not go to Tribal Council, since it means that you’re going to get lazy and slip up strategically, but these people have all been there before, and Aras and Tina have already won.

Laura will still be an early target if there ever is something that goes on the loss column, if for no other reason than that she’s new to the group. Also, we imagine most of the tribe already picturing sending Kat to Redemption Island, if for no other reason than that she has a person left in the game in Hayden who, at least in theory, is strong. However, the man won four Head of Households in “Big Brother,” and cannot win with this tribe to save his life.

The power of the Pairs

The three alliances that we see right now as particularly dangerous are as follows:

Gervase and Tyson – We see a spin-off in their future about pranking various fruit farms by eating their product and leaving the remains.

Aras and Tina – A little more under-the-radar, but both winners and Tina has already done this before with Colby.

Ciera and Katie – Don’t underestimate the bond that two people have after feeling like they were going to be sent home almost the entire game. That’s a powerful thing.

Want to read more “Survivor” news? Check out our interview with Marissa Peterson here, and also take a look at the attached sidebar for all of our recent updates related to this season.

Photo: CBS

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