‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ analysis: Weighing the Aras Baskauskas – Laura Morett decision

He's back -Sometimes on “Survivor,” you swing for the fences when you don’t really have to, and coming off of one of the slower episodes of the season, there is not that much to analyze save for the move of one Aras Baskauskas to choose Laura Morett as the Laura to go home over Laura Boneham. Basically, he decided to get rid of someone who was a returning player and not a consensus pick to go home over someone who was not really loved or appreciated on her tribe (despite having something to offer them).

Now first of all, part of the blame here obviously needs to go on Laura Morett for not making it clear in between massages that she really did trust him through and through. Had Aras thought, for example, that she wanted to go to the final three with him, maybe he would have kept her. A great comparison here, ironically, involves someone else that gave massages on the show in recent “Shark Tank” personality Edna Ma. Maybe Coach has a different ego than Aras, but keeping Edna around until near the end was great for his game. Given that we know Aras is a smart guy and a student of strategy, he wouldn’t have voted out a sure thing. We don’t blame him for that.

However, what we do question from him is the move of seemingly owning it as his move. You want to make a move, but it’s not always smart to take ownership of it. Also, you have to make sure that your move is at the right time. Aras is making himself look like “King Aras” (as Tyson is calling him), and that’s not good. The interesting wrinkle here is had Tyson not been injured, he may be less of a target. But now that Tyson is hurt, coupled with the fact that Vytas is still on Tadhana, he is the biggest target of any returning player. One of the reasons Aras won “Survivor: Exile Island” was via the mastery of having another huge target with him almost the entire game in Terry, and also a giant character that drove people nuts in Shane for much of it. Nobody noticed him more than either one of the others.

But in the end, what we are looking at here is the biggest flaw with the “Blood vs. Water” twist. While it’s made for surprisingly great television, it cripples someone like Aras for something that is not even his fault: Having a good partner when the merge comes. We’ve already seen that cost Rachel Foulger a spot in this game, and it would not surprise us if one of the brothers Baskauskas is gone soon. Given that there is a tribal swap coming, both are vulnerable. We picked Aras to win this season beforehand, and if this were an all-winners season or an all-stars, he’d probably a have a much better shot than he does now. But a number of variables related to luck of all things hurt him, and they make one potentially-risky move to get rid of a possible ally all the worse. Laura B. especially is a free agent at this point, and do you think that she would hesitate to get rid of Aras if it saves her in the game?

So in the end, Aras made a move that he thought at the time could help him since he didn’t realize Laura M.’s allegiance, and also thought that she could perform well against the folks over at Redemption Island. While we think that this was a risk not worth taking right now after days of consideration, we do admit that were we in his shoes at that moment and with the knowledge he had, we would have probably done the same thing via impulse. We’ll see how it turns out.

Others to watch

While there may not be that much to analyze right now in terms of gameplay, to us the people who are sitting pretty seemingly include “coconut thieves” Tyson and Gervase (with no loved ones left), Tina Wesson since she has that great five-person alliance and Brad Culpepper at Redemption Island, and Hayden Moss, of all people. Who would have thought that winning “Big Brother” would not put a big target on his back? Caleb Bankston was set up to fail last week with Vytas’ claim that nobody could trust him again, and as of right now we see him or Katie as the next one to go from the family tribe.

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Photo: CBS

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