‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ analysis: The many angles of drawing rocks

Meet Katie -Over the past few weeks, we haven’t felt the need to analyze previous “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” episodes too in-depth beyond our initial review, mostly because the strategy seemed to be mostly cut-and-dry. But, we are coming off of what may be the most exciting, surprising episode in many seasons.

The decision to draw rocks is a big one, and there’s a reason why the rule exists in the first place: Ties traditionally make boring television. Therefore, it only makes sense for the show to try to create a situation where ties almost never happen. Who wants to allow the decision to go home to be determined typically by some rocks that you pull out of a bag?

That is what makes this situation from Wednesday night’s episode so rare, and also so special. This is one of the few times when you can really say that almost every person had a justified motive for wanting to draw the rocks. Let’s go through this person by person:

Katie – She may have been voted out, but what other choice did she have? The only hope that she had of making it to the finals would be to win immunities, and the odds of her coming out on top in the final immunity challenge, even at 25% if we assumed that everyone was evenly matched, were better than her odds of not drawing a purple rock (66.67%). Given that she probably would have the vote of Tina plus Aras and Vytas, there’s no way that she would be allowed to make the final three.

Ciera – She is the one who caused this tie to happen in the first place, and at the time the move was right. The problem is that she should have realized this much earlier. She bungled a chance to hurt Tyson and company when she had a chance, and then basically handed him an immunity idol clue. It was probably easy to get Katie and Hayden on board here, given that Hayden was immune from drawing rocks, and then Katie was in the position described above. Ciera’s obviously thinking that there is no difference between sixth, fifth, and fourth place.

The only argument that you could make for her not drawing a rock would be to just lay low in the event that her mom re-enters the game. But we don’t think she would last that long, anyway. If her mom is still at Redemption Island come the next tribal council, she’ll be voted out just because nobody wants that sort of two-person block.

Tyson – This was the biggest risk of the group. In theory, Tyson could have blindsided Monica, and then played the immunity idol next time. Then, he would have just needed to win a pair of immunities, which he is capable of doing. But still, he probably played the odds, and the odds of him getting the rock here were likely higher than the odds of him winning two straight challenges without knowing what they were.

We also buy the move for Tyson for two other reasons: He knows that he could have won at Redemption Island had he needed to go there, and he also probably wanted to secure a jury vote. There is no way Monica votes for him if he backstabs her, and he may already have trouble with some of the other jurors. He has to at least say that he was loyal to someone, and this is his opportunity.

The circumstances surrounding this move were so spectacular, we doubt we ever see it on the show again for another 20+ seasons. It made sense for everyone involved who was at risk, and the good thing with Redemption Island is that nobody is out of it.

In the end, this move is just another reason to love this season. Let’s hope it ends as strongly as the past few weeks have been.

What’s another great “Survivor” story to check out? Our exclusive interview with Caleb Bankston, where he talks about his run in the game.

Photo: CBS

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