Survivor preview: Family ties that bind
Before we get into tonight's episode of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, how charming was it last week when Tampa’s Monica Culpepper won her first immunity challenge? The fact that she had to eat a wiggling grub to do it was beside the point. She was genuine and she wormed her way into our hearts. But then, the game continues, and Monica was back to her paranoid self.
She says it's not paranoia, she's being careful. ToMAto, ToMAHto. But she has good reason to be on alert. First her husband, ex-Buccaneer Brad Culpepper, becomes a lightning rod that probably is still leaving some grill marks on the woman. Now she is showing she is a better competitor than most and she's been through this before, having been blindsided on her first try in the Survivor game. I'll be curious when this is over to ask her why Monica didn't go to Tina and Laura and make a women’s alliance with them and their daughters. That’s five votes for the ladies. Of course, she would the first one gone since mamas and daughters don't turn on each other. Or do they? Tonight's episode seems to imply differently.
Meanwhile, Monica made two possibly lethal moves last week. First, she doesn’t vote how she’s supposed to. Then, she starts making noise about splitting the vote in case Tina found the Idol. In both cases, she sets herself apart from her alliance and that usually makes players nervous.
But I'm calling it: Our gal from Tampa is in no danger tonight. As Jeff Probst tweeted last Wednesday, "Take that Brad Culpepper. There are two bad assess in your house!" Her alliance is solid and all eyes are on the last family tie on the island: the mother-daughter alliance of Ciera and Laura.
Previews for the episode titled "Big Bad Wolf" make it clear there will be a tearful tribal council and much talk of Ciera being talked into voting her mom off the island. To show loyalty? Is this Lord of the Flies time? It seems pretty clear that with a strong core alliance, the next few weeks are just going to be spent picking off the Have Nots of the tribemates.