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'Survivor: Blood vs Water', Episode 12 recap: Line in the sand, rock in the hand

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Wednesday night's episode of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" was an epic one. First though, let us send our thoughts and prayers to Tina and Katie. As you may have heard in the news and on social media, Tina's son and Katie's brother died on Tuesday in a car accident. While we focus on tonight's episode, let us first stop to be thankful for those around us and to send as much love and sympathy as we can to such wonderful people whom we've come to know through this, our favorite television show.

It's with that in mind, that we begin the recap of Episode 12:

Finishing Second. The episode begins with everyone returning to camp following the ousting of Caleb. Hayden congratulates Tyson and the others on the move. "Kat would say 'Touche' about their move," he tells the camera. "I would say, son of a...(long pause)...gun!" To the tribe though, he very vocally lets them know his thoughts. "Tyson, you are playing the best game, no one can touch you so far," he says. He continues to pour it on, telling everyone else they are playing for second place at this point, to which Gervase disagrees. Tyson regrets playing his Idol at the last Tribal Council, but he gets his alliance together - himself, Gervase, Ciera and Monica - and they unanimously decide that Hayden is the one they want gone next.

Redemption Island Duel. It's Caleb versus Laura versus Tina. Caleb arrives and doesn't even make eye contact with any of the players still in the game. The Duel was a Survivor house-of-cards challenge, where they would have to stack their house-of-cards eight feet high in order to win. There was also a 30-minute time limit, so the two tallest houses after 30 minutes would remain in the game as well. You could have guessed it, but Laura dominates yet another Duel challenge and finishes in first place. With less than 1 minute left, Caleb's house is quite high, way higher than Tina's, but a bit crooked. He decides to stop stacking and wait for the win. Within 30-seconds left in the challenge though, his house-of-cards comes tumbling down, leaving Tina as the second-place finisher and keeping her alive in the game. That means it is all over for Caleb. Probst asks one more time about Caleb and Colton's relationship: "What do you two have in common?" Caleb replies: "Well, we're both guys." As Kat would say, "Touche!"

A New Idol's In Play. Winning the Duel, Laura gives the hidden Immunity clue once again to her daughter, Ciera. But it's too late in the game to keep throwing clues in the fire. Ciera decides to hang on to this one. Feeling scared but not wanting to isolate herself, Ciera makes the decision to share her clue with her alliance and they all start searching for the Idol. Hayden and Katie pick up on what they are doing and they attempt to join in. Hayden is actually shown walking right underneath it, as it sat high up in a tree. Tyson gets emotional - breaking down in tears even, wrecking his sarcastic-cool persona for a brief moment - and tells the camera that he needs to get to the end, that getting to the end was his only justification for not swapping with Rachel when he had the chance. "I still feel like it's going to get pulled out from under me," he tells the camera between sobs. Continuing to search, wouldn't you know: Tyson finds the Idol once again. Suddenly, the old Tyson is back. "I can rest easy now...it's nap time." Like before, Tyson decides not to tell anyone he has it.

A Crack in the Wall? Hayden approaches Gervase, strongly suggesting that they need to blindside Tyson and quick. Gervase tells Hayden that he's on board if he can convince Ciera, but secretly Gervase reveals he has no intention whatsoever to flip on his boy Tyson.

Immunity Challenge. The contestants must balance a ball on a pole and then navigate an obstacle course. With each leg of the course requiring a longer balance pole. Then, they must unlock sandbags and use them to throw at nine targets. Knock all nine down to win Immunity as well as reward in the form of an ice cream cart delivered camp-side. Worth playin' for? Monica has already won three individual Immunity challenges, but her she falls short despite an impressive start. Instead, it's Gervase who pulls out the Immunity win. As part of his ice cream reward, Gervase gets to choose two others to join him and he picks Monica and then Tyson.

Ice Cream Social. While Gerv, Monica and Tyson feast on ice cream, Hayden takes the opportunity to talk strategy with Ciera. He tries to get her on board to vote out Tyson as well, but she seems just as immovable as Gervase did. Gervase joins the conversation eventually and Hayden realizes he is getting nowhere. He then just comes clean and tells Tyson directly, "I love you man, but I'm just trying to blindside you." He has to do whatever he can, because heading into Tribal Council, it looks like Hayden is a sitting duck.

A Tribal Council for the Ages. And so it began. Bouncing through his normal pattern of questions, Probst asks Gervase a question and his response set the Tribal Council and the game spinning. He made an off-handed mention that "four is better than six" about Ciera and where she would finish. Hayden came to this Tribal Council with guns a blazin' and he immediately picked up on what Gervase said. He tries to convince Ciera that she is indeed the fourth in a four person alliance and that her only chance to go further is to vote along with him and Katie. Doing so would create a 3-3 tie and then they would draw rocks to see who stays in the game. Through the course of the Tribal, Ciera slowly realizes that Hayden's logic is 100% accurate. Hayden's constant defiance gets under Gervase's skin and Gervase loses his cool, screaming at him, "You're going on the jury, believe that!" It seems like Hayden is still a goner, but Ciera does look quite shaken.

The Vote. So the votes are cast, with Gervase voting for "Hay-done" and speaking loudly while he casts his vote, saying "This ain't Big Brother, this is Survivor! You're about to get a lesson in how to play the game." We also see Tyson vote for Hayden. Jeff then reads the vote after no one plays a hidden Idol. The first vote was "Hay-done" and then: Hayden - Monica - Monica - Hayden. 3-2 with one vote left. So who did Ciera end up voting for? The final vote was read: Monica. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie!

The Re-Vote. At 3-3, now there would be a re-vote but this time Hayden and Monica were not allowed to vote and the others could only vote for Hayden or Monica. Ciera had to live through a bunch of glares and unhappy former alliance members groaning constantly, but eventually the re-votes were read: Monica - Hayden - Monica - Hayden. Yet another tie. Get those rocks ready.

The Rock Draw. Formerly referred to as the "purple rock" draw, it has only occurred one time before now, spanning all 27 seasons. It was Survivor: Marquesas (Season 4), where poor Paschal English drew the purple rock and was sent home. Per the rules of Survivor, it would work like this: Gervase is still immune since he won the Immunity Challenge. The two that were voted for are now immune, meaning Hayden and Monica were also safe, unless the remaining players - Tyson, Katie and Ciera - had a chance to come up with a unanimous vote by talking it out. If that didn't happen (and it didn't), Tyson, Katie and Ciera would draw rocks out of a bag. A black rock means you are safe, a white rock means that you are out of the game and sent to Redemption Island. Katie drew, followed by Ciera and then Tyson. They all held out there hands and revealed their rocks at once. No not Katie! Katie's hand revealed the white rock, meaning that she was out of the game. It also meant that Tyson survived a major scare and that Ciera's last minute coup attempt has now landed her in the minority once again. "It was worth a try," said Katie to Hayden on the way out. "Lines are in the sand now," Tyson said. They all went to leave and Hayden momentarily forgot to grab his torch before Tyson reminded him about it. "If you want it," Tyson tells him. With fire representing life in this game, you bet Hayden wants it. "I was rocked out," Katie says upon arriving to meet her mother and Laura at Redemption Island.

Analysis. Incredible episode and Tribal Council. For all of my thoughts and opinions on tonight's episode, please read my Survivor episode analysis on TheTVKing.com.

Next Time On...Only one episode left before the Finale on December 15. Tina is put in a tough situation having to compete against her daughter in the Duel. In the game, Ciera is shown convincing Monica that Tyson is always talking crap about her. There are only five left in the game, you will not want to miss next week!

What are your thoughts on the episode? Post your comments below!

Be sure to subscribe to this column (above by my name) to receive email alerts of new postings, as you will not want to miss my exclusive one-on-one interview with Caleb tomorrow! Do you have a question for him that you want me to ask? Post in the comment section below!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli, and at tomsantilli.com as well!

Also, make sure you check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, Survivor Fever.

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