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'Survivor: Blood vs Water', Episode 13 recap: Digging deep

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Jeff Probst has a lot of famous little catch phrases on Survivor, such as "drop your buffs," "come on in guys!" and "Wanna know what you're playin' for?" Another common phrase of his, "You are going to have to dig deep," was the theme behind Wednesday night's 13th episode of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water," the last remaining Wednesday episode before this Sunday's season finale. Let's recap tonight's events:

Mother & Daughter #1. After having the ultimate bad luck and pulling the white rock at the last Tribal Council, Katie arrived at Redemption Island to meet up with Laura and her mother. Katie knows that the rock draw was her only hope in the game. "That was my shot to knock Tyson off his throne," she said. Tina begins to struggle with the thought of competing against her daughter in the upcoming Duel, knowing that at this point, both of them cannot return to the game.

Another Survivor 101 Lesson. "You guys know I love everyone, right?" says Ciera to the rest of the camp as they return from the rock draw Tribal. "That's why you don't tell an insane person they're next to go...Gervase," says Tyson, referring to Hayden's desperate ploy that actually ended up working...well, almost. It's Survivor 101, Tyson tells us. You can't let the person on the bottom know they're going home. They jokingly draw a real line in the sand with Hayden and Ciera on one side of it and Monica, Tyson and Gervase on the other. Growing annoyed with Monica's constant paranoia, Tyson tells he and Gervase that Tyson does in fact have the hidden Idol, so not to worry about anything moving forward if they can just stick together.

Mother & Daughter #2. "I have nothing to lose," says Ciera, hoping to go all out in her remaining time in the game. Her best case scenario is now, ironically, to hope for her mom to re-enter the know, her mom? The one she voted out of the game? Ciera felt good that she tried to mix the game up a bit by going to the rock draw and the current plan is to hopefully win Immunity as well as find the hidden Idol to ensure both her and Hayden's safety.

The Duel. There was more mother/daughter stuff going on tonight though than just Ciera rooting for her mom in the Duel. Tina was actually about to face off against not only her daughter Katie, but the challenge beast that is Laura Morett. The challenge was another Survivor classic, where they must build a long pole out of rope and wood, long enough to retrieve three keys. The pole would have to be long enough and sturdy enough and once all three keys were retrieved, they would unlock three locks and walk through their door. "This is by far the hardest day," said Tina before beginning. Well, it wasn't too hard for Laura, who once again cruised to a challenge victory. "She's a freak," said her daughter, Ciera, from the stands. That left just Tina and Katie in the game. Tina showed no signs of slowing down or giving up. She eventually got all of her keys before Katie, but then asked her daughter if it was OK for her to go ahead and win. Katie told her to do so and with that, Tina eliminated her own daughter from the game.

Mother & Daughter #3. After the challenge, some tears were shed, leading Tina to reveal that she was adopted. Her bond with Katie was something she had never felt. "It's just a pure, unadulterated, complete love," Tina said about her feelings toward her daughter. "I'm so incredibly proud of both myself and my mother," said Katie. And with that, she burned her buff and left the game. Tina and Laura lived to see another day, but first Laura once again gave the hidden Idol clue to her daughter, Ciera, before leaving the arena.

Out on a Limb. Deciphering the Idol clue, Hayden and Ciera put forth an extensive search, but came up empty. Hayden figures that if they can't find it, then someone must already have it. They assume Tyson. Elsewhere, Gervase knows he is close to the finish line and decides to firm up his relationship with Monica. Monica shares a mutual trust with Gerv and Tyson, but tells the camera, "I am playing this game for Monica, not Tyson, not Gervase. Monica." Hayden and Ciera realize that their only "Hail Mary play" is to try to convince Monica that the guys don't really respect her and to hopefully drive a wedge between them.

Immunity Challenge. The contestants would have to follow along a buoy rope course through the water, before completing a tile puzzle that spelled out a common Jeff Probst Survivor phrase. Tyson and Hayden got the puzzle portion ahead of the pack and Ciera was a distant last place. But somehow, she was able to whiz through the puzzle portion. Ciera correctly spelled out the phrase: "You are going to have to dig deep," and won herself individual immunity. As reward, she would get a bountiful burger feast and she chose (who else?) Hayden to join her.

Looking for the Crack. A very happy Ciera tells the camera, "Don't ever count me out!" Picking Hayden to join her, she figures, only goes to show that she is not afraid of Tyson and that she's not going to kiss the majority alliance's ass. Meanwhile though, Hayden knows that he is the only target now that Ciera is immune. "I need to pull a rabbit out of my hat," he says. "Monica is definitely the crack," says Ciera.

The Hail Mary. Cashing in on their last resort, Ciera confronts Monica on the beach and begins to throw Tyson and Gervase under the bus. "Tyson is a villain in this game," Ciera tells her. She goes on to say how the guys talk bad behind Monica's back and that they refer to her as their little puppy dog. Monica admits that the new info was like "a gut punch" and also realizes that she is the ultimate swing vote at the next Tribal. Could Monica be the rabbit in the hat that Hayden was looking for?

Tribal Council. It's a long game and it's been days since Hayden has seen his girlfriend, Kat, leading him to gawk at a showered, clean and done-up Katie, arriving now as part of the jury. "Katie looks hot," he grinned. Then it was down to business. Hayden and Ciera acknowledge they are in the minority, but they continued to press Monica, resulting in yet another exciting, explosive Tribal Council debate. "I just want to let Monica know who she is playing with," Ciera says. Gerv and Tyson haven't had to take the defensive too often at Tribal, but they both handled their own quite well, other than Gervase once again temporarily losing his cool. Monica repeats the Survivor moniker about "digging deep" and the look on her face signaled that we might indeed be in for another shocking Tribal Council vote. So which side will Monica choose?

The Vote. Interestingly enough, Tyson chose not to play his Idol, perhaps giving us a sign as to how confident he actually was with this vote. With only Ciera immune, the votes read as follows: Hayden - Gervase - Hayden - Gervase...and the last vote read? Hayden. Yes, it was another good old fake-out episode of Survivor, where the obvious boot was the one that in the end, was the person booted. "Good game, fellas," Hayden told them as he saw his torch snuffed. "I felt we were close tonight, but here I am," said Hayden after arriving at Redemption Island. "Monica doing Monica, just listening to what Tyson says."

Analysis. Much to discuss over at episode analysis article. See you there!

Next Time On...Yes, the Finale Episode of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" is this Sunday night, with a special two-hour episode followed by the Live Reunion Show, all beginning at 8 p.m. There are now four in the game: Ciera, Tyson, Gervase and Monica, with three on Redemption Island: Tina, Laura and Hayden. Seven are left...who will win Survivor? You will not wan to miss Sunday's Finale!

I'll be back on Sunday with a preview article setting the stage for the big Finale and giving a few predictions. Then be sure to check back Sunday night for the full Finale and Live Reunion Show recaps. Finally, you won't want to miss my exclusive interviews with the remaining seven Survivors on Monday.

What are your thoughts on tonight's episode? And who do you think is poised to win Survivor? 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 Katie tomorrow! Do you have a question for her that you want me to ask? Post in the comment section below!

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

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


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