A King Loses His 'Survivor' Crown: 'Well Played, Guys'

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In the game of "Survivor," you don't want to be the king.

Unless you're Boston Rob, it's better to fly under the radar and be a sneaky observer. Because as soon as people view you as unbeatable, they immediately start planning how to beat you.

Aras gets blindsided this week, all because he thought he was the golden god of "Survivor." Big mistake. It's a shame that he seems to have lost his craftiness in the seven years since "Panama." Back then, Aras was quite the schemer (though, to be fair, most of the strategy was hatched by Cirie). Perhaps that first win made him lose his edge.

This season, he's forgotten a very important rule of this game: Don't trust anybody 100 percent — even (especially) your alliance members. Aras is just sitting back, believing that his bonds with Gervase and Tyson are unbreakable. And as he finds out when he's voted out, he's wrong.

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Looking back, it seems that the tribe shuffle really hurt him. Whereas his brother had to stay on his toes and fight not to get eliminated, Aras became comfortable — too comfortable — staying with most of his original tribe. And when the merge takes place this week, he doesn't bother to suss out where people are at. Instead, he just assumes that the status quo will continue.

When Jeff Probst snuffs out his torch, Aras can only smile. "Well played, guys. Well played," he says. Even he knows he was a major threat and that it was absolutely the right move for his former alliance members to make.

The King is knocked from his throne, but he'll have a chance to regain his crown and the title of "Sole Survivor" — if he can win at Redemption Island.

A quick overview of what went down this week on "Survivor":

Redemption Island: With the merge taking place, that means the duel will propel someone back into the game. Unfortunately for Laura B. and John, it's an endurance test: clinging to a wooden pole. She gets in trouble right away, while he eventually struggles to keep his larger feet in the grooves. Laura M. wins — much to the chagrin of her daughter, Ciera.

Welcome to Kasama: The newly-merged tribe gets to feast, but Laura is more concerned with getting the lay of the land from Ciera. Daughter feels that mother can hurt her in the game, but they're still going to make a go of it together. And surprisingly, it's Ciera who's running the show, informing Laura that they're going to stick with the Single People's alliance (herself, Tyson, Gervase, Caleb, and Hayden).

Cross-plotting: Meanwhile, Aras and Vytas think they've got the numbers and want to vote out Laura. "We'd have to be real stupid at this point not to get to the end," Vytas says. Foreshadowing!

Annoying person of the week: Monica. She really can't shut up and it's hurting Tyson's ears. He even wants to gouge out his eyes with a rusty spoon.

Idol update: Tyson hasn't always played smart. Scratch that — he was downright stupid in "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" (seriously, all he had to do was stick to the plan and vote for Russell). So it's nice to see he's learned from that and is being more shrewd about his gameplay. He seems to be the only one who even tries to look for the hidden Immunity Idol, and finds it without much effort.

Immunity Challenge: Ah, the memory game — one of our favorite tests! Most of the players can't even make it past the first round, and in the end, it comes down to Vytas and Aras. The sibling rivalry continues! If little bro wins, then the Single People's alliance will have to come up with a new plan. But he doesn't; Vytas triumphs over Aras.

Tribal Council: Jeff focuses much of the conversation on playing in pairs after the merge. Aras mentions that it's not just about playing with your partner, though; you need to have a larger alliance for voting majority. Laura praises Ciera's social game and says she's learning stuff from her newbie daughter. And Gervase notes that the game can change in a snap. Which it does... when the Single People's alliance stays strong and votes out Aras. His torch is snuffed for the very first time. Now he's off to Redemption Island; we'll see if his time there makes him smart again.

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"Survivor: Blood vs. Water" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.