If you want to win "Survivor," you can never stray too far from the herd.
Being an outlier of any kind — whether you win too many challenges, you scheme too much, or you make an unexpected move — pretty much guarantees a target on your back.
In this week's double-elimination episode, neither decision was a surprise. Vytas and Tina were easy, predictable votes. But the machinations within the tribe reveal just how smart — and conversely, how stupid — some players are acting.
Tyson has clearly learned his lesson from his previous season. He made one of the dumbest mistakes in all of "Survivor" history when he changed his vote in "Heroes vs. Villains." This time, he's far craftier — he knows that revealing his possession of the hidden Immunity Idol will instantly make him a huge threat. So, even though it would help his alliance to know that he has it, Tyson keeps it a secret.
Meanwhile, Monica makes two absolutely terrible moves: 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 the herd/alliance and while that isn't a problem this week, we have a feeling it'll bite her in the near future.
A quick rundown of this week's "Survivor":
Immunity Challenge No. 1: Ah, the classic eating challenge. So gross. We had to look away several times. It's even more delicious because this very kind of obstacle tripped Gervase up in the first season of "Survivor" 13 years ago. This time, he manages to stomach the creepy-crawlies until the last round, when it's revealed he has to eat grubs — the very thing that caused his downfall back then. While he makes a valiant effort, Monica out-eats him to win her first challenge ever.
Scramble O'Clock: Vytas deserves props for some really suave scrambling after the first Immunity Challenge. He knows he's the first to go, but he almost manages to convince Hayden and Tyson to get rid of Katie first. But then …
Tribal Council No. 1: What happened to smooth-talking Vytas? The guy suddenly goes off about how angry he is over Aras getting voted out. Then, he calls out Monica for being paranoid and labels Tyson and Gervase as the kingpin in the game. Monica is so offended, she changes her vote to Vytas and says it's for her husband, Brad.
Camp Life: Gervase is so not cool with Monica's action. Yeah, it didn't really matter, but anyone who changes their vote is suspicious and possibly untrustworthy. Monica may have to go next.
Immunity Challenge No. 2: The second test is one of concentration — stacking coins on the hilt of a sword. Considering how crazy she's been acting, it's no wonder Monica is the first to get out. It comes down to Hayden, Katie, and Tyson, but the boys aren't able to hold. Katie wins immunity!
Babysitters' Club: When they get back to camp, Tina assures Katie that she needs to think only about herself and play to survive. After bestowing that blessing, Tina makes a mad dash for the woods to find the hidden Immunity Idol, but she's followed by the other tribe members — including Tyson, who already found it! He still stays mum on that though, and allows Tina to dig around and his alliance members to watch her uselessly.
Tribal Council No. 2: Before tribal, Gervase and Tyson have a powwow about the problem that is Monica. "Loose cannons will always shoot off, and when they do, nine times out of 10, they're going to sink something you're riding on," Gervase says sagely. At council, Jeff Probst encourages Tina to talk — and boy, does she. She pointedly asks Monica about being on the bottom of the alliance, and Paranoid Monica starts making all sorts of excuses.
In the end, though, no matter how shady Monica has been, there's no stopping this alliance train. They vote out Tina, and she heads to Redemption Island to hang with her boys Aras and Vytas.
But if she lasts beyond next week (without immunity), we'll be very, very surprised.
Check out Twitter reactions to the episode, and then sound off in the comments below!
I hate the worm/bug eating challenges on #Survivor. This is the #1 reason I would never even consider being on the show.— Stephanie Scott (@StephScottYA) November 14, 2013
Monica is worse than a floater, she's an anchor. She's one of those people who panics and drowns their would-be rescuer. #Survivor— Richard (@DispatchesFTC) November 14, 2013
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.