Maybe because this season features returning players and their relatives, there's been a lot of talk about "Survivor 101." Monica mentions it again this week regarding someone who makes executive decisions without consulting their alliance.
It's true: There are rules to this game — rules that have developed and been codified over the past 26 seasons. And yet, it's fascinating that so-called fans of the game still don't know them! These are people whose loved ones played before. They should know, right?
But they don't, or they've forgotten. And when you're blinded to the rules — you get blindsided. That's "Survivor 101."
Check out our play-by-play of this week's action:
0:01: Oh, Kat. She's seriously crying about Hayden breaking up with her because she got voted off her tribe. Girlfriend, you need to check yourself.
0:04: Redemption Cry Island time. Kat's still crying, but Hayden assures her that their relationship is going to be fine. Because who would break up with someone over this? Come on, Kat.
0:08: Jeff offers Hayden the opportunity to switch with Kat, and the couple talks about it. He asks her what is better in the long-term — who has the better shot to win the game. She says he does and decides to stay in the duel. He starts to cry (of course).
0:10: Kat, John, and Laura begin the duel, which involves untying a machete, chopping down a bag filled with puzzle pieces, then putting that puzzle together. Puzzle master Laura is licking her lips.
0:13: This is the same puzzle Cochran completed in last season's final Immunity Challenge. John is flying through, and surprisingly, Laura needs to look at his effort to stay in the game. Her daughter, Ciera, can't even stand to watch.
0:14: John wins. Kat is catching up to Laura, and the others encourage her to look at Laura's puzzle. Weirdly, Kat thinks this is morally wrong. KAT, THIS IS "SURVIVOR." In any case, looking doesn't help, nor do tips from the stands. Laura finishes her puzzle and Kat's out. "You're not going to break up with me, are you?" she asks Hayden as he hugs and kisses her. SIGH. This girl is killing us.
0:16: John gives the clue to Monica. She throws it in the fire. Again.
0:20: At Tadhana, Hayden is cut up about Kat leaving and questions whether he should've taken her place in the duel. But he also realizes that now he can play differently without her — be more cutthroat. And, as he notes, most of his tribe is partner-less … except for Aras.
0:22: Aras meditates again, and he is feeling confident and comfortable. His two strongest allies are with him in the new tribe, and Vytas is still in the game in the other tribe. "Survivor 101" says that as soon as you get comfortable, you're a target. And true to form, his best buddy Tyson is plotting against him.
0:24: At Galang, Vytas is bonding with Katie and Tina. Tina is all starry-eyed, dreaming of Vytas and Katie getting together and giving her grandbabies. We have to give Vytas major props — he's playing this group of women perfectly. He knows that women like bad boys, but they like reformed bad boys even more.
0:32: Immunity Challenge time. The reward is a fried chicken Southern feast … mmmm. Four tribe members, chained at the ankles, are on an obstacle course to gather balls. They use the chains and balls to make bolos, then toss the bolos at a target.
0:35: Tadhana is better at walking together, but Galang is better at untying the blocks. Monica is smart and blocks Aras at one point. They're neck and neck when they finish the course and start tossing the bolos.
0:37: Tyson lands three bolos and wins for Tadhana. Shocker.
0:44: At Galang, the women are all crying (SO MUCH CRYING THIS SEASON). Laura tells Vytas that he's getting voted out because he's a huge threat. "You're an amazing" man," she says, and hopes he can be at peace with the decision.
0:45: Well, that decision wasn't exactly discussed by all the women. Monica is pissed that Laura decided to tell Vytas about the vote without consulting the alliance first. She starts wondering whether Laura is trustworthy, while Tina is nervous that Laura is unpredictable. Uh oh. This sounds like Kat all over again.
0:48: Tadhana troops to Tribal council, where Laura says it's obvious that Vytas is going home. He harps on the whole "trustworthy" thing again, and Jeff notes how risky it is to tell people they're going home. Monica and Katie both agree that alliances should discuss decisions like that before making them. Now, Laura starts to look a bit worried.
0:51: Vytas is such a smooth operator. He stirs up emotions by mentioning how he and Aras still have some work to do in their relationship. Everyone votes.
0:53: Jeff tallies. And surprise, surprise (not) — Laura is out. "Every time you open your mouth, you risk saying something that could get you voted out," Jeff says.
Laura, maybe it's time to take a "Survivor 101" refresher course.
Check out Twitter reactions to this week's episode, and then sound off in the comments below!
Sorry, Rupert, but Laura played an awful game on #Survivor. Kat, not much better. Amateurs!— Bruce Westbrook (@BruceWestbrook) October 31, 2013
What kind of relationship does Kat & Hayden have if she's worried he's gonna break up with her cause she got voted out!? #Survivor— Ingela (@whoppanagan) October 31, 2013
Vytas just told me that these aren't the droids I am looking for. Should I believe him? #Survivor— Max Dawson (@fymaxwell) October 31, 2013
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.