Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” was an emotional one for Utahn Rachel Foulger to watch.
Foulger narrowly lost the Redemption Island duel and was eliminated from the 39-day game on Day 7.
Her boyfriend, Tyson Apostol, 34, who is also playing the game but on a different tribe, got emotional talking about her elimination on the show. It’s one of the first times Foulger said she’s seen him get emotional in the five years they’ve been dating.
“It was sad for me to see him crying on television,” the 33-year-old graphic designer and waitress from Provo said of Apostol.
And then Apostol was injured during the Immunity/Reward Challenge.
“It was an intense episode,” Foulger said in a phone interview on Thursday.
The Tadhana Tribe’s strategy for voting her out during last week’s episode didn’t work out.
In this season of “Survivor,” the castaways are 10 returning players and a loved one, including children, siblings, significant others, spouses or a relative. The returning players are in one tribe, the Galang Tribe, and the loved ones are in another tribe, the Tadhana Tribe.
When a tribe loses the Immunity/Reward Challenge, it goes to Tribal Council where it has to vote out a fellow tribe member. The voted-out castaway goes to Redemption Island where that person competes in individual duels with others on Redemption Island for a spot to get back in the game.
And once voted out, their loved ones can switch with them on Redemption Island.
Foulger’s Tadhana tribe mates targeted her to get her boyfriend, Apostol, off the other tribe to weaken the tribe of returning players.
And they saw the strategy.
“It’s not a bad move, Jeff,” Apostol said during the show Wednesday. “They must have assumed I would at least highly consider switching places with her, pulling me off the tribe and making it easier for them to win.”
And Apostol had the chance to switch with Foulger.
“You have a better chance in this game right now than I do,” Foulger told Apostol. “You need to stay there with your tribe. They need you.”
And Foulger said by phone that there was some pride involved in not giving her former tribe mates what they wanted. “I was there to help Galang now.”
The duel was lining up planks on a slanted platform so they fall like dominos and release a ball. The platform is on springs attached to trip bars. It was 114 degrees in the arena.
It was one of the hardest challenges she did while on the island, Foulger said. In addition to the heat, it was humid, the sun was beating down on them and it took at least an hour for the challenge.
Candice Cody, 30, won the duel and Marissa Peterson, 21, barely edged out Foulger.
Host Jeff Probst called it one of the most hard-fought games he had seen.
“Did you have fun while you were here?” Apostol asked Foulger before she put her buff in the fire and left. “Yes,” she said.
Foulger said Thursday that the experience brought them much closer together than she expected, even if they didn’t see each other except for a few moments at the Immunity/Reward Challenges.
“It’s something we can talk about and relate to,” she said. Apostol, who has been on both "Survivor: Tocantins" and "Heroes vs. Villains," played the game the first time four months after they first met.
“I liked to go to challenges just so that I could see Tyson,” Foulger said. “I was glad to be out there and in the Philippines with him.”
The biggest surprise of being on “Survivor”?
“Just the production crew is huge out there,” Foulger said. Viewers don’t see the camera crew, photographers, the medical team and others on the sidelines.
Two others out
Foulger wasn’t the only one who was out of the game at the Redemption Island Arena.
Colton Cumbie, 22, decided to withdraw from the game. He was previously medically evacuated from “Survivor: One World."
“Lots of people like to watch adventure. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they really should get up off the couch,” Probst said. “I’m now convinced that Colton is a guy who should have never got up off the couch.”
On Day 8, the Immunity/Reward Challenge included one-on-one duels with padded bags on a floating platform.
Apostol was pitted against 26-year-old Hayden Moss, and Apostol ended up with a shoulder injury. His shoulder was popped out a little bit and the tendon might have been torn.
“When Hayden hit me, I knew I had hurt myself,” Apostol said. “I really couldn’t move (my arm) at all.”
The Galang Tribe won five duels faster than the Tadhana Tribe members did, sending the Tadhana Tribe to Tribal Council for the third time in a row.
They blindsided 30-year-old John Cody, Candice’s husband, and sent him to Redemption Island. In part, it was because they questioned his loyalty to the tribe versus his loyalty to his wife.
Candice Cody, 30, had gotten an additional clue to the Immunity Idol from winning the Redemption Island duel and gave it to her husband, but he apparently hadn’t found it.
“Based on tonight’s blindside, it appears that you’re voting out people based on the future,” Probst said. “It also appears your tribe is getting weaker.”
In “Survivor,” there are physical and puzzle challenges that determine tribal immunity and, at times, rewards, and the losing team heads to Tribal Council, where it votes someone out. The tribes merge, generally about halfway through the 39-day contest, and then the challenges determine individual immunity. Usually after the tribes merge, the voted-out players comprise a jury that will determine which of the final three will be named “sole survivor” and win the $1 million.
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