Survivor: Blood vs. Water merged the two tribes and eliminated "loved ones" Laura Boneham and John Cody from the game after they lost the season's seventh Redemption Island duel just before the merge during Wednesday night's eighth episode of the CBS reality series' 27th edition.

Newbie players Laura, a 44-year-old merchandiser from Indianapolis, IN, and John, a 30-year-old physician and army orthopedic surgery resident from Washington, D.C., lost the duel to returning player Laura Morett, a 43-year-old construction company co-owner from Salem, OR. For winning the duel, Laura M. got to re-enter the game just as the tribes were merging.

"I feel like I defied the odds. I came out of my comfort zone coming here in the first place and playing a social game, which just, I'm a quiet farm girl and I'm going to go back stronger than I've ever been in my life," Laura, the wife of Rupert Boneham, said following her ouster.

"I didn't want to leave, [Survivor host Jeff Probst]. I was on Redemption Island for 12 days thinking about this challenge right here. It's just tough to end this way," John, the husband of Candice Cody, said after he was eliminated.

"I would say this compares probably to some of the things I had to go through during my first year at West Point -- always on edge, and this is probably one of the hardest days I've experienced. The silver lining is if not for my blindside, I wouldn't have spent any days with Candice out here in the game, and I got to spend two days on Redemption Island. This was much harder than I thought it was going to be."

Later in the episode the new Kasama merged tribe voted returning castaway Aras Baskauskas, a 31-year-old musician from Santa Monica, CA, out on Night 21 at the season's eighth Tribal Council session. He was previously crowned champion of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island, which aired in early 2006.

"I'm still shocked a little bit. The first time I played Survivor, I never got voted out, so to get voted out tonight was a completely new experience for me. I think probably the biggest pain for me is that [brother Vytas Baskauskas] is in a really tough position now. I know Vytas is in a really tough position. I'd be shocked if he wasn't the one that joins me here in two or three nights," Aras said upon arriving at Redemption Island.

As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Aras will now remain on Redemption Island alone, where he will eventually battle other castaways in the game's next duel and attempt to earn a chance to rejoin the game and resume competing for Survivor: Blood vs. Water's million dollar prize.

The Galang tribe was comprised of returnee Monica Culpepper, a 42-year-old former NFL wife and homemaker from Tampa, FL; returnee Tina Wesson, a 52-year-old motivational speaker from Robbinsville, NC; Tina's daughter Katie Collins, a 25-year-old who works in hedge fund support from New York, NY; and Vytas, a 33-year-old yoga instructor and math professor from Santa Monica, CA.

The Tadhana tribe was comprised of returnee Aras; Tyson Apostol, a 34-year-old former pro cyclist and shop manager from Provo, UT; Gervase Peterson, a 43-year-old cigar lounge owner from Philadelphia, PA; Colton Cumbie's fiance Caleb Bankston, a 26-year-old post office manager and farmer from Collinsville, AL; Kat Edorsson's boyfriend and former Big Brother winner Hayden Moss, a 26-year-old in real estate from Springtown, TX; and Laura M.'s daughter Ciera Eastin, a 24-year-old cosmetology student from Salem, OR.

On Night 18, Vytas said the girls in his tribe -- Tina, Katie and Monica -- were in his final five with himself and Aras come the merge. He said they were "locked" and was convinced Gervase would 100% be working with Aras and wouldn't waiver. Tina was skeptical of Aras and Gervase's bond, but if it all worked out for them, they'd have six of 11 castaways and ultimately the majority in the numbers.

The girls planned to play a very moral, loyal and honest game, but Vytas wasn't on the same page although he assured the girls he felt the same way. Tina told the group Monica was fifth in their alliance, and Monica was surprised at the revelation. She thought she might be able to get herself in a better position once the tribes merged.

Over at Redemption Island, Laura B. thought her tribe had made a strategically-foolish choice and were making "a huge mistake" by keeping Vytas and getting rid of her. She just didn't get why they would make such a move.
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"The merge could come tomorrow and here's Vytas joining Aras and all those guys. They're going to take out the girls! It's ridiculous. Ridiculous," Laura B. said.

On Day 19, all the castaways from both tribes gathered to witness the season's seventh duel. Jeff then welcomed Laura B., John and Laura M. and they entered the arena altogether.

John had been training to win the duel the past 12 days. He told the cameras he'd be disappointed in himself and so would Candice if he lost. Laura M. said she needed to win because she had told her daughter she'd come back for her. She felt she "had to" win.

Jeff then announced the winner of the duel would get to re-enter the game and continue their quest to be sole Survivor and win a million dollars.

"I have mixed feelings about my mom coming back. My mom obviously created relationships over there that weren't that strong, so it could really ruin my game if she came back," Ciera told the cameras.

For the duel, the three castaways were required to hang onto a pole for as long as they could. If any part of their body touched the ground, they'd be out of the challenge and out of the game for good.

John was out of the challenge first. When it came down to the two Lauras, Laura M. yelled out, "I'm not letting go, Laura B. My daughter's on the line here. You're going to have to pry my arms off of this."

Laura M. ended up winning the duel and she hugged her daughter on her way back into the game.

Jeff then revealed the two tribes would be merging and everyone was given a new buff. Laura M. got the clue for a hidden Immunity Idol and immediately threw it in the fire just like most of the castaways before her.

After the duel, Aras planned to go forward "Galang strong," sticking with the original Galang tribe -- himself, Gervase, Tyson, Monica and Tina -- and then add Vytas and Katie into the mix. However, Gervase and Tyson had been secretly gunning to get Aras out for several days.

While everyone enjoyed a big feast back at camp, Hayden was going over numerous possibilities in his head.

"The whole time, I'm really thinking, 'Okay. What can I do here to make sure I stay in the numbers?' We're five solid -- me, Caleb, Tyson, Gervase and Ciera. And now I'm thinking, 'Okay, is Laura M. going to come with Ciera or is Laura M. going to try to pull Ciera to make three pairs [of loved ones]?' It could be Laura and Ciera, Aras and Vytas, and Katie and Tina. Everything is going to hinge on Ciera and it's a long game," Hayden explained.

Laura M. was excited to play with her daughter and, like Hayden feared, wanted the couples to stay together -- which would give them the six-person majority. However, she knew she had a lot of work to do.

Gervase and Tyson hoped Ciera was "working" Laura M. to join their alliance against Aras. Ciera worried about Laura M.'s enemies because her mom had obviously been voted out before. Laura M. hoped Ciera was in an alliance with Hayden and Caleb, and she was.

However, Laura M. made things "sketchy," according to Ciera, because her alliance had been formed with people who didn't have a loved one. Ciera told her mom they had promised one another a Final 5.

Ciera asked her mom not to talk strategy with anyone and stick with her. She then told Laura M. that Aras was the next person to go.

"Here I was on Redemption Island thinking the game was over, and now, I'm in a power position in this game of, 'Who's going to go home?'" Laura M. noted.

Meanwhile, Tyson went looking for the hidden Immunity Idol since Caleb and Hayden had previously revealed a couple of the clues with one being "a serpent tree." Tyson ended up finding the idol and planned not to share the news with anyone until he could gain an advantage for sharing it. Tyson didn't think the idol correlated with winning Survivor, but he didn't care.

Vytas was thrilled to play the game with his brother. The duo then discussed strategy and believed they had Gervase, Tina, Katie, and Monica on their side. Aras thought they had Gervase and then Tyson as their seventh.

Aras wanted to get rid of Laura M. because she "made everyone uncomfortable" and he couldn't trust her. He said she was "the scariest person in the game" and she was an "easy vote."

"If people were smart, they would mobilize against us right away and be like, 'These brothers are f-cking making it to the end,'" Vytas explained to Aras. "But they're not going to. We're going to try to get Laura Morett or Ciera. We're going to try to deflect to somebody else."

Vytas later told the cameras, "Blood vs. Water should really in the end be called 'Vytas vs. Aras,' because we would have to be real stupid at this point not to get to the end."

On Night 19, Monica asked Tyson what was going on because she didn't want to be fifth in her alliance with Tina and the rest of Galang. Monica asked if Gervase was going to flip because he was supposedly in a Final 3 with Aras and Tina. Tyson assured her that Gervase was with him. To secure the numbers, Tyson showed Monica respect and revealed his plan to vote out Aras.

It apparently took a lot of patience for Tyson not to flip out on Monica because she talked so much, but he still promised to take her to the end with Gervase. Despite Tyson's solid gameplan, Monica couldn't relax and wasn't sure what to do.

On Day 21, the merged tribe met Jeff again for the first Individual Immunity Challenge of the season.

For the challenge, each castaway was shown a series of symbols. Testing their memory, they had to repeat the symbols on their cube back to Jeff in the correct order. If they got it right, they'd stay in the challenge. If they got a symbol wrong, they'd be out.

The challenge came down to Gervase, Aras and Vytas. Gervase was out next and the two brother were fighting until the end. Vytas, however, pulled out the win and received the immunity necklace.

Later that day, the merged tribe -- newly-named Kasama -- confirmed their voting plans. Vytas said he'd be surprised if anyone had the guts to target himself or Aras. Meanwhile, Aras told Tyson, Tina, Monica, and Katie that the girls should vote for Ciera and the guys should vote for Laura M. in case one of them played an idol. Aras thought he ultimately had nine people with him.

Laura M. was worried that Aras had a hidden Immunity Idol. She suggested to Ciera they should throw four votes to Tina and three to Aras just in case. Ciera was conflicted, saying it was a struggle because she wanted to listen to her mom but also wanted to play her own game.

Meanwhile, Gervase thought himself, Caleb, Monica, Tyson, Hayden, Ciera, and Laura M. were all voting for Aras. He hoped people were on the same page.

On Night 21, the merged tribe arrived for Survivor: Blood vs. Water's eighth Tribal Council session. It was the first time they arrived at Tribal altogether.

It was discussed amongst everyone how the three pairs of "loved ones" could easily team up and take out the five singles. Hayden then pointed out that any one of those pairs could potentially serve as a swing vote assuming the six players planned to stick together. Katie admitted she'd stick by her mom's side in voting.

Katie was shown voting for Ciera, Gervase was shown voting for Aras, and Aras was shown voting for Laura M.

Jeff then revealed the votes. Two people voted for Laura M., two people voted for Ciera, and five votes were shown for Aras. Katie and Tina most likely voted for Ciera, and Aras and Vytas presumably cast their votes for Laura M. Everyone else most likely voted for Aras.

Aras was completely blindsided. He told his brother to have "lots of fun" and they expressed love for one another. Vytas looked just as shocked about the turn of events.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.