Did you miss last week’s season premiere of Survivor: Redemption Island? Well, catch up with last week’s recap.
Night. Day Three. Francesca arrives on Redemption Island (heretofore “RI”), and says her mind is racing; she’s not going to sleep tonight. In the darkness, she reads a note about her allotment of water and rice. She says Tribal Council was crazy thanks to Phillip flipping out. Francesca looks for flint, and fortunately she has some. She is actually happy to be on RI because she thinks it is good for her game. She was friendly with everyone, but not in the majority alliance, so maybe she can come back later in the game when things have changed.
Ometepe arrives back at their beach after “one of the wildest Tribal Councils” Rob has ever seen. Kristina confides to the camera that she feels lucky she still has the Hidden Immunity Idol. Phillip calls Rob over, and tells the Bostonian that until, he goes to RI, Rob owns Phillip’s vote. Rob confesses that Phillip is quite the piece of work. He thinks Phillip is a good-hearted guy, but he’s clearly not all there. “Phillips is proof government jobs are stressful,” Rob jokes. He gathers his alliance of six, and says that they just need to stay strong for two more Tribal Councils, and then they can play all the strategy they want. The alliance agrees that Phillip is out next, but maybe they should win some challenges before they vote him out. Matt is down with that.
On the morning of Day Four, Phillip goes out on a crab hunt with a spear(?!?). He tells the camera that the game causes him to go back to a primal state. He knows that the game is going to test him in so many ways. Meanwhile, Matt narrates Phillip’s hunt with some Australian-inflected commentary that cracks up the rest of the tribe. Phillip weeps that he loves his country, and that he is trying to take the pride and trustworthiness he felt when he served, into the game. Finally, the lesson he learned from Tribal Council is that he loves himself, and that’s OK.
Over at Zapatera, Ralph is crowing to bring in the morning. Russell confesses that he’s dealing with fools, and that Ralph may be dumbest person on Earth. He thinks Stephanie is a good player (likely because she has aligned herself with him). All he needs now is one more girl to side with him: Krista. He pulls her aside and says that after the next challenge, there might be a clue for the HII. He’s going to start looking today without the clue, but she should be on the lookout. Stephanie and Krista are his two girls now, Russell confides. Finding Idols is how he plays the game, so he is going to find the one that surely exists around his camp. Steve and Mike watch Russell go on his search. What they don’t see is Ralph picking up rocks. He notices a rock is wedged into a hole in a tree, so he removes it, and finds the HII! (Seriously, Survivor crew, hide the damn HIIs better. Or, here’s an idea: don’t put them out there until a clue is given!) Ralph marks his luck by saying, “That was as simple as wiping your hiney with toilet paper.”
Back at Ometepe. Matt tells Andrea that God put him in a good alliance. Andrea confesses that she and Matt are close and share a little bit of loyalty. Rob, seeing all around camp, knows Matt is trying to play the good guy, but Andrea is going to walk her little puppy, Matt, all over the island. Rob is wary of pairs after getting to the end with Amber during All-Stars. He asks Natalie her thoughts on Andrea and Matt. She has noticed the two of them getting chummy. Rob tells the camera that it is going to be hard to partner with Natalie, as he’ll have to carry her the whole way, but it is his best option in combatting Andrea and Matt. He tells Natalie that they may have to vote out Andrea instead of Phillip at the next Tribal Council. Natalie confides that she is willing to do whatever Rob says to make big moves and advance in the game. Hopefully they won’t need this strategy this week if they win the…
…Immunity Challenge. Zapatera is surprised to see Francesca was voted out because she was a strong competitor. When someone from Zapatera boasts that the Immunity Idol will be returning to them, Jeff asks if such braggadocio bothers Phillip, he says that he will outlast any man there. What about the women, Jeff asks. “That will have to wait for another day,” replies Phillip. For the Challenge, one at a time, members of each tribe will swim across a pool of water, climb up to a platform on the other side, jump off the platform and try to smash a tile hanging overhead. Successfully smashing the tile will release a key. The player must retrieve the key and swim back to the start, allowing another member of the tribe to go out onto the course. After gathering the five keys, a non-swimming member of the tribe will use the keys to unlock three locks on a box. Inside is a ball to be used by the final member of the tribe to break five tiles. The first tribe to break the final five tiles will win Immunity and Reward: fishing gear. Zapatera decides to sit David, and the teams line up. “Survivors ready…..go!”
Leading off for their respective tribes are Steve and Grant. Grant jumps to a lead on his dive into the water. Grant gets key without breaking a tile, and swims back to tag in Ashley. Steve quickly gets back to and sends Sarita into the pool. Ashley breaks her tile, as does Sarita, but Ashely has opened up the lead. Matt is already on the jumping platform when Julie just gets into the water. Matt returns with a key for Ometepe, who also has Andrea go out abd back with a key before Julie returns with Zapatera’s third. Russell goes out for Zapatera’s fourth key, and is immediately followed by Rob seeking Ometepe’s fifth key. Russell and Rob return with their keys. Mike jumps in for Zapatera while Natalie starts to work on the locks for Ometepe. Natalie can’t seem to grasp the idea that there are five keys for three locks, so Zapatera catches up. Stephanie gets two locks undone for Zapatera before Natalie gets one undone. Stephanie opens the final lock and hands the ball to Ralph. Natalie finally gets her final lock open, and gives the ball to Phillip. Phillip is actually the first to break a tile, but Ralph breaks his first, second and third tiles. With a couple more tosses, Ralph breaks tile number four. Phillip finally breaks his second tile, and then a third, as Ralph’s ball literally bounces off his last tile twice. Phillip ties up the Challenge by smashing his fourth tile. Ralph makes another toss and breaks his final tile. Zapatera wins Reward and Immunity! Matt goes over to Zapatera and shakes the opposition’s hands. Rob practically loses his mind at this gesture. Jeff informs Ometepe that they will be heading to Tribal Council where someone will be voted out and face off against Francesca on RI.
Zapatera heads back to their beach. Russell wisely grabbed the basket of fishing equipment as he believes it may hold a clue to the HII. He actually sees the peeking out of the flippers, so he grabs it. Ralph sees Russell with the clue, and says Russell is going to pay the price because this is Ralph’s game. Ralph and David see Russell and his girls (Stephanie and Krista) going off together into the woods. Sarita tells Mike that she saw the clue in the flippers and Russell grab it. Mike says Russell is the least trustworthy character in the tribe. Russell and the girls go out by the well and try to figure out the HII clue. Russell confides that he only needs three votes to win, as he never had the numbers in his other seasons. Before they can find the HII, Mike walks up. Russell offers that Sarita was terrible in the Challenge, to which Mike agrees. Ralph then joins the group and immediately asks Russell about the clue. Russell says they’re wasn’t a clue in the Reward basket. Mike and Ralph call him out for lying. “Easy guys, this isn’t how the game is played,” Russell says. “You’re either with me, or against me,” he warns. Ralph isn’t having any of it, and asks Russell about the HII clue again. Russell denies the existence of a clue, and doesn’t particularly like how Ralph is attacking him. Ralph later confesses to the camera that he doesn’t need a clue (obviously,a s he already has the HII); he’ll show Russell how smart he is. Russell confides that he can’t believe that Ralph actually came at him.
Over at RI, Francesca gets some Tree Mail. Inside she finds her luxury item: a journal. She doesn’t know what the RI Challenge will be, but she hopes she doesn’t have to coexist for too long with another player.
Ometepe returns to camp after the Challenge. Phillip wants to address tribe, much to everyone else’s chagrin. He thought the tribe was outstanding and should be proud of its effort, but he wishes he performed as well in his part of the Challenge. He explains that he won’t run around for votes, and hopes that they vote how they see best. Rob steps up and assures Phillip that he did well, and that they win or lose as a tribe. Rob then confides to the camera that it was Phillip’s fault they lost, but he’s more concerned that Matt is trying to play the endgame on Day Five by trying to be ncie to everyone. Kristina puts on the HII necklace, reasoning that she is definitely going to play the HII at tonight’s Tribal Council because the other alliance has the votes to oust her.
Rob talks with Grant and Ashley about the impending vote. Despite Rob’s desire to oust Andrea, Grant wants to keep her because she is strong in Challenges. Ashley thinks Matt and Andrea will stick together. So, Rob decides that four of them (Rob, Ashley, Natalie and Grant) will vote for Matt, but tell him and Andrea that they are splitting their votes for Kristina and Phillip. Rob went into the game wanting to keep his team strong, but Matt is playing too “textbook.” Rob is playing for himself.
Later, Rob’s full alliance talks about the vote. It is decided that the girls will vote for Kristina, and the guys for Phillip. Rob confesses that four of them are really voting for Matt, and it is likely Kristina will play her HII anyway. Phillip asks Rob for whom the latter is going to vote. Rob is noncommittal, but asks Phillip to go on a walk. Seeing the two go off together, Matt is impressed by the way Rob plays the game and handles other players. Rob tells Phillip that no matter what, he, Phillip, will be safe. Rob is going to put his hand on the shoulder of the person he wants Phillip to vote for. Rob then confesses to the camera that maybe Phillip can be useful and “put back into the rotation.” There is no more time for strategy as Ometepe leaves for…
…Tribal Council. Jeff asks Kristina if there is a lot of attention on her after the last Tribal Council. She was on the hot seat after being called out by Phillip, so it is surprising she didn’t play her HII. She replies that she just had a feeling not to play it. Does she have a feeling she should play it tonight? “A little one,” she admits. Jeff asks Phillip about declaring himself an animal before the Immunity Challenge. Phillip shows off his gorilla and lion tattoos, saying these illustrate how he feels about his family and country. Jeff asks how do those animals feel if they screwed up? Phillip replies that a lion never feels sorry. Likewise, Phillip knows he needs to suffer the consequences of his performance in the Challenge. Jeff turns to Matt, saying that it sounds like Phillip wants out of the game, so how does that effect Matt’s vote? Matt says that may be true, but Phillip is one of the bigger guys, so maybe he should stick around to help the tribe in Challenges. There is actually a lot of uncertainty surrounding this Tribal Council. Phillip says that if he is voted out, he is not going to lay down and die at RI. He needs to face his nemesis, Francesca. He would like to stay, but RI might be good for him. Matt says it would be nice if they knew how many people would be coming back from RI and when. Yes, Jeff agrees, it would be nice, but they will have to wait and see. Rob rubs Kristina’s shoulder as Jeff announces it is time to vote.
Matt is shown voting for Phillip, while Phillip votes for Kristina. Kristina, in turn, votes for Phillip. “I hope you don’t hold it against me, bud,” says Rob as he votes, presumably for Matt. Jeff gathers the votes. Before he can even ask the question, Kristina cuts off Jeff and plays her HII. Votes for Kristina will not count. The first two votes are for Kristina. The next two are for Phillip. The fifth vote is for Matt, as is the sixth. When the seventh comes up for Matt, he is flabbergasted. “The second person voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island….Matt!” A stunned Matt grabs his torch and brings it to be snuffed. “Good work guys!” is all he can muster as he grabs his torch and marches off into the Blue Light of Death. “Damn guys!” Jeff notes that in only their second Tribal Council, they have pulled off their first vicious blindside. Jeff sends a shocked Andrea and the rest of Ometepe back to camp.
Next Time On…Survivor!
Andrea is pissed that she was betrayed, and evidently Hell hath no fury like Andrea scorned. Zapatera finds out what happens when they cross Russell. Stephanie is shown saying that it is going to be biggest blindside ever!
All I can really say about this is that if Stephanie is talking about a big blindside, Zapatera must lose the next Immunity Challenge. Well, she could be just doing some general strategy, but talk of blindsides is usually reserved for those about to go to Tribal Council. That said, who do you think she would be blindsiding? We know she is aligned with Russell, but what if she can see the writing on the wall: that the majority of her tribe is against Russell, and therefore, her as well? Maybe she will flip on Russell and try to knock him off. That would be quite the blindside. Plus, we will also see the first Redemption Island Challenge between Francesca and Matt. I assume it will be at the top of the episode, as they like to end episodes with Tribal Council, but we will see. Personally, I can’t wait to see how the RI Challenge plays out.
Odds to Win
It hurts. It really hurts to have my fourth favorite get knocked out of the game proper and over to Redemption Island. Now, it is entirely possible that Matt can do very well on RI, but survive what will likely be eight RI Challenges? That is a tall order. Plus, Andrea finds herself on the outside looking in at Ometepe, and Krista has gone an aligned herself with Russell in a minority alliance on Zapatera. My original Odds are not looking too good right about now. Let’s take a look at the board.
Mike: 3-1. Andrea’s loss is Mike’s gain. He seems to be well-liked on his tribe, and has partnered with Ralph, who holds the HII. Further, he is zeroed in on ol’ Mr. Hantz. The first opportunity he has to knock Russell out, I think he’s going to take it.
Steve: 7-1. I have to move Steve up because he, too, is quite wary of Russell. He’s a strong competitor and with Russell seemingly focused on ousting Sarita first, he should be around for a while.
Grant: 10-1. Grant is smartly sticking on Rob’s hip and dutifully playing the reliable lieutenant to Rob’s general. I think he knows full well that Rob will take incoming fire before he will, giving him protection. When he questioned Rob’s desire to oust Andrea, he wasn’t so scared of Rob that he didn’t voice his contrary opinion. Speaking a little truth to power is not a bad quality in this game.
Ralph: 11-1. He’s got an HII, and a strong alliance with Mike, David and Steve (as far as we can tell). Plus he gives a mean rooster call. Ralph seems to really have a good grip on the game, although poking at Russell might not have been the best idea.
Andrea: 12-1. Andrea had to take a big tumble down the board, not because I think her any less capable, but because her closest friend was just ousted and she is clearly in Rob’s sights as a potential winner. Maybe Rob will ease up on her now that the pair he was worried about has been split up, and she can reassimilate herself back into the main alliance and survive until the Merge. We’ll have to wait and see, however, what happens next week and see if she confronts Rob directly about dismissing Matt.
Ashley: 14-1. Ashley improves for the same reason Grant does: she’s fully aligned with Rob. I still think once she is separated from him, she doesn’t have as much skill to rely on, but as long as she can remain in Rob’s good graces, she remains a contender.
Julie: 17-1. We haven’t seen much of Julie so far, but the glimpse we caught of her in the Immunity Challenge was awesome. I assume she is aligned with Steve, Mike and Ralph, and as a fierce competitor, she should be protected from Russell. I want to see some more of her and her strategy before I rocket her up the board, but I have my eye on Julie.
Rob: 20-1. God, isn’t it amazing? In his fourth season, Rob is still finding ways to be the leader of his tribe, all while being the puppetmaster and having everyone eat from his hand. And no one seems the wiser! Why can’t these folks see he’s going to stab them in the back as soon as it is convenient for him? He’s just the master, I guess. Well, the master who has never won the game. Rob is in complete control of Ometepe; he just needs to win some Challenges so he’s not the only one remaining at The Merge.
Krista: 25-1. Really? She aligned with Russell? Bad move, Krista. I thought she had a lot of potential, but unless she and Stephanie effect that blindside against Russell, she is going to be tarred as an outsider on her tribe permanently. That is some place no contestant wants to be.
Russell: 30-1. Another week that Russell is still in the game is another week he can sink his teeth into his tribe. It was Stephanie last week, and it was Krista this week. What can I say? The guy is good. This time, however, other players are on to him. The first time Zapatera loses will be very interesting.
David: 45-1. Did David even speak this week? Dude sat out the Challenge. That’s weak, but I have no other reason to kncok him down the board. So, David stays the same.
Natalie: 55-1. Natalie moves up only because Rob wants to align with her and make her his Amber for this season. When the guy who wants to align with you notices that you are dead weight, you likely have no shot at winning the game. Then again, if he takes her near the end, stranger things have happened.
Kristina: 60-1. No HII. No alliance. No dice. The only thing going for Kristina is that she’s not out of the game yet.
Stephanie: 70-1. Stephanie better pull off the big blindside against Russell or she is not long for this game. I don’t see her doing very well on RI either.
Matt: 80-1. It’s a bit surprising that I have Matt this high on the board since he was just voted out and all, but there is a chance Matt could do very well over at Redemption Island. Winning eight Challenges in a row will be difficult, but Matt may be one of the few who could do it.
Sarita: 95-1. I improve Sarita’s odds a bit because she survived another episode. Although she is in the majority alliance on Zapatera, I just don’t see her getting very far once Russell, Stephanie and likely Krista are gone. She’s at the bottom of the majority totem pole.
Phillip: 175-1. Dude is crazy, straight up. I have to believe he will be leaving Ometepe after Kristina and maybe Andrea if she doesn’t fall back in line with Rob. Then again, once on Redemption Island, he may annoy his co-islander so much that person may willingly leave the game.
Francesca: 400-1. Getting Matt as her opponent on RI is not the best of situations for Francesca. It’s not the worst either. Depending on the Challenge, she could just score a victory and stay around three more days. We’ll have to wait and see next week.
Alright, that was episode two for this season. What did you all think of it? Is Krista crazy for aligning with Russell? Is Phillip just plain crazy? Is Andrea a dead woman walking over at Ometepe? Can Mike, Ralph and the other Zapatera members actually do the smart thing and oust Russell when they have the opportunity? Please leave your questions, comment and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to give the enemy some hugs and kisses.