March 09, 2011 08:13 PM by Ryan Haidet
Let’s say it in unison everybody. “Tonight’s episode was amazing.” Truly. Filled with intense drama and strategic insanity, Survivor: Redemption Island has proven to be one of the best seasons in recent memory. Go ahead and rip me apart for making that argument, but there is something different about this season that has me very excited. Just four episodes in, and the characters this time around are so much better than some of the duds we’ve seen before. Anyway, back to what went down tonight. After the duel on Redemption Island, there was a mixture of weird events starting with Russell and Matt both in tears, and Ralph looking strategically stupid.
Before The Duel
Stephanie and Krista were both bummed out about Russell’s elimination, so they lounged on the beach and talked about it. Meanwhile, Ralph took this time as an opportunity to let the rest of the Zapatera tribe know that he found the hidden Immunity Idol. Not hiding any emotion, Sarita jumped around excitedly with the news as Mike declared in a confessional they are now in control of the tribe.
Down Like Dominoes
The Redemption Island duel between Russell and Matt was simple in concept, but looked tough to execute considering the stress. The guys had to place a series of limited blocks on a multi-leveled platform while avoiding trip wires along the course. The first person to arrange the blocks in a way so they would fall like dominoes to the end of the line would win the right to stay alive in the game.
This was a close battle, but Matt pulled ahead and won his second consecutive Redemption Island duel after beating Francesca last week. “Once again you seized the moment and you stay alive in this game,” host Jeff Probst declared.
As the attention was turned to Russell, the Survivor villain was reduced to tears with the realization that he was officially eliminated. He tipped his hat over his eyes as his chin quivered fighting to control his emotions. Matt also started to cry as he tried to comfort Russell with a pat on the back.
After his tears subsided, Russell spoke up and expressed his frustration with the Zapatera tribe for purposely losing a challenge so they could vote him out. “I respect this game too much to go out this way.” As Russell continued arguing his case, the duel’s witnesses suddenly played a big role. Ralph, who was there alongside Sarita for Zapatera, chimed in and brought up his issues with Russell. He said that Russell never shared the clue for the hidden Immunity Idol with the rest of the group. This is where Ralph’s bad strategy really illuminated. He revealed to everybody there that the Idol clue didn’t even matter because he found the Idol without it within “15 seconds.” Russell asked him to prove it, so Ralph started digging through his bag so he could show it off. Sarita whispered to Ralph that he probably shouldn’t go that far, so he pulled his hand out and declared that he had just faked everybody out. Russell laughed at him before turning to dish some dirt to Phillip and Kristina, who were there as witnesses for Ometepe. Russell said that it was clear Ralph had the hidden Idol and was bad at trying to cover it up now. He also told them that Sarita is in control of Zapatera while Mike and Steve are a solid pair.
Wow. Ralph just needs to keep his mouth shut. He had a bug up his butt from the beginning about Russell, and I think conquering the infamous Survivor villain really turned him into an arrogant mess. Does Ralph have any concept of what is happening around him? Seriously?!?! I understand that moment was probably thick with tension and excitement, but Ralph needs to get control of himself if he wants a shot at getting further in the game.
After that drama, Russell dropped his purple buff into the fire and left the game for good. In his final statements, Russell said there is nothing else for him to prove and will not be playing the game again.
Boston Rob Still In Control
While hoping to find an opportunity to search privately for the hidden Immunity Idol, Boston Rob convinced the rest of his tribe to go enjoy a relaxing day at the beach away from camp. Once they all set up their blankets and got situated on the beach, Boston Rob told them he needed to use the bathroom lying that he had been constipated. He dashed into the woods and rushed back to camp as his frantic search for the Idol ensued. After digging around numerous trees, he eventually found the Idol sitting in a tree.
At the combined Reward/Immunity challenge, the tribes faced off in a competition, which was basically turned into a giant commercial for Craftsman tools. The obstacle course involved multiple steps all involving a variety of Craftsmen tools. In the final leg of the challenge, Zapatera was able to claim another victory also winning a barbecue set from Sears with steaks, sausage, bread and vegetables.
Between Two Targets
Once they returned to camp, Phillip held yet another one of his tribal meetings telling the rest of Ometepe he felt like everybody had done their best. As Tribal Council loomed, the tension was getting thick around Phillip as his attitude and controlling personality continued rubbing everybody the wrong way.
Moments later, Kristina was chatting with Natalie about the hidden Immunity Idol saying she thinks somebody has found it. Natalie went and revealed Kristina’s concerns about the Idol to the rest of her alliance, which ignited a new plan in Boston Rob’s belly. Saying she’s too strategically threatening in the game, Boston Rob concocted a plan with his allies to split the vote between Phillip and Kristina. This plan proved Boston Rob’s smarts once again as he was also masking the fact that he found the hidden Idol. He argued that Kristina’s comments were probably a way for her to hide the fact she had it in her possession once again.
Another Snuffed Out
At Tribal Council, Boston Rob expressed his issues with Kristina saying she never really meshed with the group. Despite the target on her back, Kristina said they should focus more on voting out the weakest link or most-disruptive players on the tribe. With those comments directed right at Phillip, he then offered up some of his life experiences as reasons why he is valuable enough to keep around.
When it came time to tally the votes, Mother Nature delivered an amazing atmosphere for the culmination of Tribal Council. As Probst turned the first vote revealing Phillip’s name, streaks of lightning crackled in the distance. Awesome. As the rest of the ballots were read, Phillip was spared from elimination as the majority of votes fell against Kristina.
With that, her torch was snuffed and she walked through the rain to join Matt on Redemption Island.
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Images courtesy of CBS.