After 4 solid weeks of Survivor: Redemption Island, last week’s episode was the first one of the season that I would consider to be “weak.” But after starting off the season with a bang, on a season that I was skeptical of to begin with, I think I can look the other way on one downslide in an otherwise high-level season.
Before I get to this week’s episode, I want to mention that recaps for the next two episodes (March 30 & April 6) of Survivor are likely to not appear on Wednesdays as usual. I am on vacation next week and don’t return until after the April 6th episode. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to see the shows while I’m gone, but if I do, I will throw together a quick recap and try to get it up. Otherwise, you can expect recaps for both shows in one post on April 7th, after I watch them upon my return.
And let’s just take a moment to appreciate one positive thing about Survivor’s switch to Wednesdays. Remember those two episodes every year that switched to Wednesday night because of the NCAA Tournament in March? Those two episodes that you generally forgot about until about 7:57 on Wednesday night, and you got that cold rush over your body like you get when you see a police speed trap? Well…no more. (Sorry, that’s the only positive thing I can find about the move to Wednesday)
My Random Thoughts:
- Previously on... Survivor. Jeff reminds us that Matt is awesome, Phillp is annoying, Zapatera has lost their mojo, David freaks out while insisting he's not freaking out, and Stephanie needs to scramble to stay alive. Pretty straightforward...let's see what's going on at Redemption Island.
- Redemption Island's Night-Vision cam shows us Matt sleeping and awaiting his next opponent...and when Krista shows up, she just climbs right into bed with him. Is this standard practice when you're about to be involved in a duel? Should you be sleeping alongside your opponent? Sleeping with the Enemy, as they say? (now with 100% less Julia Roberts!) Also, according to the wildlife edits, Redemption (Non) Island seems to be infested with spiders and snakes. Sounds like fun.
- Ometepe's camp featured another Beach / Spa Day that saw Ashley and Natalie working on each other's hair and eyebrows, and even featured Natalie plucking hair out of Ashley's armpits. They should have been over at Zapatera to work on Russell's pus-laden pits. (Still gross!) It looked like a slumber party scene, but at least Natalie spoke...for a minute. Best line of the segment: "Rob’s making a daybed, and Andrea’s pretending to help.”
Phillip was frustrated at the girls, and despite their positive responses to his instructions on how to check on the fire every 25 minutes, he still made it clear that another Phillip meltdown was brewing. "The Pageant Is Over", he told us. I'm being serious when I ask you this: how boring would this season be without Phillip? Honestly?
- Back at Redemption (Non) Island, Krista got her luxury item, which was a bible. Cue the soft music and blonding bonding moments between duelling faithsters Matt and Krista. Uh-oh Matt, looks like all of your good vs. evil talk might be irrelevant here now that there is another believer? They prayed together, insisting that they would be duelling in God's honour (??) and then even thanked the Lord for being on Redemption Island (??????) before heading off for their Duel.
Probst gave them their directions on the Duel, and for what it's worth, any challenge with a grappling hook is automatically cool. Ever since 1977 when I first saw Luke Skywalker swing across the Death Star chasm with Princess Leia, grappling hooks have been ultra-cool.
After retrieving 3 bags, which seemed pointless, other than having them have to use the grappling hooks, they had to manouever a ball through an obstacled puzzle maze. Krista jumped out to an early lead, and things were looking grim for our reigning champ, but Krista eventually faltered, and Matt won his fourth straight Duel. That's right, just when it looked like God chose Krista, he gave it back to Matt and then said "Aw shucks, buddy. You know I can't go against you!", and then playfully punched him in the shoulder like two old pals would do.
Krista was just about to play BYOB (Burn Your Own Buff) when she asked if she could give her Bible to Matt. Cue the soft church music again as she gave her personal item to him. All joking aside, I appreciated that moment between the two of them...until...
The tenderness of the moment was broken by Andrea's apparent rage at the gesture. All of a sudden, she went from cheering on her blond tribemate/showmance to being apparently furious that he had bonded with Krista in their 8 hours together. Now, as she told the camera, maybe Matt needed to go because he's not who she thought he was. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...or like a woman who just watched a guy who isn't her boyfriend get a Bible from another woman, who also isn't his girlfriend. Same thing, right?
- Sarita was complaining of a dental issue, and made sure everyone in her camp knew about it. I've been saying for years what Ralph said tonight in terms of how ridiculous it is that people pick and scrape their teeth with dirty sticks, and it pains me to admit that Ralph and I have something in common. Really...it does. But he did wonders for the Southern stereotypical hick when he declared "Who in God's name would be worried about your BACK teeth?"
- Dave came to Stephanie and laid out a plan for her to possibly be able to stay by targeting Sarita for elimination. Or, as I'm calling it, "Sarita called me out and pissed me off, so now I'm not going to be her friend anymore." I'm not saying he's wrong, but his logic is emotional, based on last week's clash between the two.
Stephanie had no choice but to take his advice and try to sway some votes Sarita's way, and had to go suck up to the people she hates, starting with Steve. Interesting choice seeing as she clashed with Steve after Tribal Council because Mr. Post-NFL had his feelings hurt that there were 2 votes cast for him. But she swallowed her pride and did her best, and even had Steve tell her that he thought she was stronger at challenges.
UNLESS THERE'S A PUZZLE! THEN DAVE'S DOING THE PUZZLES! REMEMBER?? DAVE IS JOHNNY PUZZLE-MASTER...ALL PUZZLES, ALL THE TIME! PERIOD! POINT BLANK!
- Back at Ometepe, Phillip's meltdown was ready to blow, and he got into a verbal confrontation with Ashley and Natalie. Well, by "Ashley and Natalie", I mean Ashley yelled back at him while Natalie just walked around saying "Wow!" Apparently, Ashley didn't like the way that Phillip talks to the girls vs. the boys, and Phillip doesn't like how the girls do nothing at camp. Next thing you know, Phillip is mis-pronouncing "Andrea" (and somewhere in front of her TV, Francesca is laughing so hard, she's choking on her popcorn), Rob is running damage control, and Ashley is insisting Phillip is crazy
The best part of this blow-up was when Phillip said that he was the "red stepchild." Man, I love when Phillip messes something up verbally because he's all riled up. I know he meant "red-headed stepchild"...he even said it correctly earlier in the episode, but Red Stepchild made me laugh. What happened to the stepchild? Was it left in the sun too long? Was the temperature on the tanning bed set too high? Did he/she take a bath in beet juice?
- The Challenge was another combination Reward/Immunity challenge, and the Redemption Island aspect of the show made me realize tonight that we now never get the classic line "getting their look at the new (insert Tribe Name here) Tribe." because the observers of the Duel already know who was voted out. Gone too soon. Sigh.
I was annoyed from the get-go at the Challenge, because Probst's shirt wasn't just any blue this week...it was Carolina Blue. And for a die-hard Duke fan (Go Blue Devils!) to see that colour in March, it just makes my blood boil. But March Madness digressions notwithstanding, Powder Blue Probst explained the challenge, another flashback competition where, the last time we saw it, J.T. lost a tooth in Survivor Tocantins...and just spit it out!
The pre-game bravado was over the top, as Mike explained what a great challenge it would be, and Steve gave Phillip an awkward forearm motion that was intended to be insulting, but came across as non-threatening as when Lenny and Squiggy would bite their palm on Laverne and Shirley.
Probst played up the Grant vs. Mike matchup as the NFL vs the Marines, and from what I saw, the locked-out football players just gave the U.S. Military an ass-whipping unlike anything it's ever seen. Grant got 4 of Ometepe's 5 points with ease, and Mike was relegated to trying to rip Grant's clothes off to stop him...and even that didn't work. Grant could have scored himself a pro lacrosse contract from this episode. I'll say it again...look out for this guy. He's got all the same traits as Ozzy. He could go all the way.
I loved Ralph's "Shoot it to me!" insistence that was met with him head-butting the ball instead of catching it.
Zapatera was never even in it. You could tell they were panicking when they were behind. As I said last week, and in the podcast I did, they are too complacent, too talent-less, and I don't see anyone coming out of this Tribe who could actually win the game. They're just a bunch of misfits.
- The Reward saw Ometepe enjoy a feast with Lobster and other goodies, which made me think of this week's episode of Iron Chef America, which saw Canadian chef Chuck Hughes defeat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in a lobster battle. For those of you who have never read the story of the time I ran into Bobby Flay in Las Vegas, do yourself a favour and read that story. I guarantee you will enjoy it, and you will never guess what happened.
The only thing that really came out of this excursion was the fact that Phillip told us of his new nickname for him, Rob, and Grant (Stealth R Us), and then he caught Rob and Grant secretly checking out the clue to the Idol. Crazy Phil then told us off camera that he was ready to kick some ass in the name of the Lion AND the Gorilla, because "hell hath no fury like a lion or gorilla when he thinks he's been provoked."
Did you notice he specified that it's when the lion or gorilla "thinks" it's been provoked, not just when it's been provoked? Lesson: Don't ever let lions and gorillas misunderstand your intentions.
- Looks like the wild kingdom footage was cut down this week in favour of MORE GIANT HAIRY SPIDERS. Come on...are the editors reading this blog and just messing with me now?
- Tribal Council was uninteresting to me. Sarita vs. Stephanie. Trust vs. Ability. Yawn. The only thing remotely interesting was Stephanie and Sarita's Wayne's World-esque argument where they each tried to get the last word in on each other.
Then Ralph made his worst spelling mistake of the season thus far (Ressell, Krasta, and now STIFINIE??), and the firecracker was off to Redemption (Non) Island. I think Matt's in for some trouble next week.
Next Week: Zapatera loses it, and Jeff is shocked.
Also, I’ve added a new blog to the sidebar: Colette Lala’s Bitchy Survivor Blog. I highly recommend you check it out after each episode. She’s hilarious! (There’s also a link to her Amazing Race blog as well.) And if you didn’t get a chance to listen to my guest appearance on David and Nicole’s Survivor Podcast from last week, here’s the link again.
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Thanks for reading.
Survivor Redemption Island Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap