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'Survivor' recap: Lions and gorillas and Christians, oh my

99483_DD07044 There were a lot of grand proclamations on Wednesday night’s “Survivor,” with several castaways trying to make peace from their broken pieces. But as Iyanla Vanzant said on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last week, “There’s some crazy a pill can’t fix.”

It began with Francesca arriving at Redemption Island, saying it could be the best thing for her game. And it ended with someone else doing and saying the same thing at the end of the episode. OK, guys, you can’t all have “the greatest comeback in ‘Survivor’ history.” Enjoy your island for what it is.

When Ometepe returns to camp after tribal council, Phillip immediately wants to talk to Rob, and tells him he has his vote until he’s sent to Redemption Island. Rob feels confident that Mr. Crazy Special Agent is lying, but then said Phillip is surely “a good-hearted guy.”

“Let it be a lesson to ya,” Rob said. “Government jobs? Stressful.”

Next we see Mr. CSA in his undies again, throwing spears at crabs. His tribe mates are watching and mocking him, which goes great with him getting emotional in confessional footage as he talks about defending his country. He even ends it with a Stuart Smalley-type affirmation.

But wait! It seems the Zapatera tribe indeed has its own near-crazy person in the form of farmer Ralph, who likes to crow like a rooster. Unlike Phillip though, he’s actually doing something. Russell goes on about how his tribe mates aren’t the brightest, Ralph especially. And he’s pretty much locking in his alliance with Stephanie while hoping to bring another skinny thing, Krista, into the mix. He’s as cocky as you expect Russell to be, looking for Zapatera’s hidden immunity idol with certainty that he’ll find it.

With that said, I was very happy to see Ralph just happen upon the idol as he picked up some rocks near a tree stump. Let’s just hope he’s a bit smarter than Kristina.

Back at Ometepe’s camp, we see Matt and Andrea bonding over spiritual talk. She admits to the camera that he’s cute, and he’s thanking God for her. Rob, of course, doesn’t like this, and talks to Natalie about splitting the pair, even though they’re in his alliance of six. He also says he wants to take Natalie to the end with him, but would have to practically put her over his shoulder and run with her to accomplish that. The girl does seem to always be a bit… flustered.

Time for the immunity challenge, where the tribes will swim over to a platform, smash tiles to get five keys, open a box, retrieve a ball and break five more tiles (got that?). Beforehand, Zapatera hoots and hollers about how they’ll get immunity back. Jeff Probst asks Phillip if that inspires him or not.

“Oh, it brings out the ANIMAL in me!” Mr. CSA said, with some head movements. “I will outlast ANY man over THERE!”
“What about the women?” Probst asks.
“That’s another day, we’ll see,” said Mr. CSA.


Grant and Steve start the challenge looking awesome, but Ometepe gets all their keys first. Then, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Ralph vs. Phillip to win it all. Ralph goes up quickly with four broken tiles, then Phillip ends his drought and ties him, but Ralph wins in the end. Then, as Zapatera celebrates another win, Matt goes over to shake their hands, which really upsets Rob. I guess.

When Zapatera returns to camp, Russell swipes the clue to the hidden idol from the reward basket (fishing gear), but Ralph sees! Russell and his ladies of the night go off to the well, talking like some Plastics. They read the clue, but Ralph and the others know what’s going on. Mike, Ralph and David followed them to the well, and once there, Ralph questions Russell about the clue. Russell calmly tells them to go to hell, basically (as lightning flashes are edited in?).

“You’re either with me or against me,” he said, adding that he knows how to play this game. Ralph says he does too, making Russell laugh to the camera, happy to have an enemy.

Stand by for a quick cut to Redemption Island, where we see Francesca’s received a journal to keep her from going crazy.

Ometepe’s back at camp, and once again, Mr. CSA asks to take the floor, admitting he lost the challenge for the tribe. Rob consoles him, so to speak, and now really seems gung ho on getting Matt out after his being a nice Christian (why isn't that called good sportmanship?). He tells Mr. CSA he’s safe, and how to act at tribal council.

Fortunately for Rob, Phillip does indeed act like he has some sense at tribal. Well, save for his speech about his lion and gorilla tattoos. He talks as if he’s already going to Redemption Island to face Francesca. All is well, Kristina uses her immunity idol (aww, girl), and Matt is blindsided. Did you see Andrea’s faces? Let me tell you, that girl is about to go awwwf. At least, I hope she does.

What say you, “Survivor” fans? Digging this season? Who are you rooting for? Was Sarita as awful as her tribe mates said she was in the challenge? And will the blindslide Stephanie talks about in the sneak preview really be what she thinks it will be?

-- Anthony Williams

Photo: Ralph, looking like Ralph. Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS


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Comments () | Archives (3)

Great review, but oh that picture! I can't allow my eyes to focus on him. This season is already better than last season, which was the WORST. But we're two episodes in and no one's gone home, which is frustrating. I'm willing to give Redemption Island a chance but nothing has happened there in two episodes. They need to get into it already.

Matty may not have seemed like a viable threat (yet) but let's think about this: Rob's tribe has lost two in a row. Both challenges were very physical. Matty was one of Rob's tribes most physical members, but so is Rob. With Matty gone Rob's tribe absolutely can't afford to lose another physically strong player. Rob is in control of Phillip's vote completely and is in a solid alliance with Grant; therefore Rob controls his tribe's strongest players and has pretty much insured that he won't be going home before the merge. They can't afford to vote Rob out!

Rob is thinking about Rob. He wants to win. If you could guarantee making it to the merge on day 6 would you? And if your goal is winning don't you kind of want the stronger players going to Redemption Island early so their getting to the end is more of a challenge?

I get that you want to keep your tribe strong until the merge so you'll win more challenges, but this may be a risk worth taking. At least for Rob it may be.

This season is already better than last season. I think Rob has a better chance of getting to the end than Russel, because Russel's team is already on to him. I'm actually beginning to think he was never really that good. He's not nearly as sneaky as he thinks he is, he just always seems to get in with a bunch of dummies. Russel played with some of the worst players ever his first season and it was no great fete to outmaneuver them. He was absolutely correct on the immunity idol, there is no shared immunity idol. Whoever finds it gets it, and hopefully they have sense enough to keep it to themselves. Anything will be better than last season. Hopefully whoever wins will actually deserve it because they played a good game not simply because they were the last fool standing.


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