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'Survivor' recap: Family portrait

March 24, 2011 |  9:18 am

100311_SG029 Like Pink’s song “Family Portrait,” “Survivor” this week featured a lot of people pushing for idealistic living situations and strategies instead of just … surviving. Let’s compare “important matters” that started the latest episode. At Ometepe’s camp, Crazy Phillip finally let Ashley and Natalie have it for not doing anything.

That’s a big deal; everyone has to do their share, pull their weight, etc. At least that’s something to fight about. Over at Zapatera, Steve is upset and offended that two people even thought to vote for him at tribal council. Yeah, Steve’s come down with that awful “how can you not agree with everything I say?” reality show disease. He was in the NFL for 12 years, doggone it, you will respect his authority.

OK, let me get to everything. The show began with last week’s newly visible and audible Krista, just voted out, arriving at Redemption Island. She lays down with Matt in his better-looking-every-week shelter, and soon we learn they’re both Christians. That’s the second girl Matt’s been able to open up and connect with over religion.

Meanwhile, it’s like “Top Model” back at Ometepe, where Ash and Nat are having yet another beach/spa day. We even get to see them pulling armpit hairs all in the name of beauty –- yay!
On to the duel at RI, where the combatants must use a grappling hook to get three bags and use one ball to finish a topsy-turvy maze (yeah, I don’t know why they had to get all three bags either). It was similar to the very first duel, with Matt falling behind early only to catch up and still win in the end.

Then it got interesting, because Krista received a Bible for her luxury gift at RI, and she gave it to Matt before putting her buff in the urn. The two have a moment in front of Jeff Probst, Andrea, Natalie, Julie and Mike, and who would’ve thought such a situation would rub someone the wrong way? Andrea basically says it made her remember she’s not special for connecting with Matt, and that while she’s been cheering for him from afar, his winning could ultimately be dangerous for her. Smart girl, guess I shouldn’t have picked her to be the first one voted out this season. But do you really think she'll let a pink Bible split up her first alliance with Matt, if he keeps going?

After that, the former special agent and beauty pageant girls really go at it back at Ometepe, while Stephanie feels she has to apologize to Steve just to have a chance at making it another week if Zapatera loses immunity again. For shame. But the firecracker does get some strategy in by going in on Sarita, who she once again dubs their weakest player.

Guess Sarita got the message, because at the next immunity and reward challenge, she jumps at the chance to sit out the lacrosse-like game where the first tribe to catch five balls wins. It was hardly a competition, as Ometepe won 5-0 and got to enjoy a big lunch somewhere resembling civilization. And whaddya know, Boston Rob spots another hidden immunity idol clue underneath a bowl of lobster tail.

This time, though, he and Grant are caught by Crazy Phillip while reading it later, and the man with lion and gorilla tattoos says he's getting more bothered by his “alliance.” (Before I forget, how about that incredible display of awkwardness between Crazy Phillip and Mike before the challenge?)

Zapatera, meanwhile, is figuring out who to send to RI next, and David’s doing his best to get Sarita out before Stephanie. Never mind Sarita’s new little tooth injury, it’s pretty much a decision between Sarita’s loyalty and Stephanie’s strength. Steph held no punches at tribal council in assailing Sarita’s weaknesses, but let’s not forget this is the tribe that lost on purpose to vote out Russell. Despite David’s loud objections, they vote out Stephanie.

That’s it this week. Nothing too spectacular, save for Matt winning yet another duel. Do you think Stephanie will be his best match so far, or will she use up all her energy stirring up trouble when talking to Probst and the duel’s spectators? Is Phillip growing on you at all after his blowup with Ash and Nat? I love that they know they’re not doing anything and don’t care. I mean, it’s not like there’s $1 million on the line.

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— Anthony Williams

Twitter.com / anthonyw_ent

Photos: Grant Mattos of the Ometepe tribe and Mike Chiesl of the Zapatera tribe, during the Beach Balls immunity challenge on "Survivor: Redemption Island." Credit: CBS

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