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'Survivor' recap: When a concubine can't keep her mouth shut

March 3, 2011 |  9:57 am

99483_DD10753 Sorry, everybody. The cafeteria’s all out of crow today after some “Survivor” castaways had to eat more than their share last night. But, oh, how nice it was just getting to watch them eat.

Let’s not lose sight on the all that happened in the third episode of this “Redemption Island” season. Someone finally went home, there was a tie vote at tribal council, and someone's inability to stop talking might have destroyed their game. There was also a lot of talk of harems and concubines, which is good for any high school freshmen reading "The Good Earth" out there.

I wondered how everything would fit inside the hour, if anything would be obviously missing (there were a few things, like how I assume Jeff Probst still asked for hidden immunity idols to be presented at tribal council even though it wasn’t shown). But everything fit very nicely into a filling and delicious episode.

It all started with Matt arriving at Redemption Island, where Francesca was just as surprised to see him as he was to be there. At Ometepe’s camp, Boston Rob was practically giddy with the way everything went down at tribal council, with Kristina using her immunity idol and Matt getting blindsided. He and Grant told Phillip he was the fifth member in their alliance, knowing he also had to calm the angry and betrayed Andrea.

Interestingly enough, another twist had two members from each tribe being randomly picked to watch the RI duel. I wasn’t too happy about that, thinking it would be more intriguing for the tribes to not have any idea of who’s winning/making a go of it there. Anyway, Ometepe’s Andrea and Ashley and Zapatera’s Steve and David got courtside seats. While it didn't seem they could talk to Matt and Fran, Andrea did get something in as Probst talked about the two having been voted out.

“I didn’t vote for either of them,” she said, making Matt smile. If his dream of the greatest comeback ever comes true, it would be an awesome story.

For the duel, Matt and Fran had an old-fashioned challenge involving sticks and rope, where they had to improvise a pole to grab three keys through a gate and then unlock said gate to win. Fran took the advantage quickly with two keys as Matt’s pole failed. Then Fran’s came undone and Matt soon zoomed past to win and stay alive. At the end, Probst told Fran to throw her buff into the fire (ouch, is nothing sacred?).

While the girls told Ometepe the truth about the duel, and how Matt was pissed, Steve and David told everyone that Fran won so that Russell, who they wanted out, would be unprepared when he got to RI. Russell went off to look for a hidden immunity idol that had already been found, and Steve told everyone what really went down. Russell and his harem, as Steve hilariously referred to them, knew the other six in their tribe were pretty tight, so they decided to make them think they had an immunity idol, but that didn’t really fool anyone.

Likewise, Andrea wasn't fooled by Rob’s attempts to assure her she was still in his alliance, and was hoping for a way to mix things up when not getting emotional over losing her “good friend.” Honestly, I thought pre-game that Andrea might be the first person voted out, but I’m growing to like her, so here’s to her making it work.

Next thing we saw was Russell with rashes all over his armpits. Like Iraq War vet Mike said, it was disgusting, but just one more thing bothering everyone about Russell. They seem to think he doesn’t do anything, and there does appear to be plenty of footage of him and his girls just lying around. Mike said he was like a black hole with concubines. That's a new one. Apparently, though, the irritation exacerbated the fears and doubts of Russell’s tribe-mates about him to the point that they wanted to throw the next immunity challenge.

That challenge, it turned out, was something we saw during the “Nicaragua” season with spinning and water spitting, ending with a puzzle. Ometepe was on it, but Zapatera was also not really trying, so Ometepe won and took the luxury reward: chairs, pillows, rope, tarp and a lamp. Russell was not fooled, or amused, at the thrown competition.

Back at camp, Rob looked like crazy for a new idol clue before finding it in the chair Phillip was sitting in. Still, he couldn't find the idol (“It might as well have said, ‘The hidden immunity idol … is somewhere.’ ”). Over with Zapatera, Russell soon correctly hypothesized that the others wanted to split the vote and ultimately get him out. Stephanie approached Julie, the firefighter, about switching sides, and she was actually game because she wasn’t really comfortable with throwing the challenge. Russell told Julie to vote for Ralph and he would have her back for sure. With Russell, his girls and Julie together, Ralph should go, and Stephanie said it would be the “biggest. blindside. ever!”

Well, let’s just see. At tribal council, we heard more of Ralph’s own language before Probst translated and understood that the tribe was divided. Shortly after, Stephanie started talking, and I’m not sure when she stopped. There was a lot of attitude, with her as cocky and rude as Russell to just about everyone. With all of that I should have known Julie wouldn’t do as she told them she would and stick with the original plan. The vote tied with three apiece for Ralph, Russell and Stephanie. Of course, they could’t vote in the re-vote, where Russell was voted out for the first time. He told everyone he would be back and to be ready, to which Ralph said, “I’m ready!”

Interesting episode, or fascinating just because of what all the producers fit into the show? Do you think Julie was seriously considering voting Russell’s way and changed her mind as Stephanie went off at tribal? And who do you think will win at the next duel? Will Matt win again, or will the wicked witch get up from under the Dorothy's house?


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-- Anthony Williams

Photo: Stephanie, getting her shine on during the immunity challenge. Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS