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Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites take #2!

survivor26logo--1364238846435770334I’m excited about Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites and have been ever since they announced it! Normally, I would be opposed to having yet another season with returning players, but this is different. The first Fans vs. Favorites season of Survivor was a smashing success and my all-time favorite season, so I’m glad they decided to reuse this format. Secondly, all returning players are first time returnees – which is a welcomed change – and there are some surprises among them. Overall, I’m more than happy with the choices made.

The 10 fans I don’t really care about right now, although judging from what little footage I saw, they seem to be not fans, but super fans – always a good thing. But, the returnees:

Erik Reichenbach from Survivor: MicronesiaThe guy who made one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history by giving up Immunity and being voted out that same night. I liked him enough and it will definitely be interesting to see if he can make a new name for himself.

Corinne Kaplan from Survivor: Gabon. I really hated her during her season and to this day I think her final comments to Sugar were cruel and inappropriate. That being said, I’m excited to see her come back, because whether or not she’ll try to maintain her Evil Queen status, she’ll make for great television.

Brenda Lowe from Survivor: Nicaragua. This is my least favorite season of Survivor, but Brenda’s cool (and eye candy). She played a good game the first around and I can see her making it making it far again.

Francesca Hogi from Survivor: Redemption Island. This was a BIG surprise and she’s probably the contestant I’m most excited to see return. She was the first one voted out in her season, but she made a big impression. She was hilarious and seemed to know how to play the game, so I really hope she gets to stick around longer this time.

Andrea Boehlke from Survivor: Redemption Island. I don’t know what to say about her. She played a pretty passive game last time and unless she plans to change that, I will probably not be rooting for her. Even though she’s likable enough.

Phillip Sheppard from Survivor: Redemption Island. Why are so many of the returnees from this season? Did they absolutely have to bring Phillip back? Was he not annoying enough the first time around? I can’t stand the guy. If he makes it to the merge, I will be pissed.

The Favorites Tribe!

The Favorites Tribe!

Dawn Meehan from Survivor: South Pacific. Dawn was one of my favorite players from South Pacific, but I’m not sure that says much. Much like the seasons preceding and following it, I didn’t like it at all and didn’t find the players to be particularly likable or memorable. I’m afraid she might fade to the background, especially if the fans have strong personalities.

John Cochran from Survivor: South Pacific. I don’t remember how I feel about this guy (see? Unmemorable players). I may have liked him in the beginning and ended up rooting against him? I’m on the fence about this one.

Brandon Hantz from Survivor: South Pacific. Of course they brought him back. Of course. I wonder if they pondered bringing back Russell himself and ultimately decide they wouldn’t be able to get away with it and went with the next Hantz. He was one of the worst things about South Pacific and I hate that he’s returning. And again, why so many people from this season? And why didn’t they bring Christine back? She was great and likable and the only reason she went out early was because of bad luck.

Malcolm Freberg from Survivor: Philippines. Malcolm’s awesome and I’m really happy to see him return! I’ve always said that if Survivor: Philippines had one flaw it was that Malcolm and Denise couldn’t both win the million dollars. I’m happy he’s getting a second shot!

All in all, there are some bad apples in this pile, but I’m not letting that upset me yet. I can’t wait for the season to premiere this February. Here’s hoping it will be at least as good as the first edition of Fans vs. Favorites.

Survivor: Redemption Island Finale: ‘I am sick’

I know I used quotes from the castaways this entire season, but this one isn’t from Rob. I’m actually quoting myself, because that’s exactly how I felt while watching Survivor’s finale: sick to my stomach. Only I know how many times I resisted the urge to hit my head against the wall and pull out my hair. I refuse to write a recap, because I don’t want to relieve those emotions all over again.

The finale embodied everything that I hated about this season: (1) Matt obsessively making everything about ‘God’s will’, (2) Philip acting like a lunatic (and even getting one vote at the Final Tribal Council, what the hell?), (3) all my favorites going home as soon as possible (Mike lost the Duel and Andrea lasted one more day after that) and (4) nobody doing ANYTHING to get rid of Rob.

Ashley and Natalie had a great opportunity to finally do something in this game, yet inexplicably they decided to get rid of the smaller threat Andrea instead of Boston Rob. In the end, it all ended the way I had anticipated a few weeks ago: Rob took Natalie and Philip to the end and as a result he won.

Now I do give credit where credit is due: Rob deserved to win this time, especially after being pitted against the youngest servant and craziest lunatic in Survivor history. If he had lost to one of those two, I probably would have personally murdered everyone on that jury. Still, I’m not happy at all with how this season ended; I’ve really grown tired of Rob.

On my way to watch the Reunion show. May update this post after I’ve seen that.

Update: Oh my God, no, no, not two returning players again! Also, I pray and beg every God known to mankind… please never ever bring back Russell and Philip.

‘A dark individual’

I actually found last night’s episode of Survivor quite enjoyable. Or course, when you pretty much don’t care about anyone in the ‘real game’ even the best episode could bore you to death. But this one was a good one…

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Ridemshion Ailand

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I’m glad they didn’t drag the Redemption Island segment for more than it was necessary. Andrea arrived there and put Matt in his place. He had been frustrated Andrea voted him out and gave her ‘dirty looks’. And here was I, thinking that it was God’s will. Ralph turned out to be incredibly rude by not sharing the shelter he DID NOT build with Andrea. I don’t like the guy. If you’re frustrated at someone, take those emotions and put them into the Duel so you can kick that person out.

Believe it or not, the Duel this week was ten times better than the previous ones: the contenders had to move a handle through a table maze and then solve a puzzle – which admittedly didn’t look that hard, but still. Ralph took an early lead, as Andrea couldn’t stop rambling. In the end though, it was Mike who won, yet again. Matt and Andrea finished virtually at the same time, sending Ralph packing.

I would really want Mike to go back into the game. He remains the only one I actually still root for and I think he deserves it: he won every Duel but one since he was voted out. But I’d be OK with Andrea reentering the game as well.

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‘Where can you buy caramel sauce?’

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At camp – the usual Felipe drama. I am so tired of seeing that guy; I almost want him to win so that future players learn to vote out the annoying, crazy castaway first. But for now, everyone wants him in the Final Three, including Boston Rob.

From the beginning of the episode, he informed us it would Ashley going home. Hearing him talking about how Natalie’s a ‘sweetheart, pure and innocent’ and how Ashley’s ‘trying to corrupt that’ was both funny and touching. Also, was it just me or did he completely changed the topic of the conversation he was having with Natalie as soon as Ashley came around. One moment he was convincing Natalie to go against her friend and the next, he was asking about ice cream sauces.

The Reward/Immunity challenge was great this week. It was a new one, which is always good: castaways had to retrieve three bags of puzzle pieces, using hooks. Then they had to complete a fish skeleton puzzle. On top of that, each player had one arm tied behind their back.

I was really happy Ashley won, only because I thought that would provide a little more drama before Tribal Council, as opposed to just giving Felipe more screen time, like in the previous episodes. Also, she won a great Reward: a three course meal, which she chose to share with Natalie. It’s always funny to see Survivor contestants eating real food, there’s something so appealing about that.

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Blindside going once, twice…

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Back at camp, Rob decided it had to be either Grant or Natalie. Grant because he’s such a threat and it’s also who Ashley wanted out. Natalie because she and Ashley’s bond is very strong, almost like a couple.

Even though Rob has been saying he wants to take Natalie to the end since day 5, I was really unsure how the vote would go. Before we headed to TC to find out, we were treated with a scene in which Ashley smelled Natalie’s armpit, declaring ‘it’s not that bad’ afterwards. That was so weird…

Will Grant be able to reenter the game?

In the end, Grant was the one voted out, in a 4-1 vote. He definitely has a huge shot at getting back into the game since there will probably be only one more Duel next week. At least, that’s what I hope.  Did Rob make the right decision though? I guess so, but I also think it was a lose-lose situation, really. Grant may have said he’s ‘at peace’, but his heart might just break if he finds out it was his ‘bro’ who turned on him.

This penultimate episode may have been the best we’ve had since the merge. What do you think will happen on the last episode? Who do you think will end up actually winning? Who would you like to see win?

‘I feel safe tonight’

For a few weeks now, I’ve been complaining about the post-merge episodes of Survivor: Redemption Island being very hard for me to watch. While the latest one had some really good moments, it still was nowhere near as great as the pre-merge ones.

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Party Island

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There are now so many wrong things with the Redemption Island twist. I was not a fan of the three way duels in the first place, but now they have four way duels, which are even worse. It really has taken away all the drama, as you can usually know who will go home.

Second issue: the duels itself. Those used to be survivor-like, hard challenges. But ever since the merge, we have shuffleboards, throwing balls and breaking tiles. That is such a huge bummer, especially taking into consideration how close we are to the end. The person reentering the game should really have worked hard for it and I can’t really call the last few duels ‘demanding’.

Third issue: The Inhabitants of Redemption Island playing for a Reward. This annoyed me very much. Why are you allowing people who are not even in the real game to play for Rewards? The premise of Redemption Island was that the inhabitants lived there alone with very little food and even fewer items than everyone else. And now, on top of having three people there at once, you’re also giving them a chance to win love from home. What?

That’s what they played for this episode: an afternoon with their loved ones. Mike easily won the challenge (Yay!), but gave it up to the six Ometepe members still in the game. That was the best move for him; should he reenter the game and make it to the Final Three, it will definitely earn him a few votes.

Ralph however, disagreed. He called the move ‘stupid’. Not trying to be rude here, but coming from someone who didn’t know what ‘cohesive’ means, it’s quite a rich comment. Had he won the challenge, he would have opted to keep the Reward all for himself. Right, because his family would flee to an unknown destination while he’s away and he’ll never ever be able to see them away.

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Staircase to Immunity

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The Immunity Challenge this week was the other highlight of the episode. The players had to collect puzzle steps and use them to complete the tallest staircase on Survivor, ever. Plus, you could only bring one puzzle step at a time. Philip, Natalie and Ashley never had a chance to begin with, but the challenge provided enough suspense. The lead changed about seventy thousand times and it looked like Grant, Rob or Andrea would win. In the end though, with a final climb which reminded me of the final scene in ‘The Descent’, Rob won Immunity, for the third or fourth time this season. And then nearly died. The guy couldn’t stand up and looked severely dehydrated. At one point I even thought he was going to be removed from the game. That would have been such a shame, having to go home after such a great effort, but luckily he soon got on his feet and claimed his prize from Jeff.

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Another one bites the dust

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After the challenge though, things got a bit dull. Rob had previously declared he wants Andrea to go and since she didn’t win Immunity, I pretty much knew she would get the boot. The producers admirably tried to make it seem like the players might just change their mind and vote ‘Felipe’ out.

Apparently, Rob’s afraid there’s a chance Felipe’s playing him. In a confessional, Felipe (I’m never calling the guy Phillip again) said he has some great, secret argument which woll make everyone want to vote for him and not Rob. I am having a hard time trying to think of something that would convince Steve, Ralph, Julie, Ashley or Natalie to vote for him instead of anyone else.

The first one of the Ometepe Six to be voted out: Andrea.Even so, I knew he wouldn’t go home: if everyone has so willingly kept him around when he brought up the whole race issue, there was no way they would get rid of him just for being himself. Everyone’s got used to that.

After a short, uneventful Tribal Council, Andrea was blindsided and sent to join the party going on at Redemption Island. It is my guess next week we’ll have another four way Duel. I am so looking forward to it.

What did you think of the episode? Who do you think will win it all in the end? I still say Rob, but if Mike can reenter the game, I think he also has a shot.

‘Let’s do it!’

I can’t name another season of Survivor that I loved watching pre merge and hated pretty much all the post merge episodes so far. Or one that now has so many storylines, none of which pick my interest at all. Or one in which all my favorites went home two or three episodes after I’ve started rooting for them. Personally, I’m ready to wrap Survivor: Redemption Island and move on.

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God’s not done with you!

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First order of business: saying goodbye to the awesome Julie. After losing the more than pathetic three way duel, she became the second member of the Jury. I have to ask…Survivor shuffleboard as a duel? Yes, that is great challenge to watch when the contestants are playing for a harmless Reward, but when your life in the game depends on it, it’s sort of lame.

A few words about Matt, who again stayed alive yet again: I can’t stand him. I just can’t. Props to him for not quitting though; at one point I really thought he would throw in the towel.

Wasn’t it weird Philip had found his shorts? I’m guessing it was more luck than his great grandfather, but you never know.

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Roll it, baby!

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The Immunity Challenge was entertaining, though I really wasn’t rooting for anyone. Grant, Philip, Ralph and Ashley moved on to the next round. Grant and Ralph made it to the final round, which Grant ultimately won.

I really missed the Reward Challenges and I was happy this week we got to see one.  But what was surprising to the players was a Mystery Package Jeff told them to bring at Tribal. I immediately thought of the mystery bottle in Survivor: Cook Islands. To this day I can remember what the piece of paper inside of it said: You have just voted out a member of your tribe. You will now vote out another. I never saw that coming then and completely freaked out. This time around – meh. I guess I would have reacted better, had I cared enough about at least one of the remaining players.

This season’s mystery package was somehow different, though: it announced the players would have an Immunity challenge before the second elimination. After Ralph was, unsurprisingly, voted out each contestant was given a set of cards and shown a sequence of images which they had to remember and then replicate. Whoever missed one was out.

The best part of the entire Tribal Council segment was Julie’s comment. ‘Steve’s gonna win’, she said smiling. I thought he had no chance, but in the end it came down to him, Rob and Ashley. Still, it was Rob who took home the prize and with the help of his alliance of brainwashed people, he sent the last Zapatera member to Redemption Island. I’ve always liked the Zapatera tribe more, so seeing Steve go was not that pleasant – even though I never liked him.

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Thoughts

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Ihave to say, could the Redemption Island twist have turned out any worst? I understood the three way Duel, but a four way one? Redemption Island was supposed to be a place where one person lived in solitary until someone came and challenged him to a Duel. Yet there they are, half of the once powerful Zapatera Six and Matt, having a pajama party.

So now there are only six people left in the real game. My prediction is that Rob will win. Nobody is ever going to vote Philip out (sadly), everyone seems to be keen on getting rid of Andrea and Grant’s a huge physical threat. Ashley is also on Rob’s black list and I can’t imagine anyone being smart enough to make a move and take Rob out. Besides, he still has the Idol. And if he makes it to the Final Three with Philip and Natalie, he’ll win by a landslide. The Zapatera folks aren’t the ones to hold grudges.

Would I be OK with this scenario? I guess. I don’t know. I don’t really care.

As I’ve said, I’ve grown tired of this season with all the Matt drama, Rob dominance and Philip. But do you still enjoy it? Or do you, as me, can’t wait for the regular season, with new players?

‘Full throttle of trust’

This week’s episode of Survivor was all about Philip, so naturally it annoyed me beyond limits. On top of that, the sole person I was rooting for got voted out – it wasn’t surprising, just hard to watch.

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Trial? Truel?

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Let me just say this right now: I am sick and tired of Matt. He started out as this nice kid who then won me over by winning all those Duels and making it back into the game. But then he proved he has no idea how to play the game and got himself blindsided for the second time. Ever since, I have had a hard time even seeing him. In this episode, he was worse than ever. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to listen to him praying or saying the word ‘God’.

David arrived to Redemption Island and all three inhabitants speculated what that might mean. Would the next Duel be a truel? Or a trial? Matt suggested it was the last one, but I didn’t know where that came from. Surely you don’t think the producers would let you get back in the game after just one duel…err, truel.

Once again, everybody was invited to witness the Duel. Damn, I meant truel. It would have been more interesting if only two people were allowed to. Had those two people been from the former Zapatera tribe, it may have given them a slight advantage.

I was relieved when Jeff said two people would survive the Duel, because that meant at least one of the former Zapatera would survive. The challenge itself was a re-use, of course, but I loved it. The contenders had to build a house card 8 feet tall. It brought back the memory of Susie winning it without even reaching that mark.

Mike made quick work of his tower, only to struggle with the last tile. His tower looked as if it would collapse numerous times and this gave Matt and David time to catch up. Eventually though, he managed to reach the 8 feet mark and stay alive. I like Mike, so I was happy about this. Unfortunately though, Matt finished soon after, so David became the first jury member. Although I never really rooted for him until last week, Matt has had his chance and he blew it. He should have lost.

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‘Bon appétit!’

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Back at camp, Julie, Steve and Ralph are having a small feast in every meal. They have more than enough rice left and since they know they’ll be going soon, they decide not to starve. Since Rob decided the tribes should have separate shelters and eat separately, this was more than fair.

Philip however, the one who has premonitions and talks with his ancestors, the FORMAL FEDERAL AGENT for God’s sake, had problems with it. So what does he do? He steals some cups of rice from Zapatera’s tin when they’re away.

Karma is a bitch though, because after they came back from seeing the Duel (and after we have been treated with a wonderful song, sung by Rob, Grant, and Philip), Andrea discovered their tin had maggots in it. Philip decides to dump the rice on a blanket in order to separate the maggot. But now they don’t have where to put the rice, so Andrea asks Steve if they could put it in Zapatera’s tin. Steve denied politely, as Julie muttered ‘Bon appétit’.

Again, since both tribes have been divided since they merged, they had every right to do it. I would have done the same thing, even if only to infuriate the ones who are beating me.

Andrea took it well, though. She just said ‘OK, I’m gonna go tell the others’. Guess who took it personally? Yep, Hawk-man. He went nuts and started arguing with Steve in front of everybody. Sorry buddy, but you are the one who stole rice before and now threaten to steal the tin as well.

But that wasn’t enough for him, he had to play the one card he should never have: the race one. Just because Steve called him crazy (which I’m sorry to disappoint, he is), he automatically assumed he was being discriminated.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an argument this big and this ugly on Survivor before. Alicia’s ‘I’ll always wave my finger in your face’ seems childish compared to this. Philip had no reason to go there though: it’s their tin, they can do whatever they want with it. You have the numbers advantage, shut up and wait until you vote them out, then take the damn tin. At this point, the urge to hit my head against the wall was almost irresistible.

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Puzzle time x2

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The Immunity Challenge this week involved solving not one but two puzzles, yet it still felt rushed. Six castaways would get to the second round, the winner of which would win Immunity. I was hoping they would narrow it down to three people first. Even so, two puzzles for the same challenge… do you think they knew Rob was going to take part in it?

Nobody really had a chance at it. It was clear from the beginning Rob was going to win. Major props to Andrea though; she was in the lead a few times. It was impressive to watch her, though I wanted someone from Zapatera to win it.

Two things I liked about this episode. The first – Mike surviving the Duel.  The second – Julie stealing Philip’s shorts. If somebody who knows her reads this by mistake, please give her a hug from me. She is really awesome.  I remember a secret scene I watched, in which Kristina broke the zipper on his trousers, after Francesca was voted out. I really wish she and Julie had the opportunity to play together.

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Therapy session

Julie was, unfortunately, sent to Redemption Island.

Seeing Philip walk into Tribal Council with nothing but his pink underwear was hilarious and I took great joy in it. Now, am I being mean? Probably, but that guy’s been annoying me for 10 weeks now, so I’m just going to have my laugh. Besides, Philip still had his shirt which he could have taken with him, but he chose not to. So whatever.

Tribal Council was basically just part two of the race issue, so I’m not going to go over it again. I will say that I love listening to Jeff Probst’s assessment of the situation.

So in the end, who was voted out? Julie. For some reason, I am not allowed to have my favorites stay in the game very long. I do hope we’ll see more of Julie though, because she’s awesome.

Who do I root for now? I have no idea. As I’ve said, I thought Andrea’s performance at the challenge (and game play overall since the merge) has been pretty impressive. But the preview clips hinting at an early departure from her…

It does annoy me Philip is still in the game. No matter what he does or say, he never gets voted out. Yes, I get everyone wants to sit near him at the Final Three, but for the viewer in me, it is pure torture having to put up with him every week. And Matt, just hurry up and quit already, so that Julie can win the Duel and stay in the game.

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it more than I did?

‘It’s not even a tribe – it’s a cult’

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to write a full post on last night’s episode of Survivor. Fortunately, I pretty much hated the episode – yes, I hated it. So my usual post would probably have been a huge rant. Instead, here are some random thoughts, presented with the old fashioned bullets.

 

  • I couldn’t help but laugh at Matt’s little ‘speech’ at Redemption Island. If anybody had doubts he’s not the worst player this season, they must have evaporated last night. If he somehow reenters the game again, he will still stick with Ometepe.
  • Immunity Challenge #1 was good. Remember a couple of episodes ago when David stated he’s good at puzzles? Yeah, he lost this Challenge. And to a former NFL Player.  What made the loss more humiliating was that the puzzle was the first one his tribe completed in the first episode.
  • Tribal Council #1: Mike was voted out. Not surprising, considering he was one of the people I liked and almost won the last two challenges. Boston Rob’s not stupid; of course he’ll take out the strongest players first.
  • I was surprised Steve opted not to take part in the second Immunity Challenge; you’d think when you don’t have numbers on Day 24, you would try everything you can to get Immunity – even if it’s not your type of challenge. In the end, Andrea won it. Speaking of Andrea, I hope she’ll make a big move soon, so I can fully root for her.
  • At the second Tribal Council, David was voted out. I didn’t exactly like the guy, but I wasn’t rooting against him either. And he was much more interesting to watch than Steve (and even Ralph). I was sad to see him go, especially after his hilarious quadruple vote for Rob. 😀
  • Zapatera tried their best to break the Ometepe alliance – it’s just that Rob is better. I have said it from the beginning and I will say it again: It is extremely unfair that he had already played three times. That gives him loads of experience and it shows. Personally, I’m not enjoying this ‘Rob-domination’. On top of that, I am very annoyed that nobody at Ometepe has a problem with being told what to do, when to do it and how. Come on, you won’t eat the fish just because one guy told you so? What are you, four years old?
  • Philip is by far the most annoying player in the game right now. At both Tribal Councils he went on and on about how Ometepe is such a great team, how he’s got his great-great grandfather give him feathers and how he ‘likes being on the bottom’. Those speeches, coupled with the fact yet another one of my favorites was voted out, was what made me strongly dislike the episode. It annoys me that players like him always make it so far.
  • Judging from the preview clips at the end of the episode, the Ometepe alliance will not be broken anytime soon, which leaves the question: which former Zapatera will be voted out next? My guess is Julie, since she’s the only one I still 100% root for.

 

I am curious… am I the only one who doesn’t like how Rob keeps on dominating? I’m sure this would have been very interesting to watch, had he been playing for the first time. But I just can’t over the huge advantage he was given. What do you all think?

‘Genius is what that was’

What. An. Episode.

Not only did the merge happen, but we also had two amazing challenges, a lot of strategy talk and a tribe named after Amber’s stuffed animal. What more can you ask from a Survivor episode?

But let’s start with the start.

 

‘The winner of this Duel…’

 

Sarita arrived at Redemption Island and began to tell Matt how awesome everyone back at Zapatera is. Considering she’s talking about the people who just blindsided her, that just about shows how awesome she is herself.

When everybody from both tribes was invited to witness the Duel, it occurred to everyone the merge may be coming. When they arrived at the Arena, they were also informed the winner of the Duel would go back into the game. Sure, we’ve known this for a week now, but all the players were shocked. If Sarita was to reenter the game, she was going to stick with Zapatera. But what would Matt do? Stick with Ometepe or go with Zapatera? Rob in particular was worried about this and rightfully so; he was the one who orchestrated his blindside.

It was only fitting for the ‘Last Duel’ to be an endurance one. The same challenge from Tocantins was used: standing on narrow footholds. Remember Coach falling to the ground and crying because of the pain he was in?

When the Duel started, I was really rooting for both of the contenders. Phillip gave Matt a 15 minute speech about some sort of Samurai Code, which could have been reduced to ‘stay focused’. Meanwhile, Zapatera (especially Julie) kept cheering for Sarita; I loved that. It reminded me of the early seasons of Survivor.  That made me root for Sarita a little more than Matt. So naturally, she had to lose. I was sad to see her go, because she was a genuine, caring person. I wish she’d gone farther. At the same time, I was happy to see Matt win his way back into the game. He fought for it and deserved it.

 

‘We are merged’

 

Jeff then announced the tribes merged into one (which Rob later named Murlonio, after one of Amber’s stuffed animals – how awesome was that?). But that’s not all: Redemption Island Duels start all over again. I’ll admit I did not see that coming and I’m not so sure how I feel about it. If the next player reenters the game when there are (say) seven people left, great. It would bring drama; it will cause power shifts and everything you might want. But if the player enters the game when there are five people left…then they’re basically handed Final Three on a silver plate.

I thought Matt would receive Individual Immunity for the first Tribal Council he goes to, so that he has a chance to get back into the swing of things. I remember that was the case in Pearl Islands, so I was surprised they didn’t do something similar.

After the merge feast and the building of the new shelter, the hunt for Matt was on. Everybody realized he was the swing vote and everybody wanted to win him over. Mike even went as far as promising him Final Four and revealing he has access to an Idol.

To be honest I think Mike made a rushed decision there. Yes, he had to convince Matt to vote with Zapatera, but why wouldn’t you keep the Idol as a last minute resort? If I was in his place, I wouldn’t have brought the Idol up at all. Instead, I would have played it at Tribal Council; that way, the chances of being able to blindside someone from the other tribe would have increased.

 

‘I am impressed’

 

The first challenge for Individual Immunity involved standing on a log and balancing three balls on a disc – not easy. And can I just say it- the Immunity Necklace looks awesome this season.

Although this challenge didn’t require any physical strength, I never would have expected Julie and Ashley to be the first ones out. Everybody else did pretty well, with the final four people being Mike, Ralph, Steve and Natalie. When both Ralph and Steve dropped their balls, I was sure Mike was going to win. He hasn’t moved the entire duration of the challenge; he was ‘like a statue’. Still, it was Natalie who won. Natalie, the little girl who was plucking hairs out of her body a few episodes ago. Kudos to her, though I am tempted to say it was the fly’s fault Mike lost. 😀

That meant, however, that Mike might as well go home. Rob thought he could get Matt and Andrea to flip, so he wants him out. Mike came up with a great plan: They were going to use the Idol and take out Grant. After that they’ll reel Mat and Andrea in and they’re good for the rest of the game. If only that plan worked…

 

All about Matt

 

Matt screwed up big time though.

Firstly, in the dead of the night he told Andrea he wanted to take down Ometepe and blindside Rob. He was so passionate about this and Andrea’s reaction was just hilarious, so I really wanted the plan to work. It would have been amazing.

But after that, because of ’God’s will’, he ran to Rob and confessed everything. He told Rob about the plan, the Idol, Andrea wanting to flip… what was that? As Andrea said it, it was just ‘plain stupid’.

In Rob’s words, I also ‘don’t have a problem with God’, but it wasn’t God who won all those Duels. It wasn’t God who kept Matt in the game. It was Matt. He kept himself in the game. So he should have tried to do everything he can to stay, not run back to the person who voted you out and admit you wanted to flip.

All that reminded me of the joke with a man praying in front of the statue of some god every day: ‘Dear God, please, please let me win the lottery’. After a while, the exasperated statue comes to life and says to the man ‘Dear child, please, please buy a ticket’.

 

History repeats itself

 

As a result of Matt’s crazy actions, Rob got all nervous again and convinced his former tribe mates (including Matt’s ally Andrea and Samurai Phillip, who until a few days ago wanted to eliminate him) to vote Matt. Still, as Murlonio prepared to vote at Tribal Council, I didn’t know what to expect. All the talking made me think Matt considered changing his mind.

In the end though, Ralph played the Idol for Mike, who ultimately received no votes. Everyone at Zapatera voted for Grant. Everyone at Ometepe voted for Matt. Matt voted Steve (Why? I have no idea). Matt was eliminated. He eliminated himself. He came back into the game just to be sent right back to Redemption Island. And he deserved it: he has no idea how to play this game.

Now the Ometepe Six are in a great position, since they have the numbers advantage. Rob still is their leader and no one knows about his Idol. Zapatera doesn’t have an Idol anymore. What will happen next week? I can’t wait to find out.

Did you love this episode as much as I did? Can Matt reenter the game again? Leave your thoughts below.

 

‘I wish I’d brought my stuff’

OK, it is official: I am horrible at choosing players to root for. Last night, Sarita was voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island because of her poor performances in challenges. As a result, I’ve decided not to share who my other favorites are anymore, so I won’t get them under my curse (though if you’re curious, leave a comment – I think I’m good if I write it in the comments section).

But on to the episode, which was a good one…

 

Crispy Rice

 

It has been clear for a while Rob is the King of Ometepe and Philip – the buffoon. The rest of the tribe treats them accordingly, which resulted in Philip delivering his funniest rant yet. Or should I say Philip’s sole funny rant? He complained he didn’t get a scoop of the crispy rice, since that was Rob’s portion. He went on saying the girls’ sleep in ‘Rob’s underwear every night’. At that moment, I just cracked up – that may have the best line this season. I wonder what Amber thought of that?

Joke aside, Philip has a point. Since the game started, pretty much everyone at Ometepe has been star struck by Rob’s presence. Everyone immediately accepted him as the leader and has unconditional trust in him. At this point, I’m actually thinking they even want to go to the Final Three with him. Why don’t they see how big a threat he is?

 

Flip & Match

 

It seemed lie from the moment she arrived at Redemption Island, Stephanie has been talking non-stop about peanut butter and all sorts of foods. We all knew she was annoying, so that was not a surprise. If during this past week I had been rooting a liiiitle bit for Stephanie to win – not anymore.

This week’s Duel tested the competitors’ memory, with a good old ‘Flip & Match’ type of challenge. As much as I like to play such games, I don’t like them on Survivor. I feel a lot of luck is involved and surprisingly, I was proven right – both Matt and Stephanie scored a point in the first round.

Stephanie never really had the lead or any chance of winning, though and a few rounds later, she lost. Matt won his fifth Redemption Island Duel. Or, as Jeff loves to say, he ‘seized the moment’. His winning streak is so impressive that Philip called him a ‘Samurai Warrior’.

As soon as Rob and Philip returned to their camp, Philip gave Rob yet another reason to pit the tribe against him. I’ll say this again: Philip doesn’t know how to play the game. Every time he says he wants to take out Rob I can’t help but smile, knowing that probably won’t happen. Sure, with the merge happening next week, he might have some sort of a shot, but Rob has an Idol and a solid alliance.

 

Three out of four

 

The challenge this week was –again- from Nicaragua. I have to admit though; it was one of very few things I liked about that season so I was glad they decided to reuse it. Both tribes had to race through a series of obstacles and collect two ‘bags of balls’. They then had to shoot the balls in a basket.

Sarita and Philip both struggled and made the challenge unpredictable. Ometepe had an early lead, which Zapatera then stole. Still, both tribes got to the baskets about the same time. For a little while it looked like Zapatera might win – they had five out of six balls in the basket, while Ometepe only had three. But in the end, Ometepe took the prize home, thanks to Grant. He may have gotten all six balls in the basket by himself. He is a strong, strong physical player, but I’m disappointed by how he blindly trusts Rob.

Ometepe was taken to the top of an active volcano, which was an amazing experience for the players. Cookies and drinks brought the tribe together and even Philip decided to postpone his plans of sabotaging Rob. But the best part of the Reward? Rob threw the Immunity Clue in the volcano.

 

Loyalty vs. Strength

 

So Zapatera self destructed. They now face another Tribal Council, which will bring their tribe to five members, giving Ometepe the numbers for the first time. The targets: David and Sarita.

David is a good puzzle solver and the tribe could use his strength in challenges. At the same time, he’s not very trustworthy. With Sarita, it’s the opposite; she’s horrible in challenges but very loyal.

Personally, knowing after this Council there would be eleven people left in the game, I would have pleaded for David to go. Come on, the Merge usually occurs at twelve when there’s a Final Three plus a nine member Jury. So why would you keep the strong guy who would be willing to flip? Keeping the loyal Sarita (who won’t be a threat for Individual Immunity) would have been a better choice.

 

‘I don’t know what cohesive means’

 

Sarita was sent to Redemption Island last night.

Oh my, what a Council. Did Ralph really say that he doesn’t know what cohesive means? I couldn’t believe my ears. And if that wasn’t enough, he then answered an ‘a or b?’ question with ‘I disagree’. Hilarious. 😀

Not until the last moment did I realize Sarita would be voted out. While I did know she had a big target, she did a great job of defending herself at Tribal and not losing her cool. But in a 4-2 vote, she was sent packing with probably the purest expression of shock on her face I’ve ever seen on Survivor. She was so confident she was safe she hadn’t even brought her stuff with her.

As I’ve already said, I loved her, despite last week’s…incidents. And of course, she had to be voted out just before the merge – I hate when that happens. The preview clips seem to indicate Matt hurt himself and that will somehow affect his performance in the Final Duel, but I’m not buying it. Either way, I’ll be happy for whoever reenters the game!

I can hardly wait for next week’s episode. What did you think of this one? Sad to see Sarita go? Happy?

‘Got Busted by the Principal’

Am I that horrible at choosing players to root for? First it was Francesca, who managed to get herself voted out first. Then it was Kristina, who had to make Rob feel threatened and vote her out instead of Phillip. And now Sarita, who I’ve liked from the second episode, is apparently turning into a complaining little princess.

 

 

Perceptions

 

This episode showed another side of some of the players. Ashley, who from the beginning I thought was a decent, hard working player around camp, has turned into this annoying beauty queen. She wouldn’t do anything around camp and neither will Natalie. Instead, they would have ‘another beach day’; meaning they will practice hair removal with a pair of scissors. This resulted in Phillip having a meltdown and urging them to ‘help out around here’. As annoying as Phillip is, he is right. Ashley’s response was pretty much just shouting and overall being rude towards Phillip.  Although she (as many, I’m sure) can’t stand the guy, you’re on Survivor. Suck it up!

She should meet Stephanie, who is trying to master that art at Zapatera. After both her allies have been voted out, she’s finally trying to form relationships with her tribe. In particular David, who now knows he’s at the bottom of the Zapatera Six and is looking for other options. She’s targeting who she knows is the weakest member.

This brings me to the third player who has changed in my eyes since the beginning of the show: Sarita. During the first few episodes she was this sweet, motherly figure who I adored. And here is she is, four episodes later, sticking dirty sticks in her mouth to clean her teeth. Really? You’re on Survivor, for crying out loud: everybody stinks and nobody gives a damn about it. Now, she’s complaining left and right about how badly her gums hurt. I really hope that was just an isolate episode and she‘ll wake up. Soon.

 

Prayer Warriors 2.0

 

Ah, good old Brett and Natalie. I’m sorry; I meant Matt and Krista, inhabitants on Redemption Island.  They both are devoted Christians and bond really well at Redemption Island. Sadly for them, only one can remain in the game, as they enter this week’s Duel.

I must say, this was probably my least favorite Duel so far. The main reason being I didn’t find the Challenge that interesting. I was obviously rooting for Matt and Krista took an early lead; but I wasn’t too worried. I knew she would somehow screw up later on and after a couple of looks at Matt’s table maze, she dropped the ball (literally). A few seconds later, Matt ‘once again seized the moment’. Krista was then sent packing after the torturous buff burning ceremony and after she had given Matt her pink Bible. I liked that moment of human affection. 🙂

 

Throw and Catch

 

The Immunity Challenge was again one I did not particularly enjoy – the same one in which JT lost his tooth back in Tocantins. After Jeff successfully stirred up the pot and Phillip delivered a ridiculous speech, Ometepe went on to completely dominate the Challenge. Seriously, they rocked – Grant in particular. He alone caught four of the five balls required to win, while Zapatera didn’t manage to catch one single ball. After their impressive first wins, they seem to have lost their momentum. Can they make a comeback?

Since the tribes were also playing for Reward, Ometepe was sent to a wonderful picnic lunch. Rob and Grant again found the Immunity Idol Clue, but this time it didn’t go entirely their way: Phillip saw them reading the clue, after they had announced they are ‘checking the view’.

I literally cannot listen to Phillip’s speeches anymore. He is annoying. I’m tired of the lion and gorilla; the four years he as a Former Special Agent, defending the great country that is America. What, didn’t you know he was an agent? And all that talking just to tell us he doesn’t trust Rob and Grant anymore. Adding those two to his ‘to vote out’ list, the only person in his tribe who he doesn’t have an issue with is Andrea.

 

S. vs. S.

 

Can Steph defeat Matt at the next Duel?

With Tribal Council looming, Stephanie tried to put the target on Sarita, for being the weakest member of the tribe. She argued that she is stronger than Sarita. Had I been there and had I known what the Zapatera Six knew, I would have probably agreed with her.

At Tribal Council, Stephanie continued to attack Sarita with the help of David, who went in… I guess the ‘lawyer mode’ and made it clear he will vote for Sarita.  As I saw it, she either didn’t try very hard to defend herself or she wasn’t that impressed with what Stephanie and David had said.

I thought the vote could go either way, but in the end Stephanie was sent to Redemption Island. Unbeknownst to them, they did the right thing. After all, she has been eager to flip ever since Russell got voted out and she let Ometepe know about it. Besides, I still hope Sarita is not that big of a ‘drama queen’, as Julie called her.

To be honest, this wasn’t my favorite episode. What did you think of it? And am I the only one who thinks the preview scenes didn’t make any sense at all?

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