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For those of you who may be concerned about the welfare of a certain Troll kicked off the island last week, I have news. In an interview at Entertainment Weekly, he revealed that he intends to bring a lawsuit against his fellow tribemates, claiming they violated their Survivor contract by throwing the challenge to get rid of him. No doubt the sniveling wretch will soon set up a website so his millions of fans can contribute to his quest for revenge. In the meantime, we should get back to the game.
Once again, tickets to the arena at Redemption Island are limited to two per tribe. Zapatera draws from numbered tiles (creative way # 4,872 to use surplus Nicaraguan TilesRUs merchandise) and the recently departed Russell’s Gal Fridays, Stephanie and Krista, are picked. No one seems worried about these two going off by themselves.
Julie thinks, “Now that Russell’s gone, they’re just pawns in this game. They can’t do any damage to us.” Rob and Grant show up as the ambassadors from Ometepe.
Host Probst said in a recent interview that it was a last-minute idea by Mark Burnett to have an audience at the Redemption duels. As things currently stand, it seems this may be one of the most important aspects of the game: the information-exchange between the duel participants and the members from the opposing tribes. For now, neither the Survivors nor the audience know at what point(s) someone will be reentering the game.
Matt and Kristina will be squaring off. They must lug a number of heavy oddly shaped blocks from one side of the arena to the other and assemble them into a solid cube, with the decorative sides of the blocks on the outer surface of the cube. It’s nowhere near a close contest. Kristina looks as if she wishes she’d spent a few extra bucks for the nonstop bus to Ponderosa. Matt is feeling leisurely enough to throw a tease out to Rob and Grant, "You rascals. Voted me out for no reason, I still don't know why. If you want to explain to me why while I'm working, it might calm me down or something."
Jeff jumps on that, demanding, “Rob, why did you vote him out?” Too quick-minded to be trapped, Rob, patiently explaining as if to a small child, tell him, “Jeff, you know it takes more than one person to vote somebody out.”
Stephanie and Krista make sure before they leave the arena that Rob knows of their unhappiness at Zapatera and dangle themselves as future assets. Stephanie volunteers, “I think I’d look good in yellow.” Rob’s noncommittal, but quietly tells the girls “Hang in there” as he and Grant head back.
PHILLIP HAS WOMAN-WOES
Left behind at Ometepe, Phillip bemoans that he’s unappreciated by the fairer sex. Every time he shows up, the girls run away. (Gee, wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he’s a nut-case running around half-naked in pink elastically-challenged panties?) “It’s frustrating for me. I can’t make an impression on these ladies. These girls remind me of crabs, particularly Natalie and Ashley: they’re quick to move away. They definitely remind me of crabs.”
Natalie and Ashley shower in the waterfall and lounge on the beach, and commiserate with each other that they have to “fake it so Phillip and Andrea feel a part of it.”
Andrea, who is aware she’s pretty low in the alliance pecking order, doesn’t have much use for these two, “they’re sweet girls, but the conversations usually go to superficial stuff like how’s my hair?” She takes advantage of Natalie and Ashley’s shower excursion to be nice to Phillip. He’s depressed: “I’m stuck; I haven’t connected with you younger ladies. I don’t have anybody to sleep with to give me a little chachacha.” After backhandedly complimenting her for being the best of the female workers in camp, Phillip suggests that if Matt makes it back the three of them could be a powerful alliance. He brags to the camera that he’s going to take Rob down, “The king is a dictator and I’m a lord and I’m waitin’ for the opportunity to replace the king.
Meanwhile, at Zapatera, Steve is spouting some word-salad about playing on a team that didn’t have an “I” in it; Julie is still worried bad karma is lurking because they deliberately lost that challenge and Mike is hoping Russell’s leftover girl tag-team isn’t going to be a problem.
“I DON’T THINK SHE’S SMART ENOUGH FOR THIS”
The reward/immunity challenge requires the team members to be blindfold. One member for each team will be the “caller” to direct them through the maze to collect four bags of puzzle pieces. When all the bags have been retrieved, the same person who “called” must assemble the letter tiles into a phrase. That role, says Jeff, “is either a hero or a goat.” Reward will be coffee and pastries.
Ometepe quickly chooses Rob, probably the best competitor ever when it comes to working out a puzzle. Zapatera has a heated discussion, but Sarita decrees that it will be Stephanie in charge (maybe because she has the loudest mouth?). David is grumbling, “This isn’t PeeWee Soccer, where everybody gets to play. I should be doing the puzzle. I’m a lawyer, I do puzzles all day.” I wonder what the hourly rate for that is?
Ometepe follows Rob’s directions and moves fairly smoothly. Ralph apparently never learned left from right. And he wants to argue with Stephanie about her directions. She’s furious at him: “Ralph, stop and wait ‘til I address you. Ralph, are you listening?”
Still, Zapatera isn’t far behind; Stephanie has untied her bags of puzzle pieces faster than Rob managed his. The bags are filled with coffee beans as well as letter tiles, and in clearing the beans off the table, Rob doesn’t notice one of the tiles has fallen to the ground.
Rob makes quick progress on his puzzle. Stephanie, not so much. Steve is thinking they made a mistake. He leans over to Ralph. “I wish David had been calling; I don’t think she’s smart enough for this.” He’s right: Rob realizes he’s missing a letter, and runs around the table to retrieve it from the sand. He completes the phrase, “The Sweet Taste of Victory” and Ometepe wins!
Julie, strangely, is not upset: “Even though we lost, we really won.” (Huhh?) “It’s gonna be between Stephanie and Krista tonight.
YOU HAVE TO HUSTLE
At camp, Ometepe is reveling in their feast. Phillip offers “half a doughnut to anyone who’ll give me a massage.” No one takes him up on it. I guess there just weren’t a lot of doughnut-lovers there. Or people who like to do creepy things.
Grant is sniffing the aroma from one of the coffee canisters when he spies a rolled up piece of paper, obviously a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Before he can think of some way to retrieve it, Rob sees it too. Somehow, the two of them manage to do some fancy footwork and sneak away with the canister.
Before Grant can unroll the clue to read it, Rob insists that he get back to camp and replace the coffee before it’s missed. While Grant is off on his assignment, Rob, grinning like a banshee, scurries off to retrieve the first clue he’s safely buried. Mischievously, he turns to the cameraman following and warns him to “hurry up.”
Rob digs up the first, rather useless, clue, and replaces it with the new one. Obviously, since he already has the idol, he has no need of either, but he’s clever enough to give Grant only the first one, which is “so ridiculous. There’s no way he can find anything with it.”
Grant gets back and is over-the-moon with excitement at sharing such an important find with Rob. Rob’s performance is Emmy-worthy: he pretends to be just as thrilled as Grant. Later, lounging on the beach alone, he laughs, “I have to entertain myself out here somehow. You have to hustle if you wanna make a dollar.” Or a million.
THAT TROLL CAN’T SAVE YOU NOW
Zapatera’s alliance of six finds itself torn by dissension. They regret that they didn’t pick David to do the puzzle. Sarita gets combative, defending her decision to put Stephanie in charge. (Advice to Sarita: when you’ve screwed up a challenge, either say you’re sorry and then shut up, or don’t say anything at all.) She argues that David, while he may be good at puzzles, is terrible at handling stressful situations. David gets prickly and snaps back that he does very well under pressure, thank you very much, and from here on out he’s doing all the puzzles, like it or not. My crystal ball shows trouble ahead between those two.
For now, though, it’s Stephanie and Krista who should be worried. Krista asks Stephanie if she thinks there’s anything they can do to avoid their fate. Stephanie scoffs, “These dumb-ass people? NO.” Krista thinks the alliance is headed for trouble, not thinking ahead, “If I’d put money on it, I’d say none of them are gonna make it to the end.”
By the time Zapatera gets to Tribal Council, the only suspense is which of Russell’s playmates will exit first. Krista complains that she and Stephanie have been shut out by the others, "After Russell left, there's really been no game playing. It kinda seems like the Brady Bunch has gone camping and they've invited the two neglected stepchildren to come along."
Marvelous Mike doesn’t let that go unchallenged: “You haven’t played any strategic game. You haven’t reached out. You’ve been abrasive; that’s your strategy.”
When Jeff asks about “sub-alliances,” Krista tries to stir up some trouble by naming pairs, but no one’s paying much attention. Even Jeff is bored, “looks like it’s going to be Stephanie or Krista to be sent to Redemption.” It’s Krista. Stephanie, like the big sis pushing the little one first into the dark cave, whispers, “Don’t be scared.”
And here’s Krista, coming in to Redemption in the middle of the night, “Walking into Redemption is a really scary lonely feeling, but I have a light within me nobody can take away.” I guess Auburn cheerleaders are just like aliens: they all have heart-lights.
Tune in next week for more Survivor, as Phillip has a meltdown over a girls’ day-spa, and bleats, “I’m a red-headed stepchild.” Oh, dear, I wonder if that will clash with the pink skivvies.