Just when it looks like Redemption Island is about to become NC-17, it turns G, for goody-two-shoes. Matt is awakened when Krista climbs in the bamboo bunk with him. Russell’s #2 gal, she’s been voted off at Tribal Council. It’s instant chemistry: they both pray a lot! Still, Krista assures her new bedmate, she’s not going to go easy on him in the duel. Matt welcomes it, “I’m not letting you fly under the radar, Blondie.” She purrs back, "I'm not letting you fly under the radar, Blondie."
The revival camp meeting continues the next morning at breakfast. Matt talks to God for quite a while, thanking him for pretty much everything except being blonde. Somehow, I’m thinking if the big guy wanted his public conversations out there for millions of people to overhear, he’d just get on Twitter, maybe with a handle like @Omni_Potent.
Adding to the religious fervor, Krista gets her “luxury item” from tree-mail: a pink Bible. Though she and Matt are thrilled at its arrival, they have little chance to pore over scripture: it’s duel time! The two of them, getting close in a hurry, agree that whoever wins the day, “It’ll be God’s will.”
Honored guests from Ometepe are Natalie and Matt’s (maybe) girlfriend Andrea. Julie and Mike are there to represent Zapatera.
For the challenge, Matt and Krista must stand on platforms, throw out grappling hooks tied to ropes, snag three bags and pull them across the sand. Using a ball contained in one of the bags, they must roll it through a huge tilt table maze without having the ball drop out through one of the holes. Matt is having some trouble. Jeff warns him, “Matt, you need to get that bag undone!” Matt, calm as always, grins and replies, “Workin’ on it, Probst.”
The contest is close but Matt finishes first, to stay in the game. Krista looks to Jeff and asks if she can give Matt something before she leaves. He says yes, and she gives Matt her Bible. Probst thinks this is an incredibly generous gesture. Andrea? Umm, not so fast, maybe boyfriend’s been playing the field? She’s wondering about the relationship she thought she had with Matt, “I had a really good bond with him. But she has a good bond with him as well. Initially, I wanted him to stay in the game as long as possible, but he could be really dangerous.” Poor Matt, maybe he’d better flip the pages in that Bible to read about what happened to Samson with that Delilah chick.
“WHY DIDN’T I LEARN THIS IN SCHOOL?”
At Zapatera, Sarita isn’t winning any friends. She’s complaining of a toothache, speculating she sneezed in her mouth and got bacteria. (Let that be a lesson people: do not sneeze in your mouth.) Ralph has no sympathy; he thinks she did it to herself, “cleaning her teeth with a dirty stick. Who in the world worries about their back teeth?” Hopefully, the children of America are already asleep.
Julie doesn’t much like Sarita either, “She’s just a drama queen and a princess.” David, who pretty clearly thinks himself a superior being to the others in the tribe, encourages Stephanie to “figure out how to unseat her.” [Sarita] He wants to shake things up, “If it’s me and the five of them I’m gonna shoot myself.”
Stephanie, although she recognizes that David is right that she needs to make up with the people she angered at tribal, is frustrated, “I’m gonna sit here and think how to suck up to people I hate. Why didn’t I learn this in school?” Earlier Stephanie had told Steve the reason she voted against him at Tribal was that he was the weakest link. Now she has to eat a little crow and try to make nice. She seeks him out, “I want to say I’m sorry for voting for you. I wanted to write down Sarita’s name, but like, the position I’m in, I have to keep that to myself.” Though Steve tells her he does think she’s stronger than Sarita, privately he’s still concerned about her trustworthiness.
At Ometepe, the cauldron also bubbles. Phillip is furious at Natalie and Ashley, “Those girls are getting the fruits of my labor, but they’re not giving me one iota of credit. I’m not gonna say, ‘Girls, give me some love.’ I feel like the red child.” For their part, Natalie and Ashley are grooming each other like chimpanzees, plucking underarm hair. Where did they get the tweezers, I wonder, or are they using needle-nose pliers from that Sears Craftsman tool chest?
Phillip orders the girls to check on the fire “every thirty minutes.” Andrea assures him she’s been doing that. It’s not her he’s concerned about, it’s the other two “Beauty Queens.” He tells them to “get off their butts and do something. You lay around here all day in your R and R mode.” Natalie warns Phillip to “walk away. You’re not my father.”
Rob is concerned about the war brewing. “The best thing is to keep winning. Immediately I take Phillip aside. I had to play like Arafat in a peace process.” Rob patiently explains to Phillip that he knows the girls can be frustrating, but that it’s important to keep the tribe unified. Rob [in interview] reveals that he’s perfectly happy for the girls to be lazy and useless, “I don’t want you workin’ hard givin’ people a reason to write down your name at the end for a million dollars.”
THE MARINE WHO PLAYS LIKE A FIFTH-GRADER
The challenge this episode is something like a combination of Angry Birds and lacrosse. One member of each tribe will be using a slingshot to launch balls across the beach. Five other tribe members will be matched up against a counterpart from the other side, stationed at posts in the sand, fighting to catch the balls in the air. Sarita quickly volunteers to sit out for Zapatera.
The two ball launchers will be David for Zapatera, Natalie for Ometepe. The pairings are Stephanie v. Phillip, Mike v. Grant, Steve v. Rob, Julie v. Andrea and Ralph v. Ashley. Natalie and Grant quickly get their technique perfected. Mike can’t keep up with Grant: the best he can do is clutch Grant’s shirt-tail, finally tearing it off. I’m crushed: Mike competes more like a school-kid on the playground than a combat Marine.
Grant snags four of the balls for Ometepe; Rob gets one. Despite David’s shouted directions, he can’t get a single one of his balls to a team member and Ometepe wins five-zip.
ME AND THE UNITED STATES GOT SOMETHIN’ FOR YA
Ometepe’s reward is an elaborate seafood picnic on a cliff overlooking the bay of San Juan del Sur. They arrive to find themselves at the foot of an enormous statue. Rob wonders, “Who do you think that statue is?” Phillip has no doubt, “It’s Jesus. For sure.” I’m not particularly surprised: secret agents need to know that sort of thing.
As they’re gorging themselves on the provided food, Rob spots a rolled-up clue under the bowl of lobster claws. He makes a quick decision to let Grant retrieve it unobtrusively, “We all know there’s gonna be a clue; there’s always a clue. At this point, I realize I can’t do it without anybody seeing it: I’m gonna let one of them get it.”
Under the pretense of looking at the view, Rob and Grant climb the steps to the base of the statue to examine the clue. Phillip sneaks up and catches them, “Whatcha got there boys? I see it! What’s it say?!” Rob mutters, “Back at camp, it says it’s back at camp.” He and Grant, to avoid listening to Phillip’s nonsense, take off to join the girls.
Left alone, Phillip is about to explode with fury. “I have been in an alliance with Rob, Grant and myself. I call it StealthRUs. I’m the Stealth, Rob’s the Mentalist, and Grant’s the Assassin.” He can’t believe he’s been betrayed, “And yet today, when they found the clue, they tried to hide it from me. Hell hath no fury like a lion [displays left arm] and a gorilla [switches to right arm] when provoked. If you’re gonna make an alliance with me you better adhere to it because I am all about integrity. I served my country for four years, eleven months and thirteen days for duty, honor, country. That means something to me.
When you try to trash on that… me and the United States got something for ya when you try that little baby…I could dwell in the place of negativity right now based on what I just saw, but I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna smile and when the time comes…. I’m gonna kick a little ass around here.”
AND THE LOSER IS…
Zapatera spends the afternoon debating whether they’re going to vote out Sarita or the last of Russell’s triumvirate, Stephanie. David makes a strong argument for keeping Stephanie, “Sarita is more like the team mom than a team player. We need to keep the best six to win. All I care about is winning.” Julie agrees that Stephanie is a stronger player, but trusts Sarita more.
Stephanie is sure of one thing, “If they don’t keep me, they’re gonna lose every single challenge from now on.”
Mike can’t decide, “One thing we gotta weigh is if Stephanie goes home, Sarita’s gotta be in the next challenge. If Stephanie can prove we can trust her, I’m not totally opposed to keeping her around.”
When they reach Tribal Council, Jeff challenges them on their loss. Jeff wants them to admit they made a dreadful mistake throwing that challenge in order to get rid of his Pet Troll. David is quick to agree, “Obviously, we’re paying the price now.” Ralph, on the other hand, blames David, saying “If I’d a been shootin’…”
Stephanie seems powerless to keep her nasty thoughts to herself, pointing the finger of blame at Sarita, “She was shakin’ in her boots when we found out we were doing a contact challenge.” Jeff queries Sarita, and she admits she didn’t want to be responsible for a loss. Jeff pushes her, “So you’re saying you were glad to sit out, because then you couldn’t be a goat.” That leads to an argument between Stephanie and Sarita as to whether Sarita really wants to still be in the game. There’s some further discussion of the issue of trust and the vote begins.
Trust wins. Stephanie is out. David and Stephanie voted for Sarita, everyone else for Stephanie. It’s the way I would have gone: a merge can’t be far away and Stephanie is about as trustworthy as a...Troll.