First I’m going to say, if you DVR Survivor and have a few cast members as friends on Facebook, avoid visiting the site until you’ve watched the episode. I loaded up Facebook this morning to check my usual stream of copy/pasted inspirational messages, complaints about whatever weather people are having in their party of the country, and of course Ashley Underwood accepting the friends request of pretty much everyone on Facebook except me. Why such hatred, Ashley? We have no problems with you at TRJ! My comments about being a beauty pageant winner from Maine were all in fun, will you ever forgive me??
Sorry, I got side-tracked a bit there. Anyway, between all the status messages, I also got a spoiler of who was eliminated between Stephanie and Matt. No problem, I knew I was going to find that out 10 minutes into the episode anyway, but I was shocked how it happened. For the third time this season, the Survivor crew put together a challenge that was basically an over-sized puzzle I used to get as a stocking stuffer as a kid. First the picture scramble thing (with the one slot open for movement), then the puzzle moving a ball around a maze without letting it fall into a hole, and last night a giant game of memory. Seriously? Not only was it s kids puzzle, but it was an easy kids puzzle with only like 10 pairs to match up. About 4 moves in, Matt was already solving based on process of elimination.
Needless to say, Wonder Boy easily defeated Stephanie who was sent packing with the comfort knowing there was essentially 0 challenge in the duel that took away her chances at a million dollars. Next week, my guess is that the puzzle will be an over-sized sudoku game with 75% of the board already filled in, and they simply have to throw bean bags on open slots then pick a number from 1-3 which would solve that square. Boom, sounds like a Survivor: Redemption Island quality challenge right there, make it happen.
Speaking of next week, it appears the winner will be re-joining the game, and the Redemption Island portion will be complete. This will cap off the new twist to the show this season which was supposed to make voting people out different (It didn’t), and add to the excitement by having an entertaining one-on-one duel to remain in the game (it wasn’t). Instead, we got to witness awkward conversations and/or prayer sessions between the evicted players in the 5 total minutes of airtime they got all season outside of their “puzzle battles”. Then we got to watch Matt dominate puzzles that were clearly designed for the weak players who were likely to be eliminated early, and not a guy like Matt.
On to the non boring part of the show, which was the great rice debate of the Ometepe tribe. If clipping armpit hair and Phillip bitching about not getting the crunchy rice was the best the editors could come up with for that tribe, there must have been countless hours of mind numbing boring footage of the girls laying on the beach and the guys playing catch or something. No wonder they do All-Star seasons, because people actually try to play the game, not use the time as a vacation.
Over on the Zapatera tribe, the get-along-gang was unsure what to do with itself now that they rid themselves of Russell and his two followers. They got what they wanted, and now it was time to have the tribe start really thinking ahead about the final 4, and the super secret sub-alliance comes out and lays a slap down on people. Wait, that didn’t happen either, it was basically Sarita vs David bickering back and forth until the challenge.
The challenge was almost identical to the one last year where players had to go through an obstacle course that had the brick walls in it teams had to crash through. Remember Kelly Purple breaking through last season for the pizza?
Well insert the Redemption Island players into this picture and you have this years challenge. It makes me wonder if the seasons were shot simultaneously in Nicaragua, and those challenges were set up back to back. I don’t think so though, I remember last year featured a lot of rain, which hasn’t really been there this year.
Anyway, Phillip slowed down his tribe quite a bit during the challenge, Sarita slowed hers down, but both tribes managed to end up neck and neck of course, and it all relied on the basketball skills of each team. Let’s just say, Grant was pretty much the only player on either tribe with any skill as he sunk I think every ball for Omatepe giving them immunity and the volcano picnic Fabio and crew had last year. The difference being there was no volcano sledding this time. Too bad.
Team overconfident-and-willing-to-throw-challenges (long nickname) head back to camp after losing yet another, and for the first time in the game actually had fewer numbers than Team Rob. That’s good to see, sometimes it’s fun watching karma slap somebody in the face. Say what you’d like about Russell, but they deserve it after simply throwing a challenge. You never do that in almost any game/sport, unless you’re competing against your child, but even then sometimes you need to slap them with some reality that life isn’t always about winning! Yea, I’m ruthless! I’ll dominate the shit out of some kid on Xbox!
It came down to picking someone who was useless but trust-worthy (Sarita) to someone who was mostly useless and willing to flip at merge (David). After much non-strategizing or full agreement, the tribe went to tribal council and voted out Sarita, choosing the less trust-worthy player. This move could work in their favor though, as it basically guarantees Matt’s return to the game, and it’s very unlikely he’s siding with Rob again, so they may have just luckily swapped a weak player for a strong one at a key time in the game.
I don’t think they thought of that, or thought of much at this point. Once their big plan of voting out Russell was complete, they’ve pretty much just stuck to the course headed for the iceberg. They’re clearly not even all on the same page as they couldn’t even get their votes straightened out.
With the merge coming next week, and Rob’s position still not very secure, it should be interesting to see who flips, who stays loyal, and if a 3rd rogue alliance forms between the outcasts such as Phillip, Matt, David and Andrea. So far the first half has been very weak, despite a strong start to the season, but the second half has the potential to be pretty entertaining with the tribes merging. Vacation time is over, kiddos.. time to play Survivor!