Survivor: Redemption Island continues to be stellar. It’s amazing that a reality show in its twenty-second season can still be fresh and exciting, but I suppose that’s just testament to the format — as well as the talent on and off the screen. For the first two episodes of Redemption Island, much of the drama and entertainment stemmed from Phillip, the alleged former special agent with a penchant for outbursts and animal analogies (replete with sound effects). This week, the focus moved to Russell, who found himself yet again up against a seemingly impenetrable majority. Nothing new for piggy though. Would he be able to pull a fast one on his tribe yet again? Keep reading to find out.First things first: we had some business to take care of at the outset of the episode. It was time for our first ever Redemption Island (which is more of a courtyard than an island) duel. Our struggling players were the articulate and snarky Francesca and the likable Jesus freak Matt. To be honest, I didn’t want to see either one of them go home, but if I had to choose a winner, I’d go for Franny, if only because it would be the ultimate underdog story. Then again, Matt getting revenge for his blindside would have been awesome. I was torn.
Nevertheless, Jeff had the two square off in a low-rent version of umpteen Immunity Challenges. The players had to tie several sticks together with rope in an effort to create one long rod. They would then use the rod to fetch three key rings that they’d use to open a little door. Nothing terribly original on display, but man did it lead to an exciting competition. It could not have been scripted any better. First Francesca had the lead, then Matt tied up with her, and then both struggled until finally Matt snagged that third and final key. Alas, Franny’s time on Survivor came to an end, but as far as Russell was concerned, she was still in it.
Yes, both tribes had to send two players to watch this duel, and Russell’s tribe-mates Steve and David decided that they would tell him that Francesca won. Why? It wasn’t entirely clear. I think they wanted to screw with him for fun, but they also claimed it was so that if Russell wound up on Redemption Island, he’d be caught off guard. Seemed kind of silly, but anyone who toys with Russell earns points in my book.
Of course, the only way the guys would be assured of Russell going off to see Matt would be if the tribe lost the Immunity Challenge, and so Steve had the questionable strategy of throwing the competition in order to flush the tribe of its cancer. I was happy to see Russell in such danger, but I couldn’t get behind this plan. Don’t they know that throwing competitions ALWAYS leads to bad things?
Well, the group decided to toss the dice and compete at only 40%, which meant that Boston Rob’s team won their first challenge of the season. Not only did they win Immunity though, they also took home some neat rewards, including a chair with an Immunity Idol clue sewn into it. Of course Phillip sat down on it without realizing, but somehow Rob noticed that the big oaf was off balance. He asked Phillip to change chairs and sure enough, Rob found the clue. It didn’t really help him find the idol, but the ingenuity on his part was still highly entertaining.
Over at the other tribe, Russell could sense trouble brewing. He had two votes in Stephanie and silent (a.k.a. purple) Krista, and he just needed one more to get an advantage. He found the firefighter lady (whose name escapes me) and preyed over her annoyance at having thrown the challenge. CBS tried to make it look like this woman was going to flip on her alliance, but we knew better.
Sure enough, at Tribal Council, she stayed true to her group, and Russell was finally FINALLY sent packing. You know, the guy makes for great TV, but he’s gotten way too cocky, and quite frankly, his gameplay is sloppy now. I was happy to see him go, and I’m excited to see how his feisty little sidekick Stephanie will dig her own grave too. Of course, with Redemption Island, Russell does have the potential to return to the action, but given that he’ll now have to knock off about four or five people in a row (that’s my estimate), it won’t be easy…
Here are some photos:
“Guys, guys, I know you all want in, but only two people can play rock, paper, scissors.”
“Wow, they really went all out for this Grand Lux CafÃ©.”
David: “I wonder if we’re missing anything in pop culture.”
Steve: “Nah. Probably the same old stuff. I’m just excited to get back to a DVR full of fresh Two and a Half Men episodes.”
Ashley: “Your man is hot.”
Andrea: “And I’m not aroused at all by the suggestive nature of this task. Not AT ALL.”
Andrea: “Yup, I’m totally fine watching Matt stick that rod into the ring. I’m fine. I’m fine.”
“To whomever’s singing ‘One Moment In Time,’ I’m finding it really distracting.”
Andrea: “My bad.”
“You know what I like? Chairs.”
Stephanie: “Hey guys, I’m just going to stand here and guard my bag. I wouldn’t want you to get into it in case there were an IMMUNITY IDOL inside. I mean, I’ll never say what’s inside, but I guess it could be an IMMUNITY IDOL!!! And most certainly not a fake one! I’m not over selling this at all!”
“These mosquitos are eating up my armpit. Who do they think they are? Don’t they realize that I’m RUSSELL? I played this game before! Those mosquitos are DUMB!”
“This challenge is a breeze. It reminds me of what I had to do to get in tight with Russell. Except there wasn’t as much spitting…”
Didn’t we see this challenge LAST SEASON?
Eh, it’s still funny.
“Okay, gotta throw the puzzle. Instead of solving it, I’ll just perform a psychic reading. Shouldn’t be too hard. I know when this puzzle will live, and when it will die, and I love that about me. KNOW THAT.”
“Hey Phillip, can you get out of that chair?”
“As a Shepherd, I am sworn to stay in a chair for as long as I want, but I gave you my word, Rob, and I will keep it. The mighty lion shall now rise out of his seat.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just get your fat ass up.”
“I always wanted to be one of those girls in the Saw movies that has an undying devotion to Jigsaw, but Russell will do just fine too.”
“Hi everyone. I’m this week’s ‘Wait, who is that generic girl?’ girl.”
“We just went spelunkin’. Found a dead turtle too!”
“Jeff, I been down in numbers before, but I always get my way. Plus, I got Stephanie and Purple Krista here. I’ll be just fine.”
“Time for Island Adlibs! Oh, my God. I’m going to lose my FISH TANK!!! Ah, that was fun.”
Stephanie: “Jeff, I just passed some lady gas.”
Purple Krista: “Yeah, we know.”
“I’d also like to add that I’m the only person in the history of Survivor to actually look fatter after three episodes.”
“Third member voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island: Russell.
“Sorry, Jeff. That name clearly says Russel, not Russell. I’m still in it!!!”
“I’ll be back, Jeff.”
“I will indeed.”
“All signs point to no.”
“I can beat that FrancesQUA.”
“Yeah, good luck with that.”
“Stom’s a coming, guys. Storm’s a coming.”
“What are you, a fisherman from Maine or something?”
What did you think about the episode? Happy to see Russell put in his place? Or will the show suffer?