‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Recap: Rooster Vs. Russell

Last Week: Phillips showed that he’s half lion, Russell returned to form with some solid lying, and Matt’s hand shaking crossed the line.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ometepe Tribe (wearing orange)

Andrea – 21, Student
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Kristina – 46, Law Student
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Technology Executive

Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

The Zapatera Tribe (wearing purple)

David – 31, Defense Attorney
Julie – 50, Firefighter
Krista – 25, Pharmaceutical Rep
Mike – 31, Former Marine
Ralph – 45, Farmer

Russell – 38, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

Sarita – 36, Visual Effects Producer
Stephanie – 26, Waitress
Steve – 51, Former NFL Player

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing sadness)

Francesca – 36, Attorney

Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student

We kick this bad boy off by paying a visit to Redemption Island. Francesca is shocked that Matt is joining her. Apparently she was anticipating (dreading?) a visit from Phillip.

Meanwhile at Ometepe, Rob is bragging about how Matt went home, Kristina played her idol, and Phillip was loyal. A perfect hat trick for ol’ Beantown Rob.

Phillip decides that his performance is worth an Academy Award. Just so long as he doesn’t try to thank Francesca during his acceptance speech. The mispronunciations could make the broadcast go long…well, longer than usual.

The following morning Matt and Francesca receive an invitation to…Redemption Island Arena! It’s Thunderdome! Two enter…only one leaves! Whatcha gonna do, brother?!

Over at Zapatera, the Zapaterans pull rocks to see who gets to watch the duel. Steve and Danny score some front row seats. At Ometepe, Andrea and Ashley receive the honor. This concerns Rob as he doesn’t want Andrea chatting with her buddy Matt.

Redemption Island Challenge: The two competitors are trapped behind a gate. They’ll have to tie sticks together to create a pole long enough to reach through the gate and retrieve three keys. The three keys unlock three locks. First person to unlock all of their locks stays on Redemption Island. The loser goes home.

Note: Redemption Island Arena is very cool. It reminds me of “Survivor: Guatemala.”

Francesca gets a decent pole together first and retrieves her first key. Matt gives his pole a shot and it falls apart. Francesca snags her second key while Matt continues having trouble with his pole.

Grow up.

(I know that’s an old joke.)

While Francesca is reaching for her third key, her pole snaps. Matt manages to snag his first two keys while Francesca is repairing her pole. They both stretch for their third key with Matt finally managing to retrieve it. He unlocks his locks and wins the challenge, sending Francesca home.

Wow, that was a very tense challenge. Well done.

With the challenge over, Matt hugs Francesca. Wait, didn’t he learn anything?!

Francesca drops her buff into the fire (Randy Bailey style!) and leaves the game.

Back at camp, Rob realizes that he needs to get Andrea back on his side. He pulls her aside and has a heart-to-heart. However, instead of explaining his rationale, he tries to disperse the blame between the rest of the alliance.

Andrea smartly plays it cool, but realizes she’s the low person on the totem pole.

Over at Zapatera, Steve tells Russell that Francesca won the challenge. Why? So when they vote Russell off he’ll have to face Matt.

Wha-what? If he’s going to face Matt either way, what difference does it make? What if Zapatera wins immunity and Russell gets to go to the next Redemption Island duel? Why lie to somebody when there’s next to no upside?

Russell knows he’s down six to three and the immunity idol is his only hope. However, since Rooster Ralph has it, his alliance can’t find it.

Stephanie comes up with the idea of pretending to have an immunity idol (Rupert Boneham style!)

We come back from commercial and are treated to close-ups of the pustules on Russell’s shaved armpits in HD. Thanks, CBS.

Perhaps sick of Russell’s puss-filled armpits (urgh…it grossed me out to even type that), Steve gets the idea of throwing the challenge to hasten Russell’s exit. Somebody named Julie doesn’t like that idea because she’s a competitor.

Immunity Challenge Time: Three players from each team will be strapped to a wheel. As the wheel rotates, their heads will dip into a trough. They’ll have to fill their mouths with water while they’re underwater. As they rotate to the top, they’ll spit the water into a tube. Once the tube is filled up with water a ball will roll down to a slide puzzle. First tribe to get the ball through the slide puzzle wins immunity, chairs, blankets, a tarp, and other comfort items.

Note: They had a very similar challenge last season and if memory serves me right, I called it the grossest challenge ever. That water has got to be nasty after people dunk their gross heads into it.

Ralph and Sarita will sit out for Zapatera.

Natalie, Andrea, and Kristina have wheel duty for Ometepe, Stephanie, Krista, and Julie are strapped in for Zapatera.

Ometepe jumps out to a big lead. It looks like Julie is intentionally missing the tube.

Ometepe releases their ball quickly and Rob is going to work on the puzzle. Zapatera finally releases their ball and David goes to work…slowly. Rob finishes the puzzle and wins immunity and reward for Ometepe.

Russell suspects that strange things were afoot at the Circle K. (Two “Survivor” points for whoever gets that reference. “Survivor” points, as always, have no cash value.)

The Ometepans don’t get a second to enjoy their win as they’re all tearing apart camp looking for the hidden immunity idol.

Rob notices that federal agent Phillip is sitting on the clue because he was sitting kind of funny. Did Phillip the man with the perception powers ten times that of a normal man realize he was sitting on the clue? No. Did Rob manage to get the clue away from Phillip without him knowing? Totally.

However, the clue is very vague and Rob can’t find the idol. Maybe he’d have better luck if he was a rock collector?

Meanwhile, the plan at Zapatera is to split the vote between Russell and Stephanie in case they have the idol.

Stephanie and Russell decide that some lady named Julie is their best bet for flipping. Russell smartly has Stephanie approach her with an offer to be their fourth member.

Wow…and Julie seems to go for it.

That night at Tribal Council, Ralph says there’s a division in the tribe in his own unique way. Probst may need a Rooster-Ralph-to-English dictionary.

Sarita calls Russell out on giving a speech about being a changed man when his gameplay shows the opposite.

Russell disagrees, saying he’s not burning socks and throwing challenges. He then accuses the others of throwing the challenge.

Mike fesses up that they weren’t too upset about losing.

Julie thinks they need to go into the merge with numbers.

Stephanie thinks throwing the challenge was stupid as they need numbers now and can all stab each other in the back later.

Voting Time: Ralph votes for “Ressell,” Sarita votes for Stephanie, Russell votes for Ralph, and the rest of the votes await J-Pro’s thoughtful tallying.

One vote for Russell, one vote for Ralph, one vote for Stephanie, two votes for Russell, one vote for Stephanie, two votes for Ralph, and the final vote is for Stephanie. Three-way tie.

Now they can only vote for Russell, Stephanie, or Ralph. Also, Russell, Stephanie, and Ralph are not allowed to vote.

More Voting: No votes are shown…

One vote Ralph, three votes Russell…and the third person to be sent to Redemption Island is…Russell.

Hantz on the ground…Hantz on the ground…

And the longest run in “Survivor” without being voted out has just come to an end. At least until Sandra or Parvati come back. (EDIT: Amanda Kimmel actually has the longest uninterrupted run in “Survivor” history. Thanks to my Twitter and Facebook fact checkers for pointing that out.)

Verdict: My big question going into this season was; will eliminating someone midway through the show alter the show’s natural flow? For twenty one seasons almost every episode has peaked with an elimination at the end. I think it worked in this episode, but if Russell goes home next week it might overshadow everything that happens afterward.

Either way, I’m still loving this season.

Who’s Going to Win?
Andrea’s a smart cookie. She played the Boston Rob situation just right. David’s still a strong pick too.

Power Rankings Update: Back in the game! Both Sash and I earned the Redemption Island bonus point by picking Matt, while I had Russell in spot 14 and Sash had him in spot 9. However, Sash still leads by a score of 23 to 20.

Any questions? Any comments?
Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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