Surviving Redemption Island, Episode 4: “I Faked Ya!”by David Bloomberg -- 03/10/2011
Last week, the unthinkable (at least for Russell) happened – Russell was voted out! He and loyal slave girl Stephanie thought they had Julie’s vote in the bag, but Julie was a better actress than they (or I) gave her credit for – and I suspect we’ll hear all about it from her point of view in a little while. I also suspect Stephanie will go on a rampage when the tribe gets back to camp, in order to live up to her “Storm’s a coming” threat at the end of Tribal Council. You know what? She can storm all she wants – they’re going to vote her off the next time they lose immunity. And then she’ll have to face off against Russell if he’s still at Redemption Island! That will be interesting.
But that’s also jumping ahead. First we have to see how Russell deals with Redemption Island when he gets there and finds out that his tribemates lied to them (in one of the dumbest falsehoods ever on Survivor) about who won the previous Redemption Island duel. He arrives to find Matt sleeping. Matt tells us he figured he’d see Russell there “sooner or later” (I guess he’s planning on sticking around for a while!) but is surprised that it happened so quickly.
Russell tells Matt about the lie regarding who won the previous duel and then explains how they threw the challenge to get rid of him. He tells us he wants “to bitchslap every single one of ‘em” because he’s so pissed. While Russell would rather have faced Francesca, it doesn’t matter to him – “he’s a rookie,” so he’ll be nervous battling against Russell.
Matt tells Russell he was one of his favorite players to watch. “Blindsided by Rob, bunking with Russell.” Heh. Russell tells us he is going to win every duel and pick off the other players one by one. He’s going to make ‘em suffer.
We jump over to Ometepe on Day 9, where the contestants are sleeping. Well, almost all of them are sleeping – Phillip apparently misheard a consonant and is sweeping, and doing so rather noisily, thus waking the others. Natalie tells us, “He’s so annoying and he’s so weird.”
Also annoying is his choice of attire, as Phillip is bent over facing away from those in the shelter. Rob tells Grant he could go 39 days without seeing that. Heh. Rob continues, telling us, “Phillip is a piece of work. Who comes onto Survivor wearing pink tighty-whities?” Would that be tighty-pinkies? He continues that Phillip is “hanging out, just flopping around everywhere” – cut to vomit-like faces of a couple of the young ladies. “It’s disturbing… it’s actually disgusting.”
Speaking of disturbing, Phillip is on the hunt again, throwing the spear at too-fast crabs. He tells us the youngsters don’t understand him and don’t know if he’s a criminal or a school-teacher. So he’s a little frustrated. But at least he’s put on some swimming trunks, which means we all don’t have to avert our eyes.
Phillip knows this is a social game and he’s at a “huge disadvantage.” He needs another side of him to emerge. He’s prepared to do whatever he needs to do in order to win a million dollars.
Over at Zapatera, Russell’s ladies (Stephanie and Krista) are lying out on the beach by themselves. Stephanie tells us how they aren’t having any fun. I’m just surprised she didn’t immediately go off on them when they got back from camp!
Stephanie assures Krista that Russell will “kill it” in the challenges – they’re both hopeful, which brings me back to the point I raised earlier (and, for that matter, last week) that they will likely have to face off against him if he does indeed “kill it”! They don’t seem to be thinking it through very well.
Krista does seem to understand it though, at least in a different context, as she tells us one of them is going home unless they find the immunity idol. Yeah, good luck with that.
Ralph decides now – with the two ladies being gone – is a good time to tell the others that he has the idol and they therefore have nothing to worry about in that regard. They high-five and jump around excitedly. Ralph thinks they will now stay loyal to him and keep him in the game. Mike tells us he wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell back in the game, so the idol helps as some insurance against that.
The following day, at Ometepe, Phillip picks up treemail and pretends the rolled-up paper is a telescope. Oookay. He gives his tribe a dramatic reading, which basically tells them they can choose two people to go watch the duel at Redemption Island. This time, there are no specifics about how to pick – it’s up to them to decide. Phillip and Kristina volunteer and nobody objects. Phillip tells us he wants to go because of his former profession as a federal agent (wow, I didn’t know about that!) – he’s looking for some intel to help him win.
At Zapatera, Ralph and Sarita are headed over, with both of them excited at the possibility of seeing Russell leave the game permanently.
Russell tells us this will be a battle of good vs. evil. He likes Matt and if this were the real world, he’d be rooting for Matt. “But it’s not. This is Survivor.” Matt tells us Russell is the biggest Survivor villain ever, but Matt is fighting to honor his God. Huh? I didn’t know that was part of the duel. I must have missed that. In any case, he thinks he’ll come out on top.
Host Jeff Probst welcomes the duo plus the four other players to the arena. The duel involves stacking a series of blocks like dominos on a multi-level platform (basically slanted boards) while avoiding tripwires that will cause the blocks to tip, meaning they’ll have to start over. The first one to complete the domino path so it releases a ball will win.
And they’re off! It’s not exactly a thrilling challenge to recap in the first few moments. Each of them are putting up blocks as Probst notes they only have a certain number of blocks, so they can’t put them too close together or they’ll run out. After a little while, they’re neck and neck. Well, Matt may have a slight lead – it’s hard to say.
Wait, Matt thinks he has it! He knocks down the first one and they all start falling like, well, dominos. But wait, one of them falls short! He has to restack about half his blocks! That gives Russell the chance to catch up.
Now Russell is ready. He knocks down the first one and it looks like about the third or fourth one is short, but then it just barely nicks the one ahead of it and they continue falling! Down, down – nope! He falls short too!
Both of them are restacking. Matt thinks he has it this time. They’re falling, falling, falling. The blocks make it all the way and you can tell by the look on Russell’s face that he knows it’s over. The ball is released and Matt wins the right to stay in the game! Ralph and Sarita cheer loudly.
Russell and Matt share a manhug as Kristina realizes the magnitude of what just happened, whispering to Phillip, “Holy mackerel.”
Probst congratulates Matt and tells Russell he’s out of the game. Russell actually gets emotional! He looks like he’s going to cry and pulls his signature hat down over his eyes. Probst tries to make him feel better by telling him he bared his soul out there and played a very strong game twice over. But Russell actually is crying! Wow. Even Sarita and Ralph look somewhat affected by the emotion of the moment.
Russell actually doubles over as Matt comforts him. Probst asks if this is sadness at being out of the game or embarrassment at losing. Russell says he respects the game too much to go out this way. People like his tribe, throwing a challenge just to get rid of him because he’s (air quotes) Russell, not even worried about numbers in the game or Rob and his tribe. “It’s hard to be a professional quarterback and have pee-wee leaguers on your team.” He has to run, pass, and catch the ball – it’s all up to him.
Ralph chimes in, saying he disagrees – he thinks they “done great.” He continues that Russell wouldn’t show them the clue to the hidden immunity idol. (Russell rolls his eyes.) Ralph continues that’s beside the point because he’d already found it within 15 seconds of the game beginning. Phillip takes notice of this as Ralph gives away valuable intel!
Russell doesn’t believe Ralph really found the idol, so Ralph pulls it out of his bag to show him. Well, at least it looks like he’s going to, until Russell points it out to Phillip and Kristina. Sarita finally realizes what’s going on and stops Ralph from doing it. Ralph claims, “I faked ya!” Russell laughs uproariously and straight-out tells Kristina and Phillip that Ralph has the idol. “He’s such a good player, he’s telling you everything he has right now. Take him out!”
Ralph tries again to claim he was just bluffing, but even Phillip doesn’t seem to be buying that. Probst asks Ralph if the story was a lie and Ralph replies, “Could be, could not be.” Well, that showed ‘em!
Time for the former federal agent to step in, saying flat out, “It was not a lie! It was not a lie!” He continues that he earned his living determining if somebody was lying or not and he knows Ralph has the idol! He adds that Ralph will have an opportunity to use it if Phillip has anything to do with it. Meanwhile, Russell and Matt are fist-bumping and smiling. Russell helps Phillip and Kristina a bit more by telling them how the alliances are stacked and who’s calling the shots. Phillip says, “I’m glad I came.” Heh.
Russell says he had to stay in the game somehow, so he’s doing so through Phillip and Kristina. If their tribe wins and they “take out these dummies, more power to them.”
But Russell will only be there in spirit, as he has to take off his buff and drop it into the fire on his way out of the game. He says goodbye to the others and Phillip thanks him for the info.
In his last words, Russell tells us it’s terrible when you are with people who didn’t really come to play the game. They came here for fame or money. This is his last time playing – he has nothing else to prove to himself or his family. He gives Matt props and hopes he goes all the way.
Probst sends everybody their separate ways. Phillip says thanks to Russell, he’s learned some very interesting things. He hopes to use that to help him in the game.
Meanwhile, at Ometepe, Rob, Grant, and the three young ladies are walking down the beach talking about how they’re glad Phillip and Kristina volunteered to go to Redemption Island. Rob wants to take the opportunity to find the immunity idol before Kristina can do so again, but he doesn’t want to tell even his allies. So he creates a game called “Royal Treatment.” The winner gets to be treated like a king. Then he gets everybody to go to the nice part of the beach, away from camp. I’m not entirely sure what this has to do with the game, but okay.
He starts talking about his digestion and some problems he’s supposedly having. Once they get to the beach, he says he needs to go relieve himself. But actually he takes off running to camp to try to find the idol. He starts digging and pulling off rocks and looking through hollow tree trunks. He ends up going from tree to tree while the others back at the beach are starting to wonder where he’s been (Rob figures he’s been gone about 15 minutes).
Rob is winded but keeps going. He figures there are about 40 trees near camp and it was about number 38 or 39 where he looked up and – voila! – there it is between some branches. He’s got it! He doesn’t know just yet what he’s going to do with it, but he’s not telling anybody and he’s going to make it to the end and win!
Rob returns slowly to the beach, saying he doesn’t want to talk about, uh, how everything came out. When he gets back, now they play Royal Treatment, which is basically horseshoes with stones throwing into some circles drawn in the sand. It all becomes much clearer now.
A bit later at Zapatera, Sarita and Ralph return. They bury the lead, insisting on telling the story from the beginning instead of just shouting out, “Ding dong, Russell’s gone!” Julie is “stoked” that Russell is gone and I’m thinking now would be a good time to hear from her about how she pulled off her acting last episode. But… no. She’s just happy he won’t be coming after her.
Sarita talks about how devastated Russell was as Krista and Stephanie listen in, not really part of the group. But then, as Sarita says, he “found his Russellness” and started giving away secrets about the tribe. Funny how she doesn’t mention that Ralph was the one giving away the biggest secret!
David notices that Stephanie and Krista seem to be showing that they’re still in “Camp Russell,” which he can understand – everybody else is dancing on his grave. Mike says it was worth getting rid of Russell to achieve “synergy” in the tribe, but those in Camp Russell disagree, saying the numbers are all-important. Mike is not swayed.
Now it’s time for Phillip and Kristina to return. Phillip gives orders that they should discuss the fact that Russell provided a breakdown of the tribal alliances, but should not tell the others that Ralph has the idol or specify what the breakdown is. Phillip tells us Rob has ensured him they’re allies, but he figures Rob told Matt the same thing. Phillip rightly realizes he’s the “odd man out.” Personally, I would emphasize the odd part.
Is it better for Phillip if Kristina stays? He figures if they can pull over one more person, she’d be very valuable to him. I’m trying to figure out how the math works on that. Last time I checked, three is still not a majority of a seven-person group. In any case, Kristina says she doesn’t have experience “in these covert matters,” so she’ll do whatever he thinks. I’m pretty sure there was a fair amount of sarcasm there, but Phillip doesn’t catch it.
Kristina tells us Phillip essentially wants them to blackmail Rob into taking them to the merge. He thinks he’s running the show but “he’s just one big windbag.” She’s going to sit back and let him dig his own grave.
Phillip doesn’t bury the lead, telling the others upfront, “Russell went home!” He talks about Russell’s “total meltdown,” but says Russell didn’t provide any further information.
That doesn’t last very long, as Phillip takes Rob and Grant aside to fill in more details. He talks about Russell naming the leader of their tribe, who has an idol, and who is in an alliance. Rob wants names but Phillip wants assurances that Kristina will stick around. Rob says Phillip should just tell them because they’re in an alliance and he doesn’t understand what Kristina has to do with anything.
Rob tells us he’s thinking, “Hey dumbass, aren’t you in my alliance? Don’t you work for me?! … Big mistake, Phillip.” But he tells Phillip this information would absolutely help Kristina, so Phillip divulges all. Rob continues to us noting that Phillip made it obvious that he doesn’t feel secure. Grant adds to us that there is obviously no trust whatsoever and they can’t go on this way much longer. Indeed, he pretty much immediately tries to convince Rob to get rid of Phillip ASAP.
The following day on Zapatera, they have treemail. Amusingly, one of the lines of the clue says, “Sending a tribemate away is never in your plans.” Wrong! From the clue, they figure they’re building something and will rely on “master builder” Ralph. But Julie tells us she’s worried because she believes in karma. They need to win so they can get momentum back and not have the one they threw come back to bite them.
The tribes arrive and Probst explains the challenge. He notes that on Day 1, both tribes were given a toolkit. This challenge will test how well they’ve learned to use them. OK, really, this challenge will promote a particular brand of tools, but we’ll just pretend not to realize that.
They need to cross a balance beam and use a crowbar to open a crate and retrieve a shovel. They will dig up an axe, which will be used to chop a rope that is underneath a log. That will release two saws to be used to cut through a wooden wall and create planks. The planks will create a ramp to get the tribe to the top of a platform. There they need to hammer three nails in to break three tiles. First tribe to get the toolkit on top of the table wins immunity and reward. What’s the reward? Not more tools! It’s a barbecue set and food. Zapatera sits out Krista.
And they’re off! Rob and Ralph are the first up for their tribes. Ralph is first, quickly getting the shovel and going back to tag in Julie. Rob does likewise with Grant. He’s already making up time quickly as he digs. Julie finds it first but not by much.
Ralph and Rob are tagged back in (so I guess it’s not a case of each person going only once) to chop. Ralph must be pretending the log is Russell’s head, judging by the way he’s attacking it. He releases the saws while Rob is still hacking.
Steve and Mike start sawing. Rob gets the saws down, meaning Phillip and Grant can come out and start cutting the wall as well. But Mike & Steve are two planks ahead by that point. They maintain that lead and even seem to extend it as they finish while Phillip and Grant have three or four planks left.
Sarita and Stephanie go out to put the planks into the ramp, but they’re having problems. Rob and Kristina do likewise for Ometepe and seem to be gaining on Zapatera. But the ladies finish up and the whole tribe comes up to the platform. Just as the full Zapatera tribe is up there, Rob and Kristina finish their ramp. Stephanie unties the knots holding the hammer down while Ashley does so for Ometepe. Ashley seems to be moving more quickly to catch up, but Stephanie finishes first.
Master builder Ralph grabs the hammers. He’s broken one tile! He’s broken two tiles! He’s broken three tiles! They put the toolbox on top and Zapatera wins! Ralph tops it off by jumping on the table and crowing like a rooster. Ugh.
Zapatera brings their reward back home to camp and start preparing for their feast. Mike shares too much by telling us he’s so hungry, he only thinks about food and hasn’t even thought about sex in two weeks. Thanks, Mike.
They all dig in and reassure each other than they are the stronger team. Well they sure are now that they have all this food in their bellies!
Over at Ometepe, the mood isn’t quite as good. Phillip calls a meeting as everybody looks at him like, “Really?” He knows everybody is down but they did really well and put forth great effort. Nobody has anything to add so they break.
Rob tells us losing is tough enough without Phillip adding to it – he always needs his moment in the sun. At this point, there is an “utter malice towards him.” Indeed, we see that he still hasn’t learned his lesson that he shouldn’t tell everybody how to do everything. He instructs the younger ladies on how to pour water into canteens while Kristina just sits back and smiles.
Ashley tells us she absolutely can’t stand him – can’t even handle looking at him. She just hope he goes home tonight!
Kristina tries to make the best of the situation by talking to the other women about how coming back from a loss is bad enough without hearing Phillip yammer immediately afterwards. She tells us she knows she’s on the wrong side of the numbers but she might vote against Phillip in the hopes that he leaves.
She also tries to stir things up a bit by pointing out that there must have been a clue in the reward they had gotten earlier and she’d be surprised if “they” (suggesting Rob and Grant, presumably) haven’t found it (whether the clue or the idol, I’m not sure) yet. Natalie reacts in a way that perhaps Kristina didn’t expect, telling us she’s “acting weird” by not searching for the idol. Could it mean she already has it? Maybe!
Natalie relates more of the conversation to her allies as they try to figure out if she was hinting that she has the idol or not. Rob plays up that he just can’t figure out where they stand. He tells us that as much as people can’t stand Phillip, he’s not a threat but Kristina is. As such, he suggests to his allies that they split their vote (just in case) and vote her out.
Hmmm… didn’t Kristina just mention she was considering voting for Phillip? I have a sneaking suspicion that might become important if Rob doesn’t plan for it! Oh, wait, Rob tells us they’re going to put three votes on Kristina and two on Phillip. So we could be looking at a tie! Then again, if they do tie, Kristina probably loses the revote.
Grant, however, thinks it’s a mistake to target Kristina. He and one of the girls discuss how Phillip is a ticking time bomb. Grant tries to convince Rob, but Rob points out that Phillip doesn’t play the game as well. Grant isn’t immediately buying it. Rob is worried that his alliance might get rid of Phillip instead of just doing what they’re told.
Phillip asks Rob and Grant how the vote is going down and is told it’s Kristina. Phillip is upset because Rob had earlier suggested Kristina could be saved by Phillip providing the information from Redemption Island. “He’s not a man of his word,” he says. Phillip needs to take control of his own fate and be ready to make whatever move he needs at Tribal Council because he knows he could be the real target!
Time to find out as Ometepe arrives at Tribal Council. Probst begins the questioning with Kristina, pointing out that she’s been on the hot seat both times the tribe has been there. Is she feeling it again? “Absolutely.” Why is she always “in trouble”? She says she started on the wrong side of the numbers but she’s a fighter and doesn’t give up. She’ll keep trying to stay.
How does Natalie feel about second chances? She thinks they’re great and Kristina is a really nice person.
Grant agrees that people can change in this game. Everybody there is laid back and easy to get along with, so anybody can get a second chance. Rob, however, points out that Kristina really just joined the tribe. For the first eight days, she wasn’t really part of the group. “Is it too late or are people willing to give her a shot?”
Kristina thinks the tribe should vote out the weakest link. She defines that according to “disruptiveness,” such as Phillip! Is that something Phillip has faced in life before? Nope! He says he’s a “doer,” so if you’re not doing your share and you show up right at mealtime, he admits he may be a little disruptive. As usual with Phillip, he seems to be talking in circles and not making a whole lot of sense.
Probst says Phillip threw it right back at Kristina and she replies, “That’s what he does.” She insists she does as much at camp as he does – he interrupts to “beg to differ,” though he admits she has “the last three days.”
Probst sums up the situation as Phillip thinking Kristina should go and Kristina thinking it should be Phillip. Phillip says the tribe knows what he’s about as Probst mockingly (though totally unnoticed by Phillip) says, “You’re a doer!” Phillip continues that he has put “the Sheppard stamp” on the tribe – that means being one 12 children, having his mother die at a young age, working his way through high school, going into the army and getting the second-highest medal you can get in peacetime, doing field sanitation to the best of his ability (huh?). The others see him working and he figures he’s earned the respect of his tribe members.
Probst offers Kristina the chance for rebuttal. She says she doesn’t think she had a real chance to really get to know everyone. But she’s a valuable member of the tribe who is smart and trustworthy.
With that, it’s time to vote. Phillip votes Kristina, saying her time has run out. Kristina returns the favor, saying he’s a pain in the neck and she really hopes he’s leaving. Sorry, Kristina, but I don’t think that’s the way the vote is going to go down.
Probst tallies the votes and calls for the immunity idol. None is played, of course, so he reads the votes: Phillip, Kristina, Phillip, Kristina, Phillip, Kristina, and… Kristina! She steps up and has her torch snuffed before heading out to Redemption Island. Probst tells the others that “running out of time” was a theme tonight. If they don’t start winning, time will run out for the whole tribe.
Kristina arrives at Redemption Island, telling us she got her rear end raked across the coals in Tribal Council. She’s not surprised but it’s a whole new ballgame now as she has to do the best she can against Matt. She’ll just have to “rock it.”
Next time: Shifting alliances create strange bedfellows at Ometept – apparently both metaphorical and literal, as Phillip is sleeping next to Rob and Rob has to get assurances that Phillip has his underwear on! But Rob notes that Phillip is bothering everybody, which might mean he needs to stay. At Zapatera, Russell taught his girls well as Stephanie says they’re ready to cause some havoc and tribal unity crumbles as the six who were in charge seem to be arguing.
So the Tribal Council result was not all that staggering. However, that was more than made up for by the fact that Russell Hantz is out of the game of Survivor – probably forever! His emotions came through as he showed just how much this game means to him, but he also took a shot at revenge even if he won’t be around to see it.
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