Survivor 22: Redemption Island – Keep Hope Alive

Wasn’t this the best episode ever?!
Ok, maybe not, but finally Russell got his torched snuffed! I have been waiting for a long time for this to happen. Seeing his pissed off look was great. Do you think he learned some humility from this? I doubt it.
More on him later, and let’s start our weekly analysis with Ometepe, but hold on, CBS has decided to finally air some deleted scenes on their site (I wonder why they haven’t from episode one). I’ll be back in a few minutes and so should you if you haven’t watched those too.
That’s it? You’ve watched those scenes?
Good.
So, now let’s talk about:

Ometepe

Not much about them this week. Thing is that they have stolen most of the camera time until now, so it’s only fair that they step back a little bit. Yet, there were some interesting moments.
– Andrea Boehlke: She’s in a difficult area now. She got lucky that she was picked to go attend the first Redemption Island duel, so that she could communicate with Matt a little bit (as well as – possibly inadvertently – give some clues to Steve and David about what’s going on in her tribe. Still, it will be hard for her to make it to the merge, she has to pray for several things to happen among those: an Ometepe immunity run, Rob’s alliance catching a clue and turning on him, her and Kristina becoming good friends and pulling out a big move (with possibly the help of the hidden immunity idol). I didn’t like her in the beginning, but now I’m almost rooting for her (at least for now) because you know the old saying: “any enemy of Rob is my friend, well, except for Russell of course”.
– Ashley Underwood: Am I the only one who thinks that she’s more or less useless? At the Redemption Island duel she couldn’t hide her feelings (that she hoped Matt lose because she’s now afraid of him coming back) and around camp, she seems to only be one number for Rob.
– Grant Mattos: Not much of him this week, but interesting how he really seems to be Rob’s right arm right now. First I was surprised by that, but actually it makes sense. Instead of seeing him as competition for the top alpha male spot or something, Rob may be thinking that the two of them could be unstoppable after the merge to go together to the end, and then manage to sway the jury in his direction for the final vote. It could be a good plan. But what does Grant think?
– Kristina Kell: Sure she had to play the idol last week, but she did take some steam off her. Not enough I think, she’d better find this immunity idol and hope Ometepe wins several challenges in a row or else, she’ll be next to go no matter what.
– Natalie Tenerelli: I don’t have anything to say about her this week.
– Special Agent Phillip Sheppard: I almost regret that Ometepe won the challenge, it prevented us to get some more Phillip goodness. Oh well, I’m sure we will have some very soon.
– Boston Rob Mariano: Now, to all of you who started viewing Rob as a good guy because he got screwed by Russell in Heroes Vs Villains, now you have a good reminder of why he was in the Villains tribe. Rob is ruthless, he will crush anybody that comes his way and will use any method to do so. Look at him, he blindsided Matt for no real reason, he already told Natalie he will bring her to the end, he has most likely made the same deal with Grant, see how he’s using Phillip and how he’s trying to “win” Andrea back in order for her to lower her guard. Remember who he really is now?

Zapatera

To throw challenges or not to throw challenges, that is the question.
Yes it’s true that it’s a very dangerous thing to do. Yes, it’s true that it has backfired more often than not in the history of the show.
Yet, Russell had to be dealt with as early as possible, before the Russell seed could find any fertile ground to prosper more than it had already done. It was a dangerous move to throw that challenge, but I think it was the right decision, having Russell in the tribe for three more days would have been way more dangerous.
– David Murphy: I like him more and more. It must have something to do with his name. My biggest worry about him before the show started was whether he could make friends and whether he could swallow his pride if needed and play stupid. He proved that he could do both. He has made very good friends, and he could play dumb when he had to throw the challenge. I loved how the “Rob beat me” really meant “I’m going to show you really soon who’s the real king of puzzles on Survivor and that ain’t Rob.” At this point, I don’t see how he won’t make it far. The one thing is the most in danger of right now, is that if he has to throw people under the bus after the merge, people may not take it kindly and he could become the Stephen Fishbach of season 22 and lose to a Mike or Ralph that would be this season’s J.T.
– Julie Wolfe: OK, she is a more interesting person that I had suspected. Good job to the editors to make us believe that she had turned on her alliance. Thing is, I don’t think she is the weakest link in the alliance (the editing just mislead us there) and she was smart enough to not get fooled by Russell. Well, if she had joined forces with him, I don’t think he would have fooled her, I think he would have stayed loyal to her… Until the final four that is. Now, I still believe she doesn’t really trust anybody and she could flip if needed. We’ll see.
– Krista Klumpp: She started imagining herself as Natalie White 2.0. Too bad for her, she’ll just be one of those young girls with no personality (or at least none that she was able to show) that gets voted out before the merge and that everybody will have forgotten even before the end of the season.
– Mike Chiesl: Not much of him this week. And I’m not sure where he stands in the alliance of six. Sometimes, I think he’s in the core alliance with David and Sarita, sometimes I think he’s a bit on this outs. We’ll see.
– Ralph Kiser: He’s fun. He’s smart, not telling anybody about his idol was risky, but it paid. I’m just afraid that he will become too cocky and that it will backfire against him.
I should frame this picture!
– Russell Hantz voted out and sent to Redemption Island: One of the best moments of the show! I’ve been wanting for this to happen for so long. OK, I admit, I kinda was rooting for him in Samoa, but his antics started to get old around episode one or two of Heroes Vs Villains. Always doing the same things, always saying the same things, always playing the same way, he really sounded like a broken record. One that doesn’t get a clue and who thought that his flawed game that had prevented him from winning twice would work a third time for some reason. Best player ever? I think not. How will he fare on Redemption Island? Well, I guess it depends if the producers throw fair challenges at him or challenges that will advantage him against his opponent(s). Although, against Matt, I’m not sure what challenge could advantage him, one based on strength maybe? I’m not even sure he’s that strong, he just looks like he is.
And a bigger question? Will he gain some humility at Redemption Island?
– Sarita White: I like her more and more, fun, sociable and pretty intelligent too it seems. As I previously said, I’m still not sure of the exact dynamic in the alliance of six – we’ll see more about it after they got rid of Stephanie I guess – but no matter what it is, I’m pretty sure she’s in the core alliance with David. I just have trouble gauging the four other ones spot.
– Stephanie Valencia: I almost regret seeing Russell being voted out instead of her. Has there even been a person so annoying, so unlikable, so useless and so rude on Survivor? Can I meet her to slap her myself? Please…
– Steve Wright: He seems to have more strategic sense than I first gave him credit for, but now that his main focus – getting rid of Russell – is gone, we’ll see what he’s really made of. I’m still unsure of the purpose of lying to Russell about who won the duel at Redemption Island. There wasn’t much to gain from it (yeah, Russell got surprised for a full two seconds when he arrived there) and much more to lose. Imagine if Russell hadn’t been voted out and if he (or Stephanie or Krista) went to attend the next duel?

Redemption Island

I was not sure how I’d like Redemption Island, but so far, I really do. Having just a few people attend the duels is a great idea. Nobody would have been lame and anti-climatic (and take out many strategic possibilities) and having all of the remaining contestants wouldn’t bear any interest really. Here, you can have contestants communicating with the people sent to Redemption Island, and possibly with the other team too (I’m not sure what are the rules about that). Also, you have the whole dual thing with people attending the duel having extra information that people at camp don’t have, while at the same time they don’t know what’s going at camp.
Ultimately, whether Redemption Island is a good idea or not remains to be seen, and it will depend on a lot on how it plays out, who re-enters the game, when and how.
On a side note, first I was afraid that life at Redemption Island would be tough, but from Francesca’s and Matt’s interviews and after thinking about it, it may be easier than living at camp: you have enough space to sleep, most likely enough food, no paranoia and constant tribe dynamics to be worried about. The only problem will be boredom for people not used to be alone, and of course, if the weather gets really bad (and I suspect it will) this may be another story.
One last thing: having to burn your buff when you’re finally out of the game is brutal! I mean, if I ever was on Survivor, if there was one single souvenir I’d want to take home, it would be my buff…
– Francesca Hogi gone: I’m really sad to see her go already. She’s definitely my favorite first boot ever. She has a very interesting personality, had she made it far, she was All-Star potential. But Survivor is also about luck and those sorts of things.
– Matt Elrod lives another day: He’s pissed that he has been blindsided by people he not only trusted but admired. That will give him the will to get back in the game. Will he succeed? Well, it really depends on the duels the production will throw at him, as well as the opponents.
Now, the question remain: When will the person at Redemption Island return? I still think they will do so at the merge. However, I see a secondary twist in that even if somebody returns at the merge, people will still be send to Redemption Island a second person could return later on. I’m not sure I would like that second part though (even if I’m sure that if they don’t do it this season, they will next season)
Speculations for the merge: I’m keeping my same picks for the merge. A merge of 12 will most likely see Sarita, David, Mike, Steve, Ralph and Julie make it for Zapatera, and Rob, Grant, Ashley, Natalie, Phillip and Andrea make it for Ometepe.
If they merge at 10, take Julie and Phillip out of the count.
Next person voted out: from Ometepe, Kristina is still in trouble. I’m not sure how she can survive the next vote, unless Andrea tries to gun for Rob and fails. In Zapatera, Stephanie is soon to be history, being Russell allied and that obnoxious, she has no chance to survive another vote.
What are your thought? Do you agree? Do not hesitate to comment.

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