Survivor 22: Redemption Island – You Own My Vote

Yes, this season seems as good as promised. The first two episodes are usually not that exciting and those two were almost more interesting than most of the previous season!
We’ve already seen big moves, big mistakes, and future big moves or mistakes planned for the following weeks.
Let’s get to the details.

Ometepe

Ometepe looked like it was going to totally dominate the game, and now we have back to back losses, Boston Rob turning on his own Groupie Alliance way too early and of course, Phillip. It doesn’t look good for Ometepe. I feel self-destruction right now.
Andrea Boehlke: That look when she realized that she had been blindsided –even if the vote was not aimed at her. It will be up there in the list of “looks of utter shock from a blindside at Survivor” if there is such a list somewhere. I think Boston Rob was hoping that after Matt gets voted out, she will just realize how powerful he is, and he will shut up and do what he says. From that look and next week’s preview, I think that she will do exactly the opposite and go after him, join forces with Kristina, try to get Ashley, Natalie and Grant with them, and leave Boston Rob with Phillip and be voted out soon. Will this work? I have no idea, and it will be hard for her to get Grant and Natalie. Ashley? Not sure. In any case, that promises to be interesting.
Ashley Underwood: She’s too in love with Rob right now to realize that she’s being played. Ashley, wake up, you have no chance whatsoever to get Rob in your bed, so forget about it and start playing this game called Survivor, this is why you’re not eating, sleeping and are getting dirty right now, not to please Rob. She seemed pretty close to Andrea until the blindside, so maybe Andrea will manage to wake her up… Maybe…
Grant Mattos: From the challenge and if anybody doubted it, we now know that Grant is a great athlete. Apart from that, still not much to say about him. He too has to wake up from his man crush for Rob. If he doesn’t realize that Rob won’t need him anymore as soon as the merge approaches he’s a fool. On the other hand, if he had a strong alliance with two girls, he could go far. Does he realize it? I doubt it. Also what was up with the whole “There’s a time and a place for those things, and that wasn’t one of those times”? Didn’t he play in the NFL? What did he used to do at the end of pretty much every game, win or lose back then?
In my opinion, Grant should get his shit together real soon, or he has no chance to make it much further than the merge.
Kristina Kell: Not much to say about Kristina this week. She bought herself another three days on the island. She had no other choice but to play the idol (I’m sure this was not aired, but Rob and his Groupie Alliance must have made it clear to her that a bunch of votes were going in her direction and that if she played the idol Phillip would be out). Now, I don’t think she’s totally toast, she still has a chance to last. It will be hard, it will require her to align with Andrea and the two of them will have to get at least two of Rob’s groupies on her side, but you never know, a lot can happen in three days.
Matt Elrod sent to Redemption Island: He wanted to play the role of the nice and good Christian guy, it didn’t please everybody, he got burned. Although, let’s not be wrong here, he didn’t get voted out because he congratulated the other team (this is the excuse Rob used to get the three others strategically challenged members of his alliance to vote against Matt), he got voted out because he was becoming too close to Andrea and they would have been a very powerful item within the Groupie Alliance.
Natalie Tenerelli: Still not much to say about her. Apparently, Rob wants her with him to the end. I think that it’s a bit too early to think about the end game just right yet, and I don’t really know what’s in Natalie’s mind yet. A good thing for her is now that she escaped the first boot, she shouldn’t be targeted again anytime soon – at the condition that Ometepe starts winning some challenges, of course.
Special Agent Phillip Sheppard: OK, he’s hilarious, I think we can all agree on that. He has no game play and he’s delusional, I think that’s pretty clear too. Will Rob or anybody else (Andrea?) be able to use him to their advantage? I doubt it, he really is a loose cannon. Sure, he may be mad at Rob for being misled by him at tribal council, but not enough to align himself with Andrea and Kristina (providing they make an alliance).
And now, to the big question: Was he or was he not a special agent?
Here is my take on it. He’s not and never was. He was in the military and wanted to become a special agent, he couldn’t and that’s the biggest failure of his life. He has been wanting to reinvent himself ever since. And he thinks that Survivor is the place where he can do it. Does he actually believe he was a special agent? No, of course not. Does he believe people believe him? Yes, and this is how he’s delusional. He thinks people can’t read his bullshit, but they can.
Boston Rob Mariano: For me it’s pretty simple. Rob is paranoid, not clinically paranoid, just Survivor paranoid, the way most players are in the last third of the game, except that he’s been like that since day one. That too is what Survivor experience is, having played before sure allows you to avoid making some stupid mistakes, but will make you rely too much on previous seasons. Rob doesn’t show it, but he’s totally afraid of messing up what it most likely (and hopefully) his last chance at playing Survivor. Remember last week his reference at Tyson messing up his vote, this week, seeing Matt and Andrea becoming close totally sent him back to All-Stars and how he screwed everybody over with Amber in order to get to the end. Rob is currently basing all of his game on past moves, and that could be his downfall. Sure, Matt and Andrea were potentially dangerous, but turning on them that early? Huge mistake. Sure, he got everything he wanted at tribal council: Matt and the idol out, Phillip not flipping out; but what now? What’s next? Will he be able to keep his alliance of four strong, now that they saw how easily they can turn on any of them? We’ll see.

Zapatera

Zapatera is a very interesting tribe. Everything seems to revolve around whether they will manage to get rid of Russell, or will Russell manage to play everyone once again? I’m almost sad they’re winning challenges, I want to see them go to tribal council to see what happens.
David Murphy: We didn’t really see him today, which is good in some ways, that means he manages to keep a low profile. It was the thing that got me worried about him pregame, that he wouldn’t make any friend and be ostracized really quickly. On the contrary, he seems to have made friends. Good, I still see him going far.
Julie Wolfe: Is she the new Brett/Purple Kelly? Two episodes in and she must have had less than 20 seconds of airtime. I still don’t know anything about her. Did she make friends? Who? Where does she stand in her tribe? No clue.
Krista Klumpp: In her pregame interview she said that she despised Russell. Well, here we go, now she’s allied with him. She could be playing him, but I seriously doubt it. I think she came to the same conclusion that everybody came to the first second they saw her: Natalie White! Yes, she sees herself as Natalie White too, that is, if she stays with Russell she has a good chance to make it to the end, and if she does, she’ll win over Russell anytime. Not a smart move in my opinion, as if I was in this tribe, I would be very tempted to vote Russell’s girls out before him, just to see him scrambling and not find anybody that is willing to help him. By aligning herself with him, she just painted a big target on her own back. Even if her tribemates decide to vote Russell out first, she’ll be next with Stephanie.
Mike Chiesl: I like Mike, but I’m still really afraid he takes the Tom Westman route of self-righteousness. No Mike, Russell doesn’t have to show you the clue, and be honest here, would you ever show him if you had it? You know, don’t do onto others, etc, etc. Apart from that, I still like him, and I still think he aligned himself with the right people and that they have a good chance to go to the end.
Ralph Kiser: Yeah for finding that idol, Ralph! Although, according to Jeff Probst, idols would be hard to find after the “Russell Factor.” Can he define “hard”? Ralph found the idol without even looking for it! OK, honestly, I think what happened is that last season, idols were –a little- harder to find, but this season, with Russell playing, the producers couldn’t resist, they wanted either Russell to find idols again, or somebody else doing it and burn Russell at it. Either way, it would be good TV. Now, hopefully Ralph won’t do the stupid mistake that most people do when they find an idol, that is to share that information with as many people as they can for no particular reason. Also, here is my take on Ralph, he is a self proclaimed dumbass, and –just like Big Tom in his days- he’s far from being dumb, he just knows that because of his appearance and background, people think he’s dumb, so he just lets them think so – a little bit like Fabio did too in a way. Let’s see where this brings him. The only thing I’m not too sure of is how tight he is with the other members of his tribe.
Russell Hantz: God, he’s such an idiot. The only way he could have any chance to get anywhere this season was to totally change the way he plays, not do the exact same thing for a third time! This is exactly why I was pissed to see him again on Survivor. He can say what he wants, he doesn’t know how to play that game. He knows how to get to end with the help of idols, but he doesn’t know how to play, and he definitely doesn’t know how to win, and he could be there every season, he would never ever win Survivor. And there he’s doing it again: picking up pretty girls that he’s uncomfortably flirting with. They go along because he acts as a shield for them, and if by chance they make it to the end, he assures them to get the million. He relies on idols, and this time it could be a lot of fun when he gets burned by that. I suspect that Ralph antagonized him with this purpose only, so that Russell goes after him when they go to tribal, and then Ralph slits his throat –with or without the idol- just like he would do to a chicken in his farm.
Sarita White: Now it’s pretty clear that Russell is after her, and under other circumstances I’d worry about her. But she made the right kind of friends with David, Mike and Steve. If she survives the first votes, her social game should be good enough to make it very far.
Stephanie Valencia: It’s rare when I hate everything about a person, but Stephanie is like that, everything about her makes me want to barf. Did you see that preview, the way she says “biggest blindside ever”? The very fact she says such a thing. She’s really as slimy as Russell (as least Russell is good TV, I admit), totally star struck by him and I can’t wait until she gets burned because she aligned with him.
Steve Wright: We barely saw him again. He seems to be aligned with Mike, David and Sarita, but hard to tell really.

Redemption Island

Francesca Hogi: We saw a little bit more of her, but not enough – but again, how much can we see of somebody alone in the dark before it gets boring? What will happen now? Does she have any chance against Matt? Well, last week, we saw a preview of the first duel (which led us to believe it was going to happen this week) and as it won’t be a physical one, she has good chances to win it (I assume and hope that duels won’t be physical unless it’s two strong men or two women facing each other). We’ll see. I don’t think that she has any chance to re-enter the game though.
Speculations for the merge: Seriously, right now, I don’t know. Mike, David, Steve, Sarita and Ralph seem like they’re going to make the merge for sure. Yet, last week, the groupie alliance seemed to be a lock. I’m still confident that the five that I just mentioned are the final five though, with a Mike, Sarita and David final three, and David or Sarita as the winner.
Next person voted out: from Ometepe, Kristina can be very worried now, unless Andrea stirs things enough to either get herself voted out or big surprise, oust Rob. In Zapatera, I still think that Russell and Stephanie are on the chopping block, despite the fact that they made friends with Krista.
What are your thought? Do you agree? Do not hesitate to comment.

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