Survivor: Redemption Island 22.04 “Don’t You Work for Me?” Recap

Did you miss last week’s historic episode of Survivor? Check out my recap here.

The episode opens on the night of Day 8 at Redemption Island. “Anyone home?” Russell playfully asks as he arrives after he was ousted at Tribal Council. Matt figured he’d see Russell sooner or later, but not as the first one voted off his tribe. Russell tells Matt that his tribe said Francesca won. Russell confides to the camera that he feels like crap and is mad as Hell that his idiot tribe voted him out. Obviously Matt is a tough competitor, but he’s a rookie and he’ll be nervous to take on Russell. RI may be Matt’s house, but Russell is going to take it from him. In fact, he’s going to beat everyone on his tribe and when they come to RI, he going to make them sleep in the mud.

Day 9 at Ometepe. Phillip is up at dawn sweeping out the camp, and annoying his tribe. Natalie says he’s “so weird.” Rob says Phillip is a piece of work by wearing pink tighty-whities and letting his business all hang out. He imagines the embarrassment Phillip must be for his kids. “You don’t want friends coming over and seeing that.” Phillip confesses that young people don’t understand him. Given that Survivor is a social game, he’s at a disadvantage, so he needs to show another side of himself and do whatever he can to win the million dollars.

Over at Zapatera, Stephanie says she and Krista are playing with a bunch of goobers. Krista says they heed to find the Hidden Immunity Idol or they are going home next. With Stephanie and Krista off enjoying the sun, Ralph decides to tell his whole alliance about his HII (this would be Strike One against Ralph this week). HE confesses that he thinks he has his alliance captured now; he’s got it under control. Mike, too, says that his alliance is in control, but he won’t be surprised if they see Russell again.

The next morning at Ometepe, Phillip collects Tree Mail. With most of his tribe sleeping, he sing-song-ingly reads the clue about sending two people to RI to observe the Duel. Phillip suggests that because he was a special agent with the U.S. government, he wants to go to RI with Kristina. Ometepe has no issue with this, so they go. For Zapatera, Sarita gleefully goes with Ralph so she can see Russell lose. Over at RI, Russell says he likes Matt, but this is Survivor, so he’s going to win the Duel. For his part, Matt says he is nervous, but he is fighting for his God. Jeff brings in all of the necessary people and explains the Duel. Matt and Russell must stack blocks on a multi-level platform connected to trip wires. When the blocks are properly aligned, the player will knock the first over like dominoes. If constructed correctly, the blocks will fall over the entire course, and release a ball that will break a tile. Jeff lines up the competitors and starts the Duel.

The guys begin placing their blocks, while Jeff warns them to avoid the ropes that will wiggle the platform. Further, they only have a certain number of blocks, so they must be judicious in their placement. Matt thinks he has it right, so he pushed down the first block. Unfortunately for him, half way through a block falls short. Russell tries his stack, but he, too, falls short. This opens the door for Matt, whom after replacing the fist half of his blocks, tries again. He narrowly gets past the place he stopped the first time, but the ball is released, and the tile is broken. “Matt stays alive!” Jeff yells, accompanying Sarita’s big cheers. Kristina says, “Holy Mackerel!” at Russell being permanently ousted.

After the Duel, Russell cries. Jeff compliments him on two very strong seasons, and Matt tries to console his vanquished competitor. Jeff asks if the tears are derived from sadness for now being out of the game, or perhaps embarrassment at going out so early. Neither, Russell replies. He’s upset that he’s like a professional “Major Leaguer,” and he was playing with “pee-wee little leaguers.” Ralph, can’t help himself, and pipes up, saying that they’re doing OK without Russell. In fact, he found the HII about fifteen seconds in to the game! So there!! (This was Strike Two for Ralph.) Russell starts laughing at the idiocy of someone admitting he has the HII. Russell, goading Ralph, says he doesn’t believe him. Not liking being challenged, Ralph starts taking out the HII(!), but Sarita stops him. Maybe realizing what he has done, Ralph tries to tell Russell that was actually just playing Russell, and that he was just faking when he said he found the HII. Russell, who knows BS when he hears it, calls Ralph out for having the HII, and then trying to lie about it. Ralph says he was lying, but Phillip says it wasn’t a lie. In case you didn’t know, Phillip is a former federal agent…..

Russell, now fully bemused at the fact that his arch-rival is self-destructing, says to Phillip and Kristina that Sarita is in charge of the tribe (really?!?!), and that Mike and Steve are a team. Now very pleased with himself, Russell says that this was a way for him to stay in the game because now Ometepe can take “those dummies” [Ralph, Sarita and most of Zapatera] out. Jeff instructs Russell to throw his buff in the fire and Russell leaves the RI Arena. Russell tells the camera that it sucks when people don’t come to play the game, but rather to become famous. Further, he thought Matt was a great guy, so he hopes Matt goes all the way. Jeff sends Matt back to RI, and tells the remaining players that whatever they choose to share with their respective tribes is up to them. As Jeff dismisses them, Phillip confides that he learned a lot at the Duel which he will use to his advantage in his attempt to outwit his competitors.

Back at Ometepe, Rob announces that with Phillip and Kristina gone, it is a great beach day. Yes, the sun is out, but what Rob needs is to find the HII — he created “Beach Day” so he could get everyone out of camp. As the tribe prepares for the beach, Rob says he’s been constipated, but things appear to be moving. This is all a cover so after his alliance sets up on a nice part of the beach, Rob can run into jungle with the excuse of having to use the facilities. In reality, Rob begins to frantically seek out the HII. Unfortunately, the clue said the HII could be in a tree, under a rock, in the sand, or in a log. “What a great clue!” Rob sarcastically remarks. He digs under a weird tree, and then climbs it, to no avail. The folks on the beach start to wonder where Rob is. He knows he needs to get back so as to not appear suspicious. He decides to check one more tree, and when he look amongst its branches, he spies the HII. Climbing up and retrieving it, Rob shouts, “We have a winner!” As he makes his way back to the beach, Rob confesses that with the HII, he is going to make it all 39 days and win.

In the Zapatera camp, Sarita and Ralph return. Julie is stoked that Russell is out of the game, and relieved he’s not coming back to get her. Sarita tells the tribe what went down at the Duel. She explains that Russell cried at first, but he then found his “Russell-ness” and aired all of Zapatera’s dirty laundry. Mike says Matt sounds tough, and wonders why Ometepe voted him out in the first place. This begins a debate between Mike, Krista and Stephanie about why, by the same logic, did they vote out Russell, especially when at this stage, the game is a game of numbers.

Back over at Ometepe, Phillip suggests to Kristina that they tell everyone about what Russell said, but not say that Ralph has the HII. Phillip confides that he wonders where his place in tribe really is. Would it benefit him to keep Kristina around? Perhaps he can take Rob’s target off of her if he tells Rob he has information, but will only reveal it if Rob let’s Kristina stay. Hearing this plan, Kristina think Phillip is a windbag. She’s going to let him dig own grave with his attempt to blackmail Rob. Once in camp, Phillip tells everyone what went down at the Duel. He then pulls Rob and Grant aside, and informs them that he has more information. Rob suggests that he just tell them now. Phillip counters by asking if he reveals the additional information, can Kristina stay? Rob is incredulous. “Who do you think you are? Don’t you work for me?” Rob confesses to the camera, with a bemused laugh. Phillip is a dumb ass, Rob summarizes. Why would Phillip try to keep Kristina if he felt safe in Rob’s alliance? Clearly, Phillip doesn’t feel safe, so that means he is unreliable. Rob ultimately says sure, Kristina can stay, so Phillip reveals the information about Ralph holding an HII. Grant confides that they obviously can’t trust Phillip, and then tells Rob that they need to oust “The Specialist.” Meanwhile, Zapatera receives Tree Mail. The typical rhyming clue tells them that teamwork and ruggedness are the solution to winning. Julie believes in karma so after what they pulled in the last Challenge, they need grab back momentum and win the…

…Immunity Challenge. Jeff mentions that each tribe, at the beginning of the game, received a Craftsman tool kit (Blatant Product Placement!). The winner of this Challenge will be determined by How adept they are at using those tools. For the Challenge, a player from each tribe will run over a balance beam, and use a crowbar to open a crate. Inside they will grab a shovel and hand it off to another tribe member to dig out an axe. The axe will be passed to someone else to chop through a log and rope that when cut, will release two saws. Two new players will use the saws to cut through a wall, creating planks to be used as stairs to get the whole tribe up a ramp. Once the entire tribe is atop a platform, a hammer must be untied. With the hammer free, three nails are to be hammered through a board to break a tile. The first tribe to break through the three tiles and place their Craftsman Tool Box (BPP!!) on top of the platform will win Immunity and Reward: a barbecue set and food from Sears (BPP!!). With one extra player, Krista sits for Zapatera. Jeff lines up the tribes. “Survivors ready…..Go!!”

Ralph and Rob are the first ones over the balance beam. Ralph quickly opens the crate and grabs the shovel. He is followed close behind by Rob. Julie and Grant use the shovels to dig in sand pits, searching for the axe. Grant makes up time, but Julie is the first back to the start, sending Ralph back out to use the axe to chop through the log and ropes. Rob quickly follows him and the two chop at their logs. Ralph flies through the obstacle and releases the two saws. He runs back to the start to tag in Mike and Steve. As the two Zapatera guys untie their saws, Rob finally releases his saws. Phillip and Grant head out for Ometepe, but are slow sawing through the wall. Mike and Steve accelerate through the wall, leaving the new steps for Stephanie and Sarita to arrange on the ramp (like typical “build the stairs” challenges on Survivor, the planks contain different hole configurations so they must be placed in the appropriate spaces). “You need to dig, Phillip!” the ever-feisty Jeff yells toward the special agent. Phillip and Grant finally get through their wall, which sends Rob and Kristina out onto the course. Stephanie and Sarita finish arranging their steps, but Rob and Kristina have made up time. All of Zapatera make it over the balance beam, and run up the ramp. Rob and Kristina finish, run back to the start, and run with the rest of Ometepe up their ramp. Stephanie and Ashley untie the hammers for their respective tribes, but Zapatera’s lead is too much to over come. Stephanie frees the hammer, and Ralph uses it to drive the nails through, and break the tiles. The Craftsman Tool Box (BPP!!) is placed on the table. “Zapatera wins Immunity and Reward!” shouts Jeff. Ralph jumps on top of the table and crows (Strike Three, Ralphie boy. You are not winning this game and are getting knocked down my Odds to Win. That’s it.). Jeff has nothing for Ometepe and sends them back to camp.

Zapatera digs into their barbecue reward. Mike says he has never been this hungry in his life. He’s so hungry, he hasn’t thought about sex in two weeks. Ralph doesn’t want to waste any food so he’s sucking his fingers, and asks Mike if he can suck his, too. Steve is just happy that they have full bellies.

Things are not as bright at Ometepe. Phillip calls a tribe meeting to tell everyone that even though they lost, he thought they all put forth a good effort. Rob confesses that there is a palpable malice toward Phillip now. Ashley tells the camera that she can’t even look at him. They will have to make the best of Tribal Council and vote Phillip out. Kristina, for her part, doesn’t want to endure Phillips’s yammering anymore, so she’s fine with him going. She thinks she could stay because Phillip is so very annoying. Kristina tells the girls that the guys (Rob and Grant) probably have the HII. Thinking that Kristina might be trying to throw them off her scent, Natalie supposes that Kristina may have HII.

Natalie runs and tells Rob and Grant about what Kristina said, and of course, Rob denies it. He suggests Kristina may have the HII. Rob then confides that Kristina is actually trying to play the game, and is therefore more dangerous than Phillip. Rob rounds up his harem of long-hairs (and I include Grant in that description), and they decide to split their votes between Phillip and Kristina “just in case” Kristina has the HII. This strategy serves a double purpose of deflecting any suspicion that Rob may actually hold the HII. Grant says the plan is to get rid of Kristina, but Phillip is so annoying — maybe they should just get rid of the “special agent.” Rob isn’t so sure. Kristina is a smarter player, Rob confides, but people seem to want Phillip out. There is a possibility that someone in his alliance might flip. Rob trudges ahead with his plan, and tells Phillip that everyone is voting for Kristina. Phillip confesses that he thinks he might be the target so he needs to make a move to save himself at…

…Tribal Council. Jeff asks Kristina about being on the hot seat both times Ometepe has come to Tribal Council. Why does she always seem to be in trouble? Kristina replies that from the beginning of the game, she has been on the wrong side of the numbers. She is, however, determined to stay. Jeff turns to Natalie and asks about second chances: does Kristina deserve one? Kristina is nice and a strong player, Natalie responds, but they’ll have to see what happens. Rob says it is like Kristina just joined the tribe. Jeff queries whether that means the tribe should be willing to give her a shot. Kristina answers by saying the weakest player should go. How does she define “weakest?” “Someone who is disruptive,” she replies, clearly indicating Phillip. Kristina continues, calling out Phillip for not helping around camp. Jeff asks Phillip if he has ever heard that before in his life, that he is disruptive. No, he has not, and further, he does more at camp than Kristina. Phillip says he has a history with the tribe. They know what he is about and how he contributes. You see, he was honorably discharged from the Army and received the second-highest peace-time award for his work in field sanitation. It is clear he is a hard worker, but then he does admit he hasn’t done any work for the last three days (more than 25% of their time there, mind you). Kristina concludes the discussion by saying she is smart and can be trusted if given the opportunity.

With that, it’s time to vote. Phillip votes for Kristina and vice versa. Jeff grabs the votes and reads them out. The first vote is for Phillip, and the second is for Kristina. The two alternate the next four votes, leaving both Phillip and Kristina with three votes apiece, and one vote remaining. “The fourth person voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island….Kristina!” Kristina grabs her torch, Jeff snuffs it, and Kristina marches off into the Blue Light of Death (surprisingly not sponsored by Kmart). Jeff comments that running out of time was the theme at this Tribal Council. If they don’t pick up their game, the tribe could run out of time.

Next Time On…Survivor!

Shifting alliances will create strange bedfellows. Stephanie and Krista learned well from Russell, whose devious ways cause a split in the Zapatera majority alliance.

This episode was great in the beginning, maintained greatness through the middle, and then quickly fell off a cliff at the end. As I was watching, I mentioned to my wife and friends that something weird must happen with the voting because the discussion at Tribal Council was so short. Nope! There just wasn’t any drama about who was being voted out, so they sped through it. This happens in even the best seasons, so it’s not a big deal. If anything it might be a nice palate-cleanser to move us into the Russell-Free portion of the game.

As far as what is coming up, how does Rob not make it to The Merge? The guy has his alliance eating from his hand, and he has the HII. Dude is riding high, and will likely not let his ego get the best of him. Over at Zapatera, it will be interesting to see if Krista and Stephanie really can force a wedge between the members of the majority alliance. They should each approach a different half of the alliance, saying they want to side with them to vote out a big player on the other side (Ralph or Sarita or whomever). Hopefully, this causes distrust within the majority and one of the targeted people flips out, and digs his or her own grave. It’s risky, and not likely to work, but it’s something.

Of course, whomever is voted out next will take on the winner of Matt versus Kristina on Redemption Island. Matt has proven strong in two Duels now, and while she is a physical player, I can’t see Kristina taking out Matt. Look for Matt to win his third Duel in a row, and send Kristina home.

Odds to Win

While I may have posited that Russell could run the RI Duel table and make it back into the game, I was clearly dead wrong. Matt looked steady and really focused, not letting whatever mind games Russell was trying to play effect him. As a result, Matt stays alive, and the man who was never voted out, finally goes home. Russell threw his buff in the fire, but not without one last mindf*#k. Yes, Ralph played into his hands, but Russell took advantage and spilled all of Zapatera’s secrets to Phillip and Kristina. Now, if it had been two other Ometepe members, the information may have been more damaging, as Kristina is now gone and Phillip is crazy. Nonetheless, Russell did leave his mark on the game and exposed the hubris contained in Ralph. Let’s take a look at how this effected the Odds:

Mike: 2-1. We didn’t see a lot of Mike in this episode, but sometimes, that’s a good thing. There are a number of targets on Zapatera ahead of Mike so when it comes time to start voting out Zapatera members before or after The Merge, Mike should be safe for a while.

Steve: 6-1. Steve, too, is sitting rather pretty after managing to oust Russell. My concern for Steve is that when it comes time for Zapatera to cannibalize itself, Steve’s personality is so big that he will place a target on his own back. He is the shield that will unwittingly keep Mike safe. Still, he is actually running the show over at Zapatera, which is a good position to be in at this point of the game.

Grant: 8-1. This guy, in every scene he is in with Rob, just looks like a dutiful soldier. He is clearly a physical stud, and is playing a great game by staying glued to Rob’s hip. Is Grant smart enough to know when to backstab Rob, or is he just going to try to ride the Bostonian to the end of the game? Either way, I see Grant making it pretty darn close to the end.

Ashley: 10-1. Rob and Phillip are sucking up most of the oxygen over at Ometepe, but Ashley, like Grant, is playing a good game by staying true to Rob. She is very non-threatening, yet seems smart enough to know when and if she needs to make a move.

Julie: 12-1. I guess, karmically, throwing a Challenge to oust Russell was a good thing. I’ll be honest, I’m loving Julie. She hasn’t had the most screen time, but every time she is on, she is impressing me. She’s superb in Challenges, and is very aware of what is going on around her in camp. In her pre-game interviews, Julie scared me off by saying she had a big mouth and was very opinionated, traits that are not a benefit in Survivor. As we have seen so far, however, she has been able to keep this attitude in check (which is much easier when you’re winning, of course). If she can continue to do that, Julie is making the Final Three.

Rob: 17-1. If you had told me that four weeks into the season I would have Rob in my Top Six, I’d have said you were crazy. Yet, here he is. Rob has loyal followers and an HII. He is in the catbird seat and in complete control of his tribe. Really, the only reason he’s not higher on the list is that someone, somewhere in this game must know that they need to blindside him. If Rob makes it to the Final Three, he wins. Hands down.

Andrea: 19-1. *Sigh* Again, I have no idea what to do with Andrea. She seems like a good competitor, but after Phillip is ousted by Ometepe, she’s next on the hit list as she has been the only one “untrue” to Rob (at least in his eyes). If Ometepe could actually win some Challenges, and she can make it to The Merge, Andrea may be back in the game.

Ralph: 25-1. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again (especially with two more seasons!). Ralph’s ego is his biggest obstacle to winning the game. This guy majorly screwed up, not once, not twice, but thrice in one episode! It was bad enough to literally crow after winning the Immunity Challenge, and show your alliance that you have the HII, but to show the other tribe that you have an HII is absolutely insane. Moreover, the only reason he did that was because Russell goaded him into it. What a moron.

David: 30-1. David is still in the majority alliance, but as we saw in the sneak peek for next week’s episode, it appears David’s attitude problems and feelings of superiority are about to make their way into the game. When there is a strong majority alliance, everyone in that alliance is waiting for the first person to screw up and become a target. David may do that next week.

Natalie: 45-1. Another loyal Rob’s Army member. Natalie, however, doesn’t seem assertive enough to actually win the game. She may make it to the Final Three, but what will she have done to get there besides ride coattails? If Ometepe keeps losing, she will have to make some kind of move to make it to the end, but until that time, I can’t see her really having a shot to win.

Sarita: 50-1. I toyed with moving Sarita up higher, as she seems to have a nice hold on how to play the game, but with Russell calling her out as the leader of the tribe, that can’t be good news post-Merge. Then again, maybe Russell targeted her at the Arena solely because she was there. I need one more week before making any big moves with Sarita.

Krista: 60-1. I keep Krista ahead of Natalie simply because she seems less annoying (and if I moved her lower, I’d have to admit I royally screwed up my initial Odds to Win!). When it comes down to it, unless these two really have some game that we haven’t seen yet, they will be the next two voted out of Zapatera.

Matt: 70-1. Matt is doing the best he possibly can with the hand he has been dealt. After getting voted out for being friendly with a girl, he has had two big Duel victories, ousting Russell in the process. I still think winning approximately eight more Duels will be very tough, but it seems if anyone can do it, it’s Matt.

Stephanie: 120-1. Continuing the above with Krista, Stephanie thinks she is some sort of mastermind who is going to hoodwink the competition. I’m sorry, but she is about as transparent as Saran wrap. She has the largest target on her back at Zapatera, so she will likely be the next to go, assuming Zapatera ever loses a Challenge. Her and Krista’s plan should be to win every Immunity Challenge until The Merge and then quickly flip to Ometepe

Kristina: 150-1. Kristina’s ouster was a pure case of aligning oneself with the wrong players on Day 1. Yes, she may have played a bit aggressively in trying to find the HII right off the bat, but really, Kristina did nothing “wrong” that precipitated her elimination. Could she beat Matt in a Duel? Possibly, but I don’t see her winning the next eight here on out.

Phillip: 300-1. Man, the Reunion special is going to be a hell of a lot of fun with this guy, huh?

Alright, that was week number four for Survivor: Redemption Island. What did you think of the episode? Are you happy or sad to see Russell (finally) gone? Can you see a scenario in which Rob doesn’t make The Merge? Do you think Ralph can get his ego in check? Please drop your questions, comments and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to slap all of them.

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Email: michael@tvovermind.com

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