Survivor: Redemption Island
Their Red Headed Step Child
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
March 24, 2011

Hi. I was on Survivor for about 5 minutes.

Hello, good people, and welcome back to Survivor: Redemption Island. We're six episodes in and yet, only three people have gone home. This is the brilliance of Redemption Island. Last week, Matt continued his winning streak by sending Kristina home. She played hard and she played pretty smart, she just got on the wrong side of the Boston Rob train and had to go. While Kristina was packing her things, Stephanie and Krista were swearing their allegiance to the Robfather. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that either girl is going to last long enough to honor that commitment, as Krista was sent to RI, where she'll face off with (and lose to) Matt, leaving Stephanie all alone on the Zapatera tribe and the obvious next boot.

Previews for this week are designed to make us think Matt might lose, but I'm not buying it. They also suggest that Phillip loses it on the girls of Ometepe for being lazy. What this tells me is that we're looking at a Phillip Episode tonight, so who knows WHAT will happen. One thing's for sure, this episode will be chock full of crazy and pink panties.

Before we get to the new episode, let's update the Power Rankings:

Rob - 4-1 I hate to keep sounding like a Rob fanboy, but nothing has happened in this game to weaken his position. He's now down 7-6 in actual numbers, but when you throw Stephanie into the mix, he's got the advantage. And with Matt seemingly willing to come back to Rob's side, it's even more lopsided.

Grant - 8-1 Every good Don has to have a Consiglieri and right now, Grant plays that role for the Robfather. It'll be interesting when the game becomes individual, because Rob will be seen as a threat and Grant might be able to skate for a while as attention all begins to focus on Rob.

Ralph - 10-1 Ralph still owns the Zapatera immunity idol - even though everyone knows it. Because of that, I'll list him as the top dog over there, though I have a feeling that it might change soon.

David - 12-1 David is starting to separate himself from the pack a little and gets his own spot for the first time. He's an incredibly sharp guy and his smack down of Sarita shows that he doesn't plan on backing off his opinion. That could be good or bad. In this case, the tribe lost, so I think the tribe will agree with his stand on the puzzle-thing.

Natalie/Ashley/Andrea - 20-1 I feel the momentum is shifting a bit to the Ometepe Tribe. Because of that, I'm going to move the three girls up a bit on the list. Andrea is threatening to separate herself from the others, but until she actually does it, I'm going to keep them lumped here.

Mike/Steve/Sarita/Julie - 30-1 I'll leave this group together because none of them are even remotely interesting to me. If their alliance manages to stay together, any of them could emerge as a favorite. As it is now, they're just there for me.

Stephanie - 50-1 I'm moving Stephanie up on the list only because I think the previews are suggesting a Phillip episode, which means the vote could be coming from the Ometepe Tribe. If Zapatera loses, I see no way that Stephanie survives.

Matt - 100-1 Matt is on a roll and I really see no threat to his Redemption Island crown. I think he takes out Krista this week, despite what the promos suggest. And I think he'll have to deal with Phillip next time around. That, too, should be an easy win for the guy who's becoming the poster child for grace under pressure.

Phillip - 250-1 I think Phillip has finally worn out his welcome. The girls are sick of him and even Rob is annoyed. His speeches bug people, his underwear offends them and I just think his time is up. He's too much of a wild card to be allowed to remain in this game.

Krista - 1 million-1 Sorry Krista. You seem like an okay girl, except for the whole "Russell" thing. Remember, you're not the first and you won't be the last to fall at Matt's hand. We'll see you at the reunion.

Tonight's episode begins with Krista touching down at Redemption Island. Apparently, Krista is very religious, as is they bond almost instantly.

We jump to Zapatera real quick and Steve is upset that he got two votes the night before. He asks Stephanie why she voted for him. She basically tells him she doesn't feel that he's that strong for the team. Steve then tells us that her vote against him was stupid. He even tells her it was a poor move. Um, Steve...they had to vote for someone. She's obviously the next boot if you guys lose, why does voting for YOU make it worse for her? Get over yourself and start playing the game. Quit talking smack on the person that's on the short end of a 6-1 stick.

We come back from break to the Ometepe tribe and while Phillip gathers wood, Ashley and Natalie decide to have a beach/spa day. What follows is, without a doubt, one of the grossest things ever shown on Survivor. Natalie is actually plucking the armpit hairs off of Ashley. Yep, that's right. You figure each episode of Survivor covers a 72 hour period. And apparently, these people are so boring that picking each other's pits is exciting enough to make the 47 minutes worth of footage for the episode. As I throw up in my mouth, Ashley tells us about how hard she's worked all her life. Ya know, as a basketball player and in pageants. And no, I'm not making that up. As they do each other's hair, Phillip comes over and asks them to start checking on the fire. He tells us that he is sick of watching these girls do absolutely nothing. AND they have the nerve to not give him any credit for anything he does around camp.

Let's leave that nastiness and head back to Redemption Island. Looks like Krista got her luxury item in their tree mail. It's her hot pink bible. We join Matt and Krista really bonding on the beach over a meal and a prayer. Matt tells us that the connection might make it harder to compete against her. Cue the challenge music.

Andrea, Natalie, Mike and Julie are there to observe today's duel, which will see each player using a grappling hook to gather three bags. Once they have all three bags, they'll need to use one of the balls that are in the bags to complete a table maze. While Krista jumps out to a quick lead, I don't have it in me to do a play by play. In the end, Matt wins this challenge pretty easily, making it four in a row. This time around, he almost looks disappointed that he won. Before Krista leaves, she reaches in her bag and gives Matt her Bible. As he hugs her and thanks her, you can see the jealousy in Andrea's eyes. She is NOT happy seeing how he bonded so quickly with Krista. She confirms this by telling us that she isn't so sure how interested she is in him coming back.

We come back from break to the Zapatera tribe and Sarita is having an issue. Apparently, she was using a stick to clean her teeth and may have cut her gum with it, and it could be getting infected. Ralph is shocked that someone out there would be worrying about her back teeth. There's a lot of talk about how annoying Sarita is getting. David is then seen talking to Stephanie telling her she needs to find a way into the group. He wants to dump Sarita in a bad way. He suggests that she should try to talk to everyone soon and to not be pushy about it. Stephanie knows she has to do it, but she's having a hard time with having to suck up to people she hates.

Over at Ometepe, Phillip is about to blow. Apparently a storm's a-coming. And Natalie and Ashley don't care to get some wood or help out in any way. Ashley justifies this, of course, by saying that he TELLS them what to do instead of ASKING. Really? Aren't you a frickin' grown up? Shouldn't you be able to figure this stuff out without someone telling or asking you? Oddly enough, the thing that has Phillip's pink panties in a bunch the most is that they're not giving him credit for what he does. And here he goes. Phillip explodes. He tells Ashley and Natalie that they are lazy and need to get some work done. He tells them that he will not be working the fire at all tomorrow, and the girls can take care of it. As Ashley tells him she's walking away from him, Phillip decides to follow her, still going off. I have to say, I am 100% in Phillip's camp on this. At some point, you have to get off your ass and do some work. And to actually have the nerve to seem offended that he told you to do some work is obnoxious.

Thankfully, Rob has heard enough. He knows that if they're to keep winning, he has to smooth this over. He goes to Phillip and tells him that it's important that they keep winning. Even though he agrees with Phillip, he's just fine with the girls not doing anything. The lazier they are, the less likely they are to get votes at the end. Finally, that ends and we go... Zapatera where Stephanie goes over to talk to Steve. She reluctantly apologizes for voting for him. Steve isn't sure if she really means it, or if she's playing the game. While they talk, she does mention that she feels that Sarita is the weakest member of the tribe. Steve agrees that Stephanie is stronger. Steph tells us that she would love to have a challenge where she can really shine while Sarita sucks.

And we come back from break to a Probst sighting! Today's challenge is a little more physical. Two players will slingshot balls onto a court while the others try to catch them. Doesn't matter what color ball you catch, if you catch it, you get a point. First team to get five points wins immunity and reward. Today's reward will be a nice picnic lunch overlooking the main harbor. Sarita sits out the challenge, while Stephanie and David take the roles of the shooters. Phillip and Natalie shoot for Ometepe.

I'd recap the challenge, but I think Mike suffered enough. As it turns out, Grant made Mike look like a high school cornerback grabbing a quick three points. After Rob steals one of the purple balls for a 4-0 lead, Grant catches the final point to win the challenge in a 5-0 skunk. I just searched for somethingto which I could compare the ass kicking that Grant just laid on Mike...and the best I can do is when James took care of Randy in a physical challenge in Heroes vs. Villains. Except, I think Randy held up better than Mike. Just a horrible showing for the former marine.

After the break, we join Ometepe on their reward. Everyone stuffs their face and as they do, Rob eyeballs the hidden immunity idol clue. Realizing that he can't get it without everyone seeing, he just decides to let someone find it. As it turns out, Grant is the one to see it and grab it. So like a couple of middle school kids, they get up real fast and go to look at the clue. Of course, you can't pull one over on the former federal agent. Phillip breaks up their little clue reading. Rob basically sucks it up and lets Phillip see the clue. Phillip tells us all about their stealth three-man alliance. And he's pretty upset that Rob and Grant tried to make off with that clue. He served his country for "four years, 11 months and 13 days where duty, honor, country...that means something to me. And when you try to trash on that, me and the United States got something for you." So, um, Rob and Grant will soon have the entire United States coming for them...or something.

Back at the new Loser's Lodge, it's time to play "It's anyone but Stephanie." David has been lobbying for Stephanie over Sarita. David tries to explain to people that getting the best six people in the challenges is WAY more important than anything else at this point in the game. Stephanie goes to Julie and appeals to her sense of strength. She can't seem to get over the fact that they can trust Sarita and that may be more important that Sarita's poor performance in the challenges. The guys are down on the beach and David is still lobbying. All he cares about is winning and he feels Sarita will not help in that aspect. Julie and Mike seem to agree with all of this, but Steve says Stephanie isn't much stronger than Sarita. So, we head to Tribal with a definite Stephanie or Sarita vote forthcoming.

Right off, Jeff hits David about throwing that challenge. He suggests that it was definitely a mistake as they gave Ometepe momentum that has carried over. Ralph is asked about the challenge today and he says they'd have been better if he had been shooting the balls. Jeff then asks Sarita why she sat out the challenge...and THERE'S the question of the day. Stephanie jumps right in to say that Sarita was scared of the potential physicality of that challenge. Sarita basically says, "Was not!"

As it continues, she says that she didn't want to be the one who said that she could do it and then ended up failing. And this is where I love Jeff. He responds, "So then you're saying you were glad to sit out because then you couldn't be the goat." As she tries to argue against this, David chimes in that that was exactly what she's saying. Sensing blood in the water, Stephanie goes on about how Sarita hates being there and complains all the time. Jeff asks Steve about Stephanie and he says that she's a warrior. As a positive for Sarita, he says she's loyal but could stand to do some more around camp and be better in challenges. David chimes in again and gives a perfect assessment of where this tribe is right now, "It's a tribe that's too obsessed with trusting one another at a time when trust isn't the most important will come with time. Right now we need to focus on winning." And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Sarita's vote for Stephanie saying that she should spend more time trying to fit in with the tribe. Next up is Stephanie's vote for Sarita saying that she'll see her on Redemption Island and will kick her ass then. Finally, we see David's vote for Sarita. He says he made the best arguments he could and he hopes it works. But when it's all said and done, David did little more that make the NEXT vote the Zapatera tribe will cast that much easier. Stephanie heads to Redemption Island by a tally of 5-2.

And with that, the unlikely has happened. The tribes are now equal at six members a piece. Mix in the fact that both people at Redemption Island plan to come back to the Ometepe alliance and the Robfather is sitting pretty. Or is he...?

Next time on Survivor: Matt and Stephanie duel it out at Redemption Island. David has taken the place of Russell, Krista and Stephanie as the person annoying the Zapatera Tribe, and Rob tells us that if they lose, the target's on him. Will that affect his Power Ranking next week? Don't count on it. Until then, take care.