Survivor: Redemption Island

The Game Respects Big Moves

By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst

April 9, 2011

Are her eyes red? Like a demon's? Matt won't like that.

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"That's the distinction between the 2 tribes...we would never not try...there are some in that tribe like the sea. Which can be beautiful and glorious, but as you know, when it recedes outward, it sometimes leaves a stench so great that you know it's probably carrying something parasitic and therefore you don't want to approach it." Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up. I'm not that clever.

Anyway, after everyone has a good chuckle, Ashley does mention that she likes the Zapatera tribe, but the tribal loyalties are very strong. He asks Matt about what it was like to come back from RI into this. He said that it was easier on Redemption Island. He lays out the odds to Mike and Mike agrees that Matt is the man in the middle. Ralph says that they had to be nice to Matt, promise him he'll get farther in the game with them. He also said they had to remind him that the other folks were the ones to send him to RI in the first place. Jeff asks Matt if that's a fair point. He says that it's tough and they've been able to bond for two weeks and that he's been struggling with his decision even today. And with that, it's time to vote.

This is one of the rare episodes where they show NO votes prior to Jeff tallying them. Matt takes a while to cast his vote. When he sits down, Mike gives him an approving nod. Of course, Rob sees this (dude sees all). Jeff asks for anyone that wants to play a hidden immunity idol, and Ralph steps up. He wants to play the idol for Mike. Jeff reads the votes and the first five are for Grant. Next vote is for Steve, and the look of "Oh shit" on Steve's face is priceless. He never even considered the fact that Ometepe may target him. When the first Matt vote comes up, there's even more shock on the faces.

Through this whole thing, I have to note they keep flashing to David. As it's been mentioned before, he scored higher on the per-show IQ test than any player ever, so he's an incredibly smart guy. And you can actually see that he's impressed by what he's witnessing. As the rest of the votes come up Matt, he goes from shocked to pissed with every vote. Steve is heard to say, "Let the fireworks begin." David, in awe, says "Genius is what that was." As Matt heads back to Redemption Island, Jeff remind them that one of them will be heading over there to face Matt and forgiveness is not likely to be on his mind.


Now, when this first happened, I wasn't down with the decision. Matt had committed himself to Ometepe. He was a guaranteed vote for Rob and Co. It seemed like they'd have been better off dumping Steve and decreasing the Zapatera numbers a little bit more. Then it hit me, only we (the audience) know that Matt struggled with this decision and that he made one. We know that he was willing to follow this road all the way to its conclusion, whatever that may be. We know that he wasn't going to turn on the Ometepe alliance. Problem is, we have the advantage of seeing everything. The rest of his tribe didn't. All they saw was a dude who couldn't seem to make up his mind and who, oh by the way, had a reason to want revenge.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized, David was right. That WAS a genius move and it had to be made. The only real wild cards out there were Phillip, Andrea and Matt. Phillip has been brought back into the fold and is solidly with them and Andrea turned on her boy. The Ometepe alliance is strong and now the Pagonging can begin. The Zapatera idol is gone (I'm sure it'll be back in play, but it's not in anyone's possession currently) and their entire tribe is vulnerable. Well played, Rob, well played.

Next time on Survivor: Rob cements the bond within the Ometepe tribe...or does he? We get a confessional of Grant saying that he's his own man. And Phillip gets a makeover...well, a headband with a feather in it. "I asked for a sign and out of thin air appeared this feather." I don't care what anyone says, this dude is money. I love me some Phillip. Will Grant make a move this early in the individual game? Will Ometepe continue their dominance? Will David pledge his loyalty to Boston Rob after being smitten in this week's Tribal Council? I guess we'll just have to come back next week to find out! By the way...a quick programming note before I sign out. According to one of Jeff Probst's tweets, there will be no mid-season recap episode this year. So, I think we can all drink to that. Until next week, kids, take care!

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