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Survivor recap: Strategy or Stupidity?

Zapatera throws a challenge to try to get rid of Russell. But does the target have one more trick up his sleeve?

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Survivor Russell Hantz
Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

“Throwing today’s challenge is not strategy. It is plain stupidity.” – Stephanie

She’s right, you know. I’m quite sure that scores of you out there were delighted to see the mouth that roared, Russell, finally have his torch snuffed. No doubt sock manufacturers were celebrating from coast to coast. (I hear Hanes has even given all its employees Thursday off as a holiday.) But you can’t be delighted with the way it went down — with the Zapatera tribe throwing the immunity challenge. Throwing a challenge, especially when you are only up two tribe members on the other team, is the epitome of shortsighted stupidity. It’s the type of thing where, even if you are happy about the person they got rid of,  you can’t be completely satisfied, because you also find yourself liking the people who failed on purpose a little bit less. It’s a sour aftertaste, is what it is.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking out there: “Typical Dalton. Still hasn’t gotten over his Samoan man crush on Russell and now he’s using this as an excuse to bitch about him getting voted off.” To that I say…not true! Yes, I still think Russell was robbed in Samoa (not in Heroes vs Villains, though – Parvati was the one robbed there), but I also always assumed he’d be the first one booted out of his tribe here. Probst thought he’d last longer, but I knew he was a dead man walking the minute he showed up. I just hate the fact that the tribe purposely lost the challenge to get rid of him. The only person who appeared even remotely against it, Julie, highlighted the exact reason why throwing challenges is such a bad idea: You’re stepping on the other team’s throat. Why allow them to get up for air and gain momentum? That’s exactly what happened in Pearl Islands when the Drake tribe — who were firmly in command after winning the first three immunity challenges — lost one on purpose and allowed the Morgan tribe to then win three of their own. (The Aitutaki or “Latino” tribe also threw a challenge in Cook Islands, when they had only five members to begin with. The result? They ended up watching three straight members go home as well.) Those Zapatera bastards may have thrown the challenge, but I won’t give anything less than 100 percent effort on this recap. Let’s do this!

Things start off just after the second Tribal Council. (FUN FACT! Notice how the second Tribal Council took part on night 5 instead of the usual night 6? Wanna know why? Because on night 6, Jeff Probst was not even in Nicaragua, but rather in Los Angeles winning his third straight Best Reality TV Host Emmy award. Maybe they should have just had a Tribal Council without Probst and seen what would have happened, kind of like that weird Probstless challenge they ran in Samoa. Tribal Council — anarchy-style!) We see voted-out Matt feeling sick to his stomach as he arrives at Redemption Island after being blindsided, but he’s still talking about coming back to win the million dollars. If ever Survivor needed a laugh track.

Speaking of a laugh track, let’s check in with Phillip! Boston Rob is thrilled that Matt is gone and Kristina’s idol is out of play, and now he just has to keep the former federal agent and current walking punchline in check. Rob does an amazing thing here — he tells Phillip the truth, informing him that he is the fifth man in a four-person alliance. And even more amazing…it works! Instead of telling Rob to “pipe that,” Phillip announces that it’s all good. Who knows? Maybe Phillip is not concerned with winning the game. Maybe he’s just there to search for a magical brick wall that he can roller-skate through to return to his home planet of Xanadu. (That’s not completely far-fetched, by the way: Phillip was discovered for the show while roller-dancing by the beach. Oh yeah, and…ELO rules!)

NEXT: Our very first Redemption Island duel


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