Survivor recap: Russell's Vixens Unleashed
Maybe it’s because I constantly have beer on the mind, but is it just me, or is Redemption Island Arena, like, the dopest bar in town? Think about it: Over the past few weeks, it seems like everything that goes down there is something straight out of your neighborhood watering hole at around 2 a.m. You’ve got desperate girls (in this case, Stephanie and Krista) trying to pick up cocky boys (Rob and Grant). You’ve got dudes who used to be friends, but had a falling-out and are now trying to patch things up (Matt and Rob). You’ve got people who are trying their best to show off (Ralph and his Hidden Immunity Idol). You’ve got random crazy people yelling out accusations (Phillip). And you’ve got some depressed guy in a funny hat crying over in the corner to himself (Russell). Seriously, let’s get some Milwaukee’s Best up in this mofo and watch things really get crazy! With all the shameless product placement this show has crammed down our throats, it shouldn’t be too hard to airlift a few kegs of the Beast in there. You could even throw a Casa de Charmin around back for good measure.
There’s no doubt about it, Redemption Island is where the fireworks happen, and I’m not talking about the actual competitions. Last week it was Russell getting weepy over his elimination and then baiting Ralph into revealing he had a Hidden Immunity Idol. This week, Stephanie continued spilling secrets, telling the Ometepe representatives that “there’s a clear division” on Zapatera and “they may think they have the numbers, but I think yellow might look good on me.” (You sassy little minx!) The always skeptical Rob didn’t know whether to buy it or not — especially after what happened between Russell and J.T. on Heroes vs Villains — but he played along, telling them to “hang in there.” Rob, keeping all of his options open — just like a good Survivor player. Or a dude at a bar.
Okay, let’s take it from the very top. The episode begins with Phillip looking to do a little spooning with Boston Rob. “You have your underwear on?” Rob asks Phillip. “I have my underwear on,” responds the former federal agent, “but that doesn’t stop me, brother.” Whoa! What the hell does that mean? Is that something Survivors now have to put on the list of things to worry about while playing? Bugs, hunger, weather…anal rape? Is Phillip looking to administer his “Sheppard Stamp,” if you know what I’m talking about? And I think you know what I’m talking about. Well, you can’t blame Phillip for being a bit randy. After all, he was fresh off a visit to the Redemption Island Arena Bar & Grille — where anything goes. He flaunts his unique sexual magnetism again the next morning by sticking his rear end in Natalie’s and Ashley’s faces. “That is seriously hurting my eyes,” says Ashley. Oh, Ashley, please — don’t even pretend you don’t want a piece of that hot action. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
NEXT: Rob shows how to answer without actually answering
Over at Zapatera, the big six are catching fish with the net and talking about how awesome everything is. However, they have a problem. Although Julie notes that on-the-outs Stephanie and Krista are “just pawns in this big game – they can’t do any damage to us,” Steve knows they need to try to get the girls to “hang tight with us going into a merge,” or else they could flip. Steve’s on to something, as Steph and Krista’s visit to Redemption Island is soon to prove.
WELCOME TO REDEMPTION ISLAND ARENA! WHERE EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT IS LADIES’ NIGHT! ENJOY FLOR DE CANA RUM SPECIALS ALL NIGHT LONG! AND PLEASE MAKE SURE TO TIP YOUR BARTENDER, JEFFREY PROBST. After the patrons take their seats, Matt and Kristina arrive and are informed by Probst that they must arrange large puzzle pieces into the shape of a cube. Matt, realizing that Kristina is more likely to pass out than beat him, starts chatting up the man responsible for his ouster. “You rascals. Voted me out for no reason, I still don’t know why. If you want to explain to me why while I’m working, it might calm me down or something.”
Probst picks up on this immediately, asking point-blank, “Why’d you vote him out, Rob?” I don’t know why he even bothered because Boston Rob is the true master of the nonanswer. Seriously, think about it. The guy never, ever says anything that will ever get him into any trouble later. (Just check out my pregame joint interview with him and Russell, where he not only did not criticize a man I know he personally loathes, but laughably even went out of his way to defend him.) In other words, always assume that 95% of anything Rob says at any point during the game is, at best, a half-truth. “It doesn’t take one person to vote someone out, Jeff, you know that,” responds Rob. True, but it does take only one person to desire it and then persuade all the people who worship at his feet to make it happen.
Matt finally wins and Rob smiles from ear to ear, even though he is secretly hating it inside. Matt goes on to tell everyone how he wanted to go to the final three with Rob and Grant, and hopes he can somehow end up back with Ometepe. This leads Stephanie to her public dissing of Zapatera — the second straight week the tribe has aired its dirty laundry in public. Speaking of laundry, at least Kristina won’t have to worry about washing her buff, since Probst makes her burn it on her way out of the game. Somewhere, eBay sheds a single electronic tear.
With Rob and Grant pimping out at Redemption Island Arena, Phillip is left back alone with the ladies. So, Phillip, what do you think about that? “These girls remind me of crabs.” What?!? What the hell, man? First you’re threatening to unleash your Sheppard Stamp on Boston Rob, and now you’re talking about women and crabs? You don’t mean that, do you? “They definitely remind me of crabs.” Dude, not cool! I mean, if Parvati Shallow were out there, sure, I could see the crabs thing. That would make sense. But poor Ashley, Natalie, and Andrea don’t deserve that.
NEXT: A Jenna and Heidi flashback
Next thing you know, the three ladies do their best to reenact the famous Survivor: The Amazon waterfall shower scene starring Jenna, Heidi, and Shawna. The only difference: These ladies aren’t busy talking about how much hotter they are than the old women in the tribe…because there are no old women in the tribe!
Over on Zapatera, Steve is busy reminding us that “there is no I in team.” True, but there is an M and an E, so what’s your point? Julie, however, is worried the tribe is overconfident, and hopes that throwing the challenge to get rid of Russell “doesn’t come back to bite us.” And when she talks about karma and we’re shown Mike burning himself and accidentally drowning the fire, it’s as if a big huge neon sign is flashing “FORESHADOWING” across the TV screen as we head to the challenge.
“You guys ready to get to today’s immunity challenge?” asks Probst, and instead of taking time to actually think about it and get back to him later, the contestants all answer in the affirmative. The challenge is an old Survivor standby. Each team picks a caller who has to guide their blindfolded tribemates through a maze to retrieve puzzle pieces. Once they’ve done that, the callers must use the pieces to form a phrase (“The sweet taste of victory”). Whichever team gets it first wins immunity and coffee and pastries. As Zapatera strategizes beforehand, Sarita appoints Stephanie as the caller/puzzle solver instead of David, who argues that he should be the one to do it instead. FORESHADOWING! Ometepe picks Rob, because Rob is possibly the best puzzle solver in Survivor history.
Ometepe gets their puzzle bags first. “A huge time advantage for Ometepe,” announces Probst. But Stephanie is able to come back and get all her bags open first. “She’s on it,” says Sarita. “I’m not even worried about her.” FORESHADOWING! But as Rob starts to narrow the gap, Steve isn’t so sure and wishes David was there instead. “She’s not smart enough for this,” he announces. FORESHADOWING! Maybe he’s right, but at least she’s smarter than Ralph, who has yet to figure out which way is left. Cock-a-doodle-doo!
Of course, Rob wins, and next thing you know Phillip is attempting to trade a doughnut to the women for a massage. Dude, maybe that line works at 2 a.m. over at Redemption Island Arena, but not here, buddy. Plus, do you want to go and get crabs? Keep the doughnut! Then we have to suffer through another scene of a tribe member locating a Hidden Immunity Idol clue in the reward goods. Lord, this has become one of the more played-out practices on Survivor. I never liked it when it first started, and I like it even less now. This time, Grant finds it, Rob persuades him to give it to him, Rob then goes and unburies his previous clue and swaps them for each other, Rob then hands the first clue to Grant instead, Rob then hypnotizes Grant by making him look at Phillip’s saggy pink underwear and convinces him it’s the first clue he’s ever seen as well. Cagey.
NEXT: Something huge is about to happen! Or not.
Over at Zapatera we’re shown lots of incredible nature images of vultures eating carcasses, insects eating leaves, birds eating turtle eggs, and a spider crawling over a tribe buff — implying that there is about to be a major shake-up with the happy-go-lucky big six alliance turning on each other. But they don’t. Sure, David is miffed he didn’t get to do the puzzle, announcing, “I’m the only person doing puzzles from here on out. Period. Point-blank. No questions.” Sarita makes a bit of noise about how she’d like to send David home now, but it becomes increasingly clear that it’s going to be either Krista or Stephanie.
And off to Tribal Council we go to find out whom it will be. Krista comes out guns blazing, telling Probst, “After Russell left, there’s really been no game playing. It kinda seems like the Brady Bunch has gone camping and they’ve invited the two neglected stepchildren to come along.” Camping with the Brady Bunch? Sounds fun! But watch out for that crazy old prospector. Last time he locked the whole family in a jail cell and stole their car! Super not groovy, Mr. Crazy Old Prospector!
Like Russell, Krista doesn’t plan on going quietly as she exposes whom she sees as being paired up with whom. But go she does, with Krista receiving three votes (to Steve’s two, and one each for “Krasta” and “Crysta”). Krista never really made any sort of mark in the game (amazingly, the first time I can say that this season after someone was voted out), and it’s doubtful she’ll make much of a mark against Matt in next week’s duel at Redemption Island Arena —all drinks half price! — but who knows? Weirder things have happened. Just ask the dude in the saggy pink undies.
But ah, your Survivor fun has just begun, my friend. We’ve cranked up an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode for you below, along with my pregame interview with the newly booted Kristina. (We’ll also be talking to Kristina on Friday’s edition of the TVInsiders Podcast.) Every Friday morning, Jeff Probst answers some key questions about all the latest shenanigans, so make sure to check that out. And you can always have Survivor scoop delivered directly to your virtual doorstep by following me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. The message boards are now open for business. Sad to see Kristina go? Think Matt can make it back into the game? And which tribe are you rooting for so far? Make your voice heard. See ya next week!