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Last time on Survivor, here’s Matt’s life story so we know he’s definitely the one coming back. Not subtle Survivor. Not subtle at all.
Everyone at Zapatera is talking about how they blindsided Sarita but how much they love her and how Dave forgives Ralph and everyone loves each other again. Man, if only you guys weren’t down by one and playing against Boston Rob, you might stand a chance.
Speaking of Sarita, she shows up on Redemption Island and tells Matt how much SHE loves all of THEM. Man, what’s in the water over at Zapatera? Also, she’s awesomely like, “Steve, Julie, Mike, Ralph, just good people.” Suck it, Dave.
“No, I’m fine. The producers awarded us each a million dollars just to live with Russell and Stephanie for so long.”
So she tells Matt who he might team up with (because it’s not exactly like they’re going to be playing against each other anymore) and Matt says some vague and ultimately misleading things about making big moves.
At Ometepe, hey I’ll just say it, what the FUCK is with all the gecko imagery this season?
Man versus Nature? Man versus Himself? WHAT??
Anyways, they get the note that everyone is going to the duel this time, so they puzzle out “merge” pretty quickly. Rob says they should bring their stuff, just in case. Man, I really wish I had a rules clarification on this, because remember when the villains took apart their whole camp because of a fake merge and then said that Rob never would have let them do something so stupid? Haven’t won items and personal effects always been moved by the producers? Is this one of the inane things that Probst has been tweeting about?
Phillip is a gambling man and wants to take nothing. This isn’t a big deal, but no way I’m letting ANY Phillip moments go unnoticed when he could be gone any day now.
Matt is nervous about the duel because he cut his foot open, so it would be terrible if this were a challenge that required the intense usage of the sides of your feet. But what kind of challenge could that possibly be?
There is no good reason not to have Coach on every season.
Oh, and there’s more talking about God. This episode will actually form a really interesting critique on religion, so pay attention.
Jeff confirms that the winner of the duel will be headed back into the game, and Rob’s confessional let’s us know that if he were Matt he would come back for revenge. But as we will see, he is definitely not. Also, it’s the sides-of-feet endurance challenge, so God hates or is testing Matt.
Sarita and Matt are both pretty good so they make it to the last foothold before they start struggling. And then, because Jeff can OCCASIONALLY be cool, he asks Phillip for some insight on the situation. YES DO THIS WAY MORE OFTEN.
Phillip starts telling us about the samurai code and what it says about challenges in our lives and damn it editors quit skipping around on Phillip’s monologue! If we can spend ANY time on armpit grooming as we’ve seemed to be doing every episode this season, we can let Phillip enlighten us about strengthening the body and mind!
So everyone laughs at him, and then oh, Sarita is out. Too bad because I think that would have made it more of a ballgame for Rob, but Matt will still deliver solid television.
It’s also merge time! I have to say I kinda like the merge at 12. SOOO much scheming to do now. Oh, and Redemption Island is happening again.
Now we have the merge feast! And this season it’s Rob’s turn to come up with the fake new tribe name. It’s Murlonio, which is actually the name of one of Amber’s stuffed animals but which Rob claims means “united from the sea.” Why would any language need a word for that?
Zapatera has realized that Matt should flip because of that whole he was eliminated thing, so Mike proposes a Final Four with Andrea and the two of them. He goes for broke and says that they have the idol, so it would be a strong team. Oh, Mike, if only Matt was smart and wasn’t about to have a Phillip-sized breakdown.
Nighttime. Zapatera notices some subtle hints that they’re still two tribes.
Has this ever happened this blatantly?
Also, Matt is telling Andrea that she’s his closest ally, because he’s strategically frozen in time from Episode 2. He says he wants to wait a few votes and then blindside Rob and his harem, and Andrea, who is looking more and more like Elizabeth Hasselbeck every day, reacts like he just suggested murder. Man, Rob is going to have NO problems if these people are so hesitant to get their hands dirty.
The next day Mike and Matt are bonding over some Bible study, and Rob makes some wisecracks about religion and breaking up any kind of bond. Yeah, ok, Matt loves Jesus and Rob is entertaining. We have bigger fish to fry in this episode.
Challenge time! Because there are like fifty people playing, it’s a pretty basic endurance where they need to balance some balls on a plate, so it doubles as the audition for a really dirty themed restaurant.
Thanks God we kept Dave around for this one.
I don’t really know what to say about this challenge except it takes like a million years and at one point Phillip announces that he’s got rhythm, baby. The final four are Mike, Steve, Ralph, and Natalie, and Jeff says a lot of stuff about how impressed he is. Well, if we’ve impressed Probst, we can all just go home, guys. We probably still have a long way to go before he forgives us for Russell, but I’m hoping if we vote out all the girls and Rob gets naked in a challenge he’ll come around. Anyway, a fly lands on Mike’s balls (gross) and for some reason this is a big deal and Natalie wins. Yep, challenges where you just need to stand around are her forte.
Ok, hardcore Survivor time: Now that Mike lost he is all about saving his ass, so he asks Ralph if he can play the idol on him. Let it be noted that Ralph is super OK with this, which should tell us all that Ralph is not a master Survivor player. To his credit, Mike does deduce that Rob is the obvious target so they should take out Grant.
Meanwhile, Rob is working on Matt, who has decided the correct way to play Survivor is the complete idiot way.
I think my problem with religious reality show contestants is that they’re always so incompetent. If Matt had come back with Old Testament-style vengeance, preaching about smiting the wicked of Rob from this game, he would have easily been my favorite.
He comes clean about Mike and the alliance and the idol to Rob, and we can almost see the wheels turning in Rob’s head. Rob privately mocks both the audacity of Matt to try and vote Rob out (not justified) and the stupidity of Matt for coming clean about it (justified). So Rob has decided Matt has to go because he just flops around all the time and is a potential threat to Rob.
Then Andrea shows us, and Matt is all, guess what honey, today I ruined both of our chances at winning Survivor. Andrea is rightfully pissed in her confessional.
Except you had the perfect opportunity to blindside Rob with Phillip and Kristina which I will NEVER get over!
Rob guides them into deciding that Steve is a good vote, then goes to Natalie and Grant and tells them that it’s going to be Matt, and he and Grant awesomely say that he can “be a good Christian guy on Redemption Island.” Also, for some reason Ashley is still getting screen time.
Get off my screen, Purple Kelly.
Matt is realizing that suddenly no one is talking to him, and Mike realizes he needs to ask him again to get them to flip. Also, fucking Phillip is still asking Rob who to vote for. MAKE A MOVE BE THE SAMURAI PHILLIP.
Mike, remembering how well it worked out for JT, decides to write a note to Matt. Um, you’re on the same beach. Just pull him aside. He’s gonna have to really obviously wander off to read the note anyway, and any suspicion is going to be focused at him and not you. So displaying Phillip-levels of secret agent abilities, they slip Matt a note which tells him to vote for Grant and he’ll be Top 3. Matt is all like, “Top 3, not bad.” Matt, you are SUCH a tool. We now see why people voted out second should not be allowed to play again. There’s also some drama over what Andrea should do, because Rob needs her to betray Matt. On one hand, Andrea is super passive and now Matt can go talk about God with that little slut Krista. On the other hand…no, she’ll probably do what Rob says.
Tribal Council! I love this big ones. Jeff comments that there are a lot of people there, which we could make fun of him for but it’s really no less inane than everything else he yells during challenges. Ralph says that there are still two teams but in a folksy way, Rob says there are two teams but in a charming way, and Dave says there are two teams in a slimy way.
Then Ashley displays a level of Survivor skill unparalleled anywhere by saying Ometepe won the tarp so they ain’t sharing, and then Dave possibly matches Ashley by saying they threw that challenge. DO NOT QUESTION THE PUZZLE MASTER.
Jeff is all like aHa! But everyone else is like, yeah, we knew that. Except Phillip, who takes this opportunity to say something about how he never quits and he gets a pass on this one because he is Phillip. Also, there’s a minor skirmish with Dave, who is rapidly becoming my least favorite player.
It’s hard to win a social game when you begin to resemble what they find under the rocks around camp.
So then Phillip says something about a stench that’s carrying something parasitic and everyone openly laughes at him. Oh, Phillip. March to the finish line, brother. Also Matt says a lot of things about Redemption Island that are steeped in dramatic irony in retrospect.
Jeff talks up how this is all about courting Matt as the swing vote, showing that Rob’s misdirection is working perfectly. Vote time! We don’t see any of the votes, even though this probably took like three hours to film.
Ralph stands up to play the idol, and says he wants it on Mike. Here’s another place I want clarification; Can you “play” it on someone, or do you have to just give it to them and let them play it on themselves? It’s kind of a minor point, but remember when Sandra said that she would have liked to have just kept the idol from Parvati because she knew she was safe? I feel like you just have to give the idol to someone at this time and then let them physically hand it to Jeff.
ANYWAYS, no votes for Mike count. But that’s OK, because it’s five votes Grant, one vote Steve, and then six votes Matt. Which is awesome, because first Zapatera was freaking out because it seemed like they guessed wrong on where to play the idol (and they definitely wasted it, the possibilities were WAY too many to have used the idol on a guess there) and then it became clear to Matt what was happening. So Matt is back to RI, which is hilarious. And Julie is all mom “oh, that poor kid” about it.
He has been blindsided by Rob in two of his three tribal councils. That sucks.
So…what’s gonna happen next week? If the Survivor Gods smile on us, Phillip will join with Zapatera and start to work on Rob’s harem. Because it will be a grave injustice if we lose people like him, Julie, and Ralph while Natalie and Ashley beach-day us to death.
Is Matt the worst Survivor player ever? Discuss.