Previously on Survivor, Ometepe was strong and bland. Time to turn on each other (but not Rob, obvs)!
Ralph shows up at RI and mumbles his way through something I’m sure was intensely charming and folksy. They talk about Steve being weak, and then hilariously Steve shows us. Matt tries desperately to pretend that he fits in with this group that played their hardest and got screwed by numbers.
MATT: “Hahaha, didn’t it suck when we built strong alliances and made smart choices and still lost? Guys?”
They talk about how many Zapatera will be on the jury, and how if one person from RI gets into the Final Three they’ll win for sure, which is true as long as Matt votes with them. This will be fondly referred to by me as the “Brett Corollary.”
Back at camp, everyone celebrates that they managed to stick together. Andrea is all, “for the last five votes we’ve been on cruise control, and now we can get back to the game.” Oh, Andrea. You continue to disappoint me by NOT considering options.
Oh, fuck, and now Natalie is crying. She says in confessional it’s because now they have to knock people out (ie, now they have to start PLAYING THE GAME), but it’s also just fatigue.
Who edited this episode, Jeff Probst?
Rob says we should remember that she is only 19 and he comforts her. We get it, you’re good at Survivor. Then he gets really intense about how he needs them not to talk to each other so he can win. Basically, this episode will be Survivor’s love letter to Rob Mariano.
The next day, Grant and his gross dreadlocks are out fishing, when what do Andrea and Ashley find? If you answered a strategy, stop being ridiculous. It’s this:
Which Survivor fans know heralds a truly terrible half hour ahead.
Ashley says Sprint a whole bunch and Phillip does a wacky dance when he sees the cell phone. They get a message about the dual, and then they get short videos from loved ones.
“I’m Natalie’s mom, and I would rather not be here.”
“Hi Andrea! I hope you haven’t become representational of how women will forever tempt and betray the pious man!”
“I’m Phillip’s sister. Why yes, my great-grandfather was a FULL-BLOODED CHEROKEE.”
“I’m not Amber.”
“Grant, I knocked your sister up, you have no other friends willing to appear on this show, AND I’m wearing a stupid ascot. Worst loved one ever.”
“Natalie, awm so upset you lawst your whickad back-east accent. Love you sweethawt.”
So everyone cries. Man, I hate the feeling we get like ten minutes into every Survivor episode these days where we realize that no, there will not be strategizing in this episode either. Sigh. Didn’t Jeff say that this was like the third-best season ever or something?
Oh God, and now the losers get their videos too. ON THE SPRINT PHONE.
“Ralph, the producers say I have to talk about your chickens.”
“I’m Mike’s mom, and over the next thirty minutes I’ll be YOUR guide to the new line of Whirlpool kitchen appliances.”
“I’m Steve’s brother, and I, uh, share all of his, uh, verbal mannerisms.”
“Matt, the whole family is proud that you made it this far. Imagine our embarrassment if you had been the second one voted out! Or by some weird twist voted out twice!”
Do none of these people have significant others? That…actually wouldn’t surprise me.
So the challenge is throwing balls and smashing tiles, and the first one to smash all their tiles wins the loved one and the last one to smash their tiles is jury-bound. So…Ometepe gets no chance to win loved one time? Fair? RI was cool for a season, but for the love of God I hope they lose it next season and bring back reward challenges.
There’s some intense ball throwing (insert your own joke about balls flying, possibly including Jeff Probst, here), and Mike is clearly ahead because he is Mr. America. Mike wins (which earns a disgusted head-shake from Rob, who perhaps has just realized he might be Brett-ed out of his money), and Steve falls out. Sorry Steve! I enjoyed your quips about log-rolling!
Jeff tells Mike he can have time with his mom, or he can trade her and let Matt and Ralph have time with their loved ones, or he can trade THAT and let all the Ometepe’s have time with THEIR loved ones, or he can have what Carol is bringing up the aisle right now. Mike has been spending WAY too much time with Matt and launches into a preachy thing about how the most important commandment is loving the brother as you would love thyself (I thought it was honoring your father and MOTHER, MIKE), so he wants to do the most good for the most people and let Ometepe have their loved ones. Uhhh…what a sucker.
Jeff keeps talking about “love” like it’s a commodity and Mike’s mom says she’s proud of him and he’s a HERO (awesome) and she’ll see him in like two days. I guess he made a good choice? I don’t know, I feel like the loved one visit is always sort of silly, but just because I’m cynical I shouldn’t weigh in on what it might mean to these people. Feel free to leave your own decision in the comments.
Ralph says that Mike should have kept his mom but he made a good strategic decision. Matt says he couldn’t have made that same choice. Please go away soon, Matt, Mike keeps talking about how he didn’t do strategically and it was just the right thing to do, and Matt says something about how that one choice was more then he’s done in his entire time here and I laugh heartily at the accuracy of that statement.
Ashley tries to prove to her mom she isn’t invisible by talking about how she maintains the calender, Andrea’s dad says weird stuff about her hair, and Natalie’s mom ALSO talks about religion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just be good Survivor players and you can talk about religion all you want! Phillip gives us another piece of the puzzle by telling his sister that he can go crazy if he needs to because that’s what works for him. And then he tells us he will continue to DOMINATE the game. Rob discusses strategy with his very, very bored sister and gets a shirt with Amber and his kid on it. Ugh, this family stuff gets old fast.
After family leaves Rob tells everyone that Andrea needs to not win and go next. And then he talks some MORE about how much he wants to win Survivor. We know, Rob. We know.
Whose job is it to write these? And after writing like 500 since the show began, do you think they recycle them now? Who’s gonna know this exact wording wasn’t used in Guatemala or something?
The immunity challenge is this giant puzzle staircase that they have to build one rung at a time, so basically it’s running up and down some stairs. YES. No more shuffleboard, more of this pls. After the first section, it’s basically just Rob, Grant, and Andrea neck-in-neck.
Side note, there’s awesome Jeff drama in this challenge: “You gotta PICK IT UP if you wanna WIN!” “Second place buys you NOTHING in this challenge!” “Rob is LITERALLY carrying his family on his back!” Cause of the shirt. Subtle, producers. And just calm down Jeff, Jesus.
So Rob wins, and Jeff makes it sound like he just cured cancer or single-handedly beat the Nazis or something. He’s just tired and running up some steps, let’s get real. Oh, man, and now everyone is panting like crazy, which does indicate this challenge was pretty hardcore. Probst is please.
Hey, and remember Rob’s crybabyitis? Time for a flare-up.
What I wouldn’t give for Jerri to wander over and ask if he’s OK.
Rob rolls around and talks about how his legs are burbing and just generally sounds like Amber is about to be widowed, and Jeff is like “if you die who am I going to root for? Grant? No fucking way” and they bring him water and make him sit. More dramatic music, more dramatic Rob moaning. Jeff and Grant help Rob stand up and then he almost collapses again, which Jeff hilariously takes as an opportunity to grab him again. But then he’s OK and it’s time to give him immunity and send them back to camp. Minor drama, but I’ll take what I can get on Survivor these days.
It’s raining when they get back to camp and they all congratulate Rob some more. Good Lord, isn’t there something crazy Phillip should be doing? Rob rallies the others to confirm that Andrea is going home, and then they all tell Andrea that Phillip is going home.
AAAnd I totally called it, because now Phillip has decided to pull apart their shelter for firewood. There’s also a good scene where he chides Andrea for moving too fast around a bee and then attacks it with a pillow. Then, in his most aware moment yet, Phillip says that he doesn’t have to worry about going home because he already made himself a villain and everyone thinks they can beat him, so this was just him reminding them how annoying he is. Further, he says, he can beat Rob if he gets in front of the jury. Frankly, I hope he at least gets the chance because I want to hear him out. My call on Phillip right now is two parts crazy, one part strategy, but I reserve the right to reevaluate that later. Grant and Rob discuss voting out Phillip instead, but this seems like editor misdirection a little. And now it’s time for our tenth scene tonight where Rob talks about how much he wants to win and how close he is and how he would hate to lose.
Tribal Council time. Jeff is like, “Ok, time to vote an Ometepe out.” He asks Andrea if she’s concerned and she says no because she’s sort of an idiot. Natalie says now it’s not fun anymore because they have to vote people out. Go away Natalie. Jeff says something about Phillip not being competitive and maybe that’s a strength, and Phillip freaks out and says he is a competitor and in the army he did more push-ups than anyone and once he gets the right challenge he’s going to kick their asses. Oh Phillip. Never ever change please.
More stupid talk about if people are genuine or not, and then Phillip says that he is playing honestly and he’s a leader and a great teammate. Jeff says more obvious things about how someone is about to get blindsided and Rob is like, “yeah, shut up and let’s vote, Probst” and then Jeff, to continue baiting Phillip, asks what his great-grandfather (THE FULL-BLOODED CHEROKEE) might say to him. “Hold the faith,” Phillip says. Who has been more helpful in this game, Phillip’s great-grandfather or Matt’s God? Discuss.
So finally we vote. One is for Phillip and then the rest are for Andrea. Bye Andrea! You had like ten chances to save yourself, so I do not feel bad for you at all. Though I do look forward to your passive-aggressive spat with Matt on RI.
In my opinion, there is now no reason for Natalie and Ashley to grab Phillip and vote out Rob and Grant. I’ve heard the argument that Natalie and Ashley are pulling the Natalie White strategy and just letting a dominant player carry them to the end, but the difference was that Russell was a dominant player that people hated. Rob is a dominant player that people love, so any argument that Natalie and Ashley are actually strategic should culminate in them kicking his ass out in the next two votes. Or am I overlooking something?