Another week, another Phillip-related title (brief pause in Ep3 to acknowledge Russell getting voted out, which apparently did not rise to title-worthiness in Ep4).
For the final time in... well, hopefully ever, Russell Hantz wins the Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Week award. He did it in traditional form, combining both misogyny ("I wanted to bitch-slap my tribe" or some such nonsense we don't feel like re-watching in order to quote) and general misanthropy ("This is Matt's house now, but I'ma take it and make my tribemates sleep in the latrine hole, after I force them to dig it for me, and then I'll take a dump on them, and make them eat it, and then when they puke, I'll make 'em drink it, over and over again, until they DIE!" - again, give or take a few words here and there).
This was of course before he lost his duel with Matt, which was essentially pre-ordained since Matt had his God, the crew, the visiting members of both tribes, Andrea, half the state of Tennessee, and also God (did we mention God? how about Jesus? ) on his side. Poor Russell Hantz had only Jeff Probst's insatiable, increasingly winceworthy, fanboy crush to back him up. And soooo... Matt won. Shocker, we know. Because Russell had been so overwhelmingly dominant in those 2-out-of-16 individual challenges he'd won beforehand, despite competing against "a bunch of babies."
And so Russell was gone. But not before demonstrating what a bunch of babies usually do (cry), claiming that his entire tribe were Pee-Wee League players who didn't even come to play the game, and bemoaning his Professional Quarterback status as being waaayyy too much work. (Maybe the Pee-Wees voted him out for all the whining?)
Oh, and taunting Ralph until he almost showed his idol. And claiming Sarita was the mastermind at Zapatera. Which we had already suspected, since she gave the thumbs up sign at the IC Zapatera threw to boot him, but which can't possibly be true, since naturally the Survivor editors would go out of their way to show a woman controlling an entire alliance, right?
Russell then shared a touching moment with his greatest fan and enabler, Jeff Probst. When Russell said "I'm done for good," Probst was there to say, "Surely you just mean for Survivor 22, Russell, right? (Although we could probably find a way to get you back in, just say the word.) Are you ready to play Survivor 23 yet? Survivor 24? We could give you your own spin-off, where you're competing against actual babies, if you want."
We'd say good riddance, but come on... who actually believes Russell Hantz won't be back?
First, a big "you're welcome!" to Krista, who, as the prior week's recipient of this award, received her sparkly prize: her first confessional. And then was not heard from, ever again. We can only do so much, Krista.
On another note, thanks to Russell's skewing of the data set, we're not sure if the new editing pattern is to simply not bother showing early boots, even in their boot episode. Apart from her reaction shots during the duel, we were a little shocked that Kristina barely appeared in the episode (one confessional) until about a minute before Tribal Council, where she was promptly booted. (Rather unsurprisingly, since Phillip had announced she was the next to go right before he tried to "save" her when they returned from the duel.) This was largely the case with Matt as well. Um, well done, Survivor editors?
But that's not really the story here. This may come as something of a surprise to you, but Ometepe had another female contestant who was essentially edited out of the episode: Andrea (also Natalie and Ashley, but they at least had confessionals). You'd think that, what with her good friend Matt winning another duel and inching closer to possible re-entry into the game, she might get to say a word or two, but no. Even the tribal council reaction shots during the voting flipped between the two receiving votes, and Rob, Natalie, Grant and Ashley. Which would be the entire Ometepe tribe, minus Andrea. It was like she wasn't even there.
We're pretty sure this is punishment for Matt's duel win. Probably one of the producers raised the stakes beforehand, saying: "You win this duel, and your girlfriend ends up on the cutting room floor, capiche?" Probably that producer was Jeff Probst. Probably that was in the seconds before Matt knocked his dominoes down for the first time. And the second time. Probably also during the extended negotiation session, where Russell offered to cry in exchange for Matt giving up and volunteering to be booted in Russell's place. (This deal apparently fell through.)
But hey, that's why we created this award in the first place. Nicely done, Andrea. You asked "Where's Rob?" and then disappeared yourself. It seems unlikely anyone will ask "Where's Andrea?", largely because they have no idea which one of the silent amalgam of hair, limbs and swimsuits in GrAshNatDrea you are. But we asked it. Maybe if you found a way to write "Craftsman" on your forehead, you'd get more camera time? Just a thought.
*Groan*. Whose dumb idea was it to give challenge-based awards during the tribal portion of the series? On the plus side, the challenges have featured a lot of individual performances. On the minus side, who cares? Not bloody us. This would be far more fun if we'd made it the Courtney Yates Memorial Challenge Sit-Out award (the "Sitty").
So this week, we award the Sitty to David Murphy, whose puzzle-solving ability is apparently so spectacularly great that Zapatera let Stephanie do both the actual puzzle portion, with the freshly-cut planks, AND the untying portion. (Why couldn't they use the hatchet that was sitting right there in the toolbox? Stupid rules!) This left David plenty of time and space in which to use his Jedi mind powers to move saws through wood, or something. Yes, Krista was officially sitting out, but David was, shall we say... standing out. Genius!
Then again, we suppose, technically, we should actually bestow the award we promised. Fine. We'll give it to Matt, for his second straight duel win. Well done, Matt. Bonus points for putting Russell Hantz out of his misery, etc.
But really, this is just an excuse to pontificate on what we see as a fundamental flaw in the whole Redemption Island concept: If Matt wins a long string of duels, eventually earning a return to the game, won't that just make him the exact kind of person this award was designed to recognize: a challenge threat who should be voted out at the earliest opportunity? Conversely, if someone manages to get voted off shortly before the return-to-the-game point, wins a duel or two, and heads right back in, won't the people who voted them off still be there, just as eager to vote them right back out again?
For all the drama and hype, Redemption Island seems like a lose-lose situation for the people sent there. Unless, of course, the returnee gets sent to a tribe like Ometepe, where everyone just votes the way Rob tells them, with no apparent thought involved.
Okay, okay. Fine. We were underwhelmed by Boston Rob's alleged brilliance in finding the idol clue last week in Ep3, since it was accidental, and he did essentially nothing with it after finding it, apart from shrugging dramatically and saying "Uhh... that's hard." But this week, he concocted an idol-hunting scheme so elaborate, so convoluted, so layer-upon-layer scripted, that we can ignore his efforts no longer. The final push involved a fake game, faux constipation (the key ingredient in any crazy plan), and racing around like a speed-crazed blue porcupine, albeit one wielding a shovel. We did think his tree-to-tree idol search might have been better filmed in a long shot, speed up 5X or so, and soundtracked by the Benny Hill theme. But overall, pretty impressive.
Now, true, we could be total hardasses, and deduct points for the minor technicality that, despite all that planning, the idol was just sitting there, out in the open, in the crook of a tree, waiting to be found (which it was, in barely 15 minutes, just like all the others so far this season). But fuck it, we're as lazy as the Survivor producers. Here's your Slashy/idol Rob. Right here in this box where it usually is. Feel free to wander over and take it at your convenience. Whatever.
We should probably also deduct points because Rob incorrectly targeted Kristina for the boot instead of Phillip. Kristina had previously been a threat, but that was because she'd found an idol, and insisted on using it now...should I?...Now...but wait, no...NOW! Since Rob is currently in possession of that idol, this threat has been eliminated. Grant (Grant!) thought loose panted -- er, cannon -- Phillip was a better choice. Which he was, since Phillip could do any random thing at any time, completely obliterating some high-falutin' vote split scheme. But Rob would have none of it, apparently figuring that since the entire tribe hates him, Phillip could be booted at any time, and besides, vote splits always work, right?
This positive-thinking attitude is pretty much what Kristina thought in Ep1, right before Phillip blurted out every secret she and Francesca had ever told him. But we're sure nothing bad could ever happen to Rob, right? Matt's safely locked away on Redemption Island, and Phillip's totally on board! Smooooooth sailing ahead!
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