The title refers to the editors' decision to turn the show into a buddy comedy, with Rob & Phillip the only Ometepes shown, heard from, and/or talked about. Although the suddenly sparkling gallows humor of Mike and David made us think we've been cheated by their underediting.
There's really no competition here any more. Phillip bounced around this episode at length (or perhaps off the deep end) like a pinball on crack. (Substance abuse is a little-known but ravaging scourge of the arcade game equipment world.) At one point Phillip was in full-scale, eagle-feathered, part-Cherokee Coach Wade emulation mode. At another he was Lennie from Of Mice And Men, getting reassurance from Boston George that everything was okay, and George would take care of him. But mostly the Coach worship.
And to put our minds at ease that, yes, he's in on the joke as well, he even got a confessional that suggested he was aware that all this nuttiness and antagonism was a tad off-putting, and he liked it that way, because everyone, or at least everyone named Boston Rob, wants a goat to take to the final 3. Which is actually a pretty good strategy... for reaching the final 3. Apparently when embracing this award's namesake's camera-whoring tendencies, Phillip also signed up for the zero jury votes part of Russell's game. Whatever. Phillip, you are the deserving winner of this week's Trolly award. Congratulations, etc.
What does Andrea have to do to get noticed by the powers-that-be on the show? Last week, she got hung out to dry by Matt's blabbermouth, and had to scramble to get back into Rob's good graces. A move that... wasn't shown. This week, she goes out and wins individual immunity, and is only shown in passing. Jeff Probst spends both live tweetfests going on about David's legs, and doesn't even mention her win. Wait, who were we talking about again?
We were going to award this week's Sitty to Matt, for surviving not one but two tribal councils without having to fight a single duel. But further consideration suggested this would probably just confuse him, and Lord knows, he's had enough of that.
So instead, we'll acknowledge the double-IC nature of the episode by dusting off Ye Olde Beasty Awarde. If only to point out that Rob's iron-headed determination to Pagong every last Zapatera before starting in on the Ometepes might just backfire. Sure, Pagonging is a classic strategy (obviously), but it's also boring to watch, even when done in two-per-episode format as it was this week. And when you have a true Challenge Beast like Grant, who seems like a lock to win anything involving brute force, all-around athleticism, or perhaps even puzzles from here on out, the second half of that strategy -- picking off the Ometepes in the order you want -- may be difficult. Because a Grant that IC runs his way into the final three against Rob could very well beat him. Then again, maybe we're just grumpy that the previews hinted at intra-Ometepe dissension, which turned out to be almost as pathetic as Andrea's much-hyped "fury" at being scorned. (That turned out to be a couple of almost-tears and a vague expression of discontent.) Rob's best move might be to convince Grant to take one for the team, go to Redemption Island, and ensure nobody outside of Ometepe returns to the game (or if Grant's luck turns sour, so be it).
And that doesn't even begin to address Rob's other Beastly problem: Natalie, who has been telegraphed since Ep1 as Amber 2.0. Endurance challenges, be they ball-on-plate or hanging from bars, seem to be her forte (and the one kind in which Grant does poorly). But don't worry, Rob's planning to take her to the F3 with him! What could possibly go wrong? Not to mention that we've just seen a barely non-teenager do essentially nothing for most of the game, string together a couple of late-game IC wins, and take home the million (to be fair, Rob didn't, since Nicaragua hadn't aired yet when Redemption Island filmed, although he ought to remember Amber and Jenna Morasca). A late-game Natalie IC run could allow her to complete the Second Ambering of Rob.
First off, we're finding it hard to believe Boston Rob actually watched Heroes vs. Villains after his boot episode. Is he not aware that Russell Hantz actually lost that season? (We'll give him a pass on Samoa; nobody watched that season.) For all his brilliant pre-merge gameplay, post-merge Boston Rob looks an awful lot like post-merge Russell: heavy-handed, micromanaging, dictatorial. He's pissing off the Zapateras, some or all of whom will be on the jury, if all goes according to plan (one could even return to the game and reach the F3 if things don't go according to plan). And his own Ometepe minions are starting to grumble occasionally (Phillip over the clues, Grant over the fish he wasn't allowed to eat). Luckily there's no Al-Jazeera in Murlonio camp, or Rob would've been ousted long ago. Unless Phillip's secret strategy is to keep Rob around as a Hantzian goat.
But that brings us nonetheless to this week's Slitty recipient: Murphy, David Murphy. Okay, sure, his alleged puzzle prowess ended up being quite flaccid once actually tested, and his strategic insights ranged from starting counter-alliances after voting off the people who would've joined them, to only attempting to infiltrate Ometepe once and then giving up because it's hard, to choosing a position that nearly amputated his own leg during his final IC. But he totally made up for it with his vote for "Rob Rob Rob Rob... Please count this as 4 votes" at his terminal (or was it?) tribal council. That one piece of Buisian TC surrealism went a long way in redeeming this alleged mastermind.* The Slitty is yours, counselor. You may now approach the bench. It's okay, there are no puzzles on it.
* Even if multiple votes for Rob would, of course, have been far more effective if they'd just done it at the merge, or F11, when there were still persuadable Ometepes to join them. Oh well, at least he's consistent. Genius!
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