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Survivor Redemption Island


The next to last episode of this season’s Survivor: Redemption Island begins with Ashley relishing in the blindside the Ometepe served fellow tribe member Andrea. Meanwhile, once the newest cast-off arrives on Redemption Island, Andrea somehow tries to gain sympathy for her recent betrayal while blaming Matt for her decision to vote against him. Needless to say, Andrea is getting zero love from the folks she has sent to Redemption Island before her.

The duel among the Redemption Island crew involves navigating a handle through a long maze of tiles (similar to a Cracker Barrel game, if I recall) and then completing a puzzle at the end. Ralph starts off strong and is the first to finish the maze. GO RALPH! Andrea is so far behind on the maze, mumbling and grumbling the entire time. Much like with past duels, Mike wins, with Matt a close second. Fortunately for Andrea (and unfortunately for me), Ralph can’t get the puzzle together and is sent to the jury.

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This week’s Survivor: Redemption Island was a slight roller coaster of emotions (don’t judge me), what with the Ometepe turning on one of their own, the castaways’ family members making an appearance, and Phillip revealing that he’s a genius. Ralph and Steve arrive on Redemption Island, and it’s becoming clear that the jury could be full of Zapatera. Ometepe Mayor Boston Rob reveals that he’s pretty confident that his followers friends are too slow and stupid kind to reach the conclusion that the smart thing to do would be to vote him off if given the opportunity.

Tree-mail arrives and the group revels in the chance to watch videos of their family members, and who can blame them after 30 days? In the first four person duel, Matt, Mike, Steve, and Ralph must battle it out using metal balls to break tiles. The loser will be sent to the jury–duh–but the winner? He’ll get to spend time with a family member in person. After four rounds of this primitive game of ski-ball, Mike wins, and Steve is sent packing. My eyes may have gotten a tad misty when Mike’s mom comes out of the jungle (fine, judge away). THEN, in a SO VERY WRONG scenario, Jeff Probst gives Mike three choices. Mike can a) spend some time with his mom; b) forgo his family time and allow his fellow Redemption Island roommates to hang out with their loved ones; or c) stiff it to his bunk mates, send his mom back into the jungle, and give the family time to the group who voted him off in the first place. In a shocking (sweet? strategic?) move, Mike chooses the third option, making the Ometepe happy (and hopefully grateful without short-term memories), Ralph angry, and his mother proud. Honestly, I don’t think his move was strategic…I just think he’s just genuinely that good of a guy.

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On this week’s Survivor, “A Mystery Package,” the Murlonio tribe reigns supreme as the final two Zapatera members, former NFL player Steve Wright and farmer (and my favorite) Ralph Kiser, are sent packing for Redemption Island. Puppetmaster Boston Rob Mariano continues to pull the strings which will likely ensure him a spot in the finale, seeing as his minions can’t think for themselves.

Last week, Julie’s flame was extinguished, but not before she admitted to burying Federal Agent (?) Phillip’s shorts where they will never be found. Fortunately, the “mystery package” was not the viewers having to watch Phillip tool around in his pink tighty-whiteys (tighty-pinkys?) for the entire episode–this undercover specialist has a dream in which his grandfather comes to him and leads him to his missing shorts. Lo and behold, he actually finds the spot, digs and digs, and retrieves his shorts. Thankfully. He can’t wait to face Julie wearing said shorts, and compares it to a scene from A Few Good Men. “You know what I want to say to Julie? What did Jack Nicholson say to Tom Cruise? ‘You can’t STAND the truth.’” Eh, close enough, Phillip.

Matt, Mike and Julie make the trek over from Redemption Island to see who will be second loser the next member of the jury. Matt admits that he feels at peace, and if God thinks it’s his time to go home, he’s ready to leave. He glances quickly (and not too kindly) at that chick who threw him under the bus Andrea, who later remarked that it seemed like he gave her a dirty look, but she could be reading into it. Yeah, that’s it. The three compete in a battle to the death, or “shuffleboard” as the geriatrics call it. Sadly, Julie just can’t slide the disk across the board, so puck it, she’s the newest addition to the jury.

Andrea feels some guilt for breaking Matt’s spirit “on a human level, not on a game level” (thanks for the clarification), which causes her Ometepe buddies to question her loyalty in the event Matt comes back from Redemption Island. With that in mind, the cast heads to a log roll competition for the immunity challenge and reward–chocolate cake and ice-cold milk. After two nail-biting rounds of the castaways tap dancing on a log, Grant Mattos and Ralph are left to vie for immunity. Grant wins, inviting Boston Rob to sit next to him in the cafeteria and braid his hair join him for cake. He also shares his loot with Andrea in hopes of making her feel secure before her tribe turns against her and throws her under the bus.

Jeff Probst gives the remaining group a “mystery package” which is a twist that will be revealed at Tribal Council. I can’t help but wonder if Jeff didn’t just wrap up a brick to mess with these folks. Steve tries to get the Ometepe girls to join him and Ralph in their attempt to vote off Boston Rob. Ralph, through the magic of subtitles, believes he will be voted off. (I LOVE him. Being from the South, I sometimes wish I had someone translating for me a good bit of the time.) Smart cookie, that Ralph.

At Tribal Council, Ralph is voted off to no one’s surprise. However, the “mystery package” is opened and (HOLY TWIST!!) there will be an immediate immunity challenge followed by another vote, giving the crew no time to discuss alliances. This must have been the retirement home episode, because after the riveting game of shuffle board, this immunity challenge is basically a dumbed down “Simon Says” with camping images printed on tiles. Boston Rob wins immunity, and the lone Zapatera Steve goes to join Ralph on Redemption Island.

I highly doubt veteran Boston Rob will be going anywhere anytime soon. I mean, if so, who will be around to pull the strings of his tribe members? Not everyone can form a clique as easily as a 10th grade mean girl, so I have to give Rob major props. And in the event he is voted off soon? Fear not, folks…he’s covered.

After four seasons of Survivor and two seasons of Amazing Race (with wife and fellow Survivor winner Amber), Rob is teaming up with monster truck guru Dennis Anderson. People.com reports that the two “will challenge each other to circumnavigate the globe using 80 different methods of transportation with the caveat that each cannot repeat any way twice” in the History Channel’s new series, Around the World in 80 Ways. Rob cites his time on Amazing Race as fueling his love of travel. The appeal of this show, however, takes a unique approach. Rob reveals, “Around the World in 80 Ways is completely different from anything I’ve done before in that this show will be a celebration of transportation throughout history.” While Rob admits he will miss his wife and young daughters (and hopes that none of the modes of travel will cause claustrophobia), he is very excited to begin this new adventure. I wonder what kind of strings he’ll be pulling then…

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT’S SURVIVOR & THE RECAP? ARE ROB’S MINIONS THE WORST PLAYERS TO PLAY THE GAME?

Despite being a strong competitor, Stephanie Valencia found herself eliminated on Survivor: Redemption Island after making the fatal error of teaming up with Russell Hantz.

In a new interview with PEOPLE, the 25-year-old waitress discusses why she chose to align with known villain Russell and stay loyal to him, plus the reason she let it all out when leaving Redemption Island. Excerpts are below -

Did you know aligning with Russell would put you on the wrong side of the numbers?
I had no idea the sheer panic that his presence brought to the other tribe mates. I didn’t understand it. I mean, I know he had this reputation, but if we had kept winning we wouldn’t have had to worry about it. Then we get to the merge and you can get rid of him if you really can’t stand him.

You could have jumped ship when you knew Russell was going down.
I didn’t want to come off fake. I didn’t want to be like, “Everything’s fine.” My feelings were hurt. He was part of my alliance and now I have to try and be two-faced with these people and say, “I’m glad we got rid of Russell! Things are better around camp.” I just couldn’t do that. I thought maybe they would respect my loyalty.

You definitely made all your feelings known when leaving Redemption Island.
I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to cry. But I couldn’t hold it back, and I was like, “Well, I’m already crying, let me say everything that’s on my mind.” I felt so much better after letting Rob know that [Zapatera] can’t be trusted. I don’t want them to succeed. When I take losses in real life, I feel like I’m a lot more graceful. But this isn’t real life – it’s a game.

A new episode of Survivor airs tonight on CBS at 8/7c during which the tribes will be merged, and someone from Redemption Island will get to return to the game! It seems like the decision by the Zapateras to chose strength over loyalty (David over Sarita) right before the merge might come back to hunt them.

TELL US – DID THE ZAPATERA TRIBE MAKE AN ERROR BY CHOOSING DAVID OVER SARITA? ROOTING FOR MATT TO COME BACK INTO THE GAME?

The latest episode of Survivor did not disappoint as Russell Hantz was voted off the show for the first time ever.

It seems Russell’s Zapatera tribe members had watched the show one too many times as they were on to Russell from day one. In fact, the six-member majority alliance proceeded to throw the immunity/reward challenge last night, snapping their 2-game winning streak, just to get rid of Russell, whom they referred to as the extra fat that needed to be trimmed off.

Russell‘s ultimate demise was probably the fact that he could not get his hands on the hidden immunity idols — something that has helped him tremendously on his two previous seasons of the show.

By the time Russell realized the other 6-member alliance wanted him off the team, it was already too late to save himself though that did not stop him from trying a last minute ditch effort to sway Julie‘s vote. Julie convinced him she was on his side, but ended up staying loyal to her alliance.

The result of the tribal council was a rare three-way tie, orchestrated by ex-NFL player Steve, who is arguably the leader the six-member majority alliance of the Zapatera tribe. And despite Stephanie‘s redonkulous ramblings, the end result was a re-vote that sent Russell home.

Even better was the fact that Russell’s alliance members lied to him about Matt (“the blonde guy”) losing the Redemption Island duel to Francesca (“the black chick”). Russell was surprised to see Matt upon arriving to the Redemption Island.

This however doesn’t necessarily mark the end for Russell as he still has a chance – albeit a very very long shot – to get back into the game. Francesca on the other hand is off the show for good after losing the duel to Matt.

Meanwhile, Rob continues to rule his Ometepe tribe as well as his groupie alliance. Safe to assume Rob will not be suffering Russell’s fate anytime soon.

TELL US – WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT’S SURVIVOR & ON RUSSELL BEING VOTED OFF?

If you have yet to watch the premiere episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, please feel free to stop reading this while also heading right over to the CBS website to catch this episode. Yes, it was that good!

And for those who viewed the debut last night, you might be willing to attest that the tribal council was without a doubt the wackiest ever, and also one of the best ever.

The episode began with show host Jeff Probst introducing the returning all stars Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz to the two different tribes. Rob’s tribe seems happy and eager to have him on their team, while Russell’s tribe is willing to make do with the hand they have been dealt. Francesca makes a critical error at this point in the game when she opens up her mouth and states, “They’re troublemakers. I don’t think they’re here just to help us out.” Bad move Francesca, bad move. With those words, Francesca immediately put a target on herself.

Despite giving his Zapatera tribe a sweet speech about being a changed man, we immediately see Russell is back to his old tricks as he singles out the young Stephanie to be his new Parvati. The men in Russell’s tribe however are not so impressed and are already on to him, planning to vote him out the first chance they get.

Things take a more entertaining turn on Rob’s Ometepe tribe as his groupies… oops, most of his female tribe members seem to swoon over him, make googly eyes at him, and are eager to join his alliance. Let’s all hope Amber has nothing to worry about. One person not too willing is Kristina who immediately goes looking for an idol clue. Rob is on to Kristina, who is aware Rob is on to her and now realizes she poses a threat to Rob.

Meanwhile, “federal agent” Phillip, who for some reason has decided his saggy red briefs is the way to the $1 million prize, decides to pull the women together and let them in on a little secret. He used to be a “federal agent” yall!, as the ladies pretend to be impressed. Phillip also makes certain to put a target on his back by criticising the others and pointing out all that they are doing wrong. Francesca and Kristina both seem the most irritated with Phillip and his know-it-all condescending attitude, but the two ladies made a fatal Survivor error when they decide to form an alliance with an unstable game player. This brings their alliance to three versus Rob’s six member alliance.

This makes way for an epic tribal council as Phillip just flies off the handle for some unknown and unprovoked reason, proceeding to out his alliance while also revealing Kristina’s immunity idol. Phillip however makes certain to let us know he is not unstable, and what better way to prove that than by mispronouncing Francesca’s name a number of times. Who knew Francesca was so hard to pronounce?

Kristina takes a great risk by not using her idol and Francesca is the tribe’s first causality as she is voted off to the Redemption Island. Great episode overall. Would like to see Francesca return to the game as she appears to be a strong player. Those chances are however very slim. Pretty gutsy move by Kristina to not play her idol but her days on the tribe are numbered. She is that player who played way too hard, way too quickly. It will be interesting to see if Russell’s tribe does get rid of him quickly or allow him to make it far in the game.

Meanwhile, in other Survivor news, Russell Hantz is now denying the allegations that he leaked out Survivor spoilers for the two previous seasons he was on. “The problem is with me, I am that villain and people take shots at me. Even though it’s not really who I really am in real life. So, you know, all I can say is it’s 100 percent false. It’s hard for me to sit there and take it, but I don’t give it any credit whatsoever,” said Russell on CBS The Early Show this week.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EPISODE ONE OF SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND? THOUGHTS ON THE CAST AND THE TRIBAL COUNCIL? SHOULD THE TRIBES VOTE OFF RUSSELL & ROB?

Just a few weeks following the finale of season 21, CBS is now unveiling the cast of the all new 22nd season of Survivor: Redemption Island, which will reportedly include two former all-stars.

The battle begins this season in Nicaragua where the 18 castaways will be divided into two Tribes of nine: the Ometepe Tribe and the Zapatera Tribe. The tribes are comprised of individuals from all different backgrounds with the same ultimate goal: to be the Sole Survivor. While 16 of the contestants are new to the competition, two are former castaways who will be given another chance to compete for the million dollar prize and one last shot at redemption.

CBS has released the names of 16 out of the 18 castaways with the promise to reveal the final 2 contestants at the end of this week. It is heavily rumored that those two remaining contestants are none other than rivals Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano. Their return would definitely make for an interesting season.

As we have previously reported, this season of Survivor will be a bit different thanks to some new rules. In fact, host Jeff Probst explained the rule changes two weeks ago. The biggest change being that eliminated contestants do not leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home with the duel winner going on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will get a chance to return to the game. The other rule change is that producers will get to decide whether or not people who quit the game during the jury stage will get to stay and vote for a winner.

The new season of Survivor premieres February 16 at 8/7c on CBS. The cast photos and bios below -

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UPDATE – CBS has now confirmed that the remaining two castaways are returning vets Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz.

“Having never been awarded the title of Sole Survivor, Hantz and Mariano return to compete for the $1 million prize and one last shot at redemption,” CBS said in a statement. “They will each join a separate tribe of all new castaways at the start of the game, but it is the tribe who will ultimately decide if they will welcome the knowledge of an experienced veteran, or view these former castaways as a threat.”

During the reunion show of Survivor:Nicaragua, we learned that the upcoming season of the show would be bringing us some new rules!

In a new interview, host Jeff Probst discusses the new format and rules. The most notable change on the upcoming Survivor: Redemption Island, which premieres Feb. 16 on CBS, is that when a contestant is voted off, he or she won’t leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home and the duel winner goes on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will then get a chance to return to the game.

“We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts,” Jeff explains. “It didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw – we didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen … So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front [now]. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity.”

And thanks to the two infamous quitters, NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn, being allowed to quit the game and remain on the jury, much to the fury of fans, the show has now implemented new rules regarding quitters. From the new season on, producers will have total discretion on whether to keep quitters on the show or leave them off the jury. “The most frustrating part for me was that both of them, due to a precedent we already set on the show, were allowed to stay on the jury and have an influence at the end of the game,” Jeff tells PEOPLE.

In other Survivor news, Matthew “Sash” Lenahan found himself in the same position as popular villain Russell Hantz during the finale show. Despite playing a pretty good game, Sash ended up not only losing the game, but receiving zero votes from his jury peers as he simply ruffled too many feathers. In an interview with TV Guide, Sash discusses not receiving any votes and who surprised him the most on the jury. Excerpts below -

TVGuide.com: Why do you think you didn’t receive a single vote from the jury?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
It’s rough. I think I played a great game on the show. I don’t regret anything. I think I made the best move every step of the way, and I did the best that I could. I can’t control how the jury is going to vote. I did think that I had a shot tonight, but I think the jury voted a lot based on emotion and previous relationships, and not necessarily based on the way I played, which is how I would have based my vote. I just thought some of the members of the jury would have respected the game more.

But saying that, Fabio is a great winner. I am a super fan of the show, I’ve watched all 10 years and 20 seasons, and no one has ever played like Fabio has. I thought I knew all the twists and all the turns and all the angles, but he played a way I’ve never seen, so he’s very deserving.

TVGuide.com: Was there anyone on the jury whose comments surprised you the most?
Sash:
It really surprises me because this is a game. There are some people, Jane in particular, who tried to hit below the belt. You saw with me, the comments she made about my mother, the comments she made about Marty and his kids. It’s a game. I had my game face on, but I love everyone. I don’t hold any grudges. I know that they are all amazing people, but it’s a shame when you see people take it to a level that’s unnecessary.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES? DO YOU THINK SASH SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN SOME VOTES? DID JANE TAKE THINGS TOO PERSONAL?

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