Survivor: Redemption Island (week eleven)

Survivor: Redemption Island

Matt is done. He is utterly spent. He hates this stupid island, and this stupid game, and these stupid people, and stupid Jeff Probst, and he just wants to go home. Except he keeps winning challenges, because God’s plan something something. I think we’re beyond the question of what God’s plan is for Matt on Survivor. The new question is: what is God punishing him for.

When asked by Probst, Matt gave the same answer most quitters give right before they throw in the towel: “I accomplished what I came here to do.” I’ve always found this answer hilarious. What has Matt accomplished? Or Naonka? Or Janu? Or Osten? Or any of the other quitters? When they were fillilng out their applications, meeting with Survivor recruiters, strapping themselves into the plane to god-knows-where… what were they thinking? “I sure hope I go out there, live on a beach for 20-some days, then get tired and leave. I really hope that’s what I accomplish.”

Is this sort of thinking acceptable in other areas of their lives? Say they set out to bake a cake. They pour the cake mix in a bowl, crack some eggs, measure out milk and water and oil. Then they get out their whisk and think, you know, that’s close enough. I don’t feel like finishing, but that’s okay, because I’m quite pleased with this bowl of lumpy eggwater. My kids would be proud of this. I have no regrets about embarking on this cake journey.

It’s a moot point; Matt didn’t quit. In fact, he won again, saving his place at Redemption Island, along with Mike, and sending Julie home for good. But man, he sure didn’t look happy about it.

Sidenote: when Probst was asking him about it, he said something about “your god”, instead of just “God”. I bet that lost some percentile of viewers in Biblebelt, Iowa.

I wasn’t impressed with Julie’s sob story, about how her house is in foreclosure and, golly, she sure could have used that money. Lady, everyone out there could use a million dollars. Appeals to who needs it most are useless; that’s not what the game is about. I seem to recall watching a player win like that before — which season was that? — and I had to go throw up afterwords. Farewell, broke-ass grandma.

So now it’s time for The Phillip Show! Starring Phillip as… Phillip!

Phillip’s storyline this week revolved around him asking his dead Cherokee grandfather to find his panties for him. Which he did! After kicking over six or seven or thirty-five rocks. Obviously, I don’t believe Phillip was channeling the spirit world. Being on Survivor means having a lot of empty time. Even Phillip couldn’t spend all day crying about rice and practicing his neck bob. When someone tells you, “Your panties are hidden under a rock,” and you have six hours of daylight to kill… well, how many rocks can there really be out there? Of course Phillip took the whole thing as Divine Inspiration (or whatever), which re-affirmed (to him) his place in this game.

He’s like a cartoon character. I love it.

Grant won a log-rolling challenge, and picked Rob and Andrea to spend two minutes eating chocolate cake with him. Also at the challenge was a twist, wrapped and tied, to be revealed at tribal council. Nothing entertaining happened between the challenge and tribal council, so let’s jump to that now.

Probst finally got some people to start talking about Rob. Specifically, about Rob’s loyalty to his allies. They crawled all the way back to Survivor: All-Stars and dug up the Lex story, which was germaine to the current vote. The Lex Story is as follows:

In All-Stars (season eight), Boston Rob had an alliance with a mostly-boring but reasonably-cute girl named Amber, as well as with a scary mohawk guy named Lex. This was the first season where players entered the game already knowing each other, so there were new elements at play here; Rob and Amber were very clearly cuddle-buddies, whereas Rob and Lex were already good friends. At the time, the concept of metagaming (i.e., outside relationships influencing the game) was brand new. Most players were very careful not to weild that sword.

Then there was a tribal shuffle. Everyone drew buffs, but the tribes didn’t actually shuffle. Every player ended up on the same tribe they were already on, except for Amber, who switched from Rob’s tribe to Lex’s. This puts Amber into a seriously precarious situation. Just before the two tribes left the challenge field, Rob made an impassioned plea to Lex to please, please save her.

In season of Survivor up to that point, such a play would be impossible. Rob had never actually played on Lex’s tribe before. They did not come from the same season. The only way they knew each other was from events outside of the game world. This part is very important.

So Lex goes back to his tribe and advocates for Amber, sure as shit that his best buddy Rob will bring him into his alliance come the merge. Amber survives the vote, and Lex’s team sends off, I don’t know, Colby or someone instead. Next episode is the merge and now, as the underdog tribe’s alpha male, Lex finds himself on the chopping block. He tries to call in Rob’s favor, only to find there is no favor. Rob had never intended to keep his word, and Lex got cut. Rob later bragged about how well he’d snaked Lex.

Here’s how it relates to Redemption Island: everyone there knows what Rob is capable of, when it comes to allies. And everyone knows the Ometepe alliance is coming very close to that point where it has to start eating itself. The question on everyone’s mind is, and should be: am I the Lex? Or am I the Amber? Is Rob fixin’ to snake me? Or marry me?

In the end, everyone on Ometepe was confident they weren’t a Lex. Ralph was kicked off unanimously, followed immediately by Steve, who was ejected after a second vote. (The “twist” ended up being a surprise memory game challenge, which Steve sucked at.)

Zapatera is gone. Next episode we’ll find out who really is the Lex.

Perhaps more interestingly, we now have four dudes out at Redemption Island. It’s looking more and more as though there’s going to be one grand finale challenge where half the players are sent to the jury box, with a single player entering the game just in time for the final tribal. I have no problems with this set-up whatsoever… but I probably would if I were Boston Rob. His control of the game is slipping into territory he can’t control.

Who’s gonna win? Obviously, the ghost of Lex is appear riding Phillip’s grandfather, and hack everyone to death with a machete. That’s going to be so sweet.

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