Pre-credit sequence. Team Rob returns to camp. The rain is pouring down. Phillip is unsurprised that he received three votes at the previous Tribal Council. He knows he’s the odd man out and he knows that Boston Rob is running the show. He’s certain, though, that he brings a lot to the Tribe. For tonight, what he’s bringing to the table is warmth, specifically cuddling with Rob. The next morning, Rob is displeased with Phillip’s bedtime etiquette. Ashley and Adorable Andrea are displeased with Phillip performing lunges in his increasingly ratty fuchsia undies. “As long as Phillip is aggravating everybody so much, it takes all the heat off of me. So in a way, maybe he needs to stay,” Rob rationalizes correctly.
Full recap of Wednesday’s (March 16) “Survivor” after the break…]
We are family. Even all the people we hate. Everything is going swimmingly for Team Formerly Russell. They’re just out in the water fishing and being a happy clan. Steve is confident that he has a solid six-person alliance and he’s even prepared to be nice to Stephanie and Krista. Steve looks like the former NFL player he is, sounds like a bit of a stoner, but he’s not stupid and he’s planning for a merge and he doesn’t want Stephanie and Krista bolting immediately. Tree-mail says that it’s time to pick people to go to the Duel. Team Formerly Russell has some ridiculous system that leads to Stephanie and Krista heading to Redemption Island together. Julie doesn’t care, calling the two girls pawns. But little does Julie know that Stephanie and Krista are hoping to use this as an opportunity to let Rob know that they’re now a harem without a sultan and they’d “cause havoc” with him any day. Kinky. And conveniently, Team Rob sent Rob and Bodyguard Grant. Will Stephanie bat her eyelashes at Rob in Morse Code?
A Duel and an Indecent Proposal. It’s Duel Time! Matt vs. Kristina. The task is to collect puzzle pieces and turn them into a 3X3 cube. The first part of the task involves carrying the heavy pieces, which gives Matt a quick advantage. It looks like this is going to be a fast challenge, but Matt’s initial construction is wrong and he has to start over. Mid-building, Matt has a bone to pick. “You rascal,” he says to Rob, using the most damning swear word he knows. “Voted me out for no reason. I still don’t know why…” Jeff Probst is willing to play, asking Rob comment. “It doesn’t take one person to vote someone out, Jeff. You know that,” Rob responds with a smirk. While this discussion is going on, Kristina’s puzzle goes array and Matt instantly gets his right. With a big smile, Boston Rob gives Matt a thumbs up. A gracious Matt says that he always wanted to go to the Final Three with Rob and Grant and that he just wants the chance to rejoin his tribe. Stephanie sees her window! “I kinda like that he says he would stick to his tribe. I wish I felt the same he did,” Stephanie says coyly. “I think Yellow might look good on me,” Stephanie flirts. Oh, she so totally wants to “merge” with Rob. “It doesn’t hurt if she’s telling the truth,” acknowledges Boston Rob. Meanwhile, Kristina torches her buff and I’ll have to figure out something to talk to her about tomorrow morning. “I didn’t even plant a seed in Rob’s head. It’s more like I took a sequoia tree and just put it in his brain,” Stephanie giggles. She’s awesome. I hope she sticks around, because I get the feeling she’d be like a feral wolverine if she ever got loose.
In which three ladies bathe together in bikinis and other stuff may or may not happen. Ashley and Natalie are tired of rice. It’s not an interesting conversation. Phillip watches and listens and laments that he can’t make an impression. “These girls, to be honest, remind me of crabs… Particularly Natalie and Ashley. I have a very difficult time trying to approach them. They’re quick to move away,” Phillip says, as he wanders through the woods spearing crustacean versions of Natalie and Ashley. Phillip is having a bit more success with Adorable Andrea, who also is apparently on the outs with The Crabs. “They just don’t do that much,” says Adorable Andrea, who is working hard as The Crabs plan a beach day. IRRELEVANT BIKINI WASHING FOOTAGE. Adorable Andrea isn’t into the superficial conversations favored by The Crabs. She’s more into making fire and collecting wood. Andrea would boil The Crabs if she could, but she doesn’t know how to bring it up. But Phillip does, calling Andrea the tribe’s best “female-worker,” a designation she strangely doesn’t find condescending. Phillip and Andrea have a sad coversation about how he has nobody to cuddle with. In the process, he throws out the possibility of voting Rob out and aligning with Matt and Andrea later. “The King is a dictator and I’m a Lord and I’m waiting for my opportunity to replace the King,” Phillip says.
Double digest. Betty and Veronica trudge back to Camp Formerly Russell complaining. They’re sure they made a bond with Rob and they also know that Rob is going to need their two votes when they Merge. The only key? Their tribe has to keep winning. “My head’s on the chopping block and I don’t want my head to go a-rolling,” Stephanie says. Krista nods. Because Krista has nothing to add to anything.
Karma rears its purely edited head. Steve is muttering about the importance of being a team player. He’s just rambling along with cliches about how there’s no “I” in team and whatnot. Krista does have an opinion! And that opinion is that nobody is playing with any strategy anymore and that they’re all much too self-satisfied over at Team Formerly Russell. “I know that they’re definitely conspiring together,” says Marine Mike of Betty and Veronica. They agree that this challenge is one they won’t throw. “I feel like the tribe is a little over-confident right now,” says Julie, still worrying that they may still suffer challenge-throwing karma, even though they won their last challenge. Is it Bad Karma that causes Marine Mike to accidentally douse the fire with water?
Boston Rob is good at puzzles, and other shocking revelations. Immunity Challenge time. It’s one of those Caller/Blindfold challenges, featuring an obstacle course to pick up puzzle pieces, pieces that spell out a phrase. They’re also playing for Reward, in this case a big pile of donuts, plus coffee-fixings. Stephanie is Team Formerly Russell’s choice as Caller, which pisses Dave off. For Team Rob? This one’s a no-brainer. Since the caller is also the puzzle-maker, it’s Boston Rob steering his team. Stephanie doesn’t seem bad at what she’s doing, but she’s yelling at few people who, like Ralph, who would have difficulty navigating with their eyes open and a AAA map in hand. Team Rob has a huge lead to the puzzle, as Ralph keeps bumping into walls. But Boston Rob accidentally knocks a puzzle piece off his table and doesn’t notice. Stephanie catches up, though Rob’s confusion at the dropped piece is short. Rob catches up and finishes the puzzle. Team Formerly Russell comes to the unanimous agreement that Dave should have done the puzzle instead of Stephanie. Julie figures they lost the challenge, but they’ll be OK, since either Krista or Stephanie is going home.
Time to eat the donuts. Birds eat carrion. Insects eat leaves. And Team Rob eats donuts. The expressions on their faces are verging on orgasmic. Phillip is so happy he’s dancing. There are huge smiles all around. “You get to see my beautiful whites more often,” says Phillip, who’s volunteering to trade a half-a-donut in exchange for a massage. Nobody’s buying. As he’s inhaling the coffee, Grant notices an Immunity Idol clue and as soon as he notices, that means Rob notices as well. Ever vigilant, Rob is. With Grant providing a distraction, Rob escapes with the coffee jar and makes off with the clue. Isn’t it time for Rob to tell Grant he already *found* the Idol? Heck no. Rob doesn’t play that way. He sneaks off and swaps the new, more in-depth, clue for the first clue that only he found. Rob figures there’s no chance that Grant will find the Idol based on this first clue. Is this all needlessly confusing subterfuge? Well, yes. And don’t think Rob doesn’t know it. “This is really all for nothing, because I already have the Immunity Idol, but this is fun for me. I have to entertain myself somehow. I had to hustle. You’ve gotta hustle if you wanna make a dollar,” Rob cracks. Awesomesauce.
First thing we do, let’s annoy all the lawyers. Team Formerly Russell stands on the beach and everybody rants about the decision to have Stephanie do the puzzle instead of David. Here, Sarita suggests that Dave isn’t so good under pressure. This is something we’ve seen no evidence of, but also something that Russell hinted at when we talked last week. Suddenly Dave’s temper comes out. “There’s no butts. I’m the only one doing puzzles from here out,” Dave announces. Steve is disappointed that the team didn’t insist on Dave doing the puzzle, while Marine Mike agrees that this was a problem of personnel. There’s some debate on whether Betty or Veronica should go out first. Julie has faith in that Stephanie can be saved, while Sarita and Mike think Stephanie is the bigger threat. But there’s a twist there: Sarita would actually prefer to get rid of Dave first, because she’s apparently got issues with lawyers. Krista figures there’s no point in scrambling, which is odd because she’s criticizing everybody else for not playing the game. Will Stephanie scramble? Not that we see. That’s a bit odd. There’s a lot of weird editing in this episode. Dave suddenly has a temper? Steve suddenly is a physical liability? Stephanie is seemingly prepared to go down without a fight?
Tribal Council. The first question is the Krista about the tribal split. She agrees that there’s still a division and, again, laments the lack of gameplay. “It’s like the Brady Bunch has gone camping and they’ve invited the two neglected step-children to come along,” Krista says. Sarita swears that they’ve been playing hard and Marine Mike says that Krista has been abrasive and hasn’t played any kind of strategic game herself. Krista goes through the tribe’s various sub-alliances. Steve-and-Mike-and-kinda-Julie. Sarita-and-Ralph. Krista tries saying that she and Stephanie could be valuable in an alliance. Stephanie says that she hopes that her prior record will keep her around, but that she and Krista still have Redemption Island as hope and salvation.
The Vote. We don’t see anybody’s vote. That’s a wee bit strange. Time to read the votes, then: Steve. Steve. Krista. Krista. Krista. Krista. Krista. So Krista is headed to Redemption Island.
Bottom Line: What a weirdly anti-climactic episode. I don’t know why Krista was the tribe’s target and the episode didn’t give me any reason to care. I’m glad that Stephanie’s the one sticking around, but otherwise? Meh. That was not a very engaging last 20 minutes. The rest of the episode was quite good. Stephanie propositioning Boston Rob? Boston Rob playing pointless Idol games just to keep himself amused? Phillip trying desperately to bond with Adorable Andrea? There were many good things in the episode.The ending, however, was a major dud and left me with little to discuss.
Did you find enough to enjoy in the episode’s first half to make up for the dud of a conclusion?