Tonight Survivor: Redemption Island delivered another amazing hour of pure entertainment, proving that last week's extraordinary premiere was no fluke.
So is Phillip joining his enemy "Francesqua" on Redemption Island? Or will TV's most famous former federal agent continue to bring the crazy?
Read on to find out...
Surprise! Matt was blindsided tonight by Awesome Rob, which means First Name Special, Middle Name Agent, Last Name Sheppard will be around to delight us for at least a few more weeks!
Cock-a-Doodle-Doo: When I first heard Ralph crowing like a rooster, I thought he'd be headed back to the farm as fast as Steve "Chicken" Morris, Survivor: China's first castoff. Finding the Hidden Immunity Idol wasn't something to brag about—he discovered it while gathering rocks, after all—and he didn't. Unlike Kristina (and Russell himself in previous seasons), Ralph kept mum about his finding, proving he is a shrewd player. Was confronting Russell about snatching the clue the best move? He made a sure enemy of the wily villain—but at the same time, Mr. Man Sweater drew a line in the sand between Russell and his "
dumb two girls" alliance and the rest of the resentful tribe, which will play out next week. If he can avoid ruffling anyone else's feathers, my money's on Ralph to outlast Russell and go far in the game.
Easter Egg Hunt: What is the deal with the in-plain-sight Immunity Idols? I've had a harder time searching for colored eggs in my grandfather's backyard. Jeff Probst himself told me last year, "Russell impacted the game so much that we had to change how we do the Hidden Immunity Idol...we literally buried it in a place nobody will ever find it without clues. They can dig for months and won't find it. And that's all because of Russell." Is it "all because of Russell"—i.e., producers' attempts to ensure he gets immunity—that the contestants are tripping over the Idols this season? Even if Russell solves his controversial clue, it's useless now (except to his hiney). Over at Ometepe, will another Idol be "hidden" now that Kristina has redeemed hers? If so, there's a good chance Phillip will stumble across it during his next crab hunt—and promptly hand it over to Rob with a "You own my Idol" declaration.
Deep Thoughts by Special Agent Jack Handy: Poor Rob—first he's hugging it out with Coach in Heroes vs. Villains and now he's playing nursemaid to a fragile FFA (former federal agent). Despite Phillip's doggone-it-people-like-me self-affirmations ("I still love Phillip Sheppard—he's a good guy and that's OK"), he only really recovers himself when Rob tells him, "You're a smart guy." Aw. What a gallantry-ly thing to say, Gentleman Rob!
Atlas, Shrugged: Rob laments that his alliance with fangirl Natalie means "literally picking her up and putting her on my back and dragging her ass to the end," but he's already proven he can carry the world on his back: Rob took Amber to her All-Stars victory, and single-handedly led his Villains to important challenge victories. Which begs the question: Why did he let Phillip anchor tonight's challenge instead of smashing the tiles himself? Could Phillip be a worse swimmer than the dog-paddling Sarita? And if she thinks Sarita "sucks at life" (me-ouch), how would Stephanie rank Phillip? (At least he can skate backward.)
Hush Puppy: Instead of letting Andrea walk her puppy dog Matt "all over this island," Rob unleashed him to Redemption Island and a dogfight with Francesqua. This awkward pair and their upcoming deathmatch has zero appeal, but we'd love a front-row seat when the show's first major blindside—Matt was stunned—confronts and maybe rejoins his betrayers again.
The Tribe Has Spoken: The best quote of the night surprisingly didn't come from Phillip, but Rob was speaking of the "not all there" former federal agent when he warned, "Let it be a lesson to ya—government jobs: stressful!"
WHAT'S TO COME
The stress will be getting to poor abandoned Andrea, but Rob must have a plan to deal with her breakdown and the possible return of Matt, right? Here's hoping Zapatera loses a challenge and forces a crisis among its tribe. Will anyone really miss Russell if he gets the boot?