Survivor Redemption Island Episode 2 blog 2/23/11
FRANCESCA ARRIVES AT REDEMPTION ISLAND
Here’s the truth about Redemption Island. It’s hard. You are alone. You have flint. You have a bit of a shelter that is full of leaks. You have a handful of rice. Let that sink in. It’s not much. Never forget that in a world of “loosely scripted” reality shows, Survivor is still the real deal. Survivor will kick your ass. Redemption Island could bury you.
I do believe that for the moment Francesca really does prefer Redemption Island, but if she lasts long that will change. She will get lonely and exhausted.
BACK AT THE OMETEPE CAMP
I love how confident Rob is at this point in the game. Rob only knows one way to play and that is full out, aka “all in.”
Remember, back in Heroes v Villains, Rob had a great plan at Tribal Council and it would have given him control of the game. But Tyson momentarily lost his mind and blew it by voting the wrong way and Rob went home. Rob is determined to not make that mistake again. He keeps reminding everybody in his alliance – if we stick together, we’ll be okay… but tonight showed once again how difficult it is to keep your alliance together.
How hard can it be to keep your alliance together? It sounds so simple until you factor in that there is only ONE winner. That means everybody in your alliance has their own motive and their own plan for getting to the end. It’s incredibly complicated and that’s why alliance almost always break down. It’s part of the design of the game. The question is when to leave your alliance. You want to leave it before it leaves you.
As you saw from last night’s episode even with an experienced player like Rob – what was true at sunrise is not always true at sunset. You have to adapt. Rob adapted and now Matt, one of his original six, is gone.
PHILIP GOES PRIMAL
This is why I love this guy. He is everything and I mean everything you could ever ask for from a Survivor contestant. He is so damn sincere, so earnest. I truly can’t get enough. I know a lot of you already hate him, save it for the comment section. I’m in Camp Phillip.
Philip is a real life version of “Del, the shower curtain ring guy” that John Candy played in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. Del is an overweight, loud mouthed, slightly inappropriate salesman that Steve Martin meets while both are stuck trying to get home during a snow storm. The entire time you’re watching the movie, you can see why Del drives Steve Martin nuts. He’s friggin annoying as hell! Del even says at one point, “I know I’m a easy target… but you know what? I like me… and my friends like me.”
By the end of the movie, you not only like Del, you are rooting for Steve Martin to see what you see – that Del is a really good person. He’s just different, that’s all.
That’s how I feel about Philip. Well at least the easy target part! And yes the comparison is already being made. Philip and Coach are clearly brothers from another… …they’re equally awesome.
When Philip was using his homemade spear to hunt for crab, his tribe was making fun of him. I get it. It was a funny moment, especially Matt impersonating the late, great Steve Irwin. (The scene went on much longer but had to be cut for time.) I laughed hard when I saw it the first time. But when I listened to Philips interview I found myself truly moved. I’m not kidding. I listened to the sincerity with which he talked about his patriotism and I was touched.
In Philips world, the hunting for crab was all about trying to provide for his tribe by channeling his inner primal self. His celebration when he finally snagged a crab by throwing a rock, was priceless. “Killed with a stone, baby!”
OVER AT ZAPATERA
Ralph is another one-of-a-kind. It’s not just the man sweater, it’s his whole personae. Ralph and Philip and Rob and Russell – it’s guys like this that have kept Survivor on the air for so long. You may love to hate them but without them Survivor would be boring.
I think I said it last week, but the reason this season is going to be so stellar is that the rest of the contestants are equally great. I’m focusing a lot on Rob and Ralph and Philip right now but it’s only week two! You will see as the weeks unfold, we have some great people with big opinions who all want to win this game. I am so jazzed that we are only in week two!
RALPH FINDS THE IDOL
Was there a more unlikely guy in the world? He wasn’t even looking for it!
Ralph: “That was as easy as wiping your hiney with toilet paper!”
It’s not half as funny when I write it as it is when Ralph says it.
Ralph does bring up a good question re the idols. If the idols are so easy to find that even a self-proclaimed dumb ass (Ralphs words, not mine) can find it, can it really be that difficult? Maybe Russell isn’t such an idol finding genius. Maybe we just needed a dumbass to show prove it.
Either way – Ralph has some major power. The big question is does he realize it? It’s not yet clear if Ralph knows exactly how best to use the idol It could be a bit of a waste – kinda like giving a Ferrari to someone who doesn’t like to drive fast. Time will tell if Ralph can handle the power of the idol or not.
IDOL PLAY IN GENERAL
It’s probably time for us to really switch up how we deal with idols and where we hide them. If you have an idea, please send it to me at www.jeffprobst.com
under the “Ask Jeff A Question” category. Who knows you may end up having some influence on our game! No, I’m not paying for your idea. But if it’s good, I’ll certainly take credit for it and we might just take it and use it on the show! Welcome to Hollywood, baby!
MATT & ANDREA
Matt never saw it coming. How could he? He was smitten. He was thinking about a first kiss and Rob was thinking about another blindside. Think of Rob as the Godfather. The moment he saw that relationship forming he knew it was a problem.
As he referenced during the show, Rob made an alliance in Survivor: All-Stars with Amber and they rode it to the end. He then married her. They had a baby. And then another. So Rob knows that you can fall into an alliance that will extend beyond the game and that could spell disaster for Rob.
Side bar – Natalie is a very interesting contestant to watch this season. She is so young at only 18 years old (which means she was seven years old when we started! Seven!) but she seems to have a really great head on her shoulders. That’s the reason we put her on the show. She really impressed us during the casting process.
When I took the immunity idol from Ralph, he said, “I’ll get it back.” This kind of trash talking goes on a lot at challenges, but we only include it when there is a good story that comes as a result. Once again Philip provides the story:
Philip: I will outlast ANY man over there.
Jeff: What about the women?
Philip: That’s another day. We’ll see.
I am once again reminded of what I used to say about Coach – Who writes this stuff?!
Nicaragua didn’t provide a lot of water options for challenges because of the dangerous tides, so we built our own “swimming pool” which we have used for a few different challenges. The immunity challenge was a modified version of a challenge we have done a few times over the years and it works every time. It’s so much fun to do this challenge as a contestant and so much fun to watch.
One thing that emerged from the challenge – Grant is one helluva athlete. Ashlee is another one. I love contestants that go all out or as I mentioned earlier “all in.” I have a buddy whose nickname is “All In Jim” because he only knows one speed – all in. Contestants that go “all in” on Survivor are almost always memorable.
I’m a bit surprised that Ometepe is not doing better in challenges. They have a good group of people, but Zapatera really works well together. Very calm.
AFTER THE CHALLENGE
Immediately after the challenge ended, Matt walked over and shook hands with some of the Zapatera tribes. As much as I try to prevent this – typically by yelling something very witty such as: “Hey get outta there!” – it still happens. We don’t usually show it, unless… there is a story attached. This time there was… a big story.
That attempt at good sportsmanship really got to Rob. He’s no dummy. Those little “friendly” moments can often be the difference when it comes to a merge or even the final tribal council. Acts of kindness are so rare that when you do one it can have a real impact. Rob knows that Matt is a good kid and seeing him playing up the other tribe – worried him. When the Godfather gets worried, somebody is gonna end up with a horse head in their bed. Russell is much the same way. They both make BIG moves with one goal – get to the end.
AFTER THE CHALLENGE
You could really feel the air begin to let out of the Ometepe tribe. Back to back losses. Not a great way to start. Rob knows his tribe is in trouble. It’s one thing to be in a tight alliance and feel safe, but if you’re losing immunity challenges, that safety is only temporary as you will soon run out of numbers and it will be you who is going home.
It’s why it’s so important to win challenges. If you avoid tribal council you keep your tribe strong. When you go to tribal council, you rarely come out betber as a result. Ometepe has got to start winning or the morale will continue to drop.
THE HIDDEN IMMUNITY IDOL CLUE
This is a first. Russell is not in control. In fact, the joke is on Russell. I’m guessing that most of you love seeing Russell not in control. He has a clue to the idol but doesn’t yet know that Ralph already has the idol. He’s wasting his time.
For me though, the most interesting aspect of this moment was Mike’s comment about Russell:
Mike: “He’s the most untrustworthy person in this game.”
This comment came as Russell was sharing the clue with the two girls in his alliance, Stephenie and Krista. If you think about it, Russell is no less trustworthy than anyone else. He’s playing Survivor. He has an alliance and he immediately shared the clue with them. From their point of view, Russell is completely trustworthy.
Mike: If we’re in this together, then show me the clue.”
You’re not in this together Mike. You’re in a different alliance. Would you show Russell the clue?
It’s an interesting thing that often happens on Survivor. You justify your ethics. It’s okay when YOU lie because you’re playing the game. When someone ELSE lies, they’re a scumbag.
If Mike thinks he can survive this game without lying to someone… he is in for a shock. Lying is okay on Survivor. It’s called “outwit” and it’s a huge part of the game.
I’m not saying this because I love Russell, or don’t like Mike. I happen to think Mike is a great addition to this season. I’m saying it because it’s fascinating what is happening on Zapatera. So much energy is focused on Russell that there is a huge blind spot on their tribe and somebody is going to notice and take advantage of it. Zapatera is winning… but they are at risk at putting the cart ahead of the horse.
I have been waiting for this moment. Ralph v Russell. They met in the forest. The human sweater and the angry gnome.
Ralph: Russell there wasn’t no hidden clue in there was there? You didn’t win it. We all won it.
Russell: Calm down guys. This is how the game is played. You’re either with me or against me.
Ah Russell, he hasn’t changed a bit.
Russell: (to Ralph) I don’t like how you’re coming at me.
Ralph is really growing on me. He’s not quite comfortable talking to the camera yet. You can seem him a bit uncertain whether to walk away or keep talking but I like him. He’s certainly entertaining.
LUXURY ITEMS ON REDEMPTION ISLAND
We decided to give them their luxury items because quite honestly we were afraid they might lose their minds without something to help pass the time or remind them of home. Luxury items don’t really make their stay any easier but emotionally I think it brings some sense of peace.
HEADING TO TRIBAL
I’m not going to say anything about Philip saying “gallantry.”
But once again the gold star of the episode does go to… Philip. He is two for two. The explanation of his two tattoos was so good I had to watch it three times. Philip does not mess around. You can question a lot of things about Philip, but the man commits. Ink is forever. And not just one, but two tattoos. A gorilla and a lion. His explanation of their respective power and possible showdown left me a bit confused but damn I loved it. I want to put it on a t-shirt and sell it.
Rob played tribal about as well as it can be played. A work of art. Rob’s experience is really paying off right now. He lied to Matt and Andrea, got Kristina to play the idol, kept Philip in check, dictated how Phillip should vote and got rid of Matt. Wow. That was pretty amazing.
At this point, Rob is in control of his tribe. His problem is going to be staying in control of the tribe. At some point somebody on his tribe is going to say “enough already.” Andrea could be his biggest threat if she decides to go for revenge.
The rain at tribal came out of nowhere. It’s going to happen a lot this season. Thankfully tribal is covered otherwise they would have been drenched. The rain was, as Matt said, literally blowing sideways. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE it when it rains. The harder the better.
MATT IS SHOCKED
Yes those reactions were real. Yes, Andrea was ready to cry. Yes, Matt was completely shocked. Stunned. Think about it, you are a big competitor like Matt and you have just started the game. You’re only a couple of weeks into the experience. You idolize and trust Rob, you think you’re safe and wham… before you know it you’re on a boat heading to Redemption Island. It was a shocking vote. Only time will tell if it was the right move. Rob either cemented himself firmly in control or just hung his own noose.
Our first duel. Matt vs Francesca at Redemption Island Arena. It’s gooooooood!http://www.jeffprobst.com/2011/02/24/survivor-redemption-island-episode-2-blog-22311/