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Survivor: ‘Cause He’s Mr. Blindside

What an episode! I always love the second episode of Survivor for a couple of reasons. First of all, the office pool is now in full swing. I got picked out of the hat late this year (twelfth of only sixteen names in the hat!) but I’m pretty happy with who I ended up with – Ashley. (On a side note, my mom – the ultimate Survivor fan – was picked out of the hat first, chose Andrea, and then spent the entire episode in fear that they’d vote her out for being in a showmance.) Second of all, by now we all know the players a little, and more importantly they know each other, so the strategy really begins.

After sending Francesca to Redemption Island, Boston Rob noted two things about his tribe. The first? That Phillip is totally batty. Just a really strange dude. “Let it be a lesson to you,” B. Rob told the camera. “Government jobs are stressful.” While I’m sure that is true, I am starting to wonder if Phillip actually was a federal agent. It seems more likely that he was just a really big fan of 24. Or can “federal agent” be defined as something other than a spy? Because as much as he fancies himself a gorilla, I don’t think I’d trust Phillip to watch my purse while I went to the washroom, let alone defend an entire country.

The other thing Boston Rob noted was that Andrea and Fabio 2.0 Matt were getting awfully cozy. As I mentioned, after this point my mom pretty much watched the show in agony, moaning that there was no way they’d keep Andrea over Religious Fabio Matt. I’m surprised Boston Rob made such a big deal over their friendship/showmance, though. While he does know better than anyone the power of a couple in this game, it’s still early. He’d have plenty of time to break them up after winning a couple challenges.

I was hoping Ometepe would lean more towards voting Phillip out should they go to Tribal Council, but unfortunately he made the (probably unintentionally) brilliant move of telling Rob “Until I go to Redemption, you own my vote.” Phillip had a long way to go in proving he’s not a loose cannon, though. The man was brought to tears over hunting crabs! Apparently it reminded him of defending his country. Man – if the USA’s still using spears and rocks to defend themselves, I just might think of staging a little invasion myself. Not to seize power, mind you – just to loot a few department stores and run back home to Canada.

Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

Just when it was starting to look like Ometepe had a patent on crazy, we caught a glimpse of Zapatera. Russell has assembled his alliance of bimbos – Stephanie and Krista – and in the process of preemptively bragging about how he was going to find the immunity idol without a clue when, dagnabbit, that hick Ralph stumbled upon it first!

I can’t tell you how happy it made me to hear Ralph say “That was as simple as wiping your hiney with toilet paper” of finding the idol without a clue. Let’s just make it extra clear – Russell’s claim to fame is that he can find immunity idols without clues. Two people found immunity idols without clues within the first four days or so of Survivor: Redemption Island and NEITHER of them were one Russell Hantz? That, my friends, is beautiful.

Smash Brothers

Immunity challenge time! It was super important for Rob’s team to win this one. I’ll list the reasons for you.

  1. They’re already down a person
  2. They’d begun with a disadvantage already – the other tribe had one more dude and Julie, who was bigger than any one girl on Ometepe
  3. My girl, Ashley, is on Rob’s team so I need that tribe to win lots 
  4. My mom’s girl, Andrea, looked to be in serious danger of getting voted out should they lose 

So as you can see, the stakes were high – especially in my household. I liked the challenge – the first round of players had to swim a short distance, climb up onto a pedestal, jump to smash a tile, and swim back with the key that would release. Boston Rob’s team took the lead in this stage. (Sidenote: My first choice for the office pool was Grant, but he got picked before my turn came. Judging by his performance in the challenge and his friendship with Boston Rob, I still think he’s one to watch.)

Next, one player had to use the five keys to open three locks. This is where Ometepe fell behind, as Krista got the locks open faster than Natalie did, despite starting later. Then two players (but really one, since apparently girls can’t toss balls) had to tale the ball that was in the locked chest and use it to smash five more tiles. Here it got really interesting – Ralph immediately pulled ahead for Zapatera, and Phillip was blowing it for Ometepe. I was screaming “Stop! Stop! Let someone else have a turn, you tool!” but then he made a comeback! It wasn’t enough, though – Ralph smashed the last tile and won both immunity and fishing gear for the tribe.

Phillip, of course, took full responsibility for the loss. Really, you could have also blamed Natalie, but no one was going to point that out since Rob is grooming her to drag on his back to the finish. Plus, Rob had bigger fish to fry – how to break up Andrea and Matt.

Sportsmanship Sucks

If Boston Rob and his following had their hearts set on breaking up young love, then I thought the obvious choice would be Andrea. It’s not what I wanted, because of the office pool, but voting out a strong guy like Matt seemed like a ridiculous move. But I wasn’t counting on Rob’s anger over Matt shaking hands with the other tribe after losing the challenge.

“Matt’s shaking the opposition’s hand after we just lost a challenge,” B. Rob said incredulously. “Despicable.” I like Boston Rob, but I’ve got to disagree with him there. What’s wrong with that? Every sports team does it, don’t they? The only complaint I could have about Matt shaking the other tribe’s hands is that he was doing it to win favor with them, and that makes him dangerous.

Idol Inquiries

Since Russell is the (self-proclaimed, mind you) King of Idols, he knew the first clue for the hidden immunity idol would be hidden in the reward. FYI, Survivor producers? I hate this. The clue should not go to whoever happens to find it first. There should be some kind of talent or decision involved. Like let players choose to sit out of a challenge in order to see the clue, or abandon the challenge for a chance to go look for it. This is too easy.

Anyway, Russell found the clue but the others were onto him. Mike casually followed Russell and his bimbos to the well, but Ralph came right out and confronted him. This concerned me in two ways. First of all, why would Ralph cause so much friction with Russell over something he already possesses? Why get into an argument and give Russell the opportunity to make his typical “You’re either with me or against me” threats? Second of all, did Ralph move the idol? We saw him find it in the dead log. We saw him hide it in the same dead log. Any clue will lead someone straight to that dead log. He had the good sense to move it…right?  

Breaking Up (Votes) Is Hard To Do-oo

Over at Ometepe, Rob was orchestrating the vote. Once again they’d be splitting the votes, to ensure that Kristina would play her idol, but who else would they vote for? Phillip, for being a total nut job who apologized for letting his tribemates down after they performed so “gallantryly” in the challenge? Andrea, for making gooey eyes at Matt? Matt, for making gooey eyes at Andrea?

According to Rob, it was Matt who had to go. If you ask me, Rob fell into a classic Survivor error here – looking too far ahead in his strategy. He could see that Matt was a player, and therefore a threat. But he’s also a major asset right now, considering Ometepe is seriously weaker than Zapatera. Losing all the challenges and going into the merge with considerably less numbers than the other tribe will do no one any favors. The good news? It looks like Boston Rob’s core alliance is Natalie, Grant and Ashley, and that’s good for me.

How heartbreaking was it to hear Matt do a confessional video praising the Great Boston Rob while that very guy was orchestrating his ousting? The poor kid must have been crushed! Still, though, Rob’s plan depending on a lot of people doing what they were told, and we’ve seen how that can work out before. (coughtysoncoughcough!) Rob even went so far as to not tell Phillip who to vote for before they left, and instead told him he’d lay his hand on the shoulder of the person Phillip should vote for right before it was time to cast their votes. I didn’t agree with Rob’s decision this week, but the way he spoke to Phillip was pure artistry.

Animal Planet

Even without knowing the plan, Phillip managed to go on a crazy rant at Tribal Council. He showed off his tattoos to Probst, saying that anyone who attacks the USA gets a gorilla, and anyone who attacks his family gets a lion. Phillip also said he wouldn’t mind going to Redemption Island, because it would give him a chance to face his nemesis – no, not Osama bin Laden – Fransesqua…or whatever her name is. My question is, would he go gorilla or lion on her?

After everyone has laughed at Phillip, Rob places his hand on Kristina’s shoulder as his instruction for Phillip, and the crazyman follows through. Kristina plays her idol and Matt is left shell-shocked, having been blindsided by his hero. And Andrea? Well, it looks like she isn’t going to take this lightly. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what happens next week, especially since we’ll get to see our first duel. While the odds certainly look to be in Matt’s favor, the challenge could be anything so we’ll just have to wait and see.

What did you think of the episode? Are any of you in office pools? Who is your (real or imaginary) money riding on?


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