‘Survivor’ recap: Two steps forward, two steps back

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So … yeah. Once again, the takeaway from the newest “Survivor” wasn’t anything we didn’t see coming, but there was more for us to chew on with new notes, strategies and theories thrown out there. Kind of.

First, just like with “Big Brother” last summer, an alliance came out intact without anyone flipping. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is debatable. And second, after Ralph and Steve arrived at Redemption Island, Mike noted that the jury will be made up of mostly Zapatera tribe members that made it to the merge. That seemed unimportant at first, then made total sense.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s get to the run-through. Both the Murlonio tribe and those on RI got the equivalent of Oprah’s favorite things on “Survivor” — tree mail with Sprint on it. They watched videos of loved ones before the four-way duel (fouel? fuel?), and of course people got emotional (Natalie for the second time in the episode, after having “a moment” after last week’s tribal council). There was a twist, though, that wasn’t introduced until after Steve unsurprisingly placed last in another tile-breaking challenge and became the third member of the jury.

Mike broke all four of his tiles first, winning the chance to reunite with his mom. But Jeff Probst tells him he has options. He can have time with his mom, let his fellow RI inhabitants spend time with their loved ones, or let the Ometepe Six get to hang with theirs. As much as it shocked Probst, I figured Mike would share the love. He might’ve quoted scripture when giving the people who voted him out a great reward, but obviously he’s hoping the gesture will give them something to think about if he makes it all the way to the end. Fool, they backstabbed a member of their own tribe twice. They don’t care about you. Ralph rants for no real good reason about Mike’s decision, influenced by “the good Lord, or whatever.” Back at camp, though, everyone’s all smiles. The only newsworthy bits during the reunion were Natalie crying yet again after her mom says she’d been praying for her, and Rob telling his sister that “all they have to do is talk to each other, but they won’t.” Now that’s something worth ranting about.


To be fair, the immunity challenge was a beast, consisting of a tall staircase where everyone had to find the right puzzle piece planks one at a time in 110-degree heat. Of course Natalie and Phillip didn’t amount to much, and it was mainly between Rob, Grant and Andrea. The lead went back and forth among those three, but Rob won immunity again. Again. Then he almost fell down the stairs and died. Or something.

Then blah blah blah, Andrea feels safe, blah blah, Phillip plays his cray-cray card again … and Andrea is blindsided at tribal council with a 5-1 vote against her. OK, let’s talk more strategy. Mike’s thought that Zapatera will rule the jury bodes very well for him if he can make it to the end. Let’s say Rob brings Phillip to the finals with him, and Mike’s the last one standing at RI who’ll join them. He has five Zapatera members on the nine-member jury who could all vote for him on loyalty alone, and he’ll have won. But I still say it’s Matt’s game to lose, then Rob’s, and then Mike’s. If somehow none of them are in the final three … would we care who wins?

Until next week, amigos. Following Rob’s reasons for getting rid of Andrea, namely her skill in challenges, he should now be getting rid of his formidable buddy Grant. But would the remaining numskulls then finally get a clue and vote Rob out? Also: did you rooll your eyes like me when Probst said Rob’s literally carrying his family on his back?


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Complete ‘Survivor’ coverage on Show Tracker

— Anthony Williams / anthonyw_ent