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Survivor 22 – Redemption Island: Rice Wars

Gosh another episode painful to watch and this time not for pagonging reasons (although it’s still going on, let’s not forget about it). I hate it when race becomes an issue and it really did last night. Sad.
That being said, my suspicious mind still seems a bit suspicious about a thing or two related to that incident.
Let’s move on and see what can be said.

Redemption Island


David Murphy out of the game and first member of the jury: Well, not much to say here, I had placed high hopes in David, they’re gone. End of story. The fact that he is the first member of the jury kinda heavily implies that we will have a final three and not a final two. Doesn’t sound good for Rob.   

Matt Elrod lives another day: He’s really starting to feel worn out at Redemption Island. And it makes sense, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, being blindsided twice must have taken its toll on him mentally. And the preview for next week seems to imply that it will only become worse. Now that they are two or three at Redemption may it seems like it’s easier to live there (no more loneliness in between the duel and the next booted person coming) but who knows what it’s like for him to be there. One thing he needs to stop doing now if the constant God this and God that. Sometimes Christians can be so selfish and so self-centered, as if God cared about this one individual who’s having a tough time trying to win a million bucks. Come on… From a storytelling point of view, and despite the harsh words I had for Matt when he was voted out a second time, I really wish he’s the one who beats Rob now, whether it is by returning into the game and managing to have Rob out somehow, or at Redemption Island.

Mike Chiesl lives another day: He proved that he’s a tough competitor if that needed to be proven. Had it been a real duel (or one when only the winner survives) he would have taken out Matt. It hasn’t really been underlined because he’s still in the game, but Matt didn’t win that duel. Another sign that Matt’s will to stay in this game is starting to go away.

The Murlonio/Mariano Tribe

Andrea Boelhke: It seems obvious that she (and the two other girls) want Phil out. And yet, they didn’t vote against him. Another proof of the hold that Boston Rob has over them if you’re asking me. If Andrea is not that close to the two other girls, she still does a great job at blending with them (except for the part where she actually helps around camp and doesn’t spend her day preening). Sure, now may not be the moment for a big move, but it’s still worrisome. If Andrea wants to win this game, she needs to step up her game one way or the other. I still don’t know if she has something up her sleeve for when there will be only Ometepe members left, or if she just hopes to ride all of the storms without getting voted out until the end. Still, I’m going back to my statement: she’ll need those one or two extra votes at the end if she makes it, and the only way she’ll get them will be with a big move somewhere along the way.
Ashley Underwood: See Andrea… Still trying to give her credit where I can, she said two interesting and true things during this episode (which is two more than the rest of the season so far): “Phillip is crazy” and “I suck at this”.
Grant Mattos: Not much about Grant this week, he’s just surfing the wave of the pagonging.
Julie Wolfe sent to Redemption Island: Just when I started to like her. It may seem surprising that she got voted out instead of Steve or Ralph, but when you know that it’s Rob who decides to gets voted out and nobody else, it makes perfect sense. During the past few days – basically since the merge, or evne before among Zapatera actually – Julie has shown that she has a quite good social game. Not making waves, being friendly with everybody. Even when she refused to give Zapatera’s rice jar to Andrea and then Phillip she did it in a quite peaceful way. She even buried Phillip’s trunks with a smile. In other terms, if any other Ometepe member has an end game in sight (we know they don’t, but Rob can’t be 100%) she’ll be the one to go to in order to pull that big move, not Steve or Ralph who at this point don’t want to hear from anybody else I suspect. This is why she had to go. Ralph and Steve’s presence may continue to create tensions at camp and keep everybody on their toe, which is where Rob wants his alliance to be.
Natalie Tenerelli: See Andrea.
Former Federal Agent Phillip Sheppard: This whole “rice wars” becoming a “race wars” is pretty interesting (and sad too). I have two theories about it. The first one, that Probst described was that Phillip having experienced racism in his life (what Black man hasn’t in the US?) is pretty sensitive about it, and he genuinely mistook Steve comment for a racist one and he snapped.
Now we have a the second theory, basically the same as the one I elaborated last week. That it is all an act from Phillip to destabilize Zapatera. I still find it very suspect that all of his issues with Ometepe suddenly disappeared and that now all of his “craziness” is targeting Zapatera and Zapatera only. Some faces in makes too at times (mostly in confessionals) seems to tell “I’m pulling a huge prank on everybody right now” and playing the race card to raise up the stakes could be a strategy. A twisted one, but a strategy nonetheless. A little bit like, on Pearl Islands, when Jonny Fairplay tried to have Rupert kick his ass so that Rupert gets evicted from the game (remember, physical fights are -I think- the only things that will get you evicted from Survivor). Actually, Phillip could even have tried to push Steve in that direction when you think about it.
I still don’t know what option is the most likely.

Ralph Kiser:Not much about him this week. I guess he’s trying to be as under the radar as possible waiting for some possible stroke of luck that would help him stay in the game, although, shy from an immunity streak, Fabio-style, I don’t know what’s going to help him stay longer than one or two more tribal councils.

Boston Rob Mariano: Not much about Rob this week. Really? No, not really… On there’s an interesting little video clip where he admits that the whole fight between Phillip and Steve started because of him. Sure, he didn’t expect it to turn that ugly, but he’s the one that heavily suggested to Phillip that he should ask for Zapatera’s rice jar, knowing that would end up in an argument. Kuddos to him for recognizing that after ostracizing Zapatera, it was all fair game that they refuse to help with the rice problem. Apart from that, he’s still in cruise control and the only thing that could prevent him from going to the end now if a successful mutiny lead by the one that returns from Redemption Island (at it will most likely happen right at the time Ometepe members will have to turn against each other.

Steve Wright:Apparently, all Steve needed to have his mind back in the game was food. It happens with big guys. I think he did great this week, too bad he had to deal with Phillip’s craziness/oscar-worthy-role in a such an ugly way. I’m 100% convinced Steve didn’t mean anything racist (as he mentioned, I don’t think racist people lasted long among the Raiders in the late 80’s) and at the very beginning of the episode, I love how the first shot we saw was Francesca saying to Phillip that he was crazy (was she being racist too?). Apart from that, I think he’s more or less next to go, although as Ometepe’s strategy for voting was apparently to send people that could beat Matt in challenges, Ralph may be voted out before Steve.

Next person voted out: 
As I just wrote, I think Ralph is toast next week. The pagonging has no reason to stop now. But… Did I read about a twist next week somewhere? (Probst answering questions to Dalton Ross?).
At Redemption Island, if only one person is out, it is Julie, if it’s two, I see Matt finally being eliminated too.

What are your thoughts?  What did you think of this episode? Don’t be shy, tell me.

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