It's Week 2 of "Survivor: Redemption Island," and producer Mark Burnett is up to all his old tricks. He's truly a master at misdirection in the editing room.
For example, when young Matt, right, the spiritual pre-med student, describes the Ometepe tribe as "Camp Harmony with Boston Rob," you know Rob will be unleashing holy hell within minutes.
When evil Russell says that hairy farmer Ralph is "the dumbest person on the face of the Earth," Ralph will soon do something brilliant.
And when certified crazy person (and former federal agent) Phillip declares that no one will beat him, prepare to watch him quickly lose. And to spout some nonsense about uniforms, gallantry and gorillas. Cause that dude is crazy!
At the beginning of the episode, we learn that Francesca, unfairly voted off last week, has been given rice, drinking water, flint and other supplies while staying alone at Redemption Island. All in all, she thinks this might not be the worst deal in the world while she awaits a chance to re-enter the game. "I'd much rather be here than still back in the game with Phillip and all those people," Francesca says.
Host Jeff Probst says Francesca will duel with the next person sent to Redemption Island. The loser will be officially gone for good, while the winner may return to the game at some unspecified point. (I hope Probst and Burnett aren't just making this up as they go along.)
Back at Ometepe, Boston Rob says the previous Tribal Council was one of the wildest of the 7,328 Tribal Councils he has taken part in during his years on "Survivor." And it was mainly wild because of "piece of work" Phillip, who says again that he is a former federal agent. Boston Rob, in probably the best line of the night, notes of Phillip: "Let it be a lesson to you -- government jobs [are] stressful."
As Phillip hunts for crabs in his pink briefs, the rest of Ometepe makes fun of him. But that's OK with Phillip, because he's a former federal agent. He gets all choked up telling us about the pride he had wearing his federal agent uniform, though it's still unclear just what kind of agent he was. In a quick Stuart Smalley empowerment moment, Phillip also tells us, "I still love Phillip Shepherd. He's a good guy. And that's OK."
Speaking of crazy people, Ralph, left, is over at the Zapatera camp crowing like a rooster. This causes Russell to question Ralph's intelligence. (What we're really questioning is Ralph's gross layer of fur. Please, Ralph, put a shirt on!) Russell is looking everywhere for a hidden immunity idol, because he considers himself brilliant at finding them. But it's actually Ralph who stumbles upon the hidden idol while out picking up rocks.
Back at Ometepe, Matt and Andrea are flirting with each other, and Boston Rob doesn't like it one bit. They could be dangerous together, he notes, remembering how he and his now-wife Amber were a treacherous twosome on "Survivor: All-Stars"
The Immunity Challenge is an elaborate one that involves tribe members swimming to a platform, climbing it, then jumping in the water and smashing tiles to get keys. The keys unlock a box that contains balls, which then have to be thrown to smash another group of tiles. Ometepe gets off to a huge lead, but Zapatera rallies. In the end it comes down to the two men throwing the balls to break the tiles -- Ralph for Zapatera and Phillip for Ometepe.
Phillip assures Probst at the beginning of the challenge that he will not be defeated. So, of course, he is. Zapatera wins immunity and fishing gear. Phillip, right, is dejected by his performance, but Boston Rob isn't that upset with him. Instead, he's furious that "Christian" Matt actually went and shook the hands of the victorious Zapatera members after the challenge. To Boston Rob, such an act was "despicable."
Meanwhile, as Russell carries the fishing gear back to Zapatera, he notices a clue to the hidden immunity idol. He tries to slip it into his pocket unnoticed, but Ralph (you know, the one Russell called "the dumbest person on the face of the earth") notices Russell doing it.
Russell has designed to align himself with Stephanie and Krista. He only really needs two accomplices, Russell declares, adding, "Three worked for me before." (Um, actually Russell, it didn't. Despite making the finals twice, may we remind you that you've never won "Survivor.") But he continues to say that three is the only company he needs, and he, Stephanie and Krista set off to find the hidden idol like some island version of Jack, Janet and Chrissy.
But look out! Here comes Mr. Furley (er, Ralph) and calls out Russell in front of the rest of the tribe. Russell denies that he secretly pocketed a clue. Ralph says, "Yes, you did!" Russell says, "Shut up!" Ralph says, "You shut up!" They carry on like this for a while, with each saying the other is going down.
Back at Ometepe, crazy Phillip has gathered the tribe members to tell them that they performed gallantly in the challenge, that he's sorry he let them down and that he'll leave it up to them to decide whether to get rid of him or not. They look at him like he's a nutjob.
But Phillip needn't worry. Boston Rob has decided that it's Matt who must go, because of the whole offensive, terrible, horrible show of good sportsmanship he exhibited. Boston Rob tells Grant, Natalie and Ashley to join him in voting for Matt. They don't tell Andrea, left, the plan, since she had been cuddling up to Matt.
Tribal Council gives Phillip another opportunity to act loony. He tells Probst about his lion and gorilla tattoos and describes how he will sometimes become a lion or gorilla when threatened. (Wait, I thought hairy Ralph was the gorilla?) Probst gets in a good line to Phillip: "What does the lion or the gorilla do to itself if it thinks it screwed up?"
When the votes are read in the pouring rain, there are two for Phillip, two for Kristina (who played her hidden immunity idol) and four for Matt. The stunned good sport is blindsided. His sweetie Andrea seems even more surprised.
The episode ends with Matt announcing his arrival at Redemption Island to Francesca. Next week, they'll duel to see who stays in the game. Wonder if the loser will shake the winner's hand?
Also next week: Andrea is ticked at those who ousted Matt. And Russell is ticked with everyone on his tribe.