Survivor Recap: The (Vicious) Blindside

We’ve witnessed a lot of despicable behavior on Survivor over the years, but I’m not exactly sure that shaking the hands of an opposing tribe’s members after their win in a challenge would qualify. Annoying? Maybe. Ill-advised? Yeah, definitely. But Boston Rob’s reaction to Matt’s gentlemanly move seemed a wee bit overzealous from where I was sitting.

Sometimes, though, you’ve got to make a power move early in the game, and sometimes you’ve got to justify said power move in a way that doesn’t leave you looking downright dastardly. And so Boston Rob found a way to villainize his one-time ally, to use his general good nature and sportsmanship against him.

“I didn’t want to play Survivor like this,” protested Boston Rob. Which is kind of like declaring “I’m not going to drink at the party tonight,” immediately after downing a six-pack of beer. But I don’t mean any disrespect. Boston Rob is a guy who clearly loves playing the Survivor game, and who’s already writing the grad-school thesis on strategy while guys like Matt are reading the freshman-year textbook. Matt presented a legitimate long-term threat, not only from a physical standpoint, but also in terms of the close relationship he was forming with fellow alliance member Andrea, and by virtue of what the guy probably thought of as a few utterly benign handshakes. “Matt’s going to play the good Christian game and the social game and the end game on Day Freakin’ Five?” huffed Boston Rob. “Wake up, brother!”

Whether the very early blindside against Matt turns out to be a wise one remains to be seen. In terms of raw numbers, the timing may have been perfect. From the eight players on Ometepe, Rob had an alliance of six, and was part of a stronger sub-alliance of four (Natalie, Ashley, and Grant, plus himself). Add loopy Phillip’s “you own my vote” promise, and Rob actually controlled the destiny of all but one Ometepe member. So, yeah, I can see why Boston Rob’s initial game plan — “Let’s get to six, and then we can play all the strategy we want” — went the way of Phillip’s shorts the second he began to see Matt and Andrea forging a closer bond.

Over on the Zapatera tribe, it was all about Russell and Ralph squaring off for the title of Baddest Good Ol’ Boy in All of Nicaragua (not that there are probably too many of ’em). Russell said he thought Ralph was possibly the dumbest person on earth (and yet somehow, he himself was under the impression that he could take Stephanie and Krista for a stroll without arousing suspicion). But Ralph was apparently smart enough to find the Hidden Immunity Idol without so much as a single clue. (“That was as simple as wiping your hiney with toilet paper,” he stated.)

Cut to Ralph, approaching Russell after the immunity challenge, and asking if he’d found the clue to the location of the immunity idol in the basket of fishing supplies Zapatera had won, followed by a whole lot of grunting and posturing and possibly even some territory-marking using surplus body hair. “I know how to play this game,” growled Russell. “This ol’ boy right here does, too,” said Ralph. I loved how Russell got super-egotistical in the confessional — “You just did that to me, Russell Hantz, and you know how to play this game?” — without knowing the secret weapon in Ralph’s pocket. Survivor‘s Big Bad may be in for a bit of a shock whenever Zapata makes its first trip to Tribal, eh?

Other highlights this week:

* Rob’s assessment of Phillip’s unpredictable emotional state: “Let it be a lesson to you — government jobs are stressful.”

* Phillip hunting for tiny crabs in a “primal state” (aka his fuchsia undies).

* This brilliant exchange right before the immunity challenge.
Phillip (sizing up the Zapatera tribe): I will outlast any man over there!
Jeff Probst: What about the women?
Phillip: That’s another day. We’ll see.

* The way Grant’s dive into the water during the challenge took him 90 percent of the way across the pool.

* Phillip’s long and winding monologue at tribal council centered on his gorilla and lion tattoos, including this pearl of wisdom: “I don’t think a lion ever feels it screwed up.”

What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you liking how intense Tribal Council has been these opening two weeks? What did you think of the way Stephanie was taking major pot shots (“You suck at life, okay?”) behind Sarita’s back? And how about Matt’s absolutely stunned expression when his name came up at Tribal Council, followed by a smile of almost begrudging respect? “Good work, guys!” he said. “My goodness!” My goodness, indeed!

Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Dalton says:

    You call this a Survivor blog? Ha Ha. EW has the best Blog for all the survivor fans.

  2. John says:

    If Zapata goes to tribal, the only thing you can be certain of is that the Mexican workers will form an alliance.

  3. meliot says:

    I was disappointed the duel at RI was not this week as they showed previews of it last week and am wondering when the winner will go back to a tribe.

    I would love to see a Ralph/Russell showdown and hope Ralph can stay a step ahead of Russell. I do enjoy watching Russell get taken down a peg or two.

    I felt Rob’s ouster of Matt was premature. Yes, he did see the potential problem that a couple would bring, but his tribe is obviously the weaker tribe, and he should be doing everything he can to keep it strong. He should have waited a few more tribal counsels, but Rob is a very strategic player and we only see the edited version. He may know something we don’t. Overall this season is off to a great start.

    Phillip, oh my…he is just all sorts of batsh*t crazy. Talking about himself in the third person. I wonder what he used to do as a Special Agent.

  4. susela says:

    But will Ralph realize he has to play the Idol at his very first Tribal? Russell will be gunning for him.

  5. Sabrina says:

    Glad they gave them their bathing suits this season. The pixilation costs must have been breaking the Survivor budget!!

    Dalton – we have room for both of you!! We love our Slezak!

  6. Howard Stern is on Twitter says:

    Probably not the real Dalton. Just a guess, but would be funny if it was him.

  7. Hate "Reality" TV says:

    And another season of glorified d-bags and a-holes entices the mean-spirited and backstabbers in the general public into watching this trash. Keep lying to yourselves that your not just like these self-centered jerk “players” on this slick ode to narcissism and greed. Bad enough we have to deal with all the supposed alpha male/females tools in real life. Of course, I’m probably just a loser and jealous, right ? Pathetic.

    • Sabrina says:

      I just don’t understand why you came and posted here to be all full of hate. Maybe if you watched the show you would have a valid opinion.

      • Hate "Reality" TV says:

        I’ve seen the show. Still think it’s garbage, and just because it’s better than 95% of other “reality” shows out there just means it’s at the top of the garbage heap. It amazes me that people who would complain to their kid’s school about a bully, report cheaters in sports, and rant about crooks and thieves in their cities give these axxholes a pass because it’s “entertainment.” Betcha feel better about your pathic little lives after watching these tools, right?

      • Argo says:

        He/she watches. Probably more than most. This is just his/her way to feel important … so no reason to take it away from him/her.

    • G says:

      If you hate reality tv, this is definitely not the best blog post to be on.

  8. Samantha says:

    Phillip is sooooo dumb. The Coach of this season. Let’s get him out of here ASAP please!

  9. Argo says:

    Matt had to go. Rob remembers how he lost last time and he’s going to get rid of any perceived “flakey” alliance members. He trusted Tyson last time and if he goes out … it won’t be that way again.