Survivor: Redemption Island: Most Entertaining Tribal Council Ever?

Show of hands: Who hooted and hollered with shock and delight during Tribal Council on Wednesday night’s episode of Survivor: Redemption Island? Okay, good. Glad to know I’m not the only one with a sadistic streak.

Seriously, though, this week’s highly entertaining showdown at Redemption Island Arena, subsequent merge/scramble/double-cross, and “d’oh!” blindside vote — which sent Matt back to his state of isolation without passing go, and without collecting a shred of respect from his former Ometepe tribemates — were all things of reality TV beauty. There were so many moments in the episode that amused or entertained me, I’ve got to break ’em down by bullet point.

* Sarita settling down with Matt in the Redemption Island hut and talking him through the ins and outs of Zapatera as if his win over her was an inevitability. (It kind of was, wasn’t it?)

* Jeff Probst getting Phillip to discuss the code of the samurai during the Redemption Island faceoff, and the producers using his incessant blathering (along with the changing of the position of the sun in the sky) as a means of marking the passage of time.

* Rob suggesting the name Murlonio — an inside joke with Amber that he said was a Spanish term for “from the sea, united” — as the merged tribe’s new name, and his fellow castaways embracing it wholeheartedly.

* Question for all of you: When Mike promised Matt and Andrea two of the final-four slots — “I’m okay with whittling down my tribe to honor your commitment,” he explained — do you think he was being sincere? I’m inclined to say “yes.” And even if Mike was just being manipulative, he wouldn’t have had any reason not to carry Matt till at least sixth or seventh place — pretty much the same spot in the pecking order he’d have gone with his former Ometepe “buddies.”

* Rob, who goes to church on Sundays, looking with suspicion on the “Christian coalition brewin'” between Mike and Matt, because anytime he sees a group of Survivor players united in one cause, “I want that broken up”

* Mike’s unflinching focus in the tense, terrific immunity challenge — in which players had to balance themselves on a log while balancing balls on a disc — slipping away after a fly landed on one of his game pieces. Bonus points for Ralph clucking and chirping to his ball like it was an errant farm animal. More bonus points for Jeff making me giggle like an eleven-year-old boy with his cry of, “Everybody grab your balls: You are safe!”

* Matt’s moment of honesty — admitting he’d briefly flirted with the idea of aligning with Zapatera before choosing to be loyal to Ometepe — backfiring with Boston Rob, who demands nothing short of absolute fealty, and who doesn’t tolerate even the slightest hint of independent scheming in his alliance-mates. “First of all, he has the audacity to think that he’s gonna come up with a plan to vote me out, and then the stupidity to tell me that,” said the incredulous Survivor vet. “It just confirmed he can’t be trusted, so because of that, I’m giving him a one-way ticket back to Redemption Island.”

* This exchange about Matt’s fate:
Grant (pleading): He’s a good Christian guy.
Rob: He can still be a good Christian guy…
Grant (resigned): On Redemption Island.

* Matt failing to read the tea leaves even after the other six members of Ometepe took off for a pre-Tribal Council chat — and left him to hang with Zapatera. “They just jetted off without me. I’m kind of feelin’ ostracized here,” he pondered cluelessly.

* Mike writing a note to Matt — “Vote for Grant and I’ll take you to the final three” — as if it he was in any way being less conspicuous than merely whispering to the sole swing player in the mix.

* Andrea choosing Boston Rob over Matt. I don’t think she ever forgave her one-time Survivor crush for getting so close so quickly to Krista while he was exiled with the latter svelte blonde on Redemption Island.

* Phillip’s insane speech at Tribal Council about the sea receding and leaving a parasitic stench behind. Sometimes I think he’s got to be in on the joke, right?

* Matt telling Jeff that “it was so much easier on Redemption Island,” completely unaware he was about to go back there.

* Ralph playing his Immunity Idol on behalf of Mike, never stopping to consider Ometepe had no intention of targeting the studly Iraq war veteran.

* Jeff turning up the suspense at Tribal Council, reading five straight votes for Grant (whoa!), a single vote for Steve (uh-oh!), and then six straight votes for Matt (OMFG!). “Genius is what that was,” whispered David. “Oh my God, that poor kid,” added Julie. “Apparently, I’m just not very good at this game of Survivor,” concluded Matt, who will now have a chance to make it 7-for-7 at Redemption Island. (Vote in the poll below about whether this is the most entertaining Tribal Council ever.) And with Ometepe still outnumbering Zapatera by a margin of six to five, chances are it’ll be Mike or Steve whose torch is snuffed next.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you as delighted as I was by the Tribal Council vote? Who do you think will go all the way to the end in this twisty, intriguing season? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me 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!

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  1. Dave says:

    Most entertaining is – and as far as I can figure always will be – Amanda pulling out that Idol on Fans Vs Favorites and swinging it around as she sashayed up to Jeff.

    Parvati pulling out two Idols on Heroes Vs. Villains is up there, too … as is pretty much every Foa Foa 5 come-from-behind-and-stay-alive vote in Samoa.

    • Kris says:

      I agree, Parvati pulling out the two idols was my all-time favourite tribal council.

      • Drew says:

        Yes!! Just the shock on EVERYONE’S face when she pulled out the second one and handed it to Sandra. Best ever. Then Erik stupidly giving up the immunity necklace is number 2. There have been some amazing ones in the past, the purple rock, all the votes in the race division season that kept the 4 safe against the 8 opponents, but this one might be #3…

    • Chmarin says:

      AMEN! The ones with Amanda saving herself and Parvati playing 2 idols are my favorites, as well.

      This wasn’t nearly as shocking. Because it was laughable. It’s one thing when you masterfully execute a risky plan, it’s another when you have one guy playing an idol for someone who didn’t receive any votes and then another dude practically getting himself kicked off the tribe (again!) because of moral issues and his religion.

      There were so many other similar dumb tribal councils – Bob creating fake idols in Gabon (I think Randy played, I remember Sugar laughing histerically :D), and especially the two in Micronesia, with Jason playing a fake idol (that’s the one with Eliza’s legendary comment: It’s just a f***ing stick!) and Erik giving up the immunity necklace. Even James being voted out in China with 2 idols in his pocket.

      This was just funny for me. Surprising and shocking to a certain extent, but nowhere near the brilliant tribal councils in which incredibly risky plans were executed in such a shocking manner. Plus, this season has been such a huge flop. I think even the Russell haters wish he was back, because at least then it would be more interesting. I mean, if he managed to dominate his tribe with Krista & Stephanie, we wouldn’t have to watch the dumb, boring people from the old Zapatera tribe (Julie, Steve, the lawyer guy). We’d be watching a post-merge showdown between Boston Rob & Russell and their female followers.

  2. Jackie says:

    I think the first Tribal Councilthis season was one of the best ever!

  3. Deb S. says:

    This season is fabulous. I didn’t watch last season, and I am SO GLAD that I tuned in this year. Matt is an idiot. I felt a little badly to see him go back to Redemption Island – but, seriously! He talks TOO MUCH! He has no judgment. Rob is brilliant, and if I were there, I would plot to get him out ASAP. He is too strong. Lovin’ this season, and loved, loved, loved your commentary – great recap/observation of the highlights. I can’t believe Philip could go on about the Samuri Code for that long! Hilarious!

    • Kris says:

      He didn’t, it was edited to look like he had been talking for hours but in reality, he was talking for like 10 minutes.

  4. Carol says:

    I loved watching the Zapetera tribe look so smug and happy when Ralph played the idol, just gloating that they pulled on over on Rob. Rob and his alliance keeping a straight face until the Matt votes came up. Then watching Zapetera’s faces as they realize they played the idol for nothing, and got blindsided. LOVED IT! Plus, great move on Jeff’s part pulling the votes in that order to get the best reaction.

    Rob seems to be the only one really playing this game.

  5. survivor guru says:

    the best tribal council ever was back in samoa when russell pulled out the idol and suprised everybody and said im not finished playing just yet.

  6. AlistairCrane says:

    I was just glad to see Matt go, hopefully for good this time. He’s too religious for my taste—yuck!

  7. Jon says:

    Other great tribal councils in no particular order:

    1. Tyson getting voted off in Heroes vs Villains
    2. Eliza giving a fake idol in Fans vs Favorites
    3. Erik giving up his idol in Fans vs Favorites
    4. 1st TC in Redemption Island.

  8. Sabrina says:

    It was a very entertaining tribal council, always is when you have some one so clueless sitting there unaware of their fate. Philip is TV gold for the producers, you can see Jeff light up every time Phil starts talking. Rob is a total genius and with the information about Mike approaching Matt, he can use that with Zapatera to weaken that tribe. I think he promised Andrea top 3 with Grant after the original Matt vote off. She was smart enough to know she is better off with Rob at this point. But he is playing this game incredibly well, and they don’t know about the HII he has, so they better watch out. That said, Rob knows he is going first chance they have to get rid of him, and now he will have to beat Matt at RI to come back to the game. Jeff Probst tweets during the show every week now and also writes a blog. I believe he gave away last night that the RI winner will not come back to the game until the final. That could mean top four for the last endurance challenge which could be very, very interesting. If Matt survives until it will be interesting to see if they reward him for winning every RI challenge or say he did not really play the game well or he would not have been there the entire time. Best season of Survivor in a long time, we laugh, yell, chatter the entire time. And Slezak, glad you are getting into the groove with these recaps.

  9. John Berggren says:

    David hit the nail on the head. Sending Matt back was GENIUS. No swing vote. Little hope for the tribe without an immunity idol. I don’t care if other people don’t like Rob – I think he’s played an incredible game and deserves to win.
    I used to say that Colby would be a great host if Jeff ever decided to hang up his hat. I think Rob would be a great host if that time ever comes.

    • Sabrina says:

      I have said I think Rob should be on every season, make it so you have to win a challenge against him to even be on the show or something. He is just money all the time. Colby hosts Top Shot on the History channel. We laugh all the time and talk about how he is doing his best Probst imitation. He has gotten a bit better this season and is starting to relax with the contestants, but he is no Jeff Probst.

  10. Charles says:

    I would say the best TC was the blindside by the girls in Fans vs Favorites when they got Erik to give up his HII!!!

  11. TaraMisu says:

    “Everybody grab your balls!” Hahahah yeah I laughed like a 3rd grade boy!

    I still think Eliza and the fake idol was the #1 TC ever… but this one was pretty close, top 5 at least. Matt is so clueless I kept shaking my head, knowing he was going to end up right back on RI.

  12. Linda says:

    I like Matt -despite his overly religious self. But his vote -which I assume was for Steve -absolutely made no sense. Everyone voted down tribe lines and if he had voted Grant -it would had forced a tie. And give him a 50-50 chance in staying. Don’t know what was going on in his head -except he didn’t want to morally vote for Mike or Grant. All I know right now is Rob is unstoppable -and although I am having fun with his gameplay -it is entirely too easy for him. It’s like he is leading all the lambs to slaughter. Hope they wake up so it get’s interesting because there is no threat to him now.

    • Aaron says:

      Pretty sure that the logic for Matt’s vote went like this: they were *going* to vote for Mike, until Matt told Rob about Mike promising him the hidden immunity idol. At that point, they decided to vote for a weaker player on that tribe, either Steve or that other girl, but in actuality, Rob had the rest of his tribe change from Steve to Matt.

  13. JayK says:

    I have to wonder about the people who voted “Yes, definitely.” Have you not watched Survivor before, like, ever? I think even the first tribal council of this very season was better than this one. Or the time Parvati played TWO idols, or the time Tyson voted himself out, or the string of TCs starting when Russell’s alliance was down 8-4. I know I’ve thought “BEST. TRIBAL. EVER” several times over the years, and I did not think it about last night’s.

  14. Teresa says:

    How can we forget Survivor: Gabon when Randy played the fake idol?

  15. JenB says:

    I can’t remember the season, but there was this dude that was totally in love with a chick on the other tribe and he bared his soul at TC about her and how he thought they had made a connection (they were on opposite tribes). The look on Jeff’s face was PRICELESS!! Poor fellow got the boot and went to Ponderosa.

    And of course, Erik giving up the Imunity Necklace up in HvV was my all-time favorite.

  16. AT says:

    James from China got voted out with two idols in his pocket, and JT got voted off after writing Russell a letter

  17. Romain says:

    Seriously, I didn’t even find it all that entertaining. There have been many more memorable ones.

    Springing to mind:

    Survivor: Borneo – Sue’s “The Snake and the Rat” Speech at Final Tribal Council.

    Survivor: Cook Islands – Billy professes his love for Candice, stunning his whole tribe and Jeff Probst.

    Survivor: Fiji – Edgardo’s blindside.

    Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites – Amanda blindsides Alexis by pulling out the HII from her bag.

    Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden – Randy plays Bob’s fake HII and everyone except a mortified Corinne bursts into laughter.

    Survivor: Samoa – Russell’s little “I ain’t finished playin’ just yet” twist.

    Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains – Parvati ensures the Villains keep the numbers when she protects both Sandra and Jerri by giving them each a HII.

  18. Lori says:

    Here’s hoping David jumps ship as soon as possible from his old tribe. He’s the only one on it with any sense…except for the throwing of the challenge mess.

  19. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts:

    – I enjoyed the individual immunity challenge, and thought it was one of the classic Survivor moments that combine skill and balance together. But more important than that, was the humour that it created with all of Jeff Probst’s verbage, with classic lines like “Everybody grab your balls, you’re safe” and “It’s like those balls are glued to his disc.” I was shocked that they didn’t take the obvious joke since Boston Rob was on the blue log with the blue disc and balls: “Rob’s got the blue balls.” Makes sense since Amber is at home, and Rob has 3 pretty young girls on his Tribe.

    – Tribal Council was interesting, for the first time in three weeks. Ashley talked about Ometepe using the tarp because they won it in a challenge, and David the Puzzlemaster revealed that they didn’t really “win” it because he didn’t try. That was a total douchebag comment to make, and only made the Zapatera Tribe look even worse, and if I were Ashley, I would have responded, “So you gave it to us, either way it’s ours.”

    – Let’s look at what Rob accomplished this episode: after someone he blindsided returned to the game, he convinced that person to rejoin him, learned all about Zapatera’s plan, and then blindsided him again. He also flushed out the Zapatera Idol and got Ralph to needlessly use the Idol on Mike, who received no votes. PLUS, he still has his own Idol, which only Grant knows about, and got the merged tribe named after one of Amber’s stuffed animals.

    Could he possibly be in any more control of this game?

    I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at, or you can just click my name in the post as well.

  20. Samira says:

    Great game,Rob,Grant,Lawyr Guy,Matt,Russell & his two partners in crime played superbly,it was bitter-sweet.
    Those that left sooner than necessary,Those that continued,that was Gr8 too!
    Wish Rob kept Grant longer,he was a lovely person to watch.Cool,Greek God & is someone that must cum back head held up high,without u there,Rob wouldnt or cudnt go far or get the idols.u Rock,
    until next time..u just need to secure an idol for urself next time.Trust 1 person or just urself,& the quiet player game is Super!Rob we adore u,but the least u shudv done was at least take Grant all the way.u r Man enough to do that,u created a good rep,
    taking Grant wudv made u flawless!Russell cum back & pls look 4 the idol,dont single out urself or girls to put targets on urselves.just play & hang & collect wood.dont overpower or overreact,the mind game is better played than confrontational or a lazy one.Good Luck!All shud Do it again,live in the moment & survivor is fun,enjoy it more if url giv it a 2nd,3rd,4th,5th,etc time!