Season 22 of Survivor is sure to bring new twists, new experiences and a few surprises. The 16 contestants, already divided into 2 tribes, receive their first surprise when Jeff announces two more Survivors will be joining them. The new additions are none other than veteran players Boston Rob and Russell Hantz, two of the most famous and experienced players in the games known as Survivor. As Russell steps down from the helicopter viewers hear, “Oh, no. No.” Stephanie, standing on the purple Zapatera mat says, “Oh my God! It’s Russell. I don’t even know whose team he’s going to be on, but I’m going to stare down Russell. And I know that when I stare down Russell, he’ll know, oh, she’s got a little evil inside of her. Because if I’m not the one person he picks to keep to the end, no matter what, I’m gonna be out. I’m gonna be out.”
As Jeff is explaining Rob and Russell’s Survivor backgrounds and experiences to the tribes, Francesca says under her breath, “They’re sizing us up like we’re prey.” Jeff hears her and asks what her initial response is to seeing these two famous Survivors. Her response is, “They’re troublemakers. They’re two of the most famous troublemakers in Survivor history. I mean, I don’t think they’re here just to help us out.” Jeff has Boston Rob and Russell blindly pick buffs from a bag to determine which tribe they will join. Boston Rob picks an orange buff and joins Francesca and the Ometepe Tribe while Russell holds a purple buff and joins Stephanie on the Zapatera Tribe.
At the Zapatera Camp
Russell is first up under the confession tree. “I’m so grateful to be back to get my title of Sole Survivor. The first 2, I was a schoolboy. This one, I’m bringing it. This is gonna be the new me. I’m going to be the leader to my tribe; when I sit them all down and I take control of the camp, I become the leader of the camp.”
Russell gathers everyone together to give a speech telling them that Survivor looks easy when you’re sitting at home watching it on TV, but they are about to take on the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their entire life. He promises his tribemates that he’s not there to sabotage anyone, but that he’s there to win. As viewers listen to his tribemates talk about him at the confession tree, it’s apparent that they are all fans of Survivor and have watched Russell in action in previous seasons. They are all pretty wary of him.
The tribe finds a big box labeled CRAFTSMAN which is full of building supplies ‘” hammers, nails, ropes, hatchets, machetes, even a measuring tape and more. I guess the producers decided the contestants need the tools to build the best shelter they possibly can considering the weather conditions and what transpired last season. At any rate, the tribe immediately heeds Jeff’s advice to get a good shelter built ASAP as they will be seeing a lot of rain throughout the course of the season.
At the Ometepe Camp
Over at Ometepe, the tribe is working cohesively to get a good shelter built. They seem to be more star struck with Boston Rob than the Zapatera Tribe is with Russell. That is until Phillip decides that no one is doing anything right, especially the girls. He instructs them on the proper use of an ax and a shovel. He then gathers the 5 girls together to reveal his big secret to them ‘” he’s an ex-federal agent. He further informs them that this means his word is his bond and he’s also an expert human behavior analyst, therefore it will be hard for anyone to lie to him.
While the rest of the tribe is busy building their shelter, Kristina is digging around in the CRAFTSMAN box looking for a hidden immunity idol. After all, we (the viewers) have seen one delivered to the players in previous season which were hidden in their gifts or rewards, so why not look for it? But her antics have been noticed by Boston Rob. He comes over to her and quietly sends everyone else away so he can have a minute alone with Kristina.
Boston Rob to Kristina: “I know you know what’s up. So go through it.”
Kristina: “I went through it.”
Boston Rob: “Nothing?”
Kristina: “I went through everything except for this. I can’t open it.”
Boston Rob: “Okay. I’ll try to keep them away. See what you can find.”
Boston Rob and Phillip realize the males are in the minority on their tribe and do a fist bump to solidify a promise to stick together. Phillip immediately runs to Kristina to tell her that Boston Rob is already trying to play him, to try use him to divide and conquer the girls and then the tribe. He goes on to say that he plans on playing dumb and go along with Boston Rob’s plan. So much for his word being his bond. (right about now I’m having a Coach flashback.) We, the viewers, can already see that’s not going to be true.
Russell Picks His Villainous, Or Was it the Other Way Around?
As the rest of the tribe is busy building their shelter, Russell goes for a walk with Stephanie under the pretext of looking for where their treemail will be delivered. Russell questions Stephanie on how much she knows about him.
Russell: “Who did I bring the first time?”
Russell: “Who did I bring the second time?”
Russell: “Hmmmm — .”
Stephanie: “But your speech, Russell, about how you’ve changed, it was so moving. I believed you. I believed you. You are a changed man. (All the while giggling like a schoolgirl on a prom date.)
Russell: “You have to get on the right team. (I am. I’m on Team Rob.) I think we can do something together, but this is dangerous because I’m not going to be walking around with you that much cause you are THAT girl. (Meaning the one he’s chosen to take to the end ‘” maybe as a sacrifice?)
I thought he said he was a changed man. That sounds like the same strategy he’s used before. Stephanie is not stupid either. She knows Russell’s previous tactics, but she also knows he’s made it to the final 3 twice, so why not ride his coattails if she can? That’s a strategy, right? Their sneaking off has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the tribe. They are aware that his previous strategies have been to recruit the girls onto his side. Their counter attack plan is to remove Russell from the game ASAP.
Kristina’s Good Fortune
Over at Ometepe, Kristina is determined to find a hidden immunity idol so she can send Boston Rob home. I think she’s forgetting about the redemption part of this game. She goes for a walk around the island looking for landmarks that may give her a clue where the immunity idol may be hidden. Lo and behold, she turns over a rock and there it is. It is wrapped in paper which has writing on the inside but she doesn’t read it aloud for the viewers to know exactly what it says. I can only assume it gives the rules about what the immunity idol is plus how and when it can be played. She then buries it in a different location. Back at camp Kristina notices Rob walking on the beach with Natalie, Andrea, Ashley, Grant and Matt. That leaves Francesca and Phillip alone at camp. Kristina approaches them to try to form an alliance to oust Boston Rob. Phillip lets her know he appreciates how she’s trying to play the game, but if he feels the need to tell someone something he’ll do it, insinuating he’ll do that even after making a promise. There are those Coach flashbacks again. Phillip also wants to know who the other votes will be. After all, there are only 3 of them there and 6 people over on the beach together. The math doesn’t add up. But Kristina has no satisfactory answer because she doesn’t want to reveal the immunity idol.
Tribal Immunity Challenge: Push It Uphill
The rules for this Tribal Immunity Challenge are simple.
Push 4 blocks along a track to build the base of a temple.
Climb the steps to the top.
One person uses an axe to cut a series of ropes which reveals a ladder.
Climb the ladder to the top.
Race to complete a block puzzle completing the temple.
The first tribe completing the puzzle wins Tribal Immunity and flint.
Fans of Survivor should know that it seems like Russell is at a disadvantage here. Boston rob is well known for his puzzle solving skills, but first Rob needs to get to the puzzle first which will require some brute strength which his tribe is lacking with only 3 males onboard. Using their brute strength, the Zapatera Tribe gets a huge head start on Ometepe which allows them plenty of time to solve the puzzle first to win the first Tribal Immunity on Survivor: Redemption Island. Jeff awards the Tribal Immunity Idol to Zapatera, which Russell takes, of course, and tips it towards Boston Rob as if to say, “I won the first round,” or “See, I told you so.”
Alliances and Plans at Ometepe
Kristina tells Francesca that she has the idol and wants to use it to get rid of Rob. Kristina’s plan is for Francesca to get the 3 girls to vote for herself, then she, Francesca and Phillip will vote for Rob. She’ll play the idol, and boom! Rob will be gone just like that and the whole game will change. Just like that, huh? Easier said than done, I think.
(Wow! Did you see that nasty looking snake with the eyelashes they showed during a scene break? Eewww!)
Francesca thinks it’s a bad plan. They don’t have the numbers and everyone left will be pissed if Boston Rob is gone. She thinks Natalie is the weakest link and should be sent packing.
When Kristina approaches Boston Rob to try to feel him out as to who to vote for, he quietly dismisses her. He’s aware of the connection being made between Kristina and Francesca, and its Francesca that is in his crosshairs because of how she mouthed off when he first set foot on the island. But then again, it was Kristina he caught looking for an immunity idol so they both should be considered dangerous players.
Boston Rob meets with his alliance of 6 to strategize telling them he believes one of the other three have an immunity idol. And even if they don’t there’s no reason not to split the vote to be safe. The plan is for the 3 guys to vote for Francesca and the girls vote for Kristina. Boston Rob clarifies to his alliance, “Does everybody understand this? I got screwed last season because one person didn’t understand.” They all assure him they understand the plan.
On the other side of camp, Phillip is again questioning Kristina on who her votes are. The numbers still aren’t adding up for him. Kristina breaks down and shows Phillip the immunity idol telling him that means they don’t need any more votes. Phillip shakes Kristina’s hand giving his word he’ll go along with her plan. (There are those flashbacks again.) Phillip also believes that with Boston Rob gone he will become the new leader of the tribe.
Tribal Council One: There’s No Secrets Here
When questioning the tribe as to how it’s determined who will go home it’s suggested by Francesca that it is implied a woman is going to go in order to keep the tribe physically strong. Jeff says that sounds like the guys are being given a free pass but he would like to put an asterisk by Rob’s name. Rob agrees it could be him going, but there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s all part of the game. When responding to Jeff about her thoughts on Redemption Island, Francesca remarks, “Like if Boston Rob got voted out tonight, which he’s not going to (there’s a puzzled look from Phillip), but if he did he would probably be fine. So we could all feel there’s a good chance he’s going to come back into the game.” Phillip breaks in to say that he has an issue with that statement because Francesca and Kristina asked him to vote for Rob along with them. When he can’t get a word in edgewise over Francesca’s backtracking, Phillip turns his attention to Jeff. “Jeff, I am a former special agent (oh, here we go again). So if I make a statement to you I will do everything I can to adhere to that. And I WILL NOT betray. I’ll go down with a sinking ship before I do that until I hear something different and I just heard something different. So my vote tonight will be for Fransesqua.” (Not a typo ‘” he butchered her name time and again during this tribal council.) Meanwhile, Kristina and Francesca make eye contact and change their votes to be for Phillip. Sitting in the back, Rob is quietly enjoying this sparring match. Kristina opens her mouth to say that maybe this shows that Phillip is unstable. Phillip’s response to that is to let everyone know that Kristina has an immunity idol which is why they asked him for his vote. The remaining 6 respond that they did not know this fact until just now. Kristina acknowledges to Jeff that yes, she does in fact hold an immunity idol. Boston Rob question Kristina about her plan to vote him off. Francesca states that she never intended to vote for Rob, she wanted to vote Natalie. Rob doesn’t know who to believe between the 3 of them. He asks Kristina if she will let him see the immunity idol. She hands the idol to Rob.
Rob to Kristina: “You say he’s (Phillip) lying?”
Boston Rob: “Give me the immunity idol and you’ll stay. (Pause.) Give me the immunity idol and you’ll stay. Why should I trust you any more than you should trust me?”
Kristina: “I can’t do that.”
Boston Rob: “By you not giving it to me, it makes me think you’re not telling the truth. It’s yours. (As he hands the idol back to her.) Obviously somebody’s lying. So you have an idol. It may save you for 3 more days. But, I’m gonna do what I said I was gonna do with the people I said I was gonna do it with, and that’s it.” (Are you listening, alliance?)
Jeff: “This has been one of the most amazing Tribal Councils. I have absolutely no idea what is about to go down. So let’s get to the vote.”
Rob votes Francesca
Kristina votes Phillip
Natalie votes Kristina
Grant votes Francesca
Andrea votes Kristina
Matt votes Francesca
Ashley votes Kristina
Phillip votes Francesca
Boston Rob’s alliance heard him loud and clear and with one additional vote cast by Phillip, Francesca Hogi, the 36-year-old attorney from Washington, DC is the first Survivor booted to Redemption Island. Her parting words are, “Don’t trust Phillip.”
“Survivor: Redemption Island – You’re Looking at the New Leader of Your Tribe” aired Wednesday, February 16, 2011 on CBS at 8/7c
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