Feb. 16, 2011 at 10:56 PM ET
Andy Dehnart writes: Russell who? Nicaragua what? "Survivor: Redemption Island" ended its first episode with such a crazy Tribal Council that it obliterated the memory of last season almost immediately. Not only that, it made Russell Hantz's pointless return seem even more pointless because this cast is capable of bringing the crazy and delusion all by itself.
Heck, there's a guy who insists he was a secret agent who runs around in pink briefs and betrays members of his own alliance immediately -- amazing!
While Boston Rob fit in well with his tribe, not everyone was thrilled to see him or Russell. Before Rob and Russell were even assigned tribes, Francesca told host Jeff Probst, "They're sizing us up like we're prey" and added, "They're troublemakers." Very true, but bold to say minutes into a game where the most annoying, vocal or threatening person often gets voted out first. All of the time the editors spent on Francesca seemed to suggest that she would be the first one headed to Redemption Island, and she was, and will eventually duel whoever gets voted off next.
But oh, the lead-up to that! It started at camp, where Phillip made a big production out of announcing he's "a former federal agent." It was an announcement accompanied by cartoon music, thanks to the editors, which shows how seriously everyone treats this claim. The seriousness was highlighted as he walked around camp in tiny, "droopy" underwear, as Francesca pointed out. She was, for a brief moment, our comic relief.
Meanwhile, Kristina told viewers she did not "want to come off as this really aggressive strategizer and turn people off," and then proceeded to come off as this really aggressive strategizer and turned people off. She smartly found the hidden immunity idol, perhaps even besting Russell's ability to do that with no clues. Kristina then proceeded to tell Francesca (OK) and then Phillip (oh no) and tried to concoct a crazy plan to play the idol and vote Rob out even though she wasn't even a target.
But that was nothing compared to Tribal Council, where Phillip called them out on a plan that never made sense in the first place -- voting out Rob -- and revealed that Kristina had a hidden immunity idol. She admitted it and showed it to Rob, and even handed it to him when he asked her to. Rob then told her, "Give me the immunity idol and you'll stay," arguing that was the only way he could trust that she was not plotting to get rid of him. Krista kept the idol.
During all this, Probst's mouth dropped open so wide you could have fit Russell's entire ego in it. And with that, "Survivor" redeemed itself for last season.
Keep reading at RealityBlurred.com for more on Tribal Council, "Francesqua," and the Survivors' pink underwear.