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'Survivor' delivers an early blindside

Monty Brinton / CBS / Today
Matt Elrod of the Ometepe tribe was blindsided by the Tribal Council results Wednesday.

Andy Dehnart writes: The act of blindsiding someone has now become so commonplace on "Survivor" that it's expected. Thus, it almost doesn't work because it’s not blind if everyone can expect it to happen. But tonight's vote, when Matt Elrod was sent home from the Ometepe tribe instead of Phillip, definitely qualified as a blindside.

The Fabio lookalike's mouth dropped open when host Jeff Probst started reading the votes with his name on them. His response? A simple "Damn, guys," as he went off to Redemption Island to fight in the first duel against Francesca.

Matt sealed his Tribal Council fate at the immunity challenge. After his tribe lost, Matt walked over to shake the winning team's hands. I thought, "What is he doing?" and then Rob asked, "What is he doing?" Rob later called it "despicable," apparently because playing an individual game so early works only if you are Rob.

But it was Matt's similarity to Rob -- the bond between the pre-med student and fellow contestant Andrea -- that made Rob target the "Survivor" newcomer. Rob saw himself and former-contestant/now-wife Amber in the new couple. "I know how strong a pair can be in this game," he said. "I didn't want to play 'Survivor' like this. I didn't. ... He's playing textbook, but he's playing with me." The arrogance seemed less harmless perhaps because there's even more of it from Russell Hantz, but it's still there.

Speaking of Russell, Ralph found the hidden immunity idol by accident. ("Hot doggie! I was picking up rocks," he said. "That was simple as wiping your hiney with toilet paper.") This happened as a not-so-subtle Russell hacked his way through bushes with a machete looking for the idol, acting nonchalant but giving himself away to everyone. Russell also carried the tribe's reward into camp so he could get the hidden immunity idol clue, and when confronted by Ralph, proved what a terrible social game he has.

Thus, the actual confrontation over the immunity idol clue was much more intense, as Russell got caught in his lie and didn't know what to do. He alternated between admitting that he was lying and/or had the clue ("Calm down guys, because this is how the game is played") and lying ("Maybe" there was a clue, he said).

Keep reading at realityblurred.com for more on Ralph and Russell's fight, Phillip, and Francesca's new home.

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