"Go back to the troll hole where you came from."
That's Charlie Sheen not talking about Russell Hantz--but he might as well be speaking for the Survivor: Redemption Island archvillain's tribe and their anxiousness to oust him from the game.
When you pick a fight with a warlock like Hantz, do you have a hope of winning?
Boom! Those Zapatera "bunch of bitches" hated--or feared--Hantz so much they threw a challenge to rid themselves of the "cancer" infecting their tribe.
Thumbs Up! All the mighty men in Zapatera--Steve, Mike, David and Rooster Ralph--are here to play and win. Most of the time. Steve accurately points out that "there hasn't been a lot of success in throwing challenges [e.g., Survivor: China's Peih-Gee and Jaime, who giggled infuriatingly while sabotaging a challenge] because you're down in numbers. But [Russell's] not a number." Mike agrees: "He's like a black hole sucking in energy and light--everything." We cheered when they gave the thumb-up signal to throw the challenge, and won't be sorry to see Russell's nasty "concubines" Stephanie and Krista follow him home (via a stopover at Redemption Island).
Sitting Pretty: The guys at Zapatera almost made us forget we're rooting for Awesome Rob, who just rewarded "loyal solider" Phillip with a fifth-place seat in his four-member alliance. Here's hoping he lasts longer than Kristina and Andrea. Even in repose, the former federal agent is wildly entertaining to us and Rob, who discovered the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol in Phillip's chair. "Had Phillip not been so fat, the chair wouldn't have been bending so much, and I wouldn't have told him to move," marveled Rob about his oblivious ally.
Welcome to the Sprint(TM) Redemption Island Arena! "For the first time ever," Mark Burnett enthused last month about Redemption Island's game-changing duel, "we've got people who've been blindsided, kicked out, unwanted, and revengeful seeing those people who had a hand in it." Yes! Even greater than the duel itself is the dramatic confrontation between the spectators and their castoffs. So to select the spectators for this epic showdown, Survivor producers went with...blindly drawing purple rocks colored marbles out of a bag? (I can almost hear Paschal cackling madly at this foolishness.) Instead of a revenge and betrayal drama, we were treated to Andrea's self-righteous ("I didn't vote for either of them!") cheerleading. Her boyfriend Matt's victory was preordained, but at least Francesqua kept things interesting. (OK, that's a lie. This duel was a dud, and the only interesting thing about Francesqua is Phillip's bizarre mispronunciation and misspelling of her name, which we've chosen to adopt.)
Buff BBQ: We didn't care much about the outcome of the first duel, but we've been wild with anticipation over Jeff Probst's final sendoff of the Castaway. Could he top his pithy "the tribe has spoken"? Apparently not: "Your shot at redemption and the million-dollar prize is over. You're out of the game. You can toss your buff on the fire on your way out." Even a simple Sheenism like "buh-bye" or "Boom!" would be so much better. (Too bad he can't ride his mercury surfboard back in time to offer a suggestion to Probst. Or can't he...?) The smoldering, soiled buff is equally anticlimactic--but at least we don't have to smell it?
Clueless: Russell's inability to decipher the Hidden Immunity Idol based on the clue seemed less ridiculous when even Rob threw up his hands at its vagueness. "The clue basically could've read, 'The Hidden Immunity Idol is somewhere.' It could be anywhere!" (At least Rob doesn't equate water and beach with life like Russell.) Ralph may not be as articulate as people not named Phillip, but the fact that he still hasn't jumped the gun by revealing his Idol proves he's got the smahts to go far in this game, like that other guy at Ometepe. How adorable is Rob's Hidden Immunity Idol humility? "In the past I ignored the Hidden Immunity Idol," he admits sheepishly. "That didn't turn out too good for me." Hopefully he'll launch a more aggressive search for the Idol itself (or keep his eye on Phillip, who I still believe will trip over it) rather than relying on the useless clue.
WHAT'S TO COMEWith Russell funking up Redemption Island with his "pus-filled rash," Zapatera can focus on remaining strong. If they play the challenges to win, the powerhouse tribe will continue to defeat Rob's fangirls at Ometepe--and if they do visit Tribal Council again, their next two castoffs are obviously Russell's mean girls Stephanie and Krista. We're confident Awesome Rob will survive until the merge, but what then? There's only one outcome for Rob, and it rhymes with winning.