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'Survivor' Recap: The Buddy System & Philip's Magic Feather

Roxanne Tellier Roxanne Tellier
April 15th, 2011 9:19am EDT

Survivor Redemption IslandLet’s hear one more ‘awwww’ for poor Matt, who’s once again back on Redemption Island. Boston Rob let Matt just have one day of freedom before sending him back to solitary. Matt interviews that he must be the most naïve person to ever play Survivor. Say, if Matt goes crazy from being alone most of the 40 days, can he legally kill and eat other tribe members? Just wondering …

Murlonia ain’t no garden of Eden. David is in awe of Rob’s genius move in getting the tribe to vote Matt out again. “It’s straight out of a mob movie!” says he. Even Mike curries favor with Rob by calling the ousting a ‘brilliant’ move. But Julie, the karma queen, thinks Rob is cold blooded, and with his former team firmly behind him, she and her friends are in big trouble. She’s quickly learning that the loyalty she so rewarded at Zapatera means diddly to the hedonistic ex-Ometepes. Ralph’s regretting giving up his immunity idol and tries to cozy up to Rob’s henchwomen, but they only giggle and fob him off. Rob’s rise to villain status is complete when he gathers his buddies together, warning them to work off the ‘buddy system’ – no one talks to the ex-Zaps alone. Stick with me, baby, and we’ll be the Final Six.  Rob’s working the “Us vs Them” mentality, keeping separate shelters, and even separate eating times, to keep his group true, and arrogantly hating the other side.    

But what is this? Natalie tattles to Rob that Ralph offered his vote to Ashley if she didn’t vote against him. Worse still, Ashley said she wouldn’t tell Rob about the offer. To the camera, Rob tells the viewers that Ashley is not going to be in the game much longer. “You have to tell me everything. It’s my game. I’m in charge.” Now where did I see this kind of paranoid arrogance just recently? Oh yeah … RUSSELLL!

Off to the challenge, where Philip has secured a feather to a headband. Jeff asks Philip if he’s had a confrontation with a hawk, but Philip says the feather appeared out of thin air, after he’d had asked for a sign during meditation. That means it looks good for the former Otempo – Ahtempi – what the heck was that word again?  Oh yeah, the tribe formerly known as ‘yours!’

This is a wacky challenge, with three parts. First, dig up a club from the sand, and smash a tile. Then stick your head in a trough, get a mouthful of water, crawl under the trough, and spit your water into a tube. If you make it through that lot, you get to build one of those big stone puzzles. I’m sitting this one out!

It’s Mike, David and Grant who make it to the puzzle part, and Grant wins immunity. Back at camp, the ex-Zaps know they’re fighting for their lives. When the snobby ex-Ometepes swan by on their giggly way to the beach, Mike and David notice that the flagpole has moved. They begin to dig in the sand, thinking there may be another idol hidden there.

The happy gang, all slaps and tickles, are galvanized when ever vigilant Rob sees Mike and David digging in the sand. They’re up to something, hurry, hurry! The ex-Oms race up the beach, Philip in the lead.

The ex-Zaps see the enemy approaching, and decide to ‘screw with them.’ Pretending to have found something, they watch as Philip, first to arrive, throws himself on the sand, digging frantically. Rob even grabs two shovels so that he and Philip can dig deeper, as Mike and David smile at the antics of the ‘Mariani Crime Syndicate.’ Rob admits he has ‘idol paranoia.’ An idol did him in last time. So, even though Rob has an idol, he can’t let anyone else have one.

Rob gathers his ‘brain trust’ to discuss who they should vote out – Mike or David. The kicker is, which of the two has the better chance of beating out Matty on Redemption Island?

At Tribal Council, Jeff asks Philip again about the feather. Philip says his full blooded Cherokee great- great-grandfather came to him in a meditation, predicting that the former Ometepe tribe would live long in Survivor lore.  Everyone rolls their eyes and smiles at Philip’s blather. Jeff then asks Julie about the tribe, and who she thinks is at the bottom. She’s happy to tell Jeff that it’s Philip. Philip defends his position by saying he’s happy to be at the bottom, fetching wood and helping his ‘family’, just as he helped his family as a child. Julie cracks that Matt thought he was family as well. Zing!

When Ralph is asked how he feels about Rob’s gang blocking every path, he says that he just keeps on going, might even find himself a feather tomorrow. Philip’s face is a picture, as he tells Ralph, “It takes courage, and determination, and know when to hold your tongue,” he spits, “to get a feather.” “God bless him,” says Ralph. “He might just go out on the beach, and just the whole bird fall down.”  I don’t know how the tribe members get it cool; I’d have been rolling on the floor with wet pants, but that’s just me.

The strategy comes clearer when Mike is asked about Philip’s feather, and he says he thinks it’s an insecurity thing. Philip rushes to present his resume, but David tells him, “just give it up. You sound like a lunatic.” Philip snaps back, saying David sounds like ‘a guy at the bottom of a cesspool, struggling to get out of it.” So there, take that David!

They vote. Jeff reads out five votes for Philip before finding six votes for Mike. Have fun at Redemption, Mike!

Back at Murlonia, we watch the night cam follow the antics of the ex-Oms. Rob interviews that he’s happy to see that Philip is coming along as a loyal soldier, and he’ll be rewarded for his good behavior. It looks like Natalie and Philip will be going to the Final Three with Rob. Thing is, Philip might not be as crazy as he plays.

David warns Ralph to stay away from the other tribe – you only get one chance to make a good impression! But Ralph has other ideas, and he takes the opportunity to play with Philip’s mind when he finds Philip relaxing with Ashley. Philip snarks that he doesn’t want to talk about the game with Ralph; clearly, Philip is beginning to get the idea that he’s one of the chosen people.

Another day, another challenge. And today, it’s for immunity AND cheeseburgers! Hooray! But there’s a twist. It’s the old ‘black and white stones’ trick. With each person holding one of each color, Jeff tells them they have a choice; play for immunity by showing him a black stone, or eat cheeseburgers by giving up the white. Everyone but Philip and Steve will be fighting for their lives.

As Philip and Steve sit down to a feast of 26 burgers with the works, pop, and a huge bowl of fries, the smell of the food wafts over to those who have chosen to do the challenge. They are hanging like wombats from wooden sticks. Last man hangin’ wins immunity. Despite the trash talk and the rumbling tummies, David hangs on for 45 minutes before losing to Andrea.

Back at camp, Rob’s happy to keep the ex-Zaps off kilter with his winning crew. Ralph, never one to stay down for long, discovers that their nets have caught a lot of fish! But they’ve been lying on the rocks for a while, so Rob, rightly or wrongly, says the fish are in rigor mortis, and shouldn’t be eaten. Julie’s pretty sure that Rob’s motivation is for his people not to have to take anything from the enemy. While the ex-Zaps feast on baked fishies, Rob tells his tribe to suck it up, the hunger pangs will go away by the next day. Grant defies Rob, tasting some of the fish, and denying that there’s a dictatorship going on. David notes that Rob is fostering a cult mentality, ruling by the fear that speaking out against him, will get them voted off.

Rob’s mind is working the logistics of who’s the next to go. Should it be David, who’s a contender, or Steve, the old dinosaur that wants to go home. If Steve is grateful to leave the hunger, contests, and fatigue behind, he just might be on Rob’s side at the end. Maybe a mercy killing would be, well, merciful, says Rob.

Off we got to another Tribal! David is pretty sure he’s next on the menu. But before we can get to the voting, it’s time for an interlude by Philip. Still wearing the feather, he declares that for the first time in 22 seasons, there is a highly effective, and beauteous and glorious operation in effect, right now. Which is what, says Jeff?  “It’s called Stealth,” blusters Philip. Ah, says Jeff, the famous ‘Stealth R Us’. Yes, intones Philip, and his is known as ‘The Specialist ‘, with his principal responsibilities being to infiltrate, and supplant inceptions into the former Zapatera tribe.

But he’s just getting started! We have here, Boston Rob, “The Mineralist,” (?) principal responsibilities to develop strategies for challenges, and to develop strategic alliances that are impervious. Grant “The Destroyer of Aspirations” better known as “The Assassin” is to go out and compete, destroying any competitor. And let’s not forget, The Three Degrees (the girls), who are highly effective, agile and have supreme abilities to focus their minds, as they did today. And, presumably, be the back-up singers for the Stealth R Us theme song.

I am not making this up!

Ralph wonders if Philip’s grandfather told him to sit on the bench and eat burgers. Philip says that his team mates know where his heart is. Steve says that he chose food because it’s not his time.  Philip again talks up his crew, but Julie tells Jeff that Rob is in complete control of the ex-Oms. “It’s not even a tribe, it’s a cult,” says Julie.

Enough! Time to vote. Big surprise … Rob, Rob,  … and one hilarious vote that has Rob’s name written four times on the paper with a note asking ‘please count this vote four times.” Heeee!  Good one, David, but no such luck. We all knew it was gonna be David heading off into the night. Good thing he bonded with Matt before over the Bible, ‘cause they’re gonna have some time to chat.

Next week: Philip calls Steve crazy. Steve calls Philip crazy. Philip calls Steve a crazy white folk. Yawn.

Photo Credits: CBS


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