One of the most consistent aspects of Survivor is the slow build. The first episodes of any given season are usually predictable, showing off who is going to leave through the editing. People don’t often betray their alliances or make bold moves until well into the season. So, when we’re teased with a thrilling twist that would allow the underdogs to take over a boring majority alliance, it’s an exciting prospect.

First, let’s start with Redemption Island. I really don’t like this concept because it is a tension killer. The episodes should lead up to the moment when somebody’s Survivor dreams are crushed at tribal. By giving them a second chance by putting the elimination in the middle of an episode, the mood is killed. Somebody’s gone before the episode even has a chance to really kick in.

Redemption Island isn’t interesting because the scenes are just a bunch of people stewing in their misery. They don’t have to try to build team unity or strategize because their existence in the game relies solely on the competitions. The scenes are a waste of time. It would be far more fun if they were actually building a third tribe of misfits and rejects to compete with the people still in the game. Instead we get scenes that don’t push forward the story.

However, Redemption Island did give us one spectacular gift this season. Rupert is the first to go. He went out the way he lived: pretending to be a hero for arbitrary reasons. But before he leaves he gives us this gem, “I can’t believe it. FIRST one out. This is a great game. I love it. But I love my wife more.” You want a medal for loving your wife more than a reality show? Get out of here.

Candice, the winner of the competition, gives her husband, John, a clue to the immunity idol. As a part of the dreaded guy alliance (aka The Brigade 2.0), his advantages are only going to contribute to the inevitable moment when his tribe gets rid of all their women. Boring.

Meanwhile in the other camp, Colton’s redemption arc has ended. It lasted a record breaking one episode. He’s spreading false rumors, making Kat cry, and trying to call out people while his tribe is relaxing around the campfire. He couldn’t even last three days of pretending to be the apologetic castaway. “When I’m angry,” he says “I turn into a raging bitch. It’s the understatement of the year.

Aras, Monica, Tina, Gervase, and Tyson get together to discuss his bullying ways. They form an alliance and it’s already a million times more likeable than the Brolliance on the other team.

Then the worst thing ever happens. The show teases a blindside of John. He’s got the immunity idol clue and is being very shady about it. One of his closest friends on the island, Rachel, is one the chopping block. His own alliance is afraid that he’ll use the idol on her. Their logic makes no sense, but their paranoia is there anyway. However, we know as viewers that nothing so amazing as a blindside of somebody in a majority alliance would happen in the second episode. It’s a tease and a mean one at that.

Rachel leaves as expected. The votes do reveal that the two remaining women have critical thinking skills. Instead of voting Rachel out like everyone else, they both vote for John just in case he uses the idol on her. Hopefully they can think their way out of the horrible gender line predicament their stuck in.

Other Musings:

  • Too bad Rupert didn’t have to burn his shirt too.
  • Aras “He’s the gay Russell Hantz.”
  • Gervase learns nothing from Marisa’s elimination. “Marisa, that was for you!” he yells when the vets win.
  • Brad Culpepper throws a tantrum because of Gervase’s comments. He also makes comments that their tribe will be better without the women and says that they’re all interchangeable. Can his blindside come soon?