This week, on Survivor – Matt believes that God is keeping him in the game, Phillip is ‘turning Japanese’, and Boston Rob continues to conduct the Survivor Master Class.

Post Tribal Council, David has to defend his vote for Sarita, as the Zapatera tribe closes ranks against him. Over at Redemption Island, Stephanie drones on and on about the food that she will eat when she gets home, as Matt prays internally for her to SHUT UP! Matt interviews that he and God have had a nice chat, and he’s assured God that he’s in it for the long haul.   

Another beautiful Ometepe morning, save for the sight of Phillip, once again resplendent in his un-tighty pink ‘manties’. He wants to be at the duel. Rob asks Phillip if he can go as well. Phillip no longer trusts Rob, and tells the camera about Miyamoto Musashi, a famous Japanese horseman, who wrote a book entitled, "The Book of Five Rings." He quotes the author as saying to let your enemy go first. Phillip feels that Rob's weakness is his need for total control.  

Rob, on the other hand, notes that Phillip "has a big mouth, he likes to talk and he can't be trusted. He's dangerous because of his stupidity. He's probably the most unaware person I've ever met in my entire life."

Matt and Stephanie, with Rob, Phillip, and Ralph and David from the Z team watching, duel over a game designed to test their memory. Very like ‘Concentration’, play consists of turning over tiles to find matches. Matt wins his fifth duel, and Stephanie cries, as she really wanted to stay in the game. Before burning her buff, she tells Ralph not to hold it against David that he voted for Sarita, as he’s the only guy that can do puzzles, and that he should get rid of Sarita for the good of the tribe. She then tells Rob to watch his back after the merge, and to try to win Matt back for his side. Phillip called Matt a samurai warrior in the tradition of the bushido code. On the way back, Phillip asks Rob if they should reveal what they’ve seen at the duel, but Rob says he wants to play honestly. Later, Rob tells the rest of the tribe about Phillips intention to deceive, knowing he’s putting the target squarely on Phillip’s back, rather than his own.

In a quintessential ‘Boston Rob’ moment, Rob says that if an opportunity comes to vote out Phillip, he won’t blindside him. He’ll tell him straight out that he’s going home … he’ll ‘frontside’ him.

Over at the crumbling Zapatera tribe, Ralph seems determined to turn the tribe against David, saying he’d would turn on the team in a minute. (Come on, Ralph. We know you’re mad that David voted against your girl Stephanie.) When David says it’s a good day to fish since there was a storm the day before, the team, lying in the shade and clearly unenthusiastic, give excuses for not budging. Steve says that David “is getting hard to stomach,” while Sarita says he’s bugging her, and “I wanna punch him in the face.” Ralph’s back is up, and anything David does angers him. Ralph’s speech about David being smart but incapable tickled me, especially when he said “It don’t take a smart to win this game.” Let’s hope not, Ralph, for your sake!  

Is Phillip crazy like a fox? When the Ometepe ladies mention that they may have made too much of the rice crispy, the way Rob likes it, he asks for some of the ‘crispy.’ When they tell him he can’t have it, he says "But I didn't have one scoop of the crispy."  From the sly look on his face prior to the incident, you have to wonder if his intention was to stir up trouble. But craziness will out, and he overinflates the situation, as he rants and raves about “Rob, Rob, Rob,” a la Jan Brady. "I'm sick and tired of the fact that they act like, because Boston Rob is Boston Rob, he gets everything," he says.

Phillip goes on to say “they sleep in his underwear each night — that’s not speaking figuratively, that’s literally, they’re sharing his underwear, the girls, his socks, his bed — so they want to pay him deference on everything.” Wow, that’s way more than I wanted to know about the specifics of Survival deprival! Jeff, pull my application; I’ve changed my mind!  

Now that Phillip is in full rant, he works himself up further by saying that, as a 52-year-old man, and elder of the tribe, he should be deferred to, but instead gets "the red-headed stepchild treatment."

Well, I think that saving the pink ‘manties’ for bedtime should get him SOME benefits! And considering that these guys are eating fairly regularly, seeing as they’ve been winning all the food rewards, it seems odd Phillip is so intent on the ‘crispy.’ This is a man with too much time to think, and too little brain to think straight.

Time to get dirty! The challenge has the teams racing through obstacles, bursting through bales of hay, crawling through mud, running over rope nets, breaking down brick walls, collecting bags of balls wrapped around coils and then tossing the balls into a narrow net. This is a rough challenge for anyone, but especially for Zapatera, who have not had the food advantage Ometepe has enjoyed. Despite Phillip getting snared in the rope net, (and Rob untangling him,) and losing his way in the maze, (and Rob directing him,) Ometepe once again wins the challenge – and another food reward.

Ometepe hops into a helicopter to head for their reward. Rob says he’s done a lot of things in his life, but landing on top of an active volcano is definitely one of the coolest experiences he’s ever had. After enjoying the view, the tribe falls upon the goodies spread out for them, dining on candy, cookies, fruit, salad and drink, both alcoholic and non. Even Phillip admits he feels totally included in the group for a change.

Leave it to Rob to show us how it’s done. While the tribe chows down, Rob finds another immunity idol clue, hidden in amongst the cookies. Nonchalantly, he tosses the clue into the volcano. He doesn’t need it, and doesn’t want anyone else to have it.

After three losses in a row, starving and with low morale, Mike realizes that his tribe is in a bad situation from which to confront a looming merge. It may be worth it to keep David around, who is good at puzzle challenges, since Sarita, while loyal, is not as strong and is easily flustered.  David of course, wants Sarita out, but doesn't seem to push the point home too much, simply pointing out to his tribe that she is by far the weakest link.

At Tribal Council, the debate goes on about loyalty vs strength, but no one seems to see the elephant in the room ... keep the smart one in! When Jeff asks whether it is important that the entire group be cohesive, Ralph confesses that he doesn’t know what ‘cohesive’ means. Despite having the concept explained to him, Ralph still doesn’t seem to catch the drift. Julie, on the other hand, thinks it’s all about bad Karma. In the end, with 4 votes for Sarita and 2 for David, it looks like Ralph voted to get rid of David and keep Sarita. So he still hasn’t grasped the concept.

"Omigawd, I wish I'd brought my stuff," says Sarita, as she heads off into the night.  Yep, she and Ralph would have made a fine pair.

Next week: Wonder Boy Matt seems to have cut his foot “very badly.” Whoever wins the duel on Redemption Island returns to the game. And - The Merge!