'Survivor: Redemption Island': Parvati Shallow’s Recap

The winner of "Survivor: Micronesia" continues her weekly thoughts on game intrigue, strategy and blunders. Warning: spoiler alert.

Merge time! Hollaaa! Thank God we finally get some grub and some good old fashioned scrambling. I love it when the game turns to individual challenges. Now we’ll see who will rise up and dominate competitions and who’s gonna get out there and start stirring up some trouble in paradise.

Speaking of paradise lost, since his exile at the treacherous hands of Rob, Matt’s been aching for redemption and to get back into the arms of his long lost Andrea. After a painful, mind over matter, big foot on a tiny perch challenge (a Survivor classic and personal favorite) Matt finally beat out Sarita, earning his chance to return to the game. Redemption Island reminds me of Cook Island’s and Micronesia’s very own exile island, and from personal experience, I can tell Matt’s going to have a rough time coming back to a tribe that’s been busy bonding, winning challenges and sharing rewards. His best bet might just be to grab Andrea and combine forces with the underdog’s, Zapatera. Those two better watch out not to appear too close to fast or both tribes will make Matt the easy target once again.

Ahh, spoken too soon, the two love birds’ late night canoodling raised the suspicions of puppet master and old man of the sea Rob Mariano. Side note, I truly love how Rob made up some crazy story about the tribe name, Merlonio, being "of the sea" in spanish, when in reality it’s the name of a member of Amber’s stuffed animal collection. The guy does know how to make people look like a big bunch of dummies and he does it with such a slick grin and a handshake. God love him. If these people have watched any of Rob’s seasons they should know that as soon as Rob smells a Survivor couple forming, he cuts of the head with the quickness. Andrea would do well to stick close to Rob and make sure he feels very comfortable and in control, lest her Adam get his angel wings clipped yet again.

My favorite moment of every merge episode is the first immunity challenge. Adrenaline is surging and everyone is watching, sizing each other up. It’s a sexy moment. What made it even more sexy would have been a pretty little waitress from NYC named Courtney Yates balancing those balls on the plate. I do think they created this challenge in her honor.

I loved how excited Jeff would get whenever he spoke of everyone’s balls on disks. So sorry, my mind is wandering ...

Aaaand we’re back. Everyone, besides Julie, performed much better than I thought they would holding their disks steady. These types of balancing challenges require a meditative like state, almost trance like, to maintain stillness in your body. Eventually  everyone lost their balls, leaving Mike and Natalie duking it out for the coveted immunity necklace. I gotta say, Mike looked like he had it in the bag. He didn’t move a millimeter the entire time, until fate intervened and devilish little fly landed on his ball, breaking his concentration and causing him to fall out of the challenge. Since when are marines affected by flies by the way? They are put through such intense training programs that I was completely shocked when a tiny little fly could come by and have so much power over Mike, the marine. I mean, he is a marine, right?

Natalie’s challenge win allowed Ometepe and Rob to maintain their grip of control over newly formed Merlonio. With Zapatera backed into a corner and Mike feeling the heat as the main target, he took a note, lit-rally, from Dear JT’s playbook. Yes ma’am, he wrote a sweet little note to Matt offering him final three if he’d join forces with Zap and vote out Rob’s right hand, Grant. Do people never learn? Really? I wish I was there to read it aloud to all of you ... xoxo.

Final three is always a tempting offer and Matt should have taken that note to heart and cut Rob’s right arm off. Taking out Grant would have been a great move and it would have put Matt in a much stronger position in the tribe. Unfortunately, Matt didn’t think he could honor his God and turn on his old tribe, a notion I find completely preposterous! Matt, God wants you to win a game called Survivor. Do what you gotta do! Instead, the kid runs right to Rob and gives him the perfect ammunition to gather his Ometepe crew and declare Matt as the guy to burn.

Silly Matt earned himself another one way ticket to Redemption Island. Such a bummer! I hope this time he remembers who he’s playing with and comes back with a vengeance.This game is getting interesting, kiddies. Can’t wait to hear Phillip’s story hour next week and I’m very excited to see Matt kick some butt at the next challenge on Redemption Island. I’ve also got my eye on Natalie as a possible dark horse challenge dominator. If Natalie continues to run challenges and Rob continues to run strategy at camp, Zapatera’s downfall will be quick and dirty. I see Mike as the next Redemption Island castoff and I can’t say I’d be too upset about it.

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