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

The winner of "Survivor: Micronesia" and veteran two other "Survivor" competitions gives THR her view of Wednesday’s night's "Survivor: Redemption Island."

Another week and another crushing defeat for Zapatera. I actually thought the poor kids had a chance this time, but I should have known better. They have displeased the island gods with their ungrateful challenge throwing and they must be punished. As suspected, this episode it was down to David the outcast and challenge disaster Sarita as to who would be sent to Redemption Island. After debating the pros of keeping David vs Sarita, it came down to a matter of trust vs strength in challenges.

Ultimately,Zapatera pulled the trigger and decided to ditch the challenge dud, Sarita. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems these clowns have the game all backwards now. They start off voting out strong players because they can’t be trusted and now they boot players they trust in order to keep stronger challenge competitors. What the...? They have their strategy all mixed up and in the words of Ralph and his amazing facial hair it’s made them a tribe of repeat losers. On a personal note, I am sad to see our little Kristen Wig lookalike get her flame extinguished. I was holding out hope that she would at some point start pulling out some survivor Gilly and entertain us all with her antics. Now, we’ll never know what might have been.

On the other side of the island, in another shocking turn of events, Ometepe is kicking ass and taking names. Although, there was some tension bubbling between Phillip and the other tribe members at the beginning, it didn’t affect their performance at the challenge and, happily, they pulled out yet another victory. Thank God! Since Phillip’s been getting on everyone’s nerves, it seemed like America’s favorite “Former federal agent?” would have been toast had they lost the immunity challenge. A truly devastating thought.

GALLERY: See Jeff Probst's personal photo scrapbook.

The reward picnic couldn’t come too soon and I believe all Phillip’s animosity depicted at the beginning of the show about not getting any crispy rice dissolved into a swirl of twirly cookies and jelly bellies. It’s always a good bonding experience when you win a tough physical challenge and get to eat after you’ve been starving together out in the wild for weeks. As I see it, all Phillip really wants is to be included in the cool kids club and if Ometepe knows what’s good for them they’ll keep him close. With the merge looming, you need numbers and Rob should know better than anyone that you shouldn’t take any tribe member for granted. Phillip could very well be the one vote that swaps sides and sends Rob packing later on in the game.

The weekly battle continued to rage over at Redemption Island. I was excited for the matchup of Matt vs Stephanie because I thought the gritty girl could give him a run for his money. In a gender neutral challenge involving a larger than life version of “memory” it came close but, in the end, Matt emerged victorious, sending Stephanie’s buff into the flames and out of the competition for good. Matt’s got Redemption island on lock.

I know I’ve said it before but every time Matt wins I get more and more impressed. I mean, the guy has been living in near total isolation since he was voted off in the second Tribal Council of the game. Being alone for that long and not going completely insane with Survivor paranoia is a hard thing to do, but he’s rocking it. He has shown his ability to remain steady, calm, and rooted throughout all of this. It’s a true testament to his faith that he’s maintained his stronghold over there; he’s completely
surrendered the outcome of the game to a higher power. He’s learned to trust himself and know that he’s being put through these tests for a reason. That must be his golden ticket to thriving out on Redemption Island and I think once the merge comes, Matt will be the one to watch in individual challenges.

If I read all the signs correctly it seems like next week will be the merger of the two tribes! Zapatera is in bad shape for this to happen now – being down a member is going to hurt them. All it’s going to take is for one of those cute little Ometepe girls to start batting their eyes at the Zapatera boys, David in particular, and off they will go a- runnin’ right into the open arms of Rob and his merry band. At this point, Rob is obviously still the strongest player in the game and he’s getting restless. I can see that wild look in his eyes. He’s ready for action and is poised to steamroll the merge. Rob’s got the immunity idol and the entire backing of his tribe so even though Zapatera will most likely try to attack him first, Rob’s got nothing to worry about. He’ll be running the show.