This is the spring of Mark Burnett. The famed reality producer has two winners airing simultaneously: Celebrity Apprentice and Survivor: Redemption Island. Both shows are experiencing great seasons, but I’m here only to talk about the latter; so let’s get into it.
This week’s episode was great. Crazy, bizarre, and full of twists and turns. Where to begin? Oh, I know: Redemption Island.Our favorite son of God Matt was ready to do battle one last time, and despite a nasty looking cut on his foot, we knew he’d have no problem trampling Sarita for the win. Jeff told us that whoever triumphed at Redemption Island Arena would get to rejoin the game, and while I generally don’t root for born-agains (or religious zealots of any faith), I’ve been won over by Matt’s friendly and affable disposition. Plus, he’s proven himself to be the ultimate underdog — there could be nothing better than watching him return to the game and raise hell — perhaps literally — on those who betrayed him.
One problem though: Matt continues to be a hardcore Christian, and revenge ain’t high on the list of Jesus’s to-do list.
Nevertheless, I’m happy to report that Matt did in fact persevere in yet another nail-biting Redemption Island duel. The challenge was one of those harrowing endurance tests where players had to stand on impossibly small ledges until their bodies or gravity defied them. It’s my least favorite thing to watch, and yet it is the most exciting. For a moment I thought Sarita might pull off the upset given that her feet were in perfect health and women traditionally do quite well with Survivor endurance challenges.
But it was our boy Matt who won, and soon he was able to join his old tribe-mates… as well as some new ones as Jeff announced just seconds later that the group was merged. Oh happy day. Now things would get really interesting. Ralph had one idol. Rob had another, and in the middle of this mess were Matt and presumably Andrea. Let the fireworks begin!
Sure enough, it looked like Matt DID have revenge on his mind. He pulled Andrea aside and revealed a plan to pick off members of both tribes, ultimately resulting in Ometepe’s obliteration. Sounded great and exciting. I was certainly on board.
But then came the morning sun, and with it were rays of guidance from Jesus. Matt decided that he couldn’t just backstab people, and with that guilt weighing on him, he sought out Rob and told him of his entire plan, followed by a desire to stick with Ometepe from here on out. Great move, genius. Perhaps Matt forgot that Rob was the most paranoid player in the game. And perhaps Matt also forgot that Rob blindsided him way back when for the mere act of shaking someone’s hand on another team.
Sure enough, Rob was deeply unsettled by the news that Matt had been gunning for him. He quickly and quietly set the ball in motion to get his tribe to vote out Matt as a blindside once again. This time though he clued Andrea in. She wasn’t terribly happy with Matt as his confession actually managed to throw her under the bus as well. Had Matt still been in her good graces, she probably would have alerted him to the blindside and perhaps defected with him to the other side.
Instead, however, things went down much differently. The Zapatera gang was convinced that their rivals would take out Mike; so Ralph played his hidden immunity idol. We all knew this would be bad news.
Sure enough, the Zapateras cast their votes against Grant (just in case Rob had suspicions and played an idol). After the Grant votes played out, it was time to move on to the Ometepes. First vote: Steve. Wait, what? Upon looking at Matt’s happy face, it was clear this was his vote. Then came the rest: Matt, Matt, Matt… etc.
Yup, it looked like Matt was getting blindsided once again. Finally, it was down to a tie: five votes for Matt, five for Grant. And the final ballot went for… Matt. Yup, no sooner had Matt arrived in camp, he was already packing his bags. And where was he going? Back to Redemption Island. Yes, it’s still in effect. Maybe he’ll come back again, but truth be told — it’s just going to get harder and harder, what with scary potential competitors like Rob and Grant and Mike lurking around.
I have to say: I was rooting for Matt, but now he’s just an idiot. Part of me wants him to earn a THIRD chance and finally get it right, but a much larger part of me says he’s made his bed, and now he must lie in it.
“Oh my goodness! A chance to get back into the game? Amazing! I’m not sure if I can pull out the win, but if the challenge revolves around infecting your gum with a dirty stick, I’m golden!”
“Just gotta focus. I need to rejoin my tribe (so that I can do something really dumb and get sent back here).”
“Wow. Great to be back on the tribe. Surely I will not have to see Redemption Island for a long, long, long time. Possibly never again!”
“Hey Ralph, what do you say we both do something idiotic at Tribal Council tonight?”
Andrea: “Okay, so we get revenge on Rob by joining the other side.”
Matt: “Yes. But before we do that, I’ll tell Rob the whole plan and then back out of it. That won’t hurt us, right?”
Matt: “It’s amazing what the teachings of the Lord can do for your spirit.”
Ashley: “And, like, it’s amazing how GOOD of a tan I have! Like, I’m so hot!”
“Come on in, guys! We’re gonna play with balls!”
“Okay, guys. Grab your balls. Time for the next stage.”
“Looks like EVERYBODY’s having a hard time with those balls.”
“The sun is beating down. Those are some hot balls in front of you.”
“You guys are so hungry, you probably think those balls are scoops of ice cream. You probably want to just lick those balls. Real slowly. Maybe tickle them with your tongue and–“
“JEFF would you stop?”
“You know, Rob, I wanted to backstab you… I did… but that didn’t feel right. So I’m just telling you that I’m not gonna do it. I’m with you now, and I’m sure this won’t backfire in my face, right?”
Matt: “I’m glad we had this talk. I feel much better now. I knew I could trust you, even though you totally backstabbed me once already.”
“I am going to smack the beJESUS out of Matt. Literally. He has a necklace that says ‘Be Jesus,’ and I am going to smack it off him.”
“Dear God, give me some sign that my decision to side with Rob was the right one.”
God: “You want a sign? How about I brought you back from Redemption Island. It’s not called Make-Nice-Like-Nothing-Happened Island.”
“Cock-a-doodle-doooooo!!! I’m using my idol for no reason!”
“This is gettin’ good.”
“Uh… did we just royally screw up?”
“Dear God, why do you hate me?”
Matt: “Well, I guess that’s that.”
Andrea: “I just totally let out the most amazing fart.”
Jeff: “The tribe, and in many ways God, has spoken.”
“Thanks for the reminder, Jeff.”
“Hey, it’s your own fault, dumbass.”
What did you think about the episode? Rooting for Matt to triumph again? And will anyone be able to stop Rob?