Higher powers pick a Survivor challenge winner as we get more bad strategy, bad spelling

While Survivor Redemption Island has given us a new component to the game, it has taken one thing away. Because we now see the person voted off going to Redemption Island at the end of the episode, we don’t get to see everyone’s votes during the credits. Thus we don’t have immediate knowledge of how each tribe member cast their vote at Tribal Council, and no knowledge about who is responsible for the atrocious spelling.

It’s likely Ralph who helped voted Stephanie off by spelling her name “Stifine,” since he’s previously given us “Ressell” and “Krasta.” Still, he should face some additional public shame for this, although misspelling names is less egregious than mispronouncing names that you’ve only encountered through speech (Phillip called Andrea “An-dray-ah,” and let’s not forget “Franquesqwa”).

At Redemption Island, God got involved in the challenge, choosing Matt over Krista, after the two bonded over her luxury item, the Bible (which one of our own guessed–win!). Matt and Krista prayed together at Redemption Island, bonding over the fact that they were “struggling” with being around non-believers, as Matt said.

The challenge was an impressive showing by Krista, but Matt’s slow and steady approach gave him the victory again. I mean, God decided that Matt should win again, because Krista said her loss meant that it was “God’s will that was done; it was my time to go.”

The challenge was a repeat of ones we’ve seen before–fetch a bag with a hook, roll a ball through a maze with holes, but there was a great camera angle from the moving table up at Krista as she concentrated and nearly won. I mean, as God forced her to lose. But she gave her Bible to Matt, so he could keep the faith as he fights his way back into the game. (The editors had some fun with this, ending the segment with an image of a towering storm cloud with a rainbow emanating from within it, never mind the choir singing in the background.)

Later, Stephanie was voted off because she is annoying and untrustworthy. The tribe acknowledged her strength in challenges, and I wonder if her potential to win at Redemption Island’s challenges came into the tribe’s thinking. Of course, they just lost their second in a row, so she’s not exactly a superstar. Stephanie tried to get the tribe to turn on Sarita, who brilliantly wounded her gums by stabbing herself with a stick as a substitute for a toothbrush. “I need to drag her down and bring me up,” Stephanie said, but even with David on her side.

But Stephanie just didn’t have the social game she needed to save herself. Is there any surprise she aligned herself with he-who-shall-not-be-named? She just isn’t a diplomat, calling her tribemates “complete assholes” to us and telling Steve that she voted for him because he is weak, which she later apologized for saying. At Tribal Council, she called “bullshit” on Sarita, and said, “I haven’t heard anyone complain as much as she does.” Apparently Stephanie can’t hear herself, and the tribe heard enough, sending her to Redemption Island.

Meanwhile, over at Ometepe, I regretted Survivor‘s switch to HD when we got a high-definition close up on Natalie plucking Ashley’s armpit hair as they had a “spa day” and did things like “clipping our leg hairs,” Ashley explained.

Their unwillingness to work around camp and/or obey Phillip’s orders as if they were his dogs irked our secret agent, who insisted they were “not giving me one iota credit for” his work but said he refused to “play that game” of demanding credit even as he did just that. Oh, Phillip. At least he kept his swim trunks on as he told Andrea, “I don’t have to yell at the boys because they boys pull their weight around here.” She retorted, “You’re not my dad, Phillip,” and told us that he’s “mental.” Rob realized that he needed to keep his tribe together, so they’d keep winning, so he told Phillip to shut it.

At their reward, which took place under a giant statue of Jesus overlooking the bay next to San Juan del Sur, there was another clue to the hidden immunity idol, which only Rob saw once again. With the help of Grant–who basically won the challenge for the tribe and even had his shirt torn off his back by Mike as they fought to catch balls, ahem–Rob snuck off with the clue, but guess which secret agent was spying on them?

“I saw it,” Phillip insisted, and barged his way into Rob and Grant’s conversation. Does he really think that’d be effective? He tried to explain to us how his alliance is “Stealth R Us. I’m the specialist, Rob is the mentalist, and Grant is the assassin,” but then realized that his alliance doesn’t really think of him as an Angel, too, so he told us, “When the time comes, I’m gonna kick a little ass around here.” Until then, those crabs better watch out.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.