Wow! That is the first word that comes to mind when I try to describe the premier of Survivor: Redemption Island. In the previous 21 seasons of Survivor, you would be hard pressed to recall a more dynamic opening episode. I know that I can’t. Typically the first two or three shows are rather slow moving, which gives you an opportunity to get to know the competitors and get a general feel for things. Not tonight. It was balls to the wall from the word go.
Being a self-proclaimed Survivor Geek, I am not ashamed to admit that I had goose bumps when award-winning host Jeff Probst introduced Boston Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz as the additional players this season. Of course the reactions coming from the newbies were different for each of the two Survivor veterans.
Boston Rob received a loud cheer along with a chorus of oohs and ahs. Especially from the young female challengers, who were evidently impressed. The response for Russell was quite dissimilar. It was pretty much a collective, “Oh no!”
Despite the initial polar opposite reactions, they didn’t last very long. After a lot of hugging and kissing, segments from both the Ometepe and Zapatera tribes decided they wanted the two Survivor All-Stars gone as soon as possible.
On Zapatera, it was slime ball attorney David and Iraq veteran Mike who teamed up to plot the demise of the Hall-of-Famer, Russell.
Over in camp Ometepe, it was the aggressive Kristina, along with the dimwitted Francesca and the extremely annoying Phillip joining forces to try to facilitate the early dismissal of Boston Rob.
Because Zapatera thoroughly kicked their ass in the Immunity challenge, the trio from Ometepe was given the first opportunity to eliminate their All-Star.
It should be noted that following the end of the challenge, Boston Rob exchanged a short glance with Russell. Something was going on between the two. It was as if they were communicating without ever saying a word.
Before going back to camp Ometepe, in a brilliant piece of editing, they cut to Russell who made this prophetic statement, “I know how Boston Rob thinks. Right now he is thinking, oh crap, I’m stuck with a bunch of weenies.”
A truer assessment was never made.
Kristina, who to her credit had already found a Hidden Immunity Idol, tried her best to lay a plan for the disposal of Boston Rob with the rather obtuse Francesca. Unfortunately they needed a third person, so they called upon the irritating Phillip.
Let me explain why I have called Phillip both annoying and irritating.
Before tonight’s episode was three minutes old, Phillip informed us that he was a former special agent. Then, while they were building their shelter, he announced it to the tribe. Over the next 60 minutes we were being constantly reminded that this 52-year-old guy in droopy fuchsia briefs was a former special agent.
So, reluctantly, Kristina and Francesca revealed their diabolical scheme to take Boston Rob out of the game to special agent Phillip. After some considerable deliberation, the dysfunctional threesome left for Tribal Council seemingly prepared for the ultimate blindside.
Well, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Now they can say it for weenies as well.
It didn’t take long before special agent Phillip became double agent Phillip, quickly spilling the beans to Probst and the rest of the Ometepe tribe. He even went so far as to reveal that Kristina possessed the Hidden Immunity Idol. The look on Probst’s face was priceless.
Needless to say, Boston Rob saw right through Kristina and Francesca’s feeble attempts to cover up their skullduggery.
Francesca received enough votes to be sent packing to Redemption Island. There, she will have to fend for herself, waiting for someone else to be voted off. At which point there will be some sort of duel where the loser is exiled permanently.
Like I said before, wow! Season 22 has started out balls to the wall and I don’t see it letting up anytime soon. The previews for next week show farmer Ralph and Russell having a major confrontation. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait. Until next time…from the booth.