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'Survivor: Redemption Island' Season 22, Episode 4 Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 10th 2011 2:30PM
'Survivor: Redemption Island' - 'Don't You Work for Me?'['Survivor: Redemption Island' - 'Don't You Work for Me?']

Two 'Survivor' all-stars. Two very different initial reactions. Two very different results within their tribes. Kind of makes you wonder if things would have been different had they been put on different sides.

Unfortunately, Russell's third shot at the title of "Sole Survivor" took a huge hit last week when he was sent to Redemption Island. This was probably both frustrating for Russell as well as CBS. It's kind of hard to have this exciting "Rob vs. Russell" season if Russell gets booted at his team's first chance. But that's what happened.

Thus, the Redemption Island twist that offered players a chance to get back into the game at some undetermined point in the future. All Russell has to do is survive long enough to get back in, make the merge, and then it's game on. Right?

I'm still fascinated that CBS thought Russell would ever get a chance to make it to the end again. He did it twice in a row because twice in a row nobody knew who he was or how he played the game. Once that was established, there was just no way in hell. Russell's only chance would have been to change up his strategy completely and try to redeem himself on his team to win them over.

He didn't. Instead, he fell back on old tactics of bullying and threatening. Rob reversed his image from villain to hero almost overnight. Russell's arrogance in his own abilities proved to be his undoing. In fact, it may have proved his ultimate undoing, as he failed again at Redemption Island.

Matt makes it 2-0 in his run to the end, and Russell was eliminated with nary a squeak. Actually, he sobbed like a baby and goaded Ralph into revealing that he had a Hidden Immunity Idol. Even eliminated from the game, Russell can stir up crap and controversy. But that's it. Episode four and the great Russell Hantz is out of the game. He vowed to never play again, and it might be sour grapes, or the realization that he simply has no chance ever again.

Again, I believe he would have had a chance if he'd simply tried to show a kinder and nicer Russell to his tribe. A Russell who was about the team and motivational rather than destructions. Why do I say that? Because all he needed to do was not be such a threat to them that they sabotage a challenge.

Zapatera threw the challenge last week as a special occasion just to get rid of him. Last week, I was concerned the move might have damaged their momentum so early in the game. Well, this week we definitely got more of the epic challenge I was looking for this season.

It didn't disappoint in tension and drama, and both teams were neck-and-neck until the end. But Zapatera proved they were strong without Russell and came together very well to win it in the end. Which means they'd be undefeated if they hadn't thrown it last week. Which means at an early glance, it looks like Russell had the stronger tribe and could have easily worked his way to the merge if he could have only managed himself differently.

But enough about Russell, because he's gone. The epic showdown CBS tried to tout this season as has become instead another shot for Rob Mariano to see if he can win the game of 'Survivor.' That and the same great game it's always been for everyone else.

Rob has his work cut out for him, as Ometepe simply can't get it together. He's definitely solidified his control over the tribe, despite some grumbling from Phillip and Kristina, but it's not going to matter much if they get decimated by the merge. This tribe needs to figure out how to win.

It may be as simple as getting rid of Phillip. He's been a loose cannon since day one and no one can really trust what he might do. Plus, he's really annoying, which can disrupt camp harmony. Cutting him like Zapatera cut Russell from their tribe might create a stronger unity among the remaining players. Particularly since they seem to look up to Rob.

I can't disagree with Rob's move to eliminate Kristina, though, as she's a huge threat to him in the game. He's still playing a very smart game. The only potential drawback to his dominance of the game so far is Redemption Island. Matt was eliminated for virtually no reason (he was nice to the other team), while Kristina is gone not making friends the right way. Either one coming back would haunt him, but I think Kristina would be the bigger strategic threat.

It's a big question mark hanging over the show as to when this player will return, though my money's on the merge. He could come back sooner, but then he'd either go to Zapatera and make them even stronger, or find himself on the wrong side of the numbers on Ometepe and vanish again.

Matt would have to convince his own tribe to not trust Rob, and it's just not likely to happen. Rob is running his dwindling tribe like a master. He needs to win Challenges to win this game. He's not going to be able to dominate Zapatera the way he has Ometepe. If he does go into a merge and down numbers and still manages to take control , then I might be willing to consider him the greatest that's ever played the game.

What did you think of this week's game? Are you glad Russell is out of the game, and possibly forever? Do you think Matt can beat Kristina and continue to reign at Redemption Island?

'Survivor: Redemption Island' airs Wednesdays, 8PM ET on CBS.

[Follow Jason on Twitter.]

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BklynBeachSurfer

What is this??? Advertisement centeral???

March 11 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Joyce Nicodemus

Yes, glad that Russell is gone and hope to never see him again. The man doesn't learn from his mistakes and this time it bit him in the butt much earlier in the season. I think he was flustered at seeing Matt at Redemption Island instead of Francesca and that might have shook him up a bit. Whatever, Matt beat him fair and square and Russell is out at least until the reunion show. The "best player ever" didn't win this round either.

I'm hoping Matt will beat Kristina. Would love to see it come down to Rob and Matt at some point.

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