Season 22: Episode 8 - This Game Respects Big Moves
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am


On night 18, Zapatera returns to camp from Tribal Council after just voting Sarita out.  Steve is glad that Sarita "took it like a champ" even though they blindsided her.  Julie explains why the tribe voted Sarita off by saying, "We felt like Sarita was the weakest link when it came to helping us win the challenges."    David tells Ralph that he understands why Ralph voted for him tonight and that he is okay with it.   As they get ready for bed, Julie admits, "We are dwindling.  We're down to five now and we have to win the next challenge."   Zapatera agrees to focus on winning.


Meanwhile, over on Redemption Island, Sarita arrives and finds Matt in the shelter.   Matt welcomes Sarita and admits, "I was quite happy to see her, because she doesn't appear to be too incredibly tough."    Matt tells Sarita that he has been hearing bad things about Zapatera and asks her what's been happening over there.   Sarita tells Matt that it is not bad at Zapatera and that Julie, Mike, Steve, and Ralph are all good people.    She tells him that Mike is an amazing player and that he should be open to him.    Matt listens intently to Sarita's advice.  He feels that the merge is getting close and that Sarita might even be his last duel before the merge.  Matt reveals, "If all goes as planned and I can win the duel, it'd be quite the opportune moment to strike and take out the Ometepe tribe."


The next morning, treemail arrives at Ometepe, Zapatera and Redemption Island announcing the duel.   The treemail invites the whole tribe from each camp to witness the duel.   As Rob finishes reading the treemail at Ometepe, the tribe guesses that this might be the last duel or the merge.  With the possibility of a merge, Rob says, "We should probably bring our stuff."  With that, all the members begin gathering their belongings, except for Phillip.  Phillip feels that Zapatera would come to the Ometepe beach, if there was a merge.  Therefore, Ometepe should not have to pack things up.    Rob does not want to risk losing their possessions and responds, "Better to be safe than sorry."   Phillip admits that Rob is right and starts to pack up the items that Ometepe has won in the rewards.  He realizes that he has learned a lot from Rob and feels more comfortable in the tribe these days.  Phillip reveals, "This is a whole new game now.  We've got the numbers and if it is a merge, I'm very comfortable staying with the Ometepe tribe."

Over at Zapatera, they come to the same conclusion that this treemail might signal a merge.    So, they begin packing up their stuff.  If there is a merge, Mike is ready to target the Ometepe tribe starting with Rob.   He reveals, "Rob is the obvious target.  He's a master at this game.  I'm ready to get in the ring and go toe-to-toe with that guy."   

Meanwhile on Redemption Island, Matt is preparing for his sixth duel.   He is a little nervous because he has cut his foot and worries that this may hurt him, if it is an endurance challenge.   Matt is still hopeful though and says, "God gave me this platform and I'm going to do the best I can."  Sarita knows that Matt is going to be hard to beat, but feels like a worthy opponent.


Stephanie and Matt arrive at the Redemption Island arena to find both tribes in the audience.   Jeff Probst, the host, reveals that the winner of today's duel goes back in the game.  Matt and Sarita are thrilled to hear this, but Rob is worried.  He says, "If Matt wins, it's no good for me personally."  Rob is confident that Matt will join Zapatera, since Ometepe put him on Redemption Island.   Jeff then explains the rules of the duel.  Each castaway will use their arms to brace themselves against two walls, while their bare feet are perched on very narrow footholds.  Every fifteen minutes, they will move to a smaller foothold.  The last person left standing, wins the duel and re-enters the game to continue their quest for the million-dollar prize.  The loser is out for good.

Both Matt and Sarita stay on the first foothold for fifteen minutes with no problem.  They then step down to a smaller foothold with a quarter inch width and the clock restarts for another fifteen minutes.  Jeff asks Phillip, "In a situation like this, what do you do to be successful?"  Phillip goes off on a long fifteen-minute description of the Samurai Bushidō code and equates it to the code that Matt lives by from his bible.   Matt thanks Phillip for his words, that helped him to get through that fifteen minute round.   Sarita and Matt then move down to the third and final foothold, which is smaller than the prior ones.   Whoever stays on here the longest wins the duel.  Matt's needs to readjust, as his injured foot begins to bother him, but stays with it.   Sarita then begins to struggle and can't hold on.  So, for the sixth time in a row, Matt wins the duel and this time gets to re-enter the game.   As Sarita tosses her buff in the fire, Jeff gives Matt a new buff and announces that the tribes are now merged.   He tosses a bag of new buff to the new tribe and tells them that they will merge to a new beach and gives them a map.  Much to the surprise of everyone, Jeff also announces that beginning with the next Tribal Council, Redemption Island starts again.    Matt is thrilled to be back in the game, but is worried about being sent back to Redemption Island.   He feels he has the advantage because he got a lot of information from the people that passed through Redemption Island, but now has to figure out which group to support.   He reveals, "I got to be careful, because I mean, one slip up out here and you're gone."


As the merged tribe arrives on their new beach, they are delighted to find an abundance of food that includes meat, bread, fruits, vegetables, nuts and drinks.  Steve admits, "Life's pretty good right now."  As they are enjoying their picnic, the subject of a new tribe name comes up.  Rob suggests the name Murlonio, which he says means, "from the sea, united."    Everyone loves Murlonio and makes it their name.   Rob reveals, "Murlonio doesn't mean anything.  It's just an inside joke between Amber and I.  She has a bunch of stuffed animals and Murlonio is like the ring leader."   After the feast, the tribe works together to build their new shelter.   As they are working side-by-side, Matt asks Grant why he was voted out.  Grant tells him it was only because he was hanging around Kristina.  Later, Mike sees Matt working with Andrea on the shelter.   Mike knows that Matt is important to keeping the old Zapatera tribe alive.  He hopes that Matt will not want to stick with the old Ometepe and instead he and his friend Andrea will align with Zapatera.  Mike admits, "This is where I've got to go for broke.  I got to make as big of a move as I can, because I don't want to sit back and just get dealt with, when it's my time, at the hands of Boston Rob."  So, Mike takes a walk to the water well with Matt.   Mike offers to take Matt and Andrea to the final four, if they work with the old Zapatera against Rob and his group.  Matt admits, "Last time, I was coasting and waiting to play the game and this time I can't be as near as passive, because I'll be back on Redemption Island in a jiffy."  Mike then sweetens the offer to Matt by revealing that he has access to an idol that Matt can use if he needs it.  Matt tells Mike that he likes the idea, but will talk to Andrea and let him know.


On night 20, the old Zapatera members are awake and huddled together in the unfinished portion of the shelter getting soaked from the rain.  Meanwhile, the old Ometepe members are dry and sleeping in the finished portion of the shelter, which is under the tarp.  Steve admits, "There's a division between us and it's pretty tough being on the downside of a seven to five tribe."  He hopes that Matt and Andrea decide to join with Zapatera to turn things around for them.  Later that evening after the storm has gone, Matt and Andrea sit by themselves on the beach and talk.    Andrea assures Matt that she had no idea that Matt was being voted out in the past and that she still feels that he is her closest ally.   He tells her that he feels the same about her and shares his plan.  He says, "I want to take out the Ometepe tribe because I'm honestly at the bottom of the alliance."  Andrea is shocked by Matt's boldness and unsure of his plan since she is so close to Rob and Grant.  She goes along with Matt's idea though and admits that Ometepe backstabbed them in the past.  Andrea realizes, "It's extremely risky for me to jump ship at this point, but I'm definitely keeping my options open."


As the sun rises on day 21, Mike reads Matt's bible and compares Jesus' escape to Egypt for 40 days and nights to the 39 days of Survivor.  He and Matt discuss the inspiration and beauty of the words in the bible.  As Mike reads from the bible, Matt feels morally conflicted because he likes the former members of Ometepe, which makes it difficult to make his big move and get rid of them.    Matt reveals, "Right now, I feel like my heart is telling me not to and just stick with Ometepe."    Meanwhile, Rob is keeping a close eye on the whole thing.  Rob respects religion, but reveals, "Anytime a group of individuals like the same thing, I don't like that."  He continues, "If they're all liking it together, I want that broken up."  Rob feels like Mike might be trying to win over Matt to the Zapatera side and therefore puts Mike first on the list to be voted out and sent to Redemption Island.


The Murlonio tribe arrives at the first individual immunity challenge.  Jeff Probst, the host, reveals the individual immunity necklace and explains the rules of this challenge.  Each castaway will be perched on a small log while balancing a ball on a wooden disk.    At regular intervals, more balls will be added, making it more difficult.   If at any point, a ball falls off; you're out of the challenge.  Last person left standing wins immunity and is safe from tonight's Tribal Council.  One of the losers will be voted out and send to Redemption Island.  

In the first round, with only one ball on the disk, Julie loses her balance and is first out of the challenge.   In the second round with two balls on the disk, Ashley and David drop their balls and take a seat on the bench next to Julie.  In the third and final round with three balls on the disk, Andrea, Grant, Matt, Rob, and Phillip fall leaving the final four of Mike, Steve, Natalie and Ralph.  Ralph and Steve drop out of the challenge next, leaving Natalie and Mike to battle for the win.  Mike keeps his balls amazing still on the disk, while Natalie has a little movement but excellent balance.  In the end, Natalie holds on longer and wins the first individual immunity.  As the Murlonio tribe leaves the challenge, Mike hopes that Matt will side with Zapatera at Tribal Council, because Mike feels like he could be the one voted out tonight.   


After getting back to camp, Mike tells his former Zapatera that he thinks the vote will be for him or Ralph tonight.  Ralph confirms that he will use his hidden immunity idol, if they need to tonight.   Mike then proposes that they vote for Grant, since Rob would be expecting that they would come after him instead.   Zapatera agrees to the plan and hopes that Matt will join forces with them.  Meanwhile, Matt has been thinking about which way he should go.  He reveals, "This absolutely is a game, but my heart is telling me don't change."  He continues, "I've decided I don't want to switch."  With that, Matt meets with Rob and spills the beans on his talk with Mike about he and Andrea going to the final four with him.   Rob thanks Matt for coming clean and staying with Ometepe.  In reality, Rob is appalled by Matt's revelation and knows now that he can't trust Matt.   Rob says, "I'm giving him a one way ticket back to Redemption Island."  Matt feels relieved that Rob now knows the truth and tells Andrea what he has done, when she joins him and Rob on the beach.   Andrea feels betrayed by Matt.  She reveals, "That could have sabotaged my plans to get to the final three completely."  Rob and Matt then discuss who to vote out from Zapatera and they decide on Steve.  After leaving Matt, Rob spreads the word to vote for Matt to the others in his tribe, including Andrea.    Meanwhile, Matt sees Rob talking to others and not including him.  Mike takes advantage of Matt's uneasiness and ups the deal to Matt by guaranteeing him a place in the final three, if he votes for Grant.   Matt is now more torn than before because he realizes that Mike has made him a sweet deal.   He mentions it to Andrea, who is not feeling good about voting Matt out again, but she is also not confident that Matt will stick to his decision.


At the start of Tribal Council, Ralph tells Jeff that Murlonio is a divided tribe that is not sleeping together or talking to one another.    Ashley then defends her tribe sleeping under the tarp because they won it.  David clarifies that they only won it because Zapatera threw that challenge.  Phillip then proclaims that his tribe would never quit on anything and likens Zapatera to a parasite that should be avoided.  Jeff asks Matt how he feels being back in the game.  Matt admits that things were easier on Redemption Island.  Mike agrees with Jeff that Matt is a key vote in this Tribal Council and adds that the votes tonight will confirm where everyone stands.  With that, the tribe votes.