Season 22: Episode 9 - The Buddy System
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am


On night twenty-one, Matt returns to Redemption Island after just being voted out for the second time.  He feels naive in thinking that his old Ometepe tribe had accepted him back into their alliance.  He says, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."  Matt is so disappointed to be back on Redemption Island and all alone again.  He says, "I can't believe I got blindsided twice by the same people.  I feel like a moron."  As Matt gets ready for bed he tells God that he is not sure of what his plan is, but he will stay on Redemption Island, as long as God wants Matt to be there.


The next morning at the Murlonio camp, Mike and David discuss how smart and "mob style" it was of Rob to get rid of Matt at last night's Tribal Council.  As Rob walks by, Mike calls him over and tells Rob, "As much as I hated it, it was a brilliant move by you guys last night."  Julie feels sorry for Matt and is amazed at how cold-blooded the old Ometepe members were to vote him out.  She says, "With people like that playing the game, there's no breaking that barrier.  That's how we feel right now.  There's no breaking their loyal shield."   Over at the shelter, Ralph decides to talk to Ashley.  He asks her if he is on the chopping block.  She looks over at Natalie and replies, "We can't talk about anything like that.  We don't know."    Ralph then tries to get on Ashley's good side by telling her that he will vote for her and not Boston Rob, if they make it to the final three.    Ashley tells Ralph that his offer is pointless.  Ralph is so frustrated that no one from the old Ometepe will talk to him.  He vents, "How can we play a game, when we don't even know where to start."  Next, Rob gathers the old Ometepe tribe on the beach.  He tells them that from now on they will decide on who is going to be voted out at the last minute.    He also tells them that they are going to implement the "buddy system", so that nobody talks to anyone on their own.  Rob assures them that if they stay away from the old Zapatera members and follow the rules, then they are guaranteed to go to the final six.  Rob explains, "I want my group to hate Zapatera.  It's us versus them and we're better than them. "   Rob plans on letting his tribe do the dirty work, while he tries to stay on people's good side, so he can get their votes in the end.  Natalie then takes Rob aside and asks him if Ashley has spoken with him about her conversation with Ralph.   When Rob tells her no, Natalie then spills the beans on Ralph's offer to vote for Ashley in the final three.  Rob thanks Natalie for the information and sets his next target on Ralph, who he knows now will not vote for him.  Rob is also disappointed with Ashley and says, "Ashley you could have made it to the end, but you decided not to tell me anything.  You have to tell me everything.  It's my game.  I'm in charge."


The Murlonio tribe arrives at the immunity challenge.  Jeff Probst, the host, asks Phillip why he is wearing a feather on his head.   Phillip explains that it came to him after meditating and is a symbol that things look good for Ometepe.  Jeff then explains the rules of this challenge.  Each castaway will dig to retrieve a club and use it to smash a tile.  The first six move onto the next round, where they must submerge their head in a water trough, take in a mouth full of water and then crawl under the trough to spit the water into a bowl, which fills up a tube.  The first three to fill up the tube, move onto the final round where they must solve a block puzzle.  The first person to get the puzzle right, wins immunity and is safe from being voted out at tonight's Tribal Council.  One of the losers will be voted out and sent to Redemption Island to join Matt.

Grant, Rob, Ralph, Mike, David and Julie are the first to break their tiles in the first round and move on to compete in the second round.  Grant, Mike and David are the first to fill their water tubes in the second round and move onto the final puzzle round.  Grant and Mike take the lead in solving the puzzle.   They both get to their last piece, when Grant finishes his puzzle first.  So, the only finalist from the former Ometepe tribe, Grant beats out David and Mike from the former Zapatera tribe for individual immunity. 


As Murlonio walks back to camp from the immunity challenge, Mike admits, "It's going to be one of the five of us tonight, unless we can pull off a miracle, a Hail Mary."   As Rob and his group celebrate their victory at the beach, Mike notices that the flagpole looks like it might have been moved.   He suspects that a hidden immunity idol might be buried underneath, so he and David start digging.  Rob notices that they are digging and directs his alliance to go back with him and check it out.  David and Mike see them running back and quickly cover up the hole they dug.  Mike says, "Let's screw with them."   Phillip arrives at the flag first and starts digging.  Mike tells him they were just digging for rocks and watches him dig.  Rob brings over two shovels.  Rob and Phillip then dig deep holes and find nothing, meanwhile David and Mike stand around and watch with smirks on their faces.  Mike reveals, "They thought we were looking for an idol and I think Rob thinks, to some degree, that we may have found it before they were able to get back with the shovels."  Rob gives up on digging and admits, "I still can't shake this idol paranoia.  Like, idols are what killed me last time around and I'm still struggling with them."   Rob knows that Ralph played his idol at the last Tribal Council, so there could be another idol out there.   He realizes that he needs to consider the fact that Zapatera might have found an idol in deciding whom to vote out tonight.  With that, he meets with his alliance to discuss the vote.  They narrow it down to David and Mike.  Rob admits, "This is one of those times in Survivor that you have to gamble."


At the start of Tribal Council, Jeff Probst notes that Phillip's prediction that his feather would bring luck to Ometepe and that one of them would win the immunity challenge came true.  Phillip reveals that his great-great grandfather, who was a full-blooded Cherokee, came to him in a meditation and told him that they would win and live long in the game of Survivor.  Mike admits that the former Zapatera is in trouble tonight because they are down in numbers compared to the former Ometepe.  David and Julie tell Jeff that Phillip is at the bottom of his alliance, but that he is not aware of it.  Phillip replies, "I enjoy being on the bottom, if that's where I am."   He then gives his alliance a group hug and calls them his family.   Julie replies back, "Matt thought you were his family too."    Ralph states that he is not giving up and if he is lucky, he might get a feather tomorrow.  Phillip doesn't appreciate the jab and fires back, "It takes courage and determination and knowing when to hold your tongue to get a feather."    Mike joins the conversation saying that he sees Phillip's feather as a sign that he is trying to find himself.    Phillip then starts listing his accomplishments, at which point David tells him to stop because he sounds like a "lunatic".    Phillip tells David that his is like a guy at the bottom of a cesspool struggling to get out of it.  After all this, David admits to Jeff that they do not know which of their Zapatera five is going home tonight.   Jeff then calls for the vote.    The five former Zapatera members vote for Phillip, while the six former Ometepe members vote for Mike.   So Mike Chiesl, the 31 year-old Iraq war veteran from Del Mar, Calif., becomes the ninth person sent to Redemption Island on SURVIVOR:  REDEMPTION ISLAND.


When Murlonio arrives back at camp after Tribal Council, Rob gives Phillip a hug and tells him, "You ain't at the bottom.  You're at the top with me!"  Phillip is pleased and tells Rob that he knows that.  Rob reveals what he learned at tonight's Tribal Council.  He says, "Phillip is slowly becoming a very loyal soldier."    Rob was proud of Phillip for not losing it when Zapatera told him that he was at the bottom of the alliance.  Rob vows to reward Phillip for his good behavior.  In fact, Rob reveals, "Natalie and Phillip are coming to the final three with me."    The next morning, Phillip serves tea to his alliance while they are in bed.  Phillip knows that people see him as naïve or crazy.  He admits, "Everybody wants to stand at finals with a guy like me, who has been polarizing and insulting."   Phillip knows that Boston Rob realizes Phillip's value in the game.  That plays right into Phillip's plan, which he plans to execute at the right time.


Over in the Zapatera section of the shelter, Ralph vows to do something today to change his future in the game.    Ralph tells David that he has to go talk to people in the Ometepe alliance or Rob is sure to win.  David cautions Ralph to be careful and not blow the one shot he has at talking sense into them.  Ralph admits, "Time is ticking.  We're getting close on time.  We've got to make some moves. "  Ralph starts by walking over to the fire where Phillip and Andrea are talking and asking them if they want to win the million or give it to Rob.  Phillip tells him that he will not talk about the game with Ralph, but would be glad to talk to him about his farm or something else.   This frustrates both Ralph and David.  David vents, "When nobody is willing to play the game, it's not a whole lot of fun."   David is worried that he will be next to go.


The Murlonio tribe arrives at the immunity challenge and immediately sees a plateful of hamburgers on a table close by.   Jeff Probst explains the rules of this challenge.  The castaways will hang from a bar for as long as they can.  After twenty minutes, they will be allowed to use their legs only to hold them up.  Once they drop from the bar, they are out of the challenge.   Last person left hanging wins immunity and is safe from tonight's vote at Tribal Council.  One of the others will be voted out and sent to Redemption Island to join Matt and Mike.    The castaways then are given the decision as to whether they are going to participate in the challenge or eat hamburgers instead.  Phillip and Steve are the only two that opt to eat hamburgers rather than compete for immunity.

Rob is the first one to drop out of the challenge.  During the challenge, Phillip encourages his fellow alliance members while eating burgers, but gives David a hard time.  After twenty minutes have elapsed, the castaways take their arms off the bar and hang by their legs only.  Julie immediately struggles and drops out.  Grant and Ralph drop out shortly after her.  Steve then sends encouraging words to David, since he is the last Zapatera member in the challenge.   As they hit the forty-five minute mark, Natalie, Ashley, Andrea and David are all feeling the pain and their legs are now numb.    David is next to drop out, much to Zapatera's dismay.   Natalie, Ashley and Andrea then discuss who should win.   Natalie and Ashley then drop out of the challenge, so Andrea wins individual immunity.


Rob and his alliance are feeling good as they return to camp after just winning the immunity challenge.  Rob reveals, "I don't want the Zapatera people to have immunity.  I don't want them to have any kind of momentum.  I don't want them to feel like they have any power."    Ralph goes to check the fishing net that his alliance had left out at the beach and is delighted to find the net full of fish.   Rob goes to check it out and asks, "Are they alive or are they dead?"  Ralph tells him they are all dead but still fresh enough to eat.  Rob disagrees and says, "If they are dead, you can't eat them."  Rob then instructs his hungry alliance not to eat the fish.    Julie says, "I think that Rob just doesn't want his people to take anything from us.  Now, if Rob we're to catch that fish, that would have been a different story.  They would have been feasting."    The Zapatera alliance disregards Rob's warning and cooks up the fish and eats it.    Grant is especially hungry and is having a hard time seeing others eating the fish.  Rob tells him to stay strong.  Rob admits, "I'm running my tribe like the army.  I'm the general.  They're soldiers and they're all doing as they're told."  Julie offers some fish to Grant, who decides to take a taste.  Rob immediately calls for Grant to get away from the fish.  David is amazed by the power that Rob has over his alliance.  David says, "It's cult like.  He showed the power that he has by just instilling fear in everyone with the whole Matt situation.  If you give any inclination that you're wavering in your loyalty, he'll just cut your head off."  Steve complains about being tired and weak and decides to take a nap.  Rob hears this and knows that he has to decide between voting out Steve to relieve his suffering and maybe get a jury vote or voting out David, who is a strategic threat.


At Tribal Council, Phillip reveals the Stealth-R-Us organization to Jeff Probst.  Phillip is the Specialist, who "infiltrates and supplants inceptions into the former Zapatera".  Rob is the Mentalist, who duties include the development of strategies and alliances.  Grant is the Assassin, who competes and destroys competitors.  Phillip goes on to describe the Three Degrees, which are Ashley, Natalie and Andrea that are effective, agile and have supreme focusing abilities.  Ralph comes back at Phillip for eating hamburgers i