‘Survivor: Redemption Island’: The Rob and Russell Show is off to a good start

17 02 2011

I admit it: I hate that Russell is back again. I like Boston Rob just fine, but facing another season of the hateful troll was almost enough to make me give up all together. I’ve even heard (I have no evidence! it’s an online rumor! I’m probably wrong! but if you have evidence, please share) that Russell was responsible for leaking the results of his season, and therefore the reason the ending was ruined for me. I’m trying to avoid that this season (it happened for Nicaragua, too, and this season of The Bachelor), but it’s hard when spoilers are all over the comments section on EW.com.

But Survivor was my first true TV love (besides Thomas the Tank Engine), and none of that is enough to make me give up on Jeff Probst and his sexy summery button-down shirts.

ANYWAY. Okay. Premiere. I won’t be sold on the Redemption Island premise until I see it in action, and I don’t think that’ll happen until episode 3, but this cast is already worlds better than the Nicaragua cast. I loved the alliance/battle between Kristina, Francesca (oops, I mean Franquesta… Frankesta… Franquesa!), and Phillip, which lead to an amazingly satisfying first Tribal Council. I’d say that last night featured the best first-episode Tribal Council in Survivor history.

Phillip is above and beyond the Coach level of crazy. He’s well and truly nuts; hell, he could be Naonka’s daddy! And I love that they have a question mark next to his occupation—is he or isn’t he a former secret agent?! The world may never know! But what we do know is that he wants us to think he is, and he wants it so bad that he has to mention it every seventeen seconds. I can’t imagine he’ll be around too long, not after proving that he can’t keep his damn mouth shut about anything, including Kristina’s Hidden Immunity Idol.

Now, after Russell found all those HIIs in his first seasons, I recall being promised—PROMISED, I tell you!—that the producers were going to make them much harder to find. Well, guess what, producers! Hiding it under some rocks at the base of a tree isn’t good enough. It’s never been good enough. But I’m happy that Kristina found it, because it A) means she’s the first woman and second Survivor ever to find an HII without a clue, and B) made for an awesome Tribal Council once Phillip blabbed.

I do feel bad for Francesca, though, for getting herself caught in the middle. It would have been a tie between her and Kristina if Phillip hadn’t changed his vote—Rob and his doe-eyed fan club had a solid plan—but it didn’t shake out that way. I like Francesca, and I hope she has to shot to return from Redemption Island.

I’ll speculate more on Russell’s tribe next time, because I feel like we didn’t get to see a whole lot of them. It looks like Russell is up to his same old games with the new Natalie/Parvati girl (was her name Stephanie?), but he has to have some new twist coming up because he can’t hide behind his lies now that everyone’s seen his seasons.

It’s always easier to blog once the tribes are whittled down some, and you can expect much more from me now that I’m enthused about the season. Nicaragua broke my TV-loving heart with its awful, unlikeable cast, and I couldn’t bring myself to blog about it much, but… bring it on, Redemption Island! I’ll just try to ignore Russell until his tribe sends him home off to duel for a second chance.