Hmm, I never thought this would turn into another Survivor blog. But since Survivor IS one of the things I think about, I suppose it was inevitable. I'm not the world's biggest Survivor fan, and I don't consider that I would be the best player ever to play it if somehow I managed to make it on the show. I do sometimes wonder how well I'd do if I did play the game. Anyways, on to my thoughts on Episode 2.
Phillip. Oh, Phillip. Should you be long for this game, you are just going to be a font of entertainment. You sure know how to bring the crazy! Since you managed to follow Rob's instructions at tribal to a T, he might keep you around for a while.
I think I love me some Rooster! On the Zapatera side of things, this was his episode. He finds the hidden immunity idol on blind chance ("It was easy to find as wiping your hiney with toilet paper"), wins the final leg of the immunity challenge, spots Russell shoving the idol clue in his shorts, and calls him on it! Just because someone sounds like they grew up deep in Appalachia, it doesn't mean that they're stupid!
And for all those who worship the little troll that is Evil Loser Russell (ELR for short), that confrontation underscores perfectly the weakness of Hantz's game. ELR is playing the exact same strategy he played the last two times. The boy may be able to backstab and blindside left and right, but he has no concept of the social game. When Ralph confronts him, ELR keeps flipping between outright denial and "Hey man, that's how the game is played". Then he goes on the attack! "I don't like how you comin' at me. You're either with me, or against me!" He even is using the exact same lines! (BTW, I have to admire Ralph for having the temerity to call ELR on his hiding a clue "they all won", all while he has the idol and has told no one!) I don't know if it's through arrongance or inability, but ELR just CANNOT observe people and get a feel for them. Anytime anyone says anything other than, "Yes, Russell" to him, he thinks they're stupid.
Thankfully, Rob does not suffer from that malady. While he does have a touch of arrogance about him, Rob is quite good at sizing up people and knowing who to trust and who not to. He susses out that Matt (I am almost tempted to call him Pretty Pony as Colette at Bitchy Survivor Blog, I will refrain) and Andrea (how did she manage to smuggle her mascara in?) were looking to do the "Power Couple" route to the end. Since Rob pioneered that strategy, and it got him a beautiful wife and children (not to mention the $1,000,000 she won), he knows how powerful such a strategy can be. Thus, he will be having none of that in his alliance! At first, his thought was to target Andrea. But then Matt goes and shakes hands with the other tribe after they win the immunity challenge. Oh, bad move dude! The Robfather does not like this. Expect a horse head when you wake up tomorrow.
Here is the fundamental difference between Rob and ELR's game. ELR is following a checklist. "Act sincere and honest before all the tribe". Check. "Create the 'dumb girl' alliance." Check. "Find the hidden immunity idol". Oh, snap! Meanwhile, he's not paying any attention to the other people around him, and thus he doesn't know that 1) EVERYONE in his tribe is on to him, 2) The idol is already possessed. The only thing that has saved him so far is that they've won the immunity challenges.
Rob, on the other hand, has a strategy, but he also keeps his eyes open to what's going on around him, and he adjusts his game accordingly. Tribal council was a prime example. Rob got everything he wanted out of that council. He set his alliance up for the blindside on Matt. He went into Robfather mode, and took Phillip aside to explain what he needed him to do (I liked how he kept Phillip from knowing who he was supposed to vote for, lest Phillip spill the beans again). I don't know if he had anything to do with Kristina playing her idol, but he got the trifecta: Power couple split, Phillip under control, Hidden Immunity Idol out of play. The only liability I can see is Andrea being supremely pissed (which the promos for next week make plain she is) at having her Pretty Pony taken away from her.