'Survivor' eliminates Stephanie Valencia and votes off Sarita White
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/31/2011
Survivor: Redemption Island eliminated castaway Stephanie Valencia from the game after she lost the season's fifth Redemption Island duel to Matt Elrod during Wednesday night's broadcast of the seventh episode of the CBS reality series' 22nd edition.
"Just leaving altogether because I really wanted to be here until the end, so letting go of that dream sucks," Stephanie, a 25-year-old waitress from Long Beach, CA, told Survivor host Jeff Probst when asked what emotions she was feeling following her ouster.
Later in the episode, the Zapatera tribe also voted Sarita White out of their tribe at the season's seventh Tribal Council session.
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Sarita, a 36-year-old visual effects producer from Santa Monica, CA, will now take Stephanie's place on Redemption Island, where she will battle Matt, a 22-year-old pre-med student from Nashville, TN, in the game's next duel.
The winner will earn the right to rejoin the game's other remaining castaways and resume competing for Survivor: Redemption Island's million dollar prize, while the loser will be eliminated from the competition.
"In the end, [David Murphy] won out basically saying that he was the stronger, which is fine. What they don't realize is you don't always pick the stronger, especially now that you're getting down, you want someone, maybe, who's not always going to win Individual Immunity," Sarita said upon arriving at Redemption Island.
"They just want to make the most robust football team they can possibly make. God love them for it."
Survivor: Redemption Island's seventh episode began on Night 16 with the Zapatera tribe -- which consisted of Mike Chiesl, a 31-year-old former U.S. Marine from Del Mar, CA; Ralph Kiser, a 44-year-old farmer from Lebanon, VA; David Murphy, a defense attorney from West Hollywood, CA; Sarita; Julie Wolfe, a 50-year-old firefighter from Oceanside, CA; and Steve Wright, a 51-year-old former NFL player from Huntington, CA -- returning to camp from the Tribal Council session in which David had voted for Sarita's ouster instead of joining his tribemates in voting for Stephanie.
Steve acknowledged the separation between Sarita and David and requested his tribemates join together and put the past behind them for the sake of the tribe.
"I don't trust you, but I have no problem with you," David told Sarita after he voted with Stephanie against her at Tribal Council.
David had no regrets about his decision, however, as he claimed he still stood by his decision and thought he was justified in his reasoning to attempt to vote Sarita out and keep Stephanie.
"If it's the end of me, then so be it," David said.
While David believed Stephanie would have been a stronger competitor in the challenges than Sarita, and would therefore allow Zapatera to win Immunity Challenges, Sarita began to realize what her tribe thought of her player potential.
"Come to find out, our gang of six did have a major hole in it, which as I had suspected, David had gone over to the dark side with Stephanie," Sarita said.
Afterwards, Sarita wanted to fix the apparent gap between herself and David, so she told him she respected him, but David didn't take her attempt to reconcile seriously. David basically shut her down, and as a result, Steve said he hoped David would be able to drop his ego so their large alliance could reunite and become strong again.
The following day on Redemption Island, Matt was getting very annoyed with Stephanie, as he said she was talking "a mile a minute" and wouldn't stop. He also expressed how ready he was to win another duel if God intended for him to stay on Redemption Island longer, while Stephanie was also hoping to stay in the game.
On Day 17 the Ometepe tribe members -- Andrea Boehlke, a 21-year-old student from Random Lake, WI; Grant Mattos, a 29-year-old yoga instructor and former NFL football player from West Hollywood, CA; Phillip Sheppard, a 52-year-old technology executive and former federal agent from Santa Monica, CA; Natalie Tenerelli, a 19-year-old professional dancer from Acton, CA; Ashley Underwood, a 25-year-old nurse and former Miss Maine USA from Benton, ME, and returning castaway Rob Mariano, a 35-year-old from Canton, MA who now resides in Pensacola, FL -- received their Tree Mail.
The letter invited two people to participate in the upcoming duel, and Rob and Phillip opted to be the witnesses for Ometepe. After the two tribe members were determined to be the duel's spectators, Phillip said he didn't trust Rob anymore because he previously tried to hide a clue to the hidden Immunity Idol from him.
Phillip added that Rob was controlling in that he not only wanted to control him, but also all the other players on their tribe. On the opposing side, Rob mentioned how Phillip couldn't be trusted.
"Phillip wanted to go to the duel. He's not allowed to go without a chaperone. I gotta babysit his ass for the day. Phillip has a big mouth. He likes to talk and he can't be trusted. He's dangerous because of his stupidity. He's probably one of the most unaware [people] I've ever met in my entire life," the former Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All-Stars andSurvivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway said.
Later that day, Jeff met with Matt, Stephanie, and the onlookers who came to watch the duel. While Phillip and Rob attended the duel on behalf of the Ometepe tribe, David and Ralph were the witnesses for the Zapatera tribe.
Jeff then explained the rules of the duel. Stephanie and Matt were required to test their memory with tiles scattered around a large area comprised of pairs of matching symbols. During each round, the castaways would have to flip over two symbols at a time, and if the two symbols matched, the exiled castaway would score one point. The first person to receive five points would remain on Redemption Island and stay alive in the game, while the person to lose the challenge would be immediately sent home.
Matt and Stephanie then squared off in the duel, and Matt kept a steady lead throughout the challenge although Stephanie got close to catching up a couple times. Matt ended up matching his five pairs before Stephanie, winning his fifth duel in a row.
Before Stephanie left the grounds, she warned Ralph and told him to get rid of Sarita because she was the weakest link on the tribe and David was skilled at solving puzzles. She also told Rob to look out and not to trust anyone on the Zapatera tribe once they merge, and she talked up Matt's game by saying it would be tough to take him out.
Phillip then complemented Matt from his seat and told him he was a true samurai warrior and he was very impressed.
Rob, angered at the fact Phillip once again spoke when he should have kept quiet, said he knew that once the merge came, he may me in big trouble if Phillip was still around.
"I'm telling you when the merge is coming, Phillip is ready to make a big move. And by big moves, he means let's get Rob out," Rob said.
As Phillip and Rob were returning back to their Ometepe camp after the duel ended, Phillip suggested they shouldn't say anything to the tribe about anything that happened in the duel. However, Rob said he wanted to tell everyone everything because they were unified and he intentionally wanted to keep it that way.
Rob admitted he threw Phillip under the bus, because he wanted everyone to know there was a target on Rob so that everyone would hopefully gang up on Phillip to get him out beforehand. He wanted to "frontside" Phillip as well by just telling Phillip to his face that he would be the next person going home. He found no reason to lie or hide the fact.
On Day 17, Ralph and David returned to their Zapatera camp from the duel and Ralph called David a liar because like Matt -- who Ralph said seemed to still favor the Ometepe tribe over the idea of allying with Zapatera instead -- David was one to most likely do the same and couldn't be trusted.
Soon after David left camp, Ralph told his tribe that he thought David looked like he would flip sides and go with Ometepe if there was a merge.
"Well, he's a lawyer and lawyers, you got to look at them that way. They think they're a lot better than everybody else," Ralph said. Sarita also agreed with Ralph's opinion of David in that he wasn't trying to play a social game, because he wasn't savvy enough. In addition, Julie said that David was annoying her.
The following day at the Ometepe camp, the tribe members' hunger was apparent and frustrations were being voiced over the rations of food. Phillip asked for some crispy rice that was stuck to the bottom of the pan, but the other castaways told him he couldn't have any because it was Rob's favorite part.
"I'm sick and tired of the fact that they act like because Boston Rob is Boston Rob, he gets deference of everything. Just because they sleep in his underwear every night, and that's not speaking figuratively, that's literally... so they want to pay him deference on everything. The first opportunity I have to eliminate him, I will," Phillip complained.
Phillip added he was a 52-year-old man and the tribe's senior member so he should have gotten more respect and better treatment from his tribemates. He said he felt like the "red-headed step child" again.
"Am I feeling a part of this tribe? Hell no! Am I giving 100% percent -- 110% percent? -- Hell yeah! And I'm sick of it! I'm not quitting. I'm here to stay. But I want to put it on the record, there is a division of this tribe, but not of my making, of their making," Phillip said.
Later that day, both the Zapatera and Ometepe tribes arrived for the Immunity Challenge and met Jeff, who explained the rules to what would be their seventh Immunity Challenge and sixth Reward Challenge.
The tribe members learned they they would be required to race through a series of obstacles, working together to collect bags of balls along the way. Once the teams cleared all the obstacles, they must then shoot the balls into a basket. The first tribe to get all six balls into their basket would win immunity and would be safe from Tribal Council. In addition, the winning tribe would get to leave via helicopter and have a picnic on top of a volcano.
Both tribes had six members, so no one had to sit out the challenge. While it was neck and neck at the end of the challenge when the teams were trying to shoot their balls into their own basket, Ometepe pulled ahead and clenched the victory.
Afterward, Ometepe enjoyed their reward and Phillip said he finally felt like he was actually part of the tribe. Meanwhile, Rob knew there was going to be a clue amongst the food, and picked out the cookies specifically because they were of as cylinder shape. He ended up finding the clue with no one noticing, put it in his pocket, and then threw it into the volcano because he had already found the hidden Immunity Idol.
On Day 18, the Zapatera tribe members Ralph and David left to collect wood, and it gave the other four castaways an opportunity to discuss who to vote for that night. Sarita pleaded her case saying that she was just as capable, if not better than David in challenges.
Sarita continued to encourage her alliance to vote for David because he was a loose cannon.
"Knowing that he voted for me last time, knowing that he doesn't trust me at all, it doesn't really bode well for the future," Sarita said.
Sarita then asked Ralph to vote for David as well, but Ralph said he thought David did really well in the challenge and seemed confused over the topic. However, Ralph confessed he didn't trust David either.
Meanwhile, David said he was worried because he didn't know if the tribe still didn't realize how important strength was to win challenges over trust at that stage in the game. Mike also admitted David really came through for them in the challenge and it proved to be a difficult strategic decision for Zapatera to make.
Steve and Mike then revealed to Ralph that they would like to keep David instead of Sarita, and they weighed each player's merits.
Mike acknowledged they had to choose someone who they could trust and wanted around at the upcoming merge.
"It's a total catch 22 at this point. Either we have a loyal tribe or we have a tad bit stronger tribe. It's not an easy decision, since they would prefer not to get rid of either one," he noted.
That night,Survivor: Redemption Island's Zapatera castaways arrived for their fourth Tribal Council and the season's seventh overall Tribal Council.
Zapatera had discussed when they met with Jeff how they lost three out of that last four challenges since they had thrown a challenge in order to get rid of returning castaway Russell Hantz. Jeff brought up the idea that maybe they were on a losing streak not because they weren't strong enough, but because they lacked unity and weren't working well together.
Although Ralph didn't know what the word meant and Jeff had to explain its definition, Jeff said they seemed to lack tribal cohesiveness. David then mentioned how he was afraid he would be the target for elimination because he took Stephanie's side the last time around and switched his loyalty.
However, Jeff said maybe it was a sign that David was actually loyal to his word and trustworthy because even though Stephanie had been ousted, he was still sticking by his beliefs and faith in Stephanie. He never wavered and did not try to become two-faced by taking his opinion back and apologizing for his actions.
"I still trusted the six," Sarita said.
"I had trust in the six. I just didn't have any individual trust in you though," David fired back.
"I was surprised when David voted for me last week. I thought our six was strong and no matter what differences we had, I never would have written his name down, because I do honor my alliances. But then he yelled at me a couple times and got in my face and I don't think that's the type of person I can trust," Sarita added.
David then said he never had an individual alliance with Sarita, but Sarita argued that David betrayed the tribe.
"I didn't flip on any hierarchy. I did what I thought was best for the tribe," David said.
The voting then commenced and Jeff revealed the votes. Four people voted for Sarita, while the two remaining castaways voted for David.
Sarita's torch was then extinguished and she was exiled to Redemption Island, where she would attempt to survive with Matt while awaiting the season's sixth duel.