'Survivor' eliminates Steve Wright and votes off Andrea Boehlke
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/05/2011
Survivor: Redemption Island eliminated castaway Steve Wright from the game after he lost the season's tenth Redemption Island duel to Matt Elrod, Mike Chiesl and Ralph Kiser during Wednesday night's broadcast of the twelfth episode of the CBS reality series' 22nd edition.
"Steve, unfortunately the game is over, but you're not going home. You're going to be a member of the jury. Take your buff, put it in the urn. We'll see you at the next Tribal Council," Survivor host Jeff Probst told the 51-year-old former NFL player from Huntington, CA after he lost the duel.
"Thanks Jeff," Steve replied.
Later in the episode, the Murlonio tribe also voted Andrea Boehlke out of their tribe at the season's thirteenth Tribal Council session.
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Andrea, a 21-year-old student from Random Lake, WI, will now take Steve's place and join Matt, a 22-year-old pre-med student from Nashville, TN; Mike, a 31-year-old former U.S. Marine from Del Mar, CA; and Ralph, a 44-year-old farmer from Lebanon, VA, on Redemption Island where they will await the game's next duel and attempt to eventually earn a chance to rejoin the game's other remaining castaways and resume competing for Survivor: Redemption Island's million dollar prize.
"Well, obviously I'm a little bitter. All of them, except for Phillip, looked me in the eyes and kind of said, 'We're voting Phillip.' Then somewhere during the day, they all went behind my back and said, 'Okay. We're voting for Andrea.' So, it is a little hard to be living with these people for 32 days and have these relationships and what you think is trust, and then find out they've been lying to you the entire time," Andrea said upon arriving at Redemption Island.
Survivor: Redemption Island's twelfth episode began on Night 30 on Redemption Island with the arrival of Ralph followed by Steve. After joining Mike and Matt, the four men started laughing about how crowded Redemption Island had become and Mike said it was "getting crazy."
While the castaways realized the former Zapatera tribe was utterly doomed because of where they all were in the competition -- either eliminated completely or voted out to live on Redemption Island -- Ralph realized their fate may eventually work to their benefit. Zapatera would make up most of the jury, so if one of the three remaining Zapatera members could win duels and make it to the finals, he would be in great shape to end up as the ultimate Survivor.
"I see daylight ahead now. If one of us Zapatera guys gets in the top three, we've got this thing won and I want to be that guy," Ralph said.
Meanwhile, at Murlonio's camp, which only consisted of the six former Ometepe members -- Andrea; 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 -- were thrilled with the results of the season's twelfth Tribal Council session.
Andrea acknowledged how only Ometepe members were left in the game, and she was so excited to have gotten rid of the last two Zapatera members, Ralph and Steve. She noted that the game was no longer in "cruise control" and it was time to finally start playing again and making some strategic decisions and moves.
Natalie then started crying because she not only feared getting knocked off, but she missed her family tremendously. Afraid it would send her home, she confirmed to Rob, the former Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway, that her tears were not any indication of a desire to no longer remain in the competition.
Rob, however, did not see Natalie's crying as a sign that she wished for her departure. He simply saw it as a justified moment of weakness because she was a very young castaway. He wanted to make sure she was alright because he had every intention to keep her in his main alliance and take her to the finals.
"I've got eight days left, eight days. I just got to keep everybody happy and as long as they don't start talking to each other and realize that I'm the one that should be going, I'll be all set," Rob said.
Tree Mail invited them to the arena to watch the duel. They were instructed to check videos for a "surprise" and they got messages from their loved ones at home.
On Day 31, the members of the Murlonio tribe received their Tree Mail, which invited all the castaways to the arena to attend and watch the game's tenth duel and offered them a video phone. The castaways were subsequently instructed to check the videos on the phone for a "surprise" and they got emotional messages and greetings from their family members at home.
That same day on Redemption Island, the four castaways also got their home videos and were thrilled to see their loved ones. It gave Matt -- who initially faced Redemption Island head-on but was starting to slowly falter over time and lose strength since he first got sent to Redemption Island during the season's second episode, only to return to the place where he was originally exiled after being voted out and betrayed again by his own former Ometepe tribe at the season's eighth Tribal Council -- a little hope.
Matt had previously won his right to re-enter the game by beating Sarita White in a duel after spending 15 days on Redemption Island already and winning six consecutive duels. Upon his return to Redemption Island, Matt subsequently participated in the game's eighth and ninth duels and won both of them again, making the ninth challenge his eighth duel victory overall.
Matt said if there was any chance he could get to spend time with his brother, who he saw on the video, he was willing to do anything to win the duel.
"It makes every struggle, every hard time that I've gone through on Redemption Island completely worth it," Matt said.
After everyone arrived at the arena, Jeff explained the rules of the four-person duel. Each castaway would receive four tiles, and during each round, the would be required to toss a ball and try to break one tile at a time. The first three people who could smash all four tiles would remain on Redemption Island and stay alive in the game, while the person to lose the challenge would become the third member of the jury that will decide Survivor: Redemption Island's winner.
In addition, the first person to finish the challenge would win a visit from a loved one and would get to spend some time with their family member.
Matt, Mike, Ralph and Steve then squared off in the duel. Mike ended up winning the duel after he broke all four of his tiles first, and he was then followed by Matt and Ralph. The win marked Matt's ninth duel win and Mike's third duel win of the season. Steve then threw his buff into the fire and exited the game.
Jeff then brought out Mike's mom Jane into the arena since he won the duel and gave him three options: spend the day with his mom, let his fellow Redemption Island castaways Matt and Ralph see their loved ones, or allow the six people left on the Murlonio tribe spend time with their family members.
As Jeff described Mike's options, the corresponding loved ones made their way into the arena. Mike then realized his decision could strongly impact the future of his game if he was to ever win his way back into the Murlonio tribe. As a result, he revealed his decision was to let the Murlonio tribe members see their loved ones over his own opportunity.
"Love your brother as you would love yourself," Mike said, claiming it was the reasoning behind his decision.
Mike said his choice would benefit the most people, and Jeff couldn't believe he opted out of getting to spend time with his mom for the good of a tribe that originally voted him out of the game. Mike's mom called Mike a "hero," and said it was a representation of his good character.
The loved ones of Mike, Matt and Ralph then left and the former Ometepe members thanked Mike for his selfless decision. However, Mike quickly noted that they better never vote him out again.
Murlonio then headed back to camp and would be able to spend the afternoon with their loved ones.
After the duel, Ralph and Matt were weighing the pros and cons of Mike's strategic yet bold move.
"I'm sure he's looking for winning the million dollars and is hoping to pull in more votes." Ralph said.
Matt then told Ralph he was actually glad he didn't win, because he would never have been able to do what Mike did, in that he wanted to spend time with his brother and seemingly wouldn't give that chance up for anything.
Matt and Ralph agreed that the people left in the Murlonio tribe didn't deserve the reward based on how they treated others, but Mike later suggested he made the right decision. He said if it ended up helping him down the road then that would be great, but strategy was not his fuel for the fire.
"The decision I made today was not a strategic one. It wasn't to earn the good graces of the Ometepe tribe. It was just the right decision to make and the right thing to do," Mike said.
Mike then apologized to Matt and Ralph, and although they understood, he still felt bad he couldn't please them as well.
Back at Murlonio's camp, the Ometepe members were enjoying the time they got to spend with their family members, but Rob's head was in another place.
"I feel like right now, I'm playing my best game. But even everything that's happened up until right now, means nothing unless I can finish it. I need this. It's to make a better life for my wife and my kid. Even though we're at a point now where some people might be taking a break from the game and thinking about home, it just makes me focus," Rob explained.
"I want to win Survivor. This is something I've been trying to do for ten years now. I'm eight days away, so there's nothing that is going to stop me."
On Day 32, Rob told Natalie and Ashley it was important to stop Andrea from winning individual immunity.
"The vote will probably go towards Andrea. She's great at the challenges and strategically, she probably knows more about this game than everyone, except Grant and I. Therefore, she's got to go," Rob said.
Afterward, the Murlonio tribe arrived for the Immunity Challenge and met Jeff who explained the rules to what would be their thirteenth Immunity Challenge and sixth individual Immunity Challenge.
Each castaway learned they must race to collect a series of puzzle steps, and then place the steps in order from bottom to top to complete a very tall staircase. The first person to finish their staircase and get to the top would win individual immunity.
The challenge seemed very strenuous on the castaways, as the heat was blaring on their bodies and they raced back and forth, facing exhaustion and possible dehydration. Once the challenge neared its end, Rob had two steps left to complete, while Andrea and Grant each had three.
Rob finally placed his last step and crawled to the top of the staircase winning immunity, which ensured his safety from elimination at the subsequent Tribal Council. While Rob was excited to have won, the challenge took an obvious toll on him and he dropped to the landing claiming his muscles were cramping and his legs were burning.
After he asked for water, Natalie rushed him up a canteen and Rob drank from it and then poured it all over his face. He then asked his fellow tribe members to help him stand up, and once he gained composure, he led the troops back to camp.
Once everyone arrived back at camp following the Immunity Challenge, Rob was relieved he couldn't be voted off and liked having the control over who was the next castaway to go. Everyone on the Murlonio tribe all agreed that Andrea should be sent to Redemption Island before the rest of their strong alliance.
"She's one of the strongest competitors in the challenges, plus her relationship with Matt on Redemption Island is still a threat," Natalie explained.
Rob then told Andrea they were all going to vote out Phillip, which would leave her blindsided in the end.
"Lovers are going to be reunited," Grant joked afterwards.
The Murlonio tribe also agreed on another thing, Phillip was driving them crazy. While Phillip was tending to the shelter, Rob told him he didn't want the person who comes back from Redemption Island to sleep next to him or have good shelter. Rob added that Phillip reclaimed his position as "annoyance number one," but Phillip was perfectly fine with his awkward position in the tribe.
"I could be wrong, but I'm not concerned about going home tonight. Early on in the game, I made myself the villain, so that everyone is my tribe feels that their best chance of winning against anybody is me. It's a brilliant strategy and I need to put a little salt in that wound every now and then to make sure folks don't forget that," Phillip said.
Phillip also explained that he knew Rob thought he could win the million dollars if put up against him, but no one else had thought of the plan Rob was working on. He said he could end up stating his case very well in convincing people they should vote for him over Rob.
But Rob wasn't in the dark about Phillip's strategy. He pulled Grant aside and admitted he was having second thoughts about taking Phillip to the end because even though he was a "goat," he realized Phillip could have been playing him the entire time. Rob also felt Phillip would be able to articulate himself very well if he made it to the end.
However, he also acknowledged Andrea was a strong competitor and would give him a run for his money if she sat next to him in the finals. Rob then noted he needed to make the right choice or else his time on Survivor would be a waste.
That night, Survivor: Redemption Island's Murlonio castaways arrived for their sixth Tribal Council as a merged tribe and the season's thirteenth overall Tribal Council.
Jeff told them one of the six Ometepe members obviously had to go, and Natalie worried about the fact they had to force one of their own alliance out of the game.
Jeff then asked Phillip what was behind his poor performance in the challenge and asked if he purposely blew it and displayed his weaknesses so he would not be viewed as a threat in the competition, but Phillip basically answered in a way that made it sound like he actually was a huge threat in the game but was not dealt the right challenge fit for him and his body.
Jeff found Phillip's response a bit naive, because if Phillip wasn't seen as a threat, it would have helped his chances to last longer in Survivor.
Afterward, Andrea said her Ometepe tribe had to stay strong in order to beat anyone who may return from Redemption Island. Although she was on the chopping block and didn't realize it, she was convinced she would be included in Murlonio's alliance.
Grant and Phillip then voiced how they were comfortable in their own shoes and liked the respect they received from their tribe. Grant was okay with the fact he posed a strong physical threat, while Phillip knew his strange behavior would probably be enough for someone to want him in the finals.
Jeff then told the tribe there was definitely going to be a blindside since they had such a solid alliance.
He then revealed the votes and five castaways voted to oust Andrea fromSurvivor: Redemption Island, while Andrea voted for Phillip. Andrea's torch was then extinguished and was exiled to Redemption Island, where she would attempt to survive with Matt, Mike and Ralph while awaiting the season's eleventh duel.