'Survivor' eliminates Sarita White and votes off Matt Elrod again
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/07/2011
Survivor: Redemption Island eliminated castaway Sarita White from the game after she lost the season's sixth Redemption Island duel to Matt Elrod during Wednesday night's broadcast of the eighth episode of the CBS reality series' 22nd edition.
"I'm bummed. I thought I had it," said Sarita, a 36-year-old visual effects producer from Santa Monica, CA, following her ouster.
Later in the episode, the Ometepe and Zapatera tribes merged into one new tribe called Murlonio and voted out Matt -- who had just won his right to re-enter the game by beating Sarita in the duel -- at the season's eighth Tribal Council session, sending him back to Redemption Island for the second time.
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Matt, a 22-year-old pre-med student from Nashville, TN, will now return to Redemption Island -- where he already spent 15 days and won six consecutive duels after his Ometepe tribe voted him out in the season's second episode -- and begin attempting to earn another chance to rejoin the game's other remaining castaways and resume competing for Survivor: Redemption Island's million dollar prize.
"What actually happened? I have no idea. I've put my trust in God, and today God's will was contradictory to what I wanted. I like these people. I want to be friends with these people. Well, they don't want to be friends with me, and apparently, I'm just not very good at this game of Survivor," Matt said upon arriving back at Redemption Island.
Survivor: Redemption Island's eighth episode began on Night 18 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; 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 Sarita had been ousted.
"We felt like Sarita was the weakest link when it came to helping us win the challenges," Julie said.
David then told Ralph he wasn't offended when his tribemate wrote his name down at the previous Tribal Council and he understood why Ralph had made that decision. Only Ralph and Sarita had voted for David, while the remaining tribe members all voted for Sarita.
However, Julie noted Zapatera's numbers were winding down, as they were only left with five castaways with a merge was potentially looming in the near future. The tribe knew they would have to focus on winning challenges.
That same night, Sarita arrived at Redemption Island and met Matt. Matt admitted he was hearing "horror stories" from Zapatera and all the competitors he had spent time with on the island, but Sarita claimed Zapatera was full of some really good people including Ralph, Steve, and Julie. In addition, she named Mike and told Matt he should be open to him because he was such a great player.
Matt felt he had loyalties to his Ometepe tribe and said he would like to join forces with them again, but he also had doubts about his former tribemates because they had originally exiled him.
"If all goes as planned and I can win the duel, it'd be quite the opportune moment to strike and take out the Ometepe tribe," Matt said.
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On Day 19, 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 told the tribe to attend and watch the game's next duel, which was an apparent indication that a merge was coming. Rob suggested the tribe should take their stuff with them, and then Phillip said he learned a lot from Rob, the former Survivor: Marquesas,Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway, and was glad Ometepe had the numbers.
Phillip then noted he would feel very comfortable staying with his own tribe when Zapatera and Ometepe would merge.
Over at Zapatera, they had also received the same Tree Mail and also believed a merge was going to happen. Mike said he was ready to take on the Ometepe tribe with the intentions to target Rob and "sink his teeth into him" specifically.
"Rob is the obvious target. He's a master at this game. I'm ready to get in the ring and go toe-to-toe with that guy," Mike explained.
On Redemption Island before the duel took place, Matt was worried about having to participate in any endurance challenges because his foot was in pain. Meanwhile, Sarita knew Matt had a great track record and was concerned about losing, but at the same time, she felt she would make a good opponent.
Later on, the Zapatera and Ometepe tribes arrived at the duel and Survivorhost Jeff Probst revealed to all the castaways that the winner of the duel would be allowed to enter back into the game. At that point, Rob got nervous about Matt's chances of winning because he knew it would mean trouble for him specifically.
"If Matt wins, it's no good for me personally, because I'm the one that sent him to Redemption Island. So, I'm figuring that he's holding that against me," Rob said before the duel commenced.
Jeff then explained the rules of the duel. Matt and Sarita were required to use their arms to brace themselves against two walls while their bare feet were perched on narrow footholds. Every 15 minutes, they would move to a smaller foothold, giving them less of a base to stand on, and the last person left standing would rejoin and stay alive in the game, while the person to lose the challenge would be immediately sent home.
While everyone witnessed the duel, Jeff asked Phillip how one would be successful in the given challenge, and Phillip went off on a tangent discussing a Samurai code and how it related to Matt living by his Bible.
Matt and Sarita then squared off in the duel, and while both castaways struggled and often times looked like they would not be able to hold themselves up any longer, Matt edged and outlasted Sarita, winning his sixth duel in a row and the right to leave Redemption Island and join all the other castaways.
At that moment, Jeff announced the tribes would be merging and he handed them all new buffs. He then told them they would be relocating to a new beach, and he handed them a map to guide them on their journey. Jeff also added that beginning with the next Tribal Council, Redemption Island would start once again.
"I'm absolutely stoked to be back in the game right now. I definitely think my time on Redemption Island gives me an advantage, because I had six people break down everything that was going on in each tribe. Now I got a couple of options. I could either go with Ometepe or I could go with Zapatera, but I got to be careful because I mean, one slip up out here and you're gone," Matt said after winning the duel.
After the duel, all the castaways headed to the beach and discovered a hefty amount of food, beer and wine. They all enjoyed a picnic together and discussed what the name of their merged tribe should be.
Rob suggested they should call it "Murlonio," which he claimed meant "from the sea united." While everyone loved the name and Julie noted "it was beautiful," Rob laughed to himself because the word was fake and had absolutely nothing to do with Survivor. Rob confessed Murlonio was the ring leader of his wife's pack of stuffed animals, and he just thought it would be funny to mess with everyone.
Everyone then attempted to build a shelter and Mike knew Matt didn't have a ton of loyalty toward Ometepe since they had previously voted him out of their tribe. However, it was obvious Matt still had a close connection to and an alliance with Andrea. Mike knew he had to make some big moves and realized it would be a good idea to join forces with them.
As a result, Mike went to talk to Matt about how Rob would vote off Matt and Andrea next if given the chance. Mike felt if he ousted Rob, he would have more of a shot at getting Matt on his side with some of the Zapatera members.
"Last time, I was coasting and waiting to play the game and this time I can't be as near as passive, because I'll be back on Redemption Island in a jiffy," Matt explained.
Mike came right out with it and asked Matt if he and Andrea would team up with him. He told Matt he would be able to take him to the final four, and also said he had access to a hidden Immunity Idol and would share the information with Matt if he decided to betray Ometepe.
On Day 20, it rained heavily over Murlonio and the shelter wasn't entirely finished. The tribes knew they had a division in the tribe of six against five, with Matt -- who they assumed with stay with Ometepe -- acting as the wildcard.
Matt assured Andrea that she was his closest ally and then told her he wanted to take out the Ometepe tribe and vote Steve out first, and then Phillip, but then blindside Rob next. Matt said wanted to blindside Rob because he had lied to him from the beginning, and Matt also realized he was placed at the bottom of the Ometepe tribe in terms of loyalty and rank since he had been gone.
Matt and Andrea agreed they would talk about their plans to no one, but Andrea still feared making such big moves and backstabbing her tribe. She knew it would be a huge decision to make because she had good ties with all the Ometepe tribe members up to that point.
"I really like Matt, but he had this idea that he wanted to blindside the Ometepe tribe and in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, 'This could be bad.' It's extremely risky for me to jump ship at this point, but I'm definitely keeping my options open," Andrea said.
The next day, Matt said he felt he was put on Survivorfor a reason and was struggling between following his mind or his heart. His heart sided with his original tribemates Ometepe, while his head was telling him to flip against them and join Zapatera with Andrea.
Mike and Matt then began discussing the Bible and compared Jesus' escape to Egypt for 40 days and nights to the 39 days they were attempting to last on Survivoras Ashley also listened. It was obvious that religion was important to the group, but Rob listened closely and came away with an additional opinion.
"There's a Christian coalition brewing in Nicaragua. Look, I have nothing against God, I mean, I go to church on Sunday, but any time a group of individuals like the same thing, I don't like that. It could be romantic comedies. It could be Oreo cookies. If they're all liking it together, I want that broken up. Who knows, maybe Mike thinks he's going to grab one or two of them. I can't let that happen," Rob said.
Rob then said Mike should be the first person sent over to Redemption Island if he didn't win Individual Immunity.
Later that day, the Murlonio tribe arrived for the Immunity Challenge and met Jeff, who explained the rules to what would be their eighth Immunity Challenge, but first individual Immunity Challenge.
The tribe members learned they would be required to individually perch themselves on small logs while balancing one ball on a wooden disk. At regular intervals, more balls would be added, making it more difficult. If at any point a ball falls off the disk, the castaway would be out of the challenge, but the winner would receive individual immunity.
Julie was the first tribe member out of the challenge, and she was then followed by Ashley, David, Andrea, Grant, Matt, Rob, Phillip, Ralph, Steve, Mike, and finally Natalie. Natalie ended up winning the challenge and would be safe from elimination at the subsequent Tribal Council.
Mike then realized if Matt chose to side with the Ometepe tribe and opted out of flipping, it would most likely be him on the chopping block.
On Day 21, everyone congratulated Natalie, and Mike said he lost because not only was there a fly sitting on his ball, but his feet went numb. He said he hung in there for about 40 minutes, and knew he may be the next person sent to Redemption Island.
Mike, worried about being ousted, asked Ralph if he would play the hidden Immunity Idol he had found earlier in the game for him to ensure he would stay in the game. Ralph said he would if he needed to in order to wipe out their votes.
In addition, Mike really began to strategize as he told them Rob would know if they were going to target him, so it would be a better bet to vote for Rob's right-hand man Grant. He also hoped Matt would eventually side with them, which would give them good numbers and form a strong alliance.
Matt finally came to a decision about how he wanted to play the game. He talked to Rob and said he didn't want to switch or flip, but he shared his entire thought process with Rob leading up to that moment. Although Matt had promised their plans would stay between just the two of them, Matt also told Rob that both he and Andrea had considered joining Zapatera.
Regardless, Matt explained he wanted to have peace with his choice and with whatever may happen in the future. He felt it was only right to stay with Ometepe and put the possible outcome in the hands of God.
Rob, however, did not take Matt's confession as a sign of loyalty, as he was actually appalled by his revelation and then came to the conclusion Matt could not be trusted.
"I'm giving him a one way ticket back to Redemption Island," Rob said.
Matt felt relieved he had opened up to Rob and told him the truth, but Andrea was nothing but frustrated and upset by his reckless decision to go back on their promise of not sharing any details of their plans. Andrea felt betrayed by Matt and started to change her mind about staying in an alliance with him.
"That could have sabotaged my plans to get to the final three completely," Andrea said.
Rob then told Matt and Andrea to vote for Steve or Julie and Matt noted they should vote for Steve because the other members of their alliance would probably not give up the idol for him. However, Rob told Natalie and Ashley to vote for Matt.
While Matt was watching Rob go off with many tribemates, he began to feel ostracized and Mike was seeing that he was getting paranoid. Mike felt Matt's worried nature would be to his advantage in the hopes he would join him in the game, while Matt admitted he may be the one to get voted off next.
Murlonio continued to build their shelter and Mike wrote a note to Matt, secretly passing it to him. Matt went off on his own to read it.
"Matt, vote for Grant and I'll take you to the final three," Mike wrote.
Matt confessed he was at a crossroads between keeping or breaking his word to Ometepe and Rob, especially because the idea of making it to the final three sounded like a great opportunity.
Rob then said the vote at the next Tribal Council session would be monumental and Matt needed to go home, but if Mike and Andrea decided to side with them, he'd be in "a world of hurt."
Andrea then got nervous about being the next person to get voted off and she, like Matt, was confused about what to do. She had become such good friends with Matt and would like to stay by his side, but at the same time, Andrea recognized how Matt was constantly changing his mind.
"Matt's just sketchy and flighty. I don't know what to do," Andrea said, knowing that Matt's lack of focus could end up bringing her down with him.
That night, Survivor: Redemption Island's Murlonio castaways arrived for their first Tribal Council as a merged tribe and the season's eighth overall Tribal Council.
Zapatera said they initially threw a challenge, which was news to Ometepe, and Phillip got mad at David for interrupting him. Phillip was attempting to say that Ometepe would never have done such a thing.
Ashley then added her two cents and noted that people were being loyal to their own original tribes. Matt, overwhelmed by his options and concern over his final decision to side with Ometepe, said Redemption Island was actually easier.
Jeff noted that Ometepe had six members left, Zapatera had five members still standing, and then Matt joined in a vital vote. Mike named him "the man in the middle."
Ralph, in attempt to sway Matt's decision once and for all, said Ometepe would vote him out again if they did it once. Matt acknowledged it was a very good point. He knew he was on the bottom of Ometepe's previously formed alliance but was hesitant to reveal his decision, as he generally stated he was starting to see the whole picture.
The voting then commenced and before Jeff was going to reveal the votes, he asked the castaways if anyone wanted to play their hidden Immunity Idol. Ralph then stepped up to the plate and said he wanted to use his on Mike. Jeff explained that any votes cast for Mike would not count.
Five castaways ended up voting for Grant, one person voted for Steve, and six tribemates voted for Matt.
Matt's torch was then extinguished and he was exiled once again to Redemption Island, where he would attempt to survive more time alone while awaiting the season's seventh duel.