Image credit: Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
PICK YOUR POISON: Zapatera had to choose between strength in challenges (David) vs. trust (Sarita)
Silly Philly is upset over the perception that Rob is controlling him and so references his good pal, 17th century samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings — which is kind of like Lord of the Rings in that both involve lots of swordplay, have the word "Rings" in the title, and are worshipped by big-time nerds. "Nobody's controlling me!" Phillip pronounces, which is immediately followed by the former federal agent (?) acquiescing to Rob's command that he keep his shirt on for their visit to the duel. "He's dangerous because of his stupidity," notes Rob. "He's probably the most unaware person I've ever met in my entire life." This statement undoubtedly causes lightbulbs to magically appear above the heads of producers and invariably sets plans in motion for a Phillip-vs.-Coach battle in season 24 — Survivor: Unintentionally Absurd Island. (You know it's coming, people.)
David and Ralph are the witnesses from Zapatera as Matt and Stephanie enter the arena. It’s a good ol'-fashioned memory challenge with players needing to match up five pairs of symbols to win. God appears to once again be on Matt's side, as Matt immediately picks two skulls his first time. But Stephanie's master (Satan? Russell?) also has a little action riding on the outcome as she responds with two crocodiles on her first turn. With all of the tribe witnesses rooting against their former members, Matt eventually wins 5-3. Stephanie's defeat is followed by predictable anti-Zapatera smack-talking, with the loser imploring Ralph to ditch Sarita and keep David because he is "the only guy that can do puzzles. Are you ready to take on that responsibility?"
"If I got to do it, I will," says Ralph. And you'll do a great job of it, too, man! Especially on the word puzzles. As long as the word "cohesive" isn't part of it. Or "outlast." Or "Survivor." Or "the." "Or "it." But if "cockadoodledooooooooooo" is anywhere on there, my boy Ralph is all over it! Phillip then starts talking about something called the Bushido code and how Matt is "truly a samurai warrior," further cementing his link to Coach and the certainty of Survivor: Unintentionally Absurd Island.
On the way back from the duel, Phillip asks Rob how much they should tell the rest of the tribe about what they witnessed, in effect setting himself up, in that Rob will now go and inform everyone else in the tribe how shady Phillip is. (It's not shady, Rob. It's stealth! Stealth R Us, baby! Code of the samurai!) Rob is clearly setting Phillip up to be the next guy to go. "If we lose, there won't be any blindside. I'll go right up to Phillip and when he asks me who to vote for I'll say, 'You know what, Phillip — you're going home.' I'll frontside him."
Later, the tribe explodes over the proper distribution of crispy rice when the harem attempts to save as much as possible for their savior Rob. But Phillip — after chewing as vigorously as I've ever seen any man chew in my entire life — decides he wants some as well, but is denied Rob's not-so-secret stash. The ensuing argument leads to — when taken on its own without context — one of the most hilarious accusatory statements in the history of the show: "I saw you guys get a scoop of the crispy!" The phrase "scoop of the crispy" manages to amuse me and creep me out at the same time. There's just something that sounds very dirty about it.
NEXT: Be nice with rice