You're Looking at the New Leader of Your Tribe is the premiere episode of Survivor: Redemption Island.
Across the waters of Nicaragua, sixteen strangers were aboard a Mil Mi-17 from the Nicaraguan Air Force for an adventure of a lifetime. As the chopper landed, they were welcomed by host Jeff Probst, where he revealed that another helicopter is approaching, carrying two other players who will join them. Much to the castaways' surprise, Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz, archenemies from Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, would also participate as players. As Rob stepped out of their chopper, the newbies gave him a round of applause. On the other hand, after Russell hopped out, some of the new players became anxious of which tribe he will be on, except Stephanie Valencia, who instead of avoiding him, she gave him a piercing stare to get his attention. Knowing that the villain had an affinity to girls when it comes down to alliances, Stephanie stated:
|“||If I'm not the one person he picks to keep to the end, then no matter what, I'm going to be out.||”|
Jeff pulled the veteran players aside and introduced them by stating their strengths and weaknesses. Rob was a powerhouse in challenges and a great worker at camp, but in the three times he has played, he never won. Russell became the ringleader in two of the strongest alliances in the history of the show, successfully bringing them to the end, but in back-to-back seasons, he never won either. Just as Jeff finished his sentence, Francesca Hogi outright stated:
|“||They're sizing us up like prey.||”|
Jeff interjected, and asked why she said such statement, and Francesca replied that they are notorious "troublemakers." Jeff then told Rob and Russell to draw buffs from a bag to determine in which tribes they will be on. Rob drew orange, sending him to the orange Ometepe tribe, leaving Russell for the purple Zapatera tribe. Ometepe erupted as Rob approaches them, while Russell left some of Zapatera's members felt unsure of him.
After joining their tribes, Jeff revealed the last twist of the day. Unlike previous seasons, where voted out players are permanently eliminated from the competition, this time, they will be given a chance to reenter the game and will still have a shot at winning the game. These players will be sent to Redemption Island, where they must wait for the next eliminated player. The two castoffs will then duel, where the winner gets the right to stay on the island and in the game, while the loser is eliminated for good. In a predetermined point in the game, the winner of the last duel will rejoin the remaining players to continue their pursuit of the title of Sole Survivor and the one million dollar prize. After the shocking announcement, Jeff handed the tribes their maps to their respective camps, where he also warned about upcoming rains, and suggested to set up shelter immediately. When both tribes reached their camps, they discovered a Sears Craftsman box filled with tools and building supplies.
At the Zapatera tribe, Russell pulled his tribe aside and deliberately declared that he will not play as dirty as he did (such as sabotaging his tribe) in the past.
|“||The first two, I was a schoolboy. Now, I'm bringing it! This is gonna be the new me. I will be a leader to my tribe.||”|
After his speech, the tribe immediately worked to build shelter. Despite his declaration, Russell's tribemates were unmoved by it, especially David Murphy.
|“||I think anybody who doesn't think Russell is dangerous is foolish.||”|
At Ometepe, Matt Elrod stated his excitement upon having Rob on their tribe.
|“||Things are going really well right now. It's just such a blessing to have Rob here.||”|
Meanwhile, Phillip Sheppard barked his own orders, annoying Francesca.
|“||The most annoying person so far is Phillip. He's just got that aggressive, like in-your-face personality.||”|
Later, Phillip approached the ladies and revealed his profession as a federal agent. The other women lauded him for coming clean, except Francesca.
|“||It's hilarious, who cares!||”|
Later, Kristina Kell noticed that nobody was looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol, so she rummaged the toolbox in hopes to find a clue, only to be thwarted by Rob. Kristina tried to cover up what she was doing, but the veteran player can see through her lying.
|“||I don't want to come off like this real aggressive strategizer and turn people off.||”|
Since women outnumber men in Ometepe, and catching Kristina looking for the idol, Rob approached Phillip and told about the guys' precarious situation.
|“||Rob is sizing me up. So I like to think of it like two males lions checking each other out.||”|
After this, Phillip approached Kristina and told her Rob's fears. The two decided to have an alliance.
Back at Zapatera, Stephanie's evil stare at Russell seemed to work when he pulled her aside.
|“||I think we can do something together.||”|
Upon hearing this, Stephanie shook hands with him. Once they got out from the forest together, Sarita White and David already knew Russell is back doing the same strategy of bringing petite, pretty girls and take them to the end successfully. David relayed the information to Mike Chiesl.
|“||Russell's just going to spread paranoia and be a cancer to the tribe. So at this point there is nothing to be done, except for the task at hand, which is get Russell gone as soon as possible.||”|
Seeing the other Ometepe members having a conversation with Boston Rob, Kristina used it as opportunity to look for the Idol. With no available clues, Kristina scoured the beach for potential hiding places. Armed with a shovel, she dug up the beach and also looked inside tree barks. After a while, she successfully found the Idol hidden in a pile of rocks. After finding it, she buried it under a log and covered it with a coconut branch to avoid prying eyes. She bragged:
|“||Rob's good, but I'm good too. This is going to be fun.||”|
Later, Kristina created an alliance with Francesca and Phillip. The three agreed that Rob was a threat and should be disposed of immediately. But with Phillip's harsh way of questioning about having only three votes in their alliance (cutting Kristina off before she could even reveal that she had the Idol), Kristina and Francesca felt appalled by his ungratefulness.
|“||How did I get stuck with the old annoying guy in the droopy fuchsia briefs? He is such a pain in my ass. Did I mention that we have an alliance together? Hell awesome.||”|
Later that day, the warring tribes convened for their first challenge. Being comprised by five buff men and strong older women, Zapatera had the advantage of strength as they had a sizable lead over Ometepe, who struggled early on. Ralph cut the ropes lose, gaining more ground for the purple tribe. Later, Ometepe bridged the gap at the puzzle-building part of the challenge, thanks to Rob's legendary puzzle-solving skills. While Russell called the shots for his tribe, the two archenemies battled it out to solve the puzzle. Ultimately, it was Russell's Zapatera tribe who won the challenge, winning immunity and flint, while Rob's Ometepe tribe would have to do the heavy task of voting one of their own out from the tribe.
Back at Ometepe camp, Kristina revealed to Francesca that she had the idol. Kristina explained her plan: To get Rob eliminated, first, they must persuade the others to vote her off. She will draw the Idol, and their three-person alliance would vote for Rob, thus eliminating him. Though Francesca insisted that they should keep Rob first to keep the team strong and just save him for later and eliminate the weaker Natalie Tenerelli instead, she agreed to Kristina. Kristina weighed her options.
|“||Voting Natalie is better for the tribe. Voting Rob is better for me. I would just love to vote Rob off tonight.||”|
Kristina then approached Rob if he already had somebody in mind to vote, in which Rob said he was still undecided.
Rob then remembered that he caught Kristina looking for the Idol two days ago.
|“||She's dangerous. She knows strategy. She knows to get out there and work for it. To me, I don't need someone like that with me.||”|
With this, his regrouped the others by splitting their votes to Francesca and Kristina, and whoever draws the Idol, the other person gets voted out.
Meanwhile, Kristina campaigned to Phillip to vote for Rob. Still baffled by the fact that they only have three votes, Phillip demanded Kristina's master plan, forcing her to reveal her Idol. That night, Ometepe entered Tribal Council by starting off with igniting their torches. Jeff reminded them that the person that gets voted out may come back in the future via Redemption Island.
When talked about Redemption Island, Francesca used Rob as an example.
|“||I mean if Boston Rob got voted out tonight, which he's not going to, but if he did, he would probably be fine.||”|
Confused by what Francesca said, Phillip lashed out by revealing Kristina's possession of the Hidden Immunity Idol. With this Rob demanded Kristina to reveal her Idol and show it to the tribe. Angered by Phillip's haphazard move, Kristina murmured to Francesca to vote for Phillip. Rob grilled Kristina about why she wanted to get rid of him. He then blackmailed her to surrender her Idol to ensure her safety, but Kristina refused. After the vote, Kristina decided to not use her Idol. In the end, everything went as planned, as Rob and his male alliance partners voted for big-mouth Francesca, while the females voted for Kristina, and Kristina and Francesca returned the favor to Phillip. But with Phillip's vote, Francesca Hogi became the first person voted out from the game. She was not out just yet, because she was sent to Redemption Island, waiting for her first opponent.
Reward/Immunity Challenge: Push it Uphill
Each tribe pushes four blocks along a track to build the base of a temple. They will then run up the steps, where one person will use an ax to chop a series of ropes, releasing another set of steps. They'll then make their way to the top where they will race to solve a block puzzle, which will complete their temple. First tribe to get it right wins.
| Tribal Council 1:|
Francesca (4 votes)
Grant, Matt, Phillip, Rob
Kristina (3 votes)
Andrea, Ashley, Natalie
Phillip (2 votes)
| VOTED OFF:|
(sent to Redemption Island)
|“||(voting for Kristina) Kristina, I'm voting for you because it's not personal, but we need to stick to the plan and this was a hot mess of a Tribal Council, and you need to be gone. (folds and reopens vote). Actually, let me keep talking. We need to flush the idol off so Fran will be gone.||”|
|“||(voting for Kristina) Kristina, I love you, but I have to stay true to my alliance.||”|
|“||(voting for Francesca) Man, it feels so good to play with you amateurs. You give away so much. You don't even know when to keep your mouth shut. Thanks for the memories.||”|
|“||(voting for Francesca) I am a man of my word.||”|
|“||(voting for Phillip) Well that turned out to be a big mess. Thanks Phil.||”|
|“||(voting for Francesca) Sorry Fran, I'm voting for you because I am staying true to my alliance, and Phil is going to be easy to control down the road. Good luck.||”|
|“||(voting for Kristina) You might make it through this Tribal Council, but probably not the next one.||”|
|“||(voting for Francesca) Francesca, because you are a liar and a devious player.||”|
|“||(voting for Phillip) I hadn't planned on voting for you or Boston Rob tonight, but your little crazy outburst has spared Natalie. I hope to never see you again.||”|
Still in the Running
- Kristina Kell has set multiple records in this episode: first female and third person overall to find a Hidden Immunity Idol unaided by clues, and the earliest discovery of a Hidden Immunity Idol.
- Francesca Hogi became the first player ever sent to Redemption Island.
- There is no Day 2 footage in this episode.
- As Francesca's final words were aired, a short footage about Francesca's first night on Redemption Island was shown instead of the usual quick summary of the voting confessional.
- This is the last episode that the Tribal Council voting confessionals were available for the whole tribe. Starting with the next episode, the CBS webpage stopped putting the Tribal Council voting videos showing what the contestants say when casting their vote, and instead only showed who each contestant voted for.
- This is the first premiere episode to not have anyone be eliminated from the game since "Beg, Barter, Steal".
- This is the only Tribal Council where Matt Elrod was eligible to be voted out, but was not. He was voted out in the following episode, returned to the game, then was voted out at his first Tribal Council after returning.
- The episode title comes from a bold claim by Phillip as Ometepe's new leader, trying to usurp the leadership position from Rob.
|Survivor: Redemption Island Episodes|
"You're Looking at the New Leader of Your Tribe" · "You Own My Vote" · "Keep Hope Alive" · "Don't You Work for Me?" · "We Hate Our Tribe" · "Their Red-Headed Stepchild" · "It Don't Take a Smart One" · "This Game Respects Big Moves" · "The Buddy System" · "Rice Wars" · "A Mystery Package" · "You Mangled My Nets" · "Too Close for Comfort" · "Seems Like a No Brainer" · "Reunion"