I was wrong. But in my defense, Jeff Probst was wrong too. After I spoke with Sarita prior to the start of Survivor: Redemption Island, I saw a breakout character. Not necessarily a great player, mind you, but I thought she would be a blast to watch. She told me all about how she was discovered by casting while “taking margaritas to the face” and how she started developing a cold sore while being interviewed by Mark Burnett and therefore named it, yes, “Mark Burnett.” She was so candid, offbeat, and quirky, I thought we had a sound-bite machine in the making, much like my other favorite pregame interview — Francesca. Francesca lived up to her billing in her brief showing, but it never quite happened for Sarita. Not sure why. Probst loved her from his interactions in casting as well. Obviously she showed us something that — once she was left out in the elements — quickly disappeared. It happens. People who are full of vim and vigor often find themselves unable to summon the strength to be funny and entertaining when deprived of creature comforts.
It was sad watching Sarita begging “Help me!” at various points in this last challenge. She’s most likely a completely self-sufficient, confident woman out in the real world. And in the end, her only ally in the game was a guy who didn’t even know what the word “cohesive” means. (Incidentally, I looked up “cohesive” in my dictionary and the definition listed was “not Zapatera.”) If it sounds like I’m writing Sarita’s eulogy even though she is technically still in the game, I am. Now voted off and at Redemption Island and needing only to win one challenge against an apparently injured Matt to get back in the game, I still think she has about as much chance of winning as I do of not going to grab another Milwaukee’s Best before finishing this paragraph, and for those of you keeping score at home, the chances of that happening just officially reached 0%.
Now that I’m properly refreshed, let’s take it from the top of the episode, which — surprise, surprise — features drama between David and Sarita, with the former telling the latter, “I don’t trust you but I have no problem with you.” LIAR! You totally have a problem with her. Other than picking Stephanie to be the caller/puzzle solver in the blindfolded challenge, it remains unclear what exactly Sarita did to inspire David’s ceaseless ire. Maybe she shared her “Mark Burnett” with him. I have no idea. But then when she tries to mend fences, saying “I have a ton of respect for you, David,” it is met with “You don’t have to give me a speech.” Say hello to Mr. Warmth, everybody!
Next we head over to Redemption Island, where Stephanie continues a long, proud Survivor tradition first started by Jerri Manthey of women salivating at the thought of food to the annoyance of the men around them. In this case, Matt — who for some reason is dressed like he’s about to rob a stagecoach with the buff pulled over his nose and mouth — is the one tiring of the constant grub-related chatter. Matt’s ready to get to the duel right now, but before we can do that, we have to bear witness to some more Phillip preposterousness.
NEXT: Ralph Kiser — puzzle king?