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Sara M: B | Grade It Now!
Li'l Russell Island

Li'l Russell strikes a pose in the shelter as he tells Stephanie that their only chance tonight is to convince someone in the other alliance to flip to their side. Yeah, that might have worked before they alienated everyone else. I guess we see now why the social game is so important. Li'l Russell suggests that they try to work their magic on "the old lady." What is it, Day 8? 9? And Li'l Russell still doesn't know his tribemates' names? That's the kind of assholishness that gets your tribe to give up comfort items and immunity for the sole purpose of getting rid of you, Master Strategist. Li'l Russell sends Stephanie off to try to win Julie over. She's eager to do anything he asks.

Stephanie does a halfway decent job on Julie, asking her where she stands in her own alliance and if she'd be in a better spot if she were to join Li'l Russell's. Julie seems receptive to the idea, agreeing that Li'l Russell has valuable experience and stuff. JULIE, NO. DON'T YOU DARE. DON'T YOU RUIN THIS FOR ME MORE THAN THE REDEMPTION ISLAND TWIST ALREADY HAS. Stephanie says Julie has to know that Li'l Russell will take them to the end, just as he's done for other allies in the past. "It makes sense. It makes sense," Julie nods. She interviews that tonight's vote is a "game changer" and she's been weighing the pros and cons of voting Li'l Russell out or joining his team. Stephanie reports back to Li'l Russell and says Julie is on their side. Li'l Russell smirks and sets off to talk to Julie himself. "This is gonna be the biggest blindSIDE EVER!!!!!" Stephanie shouts. Someone needs to tell her than blindsides work a lot better when you don't scream about them to everyone in a two mile radius. Geez.

Li'l Russell checks in with Julie. He tells her that if she votes for Ralph with his alliance, he'll have her back for the rest of the game. Why does Li'l Russell think his word means anything to anyone? Or that Julie is as stupid and naïve as the two teenagers in his alliance? And yet, Julie seems to be on board, shaking his hand to seal the deal. They part ways, and Li'l Russell is very pleased with himself, interviewing that if this all works out, it'll be the biggest move he's ever made in this game and a "shocker!" He points to his stupid new tattoo of a cross and the words "keep hope alive." Stephanie looks at them admiringly.

Zapato arrive at Tribal for the first time. Probst gives them his traditional torch fire life speech, although now that we have Redemption Island, he has to alter it slightly. Taking himself off auto-pilot like that must have thrown Probst off, as he begins by talking to Ralph and not his favorite contestant ever. Fortunately, though, Ralph soon talks about Li'l Russell, saying one of the "good" things about coming to Tribal Council is that they can remove the division in their tribe. It takes Ralph a while to actually get this out, with some help from Probst, because Ralph is an idiot. An idiot who found an immunity idol faster than Li'l Russell ever did. Steve has no problem telling Probst absolutely everything that's going on in his tribe, saying that there are six of them in one alliance and three of them in another that is "lead by Russell." Li'l Russell, of course, stays pretty quiet, as he usually does at Tribal Council. Which, I have to admit, is one of the smartest moves he makes in this game. Probst asks Sarita what caused the tribe's division, as if he doesn't know. Sarita blames it on "Russell and his legacy," saying he told them all in the beginning that he was determined to play this game differently, but as soon as it became obvious that he only knew one way to play, most of the tribe sided against him.

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