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Early the day after Matt is blindsided by his tribe he and Francesca are sent to Redemption Island Arena to complete the first duel of the young season. Both Zapatera and Ometepe send two, randomly selected members to watch the proceedings. The challenge is a traditional Survivor one: tie sticks together using twine to build a pole long enough to retrieve three keys. Francesca is competitive in the challenge, but Matt is too much for her and emerges victories. His reward is another three days alone on Redemption Island awaiting the next castaway voted off.
At the Zapatera tribe, the division between the six person alliance (Steve, David, Mike, Sarita, Julie and Ralph) and Russell’s alliance (Russell, Stephanie and Krista) is wide. Returning from Redemption Island, Steve and David decide to lie to Russell about who won, telling him Francesca emerged victorious. Later, the six member alliance comes to the decision to throw the next challenge in order to have an opportunity to eliminate Russell.
The immunity and reward challenge had three members spinning a while with three other members attached to the wheel. The three castaways attached to the wheel would be dunked in water and have to spit out whatever they could in to a tube. When enough water was in the tube, it would release a ball which would allow the remaining tribe member to complete a puzzle to win the challenge.
Zapatera seems to be throwing the challenge almost immediately as Mike and Steve clearly put less than 100% effort in to spinning the wheel. Similarly, Julie continues to miss the tube when spitting out her water which causes Zapatera to fall behind. However, the most obvious example of throwing the challenge is when David acts completely flustered by the puzzle that Boston Rob has little trouble figuring out. Ometepe easily wins their first challenge.
After winning the challenge, the Ometepe tribe members search furiously through the items they won for a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Coming up with nothing after a long time searching, Boston Rob notices that the chair Phillip is sitting on looks like it is about to break. Sensing that the clue is in the chair somehow, Rob tells Phillip to get up so he can fix it. Boston Rob then notices a bulge in the fabric and pulls out the clue to the hidden immunity idol.
Russell is furious with his tribe for seemingly throwing the challenge and hatches a plan to break up the six person alliance. Figuring that the six people would split their votes – three for Russell, three for Stephanie – to try and flush out the hidden immunity idol if either had it, Russell realizes that if he, Stephanie and Krista can get one person to flip, their four votes will send someone home. Stephanie immediately goes to work on Julie and she seems on board with the idea.
Julie’s tune a tribal council, however, is much different. She continues to act the part by smiling at Russell, Stephanie and Krista in a fake attempt to let them know she’s on board, but then stays with her original six. This shocks Russell and Stephanie, but it’s too late as both of them and Ralph – the three who tied at three votes a piece – cannot vote in the revote. Russell is sent home by a count of five votes to one.