Last Episode: Andrea discovered there were no vacancies at Redemption Island, Ashley treated her buddy Natalie to room service, and Grant experienced an unexpected early check-out.
Will “Survivor” Hall of Famer Boston Rob finally claim the title of Sole Survivor?
Will Phillip become the first federal agent (?) to win the million dollars?
Will Natalie become the second Natalie to ride someone’s coattails to victory?
Will Matt be the second Fabio-looking dude in a row to win?
Will one of the 40 other people on Redemption Island have a chance to return to the game and take the title?
Will Ashley…no…she definitely won’t.
Alright, I’m psyched. Buckle up…let’s do this…
39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog
Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…
The Murlonio Tribe (wearing black)
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Former Federal Agent?
Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer
Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing an eventual ticket back into the game)
Andrea – 21, Student
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student
Mike – 31, Former Marine
We start this show off with the kids at Redemption Island. Apparently Grant isn’t sure if it was Rob or Phillip that broke up Stealth R Us. He never saw it coming. C’mon, Grant! Of course you didn’t see it coming, “Stealth” is right there in the nickname.
Andrea isn’t happy to see Grant as she feels the challenge deck is stacked against her with three studs. She’s got a point.
Tree mail let’s the gang know that the winner of the next Redemption Island challenge will return to the game. Mike is excited that his Redemption Island purgatory has come to an end, but annoyed that the tree mail message wasn’t a pizza.
Redemption Island Challenge Time: The players will place one foot on the end of a teeter-totter. The other end has a vase on it. If their foot drops, their vase will smash and they’ll be eliminated. Last vase standing returns to the game.
Yes! I love “stand in one place forever” challenges.
Twenty minutes into it and everyone is still going strong. They should let the Murlonians tickle the players. Or at least throw water balloons at them.
Grant’s vase drops after forty minutes. Rob gives himself a mental high five.
Matt’s vase drops an hour into it. Wow…I tip my Cardinals hat to the kid, he lasted forever on Redemption Island.
Mike and Andrea wiggle around a bit, with Mike eventually losing his balance and his vase. Andrea returns to the game.
Whataya say, guys? Hottest final five since Fans vs. Favorites?
Back at camp, Andrea immediately goes to work on Natalie and Ashley, telling them that the Redemption Islanders are considering voting for Phillip out of spite. Smart.
Natalie comes up with the strategy of “relaxing today and figuring it all out tomorrow.” Less smart.
Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race across a balance beam collecting bags of tiles. The players will then place those tiles in numeric order. First person to get all 100 tiles in place wins immunity and a spot in the final four.
Not much to describe here except for some balancin’ and some tile placin’.
Rob got off to a slight lead early on, but Ashley was able to pass him and win immunity.
When the tribe returns to camp, Rob flat out tells Andrea that she’s the next to go. He gathers his alliance and they all agree that Andrea’s return to the game will be short lived.
Ashley and Natalie then take a break to discuss what to do next. Ashley wants to make sure that Phillip is the next to go home. Natalie agrees and they pinky swear on it. Whoa…that’s serious.
Phillip breaks out some secret agent flavor and tells Rob that he doesn’t like that the girls are talking strategy without him.
As the boys are talking strategy about the girls talking strategy, Andrea goes to Ashley and Natalie and tells them that the remnants of Stealth R Us are talking about voting out the girls. Andrea tells them she’s voting for Rob and if they want to make their move that now is the time.
Andrea is earning some mad “Survivor” respect from me tonight. She doesn’t have much to work with, but she’s doing her best.
Rob lets us know that he’s tempted to not use his immunity idol because he likes to gamble. Yeah, I watched the reality show where he tried to become a professional poker player. Gambling didn’t work out so well for him.
That night at Tribal Council, Rob tells Probsty that paranoia is high around the camp.
Phillip the Undercover Specialist has been keeping his eyes and ears open.
Ashley admits that people would love to be the one to take Boston Rob out. Well, he is a first-ballot “Survivor” Hall of Famer.
Andrea thinks the girls haven’t done anything strategic at this point. She thinks taking out Rob would earn the jury’s respect.
Rob thinks Andrea is a real threat because she’s likable and she does well in the challenges.
Voting Time: Andrea votes for Rob…and that’s the only vote we’ll see.
Probst gets his tally on and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an immunity idol…and Rob does. One vote for Rob (doesn’t count), two votes for Andrea, and the sixteenth person voted out of “Survivor: Redemption Island” and the eighth member of the jury is…Andrea.
Wow…with Natalie and Ashley not making a move, Andrea’s got to be considered a Rob vote if he makes it to the end, right?
Back at camp, Rob tells Ashley and Natalie that he’s taking them both to the final three. And seriously? He should. I know it seems smart to take Phillip, but Andrea’s going to be talking trash on those two ladies like crazy.
Immunity Challenge Time: Whoa…this set-up is impressive. The players will race through a giant maze and collect four bags of puzzle pieces. Once they have all four bags they’ll race to the top of a platform and put together a word puzzle. First person to complete their word puzzle wins immunity and will go on to the final Tribal Council.
Wait a minute…we didn’t get a fallen comrade march? How will I know who was a “competitor”?
Rob gets the four bags first, but Ashley is right behind him. They seem to be working on the word puzzle together, but it’s hard to tell if Ashley is being honest with Rob. Rob eventually figures it out and wins immunity…and he is ecstatic! He tells us that it doesn’t matter if he wins anymore because he’s done Amber proud.
That brings up a question; is Rob going to propose to both of the other members of the final three at the reunion show?
Back at camp, Rob explains that he wants to get rid of Ashley, but realizes it’ll take some convincing to get Natalie to go along with it. With immunity on his side, I don’t know why Rob needs to blindside anyone.
But Rob’s right, Natalie is very concerned about losing Ashley as a friend. I’ve got to say, a friend who’ll sniff your armpits after you’ve been in the wilderness for four weeks doesn’t come along every day.
That night at Tribal Council, Ashley says losing the challenge was a “Bummer.” Ashley’s deep.
Phillip doesn’t think he’s a big threat because he hasn’t won any challenges. Isn’t that the argument Probst made a few weeks ago?
Ashley says she could have thrown Rob under the bus a few times but didn’t. She also says she has a better shot to win than Natalie or Phillip. Not a great argument to keep you around, Ash.
Voting Time: Phillip votes for Ashley, Ashley votes for Phillip, and the rest are lost to the magic of editing.
One vote for Ashley, one vote for Phillip, one vote for Ashley, and the seventeenth person voted out of “Survivor: Redemption Island” and the ninth and final member of the jury is…Ashley.
The following morning, Phillip gets dressed up in his finest feather and lets us know that he’s going to let the jury know why they’re there and why he’s in the final three. Oh, color me giddy.
Rob gives Natalie a course in Jury 101. He tells her that instead of apologizing to the jury, she should tell them to kiss her a–. Rob claims he’s doing this because that’s how he wants her to act. I think you should never apologize to a jury. But, that’s easy to say from the comfort of my couch.
Then, Phillip burns his famous salmon-colored undies. What?! That’s eBay gold!
That night at the Final Tribal Council, Natalie tells the jury that she played the best game she could. She felt like her strength was her social skills and that she was loyal to her alliance from the beginning.
Phillip (wearing his feather) tells the jury that his original strategy was to vote Rob off. However, he changed his mind and Rob saved him.
Rob tells the jury that he won four individual immunities, he made several alliances, and he was a hard worker around camp. However, none of that matters because it’s all in the jury’s hands now.
Andrea goes first, she asks Phillip which Phillip is the real Phillip. He says that if she doesn’t know the real him she shouldn’t vote for him. Yeah, that sounds about right. Andrea then asks Natalie why she’d stab her best friend in the back to ride Rob’s coattails. Natalie says her and Rob had an alliance from the beginning.
Ashley goes next. She doesn’t want to ask Phillip a question because she doesn’t want to hear his voice. You can imagine how well that went over. She thanks Phillip for helping her to become more patient. Phillip did not take that as a compliment. Ashley then digs into Natalie a bit. She then tells Rob that she doesn’t know who he is and after being voted out, doesn’t want to know.
Then, Grant asks Natalie what the dynamic of the alliance was. She again says that her and Rob have been aligned since the beginning. Rob says that Natalie came up to him and said, “Tell me what to do.” He also says he stayed with Grant until he became too much of a threat.
Ralph and his hat are the next to go. Ralph thinks that the relationship between Natalie and Rob was creepy. Ralph also thinks Natalie never talked to him because Rob told her not to. Ralph is also disappointed that Phillip isn’t wearing a whole chicken on his head. Phillip then tells Ralph that they would have been friends if they were on the same tribe.
Matt follows that up by saying Rob has been duplicitous, manipulating, deceiving, and a liar. Wow, they must’ve had a Thesaurus at Ponderosa. He then asks where the line is drawn after ten years of “Survivor.” Rob says the line is drawn at his real life. He admits that everyone thought they were going to the end with him until he voted them out.
Julie doesn’t think anyone played a respectable game. She wonders if Natalie’s parents will be proud of her. She then tells Phillip that the reason he made it to the end is because nobody on the jury respects him. Phillip says he wasn’t there to earn her respect, he was there to kick a little a–.
Oh man, put that on a t-shirt and I’ll buy it.
Julie follows that up by saying Rob should teach his daughters to be strong women and not to be treated the way Natalie was treated.
Mike gives it a go next. He wants to know if the final three have learned anything about themselves. Natalie says she’s learned that’s she’s stronger and more capable than she thought she was. Rob thinks he needs to stop playing games and this’ll be his last day on “Survivor.”
Uh oh…”Survivor” producers didn’t like that.
Phillip says he is a beacon in the Sheppard family.
Steve congratulates Natalie and Rob for their games. He then tells Phillip that he’s sorry that Phillip has become a shameful man. Wow…and no response from Phillip on that one.
David finishes it up with a speech to the jury. He tells them that there is really only one choice, Boston Rob. He says Rob played the best strategic game in the history of the show.
And I would have to agree with him. If Rob doesn’t win it will be a crime.
Voting Time: David votes for Rob, Ralph votes for “Phile,” and the rest will wait till Probst makes a trip to New York.
And we’re transported to New York. And soon-to-be Power Rankings champion Matthew “Sash” Lenahan is in the audience!
Let’s count some votes; we’ve got one vote for Rob, one vote for “Phile,” three votes for Rob, and the winner of “Survivor: Redemption Island” is…Rob.
Verdict: Jeff Probst said this season was in his top five. I’m going to disagree. Too many obvious votes for too long. But, it did have some entertaining characters, and I think Redemption Island has some promise with a few tweaks.
I will say this though, I never thought Rob or Russell would survive past the merge. I was wrong. So, congrats to Rob for the most dominating victory since Tom Westman in “Survivor: Palau.”
Power Rankings Results: I pitched a perfect game with the last round of the Power Rankings, with Andrea, Mike and Matt winning Redemption and Grant getting the boot. However, that wasn’t enough to stop Matthew “Sash” Lenahan from winning with a final score of 253 to -16. Congratulation, Sash!
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes