Survivor 22 – Redemption Island: A Mystery Package

At first I thought the title of the episode would refer to something much nastier and related to the fact that Phillip wouldn’t find his shorts. I’m relieved.
However, this is the only thing I’m relieved about really. And I’m pissed at Jeff Probst. I’m pissed at him, because after two disappointing non All-Stars seasons (Samoa and Nicaragua) I had high hopes for this season, the cast seemed very interesting and Probst promised this season was going to be in the Top Five. Or did he mean the Top Five of the worst seasons ever?Seriously? Is there anything to redeem this season at all? First, the most interesting female players are voted out, then Matt is a huge disappointment, and finally the most painful to watch pagonging ever, painful to watch because the winning people are not playing the game a single bit, and the people that are trying to do so are  getting picked out one by one with no possibility to do anything, as the other idiots refuse to play the game and just want to hand out a big fat check to Rob, because they’re brainwashed this way.
Yes, it was a long sentence, I know, almost as long as my frustration is intense right now.
Seriously, what’s wrong with those girls? Do they all secretly hope they’ll be the one next to Rob in the final? So this is why they won’t gang up on him together when every member of Zapatera, one by one, show them their options and show them what Rob’s doing? What about Grant? More on him in his paragraph.

So seriously Probst, why did you lie to us like that? Or are you just so in love with Rob that you too just spent the entire season drooling over him and not paying attention to anything else? (yes, I’m foolish and pretentious like that, talking to Jeff Probst as if there was the slightest chance on earth he reads this)

Redemption Island


Julie Wolfe is the second member of the jury: The editing has a huge influence on how we perceive these people and the game (more on that next paragraph). Take Julie, I really disliked her at the beginning, I thought she wouldn’t be interesting at all, and that she should be one of the first ones to be voted out. 11 episodes in, I really like her and I really wish she had stayed longer. Also, I want to mention one thing she said as she was leaving the game (we see more in the Ponderosa video clips on is something we almost never hear anymore on Survivor (I admit it would get old if we heard it every season), it is how much this experience has changed her life and gave her a new outlook on things. On Ponderosa, that scene where she watches the sunset from the pool was very moving somehow. First I really had my reserves about her, but now I think she’s a genuinely good person.


Matt Elrod lives another day: Ok, Matt, the “God this, God that” is really getting old. You’re tired of being on Redemption Island? You just have to let other people win and your torture will end automatically. Thing is that it seems more and more obvious that Matt will be the one re-entering the game once again. Why am I saying this? Well, the edit makes me say that. See, pre-merge, it made sense that the editing focused so much on him as his run at Redemption Island was pretty amazing and that he’ll end up re-entering the game only to be send to Redemption Island again at the next vote. But the editing still focuses on him a lot, we barely saw Mike for example. So it can only mean one thing: his story is not over yet. And seriously, at this stage, is by any chance, he manages to make it to the final, I don’t see how he’s not winning it all. Will it be fair? At first, I’d be inclined to say that it isn’t, after all he hasn’t really played the game (and the little he has played it, he really sucked at it). Then, again, Ashley and Natalie are not playing it either, they’re ostentatiously refusing to play it, and Matt definitely deserves to win over them. Still, is it fair that somebody that got voted out not once but twice gets to sit in the final and win the game?
Well, when they had the Outcasts twist in Pearl Islands it was definitely unfair, because the other players didn’t know the people they were voted out would have a chance to come back. This time they know, so that fact has to play a part in their strategy, and it does to a certain extent, Mike and David were sent to Redemption Island by Rob so that they beat Matt. So if Matt wins, on the one hand, yes it is somewhat unfair. On the other hand, that would never have been an issue if Ometepe hadn’t been a bunch of clowns and tools. And I have to admit that I would love it if Rob was beaten by Matt, maybe only that could redeem this season at this point.

Mike Chiesl lives another day: Well, not much about Mike today. He’s still in the game, he still has a good chance to re-enter the game and win, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, because of the edit he’s getting now (the one of the guy that’s almost gone anyway, so why bother).

The Murlonio/Mariano Tribe

Andrea Boelhke: Unfortunately she keeps on disappointing me. She’s passing every opportunity to make a big move, now she’s on the chopping block and doesn’t even know it. Is there anything that is not disappointing this season?
Ashley Underwood: How can anyone so stupid be so far in the game. We’ve seen a lot of coattail riders over the seasons, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen one that refused to play the game to blatantly. It really seems that the only thing she cares about is that Rob wins. How lame is that?
Grant Mattos: It was a very nice and good reminder from Steve about what happens to Rob’s “friends” when he doesn’t need them anymore. What’s crazy about Matt, is that he also has the insight of Natalie Bolton (they’re friends, remember?) who got burned by Amanda Kimmel, Parvati and Cirie in a similar fashion that Grant will most likely get burned too. He’s a likable guy and he’ll definitely win against anybody in the final at this stage of the game. This is why his chances to make it to the final are slim to none. Grant will be the new Lex van den Berghe/Big Tom/Natalie Bolton. What’s infuriating is that both Steve (and hopefully Natalie) have warned him about that. Yet, he will join that group, I don’t see how he won’t.
Natalie Tenerelli: Wow, she spoke today. I can’t remember what she said, but she spoke. Pretty amazing! Strangely, I won’t blame her for not trying to win, just like I blame Andrea, Ashley and Grant, because her way of not playing the game is what is going to make her win, as the final three right now looks like it’s going to be Rob, Phillip and her, and she knows it and she knows that she has every chance to win against them. So ironically (sadly and infuriatingly) not playing the game is for her the best way to play the game.
Former Federal Agent Phillip Sheppard: I’m actually impressed that he’s found his trunks. Apart from that not much about him this week, which is surprising.

Ralph Kiser sent to Redemption Island:What can I say really? His only chance to not be voted out was to win every immunity at this point. Sad.

Boston Rob Mariano: I don’t really have anything to say about Rob that I haven’t said in the previous weeks today. It was a nice reminder from Steve about his real nature (evil bastard, ready to backstab his real life friends if needed) and I’m sure that if that was left in the edit, it’s because it will happen again (rarely obvious references to past seasons and past contestants -Lex was named- are left in the edit, while we can assume a lot of them are made everyday, especially when you have returning players).

Steve Wright sent to Redemption Island: A little bit like Julie, I disliked him at first, but I really came to like him in the last few episodes. What’s infuriating, is that just like with Julie, he tried to play the game, he tried to make big moves, but there just was nothing he could do.


Next person voted out: 
Andrea is obviously next to go, unless Rob decides to send Grant to Redemption Island.
At Redemption Island, I doubt Steve will survive the next “duel”, if more than one person is eliminated, anyone of the three remaining ones could go.

Final and Winner:
For a while now it has looked like the final will be: Rob, Natalie and Phillip, in that case, as painful to watch as it can be, Natalie has every chance to win (unless Phillip reveals that he’s the best actor on Earth). However, that Matt edit, makes me believe more and more that he’s going to be the winner.

And you? What do you think? Who do you think is out next, will come back from Redemption Island and who will win it all?

10 Responses

  1. Grant Mattos says:

    I think before Ponderosa went to the final tribal 5 or 6 of us were actually planning to vote for Natalie. However she blew it there so badly we had no choice but to hold our noses and vote Rob. Believe me it was hard to write his name down, probably even harder than the other 7 who voted him. I hated voting for that asshole who had ripped my guts out when he voted me out to win a million, but final tribal had left me no choice.

    Being at Ponderosa with the group too I can ensure you any of the 9 of us besides Natalie and Phillip would have been the winner of the game if we got to the finals against Rob. Yes even Ashley, believe it or not, would have beaten Rob. He was that disliked amongst all of us by that point. We were begging for any kind of plausible option, which is why we were initially willing to vote Natalie, who with all due respect was not a formidable opponent, before she delivered such an abysmal final tribal performance. I love Natalie btw, and we have kept in touch since the game, but I am just being real here. Even Phillip may have won had he revealed he was acting and that was his strategy all along.

    I love Steve and Ralph as well, and have kept in touch with both fine gentlemen post game. They were the first to warn me about the Lex and myself parallel. They even came up to me while with Rob and told me I was going to be the new Lex right to my and his face and he told them to fuck off. I didn’t believe them, but maybe I was in denial. They were fighting for their lives to stay in the game, but I think they also liked me and did not want to see me get hurt.

    • David Billa says:

      As much as I hate Rob, I’m kinda happy you guys didn’t vote for Natalie. I’m sure she’s a very sweet girl in real life, but she’s not made for that game, and I can’t imagine her as a winner. If Rob hadn’t win, Probst would have brought him back a fifth time a few seasons later, so in a way, it’s better that he won.

      And it’s still very honorable of you to still have voted for him to win. Had he burned me the way he burned you, I think I would have just trolled the vote and voted for Phillip (is it what Ralph did?) I also was hoping he would have revealed it was all an act during the final tribal. That would have probably made it my favorite contestants, but no, he’s just a fool.

      And yeah, from what I saw of Ashley, I didn’t like her, but in recent years I heard that she played a much better game than what was shown and was a real threat to win.

      I wish I had seen more of Steve and Ralph. Steve, I came to like little by little as we saw more of him, but I feel that all the interesting things about Ralph were left on the cutting floor. I think that’s the reason your season is probably the one I like the least. It’s not just because Rob won, it’s also because it was edited in a way that was just all about him, everyone else was merely an extra.

      • Grant Mattos says:

        Ralph was an amazing character. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met. Steve is a real solid individual and stand up guy both inside the game and out. Both were hugely underedited. Ralph could have been an extremely entertaining and popular character. Steve is not so interesting from a viewing perspective even better edited, but still was overlooked. Another thing upon watching the season is even pre merge there was very little shown of the Zapatera tribe, even in the early going when they were up at first in the challenge wins (other than Russell footage). Mike is the one they gave the most airtime too, and even his was only moderate at any point. What is worst about that is it made it clear Ometepe would emerge victorious, be the final people at the end, and one of us would win (even if it wasn’t clear until later on by the edit it would be Rob). That in itself is poor editing. Especialy when Zapatera were up in numbers early.

        My character was underedited quite badly too. Some of the production people even apologized to me and admitted it was largely since Rob would screw me over and they wanted to make Rob into the biggest possible hero so they didn’t want people to be upset with him. Our friendship was truly even closer than the edit potrayed, and that is why I was as gutted as I was. Most of all though my character was made into just another mindless Rob zombie and only focused on my relationship with Rob, when I had many good relationships out there and the game, and my personality was far more than was shown. People who have seen the Ponderosa videos commented on that.

        I did consider voting for Phillip just to troll Rob. Now I honestly wish I had. Losing 2 votes to Phillip would be something that would irk him given his ego. I agree on Natalie. Love her but she would not have been a worthy winner of this season, even as an anti Rob vote. She is not even a Natalie White level player or potential winner this season, which is what I would deem borderline.

        I also agree in a way it is best Rob won. Get him gone from the show, since he would be brought 8, 9, or 10 times otherwise. I honestly don’t wish I had won Survivor either looking back. Sure it would have been a great achievement, but I am an extremely private person and found myself uncomfortable with the whole survivor community thing even as much as I was forced into it. I cant imagine dealing with it as a winner, especialy being the only pro athlete to win. It would just be too much. I had an amazing experience, know I was a big part of that season and a real contender to win even though I didnt, and now can go back to my life leaving Survivor mostly in the past, while having picked up some amazing lifelong friendships from it as a bonus. Ultimately things worked out as they were supposed to I think.

        • David Billa says:

          Yeah, the more I think about it, and the more I hear you talk about it, I’m really mad at the editing.
          I remember early on really liking your confessionals, and then later on you turned into a rob zombie. As you said, Zapatera was mostly invisible for the entire season and so on.
          All of that to show Rob as a Hero (did they forget in what tribe he was on in season 20?)

          I see what you mean about winning putting you too much in the limelight, but for most winners, it really seems that it’s a 15 minute of fame thing, and then, most of them go back leading a more or less normal life, with a million more in their pockets… I think it’s a good deal. 😉

        • David Billa says:

          I forgot, about Ralph, something that always confused me was Probst talking about him before the season started as player who would probably be the most memorable of the season.
          Why did he say that? Or was that recorded before they edited the season? Probably.

          • Grant Mattos says:

            I am not sure exactly how the recording works. I assume they were still final editing works as far as time goes. It would seem likely they were still editing at that point, and maybe Jeff had been excited to show a lot of Ralph, but then they wanted to put so much of Rob, Phillip, and Matt on Redemption Island in and found they had to sacrifice Ralph more than they initially realized as a result. That is the only conclusion I can reach, as they simply didn’t show enough about Ralph to make him truly memorable, although with his constant humour he would have been had he been shown more.

            Jeff confuses his own feelings towards Phillip with America’s. The less I say on that the better. Then regarding Redemption, for them to not show a bunch of that would be like Jeff admitting it ended up as a failure, so they had to show far too much of Redemption Island duels, and make people strongly believe someone from there (probably Matt) would get back in and win the whole game. Even knowing that wouldn’t happen, and the Redemption Island twist would prove useless to the final outcome of that season.

            So those factors cut out Ralph, and most of the rest of us too.

          • David Billa says:

            Yeah, I guess that what he said about Ralph was probably recorded before the editing was done, just from his impressions after the game.

            And yes, I know you can’t talk freely about it, but I can, since Jeff became showrunner, it tends to confuse a little too much what he likes with what people like. Case in point: Phillip, Rob, Season 30 as whole (not a terrible season, but not a great one either, but Jeff seems to think it’s amazing).

            The redemption island twist was, indeed, a terrible one, it worked once in terms of drama (Blood Vs Water, and only because people were allowed to talk to each other) and never in terms of gameplay, but as you said, he couldn’t admit it back then. I guess he implicitly admitted it now, when they decided to ditch it at the last minute for San Juan Del Sur.

  2. Grant Mattos says:

    Jeff loves alpha male types. I think he even really liked me until my rift with Rob. Well that plus I showed my beta male side, so I was no longer the pure alpha type he loves so much. I still have never watched all of my vote off episode as it is too painful for me, but I am pretty sure if they showed the actual tribal part in its entirety (as they normally do) they would show Jeff more or less campaigning for Rob to keep me, talking about the girls alliance and how it has to be split up. You would have to verify if you remember that episode well if they showed him doing that though, since as I said I never got that far as it still hurts to watch that episode for me. I remember one of my brothers saying it was nice Jeff seemed to be encouraging Rob to keep me though, so they probably did show that part at tribal. So I think at that point he liked me too.

    I think the reason he loved Redemption Island, Caramoan, and Worlds Apart so much was he really liked the people he won. I think Worlds Apart was a pretty good season actually, and I enjoyed watching what I could of it, just not an amazing or one of the all time best. Caramoan was pretty bad, although entertaining in its own way. My season, as much as it pains me to say it as appearing on Survivor and being a contender on that particular season will always be something I am proud of, was one of the worst, but Jeff’s favorite Survivor ever probably won it, and he introduced a new then grand twist (even if it was a bust) so it became amazing. That was then, I think today even he would admit it was one of the weaker seasons, but at the time he couldn’t bring himself to name it as anything but a top 5 season.

    • David Billa says:

      I know, that’s one of the things that annoy me with Jeff. As the host and showrunner, he shouldn’t be so biased as to what type of player he likes.
      However, he did really like you indeed.
      I can’t really remember your vote-off episode, I haven’t seen it in too long (although our discussions makes me want to see the season again, while only a few weeks ago, I wanted to forget it even happened 😉 I don’t think I’ll find the time though), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff tried to “save” you. He had no respect for Natalie and Ashley, and he only cared for Phillip because he was good TV, but this late in the season he was expendable.

      Jeff does also confuse “winner he likes” with “good season”.

      – Worlds Apart is a good season indeed. I don’t like it because there are too many unlikable characters. The only people I cared for were pretty much Joe and Tyler. Joe was out early, and Tyler was invisible most episodes.

      – Caramoan I have a love/hate relationship with it. The premerge is probably the worst premerge ever, and I totally blame casting (having Brandon and Phillip return, too many clueless people in the “fan” tribe) and editing (showing almost exclusively the stupid drama). After the merge, it has some very good moments, especially when Malcolm tries to save himself and succeeds for a little while, but some very nasty ones too (the Brenda and Dawn thing that we’re talking about in another post).

      – Your season I dislike, because I think it was tailor-made to have Rob win and it was unfair to you guys. I have always wondered how the season would have turned out had Rob joined Zapatera and Russell be part of Ometepe.
      I think you guys would have gotten rid of Russell at the first occasion (maybe not throw a challenge though), but I always wonder what would have happened with Rob on the other side. Also, a big mistake that I think most of you guys at Ometepe made was to get rid of Francesca and Kristina so early (Was there things we missed because they were not shown on TV, then?) You guys could have worked with them instead of Rob. My guess is that Rob sensed that they were his biggest threats in his tribe, and you guys were too smitten/too new to the game to realize that, afterwards, Rob would pretty much take control of the tribe.

      • Grant Mattos says:

        I think I would have worked very closely with Andrea and Matt had Russell been leading our tribe instead of Rob. I loved both of them, and I wanted strong people as allies. I could never import a strategy like Rob of manipulating and dragging 19 year old Natalie, or bullishly dragging someone like Phillip. Not that I fault him for that, as it was great strategy, and it worked out for him obviously, but I just couldn’t handle something like that with my personality. The great thing looking back in hindsight too is both had me in their ideal F3s so I think unlike Rob both would have been willing to go the end with me, despite being a jury threat. I think in team challenges we would be fine as Matt basically replaces Rob now.

        I did not like Russell even before the game. Coming anywhere near him I can tell you he smells disgusting for starters. Being out there on an island none of us are the cleanest, but he takes it to another level. He cares nothing about personal hygiene, and I sort of knew that as I had heard it even before the show. I don’t think we would throw a challenge though, nor would we have to as we would probably lose some of the early challenges seeing as we did anyway. I believe we would have booted him at the first opportunity. Francesca, Kristina, even at first Phillip wanted Rob gone, so I am pretty sure they would want Russell gone too. I am sure myself, Andrea, Matt, even Ashley would be all on board for that too. Natalie couldn’t stand Russell. Yeah he would be toast. Rob was able to capatilize that people like myself, Natalie, Andrea, Ashley, even Matt were huge Rob fans even before playing, even with our limited knowledge of Survivor. None of us were Russell fans.

        Yes the set up was somewhat unfair, but we also have ourselves to blame somewhat. That is part of the frusteration of our experience though, many of us feel with Rob’s total control of our tribe, and the Pagoning of the Zaps immediately after the merge, noody really got a chance to play. A 4 time player and a guy who played 3 of the last 4 seasons with all newcomers though, most of us recruit types who barely have any knowledge of the history of the show at that point? Yeah not really a fair set up.

        Rob wanted Francesca and Kristina gone first, since he knew they were gunning for him. They were definitely the two most game smart people on our tribe, outside of Rob, and the only ones who knew what had to happen which none of the rest of us ever really got. Although the original alliance of Rob, myself, Matt, Ashley, Andrea, Natalie was somewhat just the young-ish, good looking, athletic people banding together. I know that sounds snobbish and mean a bit, but I am just being honest. You tend to be attracted to people more similar to yourself by nature most of the time. That also made it easier for Rob to continue stunning us by keeping Phillip over each of us, once he was added to our alliance. It is amazing none of us really believed he might be taking Phillip to the end over all of us. We thought he was an add on who was replacing Matt.

        Worlds Apart was entertaining. I agree it wasn’t super likeable once you got to the final 7 or 8. That also was part of what made it more interesting though. The only problem was the heavy Mike edit that almost made it obvious he would win, despite seemingly having his back against the wall. You didn’t really know who was going each week though, especialy once the initial No Collars were predictably booted early in the merge. I was sad to see Joe and Tyler not last longer, as I loved both of them. I haven’t met either in person but would love to someday.

        Caramoan was a pretty boring pre merge I agree. The post merge became pretty interesting though with some interesting plays with idols, when they were used, how they were used, when they weren’t used in Andrea’s case. Malcolm was great, even if stratetically much of his play wasnt sound, but lot of fun to watch. I loved watching Phillip get booted with the double idol play though. Malcolm could sense he wasn’t on the right side of numbers or in the right position in his original alliance, so he tried whatever he could, forming the Three Amigos, using idols, and I respect that he kept fighting even with his back up against the wall and never really in a good or secure spot in the game. The blindside of Brenda upset me since she is a friend of mine, and as I said I can relate to the pain of a good friend hurting you like that, but it also made for some great viewing drama if we are being realistic. Brenda’s reaction bless her, added to that, unlike me just masking my broken heart and jogging off after my torch snuffing. I really wish I had a Brenda reaction and called Rob imparticular out right there. Cochran did play a nearly impeccable game, love him or not. The Erik evacuation was disappointing, as I think he would have made the final episode a lot more interesting and suspenseful. Had he somehow won the final immunity and gotten rid of Cochran he could have won since Sherri and Dawn were not jury threats it seems. I was so glad Eddie didnt make the F3 as I get the impression he was a jury threat which is ridiculous since he did nothing.

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