Survivor 22 – Redemption Island: It was indeed a no brainer.

This season is over.
Never before I have been so happy for a season to be over. I mean, usually, once the Reunion show ends, I’m always a little sad knowing that I’ll never see again some of the people I have followed and rooted for or against during four months.
This time?
Yes, I’ll be sad to not see people like Francesca or Ralph again, but this sadness was nothing compared to the joy of being done with Natalie, Ashley and hopefully Boston Rob (although, I don’t believe he’ll never be back).The episode itself?
The least suspenseful episode ever. I know the editors didn’t have much material to make it very interesting but come on, at times it seemed like they were going out of their way to spoil the episode:
-Night before the final challenge at Redemption Island, Andrea: “oh, I can’t win against these strong guys” Mmm… I wonder who will come back from Redemption Island…
-The following day, Rob: “If she doesn’t win immunity Ashley is gone.” Guess who won immunity 5 minutes later? Worse, the Rob/Editors combo pulled out exactly the same “misdirection so bad it’s telling you what’s going to happen next” the previous week.
What has happened to you Survivor?

Redemption Island 

I don’t think Redemption Island is a terrible twist. But I think it needs to be reworked.
I lean towards ditching it at the merge.
As for the anti-climatic dimension it brings to the game, both the snuffing of the torch that becomes less dramatic and the totally undramatic exit of the person that gets eliminated in the duel, a good idea could be to have the duel happening right after tribal council, literally right after. Let’s have the duel arena right behind the tribal council area, and as soon as the torch is snuffed, the person voted out goes to the arena and duels against whoever is waiting for them there.

Concerning the last duel, well what can I say? Redemption Island wouldn’t have been a let down if the person returning to the game shakes things a little, not get voted out again right after. And this is what happened twice.

So ok, Survivor powers that be, you’re having Redemption Island again next season. Fine. But you’d better make changes and most important, if it sucks again, you’d better ditch it for good.

The Final Three

So we had to deal with the most predictable final three ever (when did I talk about them three in the final three? I believe that was pre-merge) and it also as the most unlikable one in the form of one bastard and two goats.Natalie Tenerelli: I loved her responses (irony here) at the final tribal council. Basically her Survivor experience was about going camping and her way of convincing the jury was to tell them that she was very good at riding coattails and at being Rob’s slave (no creepiness intended).

Former Federal Agent Phillip Sheppard:Phillip did disappoint me. When he put those three of four feathers on his head and this red blanket on his back heading to final tribal, looking more ridiculous than ever, I thought he was setting the stage for what I had been expecting for a while now, that is Phillip final statement going as follows: he stands up, throws the feathers and the blanket away and with his most suave jamesbondesque voice tell everyone how it was all an act and that he played them all. But no, he didn’t. Phillip is indeed this lunatic guy. 

Boston Rob Mariano: I still don’t understand why CBS made us suffer through all of that just to write a one million dollar check to Rob. Couldn’t they just do it off camera and have a normal watchable season sans Rob and Russell?
And please people, stop saying that he played the best game ever. Playing the best game would be playing that game in Heroes Vs Villains, you know, one of those seasons where he didn’t even make it to the merge.
What he did there, would be like me playing French Scrabble against a bunch of random Americans. Yes, none of them would stand a chance against me, would that make me the best Scrabble player ever?
I doubt it.
Oh well, if we had to suffer that season and if in return it’s a sure thing that we never see Boston Rob again, maybe it was worth it.
A few last words about the jury: 

Andrea Boelhke: She finally tried to make that big move I had expected her to make all season long when she returned from Redemption Island. Too little too late. I really hoped she could become an interesting player. Another wasted opportunity.

Ashley Underwood: Wow, she almost played the game just before being voted out! I’m impressed. Strangely, although it would have made me sick to my stomach if she had been in the final three, I surprised myself rooting for her in her last challenge just so we have an interesting final four vote. Didn’t happen, and soon enough, Ashley returned to her normal self of a useless whiny spoiled bitch. I hope to never see her again.

David Murphy: My favorite to win this season. 🙁 Maybe he should have aligned himself with Russell when he had the chance. His final tribal speech was interesting, and it was funny to see him becoming a lawyer again, not addressing the defendants but the jury. Oh and if you watched the Ponderosa videos, I found him hilarious, I’m convinced that he spent most of his time in Ponderosa drinking. Look at him welcoming the bootees every week, if he’s not buzzed, I don’t know what he is.
I have the feeling we’ll see him again of Survivor as he has much more to offer to this game.

Grant Mattos: Welcome the Lex & Big Tom club Grant. I feel for you man, but this is what happens when you’re a guy and make friends with Boston Rob on this game. Grant had a lot of potential too but it got wasted the second he decided to become Rob’s right hand man.

Julie Wolfe: I regret being mean about her at the beginning of the season, she seems like a great woman.

Matt Elrod: What can I say that I haven’t said already? Maybe I would have liked Matt had he learned just a little bit to play this game and if he knew how to talk about anything else but his god. If anybody reading this wonder why people can be crazy enough to blow themselves up in the name of god, just look at Matt. How long do you think he would hesitate if anybody with enough influence (his church’s minister?) told him to blow himself up in the name of god?

Mike Chisel:He also had a lot of wasted potential, but man, can anybody be more devoid of humor and self-distanciation than this guy? A robot is funnier and has more levity.- Ralph Kiser:Fun guy. I thought he’d be better at the game, although he didn’t have much room to navigate.

Steve Wright: I went back and forth between liking and disliking him. In the end, I’m still not sure about him. I guess he realized that he is now an old guy during his time in Nicaragua, and it’s not always a fun thing to realize.

Next Season

I’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about next season before it starts, but the intro got me worried. Redemption Island again, alright, I can deal with it, maybe it will play out differently. But two returning players again? After this season’s debacle? Really?
Probst really wants to alienate old fans or what?
Of course I want to know who that will be, hopefully people that I’ll be happy to see again, and people that will be faced with people who have a brain on their own this time.

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?

3 Responses

  1. Grant Mattos says:

    Hey David, here is an interesting question for you. Who do you think would have been voted if Ashley had won immunity. I really don’t know if it would be Natalie, Phillip, or Rob. If they were sane it would be Rob, but I suspect it would be Phillip.

    Here is my thinking:

    Ashley- in all the times we have spoken since the show she seems completely convinced she would have beaten Rob in a jury vote. I think she is/was overconfident. While she could have beaten Rob in a jury vote she wasn’t certain to. Certain to would be people like myself, Matt, and Mike. So given that I think she would have foolishly probably voted to keep Rob in, and jeapordize her own chances of winning. She wasn’t going to vote Natalie out when she knows Natalie could never beat her, was almost as big a goat as Phillip, when she despised Phillip at the time, and when she and Nat were so close. So her vote probably goes to Phillip.

    Rob- He would have to vote for 1 of his goats- Phil or Nat. Generally I think Phillip was his biggest lock for the end by the end part of the game, even more than Nat. So normally this would be a Nat vote. An indication of this is when I was voted off. Rob only considered possibly voting out Natalie instead of me. Phillip was not even a consideration that time. This situation is a bit different though. It is different since there are only 4 votes and Rob knows that no way he can get Ashley to vote for Natalie, despite that Natalie was willing to vote for Ashley if Rob told her to throughout the game. Rob also would have to be worried he might get voted out now. So he would have to decide who he trust more. Say Ashley and Phillip vote Rob, Natalie votes Phillip, Rob votes Natalie, Rob would be voted out. Natalie he could 100% trust to not vote for him (the only one who matches Natalie’s blind loyalty to Rob was sadly me), while Phillip he couldn’t. Phillip would be willing to vote for Rob if the opportunity came so voting for Natalie instead of Phillip leaves him the possibility of being voted out 2-1-1, which would never happen if he voted Phillip, since Natalie would never vote out Rob instead of Phillip. So I think he would probably vote for Phillip too, despite that he considered him an even bigger goat than Natalie and in another vote differently.

    Natalie- I cant see her voting Rob as already explained. So obviously her vote would be Phillip no matter what.

    So I see Phillip being voted off as the most likely outcome.

    Here is another interesting story. I asked Natalie at Ponderosa why when I asked her about and Rob both how her alliance with him was different than mine with Rob’s, she didn’t say to build up her own game (which I wanted her to do so I had an excuse to atleast consider voting her) she didn’t say “the difference in our alliances is I got Rob to take me to the end and you didn’t”. She said she didn’t say that since she knew I was already feeling bad about the whole Rob situation and she didn’t want to hurt me more. That was sweet.

    • David Billa says:

      Good question…
      My memories of that point in the game are a bit blurry for me, but you’re right, I think that Rob would have been willing to get rid of Phillip if keeping him would be risking not making it to the end.

      However, even if Ashley said afterwards that she thought she would have beaten Rob in the final, at that point in the game, I think she maybe willing to vote against him, and try to convince Phillip to do so too.
      So yeah, 3-1 against Phillip, or 2-2 between Rob and Phillip.

      Unless, Rob decides to get rid of Natalie at this point, and convinces Phillip to vote against her.

      If Rob thinks he’s going to end up in a tie, he’ll probably vote against Natalie, I’m sure she’s easier to beat in a fire-making challenge than Phillip. If he doesn’t think he can force the tie, he’ll go after Phillip.

      Hard to tell.

      Thanks for the extra tidbit of behind the scenes.

      • Grant Mattos says:

        I see what you mean though about if Ashley won it would have made an interesting final tribal. Lots of talks would have occurred between everyone about who to vote out, with every combination of person probably talking. Something we had not seen all game long. Phillip having to kiss up to both girls to try and convince them to vote out Rob instead of him after harassing them all game would have been great.

        When Rob won I knew Ashley was getting voted out. The whole jury was certain of it. Andrea said she felt it would be a tie since Natalie would never vote Ashley out over Phillip and I told her “if Rob snaps his fingers and tells her to she will.”

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