There have been far worse seasons of Survivor, but probably few as disappointing as Redemption Island. I say this because this latest iteration of the reality stalwart started off with such a bang, it was hard to imagine it ever settling into the doldrums. However, that’s exactly what has happened. What should have been one of the greatest seasons of all time has turned into a rather rote one, with players content to merely go with the flow rather than actually step up their game. The one exception, of course, is Boston Rob, who has played a masterful and cunning social, athletic, and strategic game. It’s an amazing thing to behold, especially since this is the FOURTH time he’s been stranded on Probst Island. Obviously that gives Rob an experiential advantage, but on the other hand, it should also give him a target the size of Fenway park. Luckily for him, he’s got a bunch of idiots on his team. In fact, everyone this season has been an idiot, with the exception of Rob, and dare I say Russell.

Russell accused his former teammates of not playing the game, a statement that seemed like bitter parting words as he left the game. After all, how could he say that the tribe wasn’t being strategic when they were simultaneously excising the most dangerous member of their crew? But truth be told, after Russell left, the tribe sat complacently on its laurels, even as the numbers dwindled, and they faced rough odds at the merge. I don’t think it was a mistake to get rid of Russell, but everything else sure was.

To wit, after the merge, it looked like things might get freaky when Zapatera almost lured over Matt to their side. But he had a crisis of conscience and wavered, an act that got him sent back to Redemption Island. Idiot #1.

At that point, Zapatera was down in numbers, but rather than trying to maneuver a way into the Ometepe alliance, they merely sat there, hoping that Phillip would annoy everyone enough to be voted off. Guess what? That didn’t work either. Idiots #2, 3, 4, 5.

It also helped that Rob had managed to get his tribe to follow his every move. These Ometepes were drinking the Kool-Aid — to the point where Phillip announced that he would be perfectly happy to be sixth on the totem pole. Idiot #6.

Also benefitting Rob are his two deputies: Ashley and Natalie — two vapid girls who’ve spent the entire season following Rob around like two lost ducklings. Their blind devotion is horrific, only because I can easily imagine the way such behavior colors their regular lives. Even better is that both girls seem to think Rob is taking them to the end. They, along with Grant, seem to be playing for a spot next to Rob — a miserable strategy and a plan that should have been aborted weeks ago as it was the same mindset that did in everyone on Survivor: All Stars a few years ago. No one seems to realize that you should never let another person control your fate in the game. But everyone has blind devotion to Rob. It’s hilarious and terrible. Even Rob himself has said that if these morons just talk to each other, they’d realize that something was fishy, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Idiots #7, 8, 9.

And then we have Andrea, the first victim of the post-Zapatera purging. Why she ever thought she’d be safe is beyond me. Didn’t she remember Rob taking out her closest ally? It was shocking that none of the Ometepe Six seemed to realize that at some point, they would be on the losing side of the numbers. I thought of all the Ometepe, Andrea would see the writing on the wall and join the Zapatera to advance her game. But she didn’t. Oh well. Idiot #10

Of course, there’s a chance a Zapatera could get back into the game, depending on what happens with Redemption Island. I sure hope it isn’t Mike, who gave up a chance for him and his fellow Redemption Islanders to spend time with their families so that the remaining Zapateras could see their kin instead. Why would he do this? Jury votes? Did he not realize that this callous group wouldn’t give two craps about this gesture? Did he really think that if he got back in the game, they would spare him because he let them see their families? Let me tell you something: two hours after the relatives left, I guarantee that all the good will was already forgotten about.

And that sort of sums up why this season has slowed down so much. There’s too much negotiation with the power players. The worst strategy a failing team could have is to make an offer to the power players. Tell someone from the other team that they have a spot in the top three? Bad idea. There’s no way to back up the claim, and chances are that person will go and tell everyone else, further undermining your strategy. Give the people in power a gift? Great. It’ll get you nowhere.

The only way to shake things up is to convince someone (often in a sneaky way) that there are bigger threats out there. The fact is that during this second half of Redemption Island no one has tried to be sneaky, and the show has suffered. We only have two episodes left. Here’s to hoping things get shaken up soon…

“That was a pretty fun Tribal Council. We voted off Ralph and Steve. Now it’s just the six of us, and I’m totally in the clear. Why would I have to worry? These people have only betrayed me like once or twice TOPS.”

“I hope I hear from AMBAH. She bettah not have scratched my DVD of The Town.”

“Hey guys, isn’t it great when we all sit here like we’re in a dirty version of a J. Crew catalogue?”

“Hey Matt. Just wanted to say hi and tell America that we have really, really good genes.”

Ralph: “I hope my wife comes out. She’s hairier than I am!”

“Hmmm… I could either see my family and let Matt and Ralph see their families, which would be awfully nice given what they’ve been through — especially Matt…. OR I could give it up for no good reason. Yeah, I’m gonna do that!”

“It’s been great out here. I act crazy, and then when someone calls me crazy, I just call them a racist. Great fun!”

“Hey honey, be sure to not trust anyone. You gotta play with your head.”
“Ugh, Dad, you are so embarrassing. I’m, like, basically in the top three.”

“Oh man. I’m tired. Can you guys help me win this Immunity?”
“Sure thing, Rob!”
“We’re on top of it!”
“Anything for you, Rob!”

“Here’s the thing: I totally have a deal with Rob to go to the end, and I’m sure no one else has that deal WHATSOEVER; so I’m feeling pretty good!”

“Wow. You are all idiots.”

“Well… maybe I’ll come back from Redemption Island… and then Rob will take me to the end!!”

What did you think about the latest episode? What do you think about the way the season has gone? Rooting for Rob to go all the way or to get taken down?

12 replies on “SURVIVOR PHOTOCAP: Will Redemption Island Ever Be Redeemed? (No)”

  1. At this point, though it pains me as a Yankees fan, I am rooting for Rob. I will of course tune in to see the following 1. How many more feathers Phillip can affix to his idiotic head 2. If anyone sets fire to camp and 3. Matt hopefully beating Andrea with his bible upon her arrival to Redemption.

    1. I agree with you. I think Rob (and this really pains me to say it) deserves to win after all these sheep have let him control the game completely.

  2. I am rooting for Rob and then Phillip. They are the only ones I even remember. I can’t believe there are only 2 shows left. I just don’t care about the rest of the players. By now I at least hate a few. oh well.

  3. I’m drinking the kool-aid and rooting for Rob. If anyone else wins this game, it will be a travesty. He has pretty much controlled every step of this game, and has been holding onto an immunity idol for a long time with out saying ONE WORD to anyone about it. That’s something that Russell would never have done.

  4. Even though I believe Rob has played a masterful game, I really hope the girls and Grant figure out what he’s been up to and blindside him this week. That is the one and only way that any other person can win this game. Rob is well aware that this is a possibility, and he can’t keep them all away from each other forever. If Rob stays in the game, whoever is left is going to regale us with the whole “I rode coattails strategy” b.s. at the final tribal council. Snore.

  5. I didn’t watch last week’s epi, and I’m not sure if I’m going to watch tonight’s either. This show has gotten stale and all the gimmicks and “twists” they throw at us to entice us to watch just aren’t working. Here’s an idea, how about getting some different stereotypical people instead of the same ones season after season. There’s the big dumb hick (Farmer Tom, Ralph, and others), the angry black woman (I’m including Phillip in this one because even though he’s not a woman, he acts like one), the crazy (Shane with his wooden crackberry, Coach, Corrine and others), the holy (Matt, Vecepia, etc.) plus the ever present young dumb attractive people (way too many to list). Maybe they need to open it up to their fan base to propose a new twist.

  6. Really curious to see how Redemption Island works out – it will be ridiculous if one of them ends up in the final alongside Rob and one of the girls (or Philip). Thanks God for Philip, otherwise the latter half of this season would have been even more boring than it has been already.

  7. It feels like the producers purposely picked followers to put on Rob’s team. Years from now they will look back at this and be embarrassed at how gullible they were. Rob should start a cult, he’s got some kind of voodoo power!

  8. BR is my favorite reality star of all time! Go Boston Rob.!!!!

    I wish he would have gotten rid of Natalie tonite. Rob can still win challenges, and could have won against Grant. If it comes down to him,(rob) Grant and Phillip, Natalie would still vote for him, Grant may not.

  9. well that made no sense! Now i am thinking like BR, get rid of your biggest competitor, send them to redemption to get rid of the other tribe. Grant will respect Rob’s play, plus, he doesn’t know if it was the secret agent or Rob voting him off. Well played, BR.

  10. Rob has played a masterful game, but he should have had more worthy competition. It’s like watching an NFL team playing a high school team. Let Rob get his well-deserved win and they can stop bringing him back. Time for a season with all new faces, and some brains please next time producers.

    BTW if Probst ever steps down, Boston Rob would be an awesome replacement as host.

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