For this week’s episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, the producers did all they could to try and liven up what has been a fairly dull season this far. Unfortunately a glorified game of shuffleboard and a double-immunity challenge and double-tribal council can’t make up for the slow season Boston Rob has created so far.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still impressed with how Boston Rob has controlled this game. He has his entire tribe eating out of his hand. After being approached by Steve about voting Boston Rob off, Ashley went immediately to the Robfather to spill the beans.
Why? Because if Natalie did it and Rob found out Ashley wasn’t going to tell him, she’d be the next to go. That’s the level of fear and loyalty that Boston Rob has created around him. He even had the hilarious line that Phillip “isn’t going anywhere, he’s under my protection”.
While Boston Rob’s manipulation of the players in the game has been impressive to watch, it’s resulted in a dull middle of the season. The former Ometepes blindsided Matt (again, hilariously) and then systematically went to work eliminating the ex-Zapateras.
The show tried its best to make things interesting with challenges, a new twist at Redemption Island, a twist at tribal council and most importantly, creative editing. In reality (no pun intended) there was no drama with who was going home every week. Impressive game play - yes. Exciting television - no.
The big question regarding how Boston Rob has dominated the game is if his five alliance members have benefitted from removing the Zapateras or if they should have made a move when there were more numbers to play with. Let’s break down each of the other five players and evaluate Rob’s benefit (or lack thereof) to their chances.
Rob summed up his benefit to Phillip when he said that “As long as Phillip keeps up his crazy talk, he’s going to the finals with me”. The catch to this statement is that Phillip is likely going to the finals with everyone.
Who wouldn’t take Phillip? Is a jury really going to believe him when he says his plan was to ruffle feathers so that he could get to the finals? Even if they did, would they vote for him? I don’t think so.
The only way Rob would consider getting rid of Phillip is if he does something stupid like try to get rid of Rob. Otherwise, everyone is going to take him to the finals. Here’s an interesting question: If you don’t think you’ll make it to the finals, do you try to get rid of Phillip somewhere so one more spot opens up?
When the Ometepe tribe does split apart next week Grant will likely fall on Rob’s side. The pair has been pretty chummy, but does siding with Rob really help Grant? He’s the only other Ometepe who’s played the game at all. He was competitive in challenges and brought up the idea of getting rid of Andrea.
If Phillip’s a lock for the finals, particularly if Rob makes it, what are the chances Grant gets the other spot? Wouldn’t Boston Rob rather bring someone like Natalie, who’s done next to nothing? It might behoove Grant to team up with the three girls and oust Boston Rob and Phillip.
Ashley and Natalie
From a game stand point there’s nothing to distinguish the pair. They’re nearly inseparable on camera as it is. They do virtually no thinking for themselves and take every single cue from Boston Rob.
For their loyalty, one of them would likely sit alongside Boston Rob and Phillip at the final tribal council. But, it can’t be both of them and neither of them have a chance to win anyway.
Since neither Ashley nor Natalie knows who Rob would take (my money’s on Natalie) it makes sense for either one to make a power play. Figure out a way to get rid of Boston Rob and dominate the politics until the jury. Their make-me-the-winner sales pitch is that rode Boston Rob’s coattails as long as necessary and discarded him when his use ran out.
While similar to Ashley and Natalie she has more of a head on her shoulders (well, except for the non-sense about feeling bad about Matt). Earlier in the game, she and Phillip were as friendly as anyone outside of Boston Rob’s placating has been to Phillip. She even got Grant to pick her over the other two girls for the reward (though he claimed it was for the opposite reason).
The main point with Andrea is that she has options. She could work with the girls (Ashley and Natalie say they don’t want her involved, but they can’t make a move without her). I’m sure she could talk Grant in to working together to boot Rob. If Phillip ever got the idea to get rid of Boston Rob, Andrea’s a good partner for him. Above all else, she likely has a jury vote already in Matt (despite everything, Matt would vote for Andrea over anyone else).
Confession – while writing each player’s chances, I forgot that someone was coming back to the game. We don’t even know when at this point. It could be next week. That seventh person will certainly alter things for the six ex-Ometepes. Especially if that person is Matt (wouldn’t you love to see him voted out three times in one game?).
Also, I forgot about Boston Rob’s immunity idol. While none of the other players knows about the idol, it’s certainly going to play a roll. In my opinion, it will be both good and bad. When he plays the idol, everyone else will learn that he’s had it the entire time and didn’t tell them about it. That’s going to rankle some feathers, possibly Phillip’s.