Survivor Review: Cutting Out The Fat

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CBS did the right thing with this week’s episode of Survivor by basically merging two episodes in to one. As the ex-Ometepes simply pick off the ex-Zapateras with their numbers advantage – old Survivor style – there’s not much to watch.

The Murlonio Tribe Relaxes

Rather than waste our time with sorry attempts at cliff hanger votes through creative editing, the Survivor producers hit fast forward on the season and got rid of two of the Zapateras this week.

With three people left to vote out before the ex-Ometepes are left with their six, perhaps we’ll see the same thing next week. However, there’s the potential flaw in doing so. If only one Zapatera is voted out next week, do we know that there will be fireworks the following week?

Allegedly the seasons of Survivor (and most reality game shows) are required by law to be planned out ahead of time. That is, the producers can’t manipulate the planned facets of the game after the game has started to get what they perceive to be a more favorable outcome. Not sure what this is all about? Read the 1960 amendment to the Communications Act of 1934. Or, just watch the movie
Quiz Show.

Getting back to the point, with most (if not all) of the competitive aspects (what challenges happen when, timing of twists, etc) of each Survivor season planned out ahead of time, Survivor’s producers decided ahead of time that there would not be a duel until at least three castaways were voted out. In fact, we’re not even sure that there will be a Redemption Island challenge next week. 

Assuming that the producers didn’t oddly plan a three-man challenge for next week and get lucky when these two tribal councils were boring, my guess is that there will only be one Redemption Island challenge for the right to get back in the game. Whenever it comes will incorporate every person who’s been sent to Redemption Island to that point with just one winner. Sticking with that theme, I’d wager that the challenge will be an endurance based challenge as well.

Burning Buff

Even though we had two weeks worth of challenges and tribal councils in just one episode, the lopsided nature of the game leaves little to discuss from a strategy standpoint. David even commented that it’s frustrating to be in Survivor when no one wants to play the game. 

What the Zapatera tribe members continue to fail to realize is that they’re not going to be able to just walk up, propose a scheme and get a yes on the idea. The best way to infiltrate their ranks is doing the exact opposite: becoming friends. Phillip even gave Ralph and out this week suggesting that they talk about their lives, but not the game. Neither Phillip nor David jumped at the opportunity.

The only person who seems to know the value of a bond prior to an alliance is Boston Rob. He recognizes that he can’t let his tribe become friendly with the ex-Zapateras. Is he a bit extreme with his control, such as with the fish this week? Probably. But the flip side is that they’re all listening to him as well. As Grant said, he makes his own decisions. The rest of them could have done the same.

One man who believes he makes his own decisions is Phillip. Whether anyone feels that he’s making his own decisions is up for debate. Phillip claimed this week that he recognizes that being the ugly duckling gives him a very good chance to get to the finals. I agree, it does. But does it give him a good chance to win the finals? I don’t think so. Even if he’s truthful and fully knowledgeable that his act is a way to get to the finals, is anyone going to buy it?

Boston Rob Talks To Phillip

As Herm Edwards said, you play to win the game. Is getting to the finals and losing to Boston Rob a success? In Survivor it’s always harder to know if one way or another would get one to the finals and/or to a win.  I’ve always been a proponent of extending the game, to use a football term, and that’s what Phillip’s doing. But the implication in football is that you have a chance to win. If Phillip doesn’t have a chance to win, is he extending the game or delaying the inevitable?

More from this week:

  • The innuendos this week were great. Ometepe’s/Boston Rob’s move to get rid of Matt being called a mob hit. The multiple army references by Boston Rob with respect to Phillip and the other ex-Ometepes.  Mike calling Boston Rob a prison guard. Rob calling Steve a dying T-Rex. Julie referring to the ex-Ometepes as a cult. Great stuff.
  • Julie thought that sending Matt back to Redemption Island was cold blooded. Come on. It’s a game. There’s nothing inhumane about sending him back. Besides, she doesn’t know what Matt told Boston Rob was the impetus for the ouster.
  • It’s hilarious that the two former tribes have separate shelters. That has to be a Survivor first.
  • I’m coming around on Phillip. Not in a real way, but in the sense that he’s a parody at this point and every time he opens his mouth, it’s more ridiculous than the last thing he said. Jeff also knows what a joke he’s become and clearly eggs him on.


Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (11 Votes)
Mr probst

@Steveo - good call on the next challenge. One like that might definitely stir things up a bit. @erik & Jeremy - while the show is definitely slow now, I'm not so sure Rob's a shoo-in for the winner, even if he and the ex-Ometepes simply whittle down the Zapateras and then deal with their six. I think it'd be an upset if he doesn't get to the finals, but I could see him losing a la how Russell has lost the last two seasons.


Give Rob the money, CBS. Let's move on to a better season! Anything is better than the Rob Show. It's painful.


Can CBS just give Rob the money now so we can start the next season of Survivor? This season from the pre show promos to the very last aired episode has been the Rob show. While I wasn't happy when I heard Rob would get yet another chance, I figured I put up with him before, I'll do it again, but I just can't anymore. This season is about as exciting as a root canal. I've started to record Survivor and find that I don't rush to watch it anymore. What a shame....this used to be my favorite show.
Maybe next year Survivor can put the 'real' back in reality, and cast two tribes of new faces who don't all look like models or live in California. For a national casting search, the producers tend to typecast and stick to one state for new castaways.


The ironic thing in my eyes is that normally for reality TV, Boston Rob is a gold mine. This season he has not been that entertaining and now we are watching quite possibly the most boring post-merge season of Survivor in Survivor history and it is all because of Boston Rob. Considering this, for the purposes of ratings, the producers made a mistake with bringing Rob and Russell back. However, I also want to say thank you to the producers for condensing two boring episodes into one. On the other hand, I expect had Ometepe lost the last challenge pre-merge and sent Phillip home (he would have lost that challenge to Matt, too), Boston Rob would be a lot more interesting to watch, especially with his idol no one seems to even suspect that he has. Regardless, Rob's strategy is pretty boring though I am somewhat impressed with how well he is able to hold them together (minus Grant eating the fish). As I see it, there is one viable option left for Julie, Ralph, and Steve. Two of them should find Grant and Andrea when they walk off together and offer to go to final four with them, trying to convince them that Rob won't take them to the finals because they would be too strong and would likely beat him. I say Grant because he flexed a little independence when he ate the fish, and Andrea because she seems to grasp the game a little and should realize she is at the bottom half of the six. I think pitching to Grant and Andrea that they are going to be voted out before Philip might be a good selling point (certainly to Grant's competitive side.) Meanwhile, I think Julie, Steve, and Ralph should constantly try to instigate Philip to make him completely unbearable to live with. Doing so will help grow some anxiety within the Ometepe 6. One thing that amazed me is that Boston Rob really hasn't promised anyone final three except Philip once or twice and Grant once or twice. At least that is all I can recall. If that's the case, it is stunning that none of the other Ometepes even think about this. I have never seen such a lackluster group. Thank God Phillip is there to deliver some levity. The thing that would help this season the most would be to have the next challenge be one that shows a rank order or preference in the tribe. You know, the challenges where you pick the right answer and you get to smash someone else's plates. Having a challenge like that will force the Ometepe 6 to realize their is a distinct pecking order.

Mr probst

Yikes, Lauren, this was a tough episode for you then. If you're not a loyal Robite like myself (I'm sorry, his ability to control the game is too impressive for me to hate. I understand why people don't like it, but I'm impressed) there's not much left to root for. Ralph, I guess? Grant, sorta? It's tough. The point about Ometepe never looking for or talking about an immunity idol is amazing. How has Steve not gone up to Phillip or Grant and said "so, who found your immunity idol?" When they say no one, Steve will undoubtedly say "well, then Rob obviously has it." Brian from Survivor: Thailand dominated in a pretty similar fashion to what Boston Rob is doing. However, that's often considered one of the worst seasons even of Survivor. You'll be shocked to learn that I found Brian as equally as impressive to watch. Brian won Survivor: Thailand. Do we think Boston Rob can win Survivor: Redemption Island by going along this same path? If all the Zapateras end up on the jury, would they vote for Boston Rob? If not, who would they vote for?


Okay, so last week I was so annoyed that I couldn't comment and this week I am too annoyed not to! It goes without saying that Matt was incredibly dumb last week; although the fact that he admitted it and said that God must have some other plan for him did make me laugh. So who did leave for me to root for? You guessed it. Mike and David. I agree with what you were saying about bonding with the former Ometepe tribe outside of the game, which I believe Mike tried to do with Matt in reading the Bible with him (if you want to call him a former Ometepe) and I did get a kick out of them pretending they had found another immunity idol this week. It was a legitimate thought that there might be another one since Ralph played his, but as I recall they only put one back in play when both have been played. I still can't get over the fact that no one realizes Rob has an immunity idol, especially Grant! They haven't even shown him looking for it. Unfortunately, even if an Ometepe tribe member decided they needed to get Rob out, it is almost too late. It would be 5 to 4 and Rob would inevitably get wind of it from someone else, like Natalie, and play his idol. I did think that Ralph's attempt to get further in the game by promising jury votes was an interesting one, but it fell on deaf ears. Nothing could be clearer to me that at least Ashley and Natalie do not care whatsoever about winning a million dollars. I've never seen a season so boring with one player dominating. I can't believe I am saying this, but I actually miss the last season. At least there you never knew who was going home. It oould have been any of them at any given moment and they thought about the game. This season is so incredibly boring with Rob's undending arrogance and no one to challenge it. To think that you are on survivor and someone in your alliance says that you cannot even talk to the other tribe. I can't believe they didn't riot then and there. But then, I can because everyone but Grant did not blink at him telling them not to eat their fish. And I do understand David's logic about needing to be discreet because if you put yourself out there as a strategic threat, which there was no doubt David was, you are just giving Rob a reason to get rid of you. I know I've been rambling, but I can't tell you guys how frustrating it is as someone who loves the game to watch a show with absolutely no game. I hate to keep comparing Rob and Russell, but he is actually copying Russell's game in a lot of ways, the only difference is he has so many followers he doesn't have to piss any one off by getting them to flip and turning on them. Here's hoping that Mike or David will win the ultimate redemption island challenge and every immunity after that to take the million!

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Survivor Season 22 Episode 9 Quotes

I can't believe I got blindsided twice by the same people.


First and foremost, I'd like to congratulate myself for being the most naïve person in the history of Survivor.