From the second Boston Rob Mariano stepped out of a helicopter and onto the beach this season, the game has been leading up to this moment. Through charm, smarts and a few gifts of pure circumstance, up to this point Rob has played one of the most purely successful games of Survivor in the history of the show. Whether a fan of the man or not – and I think you’ve all probably figured out by now that I am a bit of a fan – you have to admit, it’s been an impressive run. Tonight, however, marked the end of what has so far been a pretty easygoing time for him, as both of the remaining Zapatera members were sent to Redemption Island leaving only his original alliance remaining in the game. Ladies and gentlemen: Next week things are going to get interesting.
The key component of that last sentence? Yeah, next week. The problem with having to craft an episode around an inevitability is that, well, inevitability is boring. The producers made a valiant attempt to shake things up by introducing a “mystery package” tonight in an effort to throw a wrench in Ometepe’s plan to eliminate both of the remaining Zapatera, but adding an extra immunity challenge and elimination doesn’t really have an effect when the people you need to win in order to create interest are just not capable of getting it done. (Steve, I’m looking at you.) Still, even if Steve had managed to pull off an upset immunity win, Rob had already planned for that very scenario and his entire alliance was ready to vote off Andrea. Rob: the Boy Scout of Survivor strategies.
The one part of the game that’s still very much up in the air is what is going to happen with the folks at Redemption Island. Matt, who more and more is bearing his time on Survivor like the good Job he is, has almost completely broken from reality and has stopped fighting and is now simply existing. Barely. Still, he manages to make it through to the next round along with Mike. When they are joined by both Ralph and Steve it was almost shocking to see four people on Redemption Island. I don’t understand what’s going on with this. Are they trying to start a basketball league? Play doubles tennis? Or perhaps euchre? It seems strange to have almost as many people on Redemption Island as there are in the actual game, and it’s hard to see how they are going to reintegrate a player (or players) without doing it very, very soon.
I do think it’s kind of hilarious that a game with a built-in twist designed to make things less predictable has ended up so unsurprising in the last stretch of episodes. For the most part, though, unsurprising hasn’t meant uninteresting, and this is largely due to Phillip. After last week’s accusations of racism at Tribal, Steve decides to be the bigger man and preemptively apologize to Phillip for any misunderstanding. Of course, Phillip doesn’t believe a word Steve says, but that’s perfectly fine because it’s not clear how much is Steve actually wanting to apologize and how much is just an attempt to put a damper on the insanity for a bit. At least Phillip found his buried shorts, with the help of his great-great grandfather’s Cherokee Indian spirit guiding him. Or something. Who cares, because HE FOUND HIS SHORTS. No more baggy red man panties, and for that we are all thankful as I'm sure more than a few people out there prayed for this very thing. Perhaps Matt is on to something with this whole God thing?
- Grant, with the very impressive immunity win. Rob must be looking at that guy every second of every day in an attempt to determine the exact right time to eliminate him. (Hint: the first chance you get, dude.)
- Milk with ice in it: GROSS.
- Kind of unfair to put Steve and Ralph up against each other in the first round of the immunity challenge, isn’t it? Or do they draw straws behind the scenes or something?
- You have to give Steve credit for attempting to drum up support from the girls to switch to their side and vote out Rob. He was right on point about Rob’s strategy to take Phillip to the finals. Unluckily for him, Natalie and Ashley aren’t exactly what I would call forward thinkers.
- “As long as he keeps up his stupid antics, he’ll be coming with me all the way to the finals.”
- “What did Jack Nicholson say to Tom Cruise? ‘Son, you can’t STAND the truth, you can’t TAKE the truth.’” Agent Malaprop strikes again.
- “God is not done talking to Matt…you are staying on Redemption Island whether you want to be or not.”
- “Yeah, I’m in a league every Saturday.”
- “The one I still have to this day.” Awww.