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Survivor 22: Redemption Island – This Game Respects Big Moves

Yeah for the merge! Say what you want, except for a couple of seasons, the post-merge part is always the better. Sure we’ll still have a few people thinking in terms of teams. Oh well, we need jury members after all… A very interesting episode, quite a frustrating one too as some people (Matt and Andrea) could have turned the game around, and instead Matt decided to go with being an idiot. As you -hopefully- already know if you’re reading these lines, that just got him sent back to Redemption Island, which is such a waste after winning all of those challenges.
Talking about being sent back to Redemption Island, I’m not too happy about Redemption Island remaining “open” after the merge.
Pre-merge, it was alright, sure it removes a lot from the intensity and finality of tribal council, but the game isn’t being changed too much by it. Now, it’s a different story. When is the next time somebody re-enters the game? I suspect final four. That’s way too late in the game to allow anybody to return, in my opinion. Now, it really could change the outcome. Why not -one could ask-? Yeah why not? Here is why: because the strategic dimension of the game will be greatly affected, that’s why.
However, once again, I don’t want to judge before seeing it play out.

The Merged Tribe aka Mariano Tribe

That’s not its name? I thought this is what it was. No, seriously when Rob said whatever name it is he said, this is what I heard. And seriously, don’t tell me that all of the 11 other members were fooled by Rob’s joke one them (and on all of the people that tried to give deep meaningful names to their merged tribe only to end-up with a stupid name). I mean, I don’t speak Spanish, but come on, it is not a weird exotic language, even if you don’t know a single word of the language, Spanish and English are close enough in their structure and syntax that a whole phrase in one language can’t be just three syllables in the other one. I suspect some people must have known that was bullshit but they kept their mouth shut just not to antagonize Rob. Not that it matters anyway.

On a more game play aspect, seems that I was wrong last week with my “loose cannons” they all stayed true to their original tribe, even Matt, it’s just that his original tribe didn’t stay true to him.

Andrea Boelhke: The editing made us believe that Andrea was ready to flip with Matt, but in the deleted scenes from we see that actually she was not. It seems that she wants to stay with Rob even if she doesn’t trust him. And I’m slowly getting annoyed with Andrea. She really seems to understand the game in general and the dynamics at work there in particular. However, she just lacks the guts to make that big move that would propel her to the end. And I’m convinced that this big move should have been to flip with Matt over to Zapatera. One will argue that it is a stupid idea, that she’s number 5 in the pecking order with Ometepe and that she would end up number 6 or 7 with Zapatera. I disagree. Staying with Ometepe, she will be disposed of as soon as Rob doesn’t need her (that is even before Phillip goes) and there will be nothing she’ll be able to do to prevent it. While on Zapatera, she could be the swing vote when they’re down to 6 or 7, and being the swing vote at this stage of the game usually puts you in a very powerful position. A lot of people ended up in the final this exact way. Not everything is said and done, she could still switch sides next week, although I suspect that she won’t, and that will be her demise.
Ashley Underwood: We’ve had useless people before on Survivor. We’ve had annoying people before. We’ve had boring people before. We’ve had stupid people before. I don’t think we’ve ever had a player that is all of it together as much as Ashley is. This comment about the tarp? I would have been there, I think I would have slapped her on the spot (damn, that would have had me kicked out off the show). Her interviews on I could never listen to one until the end. And from a game point of view, she’s not only clueless but what’s really driving me nuts is that she’s playing the game, but she’s playing the game so that Rob can win. I think I’d rather have somebody that’s not playing the game than this annoying tool.
David Murphy: So, he seems to stay close with Zapatera. I guess he doesn’t really have other options right now, so laying low is the best thing he can do for the moment, until he makes that big move he’ll need to make sooner or later. Yet, laying low is not something he can do very well. he should have just shut and not reveal that he threw the challenge when they voted out Russell. Although, I think Stephanie had already made this information public at Redemption Island. Right now, he needs to find ways to further himself in the game as he’s not in a good position: no real ally and in the group that will be picked out one by one unless something drastic happens.

Grant Mattos: I’m still very confused about Grant. He seems to be one of the smartest players in his private interviews online, so why is he appearing as just one of Rob’s minions on the show? If he really trusts Rob and really thinks they have each other back, he’ll be in trouble sooner or later (I think I’m typing this every week, am I not?) Hopefully the preview for next week shows that he may or may not jump ships. Although despite the fact that I really hope for it to happen, I’m afraid it won’t. The only thing that could make him switch sides would be to find out that Rob hasn’t told him the truth about the hidden idol, but how can he find out before Rob plays it?

Julie Wolfe: I don’t really have anything to say about this week, sorry.


Matt Elrod sent to Redemption Island… again…: “Hero to zero” is the best way to describe Matt I guess. Some people “achieve” this in a lifetime, he did it in one single episode. Beginning of the episode, Sarita tells him everything he needs to know about Zapatera as if she already know that she was going home (told you that her mind was not in the game enough), then he injures himself, then that challenge among all possible challenges. I mean, who except for Sarita’s mom was rooting for her at that moment? Matt was allowed back into the game after an amazing 6 wins in a row. It went all downhill after that. Yes he should have aligned himself with Zapatera, whether Mike was telling the truth or not about the final four promise didn’t matter, he was never gonna win Rob’s favor back. If somebody blindsides you once, that’s it, you know you can’t trust them, it’s the end of your story with them, they’re your enemy now. The thing Matt should have done could be to approach Rob, tell him that you were approached by Zapatera but never in a lifetime tell that you considered it before changing your mind. No, you laugh at them and mock them with Rob behind their back “Ah! Ah! Poor fools! They thought they could convince me to align with them! What a bunch of idiots!” Then, you have a good laugh with Rob about it, and then you backstab Rob as soon as you can. Instead Matt did pretty much everything wrong. He told the whole truth to Rob, especially the part where he said he considered aligning himself with Zapatera. And then, he felt that something was going on because all of Ometepe but him were “conspiring” together, but do you think that he did something about it? Hell no, he kept on believing Rob. I’m sorry but if the first time he was voted out I felt bad for him because it was unnecessary this time he had it coming. He almost was the most powerful player of the game at that moment and he not only let it go but allowed it to backfire. And this time at Redemption Island, he will have to face fiercer people than Krista or Kristina. Also his God-this God-that he really starts making me feel uncomfortable. Have the religion and the belief you want, I don’t care as long as you don’t put it everywhere like this. What’s the difference between somebody like Matt and a fundamentalist? Slim to none…

Mike Chiesl: I have a problem with Mike. That is his personality and (lack of) charisma. The dude takes himself way too seriously, he seems to be seriously lacking humor and an ability of self-distanciation. I usually have a serious hard time to be around such people. That being said, I think that he is the one that plays the game the best besides Rob right now. Sure his attempt to bring Matt and Andrea failed, but it was the best thing to do in his position and he did everything right about it. Too bad Matt is a fool. The thing I’d like to know more about was whether he was being sincere when he said he was going to plan for final four with Matt and Andrea? And who was going to be the 4th one? Steve?
Mike could be in trouble as soon as next week now.
Natalie Tenerelli: The short conversation we saw between Rob and her today was interesting (I think it is the first and possibly last time I put “interesting” and Natalie in the same sentence). I feel like Rob really intends to bring her to the end. It makes sense though, the only way Rob can have a jury voting in his favor would be if Natalie and Ashley are the two other finalists.
Former Federal Agent Phillip Sheppard: Mmmm… I loved Phillip when he was going all “Former Federal Agent” and “The Gorilion is going to protect America.” But now, he’s really plagiarizing Coach. That’s not good Phillip, not good at all. Also, it now seems more and more obvious that he’s playing it up for camera time, which makes me think more and more than a lot of his insane behavior is an act (but can you act crazy for 20 days straight, 24/7? Maybe a real CIA agent can, who knows?). Oh and Phillip, this is the Bushido. Not Bushudo, not Bushudu and not even “Bushido code”, the “do” at the end, means “code”. From a game play perspective, it seems that he finally decided to not go after Rob anymore, which means that he’s totally unpredictable, so who knows what’s going to happen next.

Ralph Kiser:Not much about him this week. Just the idol being played at the end for nothing. Once again, he didn’t really make a mistake. He made it when he told the other members of his tribe that he had it, and we saw today why it was a mistake, because now, he had no other choice but to play it to save Mike, although he didn’t need to be saved. Will this come back to haunt him? I assume we’ll see soon.

Boston Rob Mariano: Same old same old… Rob is having fun this time around, throwing a clue in a volcano, calling the merged tribe the name of one of Amber’s stuffed animals and totally dominating the game. I just wish that had cast some real competition for this season (but then again, Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst wanted to make sure Rob makes it to the merge this time).

Steve Wright: Not much about him this week. I thought he was going to be an interesting character (I didn’t say likable, I said interesting). Well, not just yet.

Next person voted out: 
The previous makes us believe that the next out is a bird killed by Phillip so… Ok, the more interesting part is Grant saying that he’s really playing for himself, with hints of a possible alignment with Zapatera. Sadly I don’t really believe it.
So, the next person out is most likely Mike (who could take over Matt as king of Redemption Island) unless there’s a major blindside orchestrated by Grant against Rob (I’m hoping for it, but I just don’t see it happening).

What are your thoughts?  What did you think of this episode? Don’t be shy, tell me.

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