It was nice to see the full opening credits again. Shame they cut it for so much of the season.
So many more commercials in the shows now.
- It's official. Jeff included the phrase "one shot" in every single one of his Redemption Island dual preambles.
"You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime."
- The immunity challenge was really stupid. Yay for counting!
- Ashley wins immunity again? Man, this just keeps getting lamer and lamer.
- Unlike the other players, Rob doesn't have a title beside his name (ex: student, formal federal agent?, etc.). I wonder why.
Because reality shows are more or less his job now.
- Originally I was surprised that no one was talking about the hidden immunity idol, but based on some of things that Natalie and Ashley said later, they may have just cut that out for suspense.
Yeah, but I really hate that. I get that the editors are trying to create a narrative, and that what we see on Survivor is only 1/300th of the footage they shoot, but it's called Reality TV for a reason. I want to actually know what's going on.
- I was actually expecting Natalie to pull a Fabio and start kicking ass in the finale. If she had chosen to backstab Rob, she would have been almost assured of victory.
- Rob took a pretty big risk in relying entirely on Natalie. It was good of him to play the idol.
In retrospect, it's clear that Natalie was never really going to betray Rob unless Ashley had won the final immunity, and even then maybe Rob could have talked her back into the fold. If Natalie had back-stabbed Rob, maybe she could have won, but I think Ashley was ready for FTC.
- Ashley following Rob around for the whole challenge was pretty hacks. I would have been really pissed if she managed to win.
- Natalie has been doing really poorly at challenges lately. The fact that she doesn't have the mind to figure them out nicely parallels the fact that she doesn't really have a mind for the game of Survivor either. Her later quote, "I would rather lose this game than lose a friend in Ashley," is pretty good proof of that.
- I loved Rob's celebration. It may have been early, but he was definitely celebrating having finally won the million dollars at this point.
- Seeing Andrea all cleaned up on the jury for the first time was a real disappointment. She lost all of her jungle hotness.
- Phillip is actually sort of likeable when he isn't so crazy. His comment about never having won any challenges was pretty funny.
Agreed on all of this. Especially Andrea and her jungle hotness. I mean:
Oh my god.
[Various conspiracy theories]
There's two big conspiracy theories:
- Idiots were hired to allow Rob and Russell to win.
I don't buy this. Like, I know it's lame to keep saying, but people keep underestimating how difficult a task Rob pulled off in this game. Because he made winning look easy, people are assuming it actually was easy when it really wasn't. For every advantage Rob had, he had an equally huge disadvantage, he was just able to neutralize them. The cast for Redemption Island ended up the way it was because (a) they didn't want personalities
that overshadowed Rob and Russell and (b) simply screwing up. They didn't anticipate that Natalie would be so strategically inactive. They thought she could be the nice young girl. I think they figured the Zapatera tribe would be tougher and not so psychologically incapable of trying to win.
- Redemption Island was put there to keep Rob and Russell in the game.
I don't think they minded this, but really they just wanted to copy Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
- I was disappointed that there was no walk through the wilderness to reflect on the players voted out before them. I always felt that was a nice touch. Have they ever not done that before?
I dunno. You can find this scene on the internet though. It was probably cut for the Redemption Island segment.
- Natalie's opening argument was phenomenally weak.
I disagree. Relative to her crappy game, I thought it was pretty encouraging. She seemed likable and like she tried to do something, even if it wasn't much. Then she killed herself as FTC went on.
- Ralph is wearing a very Russell-esque fedora.
- I love how confident Phillip is in what he says. I can't believe how he can just keep talking at every Tribal Council despite the jury members constantly facepalming noticeably.
- Rob, conversely, has a fantastic opening argument.
- Andrea, to Phillip: "You...are weird." Awesome.
- I don't know what the hell Phillip thought he was doing insulting the jury members back.
- Mike was a very respectful and respectable jury member. It was a nice change.
- Ralph, to Phillip: "Do you like me?" Me: "...the fuck?"
- This whole Tribal Council was a real shitfest on Phillip and Natalie. I was surprised at how vocal people were in their dislike of Natalie.
Yep on all of that. Especially the people disliking Natalie. Riding coattails is such an all-in strategy on this show. Either it works perfectly and you kill the guy who did the dirty work, or you look lazy and stupid. I dunno, I just didn't think she was a bad person.
- There's a strange theme running through this final Tribal Council: The notion of the jury questioning who the finalists really were.
This happened with Rob's All-Star Jury appearance too. For some reason he brings out bitterness in the contestants. He's one of the few players that actually understands it's a game for a million dollars, not a place to make relationships. And then ironically he married Amber. Which is kinda funny. Because all these people criticize Rob for being so cold and inhuman on Survivor, and yet he has the most successful personal relationship with a contestant he played with. Irony is thick man.
- By this point, I was starting to wonder if Rob would win with a unanimous vote. I thought it was unlikely but definitely possible. Has that ever happened before on Survivor?
Wikipedia tells me Earl on Fiji and J.T on Tocantins.
- Phillip's little speech must have really pumped up Ralph's ego to secure a vote from him. So much for unanimity. At least Ralph gave us one last laugh with his vote for "Phile".
I totally predicted that Ralph would vote Phillip after their weird little moment.
- It must have been a tough feeling for Natalie sitting there like that (and even taking a direct question from Jeff) and knowing that she won't win.
- Even though it was just Ralph, it was kind of funny that there was one person who felt that Phillip deserved a million dollars for how he played.
- Natalie actually seemed pretty nervous. She must have been struggling with the live TV experience.
All true. I felt bad for her.
- The whole exchange about Grant not returning Rob's calls was pretty awkward. I was really surprised at how bitter Grant was. Rob even admitted in a confession last episode about how hard it was for him to make that decision. I really figured that Grant would have understood.
I think Grant was really sad. I'm not sure Probst should have brought that up.
- Jeff's comment about how so many people dislike his opinions was rather odd.
He's very much on the pulse of internet opinion about the show. And, like many people, he isn't reacting perfectly. People who disagree with you on the internet are either idiots, which means they shouldn't bother you, or they have a legitimate point that you should actually take seriously and not as a personal insult.
- Rob may have played a great game, but it definitely wasn't perfect. If he was playing for the first time, it would have been pretty perfect.
That makes no sense. If a three year old and a thirty-three year old both count from one to ten with no mistakes, they both perfectly counted to ten. The three year old is more impressive, but that doesn't make the older guy somehow less good.
Also, Colby played twice before HvV and then didn't have much in the tank his third time. It's more emotionally disappointing that he checked out, but his previous experience doesn't make his game better or worse either.
- But there were several instances in which he could have and probably should have been voted out. I'm really starting to believe in my sheep theory: It was a season of Rob vs. Russell designed to allow one of them to win by casting some incredibly stupid players. Yeah, not everyone sucked, and the season pre-merger was pretty interesting. But even though I was cheering for Rob for most of the game, after Matt was blindsided again, the rest of the season really sucked. I mean, last season wasn't great, but I still felt good when Fabio won. Sure, it was Rob, one of the people I was cheering for, who won, but on the whole, this season has left me feeling extremely unsatisfied.
Rob won because he played a transcendentally great game. Russell didn't and he got annihilated. The quality of opponents isn't irrelevant but if you're good you're good and if you suck you suck.
- I was also really surprised at Russell's bitterness, particularly at Steve. It seemed awfully over the top. (Disclaimer: I really know nothing about Russell because I didn't see seasons 19 or 20.)
I saw him on Season 20, so I'm not surprised. And for what it's worth he was completely right. Everything about Zapatera's decision was stupid and wrong. And his calling out of Steve specifically was right on. None of this of course excuses the multiple crappy things Russell has said and done.
- Russell definitely should have stuck to his words on the island and said "toss my phone number". I don't care if I've only seen him once, a fourth season would be too much. He should not come back.
Not yet, but a couple years down the line I'd be interested in seeing him on another All-Star season. I wonder if he could improve his strategic game?
- It was nice to see Phillip apologize to Steve.
It was a legitimately nice moment.
- Oh man, I was pissing myself laughing at Phillip's army picture.
- So after all this, Phillip turned out to be a former federal agent after all. So why the question mark? What it effectively means is that, conspiracy theories and Phillip's behaviour aside, the Survivor producers altered their viewers' opinions - probably substantially - by adding that little question mark after "formal federal agent". Did it affect the game? No. But it misled the viewers to a certain degree, which to me detracts from a program that is billed as reality TV. Yeah, it probably helped boost ratings to some extent (probably only slightly, but ratings are ratings) but I ultimately just end up doubting the show's masterminds, which I shouldn't have to.
I too loved the army picture. And I get why they did the question mark - it was entertaining. They didn't know, we didn't know, so it was fun.
- I'm surprised that Rob won the fan favourite award. I really thought that an influx of pity votes would have ensured a victory for Matt. Jeff's comment about the $100,000 being a shopping spree for Amber was really stupid and immature.
I don't feel that harshly about Probst's comment, but I know what you mean. Rob doesn't seem to live a bad life, but these shows are his actual income, not bonus fun spending money. Honestly this wasn't a great Probst reunion show. A little too flippant about everything going on.
- David's comments about his relationship were strange and rather awkward. I definitely was not expecting a proposal to come from that. I also definitely thought she was going to say no. Her face, her words, her entire demeanour - it all seemed to point towards no. Ah well, good for them.
I haven't even watched it. It's too awkward.
- So...next season is going to be exactly the same as last season? How lame. Besides the highly unlikely scenario I outlined a few posts back, does anyone have any thoughts as to who the two returning players might be? Anyone heard any rumours? Oh man, can you imagine all the fans ragequitting on Survivor if Russell came back next season to try again? Obviously it would never happen in a million years, but it'd still be funny in a horrendous kind of way.
I'd be there will be at least one female returning cast member. I'd like Amanda Kimmel, but who knows. Cirie might get another shot, or someone else from the Heroes vs. Villains season. I get the impression it's two players who haven't won yet.
- Maybe Redemption Island 2 is being done so that, when one of the two returning players doesn't win, people will be more likely to dismiss the sheep theory. </moreconspiracytheories>
No. Probst likes the drama of it. And the ratings for this season weren't bad, so they're gonna keep rolling with it. I just hope the overall cast is better.