Survivor: Redemption Island
Seems Like a No Brainer, Part 1
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
May 17, 2011


Hello, good people, and welcome to Part One of the Survivor: Redemption Island finale. Previously on Survivor, Boston Rob remained in control, Andrea shocked us all and helped knock Ralph off of Redemption Island, Ashley shocked us again by winning immunity and Grant paid the price and was sent to Redemption Island.

With eight people still in play, a lot of questions remain to be answered in a mere two hours. We still have to have someone come back into the game, have a couple immunity challenges, a couple Tribal Councils and then a Final Tribal Council and jury questioning. That's a whole lot to knock out in such a short time, but something tells me, they'll figure out how to do it. The biggest question of all is, "Will Rob be able to finish what he started?" Right now, he's a pitcher taking a perfect game into the ninth inning. Does he have the strength, skill, determination and luck it takes to get those final three outs? There's only one way to find out...cue the theme and let's get it on!

We begin tonight's episode on Redemption Island, where there cannot be ANYone happy to see Grant arrive. Grant is still smarting from Tribal, but not near as much as the Redemption Island residents. As dominant as Grant has been, the last thing Andrea wanted to see was him come walking around the corner.

Back at Murlonio, there is not much rejoicing. Rob feels terrible about voting out Grant. He says that no matter how coldhearted he seems or thinks he is, he considered Grant a friend and hated to see him go. He also feels that Ashley is just bad news and has to go.

We check in with Matt over on Redemption. He is telling us how much he has actually loved being on RI and that it's a very special place for him. As Grant and Andrea grab Tree Mail, the note says that they will have their final duel today. Three will go to the jury and one will return to the game. Mike tells us that he is going to actually miss Redemption and that he has learned a lot about himself in his 14 days on RI. Matt gives us his RI stats: two times voted out, seven days IN the game, 11 duels and 29 days on Redemption Island. With that, it's a...

Probst sighting! The duel today will have the competitors place their foot on a balancing board. On the other end of the board is a ceramic vase. The person who keeps their vase on their board the longest without it falling off wins his/her way back into the game. The other three will become the fifth, sixth and seventh member of the jury. The challenge starts and you have to think this challenge will benefit Mike. He did very well in the balancing balls challenge. Didn't win, but he lasted a pretty long time. Some 40 minutes in, a few of them have waivered a bit and with just a little bit of a shake, Grant is the first person out of the challenge. After about an hour, everyone is showing signs of fatigue and out of nowhere, Matt glances to the side and breaks his concentration for just a split-second and his vase wobbles and falls to the ground.

This leaves Andrea and Mike to duke it out for a chance to get back in this game. After a couple near misses, Mike finally loses his balance just enough and his vase tumbles to the ground - which means Andrea will re-enter the game. I can't imagine what the odds would have been that Andrea could beat Mike, Matt and Grant at a single challenge. But she did it. Now you have to wonder if the girls might get together and take over this game. Of course, Rob still has an idol he can play. As we go to break, Rob tells us that Ashley has to be the next vote and as long as she doesn't win immunity, Andrea will get to live another day.

As we come back to camp, Andrea tells us how awkward it feels to come back into the game. Meanwhile, Rob is thrilled that Redemption is finally done. We join Andrea in the shelter talking to Natalie and Ashley. Before I get to their conversation, can I just mention that for the last several episodes now, it seems that Ashley and Natalie are ALWAYS in bed? I have to wonder; did they ever do ANYthing besides lay around and pluck each others' armpits? There have been some lazy players in the game, but these two may very well take the cake. Anyway, Andrea is trying to sway the girls by telling them that everyone on Redemption Island referred to them as "Rob's Puppets." She tells the girls that Ralph, Matt and Mike were talking about how they might just vote for Phillip.

Andrea tells us that she's completely making this stuff up, but she has to try something to stay in the game. She's not content to just sit around and wait for Rob to vote her out. After Andrea leaves, the girls are still talking about voting her out next and that if she wins immunity, Phillip is the target. Seriously?? Use your heads for something other than holding up your headbands. Going with Andrea is a virtual guarantee to the Final 3. And for whatever reason, the "mean girls" just can't look past whatever issue they have with Andrea to see that her plan is their only hope to win this game.

Rob and Phillip are talking and the plan is to dump Ashley as soon as possible. Let her think that Andrea is the vote, but it's really going to be Ashley. Rob is sick of her and he doesn't like the way she's corrupting his good little soldier, Natalie.

The next morning we head to an Immunity Challenge. Today's challenge begins with a walk across a balance beam, stopping to grab a bag of numbered tiles. There are four bags that must be retrieved separately. There are 100 numbered tiles that must be laid in order. Sounds easy enough, yes? All five Survivors are close after getting the first bag. Rob is the first to go get his second bag, with Andrea and Ashley right behind. Rob is back with his second bag as Natalie finally goes back to get her second bag. After this bag of 20 pieces, Ashley has taken a slight lead over Rob and Andrea. Rob makes up time on the beam and has a slight lead as they begin placing the 30 tiles in bag three. Andrea and Natalie are back with their third bags, but they've fallen behind. Phillip is completely out of it. Ashley is the first one back with her fourth bag, followed by Andrea and then Rob. There are 40 numbers in the final bag and Ashley is in the 80s already. Rob is quickly catching up. Ashley reaches the 90s and Rob is in the 80s. From what we can tell, Ashley finished the numbers with Rob sitting on or around #98. Ashley wins immunity and a guaranteed spot in the Final 4.

Despite the obvious play for the girls here, it's still time to play, "It's anyone but Andrea." Andrea desperately wants the girls to wake up and actually DO something in the game, but she's afraid they won't. As they get back to camp, Rob basically tells Andrea that she's next and the other four go off to discuss this Tribal. They all agree. Rob tells us that tonight is the last night to play a hidden idol, but he doesn't even think he'll need it.

Next we join a conversation between Ashley and Natalie, and Ashley wants Natalie's guarantee that if it's Andrea this time, it's not her next time. She says Phillip should go after Andrea. Natalie promises Ashley that her vote will go to Phillip next time. All the time they're talking, The Specialist notices how long they were gone. He runs right to Rob to tell him that they were out there talking for a long time and he doubts it was all about voting out Andrea. He tells Rob all about this right in front of Andrea. Phillip finally takes Rob for a walk and Andrea approaches the girls again and tries to cut a deal. She tells them that they don't want to go against Rob in the finals. She tries to convince them that they need to get rid of the guys. No one on Redemption is going to vote for them at the end if they don't do anything. Andrea is very much pushing for a Rob boot tonight.

After Phillip gives Rob the whole story, Rob tells us that this is nothing more than Day 37 in Survivor. He can predict everything they're going to do before they do it. He tells us that he doesn't think he'll even need to play the idol tonight; maybe he'll keep it as a souvenir.

Tribal Council begins with Jeff asking about the paranoia going around right now. Rob says that it was crazy today. Phillip mentions something about being the undercover specialist. Rob confirms that he had Phillip out there keeping his ears open for him. Ashley admits that Rob is a huge threat in the game. Andrea echoes this by saying that she told the girls that this is a time for them to take control of the game. It's their chance to finally DO something and maybe redeem themselves in the eyes of the jury. Rob asks Natalie if this is something she'd consider. She also says that Rob is a huge threat and she has to consider all possibilities to get herself further. When asked about Andrea, Rob says that she's a huge threat now. She took out Matt, Mike and Grant and almost won today's challenge. He says that everyone seems to like her so she's a huge threat to sit with at the end. And with that, it is time to vote.

The only vote we see is Andrea's vote for Rob telling him he's a great player and the biggest threat to win the game. The question now is whether or not the girls said enough to make Rob play his idol. And with that, "My mother always told me it's better to be safe than sorry" and he takes the idol up to Jeff. Andrea is heartbroken. As it turns out, Rob really didn't need the idol as his girls remained true and made Andrea the eighth member of our jury. As we go to break, Andrea complains again that the girls really could have made a bold move tonight, completely ignoring the fact that even if they did, the result wouldn't have changed.

We come back from break to the Final 4 celebrating as they get back to camp. Ashley and Natalie are excited to be the last girls standing. Phillip wants a group hug. He tells us that he suspected Rob had the idol, but didn't actually know. He tells us he's shocked to be in the Final 4. Ashley is totally pissed that Andrea would suggest she hasn't been playing the game. Because, look at her and stuff. Andrea has been voted out, but Ashley is still in the game. She's made big moves. We just haven't seen them...and stuff. As Phillip heads out to get some water, Rob confirms with the girls that he's the next to go. He tells them that he's gonna win tomorrow and he'll bring the girls with him to the end. With no idol left to protect him, he breaks it down as, "Ten years, four times on Survivor, 116 days, one challenge for one million bucks. That's what it comes down to. Pretty big stakes."

And with that, I'll sign off of Part 1 of the Redemption Island Finale. Look out for Part 2 as we'll see the final Immunity Challenge, the final jury member will be voted out of this game, we'll see if maybe THIS cast can avoid the Bitter Jury Syndrome that infects so many juries on Survivor and finally someone will be crowned the Sole Survivor. With one out in the ninth, Rob's perfect game is still intact. Can he get those last two outs? You'll have to come back to find out. Until Part 2, take care.