Survivor: Redemption Island
Seems Like a No Brainer, Part 2
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
May 18, 2011
Hello, good people, and for the last time this season, welcome to the BOP Survivor: Redemption Island recap. When last we hung out, Redemption Island was a thing of the past and Andrea was voted out, leaving us with a Final 4 of Boston Rob Mariano, Phillip Sheppard, Ashley Underwood and Natalie Tennerelli. To continue my baseball metaphor, there's one out in the bottom of the ninth and Rob's still working on the perfect game. After laying out what lies ahead, Rob knows that he is potentially one challenge win away from the title he has coveted for ten long years. One challenge is all that separates him from his goal of never having to hear "Well, at least I WON Survivor" at home ever again.
As we join the finale, we get an overhead of easily the largest and most intricate maze I think Survivor has ever had. Then we get our last Probst Sighting of the season. For this challenge, the players must make their way through this huge maze, finding four different stations, each holding a bag of puzzle pieces. Once they get all four bags, they need to make their way to the top of the challenge and solve the puzzle. As they take off, Rob has a clear plan and is quickly the first person to get a bag of pieces. Right after that, Ashley comes up with a plan of her own, follow Rob every step of the way. At the risk of making a long challenge short, Phillip tries to keep up, but just doesn't have enough in him. Natalie is never even a factor in this challenge.
It boils down to Rob versus Ashley. She follows him through the entire maze to all four stations and then to the very top of the huge challenge staircase. As they reach the top, Rob does have a very slight lead. As Ashley and Rob fumble through the word puzzle, Ashley actually seems to be making headway. She's got "Only" and "Safe" already. Rob has nothing. So naturally, he asks her what she's got. As he looks over his shoulder at her puzzle, I think Rob got an idea. After a bit of trial and error, Rob finally puts together, "Only you are safe" and wins the final Immunity challenge. In a display we've never seen before, Rob is VERY excited to win this challenge. He lets out a yell, jumps up and down and even sheds a few tears. He tells us that no matter what happens now, he has done everything he can to win this game and now he has to focus on how to convince the jury to give him a million dollars even though his wife already won.
As we arrive back at camp, it's hugs all the way around for Rob on his triumph in the last challenge. Oddly enough, all three of the people left feel like they're going to the final three. Rob tells us that he wants to dump Ashley but it will take some work to get Natalie to go along with it. He pacifies Ashley by telling her that Phillip is the vote. He tells her that Phillip will think she's the vote and that she's got nothing to worry about. Ashley asks Natalie to please let her know if anything changes. Natalie can't wait to get rid of Phillip and spend the last day Phillip-free. As the girls spend the rest of the day in bed (where else?), Rob and Phillip confirm that Ashley is the vote.