We sincerely apologize for the absence of Redemption Island recaps the last month; Gawker.TV ceased publishing weekly recaps and our day job has been monopolizing our time. But, with the finale airing tonight night, we felt it was our responsibility (and our pleasure) to give some thoughts on what’s transpired since our last recap and what is still to come.
Before we delve into the eliminations, duels, blindsides and bonehead moves of the past month, it’s come to our attention that we’ve been going easy on Matt and his love of Jesus. So, to right that wrong, we’re going to go ahead and dedicate the first part this post to Matt and his savior.
“Are you there, God? It’s me, Matt. Why have you abandoned me?”
“Because, Matt, I don’t care about reality television. I’m the almighty creator, and I have infinitely more important things to do than interfere with or preordain some reality show competition. And if I were to get involved with any of these shows, it wouldn’t be Survivor, hands down it’d be Top Chef, because a) I fancy myself as a bit of a foodie and b) have you seen the rack on Padma? One of my finest creations.”
“Oh, so that one set of footprints. That wasn’t you carrying me on your back?”
“Nope, no way. All you, buddy.”
Seriously, Matt, we get this whole Jesus, sacrificing oneself, enduring pain for other people’s sins, being betrayed by someone you trust thing, but do you really think God has plans for you in this game of Survivor? And if he did, wouldn’t he (or she!) have rigged it so you, you know, don’t have to live in isolation the whole day? We just don’t buy this whole God plans, Matt endures philosophy. As we’ve said before, Matt gets sent to Redemption Island twice and thinks it’s all part of God’s plan, God laughs. You know, that ol’ saying. Or, if you prefer, God Loves, Survivor Kills.
Maybe, just maybe Matt, God just wants you to leave him alone? You ever think about that?
And, finally, isn’t Matt’s questioning of God, and insinuating that God has a master of plan so he can win a million dollars in a silly TV game show, the very definition of taking the Lord’s name in vain? We think so.
Okay, we think that will about cover Matt and his God complex. Now, on to the Godfather, Boston Rob. The man from Beantown has played this game with frightening precision and control. Basically, he’s established himself as a cult-leader, completely directing the lives of his Ometepe tribemates, and essentially forbidding them to speak unless he’s present. It’s pretty scary, and if it wasn’t all part of a reality show, it would be grounds for investigation, and could be considered a viable example of Stockholm Syndrome. It’s actually unbelievably frustrating watching these people be so easily manipulated. Which is why, despite the masterful game that Rob is playing – and that’s indisputable – we don’t think he deserves to win the million, because he’s playing against amateurs, little leaguers. It’s the Globetrotters vs. the Generals. It’s child’s play for Rob. It must surprise even him, as cocky as he is, how easy it’s been, how no one has wised up and tried to take him out (besides Kristina in week one, and we commend Rob for so quickly realizing that she was a threat and swiftly removing her and her boobs). And this is when we miss Russell. It was a fair fight when he was in the game, but now it just seems silly to have someone who has played the game 4 times against rookies. And this is why, months ago when this was first announced, we said to be careful what you wish for. Because we got that initial excitement of Rob vs. Russell, but that quickly subsided, and we never even got the showdown we hoped for, Russell was cut down before we could ever reach that Clash of the Titans. Instead, we’re left with Rob decimating the Zapatera tribe, moving the chess pieces as he sees fit, and possessing a very, very real chance to win the million.
In fact, the cruel irony is that if Rob doesn’t win it will likely be of his own doing, as his biggest competition for Sole Survivor will be Matt, if he happens to be the one who makes it out of Redemption Island. Two times Rob orchestrated Matt’s ouster, sending him to the brink of elimination over and over again. But every time Matt wins a duel, stays in the game, he bolsters his chances of receiving votes in the final, assuming he manages to return from the island of broken Tribal Council dreams once again. And Rob knows this. He knows that the sword that may ultimately fell him might be have been forged by his own hand, he might have molded his own silver bullet.
The other major factor going into the finale is how will the Zapatera tribe members on the jury vote. If Mike makes it back from Redemption Island, one can probably assume that he’ll rack up a majority of votes from his friends, which just proves the danger in picking off a tribe one by one as Rob did, stacking the jury with hostiles. Unless Ralph, David, Steve, and Julie really recognize and respect Rob’s dominance, or appreciate how Natalie attached herself to Rob and never let go, they’re going to throw their vote to Mike, if only as a fuck you to Boston Rob. But for Rob that’s a gamble he’s had no choice but to take (and, once again, he knows it). However, our prediction is that Grant is the one wins the final Redemption Island duel and re-enters the game, as our gut tells us that the last contest at Frito-Lay Redemption Island arena will be some kind of physical endurance competition, and while Mike has proven himself to excel in these types of challenges, we have to think Grant has the advantage, just due to his sheer, superhuman athleticism. However, if there’s any kind of puzzle element involved, then our money is on Mike (as for Matt, he’s shown to be resilient, never losing in the gauntlet, but we think his body and mind are just to frayed at this point. But maybe, with a little help from God, he’s going to prove us wrong).
We’re going to follow-up tomorrow with some (maybe) final thoughts on the Redemption Island conceit, but we can tell you now that we maintain our season-long sentiment that it’s sucked the drama out of Tribal Councils, leading to an unsatisfied sensation after both tribal voting and Redemption Island eliminations. Yes, with four people still on Redemption Island who have a chance to return to the game tonight, we go into the finale with the possibilities pretty much wide open, like never before. Which certainly makes it interesting. But it also somewhat diminishes the game. And if Rob loses tonight he’ll be cursing Redemption Island to the day he dies (or until he finally wins the million in his fifth, sixth or seventh attempt).
So what’s our prediction: well, despite what we just said, we’re going to, very softly, put our wager on Rob. The odds, as we noted above, are stacked against him, but if the next few Tribal Councils go the way he planned, ending up in the final three with Natalie and Phillip, he should capture the title that has eluded, and haunted, him for years: Sole Survivor. And since he’s been able to expertly pull the strings so far, we have to conclude that he’ll continue to do so, and he’ll engineer his way to the million.
But ultimately, if we had our druthers, no one would win. No one deserves it. Rob has played maybe the best game of Survivor ever, but he did it against a group of players who are not only entirely inexperienced but mostly utterly daft. It’s bringing a gun to a knife fight.
Which is why our penultimate A-B-C of the season is:
Always Be Clueless
Because while it’s absolutely possible that the strategy of the remaining Ometepe players was to let Rob lead them to the end, take all the heat, and then argue the brilliance of that plan to the jury, we don’t think that’s the case. Our interpretation, based on the data we’ve seen, is they’ve just been blindly following Rob, oblivious to game going on around them, totally unaware of how Rob is remarkably and wholly holding sway over their fate. Wise up, dummies!
Which is why this pretty much sums up the whole season:
Enjoy the show and we’ll see you tomorrow! Stealth forever!