Survivor: Is Boston Rob Making a Strategic Error by Hiding His Immunity Idol?

Boston Rob has what appears to be an unbreakable hold over the Ometepe tribe on the current season of Survivor: Redemption Island. In fact, the only scenario he can’t seem to manipulate is getting Phillip to put on some damn pants and cover up his appalling pink undies.

Still, I started getting nervous last week when the veteran player uncovered the hidden immunity idol and decided against sharing it with the core members of his alliance (Grant, Natalie, and Ashley).

On Wednesday night’s episode, Rob upped the treachery some more: After Ometepe took home a coffee-and-pastries reward for winning the immunity challenge, Rob and Grant spotted the Clue No. 2 to the (already discovered) idol’s whereabouts in their pot of French roast. Instead of coming clean, or pretending he hadn’t seen it and then observing how Grant proceeded with “his” information, Rob went a more nefarious route. He merely pretended to be in cahoots with Grant, had his buddy “distract” their fellow Ometepians, then absconded with the new clue, buried it in the woods, and returned to his buddy with the vaguely worded Clue No. 1 that he had discovered the week prior in Phillip’s chair. Rob’s reasoning for the extra layer of drama? “I mean, this was really all for nothing because I already have the immunity idol, y’know,” he chuckled. “But it’s fun for me. I have to entertain myself out here somehow!”

Look, I respect that Rob has managed to present himself as a Survivor mastermind without turning his neophyte tribemates into paranoid, mutinous enemies (see Hantz, Russell), but it looks like he might be courting trouble for the sole purpose of creating entertaining TV. As a viewer, I can’t be mad at that, but as a strategy, I think it’s potentially a million-dollar mistake.

What do you think? If you were in Rob’s shoes, would you share with your alliance buddies that you’d found the idol? (Rob could always lie and say he spotted it in a tree while gathering food or firewood…no need to reveal he actively sought it out!) Or is the ability to keep a secret weapon in his pocket more important than additional bonding with his Ometepe buddies? Take the poll below, then explain your vote in the comments. And also share your thoughts on last night’s ouster. I understood Krista trying to drive wedges into the six-person Zapater alliance before her torch got snuffed — what other options did she have at that point? — but I’m not sure Ralph, David, Mike, Steve, Julie, and Sarita gave much importance to the little layabout’s rant. How about you? Also, what about Matt’s winning streak in Redemption Arena. Whoa!

Slezak on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.