Survivor: Did Mike Make the Right Play at Redemption Island? Take Our Poll!

Another episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, and alas, another predictable Tribal Council. Sure, there was a little last-minute conversation between Boston Rob and Grant about the potential pros and cons of sending Phillip to an early exit, but it seemed so half-hearted that I almost wondered if some desperate producer had asked the nice gentlemen to consider the scenario out loud, the better to have at least a few seconds of footage that didn’t point to Andrea’s demise.

At the very least, the odd woman out in the Ometepe Six gave it a valiant effort during this week’s hellacious immunity challenge — complete a puzzle while sprinting up steep steps over and over again — finishing a very close third behind Rob and Grant, while Ashley, Natalie, and Phillip pretty much shrugged their shoulders and decided that exerting effort in the 110-degree heat wasn’t worth a million bucks. Credit has to go to Rob, though, for pushing himself quite literally to the brink of collapse to score the win and get that sweet immunity necklace placed around his neck once more. (Amazing the way he’s been dominating the game on every single level since Day One — and still has the hidden Immunity Idol in his pocket!) I got a little worried watching him try to stand on his own at the very top of the stairs, then promptly get a case of the borderline collapses. (“I wanna win Survivor,” Rob had noted, getting a little choked up before the challenge. “This is something I’ve been trying to do for 10 years now. I’m eight days away, so there’s nothing that’s gonna stop me.”)

Also somewhat impressive this episode? Crazy, crazy Phillip, who might actually just be crazy like a fox, what with his strategy of being ridiculous, confrontational, and generally abhorrent in his attempts to get Rob (and everyone else) to consider him as the perfect goat to take to the final vote. “I need to put salt on the wound every now and then,” he grinned, before railing against his team for their failure to properly maintain and store their fish nets.

And finally, we’ve got to discuss the four-way duel on Redemption Island, where Steve essentially daydreamed about his lunch options instead of trying to break his tiles, and promptly got dusted by Mike, Ralph, and Matt (with a possible assist from God). As the winner of the duel, Mike had the choice of spending the afternoon with his mother, allowing Ralph and Matt to spend time with their loved ones, or giving the family visits to the Ometepe Six.

Jeff Probst expressed total shock when Mike went with the last of those three options, but to me, it seemed like an obvious decision. I mean, after 32 days of starving in the wilderness, what’s the point of getting an afternoon with your mom if it doesn’t increase your chances of winning the top prize? Mike truly has no “in” with anyone in Ometepe, so of course he was going to use any weapon in his arsenal to forge a connection. Then again, Mike explained he was simply following Jesus’ rule of loving your brother like you love yourself, but I thought his parting remarks to the Ometepes’ thank yous told the real tale: “You’re welcome. Don’t vote me off again!”

What would you have done in Mike’s situation? Vote in our poll below, then head to the comments to discuss all the aspects of Wednesday’s episode! And for all my reality TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts:

    – Listen, if you’re one of the contestants and you’re watching these videos and you DON’T know that the people you’re watching are going to be at the next challenge, I submit that you’re missing a chromosome or two. I have to think at this point, it’s so obvious, that the CBS editors are essentially just cutting out footage of all of them jumping up and down, yelling “They’re here! They’re here!” in the interest of keeping up the fake surprise.

    – Boston Rob waxed poetic about how he was working so hard to win so that he could make a better life for his wife and children. He was emotional, but let’s call a spade a spade here. I love Boston Rob, and I’m 100% rooting for him to win this season, but he and Amber already have 1.1 Million Dollars from this show, along with the 37 other Reality shows he’s been on (and he’s hosting a new show on the Travel Channel!) Just be honest…you want to win Survivor. Don’t quote the money.

    I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at or you can just click my name

  2. jef says:

    With the money Rob and his wife have made off of Survivor he had some nerve saying he wanted a better life for his family. And the Ometepe people are dumber than dirt for not getting rid of Rob as soon as they could.

  3. Joe says:

    It was the right play for Mike. If he gets back in the game he will be a swing vote and doing what he did at the challenge opens doors for him to talk to the remaining players.
    You can tell Rob is terrified of Mike coming back into the game. He can’t control that situation unless his idol is still in play.
    That being said, I’m still not convinced the redemption island castoffs don’t come back into the game as a tribe to face off against Ometepe.
    The Redemption tribe with Mike, Matt, Ralph and Andrea would be a powerhouse tribe in a challenge. I think it would be really stupid if they did this and let them all back in, but I wouldn’t be shocked.
    I just don’t see the reason to keep that many people at Redemption together. It’s not adding up.
    Redemption Island isn’t working for me. Voting someone out only to have them come back in the end of the game is a dumb twist. It devalues all your gameplay.

    • postsalot says:

      The reason they’re keeping that many people at RI is simple (and ruins what was a good twist up to the merge): They want to keep potential fan faves in the game as long as possible.

      Unfortunately they’ve also made coming back from RI into the final five a lot easier road to hoe.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, the game, looks to me to be set up for the Redemption Island refugee to win the whole thing if they make it to the jury. By spending time with everyone on Redemption and forging that kicked out of the game bond there, that pretty much assures the jury will vote for the Redemption Island contestant in the end if they are there. I don’t like it. I think the game wasn’t broke and didn’t need this fix. We’ll see how it plays out.

  4. Lea says:

    Of course Rob want to make a better life for his family, as any decent man would.

    Yes Amber won a million dollars 6 or so years ago, but take out taxes and they’d have been recieving closer to 600 thousand.

    Buy a decent house and a new car and most of that money would be gone.

    It seems as though they derive their income from these reality shows, and who konws how long that run can continue for, so yes, of course he wants to win to provide a good life for his family…and though I doubt he can, I hope he does.

  5. Manuel says:

    If he gets back into the game and makes it to the final, what he did won’t win him any votes from the Ometepe people; Rob has them brainwashed, they won’t vote for anyone but him. But if he had given the visit to Matt and Ralph, he would for sure get their votes. The Ometepe people didn’t deserve any favors from him anyway.

  6. JayK* says:

    Oh, that “maybe we should vote out Phillip” conversation was ABSOLUTELY a produer plant. No doubt in my mind.
    I’m kind of blown away by Philip. He’s psycho and annoying ON PURPOSE. When he said that he has the perfect speech to win the jury over, I kind of hope it’s something like, “Hi, I’m Philip. I’m an investment banker. I am not and have never been a federal agent. That was a character I made up to win Survivor.” I’d vote for him!

  7. shaunna says:

    I hope Rob wins, then there is a chance they may be able to get him to come back another season, if he loses,I do not think he would come back again.

    If he gets voted off tonight, don’t know that I will keep watching……unless Phillip is still in the game