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!