Survivor: Were You Rooting for Ashley in the Immunity Challenge? Take Our Poll!

I know this is going to sound a little blasphemous (perhaps even unforgivable), but I let out a loud, enthusiastic whoop and clapped my hands like Paula Abdul looking at a shiny object during the “fish-skeleton puzzle” immunity challenge on Wednesday night’s edition of Survivor: Redemption Island. And much to my shock, I found that I was rooting for Ashley, the shallow, lazy, and sometimes overtly cruel former beauty queen who spent the first 35 days of her Survivor experience braided into the fabric of Boston Rob’s coattails.

Do I want Ashley to make it to the finale and collect the $1 million prize? Absolutely not. But the last several weeks of Survivor have been so utterly predictable — with the members of the former Ometepe tribe systematically picking off every player from Zapatera, and then targeting the outer circle of the Ometepe Six, that I was hoping for something — anything, really — to add an element of surprise to the proceedings. And a win by Rob’s next intended victim, Ashley, was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Now mind you, I’m not saying there isn’t something fascinating about watching Rob thoroughly dominate the game while also shoring up his chances at the final jury vote. Notice the way he carefully crafts every sentence that comes out of his mouth, runs the internal numbers about every move he makes in the game. The way he  first broke the news to Natalie that they planned to send her BFF back home was a tremendous example of deflecting the blame: “Grant is very skeptical of Ashley’s actions. Grant wants Ashley out,” he whispered. Grant’s idea? Strategist, please!

But when Ashley finished her grappling hooks/puzzle-building exercise first, and had the immunity necklace around her throat, Rob had a choice to make: Betray his buddy Grant over “innocent” Natalie, or cut Natalie loose and break up her strong bond with Ashley. I’d have chosen the latter, but either way presented risks in the short- and long-term. “Grant, when you watch this, you’re gonna realize I never wanted to do it this way, bud,” said Rob, prior to giving him an unwelcome sendoff. And just like that, we’ve got a setup for Sunday’s finale that just got a little spicier.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Did Rob make the right move in choosing to betray Grant, not Natalie? What did you think of Phillip getting in Natalie and Ashley’s faces? (I tend to agree with Rob: “He’s crazy. Not the N-word crazy, he’s just crazy!”) Which Redemption Island castaway — Mike, Grant, Matt, or Andrea — do you think is most likely to make a return to the game? And how awesome were Jeff Probst’s taunts during the maze-puzzle challenge? I particularly enjoyed, “You lose this challenge, your shot at the money is over! You become a member of the jury. THAT BLOWS!”

Sound off on all these topics down in the comments, 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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31 Comments
  1. Sally says:

    Hell no, I was not rooting for Ashley. Really sad about the Rob/Grant/Natalie breakup. Le sigh.

  2. Rolfe says:

    I agree! I hated to see Grant go, but the game was getting too predictable! I would hate to Ashley make it to the finals, but her winning added a nice speed bump into the game.

    • jrs says:

      Hated to see Grant go??? Wow, I could not wait for him to go. He really bothered me. He talked about the girls riding coattails. Uh, pot calling kettle black! He did nothing but stick his nose in Rob’s arse. And, if I heard him utter “bro” one more time, I was gonna barf. Also, NO MORE PINK SLIPPERS…whoo hoo!

    • Steelers36 says:

      Rob probably landed on Grant since he had to remain loyal to Natalie. Grant is not in Rob’s F3. Besides, he sends Grant who has a great chance to be the one to come back and then everything is as it was.

      Grant or Mike have to be favorite to win the final Redemption contest (it is NOT a duel with FOUR ppl folks and Jeff).

  3. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts:

    – At Redemption (Non) Island, Andrea snubbed Matt upon arrival to go hug Ralph (???), which brought up a conversation between her and Matt about angry looks and puppy-dog eyes, and who is wishy-washy, and who is throwing each other under the bus. Andrea gave off one of those time-tested tells that someone is incredibly awkward or flustered, by talking extremely fast. So fast that I could barely understand her. I thought I was watching a Micro Machines commercial.

    – As Natalie and Rob were discussing their voting options alone, there was a distinct difference in their respective demeanor and body language. Did you notice that Natalie was sitting nervously by the fire (which again was out of control), and Rob was swinging carelessly on a swing laying it all out for her? And when Ashley came up, he just seamlessly transitioned into a conversation about brownies and caramel sauce. Man, he’s smooth.

    I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at http://sfurfaro.blogspot.com/2011/05/survivor-recap-one-man-should-not-have.html, or you can just click my name.

    • R Carr says:

      I also liked how Andrea speed-talked when she started talking to Matt. She’s been in the middle of nowhere for weeks and had nothing to do but think about what she’d say to Matt when she say him, and then it came out in a blur. Poor girl, you could tell she really liked him, and he just felt betrayed.

      Personally, I think she’s a little too good for him. He doesn’t seem like too bright of a guy.

  4. BassSinger says:

    Why are people rooting for Rob? He got the season handed to him on a plate by his tribe.

    • Steph says:

      Indeed- he’s merely lucky he got with the stupid tribe. Had he been in the Zap tribe, and Russell in the Ometepe tribe…I guarantee you that Rob would have been voted off and we, very likely, would be watching Russell dominated.
      I think part of the issue is the amount of recruiting Survivor do. Ashley and Natalie? Recruited- which is why Natalie is completely clueless as what to do.
      It’s almost rare to see a contestant who is a fan of the show and actually applied.

    • Tonya says:

      Because he’s Rob! I find it hard not to root for the guy. I know not everyone likes him, and that’s cool – but I’m on his side! He’s been the only thing keeping me interested in this season of Survivor.

      • Tavis says:

        Agreed. I want Rob to take it all!

      • oriharakaoru says:

        My thoughts exactly. It’s kind of fascinating watching him work his tribe to do his bidding. Granted, he’s not working with the brightest crayons in the box, but it’s still a masterful control of the game. And, whatever, I find him likable.

    • JohnDoe says:

      Uhh…because he’s played the rest of his tribe like a fiddle? He’s the only one that deserves to win out of all of them. After 99% of the screen-time this season being either Rob or Phillip, if neither of them wins, and one of those brainless girls win, that would be entirely frustrating.

    • topsyturvy says:

      Yes, Rob can you FINALLY win at Survivor and then get the hell off my TV and get a real job? I was/am rooting for Grant. I like that his shorts are up above his knees!

  5. Tavis says:

    I effin’ HATE Ashley!! I was rooting for her to LOSE and get her ass voted OFF the island. I am rooting for Rob to win it all!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Sadly yes, I was rooting for Ashley. She at least made a feeble attempt to think on her own- unlike fellow spa girl, Natalie who basically does as her lord and master Rob commands her too.
    I dislike Rob- he’s played Survivor four times, was on The Amazing Race twice- I’ve had more than enough of him. Of course he has played the best game (against those morons, anyone with a brain could play just as well) and thus were he to make it to the finals, then yeah, I hope he wins, he would deserve it- especially if he’s sitting next to Useless/Brainless Natalie and Crazy Philip (he may be laying on the crazy a bit, but not enough to make me believe it’s merely strategy).

    But I am so sick of Rob and his mindless sheep that I want to see Mike or Matt come back and beat him. Worst winner ever? Maybe, but I at least would be satisfied and would hope never to see Rob or Russell on my tv screen ever again.

  7. sashay says:

    I was rooting for Ashley, because like Michael, said, it will be the only unpredictable action we’ve seen in a few weeks. I haven’t watched every Survivor, but of the many that I have, I can’t remember always knowing who the next evictee will be. It’s boring, and as much as I admire Rob’s hard work, I’d at least like to see a little drama and surprises before he wins (if he does). The more I get to know about the other Surviors personalities the less I like them, so I am becoming more pro-Rob despite his smugness, but I want to see him continue to work harder and harder.
    Couldn’t believe how sucky Matt seemed at RI. I think Andrea really liked him on a personal level, so I can understand her being so emotional, but Matt’s ego seemed to be the catalyst for his sulking. What a jerk! I hope Andrea is the one to come back into the game. All of the men treated her terribly on the island. Did they really think she initiated the entire tribe snub? They would have completely sucked up to Rob if he’d been the one evicted.

  8. nonabgo says:

    I definitely didn’t root for Ashley but I agree the game needed something like this to make it more interesting. I’m bummed that Grant had to go, but between him and Natalie, he has the best chance at getting back into the game. And I really hope he returns. He reminds me of Ozzy, who is one of my all-time favorite Survivor players

  9. jef says:

    Hell yes, I was rooting for Ashley. This is another reality series that has jumped the shark. Hopefully whoever returns from exile will shake things up too. Completely boring season.

  10. Andy says:

    Definitely rooting for Ashley. She’s MUCH better than Rob’s other cronies in that she seems to have her own mind. I have a feeling Rob is being set up for a downfall unfortunately and if that’s the case, I hope Ashley takes it and definitely not one of the losers on Redemption.

  11. JHarnes says:

    This has been Rob’s season, but the wild card is who comes back into the game. That will be a real Wild card. I wish it was Russel if they had kept him longer this season would have been fantastic!. I expect Robb will be in the running for the prize – he has dominated the game this season and he has immunity in his pocket. But this is Survivor. As we all know Russel should have won his season and the end votes went against him, so whether Bob takes it all is up in the air..

    Boston Bob is the best Survivor player!

  12. Romain says:

    She’s easily my least favorite member of the Ometepe tribe, and that includes Phillip. I was rooting against her if anything and seriously hope she does not make it to the finals and if she does, then that she loses by a wide margin.

  13. Laurel says:

    I can’t stand Rob the puppetmaster.
    So h*ll yes I was rooting for Ashley.

  14. t.t says:

    I want rob to win but I was rooting for Ashley
    cause Ashley staying makes tribal more interesting. The past tribals have been predictable so Ashley winning made it less predictable.

  15. Rachel says:

    I was so excited Ashley won! I do NOT want her to win the overall game, but knowing that Rob had to completely change his tactics made this episode WAY more interesting! It’s a little scary how well he controls the team and I’m glad he got shaken up!

  16. Ruth says:

    Rooting for Rob all the way…he’s earned it. He’s a MASTER manipulator. Yes…he can be smug and cocky sometimes…but that’s part of his charm. Love him or hate him…you have to give him his props – he definitely knows how to play this game.

  17. Carly says:

    I know that this is not the popular opinion, but I actually am rooting for Natalie. I’m really glad Rob didn’t vote her off, I knew he wouldn’t but I still had doubts. I don’t think she is as stupid as people seem to think. I think that she’s playing the game like everyone else, because people who have openly gone against Rob or made any other plans have been kicked off immedietly. I think she is playing a solid game and more likable than anyone left. I hope Andrea comes back from redemption Island.