Survivor: Redemption Island “Finale”, Season 22 Episode 14 – After a somewhat over-long recap of this season of Survivor: Redemption Island, “Finale” got started by showing us Grant’s surprisingly calm reaction to being blindsided last week. You never know how these survivors will react to being voted out, but that had to be the most even keel reaction I’ve ever seen. Good for him.

Unfortunately his good nature did not extend to the Redemption duel, as he was the first to drop his vase and be eliminated. The whole room of Survivor fans I was watching the finale with screamed in anger and disbelief at the elimination of Matt and Mike. It is disappointing to see Matt, such a faithful and resilient guy who’s won so many duels, be eliminated so quickly. Here’s hoping he gets the fan favorite!

Most of the people at my Survivor party were complaining about how simple and stupid the first immunity challenge was, I was saying “At least it’s original!” Being one of the only challenges of this season that we haven’t seen before, I didn’t care that the puzzle was so simple. The puzzle was actually fun to watch since it was so easy to physically see how far along they were. With the other puzzles they have on this show, it’s difficult to see how close to completing it they are. At least with numbers to a hundred we know how many more they have to place!

Rob has played a great game up until this point, so even though his confessional talked about possibly not playing the idol, we knew he wouldn’t be so stupid. Everybody in the room with me was talking about how stupid Ashley and Natalie were being by not voting for Rob as he is such a clear threat to win. I, on the other hand, think that they were simply playing the “Russell game”. You go to the end of the game riding the coattails a strong player who has done nothing but manipulate, strategize, and blindside the jury members. You hope that the members of the jury are too offended to want to vote for the ringleader, and hope that you get their excess votes. I think it was a strong strategy even though it may not seem like it.

Oh my gosh, I could not wait to talk about the second immunity challenge! That had to be the best made challenge in Survivor history! That was the best maze I’ve ever seen, the best structure I’ve ever seen, and one of the coolest and most unique puzzles I’ve ever seen! I was a little disappointed to see the one and only Boston Rob ask for help on the puzzle, but was a little shocked that he was able to come up with the solution so quickly. As soon as he won immunity, you could have just handed him the million dollars, but we have to watch another 40 minutes to make it official.

If you weren’t convinced that Rob was going to win tonight, the final tribal council should have erased all doubt. Natalie was showing to the jury how much she depends on Rob, and it was as if Philip didn’t want any votes! The only reason Rob’s win wasn’t unanimous was because Ralph got sweet-talked so much by Philip.

I’m not going to take this victory away from Rob at all, he played a great game. However, I feel like we need one more game between Russell and Rob. In Heroes Vs. Villains, Russell beat Rob directly. He outsmarted him and got him voted out while they were on the same tribe. In this game, Russell was voted out by his own team and Rob had nothing to do with it. I say we need a rubber match, but we can take a break before we see these guys again.

Even though the winner wasn’t a big surprise, I still thought this was a solid episode and I’m excited to see what they come up with next season!

Random Thoughts;

– Word to the wise: Don’t check Twitter when there’s a finale of a show you REALLY care about airing on the east coast. I had the winner spoiled for me an hour before the finale even began! Boo!

– Did anybody miss the walk down memory lane? I didn’t!

– I thought there was a slight chance that Philip might out himself as a closet genius, and that his whole character and schtick was just a facade for his mastermind personality. Turns out: Nope.