Survivor: Redemption Island 22.13 “Too Close for Comfort” Recap

If you missed last week’s episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, catch up with my recap here.

The episode begins on Night 32 at Murlonio. Ashley says Tribal Council was enjoyable because she loves blindsides. She’s happy to see Andrea gone because she was never close to Natalie and her. For her part, Natalie is leaning toward sticking with Rob and ditching Ashley. Natalie then goes and tells Rob that Ashley was trying to reassure her of their alliance. Rob tells the camera that it might be best to get rid of Ashley next so he can keep control of the tribe in the last seven days.

Night 32, Redemption Island. Andrea arrives, and Matt says that he was most betrayed by her. She swore an allegiance with him and then quickly turned on him. Andrea says she understands that Matt hates her, but Matt was wishy-washy and threw under the bus with Rob. Matt half-heartedly apologizes, and says he’s tired so they should all go to sleep. Ralph insists that Andrea sleep on the ground as punishment for taking the tarp after The Merge.

RI Arena. Jeff brings in the competitors and asks Andrea about the blindside that ousted her. It’s amazing to her that she can look into her former alliance’s eyes and realize that they all lied to her. She then cries because she feels so betrayed. Moving on, Jeff explains the Duel: each player will move a handle through a table maze. Once the handle is freed, they will use the handle to smash a box and retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces. The first three to solve the puzzle stay alive.

Ralph takes an immediate and large lead in the maze. Andrea starts freaking out that she keeps getting stuck, so Jeff warns her to not let her bad mood get in her way. Ralph is the first through the maze and moves on to his puzzle pieces. Jeff notes that Matt and Mike, Duel veterans, are staying calm while Andrea continues to lose her mind. Mike finishes the maze, as does Matt. Andrea finally finishes herself, and moves to the puzzle. Ralph’s lead has disappeared. Mike and Matt get close to finishing, but Mike is missing a piece. He finds it, drops it in place and completes his puzzle. Mike advances. Andrea peeks at Mike’s board to get the answer. She and Matt place their final pieces at the same time. Jeff checks them both, and both are correct. Matt and Andrea stay alive, and Ralph is the next member of The Jury. He drops his buff in the fire, and Jeff sends everyone back to their camps. Rob tells the camera he has more heart than anyone else out there, but RI is complicating things. He wants RI to be over so he doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Day 33, back at Murlonio. Everyone is hungry. Phillip says they can afford a cup each of rice because people will be leaving every couple days. Rob says they should try not to exert too much energy. He and Grant talk about ousting Ashley, because then Natalie won’t think of turning on them. Phillip is still concerned about the amount of rice each person has, and tells the girls that because Grant is a man, he should get more rice than them; girls don’t need as much energy and food as someone built like Grant. This is actually a factual statement, but of course, the girls take umbrage. A typical Phillip/anyone else argument erupts. “Get out of our faces!” screams Natalie as she storms out of the shelter.

Rob confides to the camera that Phillip is crazy. He says the girls are getting too close for comfort with each other, so he needs to split them up, but then Phillip drives them back together, making Rob’s job that much harder. Rob tells Natalie that they need to keep Ashley happy, so if she hears Ashley say anything other than getting Phillip out, to tell him (Rob). He then says that they are likely to vote out Ashley because she seems to be plotting against them, so he promises he will take Natalie to the end if she follows along. Ashley knows Rob will take Natalie and not her to the end, so she knows she needs to make a big move.

Ashley talks to Natalie and Rob about ousting Grant so he can win Redemption Island. Rob says it is something to consider, but then confesses that he has run this scenario through his mind weeks ago, and it doesn’t make sense. He immediately tells Grant that Ashley wants to vote him out. The safest play is for the two of them need to win Immunity from here on out.

Day 35, because evidently nothing interesting happened on Day 34. Grant confesses that Stealth R Us are sticking together. The three guys go off into the woods. Rob says Ashley’s free ride is about to end. Ashley is worried that Rob wasn’t “all about” blindsiding Grant. Rob then tells Natalie that he has her back and will tell her who to vote for right before Tribal Council so she doesn’t have to lie to Ashley. He continues, telling Natalie that he sees what Ashley is doing, trying to tell Natalie what to do (as if he isn’t doing the exact same thing). Rob confesses that Natalie is pure and impressionable, and Ashley is corrupting that. The guys bring back and read Tree Mail, but they can’t figure out the clue to the…

…Immunity Challenge. For the Challenge, the players will use large fish hooks to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. Then they must use the pieces to form a fish skeleton in which none of the pieces can be touching each other. They must do this all with one arm tied behind his or her back. They are playing for Reward too: a three-course meal delivered to camp. “Survivors ready…go!”

Grant, combining three hooks, is the first to get a bag. Rob, Ashley, Phillip, and then finally Natalie follow suit. Grant ably puts his pieces in the fish skeleton, and finishes his first section. He then rushes back to the start to to combine four hooks. Rob and Phillip finish and start on bag two. Phillip drops his second bag, but recovers, and along with Rob starts on the second section of the puzzle. Ashley gets her second bag, and so does Grant. Ashley is the first to finish the second section, then Grant and then Phillip. Natalie, meanwhile, is still on her first section. Ashley quickly gets all five hooks of the final set together and drags back her final bag of puzzle pieces, quickly followed by Rob and Phillip. Ashley, Phillip and Rob work on the final section of the puzzle. Ashley and Rob are close to finishing, but two of Ashley’s pieces are touching. She nimbly fixes them. “Ashley wins Immunity and Reward!” Jeff places the Immunity Necklace around her neck, and then shows her a room service menu. He shows her that there is a space for a second diner. She can pick one person to join her, and without much hesitation, she chooses Natalie.

Murlonio returns to camp. Rob confesses that days like today make him want to stay home. All of a sudden, Ashley is a genius because since she won Immunity, he has to go along with her plan. In a confessional, he apologizes to Grant that he’s going to have to vote him out because he wants to win the game. Rob confers with the girls and says he will vote for Grant. Rob then pulls Phillip aside and says they have to put on an act for Grant that they’re voting for Natalie. Rob concludes by saying it is exhausting having to do all of the work.

Grant pulls Rob aside so the can decide who should go between Phillip and Natalie. Grant suggests they break up the “couple” of Natalie and Ashley. Grant confides that he gets a good feeling that Rob will stick to their alliance. Waiters show up to deliver the “room service,” including a personal pizza for each and some chocolate cake. The girls feel gross after gorging themselves on all the food. Rob tells the camera that Natalie and Ashley are getting too close. “Couples,” like he and Amber were in Survivor: All-Stars, “are very powerful in this game.”

Ashley tells Natalie that they may have to side with the person who comes back from RI to take on Rob. Natalie confides to the camera that she was actually a bit upset that Ashley took her on the Reward. She immediately runs to Rob to tell him that Ashley feels overly confident, and thinks the two girls are solidly together. Rob confesses that with the two girls together, someone from RI could side with them to take him out. He really likes Grant, so maybe he should keep him. Either way, Rob is sitting pretty at tonight’s Tribal Council. “One man shouldn’t have so much power in the game,” Rob notes, “but fortunately, I’m not an ordinary man.”

Tribal Council. Jeff says to Ashley that after 35 days, it must feel good to be wearing the Immunity Necklace. She figured she needed to win it today. Grant says it was crucial that he win Immunity because he knows he’s a target. Rob says the only thing going for him is that Grant might be a bigger threat than he is. Jeff asks Ashley about choosing Natalie to share the Reward. Ashley says it’s not a shock that she and Natalie are so close. Jeff comments that her saying she is so close to Natalie sets bombs going off in the guys’ ears. Natalie says the guys might want to vote her out because of her relationship with Ashley. Jeff then asks Rob what gets him through the game? rob stands and points to the back of his t-shirt which has a picture of his daughter. Amber knows how much he loves the game. What about Grant? He thinks about his soon-to-be wife. Her trust is a beautiful thing. Rob concludes by saying that this is the biggest vote they’ve had so far.

It’s time to vote. Ashley votes for Grant. Jeff collects the votes. Rob doesn’t play the Hidden Immunity Idol. The first vote is for Natalie, and the second is for Grant. Vote Three is for Grant. Jeff reads Vote Four: the fifteenth person voted out…Grant! Grant brings his torch to be snuffed and says, “See you guys shortly.” Grant marches off into the Blue Light of Death, and Jeff comments that there are only four days left, but a lot of things standing between them and a million dollars, including a person coming back from RI.

Next Time On…Survivor!

It’s Finale time! This SUNDAY, May 15th at 8:00pm EDT/PDT. There are two hours of the finale, and then the one hour reunion. Make sure you note the time change.

Well, it’s always the way isn’t it? Players have their sights set on one person to vote out, and then that person wins Immunity. I have to (begrudgingly) say, I was (begrudgingly) impressed by Ashley’s Immunity Challenge victory. She had done absolutely nothing up until this point to stand out or show she deserved to win the game. I don’t think she had been sandbagging her performance for the whole season, and then struck while the iron was hot in this Challenge. I think she just had a great performance in a favorable Challenge. That said, she at least now has something to hang her hat on in the Final Tribal Council, should she get there.

But will she get there? For my money, I don’t think so. This is how I see this playing out. Rob will likely have his last opportunity to play the HII at the next Tribal Council, regardless of whether the person from RI comes back before the next Tribal Council, or the one following. So, he is automatically into the Final Four, unless he loses his mind and doesn’t play it. I believe Mike will be the player to emerge from RI. He has “won” each of the Duels he has been in, and done so handily. It will be a nice story if Matt wins, and he certainly could, but I think Mike will emerge.

If Mike comes back before the next Tribal Council, he gets voted out immediately, unless he can participate in and win Immunity. If he does, I think Rob convinces Mike and Phillip, and probably Natalie to vote out Ashley to break up the couple. Even if they all conspire to vote out Rob, he should play his HII and then his vote will determine who goes home. If the RI winner doesn’t come back until there are only three “regular” players left, Rob breaks up the girls by voting out Ashley, or Natalie if Ashley wins Immunity again.

When it gets to the Final Four, it’s always a crap shoot. Rob will be gone unless he can win Immunity because both Phillip and Ashley are smart enough to vote him out so they can say to the Jury, “I voted out Rob.” Same goes for the RI winner. Only Natalie might actually be dumb enough to keep Rob around. If Rob wins Immunity, I think he takes Natalie and Phillip and wins the game in a likely unanimous vote. If Natalie is voted out previously, so it is him, Phillip, Ashley and the RI winner, I think he takes Phillip and Ashley, so as to not give the RI winner a chance to make a case for him/herself. That vote probably goes down 6-3-0, Rob-Ashley-Phillip.

If Rob is voted out, no matter who is left will take Phillip along. He is hated by pretty much everyone and is a Final Vote black hole. If the RI winner somehow survives, that person likely wins a 5-4-0 or 6-3-0 vote. If it is a Phillip-Natalie-Ashley Final Three, I figure Ashley wins, maybe in a 4-3-2 vote, unless Natalie wins another Immunity Challenge, so she can argue that she won two Immunities, boosting her case for a victory.

Odds to Win

How it all plays out will be rather interesting, but which one of the above scenarios do I think is most likely? Let’s turn to the Odds to find out:

Rob: 2-1. Could Rob screw up and not play his HII? Absolutely. Will that happen? The odds are probably 1,000,000-1. Rob will make it to the final Immunity Challenge, and depending on who he has to play against, he will likely win. Well, I feel the odds are the most in his favor, especially if any puzzle is involved, and this season, the producers have loved puzzles. It’s pretty simple: if Rob wins the final Immunity Challenge, he wins the game because i really don’t think this Jury is as vindictive as the ones from the last two seasons.

Natalie: 9-1. I have to keep Natalie this high, not necessarily because I think she will really win (as you can see above, I don’t give her much of a shot in most of the scenarios), but because she is rather likely to be in the Final Three. As we have seen before (and seen with players named Natalie), anything can happen in the Final Vote. Again, I don’t think she is likely to win, but there are too many variables for everyone else that Natalie must remain favored against the rest.

Mike: 17-1 (7-1). Mike has been coolly in control of each of the Duels he has been in. I just don’t see how he loses one unless the last one is an endurance challenge, which I think Grant would take at this point. Mike’s (and really everyone on RI) chances really depend on when he reenters the game. If it’s prior to the next Tribal Council, his chances drop considerably as he would have to win back-to-back Immunity Challenges to prevent being voted out (If you were one of the remaining “regular” players, would you want the RI winner in the Final Three? I thought not.). If he comes back before the last Immunity Challenge, then his prospects improve dramatically as winning one Immunity Challenge to put himself in the Final Three is a lot easier. If the latter scenario is what occurs, I’d jump Mike’s chances up to the number in the parentheses. I just think the former is what’s going to happen, hence why I list Mike below Natalie). It’s not enough of a penalty for being voted out of the game to come back just for the Final Immunity Challenge. We’ll have to wait and see.

Matt: 18-1 (3-1). The same goes for Matt what I wrote above for Mike. In his case, I think he is slightly less likely to win the final Duel, as he has been handily beaten by Mike each week. If he does make it back into the game in that latter scenario, Matt likely wins the game easily. For Matt to make it to the Final Three, Rob would have to be gone, and if that is the case, who could possibly argue that Matt doesn’t deserve to beat Phillip, Natalie, or Ashley? The guy will have survived on RI since DAY NINE! Yes, one could argue that he was voted out of the game twice, but he played by the rules and survived under even worse conditions than the regular players. If Matt winds up in the Final Three, he wins.

Grant: 19-1 (9-1). First, I don’t think Grant will handle the Duel well. We saw how Ashley reacted to her first Duel: there’s an anxiety to the Duels that must be mastered, and at this point in the game, the anxiety will be high. If, however, the Duel is an endurance challenge, Grant is in the best position simply because he’s had more to eat and is in a better condition than the other three RI denizens. If he makes it back into the game, he has a shot of winning the Final Immunity Challenge, of course, but he is not necessarily a shoo-in in the Final Tribal Council because it could be argued that he just rode Rob’s coattails. True, assuming he is up against some combination of Phillip, Natalie and Ashley, he could argue they all road Rob’s coattails, but a Grant victory just wouldn’t be as much of a slam dunk as Mike or Matt.

Ashley: 27-1. I will give Ashley credit, she actually won an Immunity Challenge. She’s got a bit of game. I still think she is super annoying without any real friends on the Jury. She will have to win another Immunity Challenge to stay in the game (and if she has to go to RI, she’s not winning a Duel against Mike and Matt), but if she does, I can see an avenue she can travel to victory. God, I hope that doesn’t happen though.

Andrea: 38-1. Andrea did not look good during that Duel. Yes, she mounted a nice comeback to overtake Ralph, but I just don’t see how she wins another Duel, and then an Immunity Challenge. If she can somehow find her way into the Final Three, she could have an argument for victory (I took out Rob (which she will have to do). I had no friends on my tribe. I was targeted from Day 1.). I just don’t see all of the planets aligning that would allow this though.

Phillip: 49-1. Let’s face it, Phillip is making the Final Three. It would be a Survivor crime for anyone to not take him to the end. He has pissed off just about everyone in the game with his antics, so he is likely to not garner any votes at the final Tribal Council. Then again, if he’s in the Final Three……..

So, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t stick my neck out and actually predict how this all goes down. Here’s my best guess. Final Duel: Mike wins, Matt cries. Mike reenters the game. Mike wins the Immunity Challenge. Everyone but Natalie, mobilizes against Rob, but Rob plays the HII. Rob and Natalie vote for Ashley. Ashley’s gone. Final Immunity Challenge: Rob wins. Rob takes Phillip and Natalie to the Final Tribal Council. Rob finally gets his Survivor victory in a 8-1-0 vote (someone, probably Ralph, makes up some stupid reason to not vote for Rob). Jeff tries to figure out if Phillip is really a federal agent. Phillip says something weird. Jeff introduces Phillip to Coach and say they should play the game together. Russell says he would have won if he didn’t have jealous idiots on his tribe. Rob wins the Fan Favorite award. Jeff announces next season is in…….I don’t know…….the Falkland Islands or something. No, it will have to be closer to the Equator. Uh….Papua New Guinea.

What did you think of this week’s episode? How do you see the Finale playing out? Do you agree with any of my scenarios above? Please leave your comments and theories below. Be sure to tune in this Sunday, May 15 at 8:00pm EDT/PDT for the season finale and reunion show. I’ll be back Monday morning with my final recap and thoughts on the season. Until then, I’m off to reflect a bird in my alligator eye.

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